Need a sound boost for your TV sound but do not have the space for a full size sound bar and subwoofer. Today’s home cinema sound system need not take up a lot of space yet is capable of producing a decent sound stage for a small to medium room. We look at compact 2.1 channel sound bars with subwoofer that will fit in even the tightest of spaces and challenge the notion that only big speakers can produce big sound.
To really appreciate the size of these speakers, we have included the dimensions of the sound bar and subwoofer. These are tiny compared to its full size counterpart yet is able to deliver the full range of sound especially that all important low range or bass, much needed by TVs these days.
What To Look For in Ultra Compact Sound Bars
Power Output: You may think that these ultra compact sound bar and subwoofer are going to struggle with its output. While suitable for a small to medium room, we won’t recommend them for large rooms. As a general rule, the higher the power output, the louder or bigger the volume.
Dimensions: one of the reasons for considering an ultra compact sound bar is space. Measure the room under the TV for the sound bar and next to the media unit or under the side table for the subwoofer.
Wireless Subwoofer: more advanced 2.1 sound bars come with wireless subwoofer. These can be placed anywhere in the room as subwoofers are non-directional. There is no need for it to be near the TV. And, as it is wireless, it helps with the placement. However, it will need to be near a wall socket for power.
Wireless Connectivity: These ultra compact sound bar also supports wireless Bluetooth connectivity to stream music from your mobile devices such as smartphone and tablet. Use the buttons on the sound bar or remote to switch between the different sound sources. Advanced system includes one-touch listening or NFC for easy pairing with compatible devices.
Ports: The most basic of input is the analogue line-in. This is typically in the form of RCA (left and right channel) sockets in red and white or 3.5mm stereo audio socket. However, for ease of connection to modern TVs, a HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) port is offered. This lets you connect the sound system to the TV easily using just one cable. If you have an older TV without HDMI ARC, choose instead to use the optical input. Both will require separate cables, so if these do not come in the box, you will need to buy them separately.
Top 8 Best Ultra Compact 2.1 Sound Bars with Subwoofer
- Sony HT-MT300 Bluetooth NFC Compact Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
- Panasonic SC-HTB258 Bluetooth Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
- Sony HT-SD35 Bluetooth 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
- Creative Stage 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Subwoofer
- BYL 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wired Subwoofer
- BOMAKER 2.1 Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
- VMAI 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Subwoofer
- Majority K2 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
Compact and stylish with a brushed metal finish, Sony’s HT-MT300 means business. It delivers cinematic sound quality with S-Force PRO Front Surround system and optimal bass from the wireless subwoofer. Together it reproduces a virtual surround acoustic field from only two front speakers for immersive cinema quality audio.
For connectivity, there is optical, analogue, USB playback and wireless Bluetooth streaming with one touch NFC pairing. To keep cost down, there is not HDMI ARC port. Choice of sound mode is rather limited with only ClearAudio+, Movie and Music to choose from. The pair of speakers is also available in white. Download the companion music app to control the sound bar.
- Power: BAR25W / SW20W
- Features: Wireless subwoofer. S-Force PRO front surround for virtual surround sound from 2.1 channel. Supports Dolby Digital and Dolby Dual Mono.
- Connectivity & Ports:USB, Analogue and Optical input. Wireless Bluetooth streaming with NFC pairing.
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 500 x 54 x 103 mm
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 95 x 383 x 365 mm
Panasonic’s answer to ultra compact sound bar is the SC-HTB258. Yet another affordable ultra compact sound bar, both the soundbar and subwoofer takes up very little space with its ultra compact foot print. Yet it is capable of producing dynamic and lifelike audio using two full range speakers measuring 10 x 4 cm in the sound bar.
The wireless subwoofer is powered by a 14cm driver. Together the speaker system produces virtual surround for a total output power of 120 Watt. Bluetooth connectivity is included for wireless streaming. Sound mode includes standard, music and cinema with the onboard decoder supporting Dolby Digital and DTS Digital surround.
- Power: 120W
- Features: Full range speakers and wireless subwoofer that produce high quality sound with clear acoustics, stereophonic effects and power.
- Connectivity & Ports: Bluetooth, USB, Optical Digital Input, HDMI CEC and ARC input.
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 450 x 51 x 135mm
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 97 x 451 x 307mm
At nearly a meter’s width, the sound bar is bigger and wider than what we have seen so far. Still, for those with the space for the powerful wireless subwoofer and sound bar will not be disappointed. The 28 litre volume subwoofer is driven by a 16cm speaker for that deep and rich bass. The sound bar supports S-Force PRO front surround, a proprietary virtual surround sound technology by Sony to pump out cinema like surround sound.
Finally, Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream from your smartphone wirelessly to the speaker. A handy remote lets you access the different sound modes and effects and pick your sound source to play. Simply connect to your TV via HDMI ARC or optical.
- Power: 320W of power output for powerful sound
- Features: audio drivers and wireless subwoofer offers rich and detailed sound, S-Force Pro Front Surround technology offers good attempt at virtual surround. Remote control included.
- Connectivity & Ports: Bluetooth for wireless streaming of music from mobile devices, HDMI Audio Return Channel ARC or Optical for TV input
- Sound Bar Dimensions: (W x H x D): 900 x 64 x 88 mm
- Subwoofer Dimensions: (W x H x D): 190 x 382 x 390 mm
Sold as an under monitor sound system, this 2.1 channel sound bar with subwoofer from Creative can also be used for an ultrawide monitor or TV. It is easily one of the most compact and affordable 2.1 speaker for under 100 with a plethora of connectivity options ranging from wireless Bluetooth, optical, auxiliary and HDMI ARC as well as a direct USB MP3 player port for flash drive.
Use the remote to select source and listening mode with preset EQ for movies, music, concert and games. On the right side of the sound bar you will find the power and volume controls if you struggle to find the remote.
- Power: 160W power output
- Features: dual driver and long throw dedicated subwoofer and two custom tuned mid-range drivers for enhanced dialog clarity and stunning mid-range. Remote control included. Wall mounting kit included.
- Connectivity & Ports: Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX-in, Optical Audio input, TV (ARC), and USB MP3
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 550mm (W) X 78mm (D) X 70mm (H)
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 115mm (W) X 250mm (D) x 420mm (H)
Next is this budget entry from BYL. The 2.1 sound bar with wired subwoofer pumps out a total of 140 watt of power and supports a variety of connectivity options that includes Bluetooth, Optical, RCA, AUX in and USB input. While it does not come with HDMI ARC port, most TV will support optical output.
The BYL sound bar is powered by a digital amplifier driving four speakers in the sound bar and a 6.5-inch driver in the subwoofer. Together they pump out clear audio with less than 1% total harmonic distortion. Wireless Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream from your tablet or smartphone while onboard DSP offers three sound effects; news, movie and music to choose from.
- Power: 140W top power output
- Features: 6.5-inch wired subwoofer, DSP technology with three modes; news, movie and music. Remote controller included for base, treble, DSP and reset. Remote control included. USB input
- Connectivity & Ports: Bluetooth, Optical, RCA, AUX in and USB input
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 27.6 (700mm) x 3.50 x 3.50 inches
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 18.5 x 9.8 x 4.7 inches
The BOMAKER 2.1 channel sound bar with wireless subwoofer is a budget entry that produces a total output power of 150 watt of sound. It is capable of clear treble and deep bass from a small sound bar measuring only 34-inch wide thanks to four full range drivers in the sound bar and two uniquely configured bass reflex tubes for its 5.25-inch driver in the subwoofer. It supports 3D surround sound and DSP music mode as well as 4 preset sound modes. Input or source option includes Bluetooth, Optical, Aux, Coaxial or USB.
- Power: 150W. 5.25”- 90W subwoofer and 4 full-rane drivers in the sound bar.
- Features: sleep and compact design with LED display for volume, input mode and equalizer mode. Low profile sound bar with mounting bracket. Remote control, 3.5mm audio cable, optical cable and would mouting kit included.
- Connectivity & Ports:Bluetooth, Optical, Aux, Coaxial or USB
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 880mm (L)* 65(W)* 65(H) mm
- Subwoofer Dimensions: L90*W210*H400 mm
We are seeing some similarities between this, BYL and BOMAKER systems particularly in the subwoofer design. The VMAI 2.1 channel is capable of producing 120 W of total output power. The sound bar delivers clear audio while the subwoofer produces powerful bass to complete a virtual surround sound system with dynamic audio and 110dB sound level experience.
The sound bar also supports Bluetooth for music streaming from mobile devices and DSP technology with four different preset sound modes; music, movie, news and 3D mode. Choose one of these sound modes with included remote control. You can also customise your level of bass and treble and set the volume level quickly using the remote. Wired connectivity options include HDMI ARC, Optical, Auxiliary, and USB.
- Power: 120W 4x15W full range drivers in the sound bar. 60W subwoofer
- Features: virtual 3D surround sound, wall mountable sound bar, remote control included. Touch panel controls for power and volume on the right side of the sound bar. VMAI sound bar with subwoofer delivers the heavy-bass performance, a detailed mid-range, crisp treble.
- Connectivity & Ports: Bluetooth, HDMI ARC, Optical, USB (Flash drive only), and AUX input
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 34-inch (864mm) wide x 2.5 x 2.7 inches
- Subwoofer Dimensions: NA
Finally, we the Majority K2 sound bar with wireless subwoofer. The sound system is capable of 150W of sound output and is available in white or black. The speakers are capable of producing virtual surround sound up front and have some of the widest range of connectivity options. For wired, you get Aux 3.5mm analogue line-in, HDMI ARC (CEC) port, Optical input and USB media playback. For wireless, you can turn into an FM radio station with the on-board tuner or connect your mobile device via Bluetooth and stream your favourite music wirelessly. For ease of connectivity and control, both RCA and HDMI cables as well as the remote control are includes.
- Power: 150W
- Features: 2.1 channel sound bar (4 drivers) with subwoofer for virtual surround sound. Remote control included.
- Connectivity & Ports: HDMI ARC (CEC), AUX 3.5mm, Optical input, USB, FM Radio
- Sound Bar Dimensions: 762mm (W) x 5.3cm (D) x 6.9cm (H)
- Subwoofer Dimensions: 19.7cm (W) x 19.7cm (D) x 28cm (H)