Best Soundbars for PC Streaming and Gaming
Whether you are the proud owner of a bleeding-edge curved gaming monitor or just acquired a bargain basement PC and are looking for some upgrades, there are aspects to your audio experience that could almost certainly do with some improvement. Purchasing a soundbar can improve the quality of your gaming or content streaming activities. It is a great way to enhance an already impressive system and can be a much cheaper and more effective way to enjoy your current setup without having to go through the expense of buying an entirely new PC. Learn more about the best soundbars for PC streaming and gaming and how they can create a superior entertainment experience.
What is a Soundbar, and How Will it Improve my Streaming and Gaming?
For those who are unfamiliar with this type of technology, a soundbar is a relatively inexpensive replacement for the older system of clunky external speakers, which used to be the hallmark of a well-appointed home theater or office space. As opposed to using the internal audio technology of your PC or Smart TV, a soundbar effectively replaces your computer's current internal audio capabilities with an external speaker that is better equipped to transmit sounds with greater quality and clarity. Rather than having to go through the trouble and expense of purchasing multiple traditional speakers and arranging them appropriately to achieve the effects of surround sound, soundbars often let you do away with a mess of tangled cables. Soundbars represent an affordable and attractive middle ground if you need an upgrade to your current setup and cannot afford a complete surround sound system for totally immersive audio.
Make Sure That Your Soundbar has the Technical Specifications you Desire
While it is true that purchasing a soundbar will go a long way toward improving the audio quality of your content streaming and gaming activities, it is important to purchase units that can deliver your desired experience. Many soundbars come with impressive audio codecs, namely hardware or software capable of compressing and decompressing audio and allowing you to hear digital sounds in the first place, including TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X.
It is important to note that soundbars are not created equal regarding the quality of video footage they can successfully display. Should you be especially interested in a soundbar that can support VRR (variable refresh rate) on a high-end gaming PC as well as 4K images at 120Hz, you may have to do some searching to discover the computer soundbar for your specific needs. Although there are certainly soundbars that are specifically built with these two features incorporated, they are not currently considered the industry standard and may be more expensive as a result.
Balance Preferred Technical Specifications Against Budget for Best Results
When you want to buy a soundbar, you should consider purchasing one that is not only technologically capable of creating your desired audio environment but also offers support for emerging technologies like 8K video. Depending on how big your audio budget is, this may not be a realistic option since products from top companies like Sennheiser and Sonos can easily cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single unit. The other end of the scale includes brands like Zvox and Vizio, which cost $200 or less and lack the bells and whistles of their pricier counterparts but are great for those who want a measurably better audio experience.
Upgrade Streaming/Gaming with Soundbars Capable of VRR and 4K/120Hz
If the only soundbars you are interested in are those which can radically transform your gaming and streaming experiences, then you should be prepared to pay for that level of quality. For example, if you were interested in purchasing a Sony HT-A7000, which can support passthrough for 8K videos, 4K video at 120Hz, VRR, Dolby Vision HDR, and much more, you can easily expect to pay approximately $1,200.
The price and capabilities of a top-level computer soundbar go even further in terms of price and so-called future-proof technology, such as the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar, which costs between $2,000 and $2,500, depending on the retailer. At over four feet in length and weighing in at an impressive 40.7 pounds, this soundbar must be wall-mounted and correctly positioned to achieve the best results. Still, if you are interested in a fully immersive 3D audio experience with Chromecast built-in and thirteen independently working audio drivers, it is well worth the effort.
Gamers interested in a unit with purpose-built features like VRR and ALLM (auto low latency mode) that help bring gems to life in amazingly vivid detail will be well served by the LG S95QR, although you should note that 4K HDR is topped at 60Hz. As this technology continues to become more widespread, the overall cost of the best soundbars for PC will hopefully drop, but true audiophiles will always be willing to fork out large sums of money for the best available equipment.
If you want to own one of the best soundbars for streaming and gaming on your PC, there may be considerable costs, but the results are incomparable. Check out your favorite manufacturer or online retailer to learn more about specific soundbars and how they can improve your gaming and streaming activities.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.