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Modern designed living room with a large flat screen TV

Soundbars: The Backstory

Joseph Robinson

Apr 20, 2021

graphic of an outdoor deck chair with a speaker and a pair of wireless earbuds for relaxation


Audio transmission

Uses Bluetooth technology

Audio quality

Up to two channels of compressed audio (stereo)


Ideal for headphones, earbuds, and portable speakers

graphic of a home office improved with a speaker system


Audio transmission

Uses a standard Wi-Fi network

Audio quality

Up to two channels of high-definition audio (stereo)


Ideal for smart speakers, multiroom speakers, and speakers that expand soundbar-based systems

graphic of a home theater


Audio transmission

Creates a dedicated wireless network, specifically for the sound system

Audio quality

Up to eight channels of ultra high-definition uncompressed audio; supports Dolby Atmos®

Highest globally-recognized standard for wireless speaker systems


Ideal for true cinema surround-sound systems

The Flatscreen Age

Ever since advancements in electronic engineering unlocked the flatscreen, the race was on to make televisions thinner, lighter, and larger in terms of picture size. The upside of this has made it easier than ever on consumers when setting up, arranging, and rearranging their living spaces; the downside is that without the depth provided by a CRT (cathode ray tube), the speakers built into modern flatscreen TVs have decreased in size and capability, diminishing their overall impact. Furthermore, many flatscreens have back-facing speakers, in which case sound is immediately bounced off a wall or corner, before it even begins to travel forward, distorting and deadening it even further. For some people this is still a small tradeoff, but many have looked toward boosting their TV’s audio output capabilities with external speakers.

Enter the Soundbar

Simple, compact, and straightforward, the soundbar was primarily intended to supplement the quality of sound produced by televisions. The added “LCR” acronym often went alongside the soundbar name, indicating it was “left, center, and right” audio channels all housed in one device. There also came the addition of sound bases, which essentially were larger soundbars intended for a TV to stand on. These have been largely overshadowed, however, due to the popularity of wall-mounted flatscreen setups.

What soundbars have provided is a cost-effective way to turn the ‘shallow’ sound of flatscreen TVs into something with more depth. For a long time they’ve remained the comfortable option, while more extensive home theater systems were avoided due to their being costly and complicated to install, set up and operate.

What Soundbars Lack

Yet for all they may enhance the existent sound profile of a TV, soundbars have always fallen short of a true multi-unit sound system. Quite simply, they can bolster decibels and certain frequencies, but they cannot immerse the listener the way surround sound can. Several soundbar models are made with angled speakers within, which aim sound toward a reflection point to simulate multiple sources. However, no company’s acoustic engineers can reliably predict how each individual home will carry their sound reflection. Acoustics get altered by every picture on the wall, every book on the shelf, and every extra person in a room, making single-source units like soundbars ultimately bound by their manufactured limits.

To Bar, or Not to Bar?

The consumer’s dilemma: go with the simplicity of a soundbar, or spring for a home theater system with greater potential cost and complication? The decision process is different for everyone, and the answer will depend on individual priorities of sound quality, ease of use, and budget. If volume is the main concern, a soundbar may do the job admirably. If the name of the game is immersion and cinematic experience, then the extra investment in a multi-unit system will definitely be worth it.

For those unsatisfied with the options above, however, Platin is offering up a third: get the simplicity provided by soundbars, and the immersive dimensions of surround sound, by going wireless. Platin has developed the Monaco line of home theater speakers with those “on the fence” home cinema shoppers in mind. The components are minimalist in design, low profile in size, and with the help of the award-winning SoundSend transmitter and WiSA Certified components, the whole system functions without the need to run any audio cables. With each speaker plugged into a wall outlet for power, the central transmitter recognizes the system and assigns proper audio channels seamlessly connecting you to your movies, shows, music, and games in an entirely new way. While the bluetooth technology that powers many of the soundbars available can only process up to a conventional stereo signal, Platin Monaco is equipped to handle complex sound formats like Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos, and consistently delivers a full 8-channel audio array in uncompressed form, the same data bandwidth that film music & sound editors use when they’re creating your content.

When it comes to cost, you can actually expect to pay far less for Platin Monaco than you would for most soundbars that can simulate a Dolby surround sound format. Plus, you’ll be treated to features that no soundbar can deliver, like MyZone, which uses an interface via your smartphone to custom tune each speaker based on location in the room and distance from your favorite listening spot. This creates an ideal acoustic pocket of fine-tuned audio that you can’t get even in a professional movie theater.

As we continue forward into the Flatscreen Age, Platin Monaco is here to provide an affordable, portable, and deeply immersive surround sound experience. With Platin, you can finally experience your media to the fullest in the comfort of your own home.

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