The Best 2.1 Soundbar and Subwoofer for Your TV Under $150.00
Every new LCD or LED TV owner faces the same issue: shallow, tinny, sound. In some cases, a pair of HP computer speakers for you PC can solve the issue for only $15, yes, it is true. Just plug them in to the input. You will see an instant, deeper, bass, sound. Vastly better than the shallow sound. But, this may not satisfy you. You need a soundbar.
Your next move is, depending on your room size and needs, deciding on whether to buy a soundbar or home cinema system. In either case, what you want is a at least a 2.1 system, meaning, a sound bar (a 30-40" long bar housing several small mid-range and tweeters that plugs into your TV) AND a small ported subwoofer box for bass low sound. Do not even consider a 2.0 bar with built in bass, these units cannot reproduce rich deep drums or bass. Sure, they will improve your TV sound, but you will be disappointed. A 3.1 system contains more speakers, as does a 5.1 system.
Soundbars come in different wattages and possess different types of hookups- audio digital, HDMI, analog, coaxial. So, see what your TV has in the back. Find a sound bar with compatible hookups. For instance, if the sound bar only uses HMDI and your TV has none, don't buy it. The difference between digital and analog sound is digital seems to be more crystal clear in some bars, while analog sound is more blended and some prefer it. It is personal taste. Most contain analog RCA type connections but not HDMI or digital audio.
The Best for Under $150
Most, but not all, 2.1 sound bar systems are refurbished or discontinued systems, a few are new. Having bought many used or refurbished things in the past, I have found that most are like new. I have had few problems with refurbished units. These units have been returned because customer did not like it or was defective. If defective, they are repaired to factory specifications and you get it for 50% cheaper because it is not new. But, you could buy the same unit as NEW and then find if defective. It happens. Just because the system is discontinued, simply means nothing. The unit has been superseded by a new model, which may only be a little better.
- Sony HTCT60 2.1 soundbar with subwoofer - consumers have consistently given this unit a 4-star rating. You can find it for under $100 and $125 online. The unit is less than two years old and has 60 watts-perfect for smaller rooms. The newer models are similar but offer higher wattage and more audio connectivity. The Sony soundbars all sound superior to those by Samsung, Toshiba, IMO.
- Phillips HTL 2151/F7 - Another respected unit by consumers with a similar rating to Sony, 3.5-star.
- Vizio 211z or 215 is another 4-star unit going for under $115 or less, Consumers are amazed by its rich sound and style for the price, which was originally much more expensive when NEW. It is also under $100.
- Samsung HW FM35 has mostly received 3-stars from consumers. The sound is good but lacks the rich bass as provided by Vizio or Sony.
- Samsung HW FM45 has been rated as 4-star, matching the sound of Sony, however, you will lucky to find it for less than $150.Its wireless subwoofer will NOT work with non-Samsung TV sets, so it will have to wired. Not a big deal.
- Samsung HW355/ZA is another 4-star unit but this wired, you can find this for under $150.
So, determine what kind of wattage you need based upon the room size and what audio connectors your TV has and match these to your soundbar. Most of these systems have frequency ranges from 20 Hz to 20k Hz. For bass, you want a low frequency of under 60 Hz, but sound is largely preference. At minimum, any of the above will improve your TV speakers.