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 10 Best Ultra Compact 2.1 Sound Bars with Subwoofer
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
VIZIO V-Series 2.1 Compact Home Theater Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
VIZIO M-Series 2.1 Immersive Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
PHEANOO 2.1 Compact Sound Bars with Subwoofer
SAMSUNG HW-B550/ZA 2.1ch Soundbar with Subwoofer
Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
LG Sound Bar S40Q and Wireless Subwoofer
JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass MK2 with Subwoofer
ULTIMEA Nova S40 Sound Bars with Subwoofer
LARKSOUND 2.1 Sound Bar with Subwoofer
1. Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
A feature that makes the Signa S2 stands out as a compact 2.1 sound system is the VoiceAdjust mode and decent soundstage. This is thanks to the long sound bar that houses five full range drivers. More on this below:
VoiceAdjust Feature and Connectivity. The former enhances vocal clarity, making the soundbar ideal for news, podcasts, or TV shows. Movies also sound good with a decent soundstage, although it has average surround sound capabilities. The latter is in the form of HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX. Wireless connectivity is also available via Bluetooth.
Build Quality and Audio Performance: Build quality and audio reproduction are great. It can get loud enough for most settings, providing a rich and powerful sound. The sound is bold, neat, and loud, suitable for movies, news, music, and even eBooks. The 2.1 channel soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer, enhancing the audio experience, especially with movies and music. For movies, it supports Dolby Digital surround. It sounds larger than its size and can get quite loud without major distortion. The low ends are deep, thanks to the 5.25-inch subwoofer. What is missing however are the surround sound effects or advanced sound enhancement features for that immersive experience.
2. VIZIO V-Series 2.1 Compact Home Theater Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
For a more compact and affordable alternative to the M-series below but no less impressive is the VIZIO V-series. The V-Series 2.1 is truly compact, with a subwoofer that shapes like a cube.
Features and Connectivity: There is an impressive range of features, considering its price point. It includes a slew of connectivity options including Bluetooth, 3.5mm Aux and HDMI and ARC inputs. The setup is easy, and the sound bar offers several presets for bass and treble adjustments. For surround sound, it supports DTS Virtual:X. Additionally, it comes with a wirelessly connected subwoofer, enhancing its audio capabilities.
Design and Build: The VIZIO V-Series 2.1 soundbar has a premium design with speakers embedded in a fabric covering. The two primary full range drivers face forward, while the subwoofers are upward-facing. The soundbar can be mounted to a wall, providing flexibility in setup. The controls on the other hand takes a bit to get used to with the included remote control.
Sound Quality: It features a boomy sound profile, making it well-suited for bass-heavy music and action-packed TV shows. The sound quality is generally very good, although the midrange definition could be better. The subwoofer adds a significant bass presence, which can be adjusted according to preference. Sound customisation settings are available to find the perfect sound experience to suit you
3. VIZIO M-Series 2.1 Immersive Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
The higher of the two series, the M-series takes on 5 high performance drivers in the sound bar and together with the subwoofer, supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X surround and is Alexa compatible. Even the remote control is suitably advanced with a dot matrix display with backlit to show the different sound modes; movie, music, gaming or direct. More below:
Sound Quality: The VIZIO M-Series excels in reproducing voices and lead instruments with clarity and detail. This makes it particularly effective for TV shows, where dialogue clarity is essential. However, it struggles with extended low-bass, which might be noticeable in bass-heavy music genres and action-packed movies. Don’t get us wrong, the soundbar is budget-friendly and offers great fidelity for its price. It even supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, providing an immersive audio experience. It is commendable for its wide soundstage and ample bass, delivering a robust sound that doesn’t overwhelm other audio elements. However, if you are looking for a strong low, the wireless subwoofer comes short.
Connectivity: The design of the soundbar is simple and easy to set up, making it a user-friendly option for most consumers. The assortment of inputs adds to its versatility, they include HDMI eARC and Bluetooth. Plus it is Alexa companies. However, it does lack Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Chromecast connectivity.
4. PHEANOO 2.1 Compact Sound Bars with Subwoofer
If you had to pick the best ultra compact sound bar with a super low price tag, the PHEANOO 2.1 would one to go for. Next to the ALTIMEA Nova S40 and LARKSOUND 2.1, the PHEANOO 2.1 is the ultra budget and super compact option. It’s amazingly affordable and good value for what it can offer.
Sound Performance: The PHEANOO P15 is capable of surprisingly proficient bass and overall sound quality from its 140W maximum audio output. It’s an excellent choice for casual listeners who desire quality audio without the complexity of surround sound systems. The slim and tall subwoofer delivers punchy and rich bass, contributing to an immersive listening experience. This makes it well-suited for a variety of audio content, from music to movies.
Connectivity and Features: This soundbar is ultra compact and easy setup, making it a convenient choice for most users. It also boasts Bluetooth capabilities, HDMI ARC, Optical In and Aux in for source with all cables and a remote control included. However, with HDMI ARC, you are unlikely to need the remote as you can control it with the TV remote. As for features, it supports preset EQ modes (Dialogue, Movie and Music) that enhance the sound quality and viewing experience, adding flexibility for different audio preferences.
5. SAMSUNG HW-B550/ZA 2.1ch Soundbar with Subwoofer
You can have a sound bar list without either Samsung, Sony or LG. To kick things off for the big three, we have Samsung with HW-B550. It is not exactly compact with its ultra wide sound bar and slightly bigger subwoofer, but you do enjoy the wide sound stage especially when it also supports Dolby ATMOS and DTS Virtual:X surround. Read on for more.
Sound Quality: The Samsung HW-B550 has a neutral out-of-the-box sound profile, making it a good choice for a variety of audio content, including music and TV shows. This versatility is a significant advantage for users looking for a soundbar that can handle different types of media effectively. For an immersive experience, it supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X. It also supports Bass Boost for those who like thumping and strong low. With just a push of a button and the subwoofer instantly kick up the bass a notch. Another sound enhancement feature is Adaptive Sound Lite. This optimises the sound automatically when switching between content such as sports, games, movies and more. Speaking of games, there is also a game mode for gamers. Then there is Voice Enhances and Night mode with the latter to lower the bass to prevent it from disturbing others.
Connectivity: Bluetooth Multi Connection lets you connect up to two Bluetooth sources. The sound bar also supports optional Samsung wireless satellite speakers for better surround imaging. HDMI IN, HDMI OUT, HDMI ARC, HDMI CED, Bluetooth, Optical ni.
6. Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
With 330W of total output and HDMI ARC one-cable connection, the HT-S400 enhances the movie and TV watching experience by delivering rich surround sound with clear dialogue. Its performance in music, movies, and gaming is noted as being well-suited for an essential home theater setup, indicating its versatility across different types of media.
Sound Quality: The HT-S400 offers clear and accurate vocals, despite lacking a center channel. It is equipped with Dolby Digital and S-Force Pro Front Surround, providing decent surround sound capabilities. The soundbar can get loud enough to fill up spaces, making movies particularly enjoyable with a wide soundstage. This combination of features makes it a versatile choice for various audio needs.
Design and Build: Sony has focused on robust audio performance with a no-nonsense approach in the design of the HT-S400. It lacks fancy or over-engineered elements, instead offering a straightforward, functional design.
Features and Usability: The soundbar, rated highly for its sound quality, setup ease, and price, seems to strike a balance between affordability and performance. It is an entry-level model in Sony’s 2022 lineup, indicating that it is designed to be accessible yet effective for a wide range of users. The inclusion of a wireless subwoofer adds to its appeal, providing deeper and more engaging bass performance.
7. LG Sound Bar S40Q Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer
As a basic soundbar model, the LG S40Q is great for its straightforward design and functionality. It’s aimed at those who want to enhance their audio experience without the complexities of more advanced sound systems.
Sound Quality and Performance: The LG S40Q is designed to transform a standard TV setup into a more immersive home theater experience. It features a 2.1 channel system and a wireless subwoofer that delivers 300 watts of power, aimed at providing a booming bass and a significant enhancement in overall sound quality. The sound bar also employs deep learning algorithms to automatically adjust sound levels, optimising the audio experience based on what you are listening to.
8. JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass MK2 Soundbar with Subwoofer
True to its name, the MK2 does deliver an enhanced audio experience and in particular, its bass performance.
Design and Features: The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass MK2 maintains simplicity in its design, featuring a single soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo with Bluetooth streaming capability. This design approach makes it user-friendly and easy to integrate into a home entertainment setup.
Sound Quality: It is equipped with a 6.5-inch, 200W wireless subwoofer and boasts a total output of 300W. This setup provides strong, adjustable bass that reaches down to 40Hz, which is quite deep in the low-bass spectrum. The soundbar delivers JBL’s signature sound, making it an excellent starter audio option for enhancing the home entertainment experience. Powerful audio performance with bright highs, and various sound modes, including Dolby Digital virtual surround makes this a great purchase. The inclusion of a useful remote adds to its ease of use.
9. ULTIMEA Nova S40 Sound Bar with Subwoofer
The ULTIMEA Nova S40 is a budget-friendly unit, and at its low price level, certain compromises in sound quality and build are expected compared to more premium audio systems. For casual listeners or those on a tight budget, it can provide a reasonable improvement over built-in TV speakers.
Sound Quality: The sound quality of the ULTIMEA Nova S40 is okay but lacking in dynamics and soundstage, which are crucial for immersive audio experiences. While the soundbar provides basic audio playback, it does not particularly excel in delivering the richness and depth expected from a high-quality sound system. The mid-range and treble also show limitations, with the sound often feeling not open enough and lacking in warmth. The highs can be harsh at higher volumes, contributing to a sound signature that feels somewhat cheap.
Bass Performance: The subwoofer does add a decent low-end punch, but the bass can be too “poofy” at times, lacking the tightness and precision desired by audiophiles. Despite its drawbacks, the bass is considered the best aspect of this setup, adding necessary depth to the overall sound.
10. LARKSOUND 2.1 Sound Bar with Subwoofer
Two things that Larksound got right, functionality and affordability. For its size and price, it is great for a small room and will deliver rich and vibrant sound. The 3D mode adds to the immersive experience. Once enabled, it lifts the dialogues, making it more dynamic. It is worth pointing out that there are some reports of dropped audio when streaming online content. Here’s how it fare in our review.
Ease of Use and Connectivity: We already established how good value this unit is. It is also easy to setup and comes with a mounting template for easy wall installation. The accompanying remote is also user friendly and the availability of Bluetooth makes it easy to pair with any devices. The soundbar supports multiple connections, including optical fiber, HDMI(ARC), AUX, and USB, and fits neatly under a TV due to its slim form factor
Sound Quality and Design: With a strong 150W output power, the sounder can deliver a powerful audio experience. There is superior sound separation and positioning and the slim and tall wired subwoofer produces deep and powerful bass.