If the sound of the TV is not enough and croaks around, you need a decent system. Space-saving and no less powerful: soundbars. Stiftung Warentest compared 14 devices – and the result was surprising.

TV speakers don’t have it easy. Although the little noisemakers make every effort to reproduce the film sound authentically and powerfully, it often fails because of the physics. Because in the thin TV sets there is no space for large loudspeakers and subwoofers, external base stations with these extras are offered by very few models. In order to turn the home cinema into a sound-technical one, you need a real system. But that’s too bulky for many people – because the speakers need space, the subwoofer is usually huge and all the cables are perfect ingredients for an ugly salad at the installation site.

Soundbars (or soundplates) are therefore a great compromise: They are compact enough not to be intrusive, but offer enough space for tweeters, mid-range drivers and woofers to turn a film into an experience. In the current issue, Stiftung Warentest presents 14 high-priced devices in which two devices from a single manufacturer blow away the competition.

The magazine selection is part of a larger series of tests; Stiftung Warentest has already tested around 33 devices this year. However, a breakdown into price ranges is the fairest way to compare the various offers – because a soundbar for 200 euros will probably never match the performance of a model for 1000 euros.

Furthermore, Warentest divides the field into one-piece and multi-piece. Some soundbars come with so-called satellite speakers to create a spatial sound atmosphere – this is not likely to work if all the speakers are housed in one housing.

1st and 2nd place go to Schwäbisch Gmünd

The first two places in the comparison go to the German manufacturer Nubert. Both the “Nupro AS-3500” (995 euros) and the “Nuboxx AS 425” (700 euros) received the grade “good” (1.9/2.0). Both models convinced with a good sound, good handling and very good power consumption. Of the eight soundbars tested, only one other model could keep up with the sound, but Warentest cited it as a negative example in terms of handling.

Because by far the most expensive soundbar “Beosound Stage” from Bang

The bottom of the one-piece suits is the “Beam” from Sonos (485 euros) with a “satisfactory” (2.9). Warentest mainly criticizes the sound and the handling of the device.

More boxes – better sound

When it comes to sound, the winner is in the multi-part series – this confirms the theory that good sound needs space. The “DSP11RA” soundbar from LG received the grade “good” (2.0) with its external bass box and two satellites. The sub-grade for the sound is a hair’s breadth ahead of Nubert at 1.9, and the device was apparently particularly enthusiastic in the subjective listening test. With a price of 950 euros, the set from LG is even lower than the box from Nubert – so it depends on the space, which device you prefer.

You can find the complete test and other devices in comparison for a fee on test.de.

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