Sent mine back - terrible trouble connecting to home WiFi. Common problem - be interested to know if it’s been fixed. I have the HomePod and it’s excellent, feel as if they cut corners with this one
Buying Speakers: The Basics
Speakers are essential. A good speaker setup is the only way to get the most out of your expensive 4K flat screen TV or deluxe home stereo setup. Speakers turn ordinary smartphones into formidable portable music systems, and they enhance gaming experiences as well. Entertainment is unimaginable without a good pair of speakers, so it’s vital to find the right product for your needs.
Good Music Needs Good Speakers - Which Ones Are Right For You?
Today’s speakers are generally electroacoustic transducers (or loudspeakers) which turn electric signals into audible noise. Their ancestry can be traced back to the 1920s when Edward Kellogg and Chester Rice patented the first “dynamic speaker”.
Rice and Kellogg realised that by passing an alternating current through a piece of coiled metal, they could induce it to vibrate and, when this coil was applied to a diaphragm (a cone shaped sheet of material), this resulted in a particular type of noise.
That basic design has endured, although massive developments have taken place, resulting in crystal clear sound quality, clearer trebles and deeper bass with every passing generation. Cone materials have changed, the electromagnets used in speakers have been refined, but the speakers we use today would be recognisable to Kellogg and Rice.
However, the way they are setup may not be. Recent years have seen wires falling by the wayside, to be replaced by wireless and Bluetooth speakers, while “smart speakers” have emerged that can stream from digital sources, use voice recognition technology and can interact with devices around the home.
There’s a wide variety of audio products available, which means it’s not always easy to make the right decision. Here are some of the main types of speaker to help you choose one that meets your needs.
How Speakers Work, and Their Basic Variations
Speakers tend to have several elements in common. There’s the conical diaphragm which creates the sound, and the electromagnet and coil which turns current into vibrations, but there are also different types of speaker within most units. These include:
Tweeters - Designed to produce high frequencies, tweeters are the part of your speakers that generate clear melodies at high pitches (the “treble”).
Woofers - On the other hand, woofers are specially designed to generate sound at low frequencies, and work in tandem with tweeters to create a full, rounded sound.
Subwoofers - Work at even lower registers than woofers, creating rich, deep bass notes and a truly immersive sonic experience.
Full and mid-range drivers - Drivers is a catch-all term for tweeters and woofers, but also includes speakers that can cover all ranges, usually at moderate quality (full-range drivers) and speakers that specialise in medium registers (mid-range drivers).
The Different Types of Speakers Available to Buy
Tweeters, drivers and woofers are all vital components of high-quality speakers, but the way they are arranged and the technology that goes with them varies enormously. When you search for speakers at the HotUKDeals listings, you’ll find plenty of choice, including:
Multiroom - Multiroom speakers are systems that are designed to work across the home, with popular examples including Sonos PLAY and Bose SoundTouch. They differ from less sophisticated multiroom options like Amazon Echo in that they can play the same tracks in different rooms simultaneously, with very little loss of fidelity as you move from room to room.
Portable - On the other end of the size spectrum from multiroom systems, portable speakers can be wireless, Bluetooth or USB, and are designed to hook up to laptops and smartphones during travel. Some models are purely battery powered. Others connect to mains or laptop power. Some (like the Amazon Dot) have voice recognition capabilities and some are more resilient to damage than others. All of them are small, light and tend to have much less oomph than larger speakers.
Soundbars - Slender, bar-like speakers that are designed to sit underneath TV or computer screens, soundbars are an essential item for serious movie and gaming fans as they enhance the sonic capabilities of existing devices. They are also handy as an alternative to surround sound home cinema set ups due to their small size and relatively high power, producing plenty of sound but taking up little room in the process. Popular models include the Bose Solo and the Samsung HW.
Sound bases - Sound bases are an alternative to soundbars and tend to be bulkier, often requiring support from a cabinet if they are placed beneath a TV. Because of the addition of base drivers, sound bases dispense with the need for large base woofers, enabling them to deliver deep bass sounds in a far smaller unit. They usually produce a richer sound than soundbars, while soundbars tend to spread sound more evenly across wider spaces.
Computer speakers - Speakers that have been developed expressly for use with computers or gaming consoles. You’ll find a variety of different kinds of computer speakers around. Some of them feature a large separate subwoofer that needs to be stored near the computer, along with smaller “satellite” speakers that can be place wherever you like. Others do away with the subwoofer unit and include bass amplifiers inside the smaller speakers, losing a little bass quality in the process, but keeping the overall size of the system much smaller. Be careful when buying computer speakers, as not all have multiple connections. Some will only connect to computers or consoles, and won’t be able to interface with TVs or sound systems as easily, which may limit their usefulness. Some have built in controls, which can be fiddly, others have remotes, while advanced computer speakers incorporate voice recognition and smartphone controls, which can be much more convenient. Popular brands include Logitech, Bose and Yamaha.
Smartphone speakers - If you want to buy speakers solely for use with your smartphone, be sure to go for Bluetooth-enabled versions. That way, you should be able to synch them with your smartphone-based streaming services. Check that the Bluetooth versions on your phone and the speakers are compatible before buying.
Sonos Home Sound System
Buying Surround Sound and Dolby Speakers
If you really want to pump out some serious sound in your home, surround sound is the only way to go, and there are a couple of options at your disposal:
DTS (which stands for Dedicated to Sound) - Specialises in creating a surround sound experience, the kind you encounter in cinemas. The latest product is DTS:X, an audio codec which works with standard home speakers, including multi-speaker home setups, but not all speakers are compatible, and very few Blu-rays feature the codec as yet. However, the future looks bright, with speaker and Blu-Ray manufacturers signing up for future releases.
Dolby Atmos - Introduced in 2012, Dolby Atmos is an "immersive sound experience" for the home. As with DTS, it was designed for cinemas, but has been extended to home speaker setups, and uses the Dolby TrueHD codec with disc or movie files to create its sonic effects. Unlike DTS, Atmos requires specialist speakers to function proper1ly in the home.
With DTS and Dolby, to get the best effects, speakers need to be strategically placed around your room, with between 7 and 34 speakers recommended. For both systems, you'll also need an AV decoder to turn the code from discs into signals that speakers can understand.
Atmos builds on older 5.1 surround sound systems which used 5 speakers and a subwoofer. The new system is much more precise and more powerful, and is fast becoming the cinema standard, but older 5.1 systems can still work fine in home surround sound setups.
What About Wireless Speakers?
More and more people are choosing to do away with cumbersome wires and opt for wireless speakers, which makes perfect sense. However, before you purchase a set of cable-less speakers, it’s important to recognise the differences between wireless and Bluetooth varieties.
Wireless - Wireless, or Wi-Fi speakers, connect to home networks and should be designed to link up in networks featuring multiple speakers. They also usually rely on AC power and will be able to link to web-based streaming services like Pandora or Spotify.
Bluetooth - Bluetooth speakers tend to be much more mobile, rarely needing AC power and often coming in USB or battery powered versions. This makes them the perfect option for travellers who need to play music in hotel rooms or while they are on the road. They are also the best option for smartphone users, as phones usually communicate with speakers via Bluetooth networks. However, Bluetooth speakers can only link with a single device at any one time, so they aren’t suitable for home audio networks.
It’s worth pointing out that there isn’t always a stark distinction between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speakers. Some Wi-Fi speakers will include Bluetooth functionality as well, making them the perfect hybrid between travel-friendly and home audio systems.
Bose Soundlink Mini
Specifications to Look Out For
When you read through adverts for speakers, you’ll probably come across lists of specifications, and these can sometimes be overwhelming for novice buyers. Don’t worry. There are only a few specs that really matter. Some of the most important include:
Enclosure size - How large the space is inside the speaker unit. Larger enclosures tend to be suited to larger rooms as they contain more powerful speakers. Less powerful speakers inside larger enclosures will usually lose sonic quality.
Diaphragm material - What the diaphragm is made from conditions how pure the sound of your speakers will be. Look for diaphragms made from silk, processed plastics like polypropylene or even paper cones with a blend of felt and wool. All of them produce crisp, well-balanced tones.
Power rating - How much power (in watts) your speaker can handle safely without risking damage. The general rule is to look at a metric called RMS (the root mean square) of each speaker and then couple your speakers with amps at double that rating. That should result in the ideal balance.
Impedance - Measures the “resistance” of speakers to the current that flows through them. You should look for speakers with impedance that is neither too high nor too low. Too much resistance, and your amp will struggle to get through. Too little, and your amp could be overwhelmed as it tries to pump enough current through the system.
Frequency response - This refers to the range of frequencies that a set of speakers can reproduce and is generally measured in ranges from around 20-30 Hz to 50 Khz (more or less in line with the frequencies that the human ear can hear. Generally something from 40 Hz to 20 Khz will deal with most tones required by everyday music listeners or TV viewers.
What to Think About Before Buying Speakers
Whenever you buy home audio products, the first thing to think about is what you need them for. It may be tempting to cover a wall with powerful amps and speakers, and to choose the most formidable woofers around, but do you really need such audio heft at your disposal?
For most casual music fans, surround sound systems won’t be essential. Audiophiles and movie buffs may be able to discern precise sonic differences between high-quality conventional speakers and top of the range surround speakers, but for most of us, the variation is hard to detect.
However, if you have always wanted to create a home cinema experience, or you want to truly immerse yourself in intergalactic games, surround sound systems will deliver a richer experience. It will all come at a price, but for real fans, the cost is worth it.
Tech lovers might also want to invest in a smart speaker system like Amazon Echo or Sonos. With technology moving quickly towards smart devices, it seems to be a good time to get used to the latest tech, but it won’t be within everyone’s budget.
In some cases, there are also practical considerations to take into account. Do you actually have space for the speakers you are looking at? Not everyone can afford to tear out bookcases and replace them with speaker stacks.
Similarly, will you really be able to enjoy your speakers at the right volume with neighbours or housemates in the vicinity? There’s no sense in purchasing deluxe speakers only to find that you can’t use them due to complaints from other people.
Unless you are a committed music lover or a home cinema fanatic, you can probably derive as much pleasure from a floor speaker with full-range drivers as from a surround sound setup or a Sonos system.
Finding the Right Speakers for Your Home Space
If you have any doubts about whether your speakers will be appropriate for the rooms in your home, you can ask experts for advice. Take some measurements of the height, width and length of the room and they should be able to suggest some suitable products.
Generally speaking, larger rooms will need more powerful speakers, but larger speakers won’t necessarily work so well in smaller spaces. Too much bass in a confined space can create a “muddy” type of sound, which can ruin the experience.
Too much bass in the wrong place can also create off-putting vibrations. For instance, if you need to place your speakers in a cabinet or on a shelf, it might not make sense to buy speakers with too many woofers or subwoofers.
Sometimes, it’s best to adapt the space to suit the speakers. That doesn’t mean knocking through walls or raising ceilings. If you have hard surfaces that generate lots of echo, the addition of a few soft furnishings can make all the difference.
Pros and Cons of Speaker Types
After all that information, the basic question still remains: Which type of speaker is right for you? This all depends on your personal requirements, and soundbars, sound bases, portable speakers, multiroom systems, standard tower speakers or even smart speakers all have their strong points.
If you are setting up a sound system all over your home, the answer is clear. Go for a multiroom system like Sonos that can link together every room, allowing you to enjoy tracks wherever you wander, from the bedroom to the garage. If the cost of Sonos is prohibitive (and it can be very expensive), you might try hooking up a few Amazon Dots or other portable speakers in a Wi-fFi network. You may not be able to hear the Beatles wherever you go, but you will be able to play tracks across your home on demand.
If you are setting up a home cinema system in a single room, the question is completely different. In this case, soundbars and sound bases are the products to go for. Instead of investing in (extremely) expensive home cinema setups that consume space, soundbars and sound bases can deliver very high quality audio that will make watching TVs and movies a completely new experience.
Gamers could also think about adding a soundbar to their Xbox or gaming PC as well, although they might want to think about a specialist computer speaker setup. That way, they can be sure that their speakers will be compatible with their computer or console’s networking functions and benefit from easier configuration procedures. Not everyone has the skills or time to fine tune their home entertainment network.
If you are the kind of person who needs to listen to music or radio on the move, portable speakers are the way to go. These could be tiny soundbars like the Bose Soundlink or larger units like the iDance XD100 MKII that are designed for outdoor parties. Always go for Bluetooth enabled devices, as these will have the smartphone compatibility you need.
The Best Speakers Deals
When it comes to purchasing speakers, the best place to start is high street retailers, where you can consult shop staff, ask them questions about your room size and requirements, and generally get a good feel for the speakers you are looking at.
You don’t have to make a purchase there and then. When you find a product that meets your needs, note down its name and product code and have a look at the HotUKDeals listings. You may well find that the same product is available for far less from online retailers like Amazon, Very, Bax or even from eBay sellers.
Double check the specifications before buying, as the devil can be in the details. You don’t want to purchase speakers that overwhelm your space or aren’t compatible with your existing devices. If everything looks good, make the purchase and use a HotUKDeals offer to keep the price as low as possible.
Some times of year also tend to see larger reductions, so timing your purchase is important (particularly if you are making a major investment in something like a Sonos home audio system). Black Friday and Cyber Monday in late November always see great speaker deals, as do the January Sales. However, you can also find deals when product lines are being retired, which happens regularly in the smart speaker market, although it’s less common with standard speakers, which tend to have very long lifespans. The thing to do is to keep an eye out and check the listings regularly until you find a deal that works for you.
Make Huge Savings on Speakers with HotUKDeals
Having the right speakers can make or break your TV and movie watching enjoyment. It can turn gaming into an immersive experience, allow you to listen to your favourite songs wherever you want, and turn your smartphone into a mobile entertainment centre. The trick is finding the right speakers at bargain prices, and there is no better place to do so than the HotUKDeals speakers listings.
This Anker is kinda old and has been cheaper. The neocore WAVE A2 is £21.56 with voucher. It's much newer with 16W output, 60-hour of battery life and has IPX6 waterproof rating, you could listen to your podcasts in the bathroom. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0076OT1SA/ref=sspa_dk_detail_9?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B0076OT1SA&pd_rd_w=50ByG&pf_rd_p=f388d75d-7ab7-4c34-b7db-4c9f2e822f57&pd_rd_wg=CQf0R&pf_rd_r=B06MMYS8WPZT0ETXJ5GY&pd_rd_r=0407d8b4-62e0-44ac-b78c-c8254ff208b0&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExQjJLNlRMSzlURzRCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDI0ODIyM0ZRRFdKSjRaS1lVUCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzEzMjkzMzNRVzc1Rlo5WllUTCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbF90aGVtYXRpYyZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
Bought sound2 in that price. Also from Amazon
I have this speaker for a while now and am always impressed by the sound and build quality. There is an updated version now which has Bluetooth 5 I believe. Sweet have some heat 🔥
Well, which gave it a "Don't buy" rating since the sound quality wasn't great - "Although it is cheap to buy, there's nothing cheerful about the poor audio quality from this Philips sound bar – the bass is too heavy and vocals are harsh. Best avoided.". So yeah... I'd say it depends on what TV you have since the more expensive TV the better it would be to also have a good soundbar/system. For myself I have a cheap & cheerful Hisense 4K TV (350£) and a refurb soundbar for 80£ and I'm more than happy with this setup. All depends on what you want for yourself and what price point you're looking to spend.
Got this last year and whilst it's very good for the most part, without a separate sub woofer it just lacks that little bit extra at times. My older Yamaha YAS-203 is still preferable despite no faux Atmos.
I have this sound bar. It's very average. I'd recommend not bothering to get any 2.1. save up and get a proper 5.1
Not decent enough. Atmos is just a waste on here, it's a nice tick box but.. look for offers on 3.0/3.1 bars tbh But the price is the best deal I've seen it... Heat? I guess 😃
Posted 16th MayPosted 16th MayShipping from GermanyShipping from Germany
Price drop of these for sure coming, as new gen is due out soon
I have the 5 and 8. Definately go for the 8 if you can. Great for running family photo albums on a loop. I also use it for my Blink cameras. The larger screen gives a much better experience. No problems with mine for the 6 months I have now had it.
I've got the Echo Show 5, I'm trying to return it. A word of caution, the device has a terrible microphone (check multiple posts on here and in online reviews). We had ours setup as an alarm clock, it's brilliant for waking the whole house as you have to shout at it to get it to respond/turn off the alarm thus waking everyone else. I tried it in the kitchen thinking perhaps there maybe some issue with the location, perhaps it's poor due to some issue with the alarm function etc. The same issue persisted for getting it to present information back from a given command. I wanted to like this device, I have the original Echo which works great but like others, you'll find yourself growing tired at having to shout at this device to get it to do anything. It's flawed and there's no software update going to fix a microphone that is feckless.
Those Tapo plugs seem to be cropping up a lot lately. Are TP-Link making them obsolete, in favour of the Kasa range?
Yes and yes. The vocal mode boosts the centre channel (I think) and tweaks the EQ to make dialogue clearer. The effect is quite successful, though personally I only use it if I'm struggling to hear the vocals. Night mode compresses the overall signal, as you'd expect. The effect is reasonably subtle which I think is for the best. Tamps down gunshots and explosions reasonably successfully which is good if I'm on the xbox late on. I was watching a horror film (with plenty of screaming) and even with both of these features switched on I got an angry text from my wife demanding the volume be turned down so they're not so effective that some fader-riding may be required in certain circumstances. I do like that both of these features have dedicated buttons on the remote.
What's the night mode and enhanced dialogue modes like? Do they offer clear speech at lower volume levels? Ta!
I have one of these and though I've not got experience of competing systems I paid about £100 more and still feel it was value for money. If you don't get too wrapped up in the validity of the Atmos claims then I'd recommend this system at this price in a heartbeat. It doesn't have many bells and whistles but what it does it does very well. Super simple setup, unobtrusive design and a big, big improvement over my TVs speakers. The market might have changed in the last 12 months (I dunno) but I think if you are looking for a soundbar at about this price you won't be disappointed. Happy to answer any questions you might have.
this soundbar has no upward firing drivers making the atmos claim laughable, if buying these for atmos at least make sure they have some sort of upward driver.
Agreed, it’s an equivalent of a £150 speaker at a push. Would rather get a Refurb Sonos beam at this price.
Adding Google Mobile Services (Googlifier!) quite easy if you can follow instruction. The phone is absolutely brilliant and the only let down is the lack of contactless payment. I have it set with all the banks (Natwest, Nationwide, Virgin, Monzo, Halifax, HSBC, ...) without trouble straight from the Google app store so that's not a limitation
Worked on clone app transfer Save the mobile browser link is another easy option if you have problems. Done that with YouTube and Google using Edge browser
how did you get natwest to work on p40? did you clone the phone or downloaded apk?
I had the phone just couldn't get on without Google. I found googifier more of a pain than a help
Halifax, Lloyds and NatWest all worked for me. I put my card in the back of my case and works fine but not ideal.
Yeah I agree it's a bit strong to report it. Maybe the do gooders are out in force. Unfortunately they are here to stay. Anyway best get back on topic. I'm expecting delivery of this tomorrow, upgraded from a 23" cheapo monitor.
I wasn't accusing, sorry if it came across like that. (y) I just wonder why anyone on this side of the pond would care enough about the AOC-Horse image to report it. Unless a horsey-type HUKDer felt it was unfair for the horse to be compared to AOC? (confused)
Well not guilty. I commented but certainly didn't report. Especially not knowing what it meant.
Anybody willing to lend me their time machine, so that I can get me one of these for £35 (or even £39)? I was about to buy one from Amazon at £59 - this one is £49, saving me a tenner. Sounds like a "deal" to me - unless anybody can tell me where I can get a cheaper one now?
Yes a lot better in ever aspect
"in the past"......
I got one for £30 posted on here.
Is the new dot much better than previous generation? We have a fire stick, prime etc. So I kind of want to stick with Alexa, but ours is sweet but demented. I've honestly been considering switching to Google home, but feels like it would be a fath.