Have you taken the step and equipped yourself with a nice soundbar from Sony, Bose, Sonos, or even Samsung to improve the sound quality of your TV installation?
It is now a question of correctly installing your soundbar, starting with the connectors: optical cable, audio cable, HDMI output, RCA input, HDMI ARC port, where to start the connection?
Where to connect the Blu-ray player or DVD player, the game console, or the decoder? The subwoofer and extra speakers if you bought home theater-style gear?
Here is a non-exhaustive guide to help you properly install your soundbar and optimize your sound experience at home.
Place the soundbar
A soundbar is an audio device that has special properties, being a kind of long speaker equipped with several small speakers.
That’s why you shouldn’t neglect its placement, which will be strategic in your room and decisive for the quality of the sound, and for example for the surround effect that a soundbar can give with resonance.
If it seems obvious not to obstruct the front of the soundbar, it is also important not to lock it on a shelf with the sides closed, to take advantage of the maximum diffusion of the sound, but also to place it at a certain height.
Finally, it is also possible to play with the reverberation of the walls, because some soundbars are optimized for this, their various speakers being directed towards the ceiling or towards the sides to send the sound in several directions and create 3D sound effects. immersive.
This aspect becomes even more important with modern soundbars with 5, 7, or 9 speakers, often compatible with Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital audio technology.
Finally, we must not neglect the importance of the necessary connections: that the power cable is long enough to reach the wall, that the soundbar remains at hand and easy to access if you often want to connect to it different devices, or close enough to the TV for cabling.
wall bracket : if you decide to put your soundbar on the wall, make sure you make the necessary connections beforehand, at least for the power cable, and to have enough length of cables and connectors to connect to the TV or to different devices.
You can check out our article on soundbar placement.
Connections: TV and peripherals
There are several possibilities and different types of connectors depending on the soundbar and television models, the main ones being the optical connection or the HDMI connection.
The difference will not only be the quality of the sound signal, but also the management and possibilities relating to sound information: an HDMI ARC port will allow more interaction between the soundbar and the various devices.
Also, the connection between the peripherals and the soundbar will be different, being able to go through the TV or the soundbar
Optical connection: peripherals on the TV
This is the simplest because you only need to connect the soundbar to the audio output of the TV, the rest does not change on the side of the devices already connected to your television.
Simply connect the audio or optical output of the TV to the optical input of the soundbar, with a digital optical or coaxial cable, often an RCA cable.
This type of connection allows you to take advantage of standard home cinema digital audio formats such as Dolby Digital or DTS, everything that is digital audio.
In this configuration, the sound information only comes out of the TV, and the various devices such as DVD players or game consoles must be connected via HDMI directly to the HDMI outputs of the television.
Basically, only the sound from the TV will be amplified by the soundbar, and the peripherals will be connected independently of the soundbar.
HDMI ARC connection: devices on the soundbar
As appeared more recently, the connection with the HDMI ARC port (Audio Return Channel) makes it possible to exchange sound information between several devices through HDMI connections.
Unlike an optical connection where the audio signal is only transmitted in one direction.
In other words, all audio sources will pass through the soundbar.
Most soundbars from recent years have an HDMI ARC port, and recent TVs have an ARC output as well.
In this configuration, you must plug your peripherals directly into the soundbar with HDMI cables, most recent soundbars being equipped with several HDMI inputs, allowing for example to have both a DVD player and a music console. Game.
Once the devices are connected, you will connect your TV to the soundbar, using the HDMI ARC socket on the TV and the HDMI ARC port on the soundbar.
Thus, there are far fewer cables behind the TV, but more behind the soundbar. This is the price to pay for better sound quality and more possibilities for sound management.
Connection of auxiliaries
Even the best soundbars remain a single block which will limit you in sound spatialization and stereo effects: this is why most modern soundbars have the option of adding additional speakers and/or a subwoofer much like in-home cinema systems.
If you have a modern wireless soundbar like Sonos with built-in wi-fi or Bluetooth, you may avoid the hassle of wires like with a traditional sound system, by simply connecting the various elements to the user an interface on your phone, or directly through the devices.
Wireless speakers and subwoofers are usually equipped with a power button and a power button. pairing to be connected to the soundbar.
However, in most cases, you will need to connect the different elements with the wires supplied with the auxiliaries, as with a conventional audio system: remember to plan the location and distance for your speakers and your subwoofer.
Switching on and connecting devices
That’s it, all the peripherals and auxiliaries are plugged into the soundbar and the TV? Now is the time to press the “on” button and test the sound, finally!
Please note, it is advisable to turn on your television first and to lower the sound using the remote control, before turning on the soundbar, to avoid possible interference or even parasites that could damage your speakers. speakers when powering up.
Once the TV is on, make sure the soundbar is plugged into the wall, and turn it on. You can quickly test the sound with the TV directly.
If only the TV is plugged into your soundbar, setup will be faster and easier than if your peripherals are also plugged into the soundbar.
It’s time to play with your remote controls and configure the television, the soundbar, but also any connected players, to select the right audio source.
Audio auxiliaries: phone, tablet, computer : Most recent soundbars allow you to connect your phone or other mobile device with a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection to, for example, play music. You can also make this connection with a 3.5 mm mini jack cable, often by selecting the “Auxiliary” source on your soundbar.
The user manual for your soundbar can be particularly useful here when it comes time to configure the different devices in the different menus and change the audio source in the “preferences” or “settings” menu, depending on the model.
Placement adjustments: After everything is set up and connected, sit comfortably in your main listening station and enjoy the sound. You may find that you want to adjust the placement of the soundbar so the sound reaches you better, resonates better off the walls behind you, or you may want to move the speakers or subwoofer to improve spatialization.
What soundbar Choose? Check out our buying guide for the best soundbars in 2022, including several models from JBL, Sonos, Samsung, or TCL, which you can find on Amazon in particular.