If you have a TCL Roku TV, and you want better sound quality than the built-in speakers can produce, a soundbar is the way to go.
Although you have the option of piecing together a sound system that comprises separate components, this takes up more space and the set up requires additional cables. But with a good soundbar, you can enjoy impressive sound quality without trading away lots of space.
In this guide, you’d get to understand how to choose the best soundbar for your TCL Roku TV.
Soundbars for Roku TV: The Most Important Thing to Consider
Only a few things can be more frustrating than paying top dollars for a soundbar and later discover that it doesn’t work perfectly with your TV. So, it’s important to understand how your TCL Roku TV connects to other devices — especially audio devices such as soundbars.
TCL Roku TVs come with 3 connection options:
Analog audio output
This comes as the traditional 3.5mm jack. It allows you to send analog audio to soundbars, home receivers, or headphones. Because it’s an analog option, it provides only stereo sound.
Digital optical out
This is next up the performance ladder. Aside that it gives you digital audio quality, you’ll also get true surround sound — up to Dolby Digital Plus — provided you have a compatible soundbar. In simpler terms, you’ll hear the sound as though you have speakers all around you. And this is great for watching TV shows and movies as well as playing video games.
This option provides a two-way flow of sound between your TV and your soundbar. It allows you to control the volume of your system automatically simply by using the remote control of your TCL Roku TV. In addition, it requires just one cable — the HDMI cable. So, you’ll enjoy not only convenience but also a cleaner setup.
But most importantly, this option allows you to enjoy the most exciting innovation in audio technology since Dolby Stereo — Dolby Atmos! Dolby Atmos comes with many benefits, but we won’t be going into all of that here.
So, with the above in mind, your best bet is a soundbar that offers HDMI ARC, since that’s all the rave right now. And if it has all 3 options, that’s just fine.
Best Soundbars for TCL Roku TV: Our Top 6 Picks
The market abounds with soundbars of various grades and by different brands. And choosing the right one for your TCL Roku TV can be a challenge — even if you limit your search to models with the HDMI ARC connection feature.
But we’ve made things easier for you. We compared several models available in the market and selected the best — based on audio performance, connection versatility, ease of use, buyer reviews, size and style, price, and brand trust.
Here are our top 6 picks.
1. Sony HT-S350
The Sony HT-S350 is an incredible alternative to your TCL Roku’s built-in TV speakers, as it delivers fantastic sound. It’s packed with features that make it the best fit for your TV – in our opinion.
The Sony HT-S350 comes in an L-shaped box which is the usual packaging for most two-piece bars but the design of the soundbar itself isn’t flashy or appealing. It has a matte black finish with no spectacular features.
The package also contains a digital optical cable, a bag with instructions, batteries and a slender remote with which you can switch between modes. Measuring about 35-inches wide and less than two inches high, the soundbar is short enough to slide under most TVs.
On top, there are touch controls for power, volume, Bluetooth and source switching. The ports are limited and are positioned on the rear so you can run things easily. They comprise an HDMI ARC, optical audio input and the power adapter. Meanwhile, you can connect the subwoofer wirelessly to the soundbar.
One of the major advantages of getting the HT-S350 is that the setup is remarkably simple, especially for TVs with HDMI ARC. All you need to do is to plug in the bar and subwoofer, connect a high-speed HDMI cable (doesn’t come in the box) to your TV’s HDMI ARC port and that’s it.
After setting it up, you should be able to control the volume with the TV remote, but you will first need to engage ARC in your TV’s settings menu and change the sound output to External Speaker or Receiver.
With up to 320 watts of power, the HT-S350 knocks out some powerful sound, especially when it comes to its beefy subwoofer. The performance isn’t entirely flawless as the sound tends to be boxy and become occasionally unbalanced. It has a voice mode to separate the dialogue from the noise during movie playback, but the output isn’t the best you can get from a soundbar.
In contrast, the output during music playback through the Bluetooth button on the remote is decent but not spectacular. Overall, the performance of the sound is quite good in terms of the strength but the quality could be better.
- Quick setup
- Big bass response
- Powerful sound
- Bluetooth connection to newer Sony TVs
- Affordable price
- Limited connectivity options
- Sound isn’t always balanced
- Poor visual interface
2. TCL Alto 7+
If you’re looking to spend a small amount of money on a soundbar that ramps up the sound of your favorite shows and movies, TCL Alto 7+ might just be what you’ve been looking for. And, of course, it makes sense that a soundbar manufactured by TCL would work perfectly with their TV models.
The TCL Alto 7+ package comes w3ith the soundbar, wireless subwoofer and remote and every other thing you need for setup including cables and wall mounting kit. The design is understated as it takes on a long, slim body which has its logo and mesh grills that don’t call for attention. Although there is a remote for controls, the Alto 7+ features physical buttons on top of the bar to control volume, Bluetooth pairing, source selection, and a power button.
Coming to the sources on the soundbar, the Alto 7+ has one HDMI ARC port (without HDMI input), an optical input, and Bluetooth for wireless streaming. A major downside to buying this soundbar is that it has only one HDMI port and this means you will have to plug your game consoles, disc players and other gadgets into the TV. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise since the Alto 7+ is an inexpensive product.
Setting up the Alto 7+ is quite easy and the procedure starts by connecting your TV via HDMI ARC. Then pick the correct input and make sure your TV is set to output sound via the port you choose. The final step is to enable your TV’s remote to control the volume by using the menu options.
The remote offers several control options like play/pause, song skipping, volume, and so on. You can also switch between the equalization settings but the disappointment is that it doesn’t have a separate key for subwoofer level which might have helped to keep thing under control when they get too boomy.
Although the Alto7+ is inexpensive, it puts up a stellar performance that can rival pricey rivals. For example, its dialogue performance is excellent as you can easily hear each word distinctly while also handling background noise well during movie playback.
The music mode isn’t as incredible as the movie mode but it isn’t horrible either. We suggest most buyers just leave it in movie mode all the time as it adds punch and depth to the sound without distorting it.
- Great dialogue clarity
- Comes with all the cables you need
- Hefty bass
- Sleek design
- Easy setup
- No subwoofer level adjustment
- Very basic features and interface
- Just one HDMI port
3. Sonos Beam
There are many reasons to buy the Sonos Beam but the major selling points are that it packs several nice features and can fill the entry-level home theatre studio gap.
The Sonos Beam is one of the small-sized soundbars from the manufacturer, measuring 650 x 100 x 68.5mm. It can easily hide beneath your TV away from sight since it was specially designed to cater to the taste of people who prefer a compact soundbar.
Alternatively, you can also decide to mount it to a wall as it light compared to other soundbars on the market. Available in black and white finishes, the Beam has a sleek design, taking its cues from both the Sonos One and the Sonos Play:5.
The touch controls are positioned on the top of the soundbar and are touch-sensitive, allowing you to select volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause and microphone mute. On the rear, you will get an Ethernet, HDMI slot, power, and a WiFi button. Just like other Sonos soundbars, the Beam doesn’t come with a remote but you can control it with your existing TV remote, an app or Amazon’s Alexa and voice control if your TV supports HDMI ARC.
Setting up the Beam is hassle-free: just plug it into power and the HDMI ARC port on your TV and then open the Sonos app on your phone to connect it to your WiFi. From this point, the app will guide you through the rest of the process, including making sure your remote controls volume on the Beam and not the TV. You will need to sign into your Amazon account during setup to enable Alexa for voice controls.
The Beam holds up remarkably well during movie playback by producing more room-filling sound than its tiny dimensions suggest. It gives a clear and impactful sound that’s rich and can enhance dialogue, a problem that’s common to home theatre setups.
Fire up your favorite television shows and you will notice that the dialogue clarity remains pristine without the aid of a separate subwoofer. It is not any different on music playback as the Beam maintains its clarity and forceful bass response, but it does give off occasional murky sounds which last only for milliseconds.
- Great compact design
- Superb sound
- Reasonably priced
- The app is not home theatre friendly
- No Dolby Atmos support
- Can be pushed to the harshness
4. Bose SoundTouch 300
The Bose SoundTouch 300 excellently combines a gorgeous build with an immersive sound, proving to be a great flagship soundbar.
The build of the Bose comes off as what should be seen rather than heard, all thanks to its sleek appearance, black finish and a slim form-factor. The front sports a tempered black glass top plate complemented by a perforated wrap-around aluminum grille that gives it extra stylishness.
It’s also worth noting that the design is minimalist and as such, there are no controls on the unit itself and no display – all there is on it are small LEDs on the far left, indicating the status of the soundbar. Additionally, the Bose doesn’t come with a subwoofer but you can buy one from the manufacturer.
Connections positioned at the back consist of a single HDMI input and output that supports ARC, optical digital audio input, Ethernet, Acoustimas jack, a 3.5mm Adaptiq microphone input and micro-USB connection. There are also wireless connections with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth with NFC (Near Field Communication). You can control the soundbar via the provided universal remote or the SoundTouch app which has a responsive interface.
The SoundTouch 300 has a very weird setup routine as you will see. First, you will need to connect all the sources to the Bose before connecting it to TV. You will then need to use the calibration microphone that comes with it (which is also a headset) to tune the output to your listening room.
To get started, you need to press a preset key and wait quietly for the tones to play through the system. You will repeat this process five times in a different position each time or it will request that you move to somewhere new.
Complete the setup and you will receive a heart-warming reward which is a performance that’s flawless. The Bose knocks out great sound which is loud and expansive while also doing an excellent job with the dialogue.
On the flip side, the dialogue occasionally sounds a little sharp than necessary but for the most part of it, you will get a sweet experience. The same is true for music playback which is also immersive and composed no matter the volume level you crank it up to.
- Loud, expansive sound
- Vast streaming features
- Good app user experience
- Gorgeous design and build quality
- Compatible with multiroom components
- Doesn’t come with a subwoofer
- Setup issues
- Dialogue occasionally sounds too sharp
5. Yamaha YAS-207
The YAS-207 is a natural entertainer, delivering high performance at a crazy-low price.
Soundbars from Yamaha have never made stylish designs a priority, and it’s hard to blame the brand since soundbars are made to be heard and not seen. Things are a little different with the YAS-207 as it has a sleek and slim design that can sit under your TV away from sight. It has a rounded form factor topped with slick vinyl and wrapped in a taut acoustic mesh which is quite impressive. Easy-access touch controls and a display system of LEDs sit on the front of the panel.
Also in the package is a pair of power cables, an optical audio cable and a remote with battery. The remote allows for volume and subwoofer level adjustments, play/pause controls and so on. The external subwoofer is a lot less noticeable due to its slimness and its positioning is less critical. On the back, there’re ports for HDMI and optical inputs as well as 3.5mm analog jack and Bluetooth connection for music streaming from your phone.
Setting up the YAS-207 is quite straightforward, but only if you use the optical cable in the package. Just connect the cable to the HDMI ARC on your TV using the ports which should provide clear and powerful sound to and from your TV. With that, you can control the soundbar’s power and volume using your TV remote. Now that you’ve done that, you will have to engage ARC on your TV’s settings menu.
If you’ve used a soundbar from Yamaha before, you will agree that they deliver high performance at a crazy low price. YAS-207 gives off rich, powerful bass that defies its physical proportions, proving to be immersive and enveloping.
When it comes to movies, the soundbar produces distinct sounds that capture the background details and dialogue in spite of the noise. The performance is also sweet during music playback as the rich, powerful bass can be heard. It has a precision that unearths the finest details of the minute of effects and makes it crystal clear, drawing you deeper in. In all, the sonic performance is stellar.
- Sleek and slim design
- Rich, powerful bass
- Clear, detailed highs
- Lots of features
- 4K support
- Fair price point
- Only HDMI input
- Weak music playback
6. Polk Audio Command Bar
The Polk Audio Command Bar isn’t just an excellent sounding device; it is also an effective smart assistant in your lounge.
The Command Bar looks just fine, measuring 2 inches high, about 43 inches wide and 4 inches deep – just enough to sit away from sight underneath your TV. You can also wall-mount it but that might mean more hassle. It comes in a basic black color with a material finish. Just on the middle of the soundbar is a ring of blue light that serves as the nexus to Alexa as well as volume controls and microphone management buttons.
On the rear, you will find two HDMI inputs, an HDMI-ARC output and optical port for audio. You will also get a powered USB port to which you can connect the USB cable that provides power to a Google Chromecast. The package also comes with a remote which is a step-up from Standard Polk fare which features a dedicated Alexa button at the top.
Setting up the Command bar is easy just like any other soundbar. Connect the soundbar (which came paired with the subwoofer) to your TV via HDMI after which you will need to download the free Polk Connect app. You will then need to log into Amazon to allow the Command Bar to use Alexa, and then the assistant will guide you through the rest of the process. After the setup, Alexa can help change preset audio modes and carry out other functions.
It’s usually hard for most soundbars to sound good with both movies and music but the Command Bar edges close to the perfect balance. For starters, it has one of the best frequency ranges of bass you can find in its price category.
It produces resonant dialogue and decent rumble during low-end effects, though the paired subwoofer lacks details that more expensive units can deliver. The performance is also commendable when it comes to listening to music as the Command Bar produces an excellent depth as well as a very immersive experience.
- Easy setup
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Excellent sound quality
- The app lacks sufficient features
- Fire TV not included
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