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What Makes a Good Soundbar?

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Soundbars and smart speakers are some of the more recent offerings in speaker technology. It’s largely the need for a convenient sound reproduction device that birthed the soundbar.

Back in the old days, CRT and projection TVs were large enough to house a decent sound system.

Nowadays, especially with the advent of OLED screens, their thickness has shrunk considerably, which means bad news for the built-in sound system.

You can’t cheat physics – speakers need enclosures with internal volume to play nice and loud. Most of the time, the sound that comes even from top-quality OLED or LCD TVs’ built-in speakers is lacking compared with the picture quality.

For those who don’t have space for a dedicated speaker system, the soundbar is an excellent option to get quality sound from a discreet piece of equipment.

This article delves into the main ingredients which make average and above-average soundbars.


TV on a TV table slightly lit from behind

The Box

Or the “enclosure,” as acoustic engineers call it. With speakers, it’s often more important to know the characteristics of the box than what’s inside.


Throughout the ages, the most common material for speaker box building has always been wood. While timber is decent structurally and acoustically, it’s prone to warping when exposed to the environment, and it’s costly to source and process.


Like most electronics these days, many soundbars, especially in the budget segment, are made of plastic. While plastics can be used for speaker enclosures, thin plastic walls resonate audibly.


You can check a speaker enclosure by knocking on it. A good enclosure should feel hard and sturdy, and the decay of the knock should be very short. Most soundbars do poorly in the knock test due to enclosures that resonate and thus muddle up sound with unwanted coloration.


A good compromise is treated wood materials like MDF and particle board. They’re cheaper than pure timber, hold up better to environmental changes, and are easy to process with machining. Our Klear LAYLA soundbar uses an MDF enclosure to battle resonances and look nice. This material gets machined into shapes that are eye and ear-friendly.


Disassembled sound bar

The Speakers

A powered speaker, like a soundbar, needs at least three electronic ingredients to play sound - the amp, the filter, and the input board.


Amplification has come a long way since the advent of speakers. Nowadays, class-D amps can be made both tiny and powerful. A 100W amp as small as a thumbnail even sounds pretty decent, provided the implementation is smart.


The input board converts whatever you feed into the soundbar so that the amp can amplify the signal.

Our take is that burdening a speaker with software bells and whistles is a sure way to make it obsolete faster. Therefore, LAYLA just has the fundamentals to connect your TV and other devices through Bluetooth™.

Keep the smarts in your TV, so your soundbar can focus on delivering quality tunes for decades to come.


Electronics that run filters usually do two things: divide up high and low-frequency sounds to their respective drivers and filters – and try to correct the tonal response intrinsic to the loudspeaker driver and enclosure ensemble.

Depending on design quality, a filtering circuit can make or break any loudspeaker, including a soundbar.


The filtering circuit used in the LAYLA soundbar uses real environment measurement data to correct the final tonal response for impeccable timbre. Each unit that leaves the factory gets a tune-up in our lab, so they all perform beyond their natural capabilities once they reach our clients.


This method is usually reserved for high-end studio speakers. However, we decided you deserve to hear what near perfection sounds like.Most speakers use the same principle to make sound – a coil submerged in a permanent magnetic field moves due to changes in the electric current it conducts. The coil then connects to a speaker membrane which couples the vibrations to the surrounding air. This moving structure is suspended so it can only move in one direction, back and forth.


While a single loudspeaker driver can be designed to play almost the whole audible spectrum of sound, it’s usually better to use dedicated speakers for high and low frequencies. Lower-quality soundbars often use so-called “full-range drivers.” However, they are never genuinely full-range and only project high frequencies at narrow angles.


As most soundbars are convenience-driven audio products, they don’t use the best drivers out there. Lower-end offerings make do with a couple of low-quality “full-range” drivers. They’re okay for casual TV viewing.


However, to have any resemblance to quality sound, soundbars need dedicated tweeters and woofers. The light dome diaphragm of a tweeter does two things that help tremendously – it enables reproduction of higher-pitched sounds and radiates them at a wider angle, making the optimal listening position larger.


LAYLA uses a high-quality tweeter for each channel. The low frequencies are handed over to top-mounted woofers.

Directivity doesn’t matter as much for lower frequencies, so top-mounting saves precious space on the front baffle.


The low end is augmented by passive radiators – speaker cones that resonate with powered drivers. Such solutions are usually reserved for high-end offerings, with most using ports to increase the bass response.

Passive radiators perform much better at higher SPLs and don’t have the characteristic chuffing sound that plagues many speakers.


 Circuit board

The Electronics

A powered speaker, like a soundbar, needs at least three electronic ingredients to play sound - the amp, the filter, and the input board.


Amplification has come a long way since the advent of speakers. Nowadays, class-D amps can be made both tiny and powerful. A 100W amp as small as a thumbnail even sounds pretty decent, provided the implementation is smart.


The input board converts whatever you feed into the soundbar so that the amp can amplify the signal.

Our take is that burdening a speaker with software bells and whistles is a sure way to make it obsolete faster. Therefore, LAYLA just has the fundamentals to connect your TV and other devices through Bluetooth™.

Keep the smarts in your TV, so your soundbar can focus on delivering quality tunes for decades to come.


Electronics that run filters usually do two things: divide up high and low-frequency sounds to their respective drivers and filters – and try to correct the tonal response intrinsic to the loudspeaker driver and enclosure ensemble.

Depending on design quality, a filtering circuit can make or break any loudspeaker, including a soundbar.

The filtering circuit used in the LAYLA soundbar uses real environment measurement data to correct the final tonal response for impeccable timbre. Each unit that leaves the factory gets a tune-up in our lab, so they all perform beyond their natural capabilities once they reach our clients.


This method is usually reserved for high-end studio speakers. However, we decided you deserve to hear what near perfection sounds like.

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