OK, sports fans, you’ve got your TV sorted but relying solely on the TV’s own speakers is doing you, and the people watching the big game with you, a huge disservice. You want to able to hear that nick off the bat or a crunching tackle with ear-blistering clarity. A premium soundbar can be the star player that makes a difference.
An excellent place to start is the Sonos Arc, a soundbar we’ve been championing since its release earlier this year. This is the first time that Sonos has incorporated Dolby Atmos into one of its soundbars, delivering impressive 3D audio that will sound as good watching a Grand Final as it would with 1917 on the screen. A stylish unit covered in a slick metallic grill, it’s sized to fit snugly under a wall-mounted TV on a cabinet or fixed to the wall. The Arc has been specifically designed for screens 55” and above (any discerning sports fan wouldn’t dream of watching a game on anything smaller) and comes with voice control for Google Assistant, Alexa and AirPlay 2 for seamless integration into your smart home ecosystem of choice. Inside there’s a whopping 11 high-performance drivers pushing the sound sideways, forwards and upwards to provide an astounding sonic experience.
The perfect accompaniment to the Arc is the Sonos Sub, and the newly released third generation brings with it increased processing power and memory. Shaped like a doughnut, this is one heavy piece of kit but its sleek and unique design begs for it to be displayed and not hidden behind a couch. This is a powerhouse wireless subwoofer that you not only hear but feel – vibrating right through the ribcage when the bass in a movie, game or song kicks in. Used in conjunction with the Arc, the Sub is a superb audio addition to any major sports, movie or game event. Add two Sonos One SLs to complete a surround sound system.
Another exceptional proposition for a quality soundbar is the new top of the range 9.1.4 channel Samsung HW-Q950T that supports True Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. An elegantly designed soundbar is accompanied with a subwoofer and two rear speakers that fire audio from the front, the rear, the sides and up; the result is an envelope of sound that can be tweaked to suit your preference directly from the remote. The Q950T also features Adaptive Sound mode that automatically adjusts its settings after analysing the content being displayed, and a Game Pro mode for complete console sound optimisation.
And if you own one of this year’s Samsung Q series TVs (Q80T and above) the Q-Symphony mode will employ the TV’s speaker set to further enhance the wall of sound. For newer TV models, connection is via HDMI eARC for maximum audio quality, although optical support is also offered and the soundbar can be connected either through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi using the SmartThings app (we connected the entire system in under ten minutes this way). Amazon Alexa users can take advantage of the voice control functionality to lift the volume up and down, or choose a song to be played if a smartphone is connected. With a premium product you’d expect a premium sound and that’s exactly what you get with the Q950T. Set up in a large living room, it delivers a full, high cinematic sound and, with the sub cranked right up, thundering bass. The HW-Q950T is a top shelf product that ships as a total home entertainment audio solution right out of the box.