CANTON DM 100 2.1 Soundstage
For a boost in sound compared to what your telly can give you, this base with six speakers and Voice Intelligibility is one of the cleverest on the market.
This voice boost technology is perfect for helping you to hear the dialogue which falls between scenes, which can sometimes feel very mumbled and fuzzy. Yet, it can be some of the most important scene input. You won’t have to reach for the remote to turn the volume up and then be blown away with the next scene or when the adverts come on. Plus, there are adjustable lip sync settings so you can get it as close to reality as possible.
Two tweeters, two mid-range, and two woofers bring everything else to life. Talking of the volume as well, there is ‘Hotel Mode’. This allows you to set a maximum volume which can only be surpassed by you. You don’t have to own a hotel though – maybe the kids have full control over the telly on a Saturday morning and usually deafen the neighbours, or you don’t want to wake the baby up.
Apt-X Bluetooth allows you to play your favourite music straight from your smartphone and there is easy pairing straight to the source.
The overall design is very welcomed. A glass-topped finish gives contemporary elegance, which is great as seeing it is so large. The size won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve previously been unable to find a soundbar which can convert the output of your huge 60” screen, then we have found the soundstage which could seal the deal.
The lack of HDMI may put some off though. There won’t be any connecting up Blu-Rays or set-top boxes, but it still makes for a clean finish.
- Powerful sound
- Suitable for the largest/heaviest of TVs
- Sleek modern finish
- Slim enough to sit separately as opposed to under TV
Because it is so powerful, no matter how large your TV, it will deliver. Even when it is pushed, you can hear the strain, but it never gets uncomfortable
- Dimensions: 6.9 x 100 x 33cm
- Ports: Optical x1, Coaxial x1
- Weight: 12kg
- Loading Weight: 40kg
CANTON DM 100 2.1 Soundstage User Manual
An immersive 360° sound experience, all delivered through a single speaker. Ideal if you’re short on space, love the minimalist look or simply need a basic boost with what your TV can give you.
Sky has partnered with Devialet, who is one of the upcoming names in the audio technology world, to make this device. It is best described as a bit of a mix between a bar and a base – taller than an ordinary base, but not quite as long as the bars.
If you have a Sky Q box, then you may have struggled in the past to get a soundbar or base which can connect up – from more wires to the need for HDMI, it isn’t as simple as it sounds to find a compatible sound booster. So the release of this Soundbox should quite literally be music to your ears.
The EQ sound modes make it perfect for all occasions. You likely have Sky Sports, in which case the football and Formula 1 is all made much more powerful with Sports mode. Sound mode is perfect for vocals in Sky Cinema and music, and there are even some unique presets designed by Devialet exclusively for use with this box – just click the ‘?’ at the bottom of the Sky Q remote.
If you are an existing customer, you’ll be able to get it for cheaper, and there is also a split payment option. If you have multi-room, the price is chopped again. Is it worth paying almost double if you aren’t an existing customer, though?
Well, it is still just under £500, which is a figure often seen when talking about similar products, so it isn’t excessive. This is down from £799 when it was first released. You will miss out on AirPlay and Dolby Digital support, as these are supported by the Sky Q box itself. But the sheer quality of sound and clarity in vocals and detail certainly makes it a rival for the likes of Sonos and Bose, and it balances out everything incredibly well. The choice is yours to make, although we will say that it is mainly designed for Sky customers to get the most out of.
- Smart design
- Brilliant sound quality
- Unique and clever sound modes
- Best for Sky customers
- A little too tall for some modern TV’s
No doubt incredible value for money if you’re an existing customer, but even those currently not using Sky will benefit from the boost in sound and easy setup
- Dimensions: 37.5 x 21 x 9.5cm
- Ports: HDMI x1, Optical Input x1
- Weight: 4kg
- Loading Weight: N/A
Q ACOUSTICS M2 2.1 Soundstage
Bass is the number one priority with this soundstage, and it certainly delivers.
The built-in subwoofer can turn your movies from weak, boring watches to powerful, immersive booming hits which rival the magic of the cinema. 180° speaker technology will fill the entire room, so whether you’re huddled on the sofa or spread about on your own beanbags and chairs, not a single word or sound will be missed by anyone.
Speaking of movies, it doesn’t get much more dedicated than MoviEQ technology. There is an added rumble of bass during those big scenes. Great for anyone who loves action, not so great for anyone who is often hiding behind the cushion as it is. It can be turned off if you’re watching something a bit more delicate, too.
Bluetooth aptX allows for connecting up your smartphone to stream music or podcasts straight from your favourite app. Just tap your NFC-enabled smartphone to the speaker and enjoy instant pairing.
Your current TV remote will control it for less clutter, and if you use the HDMI or optical inputs, there is special lip sync technology which will keep everything in good time.
There isn’t the super advanced technology which is starting to creep into the higher-end soundbars, but the choice of inputs and notable improvement in sound quality compared to your TV is well worth a go.
- Great level of bass
- Sleek, smooth design
- Decent input options
- Very small, flimsy remote
Fab bass, a good size for most modern TVs and plenty of flexibility over what you want to hear - one of the strongest options if you want to spend under £300
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 55 x 33.8cm
- Ports: HDMI with ARC x1, Optical x1, Analogue phono/3.5 mm jack x1
- Weight: 5.8 kg
- Loading Weight: 25kg
Canton DM55 2.1 Virtual Surround Bluetooth Soundbase
Canton has released a range of bases over the past few years, and the latest are all incredibly powerful and sleek – certainly industry leaders if you want to stay away from the likes of Sonos and Panasonic.
This is one of the earliest models, but its inclusion on the list shows it is still a firm favourite and a popular choice. The two main speakers work well to deliver clear vocals, and the two built-in subwoofers give the user a booming echo when needed.
You still have a lot of what the newer models boast; the huge 40kg loading weight, the sleek glass topped finish, Bluetooth connection, Hotel mode for setting the maximum volume, and speech emphasis technology. A small remote can control everything, and a tiny display above the logo gives you simple information when you’re changing the settings.
It is one of the smallest in Canton’s range, so while some of the others can pack a punch even with the largest tellies on the market at the moment, this one is perfect for smaller to medium-sized options.
Anyone hoping to connect via HDMI is out of luck, which is one of the biggest downfalls of Canton stages. But you can still connect up an extra subwoofer if the built-in version leaves you underwhelmed, although we will say it is perfectly good enough for most tasks already.
An eco mode will shut it down after an hour of idleness which is good if this is a concern, and there are enough EQ modes and adjustable settings to keep everyone happy and cater to your room and ears.
- Build quality
- Adjustable settings
- Six speaker drivers
If you forked out a little more for the DM100, you would undoubtedly get a better all-round experience. However, when comparing, the DM55 is still a superior base with the vast majority of features we love and for around half the price
- Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 30cm
- Ports: Analog RCA L/R Audio Input x1, Digital Coaxial Input x1, Digital Optical Input x1
- Weight: 6.5kg
- Loading Weight: 40kg
Canton DM55 2.1 Virtual Surround Bluetooth Soundbase User Manual
Panasonic SC-HTE80 Speakerboard Bluetooth Sound Base
Panasonic’s fresh take on a sound bar, this base offers the user a clean setup yet powerful sound which can’t be achieved from a TV alone.
It will adjust the equalisers automatically with every scene in your film, boxset show or music channel so you always hear it just how it was designed to be heard. Standard, Stadium, Music, Cinema, News and Stereo give dramas, football matches, radio channels and festival coverage the perfect treatment.
Music which you have previously played through your computer or phone and archived can be played through the base too, so you aren’t just limited to needing the TV on. It has Bluetooth connectivity, and NFC pairing is done by passing your compatible smartphone over the base. It is as simple as that.
You have the choice of HDMI or optical connection, so can fully cater it to your telly and desired setup. Talking of setup, it looks just like a DVD player or set-top box, so can be placed under your TV or on a shelf in your cabinet.
The Bluetooth connection seems reliable so you won’t struggle to change the volume or settings at any point. We would recommend altering your TV and mobile sound settings to accommodate and finely tune the sound, but apart from this, once it is connected you’re good to go. This also applies if you have a Sky box or separate Freeview.
The bass gives out a bit of a rumble so keep the settings low. Or, one user has said that the addition of some acoustic speaker foot pads helps.
- Bluetooth enabled
- Space saving size
- Easy to set up
- Needs a high-speed HDMI cable - you may have to buy a new one
- Can be a bit wobbly when on high bass setting
A great sound base if you want a boost in quality and a seam-free setup, but don’t want to pay the earth for the privilege
- Dimensions: H6cm x W46cm x D28cm
- Ports: HDMI, Optical, RCA
- Weight: 3.2kg
- Loading Weight: 30 kg
Panasonic SC-HTE80 Speakerboard Bluetooth Sound Base User Manual
Sonos PLAYBASE Wireless Home Cinema Sound Base
A mighty ten speaker unit concealed in a slim base which can be popped under your telly or on the display unit. This sound base from Sonos packs a powerful punch which really enhances your viewing pleasure.
Three tweeters and one woofer offer rich detail and deep booms without the need for multiple speakers around your room. You can still pair it to other Sonos devices to create a 5.1 system and control it with the app, however. Setting the entire system up is a breeze. Simply download the app and follow the instructions to set it up. It couldn’t be easier.
When the TV is off, it can stream music straight from the internet thanks to the WiFi connection and Ethernet port, so you can pop your latest Spotify playlist on while you’re doing the hoovering. There are also 100,000 free radio stations.
Our only downside is that it doesn’t have an HDMI connection, but it connects to the TV using a single optical cable which is included. Just double check your TV has this. You will need quite a good internet connection, too.
You may deliberate over the price, but not only do you get a fantastic appliance which delivers perfect sound but for the size, the fact it is all packed in is worth it. And, dare we say it, there is better sound than the majority of soundbars on the market.
- Sound quality
- Takes up little space
- Wire-free set up
- General sound loudness could be improved
Fab for fully immersive sound when you need it the most, and incredibly easy to control and monitor
- Dimensions: H5.8cm x W72cm x D38cm
- Ports: 1 x Optical Input, 1 x Ethernet Port
- Weight: 8.6kg
- Loading Weight: 35kg