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In this report

Sound Bars: Ratings of Sources

Total of 17 Sources
Aug. 4, 2013
Best Sound Bars
by Matthew Moskovciak
Our AssessmentCNET reviews sound-bar speaker systems (and other types of virtual surround-sound systems) on occasion, with the best winding up in this listing. Testing is thorough, and reports are meaty without being overwhelming, though shorter than at some enthusiast publications and websites. In a separate review, the Yamaha YSP-4100 earns an excellent rating.
2. ConsumerReports.org
Not Dated
Home Theater Systems
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentIn the midst of its coverage of all things home theater, ConsumerReports.org evaluates a handful of mostly still current sound bars. Rankings and ratings are provided, but discussion is slim.
3. Sound & Vision Magazine
As of August 2013
by Editors of Sound & Vision
Our AssessmentSound & Vision's sound-bar coverage includes a handful of extensive single-product reviews and a pair of comprehensive roundups that pit four sound bars against each other. Hands-on testing is done and ratings are provided for design, performance, value and overall score. The Atlantic Technology PowerBar 235 earns a Certified & Recommended nod, and the Sonos Playbar receives praise, particularly for its ease of use.
4. Home Theater Magazine
As of August 2013
Soundbar Reviews
by Editors of Home Theater
Our AssessmentHome Theater magazine occasionally reviews sound bars in single-product reports and multi-sound bar roundups. All products receive thorough testing as well as ratings in several different criteria. Some models listed here are home theater systems that include a sound bar as well as other peripherals such as a subwoofer or additional speakers; many of these receive their own ratings separate from sound bar ratings. The best win Top Pick honors. (Note that Home Theater magazine is slated to become part of Sound & Vision magazine in October 2013.)
5. HomeTheaterReview.com
As of August 2013
Soundbar Reviews
by Editors of HomeTheaterReview.com
Our AssessmentHomeTheaterReview.com has amassed a decent collection of sound-bar reviews. Though the quality of the reports varies, all seem to be based on hands-on testing. High points, low points and a conclusion are presented, and comparisons to competing sound bars are typically made. Star ratings make it easy to see at a glance which sound bars are most highly regarded, though most models receive similar 4-star ratings.
6. Wired
As of August 2013
Home Audio & Video
by Editors of Wired
Our AssessmentWired reviews sound bars on occasion as part of its coverage of home audio and video products. The reviews are short in comparison to many other sites, but are based on solid hands-on testing. Most are fun to read and leave no doubt about a sound bar's high and low points. A roundup that pits four sound bars against each other is a little older, but most of the mentioned models are still available.
7. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
As of August 2013
Home Cinema in a Box
by Editors of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
Our AssessmentBritain's What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision doesn't examine many sound bars, and the ones they do are mixed in to the general Home Cinema in a Box category. Yamaha's family of sound bars comes out ahead of the pack in these brief yet informative reviews, though the Harman Kardon SB 30 also wins praise. Elsewhere on the site, a roundup article lists the best sound bars by price category. Not all sound bars listed here are available in the U.S.
8. TrustedReviews.com
As of August 2013
Surround Sound System Reviews
by Editors of TrustedReviews.com
Our AssessmentBritain's TrustedReviews.com reviews a number of sound bars, including several available in the U.S. A separate roundup names the best sound bars overall as identified by the editors. Testing is hands on, and discussion is comprehensive.
9. PCMag.com
As of August 2013
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com looks at a variety of computer, wireless and home theater speakers, including home-theater sound bars on occasion. The reviews are thorough and based on extensive hands-on testing, and each sound bar receives an overall rating as well as a summary of its worth at the end of each review.
10. About.com
Not Dated
Top Sound Bars - Digital Sound Projectors - 3-in-1 Speaker Systems
by Robert Silva
Our AssessmentRobert Silva's sound-bar reports at About.com are a mixed bag. On one hand, many are no more than a paragraph long, with no sign of any hands-on testing. But some reports are expertly done and meticulously documented, right down to descriptions of all the hardware and software used. Recommendations aren't made, but some models get a star rating.
11. TechRadar.com
April 10, 2013
8 Best Soundbar Speakers for Your HD TV
by Jamie Carter
Our AssessmentMost picks in this roundup by Britain's TechRadar.com are only available in Europe, though some models are sold here. The write-ups are brief, though it's not clear if all the sound bars mentioned have undergone hands-on testing. The Sonos Playbar earns a Best in Class nod and receives an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 in a separate review.
12. Audioholics.com
As of August 2013
Satellite and Sound Bar Reviews
by Editors of Audioholics.com
Our AssessmentAudioholics.com emphasizes high-end audio and video gear, but a few sound bars are reviewed. Reports are of variable quality. Some are clearly based on a reading of specifications and potential rather than testing, while others are extensively tested and evaluated in great detail. Reviewed models receive ratings on a 5-point scale, based on very specific criteria. Newer models receive informative, slick and detailed video reviews.
13. AVSForum.com
As of August 2013
by Contributors to AVSForum.com
Our AssessmentHere you'll find user discussion and reviews of sound bars. Several threads contain pages of reviews and information on specific sound bars, though others might have only a few posts. Some of the most informative threads compare specific sound bars against one another or dive deep into the specs of a given model. As on all similar discussion sites, things can get derailed from time to time, but questions are welcome and most posters are helpful.
14. Amazon.com
As of August 2013
Sound Bar Speakers
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com is an excellent source of user reviews. Here, hundreds of owners rate and review sound bars. Models receive an overall score on a 5-point scale. While most sound bars don't receive much feedback, some receive hundreds of ratings. Review quality varies, but some reports are quite helpful -- particularly for gauging reliability over time.
15. DigitalTrends.com
As of August 2013
Sound Bar Reviews
by Editors of DigitalTrends.com
Our AssessmentDigitalTrends.com reviews a handful of sound bars, though not as many as higher-rated sources. Analysis is brief yet informative. Hands-on testing is done, though don't expect highly detailed benchmark tests here. That said, it's easy to spot which sound bars are good and which are junk, as each review is broken down by specific criteria like performance, features and design. Models receive a rating (out of 5), and the best earn Editors' Choice nods.
16. BestBuy.com
As of August 2013
Sound Bars
by Contributors to BestBuy.com
Our AssessmentThe website of electronics retailer Best Buy is another destination for sound-bar user reviews. It lags behind Amazon.com, however, because the sound bars listed here tend to have fewer reviews. Some sound bars, however, receive feedback from more than a hundred owners. User ratings for sound quality, value, appearance and more are useful, as is the bottom-line opinion on whether they would recommend the sound bar to a friend.
17. Crutchfield.com
As of August 2013
Sound Bar Speakers
by Contributors to Crutchfield.com
Our AssessmentCrutchfield.com also offers customers the opportunity to review sound bars that they own. The site has some useful features, like an article on choosing a sound-bar speaker, but it isn't as busy as Amazon.com and lacks the subratings and other features found at BestBuy.com. Most sound bars don't receive a significant number of reviews.
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