Raising The Bar
TV’s have been the main source of family entertainment for decades now, with technology evolving to allow for a better quality audio-visual experience. However, even though the visual quality has improved by leaps and bounds, the audio delivery is still quite limited due to the shape and size of the device, which has only shrunk as more and more models adopt the razor-thin look. This has forced customers to invest in secondary audio hardware if they want to enjoy a fuller sound. These audio devices come in all shapes and forms, going from traditional 2.1 speakers to ultra-sophisticated 7.1 home theatre systems. However, there is one type of sound system that has been specifically designed to address the space as well as the aesthetic issue involved with these types of TV-centric setups, i.e., soundbars. Today we take a closer look at a few affordable yet impactful offerings in the segment.
Zoook Rocker Studio One
This is easily one of the most affordable options available in the market, with a surprisingly deep and bass-heavy sound. The design adds a refreshing slanted look to the traditional box shape chosen by many. The integrated LED display is easy to read and uses large lettering to be more legible. The subwoofer packs a similar edgy look for the cut-out, with a side-firing design that helps create a nice sound profile. Between the two, the system packs a total output of around 130W that is supported by integrated digital sound processing. You also get lots of connectivity options, such as Bluetooth, AUX, Optical-in as well as HDMI ARC. This gives it the versatility to connect with thousands of devices, including but not limited to, smartphones, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even PCs. For a base price of just ₹8,500, this is a great option for people looking for a high-end experience at a low price range.
Philips is a respected name in the electronics industry and they are known for offering quality products at an affordable price. The same holds true for this model as well, which comes in a front-firing box shape that looks imposing and can even be mounted on a wall. It comes paired with a reliable 2.1 channel subwoofer that uses a 4.5” low-frequency driver to deliver the sound, with a max output of 15 x 2; with 70W being delivered from the bar, and an additional 40W from the subwoofer. Like most models in this category, you can connect to it through Bluetooth or the still popular 3.5mm audio port. The setup works for any number of devices, including gaming consoles, and the output is consistent throughout the sound range. This is great for a device that only costs about ₹12,990.
The German brand is a solid contender in any sound system segment, and this holds true for this product as well, which packs a big punch in a super affordable package. The look is similar to the Philips unit, with an integrated display in the middle as well. The bar pulls off the piano black finish quite nicely without being too distracting. This new version is a definite upgrade over the SBWL-01 and also sounds way more premium, thanks to Dolby Digital processing and a side-firing subwoofer that packs a huge 6.5” driver. The result is an impressive total output of 160W that sounds great. You can opt for multiple ways to connect with the system, such as Bluetooth, AUX, and USB as well as a much appreciated HDMI ARC port. This makes for a versatile package at just ₹9,990.
WK Life Remax RTS 10
This wireless soundbar was created by a lifestyle company from Hong Kong, which is now looking to build its presence in the Indian market. The design reflects the lifestyle aspect perfectly, with a rounded body that is just wide enough to prevent any accidental rolling. The look is clean, with a minimal integrated display in the centre and a brushed colouring on the front that isn’t too reflective. In addition to the bar itself, the system also has a capable subwoofer that uses 5” drivers and a built-in digital signal processor to produce a good clean sound that holds clarity in the midrange and beyond. You can connect to the speaker through Bluetooth, or even an AUX cable, which certainly makes for a more uncompressed playback. We can’t comment on the long-term performance of the device but for a starting price of ₹16,599, it is still something worth considering.