TV and monitor speakers are notoriously poor, even on the most expensive displays. Setting up a 5.1 surround sound is an option, but not everyone wants the cable hassle and the lack of 5.1 output from some TV and movies.
A good option, therefore, is a decent soundbar and subwoofer set. Soundbars deliver great audio, are generally sleek and come with many options and connectivity.
We have six on test, to see which will sound the best for the average living space.
Requirements: Digital optical port, Bluetooth device
Roth Audio isn’t a name that most high street consumers come across daily, which is a shame as the company’s products are usually good and come in at a decent price too. The Roth Audio Sub Zero II is a single soundbar that can be found at various outlets for around £99 or less if you spend the time to shop around.
It’s a well-built and tasteful-looking soundbar that has managed to cram a lot of technology into its frame. A cloth speaker grill hides the drivers at the front of the unit and is non removable due to the control panel that sits in the center-front of the unit. The control panel is a simple affair that displays a selection of multi-colored LED lights along with source, mode, volume and power buttons. The LEDs indicate a variety of colors depending on what’s being used at the time: red for RCA, blue for Bluetooth etc., and although simple, it’s nowhere near as distracting as some displays we’ve seen in the past.
Rear connectivity is adequate for most users, with an optical digital port, power, stereo RCA and a 3.5mm audio stereo jack. What’s available will satisfy the standard TV audio setup or as a better than average desktop PC audio set.
The selling point here, though, is the Bluetooth connectivity, which connects easily and offers you the ability to make this a more mobile and modern device friendly unit. Regardless of whether it’s your phone, tablet, laptop or PC, you’ll have no trouble in getting the whole lot paired up and running in no time.
Within the Sub Zero II there are four 2.75″ Ferrite drivers (two full range and two bass) and a pair of passive radiator bass drivers, offering 60W of total power output. This may not sound like a whole lot of power, but when passed through the digital sound processor you get a good, crisp sound across all the frequencies, even from deeper bass and the low-end frequencies.
Despite lacking an external sub, the effect of the built-in bass drivers is actually very good and surprisingly clear. With some external subs, you can get considerable distortion, but here the range is kept clear while still offering a satisfying rumble to your viewing pleasure.
Based on its all-in-one design and the low price, the lowest in the entire group, the Roth Audio Sub Zero II is a soundbar really worth considering. The sound produced is enough to satisfy even the most critical of audio pundits and to be honest anything is better than what most TV speakers offer.