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SHARP PS-929 180W High Power Portable Party Speaker Hi-Fi System with Built in Rechargeable Battery, Flashing Disco Lights & Strobe, TWS, Bluetooth, USB, Aux & Microphone – Black

£249.995£499.99Clearance
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way speakers, such as home stereo or car audio component speakers, are those which come as a pre-designed speaker set and use a crossover. The job of a crossover (also called a passive crossover, because it use basic capacitors and inductors rather than electronics) is to restrict the music production each speaker tries to produce. The bar is small but perfectly formed and a big step up from your TV’s audio output when it comes to detail, mid-range positivity and crisp articulation of higher frequencies. The accompanying subwoofer, which can be positioned vertically or horizontally, delivers a hearty low-end punch while remaining controlled and rhythmically astute. Dialogue is particularly well-handled, with voices proving characterful and nuanced even during the most hectic on-screen action. Connectivity is decent too, with Bluetooth support in addition to a pleasing number of physical options, including HDMI (ARC).

READ NEXT: Our favourite TVs to pair with your soundbar Other things to consider before buying a budget soundbar If high-quality 3D sound is important to you, then you'll want to make sure both your TV and potential soundbar support Dolby TrueHD and eARC. The ARC standard can handle Dolby Atmos, but only in its Dolby Digital Plus form, which is lossy, whereas Dolby TrueHD can deliver full-fat Dolby Atmos in all its lossless glory. Fortunately, most soundbars have speech enhancement feature settings that will typically raise the volume of the centre channel and crispen up the EQ to help improve dialogue audibility. Not every brand implements this with sophistication, and sometimes these modes can sound thin and harsh, but once again, it's always worth experimenting to find what works for you and your space. How we test soundbars How we test soundbars

Our pick of the best budget soundbars will help improve your home audio without breaking the bank

Atmos content is steadily becoming more widespread, making this budget bar a great choice if you want to take advantage of the latest and greatest surround sound audio format. While the low end fell short compared to the rumbling bass produced by Sharp’s semi-professional Sumo Box and Sumo Box Pro speakers (which were also in the showroom) the PS-949 offers enough bass that I think it could cut through the noise of a party easily enough. However, I’d need to hear the speaker perform in this environment to determine that for sure.

You can also see from above that really cranking the volume takes a lot of power! How to get more volume from speakers The least powerful bar on this list, the Roku Streambar, is able to fill a reasonably sized room with sound. What’s the best way to connect a soundbar? This is because unlike separate speakers with no crossovers, in this case, many sounds will be filtered out. What this means is that little to no sound would be produced if another 2-way speaker is connected in series.Delivering Dolby Atmos from a small chassis is no mean feat, but the 2023 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Sonos Beam Gen 2 achieves a convincing, immersive performance without so much as a vertical speaker in sight. Instead, when watching Atmos content, two of the soundbar's five front-facing arrays are dedicated to reproducing overhead and surround sounds. With its hefty processing power, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 uses psychoacoustic HRTF (head-related transfer function) technology to give the impression of height without needing to get vertical. When testing a soundbar, the first thing we focus on is the process of setting it up. Typically, that will mean placing it in front of a TV (or monitor), connecting it to a power source and the input source via included cabling or HDMI cables if not provided in the box. Where on the PS-919 and PS-929 you had to manually adjust the flashing LED and strobe light buttons, you can now access these controls through an app on a smartphone or tablet. Use more efficient speakers (speakers that produce a higher dB volume at 1W of power – higher is better)

Sonos is one of the leading manufacturers of soundbars and the Ray is its most affordable option yet. It’s also the smallest, weighing under 2kg and measuring just 60cm across. That diminutive stature means the Ray can be incorporated into just about any TV setup, and the sound it delivers is guaranteed to be a marked step up from your telly’s in-built audio. Sound quality is impressive too, with virtual surround sound reasonably effective given the limitations of a 2.0-channel setup and plenty of ways to customise your audio experience. That customisation extends to the Katana SE’s LED lighting too, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but is an essential inclusion for some gamers. It’s got a maximum power output of 75W which is more than loud enough to fill reasonably sized rooms and offers three EQ modes: Music, Movie and Voice. Movie is the best balanced for most content, but if you don’t find it to your taste, you can boost bass and treble as you see fit using the included remote.There are a number of things to consider when shopping around for the best budget soundbar. Top of your priority list should be sound quality. If a soundbar doesn’t significantly improve your TV’s audio, there’s no point in spending your hard-earned cash on it. Some soundbars will come with pre-programmed modes for different types of content. In our experience, soundbars with cinematic modes often use 'spatial' processing that can introduce high-frequency artefacts. In contrast, 'music' modes will usually have a bass and treble-heavy EQ that can sound a little brash. We tend to favour a flat standard mode, if one is available, that we manually adjust to our liking. But there is no one size fits all approach that will work for every room and listener. Also, attempting to wire two 8 ohm speakers in parallel to an 8 ohm stereo would have the same effect. (Two 8 ohm speakers in parallel is equal to 4 ohms total that the amp will see) The bundled remote is splendid, and for an out-of-the-box boost to TV audio and older sets’ smart features, the Roku Streambar is extremely low risk for this price. In that sense, it’s something we can wholeheartedly recommend.

For example, connecting a 4 ohm speaker to an amplifier that is labeled as working with 8 ohm speakers would mean it would have to produce double the electrical current to the speaker! EQ options and different audio modes are also worth keeping an eye out for. A lot of soundbars will let you tweak the bass and treble, while others offer audio presets tuned for watching specific types of content such as music, films or sports. If you watch a lot of TV in the evening and don’t want to disturb the neighbours, a Night mode designed for low-volume viewing is particularly handy. There’s one important thing to understand, however: having 2 or 3 speakers instead of one does not double or triple the sound. It increases a few decibels (dB) for each speaker added. Finally, the speaker comes with a 13-hour battery for when you want to take it out and about. This also doubles as a USB charger for a phone or tablet, so you shouldn’t need to worry about your phone dying as you stream from Spotify. Sound QualityManufacturers have tried, with varying success, to enhance the audio coming from their televisions. But, if you want to improve TV audio, you need a separate speaker designed for that purpose. Therefore if you have a home stereo or car stereo in which 2-way speakers are used, you’ll have to add more 2-way speakers (if the total impedance can be supported by the amplifier) or add more amplifier channels for more sound. 5. Doubling the number of speakers or amount of power does not double the volume

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