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Best Passive Soundbars 2024

A soundbar (with or without a subwoofer) is a small, horizontally oriented electroacoustic device that improves and enhances the stereo sound capabilities of many ways. With the help of the receiver, the best passive sound bars links the basic unit. Although such a process is fairly difficult, the end result is well worth it because the sound quality improves dramatically. The active ones connect directly to the television, which is a quick and easy alternative.

A three-in-one speaker system refers to modern passive soundbar speakers (LCR). Due to its compactness, such a soundbar remains a very appealing purchase, combining three primary channels in one body frame that can be placed both above and below a flat screen. The active models are audio systems that are self-contained. They function as an amplifier for various signal sources as well as reproducing the sound from the TV without the use of home theater setup. Many active soundbars, for example, include an active subwoofer as well as the option to connect a smartphone through Bluetooth. Although active models are easier to use, passive variants have numerous advantages. As a result, they are not less popular than their active counterparts. Let’s look at some passive soundbar reviews to see what these gadgets have to offer.

Martin Logan Motion SLM X3 Ultra-Slim 3-Channel Passive Soundbar

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MartinLogan Motion SLM X3 Ultra-Slim 3-Channel...
  • L-C-R soundbar, Slim design, Binding Posts: Push style
  • High Frequency Driver: Three 1" x 1.4" Folded Motion Transducers with 5.25"...
  • Low Frequency Drivers: Six 4" paper cone, sealed cabinet

The Martin Logan SLM X3 passive soundbar features an angular and minimalist design that is both inexpensive and portable for a home theater system For an exquisite look, you may either wall mount the device or position it on your entertainment unit to watch tv shows from streaming services. The Martin Logan Three-Channel Passive Soundbar is one of the slimmest passive soundbar alternatives available, fitting nicely with small TVs without sacrificing audio quality for music listening.

High-quality electrostatic speakers with three channels and folded motion tweeters are also included in the home theater speaker system. The soundbar options was meticulously built by professional experts to deliver a well-tuned gadget capable of transmitting clean sound. This three-channel passive soundbar produces excellent bass to punctuate your material, thanks to strong folding motion transducers. This is the Best Passive Soundbar in 2023.

Polk Signature Elite ES35 Slim Center Channel Speaker

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Polk Audio Signature Elite ES35 Slim Center...
  • HIGH-PERFORMANCE SLIM CENTER CHANNEL - Polk Signature Elite ES35 features...
  • NOT ONLY HEAR, BUT FEEL THE HEART-THUMPING BASS - With Polk's Patented...
  • REALISTIC SOUND REPRODUCTION – ES35's high sensitivity and 4- & 8-Ohm...

The Polk Audio Signature S35 is a center-channel soundbar speaker with plenty of features. With a dynamic acoustic array of three drivers and one tweeter, it’s quite small but capable of surround sound.

Polk’s unique Power Port Technology lowers distortion to offer richer and deeper bass in a small and compact passive soundbar similar to the ZVox Accuvoice AV157. The soundbar speaker is extremely adaptable, working with systems ranging from 2.1 to 9.1. Polk also worked hard to create a visually pleasing piece of audio equipment, with rounded edges that resemble acoustic guitars. This is the Best Passive Soundbars in 2023.

KEF HTF8003 Sound Bar Speaker

KEF HTF8003 Sound Bar Speaker Black
  • Sized perfectly to complement flat panels 42-Inch or larger both in width...
  • Attractive design and thin profile to match depth of most flat panel...
  • The soundbar's stylish aluminum enclosure contains dual 2-Inch woofers, a...

The KEF HTF8003 is a durable soundbar with exceptional acoustics thanks to its unique driver array and aircraft-grade materials for surround sound effect. The glossy finish and sleek form of the KEF soundbar speaker complement any flat panel TV 42 inches or larger. It can be easily placed on a flat surface or mounted using the table stand that comes with it.

This KEF model is a 2-way bass reflex passive soundbar with improved frequency response, sensitivity, and a powerful sound output of 87 dB. The tweeters on KEF speakers are located in the center of the cone and are in charge of providing wide sonic dispersion.

For a full-range system, the soundbar comprises two woofer speakers and a pair of soft dome tweeters for this listening experience. This type of setup provides excellent audio fidelity. Furthermore, the system’s color and style complement a room’s decor, and the bar itself may be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf or TV stand.

Dayton Audio BS36 36″ LCR Speaker Bar Black

Dayton Audio BS36 36" LCR Speaker Bar Black
  • Great for any plasma or LCD TV installation
  • Ideal for space-limited home theater applications
  • Connects to any home theater receiver via separate left, right, and center...

The LCR speaker option is the Dayton Audio BS36 soundbar. When you play stereo, it effortlessly combines the three channels (left, right, and center) together for a dynamic effect. It can be used to provide bass to TV speaker sound that is otherwise flat. Subwoofers are built inside the Dayton Audio soundbar to provide high-definition and echoing bass notes for any content.

To connect your speaker wire to each speaker, the soundbar uses different spring-loaded terminals (positive and negative). As a result, the sound is clear, crisp, loud, and free of distractions. The device’s build quality is exceptional because the framework is built of a durable material, and it’s difficult to scrape the glossy surface, which isn’t particularly fragile or sensitive.

The BS36 has analog and optical inputs, giving it a lot of options when it comes to connecting to different TV models. The system does not allow for individual volume and bass adjustments, although this isn’t necessary because the sound is automatically adjusted for varied viewing situations.

This three-channel soundbar can be effortlessly connected to any TV and mounted on the wall or on top of your entertainment center. You won’t need to acquire any other products to connect this soundbar because everything you need is included in the package. It’s a soundbar that’s both small and powerful. The simple, unobtrusive style complements any home or wall space.

Definitive Technology XTR-SSA5 Ultra Slim Surround Speaker Bar

Definitive Technology XTR-SSA5 Ultra Slim Surround...
  • Five discrete channels from one superb speaker
  • Ultra slim design only 1 5/8 perfect for Ultra Slim TV
  • The dynamic punch wide frequency range and broad dispersion of full size...

Our audio team was blown away by the Definitive Technology passive soundbar, which imitated 5-channel surround sound without the need for additional system components. Despite the lack of rear speakers, the XTR-SSA5 soundbar uses spatial array technology to create a 3D surround sound illusion and enhance distinct audio layers.

The speaker bar’s anodized aluminum dome drivers boost performance and improve your viewing experience. The left and right drivers, as well as the middle channel, are protected from wear and tear by an aircraft-grade aluminum shell with a high gloss surface. This compact speaker bar is intended to be mounted on the wall and provides surround sound. It is compatible with any television and has a unique design. It sticks out because of its ultra-slim proportions. Installing the Definitive Technology is as simple as plugging a wire into an outlet and mounting it on the two included mounts. It produces high-quality sound that will undoubtedly improve your movie-watching experience.

KEF HTF7003 Sound Bar Speaker

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KEF HTF7003 Sound Bar Speaker Black
  • Designed to complement today's stylish flat panel televisions 32-Inch and...
  • Very thin profile to match depth of most flat panel televisions
  • The soundbar's stylish aluminum enclosure contains dual 2-Inch woofers and...

The soundbar is small, and its breadth is ideal for 37-42-inch televisions. The aluminum body frame is completely enclosed, which is a very elegant design choice. Speaker cables with conventional terminals and wires with a cross-section of more than 2.5-3mm cannot be attached because the connection points, which are in the shape of clips, are designed for a relatively thin cable.

The soundbar delivers a surprising amount of balance for its size. The sound picture is sometimes shrunken, but for the most part, the KEF delivers extremely precise and realistic sound images, making it simple to believe everything that is happening on screen. The included satellites are ideal for the system, however setting up the subwoofer is difficult because the system refuses to respond to orders appropriately.

For a full-range system, the soundbar comprises two woofer speakers and a pair of soft dome tweeters. This type of setup provides excellent audio fidelity. Furthermore, the system’s color and style complement a room’s decor, and the bar itself may be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf or TV stand.

The fact that this soundbar lacks a separate subwoofer means that the bass is lacking. If you install another surround sound speaker, you can improve the bass response.

Passive Soundbar Buying Guide

Sound Performance

Does the system have any sound modes? Can the passive soundbar self-optimize to give excellent sound that varies according on the media you play? The sound quality of the sound bar should be your top priority when choosing speakers, not aesthetics. Your passive soundbar won’t be an improvement over your factory TV speakers if it doesn’t have a higher resolution.

There are sound modes with pre-programmed settings that make some stuff stand out. For better explosions, some passive soundbars’ movie mode, for instance, would boost the dynamic range and concentrate the bass. Also, it will focus on making speech more understandable so that you never miss a conversation’s dialogue and can always reflect on what is said.

Some passive soundbars can also automatically optimize themselves to give the optimal performance for the content to assure the sound quality even without sound modes. A dedicated center channel will improve speech in addition to sound modes so you never miss a whisper. In addition to the center channel, you may find speech-improving features like Clear Voice to clearly pronounce all of the dialogue that is presented onscreen.

Channels

One thing I always verify when using soundbars for evaluations is the number of channels they support. In general, soundbars can provide 2 to 9 channels. The industry standard for real surround sound is 5.1 channels, and any number higher enhances the sound effects and quality.

That is not to imply, though, that home theater equipment made with a smaller channel number cannot provide immersive quality. A nice system can typically be obtained with two- or three-channel soundbars like the KEF HTF7003. But more on that later. Some well-known soundbars have cutting-edge audio technology that can replicate genuine surround sound without a full 5-channel configuration.

Modern Audio Technology

It is advisable to check for soundbars that can decode DTS and Dolby technology. These two terms are the pinnacle of cutting-edge audio capabilities and the gold standard for superior performance in their respective fields.

Soundbars with fewer channels can replicate the effect of digital surround sound with the aid of DTS and Dolby technology. The latest sound technologies will simply increase the strength of the drivers and already-present immersive effects with a full 5-channel system setup or more.

Products made with brand-specific technologies, such as Sony’s S-Force and LG’s Meridian, may also be seen. For a full theatrical experience at home, soundbars that employ more modern technologies would bring professional-grade technology with you.

Connectivity

A passive soundbar is constructed with both wired and wireless connectivity, much as an active soundbar. In contrast to alternative wired connections, using HDMI is advised by our experts across all of our reviews because it has the capability to support higher quality transmissions. The best alternative to HDMI for some TVs is digital optical, which can likewise decode high-quality audio but lacks the return channel.

Active soundbars frequently have wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, while passive ones might also have them. Users can stream content from external devices directly through the soundbar by utilizing wireless connectivity options.

Soundbar Position

Compared to surround sound speakers, soundbars save more space. These can typically be set on a tabletop or hung on a wall, depending on whatever option seems easiest to you. The soundbar should be positioned a bit below eye level for optimal performance. Consider where you would like to set it. You can utilize the receiver to its fullest potential in this manner as well.

Placing or mounting your soundbar on the wall directly beneath your flatscreen is quite simple for TVs that are mounted to the wall. You can position a passive or active soundbar in front of the TV’s base stand if it is free-standing. But, you must watch out that it doesn’t block the remote sensor otherwise the IR receiver won’t receive orders.

You have additional placement flexibility if your soundbar uses wireless technology. You can experiment with the position you prefer to find the optimal configuration for every room in your house if there are other moving parts you need to connect, such as subwoofers and rear speakers. Be sure the positioning will work well with the acoustic panels you have in your room.

Price

To choose the ideal spot, you should also consider the size of your soundbar and the components of your current home theater system. To create an immersive experience, the general rule is to set the soundbar right in front of you and distribute the remaining components evenly throughout the space.

The cost is justified by the fact that passive soundbars typically perform far better than active ones. This is due to the fact that an external amplifier can provide audio that is both clearer and louder than an active soundbar. A passive soundbar, on the other hand, offers significantly more customizing options if you are an enthusiastic audiophile or cinephile who is seeking more than just a straightforward upgrade from basic TV speakers. Check out low-cost home entertainment systems that are nonetheless functional.

Subwoofer

Subwoofers, in the opinion of our audio professionals, are essential to accurately convey the quality of a soundbar. The bass notes in your content won’t be as audible without one. A subwoofer’s resonant bass can be appreciated by fans of music and movies.

The subwoofer may be an internal or external component of the device. A soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, like the KEF HT7003, can nevertheless enhance the bass in a tiny room, albeit not as significantly as an external one. On the plus side, you won’t want a huge wireless subwoofer to fill a little space.

A soundbar with an integrated external subwoofer can reveal all the previously hidden deeper tones if space is not an issue in your home. The soundbar can be be mounted on the wall if you choose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a passive soundbar?

Soundbars with no built-in amplifier are known as passive soundbars. A passive soundbar is a gadget that requires an external A/V receiver and amplifier to function. It allows you to pair it with a variety of sound management systems and allows you to experiment with different speaker-amplifier combinations or non powered soundbar.

Passive soundbars, unlike active (powered) soundbars, cannot produce sound. The home theater experience have to get it from somewhere else. This means that the passive soundbar will only create sound when connected to a sound system.

Do passive speakers sound better?

Passive speakers do, in fact, sound better. This is owing to the external receiver and amplifier, which produces clearer sound and focuses on output rather than power. Amplification is required for active speakers to function. The speaker’s amp or built-in amp may contribute a small degree of distortion. Passive speakers have no built-in distortion because they do not use amplification.

Aside from the possibility of amplifier distortion, the fact that active speakers run at a greater powerpoint than passive speakers in the same space causes them to behave in a non-linear manner. That is, when you operate the speaker near the top end of the power curve, the real power curve causes the speaker to provide less output than would be expected. Also, if the amplifier uses companding to provide anti-feedback, the speaker may respond well to high frequencies but poorly to low frequencies.