Modern HDTVs of any size should be able to provide good enough sound for an ordinary bedroom or fairly small living room. But if you need to get a 40-inch or larger TV for a slightly bigger room, you might find that the speakers leave a bit to be desired. The solution is to get a separate sound system and that is where so many choices have to be considered. If you want something that is easy to set up or you don’t want to worry about things such as deciding the placement of each speaker and how to manage the wires, picking a sound bar can put you on the easy course. Sound bars can still provide good sound reinforcement if you go for something powerful enough and they can come a bit cheap if you are willing to make some sacrifices. The Sharp HT-SB30 is an ambitious little sound bar that only costs $129 and it lacks a separate or embedded subwoofer to make the price low.
The HT-SB30 is built just like the considerably more expensive HT-SB40 which is great because Sharp knows how to design aesthetically pleasing sound bars using cheap materials. Unlike other sound bar designs that have speaker grills, the Sharp HT-SB30 keeps the drivers emphasized and it also contributes to the overall audio performance. The sound bar is also wide enough to match 40-inch displays. Of course, pairing a Sharp sound bar like the HT-SB30 with a Sharp HDTV is recommended since recent Sharp TV models have a similar design.
No subwoofer clearly means that the Sharp HT-SB30 won’t provide a decent bass experience. But the lack of subwoofer means one less step to worry about when unboxing the sound bar and setting it up. You only have one unit to work with and its remote control. The 37-inch HT-SB30 has all of the components including the drivers and buttons. The package even includes a 3.5mm auxiliary cord in case you need to use that with one of the 2 available analog inputs. The remote control is very basic and has 10 keys for easy operation.
You only have to perform additional steps if you wish to mount the sound bar to the wall. This method of setting up the sound bar is recommended if you plan on mounting the TV as well. Once securely mounted, there will be no need for a table since the Sharp HT-SB30 doesn’t come with any other components. A pattern paper is included in the package so you can place it on the wall and use the guide to drill the holes. A manual is also included and it tells you how to mount the sound bar to the wall using the wall mount plug and screws although these materials are unfortunately not part of the package. There is a short tutorial on how to use safety wires (also not supplied) to prevent the sound bar from falling as well.
With the lack of a subwoofer and reduced power input, the Sharp HT-SB30 can easily get away with sub $200 price tag. But Sharp decided to add a bit of value by equipping the HT-SB30 with Bluetooth functionality. This is a big deal if you have a huge music collection in your smartphone, tablet or portable media player. It is also worth mentioning that Sharp’s higher-end models including the HT-SB40 and HT-SB60 lack Bluetooth connectivity. Pairing any Bluetooth-enabled device to the sound bar is just as simple as pairing any Bluetooth device. This is a great addition and it makes up for the lack of a digital coaxial audio input and HDMI input.
The 2.0-channel Sharp HT-SB30 may look similar to the more expensive models but bear in mind that the HT-SB30 only has a total system power output of 40 watts. It is still several times better than those TVs with built-in 5-watt or 10-watt speakers but the audio performance does come a bit short once you listen to those more powerful speakers. Thanks to the exposed driver design, the audio quality does come out crisp but if you plan on pairing this with a massive 60-inch display, you might notice a lack of depth which is something that a wider sound bar like the HT-SB60 can provide. But on a positive note, the Sharp HT-SB30 simply works out of the box and you should feel pretty satisfied with the audio quality of games, music and high-definition movies if you are tired of your TV’s speakers. Plus, you can try out a virtual surround sound mode which may improve the listening experience.
The $129 price tag is really the main attraction here and you are paying for a sound bar with built-in Bluetooth. If you are after Bluetooth features, the HT-SB30 can already be on the shortlist. You just have to accept the fact that a subwoofer isn’t included in the Sharp HT-SB30. The Sharp HT-SB40 offers that component at more than double the price but you give up the Bluetooth. Other competing Bluetooth sound bars are priced at more than $200 which still makes the HT-SB30 a great deal.
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