The best speaker deals – save $20 on Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker

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echo dot
  • Speakers with good performance can be pricey, but they often go on sale.
  • We’ve compiled all the best speaker deals for May 2021.
  • Right now, you can get an Echo Dot for $30 – that’s $20 off its full price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Great speakers can make listening to music far more enjoyable, and there are plenty of deals to be found. These days, even relatively inexpensive speakers can deliver well-rounded bass response, a well-tuned mid-range, and plenty of clarity and detail in the high end.

Whether you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker, a smart speaker, floortstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers, or even a soundbar, you may be able to stay on budget and save some cash thanks to these awesome discounts. After combing through the web, we’ve rounded up the best speaker deals out there for a variety of needs.

Here are the best speaker deals in May 2021:

Echo Dot (4th Generation) (small)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Jacket H20 4 Bluetooth speaker (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Best Bluetooth speaker deals

Altec Lansing Jacket

Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to take your music on the road with you. Many of them are water-resistant, meaning you can use them near the pool or at the beach, and while they’re usually not as great-sounding as more expensive home theater speakers or soundbars, they’ll definitely get the party started at your next BBQ.

Product Card (medium)Onyx Studio 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker (medium)Sonic Portable Bluetooth Speaker (medium)
Best soundbar deals

samsung hw t550

If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality in your living room without going all out for a full-sized surround sound system, then it’s worth considering a soundbar. Soundbars range in price and audio quality, but the best of them allow for full-bodied audio in a relatively compact package. Some models even include wireless subwoofers and separate satellite speakers for more immersive performance.

2.0-Channel Mini Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)HW-T550 Soundbar (medium)SL4Y Soundbar (medium)
Best smart speaker deals

Echo Dot light

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years, and they can now help you with a huge range of tasks, including controlling smart home devices, finding out information from the web, and more. There are often deals on smart speakers too – so you might be able to pick one up at a super low price. So models even include screens, enabling video playback to go along with audio. 

Echo Dot (4th Generation) (small)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best home theater speaker deals

Klipsch Reference 820F system

Soundbars are great, but if you truly want the most immersive movie-watching or gaming experience, it’s worth looking into home theater speakers. Home theater speakers can be set up as a simple pair of stereo speakers next to your TV, or a full surround sound system. It should be noted, however, that home theater speakers typically require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can make purchasing a full system pricey. Thankfully, the below discounts can help cut down your costs.

RP-8000F Speaker (medium)
Best computer speaker deals

Klipsch ProMedia 2

Want to avoid having to use headphones all the time when you’re at your computer? A great pair of computer speakers can make for a better PC gaming experience, or simply make listening to music and podcasts more enjoyable. Sometimes, computer speakers even come with a small subwoofer to help enhance bass performance.

Product Card (medium)
How to shop for speakers

There are a number of different types of speakers, and they can all serve drastically different purposes. 

If you want something to take to the beach or use on the go, then a portable Bluetooth speaker is your best option. If you’re looking to enhance your TV-viewing experience, then home theater speakers or a soundbar will do the job. If you want to bring a digital assistant into your home, then consider a smart speaker. If you just want speakers around the house, then perhaps it’s worth considering bookshelf speakers or a pair of computer speakers.

It’s also a good idea to take the brand into consideration when purchasing speakers. For example, if you’re buying a smart speaker, then it’s definitely worth looking at options from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Sonos, and Bose. Vizio and Samsung, meanwhile, are both safe bets for soundbars. If you’re setting up a surround sound system, then brands like Klipsch and Focal will be a better fit for your needs. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to think about your budget. You can get decent Bluetooth and smart speakers for under $150 – but that probably won’t be enough if you’re looking for a soundbar or multiple home theater speakers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best speaker deals – save $120 on Vizio’s flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

VIZIO OLED TV and Elevate soundbar
  • Speakers with good performance can be pricey, but they often go on sale.
  • We’ve compiled all the best speaker deals for April 2021.
  • Right now, you can get Vizio’s 5.1.4 Elevate Soundbar for $879 – that’s $121 off its full price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Great speakers can make listening to music far more enjoyable, and there are plenty of deals to be found. These days, even relatively inexpensive speakers can deliver well-rounded bass response, a well-tuned mid-range, and plenty of clarity and detail in the high end.

Whether you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker, a smart speaker, floortstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers, or even a soundbar, you may be able to stay on budget and save some cash thanks to these awesome discounts. After combing through the web, we’ve rounded up the best speaker deals out there for a variety of needs.

Here are the best speaker deals in April 2021:

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Pill+ (small, Preferred: Best Buy)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)

Best Bluetooth speaker deals

Altec Lansing Jacket

Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to take your music on the road with you. Many of them are water-resistant, meaning you can use them near the pool or at the beach, and while they’re usually not as great-sounding as more expensive home theater speakers or soundbars, they’ll definitely get the party started at your next BBQ.

Pill+ (small, Preferred: Best Buy)SRS-XB43 Bluetooth Speaker (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best soundbar deals

Vizio Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality in your living room without going all out for a full-sized surround sound system, then it’s worth considering a soundbar. Soundbars range in price and audio quality, but the best of them allow for full-bodied audio in a relatively compact package. Some models even include wireless subwoofers and separate satellite speakers for more immersive performance.

One of the best deals you can snag right now is on the Vizio Elevate soundbar. The system is on sale for $121 off its full price, and it serves as a more affordable alternative to a traditional home theater setup. You can read our full Vizio Elevate review here

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)SB46514-F6 46-inch 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar (small, Preferred: Best Buy)2.0-Channel Mini Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)HW-T550 Soundbar (medium)SL4Y Soundbar (medium)
Best smart speaker deals

Sonos Beam

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years, and they can now help you with a huge range of tasks, including controlling smart home devices, finding out information from the web, and more. There are often deals on smart speakers too – so you might be able to pick one up at a super low price. So models even include screens, enabling video playback to go along with audio. 

Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best home theater speaker deals

Klipsch Reference 820F system

Soundbars are great, but if you truly want the most immersive movie-watching or gaming experience, it’s worth looking into home theater speakers. Home theater speakers can be set up as a simple pair of stereo speakers next to your TV, or a full surround sound system. It should be noted, however, that home theater speakers typically require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can make purchasing a full system pricey. Thankfully, the below discounts can help cut down your costs.

R-620F Speaker (medium)
Best computer speaker deals

Klipsch ProMedia 2

Want to avoid having to use headphones all the time when you’re at your computer? A great pair of computer speakers can make for a better PC gaming experience, or simply make listening to music and podcasts more enjoyable. Sometimes, computer speakers even come with a small subwoofer to help enhance bass performance.

Z625 2.1 Speaker System (medium)Product Card (medium)
How to shop for speakers

There are a number of different types of speakers, and they can all serve drastically different purposes. 

If you want something to take to the beach or use on the go, then a portable Bluetooth speaker is your best option. If you’re looking to enhance your TV-viewing experience, then home theater speakers or a soundbar will do the job. If you want to bring a digital assistant into your home, then consider a smart speaker. If you just want speakers around the house, then perhaps it’s worth considering bookshelf speakers or a pair of computer speakers.

It’s also a good idea to take the brand into consideration when purchasing speakers. For example, if you’re buying a smart speaker, then it’s definitely worth looking at options from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Sonos, and Bose. Vizio and Samsung, meanwhile, are both safe bets for soundbars. If you’re setting up a surround sound system, then brands like Klipsch and Focal will be a better fit for your needs. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to think about your budget. You can get decent Bluetooth and smart speakers for under $150 – but that probably won’t be enough if you’re looking for a soundbar or multiple home theater speakers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best Bluetooth speakers of 2021 for listening to music outside and around the house

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
  • The Sonos Move is our top pick thanks to great sound, reliable voice control, and solid battery life.
  • For more speaker recommendations, check out our roundup of the best speaker deals.

A great listening experience for all your favorite music services shouldn’t be limited by pesky wires. While the days of carrying around a boom box on your shoulder are by and large over, you can still get quality wireless music in the form of a Bluetooth speaker.

Thanks to Bluetooth support, these speakers are able to play music from other Bluetooth-enabled sources, like a smartphone or laptop, without any cables. Whether you’re getting a speaker for use around the house or a day at the park, there’s almost certainly a Bluetooth speaker for you. But there are a number of things to consider before you buy, including size, battery, durability and, of course, sound quality.

With all of those factors in mind, we’ve selected the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy for a variety of needs. Since most people purchase Bluetooth speakers for their portability, all of our picks feature built-in batteries for listening on the go.

Here are the best Bluetooth speakers:

The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move looks good, sounds great, and offers multi-room audio as well as voice control with Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Pros: Attractive design, integrates with other Sonos speakers, excellent audio quality, Alexa and Google Assistant with Wi-Fi

Cons: A little expensive, a bit heavy

Sonos has long been a leader in the wireless speaker market, and the company now has a Bluetooth-enabled model called the Move. With an excellent design, awesome sound quality, and support for two digital assistants, the Move is one of the most fully featured Bluetooth speakers you can buy.

The speaker offers a ton of bass, coupled with crisp clarity and detail in the high end. That makes it excellent for listening to music. The Move can even be calibrated using Trueplay tuning technology to suit different environments and locations.

The speaker has a charging station where you can keep it most of the time, but it’s designed to be portable too, so you can take it outside or move it around the house. It’s a bit heavy compared to most portable speakers, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s rated for around 11 hours of battery life, so it should easily get you through a day of listening.

Like other Sonos speakers, the Sonos Move is also smart. You can choose to use either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, plus it integrates perfectly with Sonos’ other speakers, allowing for multi-room audio. 

But what about the downsides? The speaker is a little pricey, and you won’t get access to all of its smart features unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

The best Bluetooth speaker for portability

Bose

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is easy-to-use, offers 17 hours of battery, features a convenient handle for travel, and it sounds good, too.

Pros: Good sound, versatile design for portable use outdoors and around the house, long battery life

Cons: A bit pricey, lacks Wi-Fi support

There are a number of things that make the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II such an ideal portable option, from its great sound to its nice design.

The design is reminiscent of smart speakers, so it’ll look right at home in any tech-savvy person’s house. On top of that, it offers extremely easy-to-use controls, with six buttons located on the top for things like volume and Bluetooth control. Bose also added a handle to make it easy to bring the speaker with you outside or around the house.

We tested the previous-generation model and were impressed by its great sound quality and how easy it is to move from room to room. It delivers ample volume and deep bass without distorting. 

This newer version is nearly identical to the one we tested, but features an upgrade from IPX4 water resistance to an IP55 rating. It also supports an extra hour of battery life for up to 17 hours of play time — the longest of any speaker on our guide. 

The speaker even has some smart features, including Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts, the ability to take calls, and access to Siri or Google Assistant from your phone. That said, the speaker doesn’t have Wi-Fi so it doesn’t support a built-in digital assistant.

The best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

The UE Boom 3 is well designed and sounds pretty good, but it’s also water resistant, making it great for use by the pool or at the beach.

Pros: Good sound quality, nice design, waterproof, can float

Cons: High frequencies aren’t as detailed as other speakers

Looking for something that you can take to the beach or use by the pool without fear of it breaking due to water damage? The UE Boom 3 is the way to go. 

The speaker may not sound as robust as the Sonos Move, but it still sounds good, especially considering how small it is. The UE Boom 3 offers decent bass response, along with a well-tuned mid-range, and a solid amount of clarity in the high frequencies. One of the best things about it is that it can also get super loud, which is great for use outside.

It’s relatively small and portable, and it’s available in a range of different colors. On the side, you get buttons for controlling volume, while on the top there are controls for things like Bluetooth pairing and power. 

The UE Boom 3 is built for use near water. The speaker is not only waterproof, but it’s also designed to float, so you won’t have to worry about losing it at the bottom of the pool. The Boom 3 is capable of being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so it shouldn’t break due to water damage.

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker

Anker bluetooth speaker

The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may be super-affordable, but it still looks and sounds solid for the price.

Pros: Inexpensive, water-resistant, solid battery life

Cons: Sound quality is only decent

Looking for an inexpensive speaker that still looks and sounds pretty good? The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may well be the way to go. This speaker may carry a budget price, but it still sounds decent and won’t break the bank.

The speaker is designed to look a lot better than other speakers in its price range. It’s a cylindrical design with a fabric covering around the side and controls on the top. Those controls include power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. There are even LED lights on the bottom, and you can control those lights through five different lighting modes.

The design of the speaker plays into how it sounds too. The speaker can deliver 360-degree audio, so no matter where you are around it, it should sound pretty good. It definitely won’t sound as powerful as some of the more expensive speakers on our list, but it can still get pretty loud and offers a decent amount of bass.

You’ll get 12 hours of battery life out of the speaker, which isn’t bad at all, and it’s water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. 

Considering the price range, perhaps the only real downside to the speaker is that it can’t really match more expensive offerings in the audio department.

The best small Bluetooth speaker

bo beplay p2

The B&O Beoplay P2 doesn’t just sound good and feature a slick design, it’s ultra-compact, too.

Pros: Great sound, very portable, intuitive touch-controls, compact size

Cons: A little pricey for its size, could use more high-end clarity

The B&O Beoplay P2 is the perfect fit for buyers who want an ultra-compact speaker that can easily fit in a backpack or purse.

Now, generally speaking, smaller Bluetooth speakers can be a little hit and miss, but the BeoPlay P2 is a hit. That’s largely thanks to its sleek and stylish design, coupled with hidden and intuitive controls.

For example, you can double tap the speaker grill to play and pause your music, or you can program the speaker through the accompanying app to activate your digital assistant of choice, whether it be Google Assistant or Siri. That happens through your phone because the speaker doesn’t have those assistants built-in.

So how does the speaker sound? You can’t expect studio-quality sound, but it’s not bad. The speaker features mono audio and an impressive bass response for a device its size. The high-end isn’t as responsive, but it’s still not bad. 

What else we considered

JBL Flip 4

Here are other speakers we considered for our guide, and why they didn’t make our top picks.

Other Bluetooth speakers we recommend:

JBL Flip 4: The JBL Flip 4 speaker was recently one of our picks, and it’s still a fantastic Bluetooth speaker for the money. With that said, the less expensive Soundcore Flare Mini includes similar features for a more affordable price, making that model a better overall budget pick. If you’re willing to spend a little more, however, the JBL Flip 4 features a bit more power and better sound quality.

What you should look for in a Bluetooth speaker

bose portable home speaker lifestyle

When shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, there are some key factors you should keep in mind. For instance, a compact model might not be a good fit for someone who wants the best audio quality, while a heavy speaker won’t be ideal for someone who wants to take their audio on the go.

Below, we’ve broken down some main features and design elements you should look into when selecting the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs.

  • Size matters: Generally speaking, larger speakers will be louder, so they tend to be a better fit for parties and gatherings. Larger speakers also tend to have more refined audio quality with better clarity and bass. Of course, size also affects portability. If you’re looking for something you can slip in your bag and carry around easily, then a smaller speaker will be a better choice.
  • Battery life: You’ll obviously want longer battery life if you’re looking for a speaker that can last all day, but sometimes a speaker with shorter battery life will do the job — especially if you plan on being able to charge it often or even while in use. Though all of our picks include batteries, some Bluetooth speakers don’t have charging at all. If you only plan to use your speaker in one room, this isn’t a problem, but if you want portability, a speaker with a battery is a must.
  • Durability and water resistance: Durability is another important factor if you plan on carrying the speaker around a lot. Not only will your speaker last longer if it’s more durable, but it might be a little more versatile, too. For example, you probably won’t want to take a non-waterproof speaker to the pool or the beach.
  • Sound quality: Some may not care too much about how a Bluetooth speaker sounds, but others will want to ensure that they’re getting the best audio performance they can for their money. A single Bluetooth speaker is never going to offer the same quality as a true stereo speaker pair, but high-end Bluetooth speakers from brands like Sonos and Bose offer impressive performance. Again, larger models tend to have better sound, so if audio quality is a priority, you’ll likely want to avoid ultra-compact speakers. 

Check out our other speaker buying guides

Sonos Beam

The best speakers


The best smart speakers


The best soundbars

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Vizio’s Elevate is more than just a soundbar – it’s one of the best $1,000 Dolby Atmos home theater systems you can buy

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

VIZIO OLED TV and Elevate soundbar

  • Vizio’s Elevate is more than a typical soundbar; it’s a full home theater system for under $1,000.
  • The device features unique rotating speakers and immersive 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos performance.
  • The Elevate is perfect for buyers who don’t have the cash or space for larger speakers and a receiver.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyElevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (small)

Putting together a proper Dolby Atmos home theater system can be a complicated and expensive task. For a traditional setup, you need multiple speakers and a separate AV receiver to power and process everything.

Though this type of configuration offers the best performance, there are many buyers who simply don’t have the space and budget for that kind of investment. And that’s where a Dolby Atmos soundbar system like the Vizio Elevate comes in.

The Elevate is designed to offer a full 5.1.4 surround sound solution in a convenient package, complete with a soundbar, satellite speakers, and a subwoofer. The system comes with everything you need and it even features built-in amplification so you don’t have to buy a receiver.

With its up-firing speakers, the Elevate can make it seem like sound effects are coming from above your head. The front speakers also feature a clever rotating design, which allows them to automatically switch from up-firing to front-firing positions depending on what you’re watching.

I’ve been reviewing home theater products for nearly a decade, and after spending a month with the Elevate, I’ve come away impressed by the soundbar’s performance and value. The system’s software is a little glitchy, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better 5.1.4 home theater package for this price.

Vizio Elevate Soundbar specifications

Vizio Elevate Soundbar

Specs:
Package includes: Soundbar, two satellite speakers, 8-inch wireless subwoofer
Channels: 5.1.4
Formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Ports: One HDMI eRC, two HDMI inputs, 3.5mm input, Optical input, USB
Connectivity: Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth
Features: Rotating front drivers
Remote: Backlit remote included, works with SmartCast app
Voice assistant: Works with separate Alexa and Google Assistant products
Soundbar dimensions: 2.64 (H) x 48 (W) x 6.5 (D) inches

Design

The Elevate features a sleek, industrial design with an all black finish and aluminum build. Though a system like this is compact compared to a traditional home theater setup, keep in mind that the Elevate and its subwoofer are fairly large compared to most soundbar packages.

The system offers support for a total of 5.1.4 channels. This means there are five ear-level channels, one subwoofer, and four up-firing channels for height effects.

The soundbar itself has a left, center, right, left height, and right height channel. The satellites then serve as your left surround and right surround speakers, and each has their own height channel.

The height channels work by angling sound up to bounce effects off your ceiling. This makes it sound as if the audio is coming from above your head. Vizio takes the Elevate further by incorporating special rotating drivers.

Vizoi Elevate soundbar review rotating speakers
The Vizio Elevate features a rotating speaker that can switch between up-firing and front-firing audio.

The front height speakers can automatically rotate up or forward depending on what you’re listening to. When they’re up you can hear overhead effects. When they’re down, they help to create a wider front soundstage.

Various inputs are included on the back of the bar, including one HDMI eARC to receive audio from your TV, as well as two HDMI inputs to connect additional sources, like a game console or Blu-ray player. Full 4K HDR video passthrough is supported, and the Elevate supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding. DTS:X was incompatible with older Vizio soundbars, so it’s nice to have on this model.

Vizio also includes a handy remote with a small text display to scroll through settings and modes. Unlike previous models, this year’s remote is even backlit.

Setup

Vizio Elevate review
The system includes a soundbar, two satellite speakers, and a subwoofer.

To get the system set up, you simply need to plug the power cables in, connect the soundbar to your TV, and run the satellite speaker cables to the subwoofer. The subwoofer wirelessly connects to the soundbar. Though having to use cables for the satellites is less convenient than a fully wireless design, the included speaker wires are long enough to suit small and medium rooms.

To update the firmware and enable Chromecast music streaming you can download the Vizio SmartCast mobile app. I had some issues getting the app to find the soundbar during my initial setup, but after restarting it was able to connect.

You can adjust settings using the remote or the SmartCast app. This includes setting your preference for the rotating speakers. For the most accurate audio experience with movies, I recommend using the Elevate Auto setting and the Direct EQ mode.

This will automatically angle the Elevate speakers up when you listen to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X audio. The height speakers will then automatically angle forward when you listen to music, movies, or shows that don’t support overhead audio.

Performance

Vizio Elevate Dolby atmos performance
The Elevate’s up-firing speakers bounce sound off the ceiling to create overhead effects.

For a 5.1.4 soundbar in this price range, the Vizio Elevate delivers fantastic sound quality. To be clear, this isn’t an audiophile system that can equal a dedicated home theater rig with floorstanding and bookshelf speakers, but as a space-saving and cost-saving alternative, it’s a winner.

The bar itself has good separation and imaging, while the inclusion of separate satellite speakers provides genuine surround sound immersion. The up-firing channels also do a solid job simulating overhead sound, but the effect can be hit and miss depending on where you sit.

To test the system’s performance I watched a bunch of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X titles on Blu-ray and streaming services, including “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Vertigo,” “The Mandalorian,” and various clips from demo discs designed to show off systems like this.

Throughout all my testing, the Elevate engaged with an enveloping dome of sound, fully engulfing the room with audio from all directions. Having the heights in the front and back helps to avoid any gaps, creating a complete Atmos experience.

When switching to regular surround sound, the system performs equally well, rotating the heights down to create a wider front soundstage. Music also sounds good, though tracks can sound a little bright and small when using the Direct EQ mode. Switching to the Music preset opens things up nicely, creating a bit more depth.

The wireless subwoofer offers ample kick for medium-sized rooms. That said, I find the sub to be a little too aggressive. Room-shaking bass makes sense during explosions, but when low frequencies become overpowering watching a Netflix rom-com like “Holidate,” you know something is a little off.

Some key bass cues I use as test material in “Inception” and “The Tree of Life” also sound a little too harsh, leading to some unwanted vibrations that make the subwoofer stick out in my room. I ultimately prefer to have the Elevate’s sub adjusted five levels below the default setting. This helps dial it in, but can rob the system of some punch. In other words, finding just the right balance is a little trickier than I’d like.

Still, the overall experience you get with the Elevate is genuinely impressive. I typically use an Onkyo 5.1.4 system with a dedicated receiver, separate bookshelf speakers, and a 10-inch subwoofer. Though I still prefer that setup, the Vizio Elevate’s performance isn’t that far off, and it’s a much simpler and cheaper solution.

Problems with the Elevate Soundbar

As impressed as I am with the Elevate, the system isn’t perfect. I’ve encountered some odd glitches here and there, as well as some issues with the soundbar’s software.

After getting the Elevate set up, the first thing I did was boot up an episode of “The Mandalorian.” Despite everything being connected properly, there was no audio and the Elevate’s remote stopped working. Suddenly, the subwoofer kicked in at full blast for no reason forcing me to quickly turn the system off for fear of angering my neighbors.

This strange glitch only happened once, however, so I consider it more of an anomaly than a major issue. There have been a few other times when the remote becomes unresponsive, though, and the SmartCast app loses connection with the soundbar occasionally.

The rotating drivers work just fine during my testing, but I ‘m a little concerned there could be some issues with their longevity after lots of use. Finally, there is a faint high-pitched noise audible if you put your ears close to the satellite speakers. This isn’t noticeable during regular playback, though, so I don’t consider it to be a real problem.

While not ideal, I don’t think any of these hiccups outweigh the Elevate’s many strengths.

Should you buy it?

Vizio Elevate soundbar lifestyle

The Vizio Elevate is a good buy for anyone who wants a genuine 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos home theater system under $1,000.

Piecing together an equivalent package with separate speakers and an AV receiver is basically impossible in this price range. In fact, most 9.2 channel receivers – which is what you’d need to power 5.1.4 speakers – cost at least $1,000 on their own.

If you have that kind of cash, you can configure a larger speaker setup that sounds better than the Elevate. But, that kind of investment simply isn’t realistic for everyone. Conversely, you can find plenty of smaller and cheaper soundbars, but they just don’t offer the level of immersion you get with the Elevate.

The Elevate is designed for home theater fans who want to spend less and save a little space without losing out on a full Dolby Atmos surround sound experience. And in that sense, it delivers exceptional value and performance.

What are your alternatives?

When it comes to similar Dolby Atmos soundbars with satellite speakers, the Elevate has some competition from brands like Samsung, as well alternative models from Vizio itself.

Most notably, Samsung’s HW-Q950T offers a similar setup with dedicated surround speakers, four up-firing channels, and a wireless subwoofer. Samsung’s model even adds side-firing drivers in order to simulate extra surround channels, enabling support for a 9.1.4 system.

That said, the HW-Q950T lacks Vizio’s unique rotating speakers. The HW-Q950T is also typically sold for at least $350 more than the Elevate.

It’s also worth considering two of Vizio’s cheaper 5.1.4 soundbars: the SB46514-F6 and the SB36514-G6. The SB36514-G6 is smaller compared to the Elevate, while the SB46514-F6 is more similar in size. Both of these models lack eARC and DTS:X support, however, and neither have rotating speakers or a backlit remote.

The bottom line

Vizio Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you don’t have the space or money to invest in a traditional home theater setup, then the Vizio Elevate 5.1.4 soundbar is the next best thing.

For a retail price of $1,000, you get everything you need for a complete Dolby Atmos experience – no costly AV receiver required. And it sounds fantastic for the money. The system is even frequently on sale for around $900, which makes it an even better buy.

Pros: Full 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos support, immersive audio performance, DTS:X capabilities, unique rotating drivers, affordable price compared to a comparable setup with separate speakers and a receiver

Cons: Sporadic software and signal glitches, some concerns about longevity of the rotating function, subwoofer lacks balance, no voice assistant built-in

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (button)

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What is a subwoofer? How a bass-focused speaker can give your home or car sound system a boost

Two subwoofers
Subwoofers enhance the deepest sounds in your music.

  • Subwoofers are a type of speaker that boost the lowest frequencies in whatever audio you’re listening to.
  • These low frequencies usually include bass guitars, pipe organs, deep voices, kick drums, and movie sound effects.
  • Subwoofers are incredibly popular for home theater and car stereo systems, and are easy to set up.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

How many speakers do you own? If you count your phone, computer, TV, car – there’s probably more than you think. Speakers are basic equipment for anyone who wants to listen to music, watch TV, or even browse the internet.

But for audiophiles who value having a quality sound system, speakers aren’t so basic. Deciding what equipment you’ll need for the best sound possible can get complicated, especially if you’re new to audio tech.

One of the best kinds of speakers you can get to immediately enhance your sound is a subwoofer. These reinforce the bass and richness of whatever you listen to.

Here’s everything to know about subwoofers, including how they work, where to use them, and what kind to get.

What is a subwoofer?

Every sound in the world has a frequency. Higher-pitched sounds have higher frequencies, and vice versa.

Regular speakers and surround sound systems can’t properly reproduce low frequency sounds. This makes a lot of music and movies sound flat.

A subwoofer (or “sub”) focuses on producing the lower frequencies within music, known as the bass and sub-bass, amplified through the woofer.

While regular speakers can allow you to hear the bass, a subwoofer enables the listener to feel the sound. The frequency range, specifically between 20 to 200 hertz, highlights instruments within that range like bass guitars, pipe organs, and kick drums. It also enhances deep voices and movie sound effects like explosions.

If you’ve ever gone to a movie theater and felt your chair shake when something big happens on screen, it’s probably because of subwoofers.

Subwoofer iwth speakers
Subwoofers take away the strain your speakers are under.

Depending on what devices you already have for your sound system, a subwoofer may be the perfect addition. Subs take away the strain your speakers are under to reproduce the audio’s complete sound, allowing you to not only hear but feel how a director or artist intended for you to experience their work.

Where to use a subwoofer

Deciding what kind of subwoofer you need may take some time. But here are a few tips for those looking to add a subwoofer to either a home theater or car stereo system.

Home theater subwoofer

Home Theater subwoofer
A sub-woofer speaker set up along the side of a 7.1 surround sound home theater system.

In general, a home theater subwoofer integrates into your central sound system, increasing the width and depth of a system’s soundstage.

The sound waves created are omnidirectional and bounce around the room. Both the room size and furniture arrangement can affect audio, with bass frequencies being sensitive to room factors. There’s a chance the waves bounce into each other, making standing waves or bass nulls.

  • Standing waves: These waves are determined by the size of the room and length of the soundwave, creating an excess of bass energy producing a ‘boomy’ effect that lacks definition.
  • Bass nulls: Occurs when reflecting soundwaves cancel each other out, creating a dead spot.

Related Article Module: The 5 best home theater systems of 2021

Installing a subwoofer into your home might take some work. Try placing it in different spots around the room, like corners surrounded by a sound-absorption device or a filled bookshelf to help reinforce the bass. Understanding the environmental factors in your home, like its natural acoustics, will help you find the optimal position for your home theater.

Car subwoofer

 Car Subwoofer
Subwoofers installed in the trunk of a car.

Have you ever pulled up alongside another car playing music so bass-heavy that your car shakes? That’s what a good subwoofer does.

Cars come with a factory standard sound system based on their make and model. Most sound systems need to be professionally installed, especially as cars become more advanced.

These are some key factors to consider when shopping for a car subwoofer.

  • Size: The bigger the subwoofer, the richer the bass, so space is essential for placement in your trunk or under a seat.
  • Enclosure type: There are two types of boxes that contain the subwoofer. A sealed enclosure creates deeper bass and is recommended for audio targeting all frequencies. Ported enclosures are louder and are suited for genres like rap and house music.
  • Power: RMS, or average power levels, are connected to the power handling of a subwoofer. A higher RMS means more bass.
  • Sensitivity: Determines how much power a sub requires to produce a particular volume, expressed in sound pressure level or SPL. High SPL ratings are more sensitive and require less power to produce high volumes.
  • Impedance: The subwoofer’s electrical resistance is measured in ‘ohms’ – the impedance of your amp and sub need to match.

Once the correct specifications are chosen and installed, you’ll notice a richer sound. Subwoofers offer a better bass response, allowing you to listen to sounds your speakers couldn’t reproduce alone. With quality subs in your car, the chance of your music sounding distorted at high volumes is significantly lower.

Popular types of subwoofers

If you have a better idea of what and how subwoofers work, you’ll probably need to understand the two types of configurations – passive and active.

A passive subwoofer’s power source is an external amplifier with enough power to maintain bass effects through the subwoofer. An active subwoofer has an amplifier built-in, and requires an AC power source or outlet. Active subwoofers will usually be more powerful than passive ones.

Portable subwoofer
Subwoofers come in various types and styles for various music needs.

Outside of those configurations are various styles of subwoofers, with each style serving a different purpose.

  • Ported: An extra port or hole that allows air to escape to boost the bass level. Sometimes referred to as ‘bass reflex’ speakers, these subwoofers give a rich and thick sound.
  • Sealed Cabinet: A subwoofer without a port or passive radiator. The sound loses depth but is well-rounded with fewer booms and peaks.
  • Passive Radiator: A port is replaced with two passive radiators not wired to the amp. This allows sound to escape with better range and is common in Bluetooth speakers.
  • Front/Down Firing: This sub is based on the placement of the speakers. Front-firing has speakers pointed forward with the sound coming from the front and sides. Downward directs the sound to the front and ground, ideal for elevated speakers.
  • Bandpass: Separated by two chambers with one part with a port to release radiation from the front cone, this subwoofer allows you to specify the bass levels you want to be reproduced through the speakers.
  • Horn Loaded: It uses sound that would usually leak and spreads it out in various directions through a longhorn speaker. This sub type is known for being the loudest of subwoofers.

Each style of subwoofer has a specific environment it works best in. When buying a new sound system, consult with an expert or sales representative about your individual situation.

Once you have all the necessary information, you can start building your sound system to experience sound the way you’re meant to.

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Sonos’ new compact portable speaker features a waterproof design and built-in voice control for $169

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Sonos Roam on beach
  • The Sonos Roam is the company’s new portable, waterproof speaker.
  • The compact speaker features up to 10 hours of playback and includes voice assistant support.
  • You can preorder the Sonos Roam now for $169, and first shipments are set to arrive by April 20.

Roam (small)

After giving portable speakers a go with the impressive but rather hefty Sonos Move in 2019, Sonos is back with a lighter, waterproof, and much more compact model called the Sonos Roam.

The size of the Sonos Roam is similar to a water bottle, making it an ideal fit for mobile listening. And, despite its small footprint, the speaker is designed to pack a punch with up to 10 hours of playback and a drop-resistant body.

The Sonos Roam also comes with Sonos’ Trueplay feature, meaning it’s keen on its surroundings and adjusts its sound to match the scene. The model is waterproof as well, so you can submerge it in up to three feet for 30 minutes. Sonos also continues its dedication to quality sound via the speaker’s two Class-H digital amps, mid-woofer, and tweeter.

It also lets you use voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa. The Sonos Roam can connect to your Wi-Fi at home, and when you get out of range it can pair via Bluetooth to your phone. The speaker is simple to charge, as well, as you can simply place it on top of a Qi wireless charger.

You can find full price, preorder, and specification details for the Sonos Roam below.

Sonos Roam price

Sonos will release the Sonos Roam on April 20. You can preorder the speaker right now for $169.

When you buy products through Sonos, you can set up a monthly financing plan to spread out your payments. The purchase comes with free shipping across the US and, if you’re not a fan, you can return the Sonos Roam within 45 days.

You can buy either the matte black or matte white version, and deliveries are expected to arrive to customers by April 20. We’ll update this article with additional retailer options once they’re available.

Roam (button)

Sonos Roam specs

Sonos Roam Specifications
Dimensions: 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36 inches
Weight: 0.95 pounds
Battery: Up to 10 hours of playback
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Apple AirPlay 2
Voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Drivers: One mid-woofer, one tweeter
Design: IP67 waterproof and dustproof
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The best speaker deals – save $100 on Vizio’s flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

VIZIO OLED TV and Elevate soundbar
  • Speakers with good performance can be pricey, but they often go on sale.
  • We’ve compiled all the best speaker deals for March 2021.
  • Right now, you can get Vizio’s 5.1.4 Elevate Soundbar for $900 – that’s $100 off its full price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Great speakers can make listening to music far more enjoyable – and speakers have been getting a whole lot better over the past few years. These days, even relatively inexpensive speakers can deliver well-rounded bass response, a well-tuned mid-range, and plenty of clarity and detail in the high end. 

Of course, if you’re in the market for a new speaker or speakers, you’ll want to think about exactly what kind of speaker best matches your needs. There are a number of different types of speakers, and they can all serve drastically different purposes. 

If you want something to take to the beach or use on the go, then a portable Bluetooth speaker is probably your best option. If you’re looking to enhance your TV-viewing experience, then home theater speakers or a soundbar will do the job. If you want to bring a digital assistant into your home, then consider a smart speaker. If you just want speakers around the house to listen to music on, then perhaps it’s worth considering bookshelf speakers. And, last but not least, if you want a more immersive computing experience, then consider buying a pair of computer speakers.

It’s also a good idea to take the brand into consideration when purchasing speakers. Depending on the type of speaker you end up buying, you’ll want to seek out different brands. For example, if you’re buying a smart speaker, then it’s definitely worth looking at options from companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple. Vizio and Samsung, meanwhile, are both safe bets for soundbars. If you’re setting up a surround sound system, then brands like Klipsch and Focal will be a better fit for your needs. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to think about your budget – and your budget might again depend on the type of speakers you’re looking for. You can get decent Bluetooth and smart speakers for under $150 – but that probably won’t be enough if you’re looking for a soundbar or multiple home theater speakers.

Thankfully, you may be able to stay on budget and save some cash thanks to these awesome deals. After combing through the web, we’ve rounded up the best speaker deals out there for a variety of needs.

Here are the best speaker deals in March 2021:

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)

Best Bluetooth speaker deals

Altec Lansing Jacket

Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to take your music on the road with you. Many of them are water-resistant, meaning you can use them near the pool or at the beach, and while they’re usually not as great-sounding as more expensive home theater speakers or soundbars, they’ll definitely get the party started at your next BBQ.

Product Card (medium)Aura Studio 3 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)
Best soundbar deals

Vizio Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality in your living room without going all out for a full-sized surround sound system, then it’s worth considering a soundbar. Soundbars range in price and audio quality, but the best of them allow for full-bodied audio in a relatively compact package. Some models even include wireless subwoofers and separate satellite speakers for more immersive performance.

2.0-Channel Mini Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)TV Speaker (medium)Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium)SB46514-F6 46-inch 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar (small, Preferred: Best Buy)
Best smart speaker deals

Sonos Beam

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years, and they can now help you with a huge range of tasks, including controlling smart home devices, finding out information from the web, and more. There are often deals on smart speakers too – so you might be able to pick one up at a super low price. So models even include screens, enabling video playback to go along with audio. 

Echo Show 5 (small, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best home theater speaker deals

Klipsch Reference 820F system

Soundbars are great, but if you truly want the most immersive movie-watching or gaming experience, it’s worth looking into home theater speakers. Home theater speakers can be set up as a simple pair of stereo speakers next to your TV, or a full surround sound system. It should be noted, however, that home theater speakers typically require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can make purchasing a full system pricey. Thankfully, the below discounts can help cut down your costs.

R-620F Speaker (medium)
Best computer speaker deals

Klipsch ProMedia 2

Want to avoid having to use headphones all the time when you’re at your computer? A great pair of computer speakers can make for a better PC gaming experience, or simply make listening to music and podcasts more enjoyable. Sometimes, computer speakers even come with a small subwoofer to help enhance bass performance.

Z625 2.1 Speaker System (medium)Product Card (medium)

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What is Sonos S2? Here’s what you need to know about the latest app and operating system for Sonos audio devices

sonos airplay
The newest operating system for Sonos speakers is Sonos S2.

  • Sonos S2 is the newest version of the Sonos operating system and family of mobile apps, replacing Sonos S1.  
  • Sonos S2 includes support for higher quality audio, Dolby Atmos, and other features that will appear in future Sonos devices. 
  • Not all older Sonos products are compatible with Sonos S2, but some new Sonos speakers won’t work with Sonos S1. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Sonos S2 is the latest version of the Sonos music platform’s operating system and apps. It’s a major update to the system, one that represents a major shift in the way Sonos treats product compatibility. Instead of all products working together, some new products require Sonos S2, while some old products require Sonos S1. 

What to know about Sonos S2

Sonos S2 is the latest version of the Sonos app and operating system, and it’s generally referred to as simply Sonos.

 

If you are continuing to use the older version of the software, though, the app is renamed Sonos S1 Controller (for Android and iOS) to more clearly differentiate them. Sonos S2 apps (on Android and iOS) are referred to as “Sonos.” 

What_is_Sonos_S2 1
Sonos S2 is referred to as simply “Sonos.” Only Sonos S1 is described with a version number.

The major changes in the Sonos S2 operating system are behind the scenes, designed to facilitate features found in new and future Sonos products. The S2 version fixes bugs and enhances the overall security of the system, while also increasing the bandwidth for music to support higher fidelity and better-quality audio. S2 also includes support for Dolby Atmos surround sound (which is now found in the Sonos Arc sound bar). 

The app is also substantially redesigned with a simplified interface and the ability to save room groupings so it’s easier to play music in multiroom situations with just a tap or two.

What_is_Sonos_S2 2
You can now set up room groups and save them for future use using the plus sign.

Compatibility with Sonos devices

If you have the Sonos S1 system installed, Sonos will offer to upgrade to S2 when you start an app to control a speaker. You can defer this till later and keep using S1, but if you choose to upgrade to Sonos S2, you cannot go back – the upgrade is permanent. 

Before you upgrade, you should be aware of compatibility issues between Sonos S1 and S2. Most of the contemporary products in the Sonos family will work fine regardless of whether you are using Sonos S1 or S2.

These products are compatible with either version of the operating system:

  • Amp
  • Beam
  • Boost
  • Connect (Gen 2)
  • Connect:Amp (Gen 2)
  • Move
  • One (Gen 1 and Gen 2)
  • One SL
  • Play:1
  • Play:3
  • Play:5 (Gen 2)
  • Playbar
  • Playbase
  • Port
  • Sub (Gen 1 and Gen 2)
  • Symfonisk 

A few Sonos products only work with Sonos S1:

  • Bridge
  • CR200
  • Connect (Gen 1)
  • Connect:Amp (Gen 1)
  • Play:5 (Gen 1)
  • All ZonePlayers

Sonos products that only work with Sonos S2:

Finally, as of right now, there are a few new products that require Sonos S2 to work properly. In the future, Sonos will likely release more products that are only compatible with Sonos S2, so it’s a good idea to transition to S2 when possible:

  • Arc
  • Five 
  • Sub (Gen 3)

In the relatively unlikely case that you own Sonos speakers from both extremes – an old product that requires Sonos S1 and a new one that requires Sonos S2, it’s possible to maintain both Sonos networks in your home at once, but the two networks can’t work together, such as sharing room groups.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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How to reset an Apple HomePod in 2 different ways

Apple HomePod
You may need to reset your Apple HomePod to resolve performance issues.

Created to provide immersive sound quality, Apple’s HomePod speaker offers owners a seamless listening experience. 

At just seven inches tall, the HomePod uses spatial awareness to analyze the room’s acoustics and adjusts the sound based on location. AI support from Siri and AirPlay communication allows for multi-room audio use. This makes integration across multiple iOS devices and rooms a breeze. 

With so many features, you’re bound to face a few audio difficulties or encounter connectivity issues. One way to address these issues is to reset the HomePod. You should also do this if you’re sending it in for service or want to either sell the device or give it away. Resetting your HomePod will wipe it and return it to its factory settings. 

If you’ve paired two HomePod speakers, but you want to reset one or both, you’ll have to ungroup them before you initiate the reset process. 

Here are two ways you can reset your HomePod, whether it’s off by a few beats or needs a full reboot.

How to reset an Apple HomePod using the Home app 

1. Sign in to your Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Mac, if you aren’t already.

2. Open up the Home app on your Apple device.

How to reset Apple HomePod 1
You can find the Home app on your Mac in the Finder under Applications.

3. Click or press and hold the HomePod image. 

4. On the settings screen, locate and choose “Remove Accessory.”

5. Select “Remove.” 

6. After a few minutes, you will hear a start-up chime completing the reset.

How to reset the Apple HomePod on the device

1. Begin by unplugging your HomePod. 

2. Wait 10 seconds before plugging it back in.

3. After waiting an additional 5 seconds, place and hold your finger on the top of the HomePod.

4. Keep your finger pressed down as the spinning white light turns to red.

5. Wait for Siri to say, “Your HomePod is about to reset.” 

6. After three beeps, lift your finger.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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