Best Soundbase 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Soundbases. Soundstages. Playbases. You will see these gadgets referred to as a few different names, but they are all the same thing. They aren’t as widely available as soundbars, but we think that they deserve a lot more love.

A soundbase is basically a larger, flatter soundbar. It also gets rid of the need to have multiple speakers splattered around your room to enjoy your TV, as there are often drivers underneath for richer bass, so there is no requirement for subwoofers.

They are designed to sit under your telly, so the weight they can support is a big factor. You don’t want it to be too bulky or large for your cabinet, either. Read on to find our favourites, and our buying guide if you need a bit of help deciding.

The Best Soundbases and Soundstages – Our Top Picks

Best Soundbase Speakers

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.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H5.8cm x W72cm x D38cm
  • Ports: 1 x Optical Input, 1 x Ethernet Port
  • Weight: 8.6kg
  • Loading Weight: 35kg

We like

  • Sound quality
  • Takes up little space
  • Wire-free set up

We dislike

  • General sound loudness could be improved

Final Verdict

Fab for fully immersive sound when you need it the most, and incredibly easy to control and monitor

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.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 100 x 33cm
  • Ports: Optical x1, Coaxial x1
  • Weight: 12kg
  • Loading Weight: 40kg

+ Downloads

CANTON DM 100 2.1 Soundstage User Manual

Download

We like

  • Powerful sound
  • Suitable for the largest/heaviest of TVs
  • Sleek modern finish
  • Slim enough to sit separately as opposed to under TV

We dislike

  • No HDMI input

Final Verdict

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

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.

Specifications

  • 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

We like

  • Great level of bass
  • Sleek, smooth design
  • Decent input options

We dislike

  • Very small, flimsy remote

Final Verdict

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

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.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H6cm x W46cm x D28cm
  • Ports: HDMI, Optical, RCA
  • Weight: 3.2kg
  • Loading Weight: 30 kg

+ Downloads

Panasonic SC-HTE80 Speakerboard Bluetooth Sound Base User Manual

Download

We like

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Space saving size
  • Easy to set up

We dislike

  • Needs a high-speed HDMI cable - you may have to buy a new one
  • Can be a bit wobbly when on high bass setting

Final Verdict

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

Help and Resources

Soundbase Buying Guide

Loading Weight

This is the maximum weight which the soundstage will support if you decide to use it as a base for your TV. All are different, so you will have to check in your user manual before you buy. Some bases can support over twice as much as some others.

You don’t want to push the limits, as this could cause a lot of damage. Ensure they are both compatible or choose to place them both separately.

Finding the information from manufacturers can be difficult, so while we have included the data, take it with a pinch of salt – try not to get too close to the upper limit, either.

Connections

The majority of soundbases, just as with soundbars, will have a couple of choices. The main two are HDMI and Optical, and you may also see 3.5mm jacks or Coaxial inputs. USB’s are rare, whereas they may be found on bars.

Ensure your TV, and any other devices, are compatible. Also research which will be best for that particular product in terms of speeds and syncing.

Price

This ranges greatly from around the £200 price mark to over £500. There isn’t really any rule on what the price means – those at the more expensive end aren’t necessarily better – but they may be packed with more features and connection inputs.

FAQs

What Is A Soundbase?

Unlike a bar which sits in front of your TV, a base is a large flat speaker which is designed to be a stand for the telly. This can often save space and create a sleeker, more confined look.

They can generally pack more speakers inside them than a bar, so technically the sound should be stronger and more powerful.

Soundbar or Soundbase?

Bases aren’t as popular as bars. There aren’t as many available, and the technology is often lagging behind when you compare to the high-end bars which now have WiFi, voice control, smart device compatibility and can be linked with other speakers.

Having said this, we still love them. When making your choice, consider the space you have, the placement you’d like for your speaker, and whether you want to add any other speakers to the mix. Remember that many bases require a pretty open space to emit sound as opposed to a bar which can be placed almost anywhere as the speaker grills are only really at the front.

Many soundstages are pretty self-inclusive, with base drivers built-in which can boost the bass. This can make them heavier, though. A bar, on the other, hand is usually a little less powerful unless bought as part of a cinematic package.

We would say the former is best for those who frequently watch action movies and sports, wanting to feel as though they are there. The latter is great for every day, although they both generally do crossover now with the more modern models. The choice is purely down to your chosen aesthetics, look and what you can get for your price tag in our mind.