Buying a sound bar for your HDTV is not as complicated as getting a multispeaker sound system. You can expect that sound bars are very simple in form factor and should be able to provide better sound quality than your TV’s speakers. Understandably, multichannel speaker systems are still superior although you may end up paying more and have to deal with a more complicated setup process. Going back to choosing the sound bar, you pretty much have to pick one that is about the same width as your TV and you should get the best results relative to your listening area. But what if you plan on buying a larger TV next year? While a good sound bar shouldn’t disappoint that much in sound quality when connected to much larger TVs, the Sharp HT-SL77 has the intention to adapt to your upgrades so you won’t have to buy a new sound system for the unforeseeable future.
Wide sound bars for 50-inch TVs are a bit common but not exactly ones that are an inch thick. The HT-SL77 successfully enters that territory and weighs quite light at around 2.65 pounds. It doesn’t really look like a sound bar from afar but using the stands to give the sound bar a little more height adds a nice touch right in front of your TV’s stand. If your massive display is already mounted on the wall, you can mount the thin speaker right below the base of the TV and it should look great.
Typical sound bars are usually stuck with those 2 setup scenarios but the extra accessories offer even more ways to setup the entire sound system. The left and right parts of the sound bar can be detached and what is left after detaching is a part which Sharp calls a “cover joint”. The cover joint has the Sharp logo in front and pretty much bridges the 2 speakers together. Because of this modular approach, you can extend the width of your sound bar to properly match your TV. The smallest cover joint, for instance, connects both speakers so you end up with a sound bar suitable for 46-inch TVs. But with the 3 additional cover joints each with different widths, the Sharp HT-SL77 can also match 52-inch, 60-inch and even 70-inch TVs. All 4 cover joints are included in the package so all you have to do is decide which cover joint to use when assembling the sound bar.
To make things even more interesting, you don’t even have to use any of the cover joints. Keep the 2 speaker parts separate and install them to the included stand bases and stand covers and you can end up with a pair of beautiful and thin speaker towers which you can put anywhere in the living room provided that the wire reaches. This kind of setup can also be useful if you don’t have a wide enough surface for placing a very wide sound bar.
Regardless of how you set up or position the speakers, the speakers have to be connected to the included amplifier system. This unit features HDMI input and output terminals for TV connection along with an audio in and quartet of speaker terminals. The front of the unit features a pairing button, input selector and gain knob for the audio in. The purpose of the pairing button is to connect the unit to the subwoofer which is also included. The subwoofer can connect to the main unit wirelessly which helps simplify the setup process.
The HT-SL77 is a 2.1-channel speaker system and nothing more. It is not capable of connecting to mobile devices wirelessly and it doesn’t have any additional technologies that augment the sound quality. The Sharp HT-SL77 fully relies on its physical hardware and modular advantages so you can figure out the best speaker setup for your living room and TV size.
If properly set up, the HT-SL77 can indeed pump out a lot of power. The total output wattage is 200 watts and half of it is provided by the subwoofer making this a more powerful combination than many sub-$300 sound systems. The idea of using cover joints is a nice way to make the sound quality consistently good across different screen sizes. Vocals lack a depth though and it could be a result for not adding any sound enhancing technologies within the sound system. Fortunately, the subwoofer helps with the lower frequencies.
The fact that this sound bar costs well over $400 might be a cause of concern especially since this speaker system offers no real features of its own. On functionality, it is stuck in the past but the design is elegant and the various installation possibilities mean that you won’t have change your sound system as much as you would change your TV unless of course you need extra features like Bluetooth etc. But if your other home theater components or TV have these features, the Sharp HT-SL77 could end up being a reasonable choice for a large screen TV for movie watching or music listening.
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