It’s a common misconception that all soundbars are the same, but in reality there are two types of soundbars, namely active and passive. Active soundbars are those that come with built-in amplifiers and can be directly plugged into any media device in the market. Passive soundbars on the other hand are those that rely on an external amplifier or receiver to work.
Thanks to their level of compatibility, passive soundbars are in demand and you can match them with any receiver, pair multiple speakers to create an immersive environment and even decode a variety of formats depending on the receiver and not the soundbar.
Today, I’m going to list out the top 6 best passive soundbars to buy. They’re affordable, functional and deliver the right amount of power so you always have a great time.
Here are the top 6 best passive soundbars.
- Vizio 2.1 SB3621 Soundbar
- Definitive Technology XTR-SSA5
- Martin Logan Motion SLM X3
- Kef HTF7003 Soundbar
- Klipsch G-42 Passive Soundbar
- Polk Audio Signature Series S35
Recommended Read: Best Chinese Soundbar
Table of Contents
Top 6 Best Passive Soundbars
Vizio 2.1 SB3621 Soundbar
Vizio has probably one of the best passive soundbars that money can buy. The SB3621 is a large 36” soundbar that’s coupled with a wireless subwoofer so that you always have the best sounding experience, even if you’re only watching TV channels.
The s soundbar is Bluetooth compatible and delivers a maximum 100dB of sound at full capacity. You can play songs from your mobile device or any music player that supports Bluetooth transmission.
The Vizio 2.1 soundbar fills the room rather well and the wireless subwoofer will easily deliver the right amount of thumping bass. It’s equipped with DTS virtual for delivering a wide and immersive experience and considering the fact that this 2.1 soundbar is affordable makes it one of our favorites.
Definitive Technology Mythos XTR-SSA5
Definitive Technology is a leading manufacturer of soundbars and audio equipment. The XTR-SSA5 is their ultra slim surround sound soundbar that is capable of delivering up to 5 channels of sound without requiring any extra add-ons.
It’s unique because the Mythos XTR-SSA5 is one of the few devices to come with spatial array technology allowing you to experience not only surround sound, but also 3D spatial sound even though there is just the one speaker in front of you.
The Mythos XTR-SSA5 comes equipped with aluminum dome drivers and its body is made from aircraft-grade aluminum making it highly durable and safe from scratches, but also lightweight and easily movable. Unfortunately, this soundbar does not offer Bluetooth or wireless streaming options so that’s something you’d have to look at before buying it.
Martin Logan Motion SLM X3
While this soundbar might not be something everyone can afford, it’s one of the best sounding soundbars we’ve tested and is definitely one of the best passive soundbars in the market. The SLM X3 is a mountable passive soundbar that looks and sounds great.
The X3 soundbar is equipped with electrostatic speakers and folded motion tweeters that have been well-tuned to deliver crystal clear sound. It is capable of delivering up to 140W RMS which is pretty loud in my opinion and with deep bass, you can practically enjoy anything on your TV.
While this soundbar is sleek, delivers great sounding audio and can be wall-mounted, it does not offer wireless capabilities like the Vizio 2.1 nor does it come with a subwoofer and that’s something you should definitely get if you’re paying a premium price. But all-in-all, this soundbar is definitely a wonderful piece of technology that you can consider buying.
Kef HTF7003 Soundbar
The Kef HTF7003 is a mid-range 32” soundbar that is best suited for 32-40” TVs.This is a stylishly designed passive soundbar that has a sleek and thin profile making it the perfect attachment for flat screen displays.
This soundbar consists of two 2” woofers and a 19mm HF driver. It’s built out of a premium aluminum alloy and is lightweight so you can easily mount the soundbar on the wall or you can make use of the table stand it comes with.
It delivers a reasonable 100dB of sound and has a heightened frequency response compared to other passive soundbars. This is one of the best passive soundbars that you can get for a mid-range price of $600, but what really stands out is the design and high gloss black finish. Give it a try, you may fall in love with everything about this speaker.
Klipsch G-42 Passive Soundbar
Klipsch is a name we’ve all come to love in the audio industry and one of the best sounding, technology driven soundbars in the market just so happens to be the G-42 from Klipsch. This passive soundbar does not rely on wireless connectivity and comes equipped with only auxiliary modes of connection.
It features dual dynamic 1” tweeters that are positioned on either end of the soundbar and a pair of center channel 3.5” woofers, one for the left channel and one for the right. These speakers help deliver accurate and clear sounding audio that will truly immerse the listener in whatever they’re listening to.
The G-42 can be mounted on the wall and you get the bracket and screws to mount the soundbar wherever you like. It’s ideal for movies and music and with a decent sound production, it can even replace those large clunky surround sound units you have lying at home.
Polk Audio Signature Series S35
The S35 center channel soundbar from Polk Audio features a 6 speaker layout which uses power port technology to deliver reliable and clear surround sound. It’s a rather compact soundbar and would be best positioned on a table than mounted on the wall.
It’s designed to deliver less distortion and can easily be connected to small 2.1 channels or large 9.1 channels and still perform like a beast. Though this soundbar looks small, it is actually quite heavy and if you’re looking for top quality audio from this one then i’d advise you to utilize it as a component speaker rather than a standalone one.
The S35 has a nice detachable magnetic grille that sits on the front of the unit and looks good on a bookshelf, under your TV or anywhere in your room you feel is the best place to keep it.
Best Passive Soundbars – Buyer’s Guide
The best sounding passive soundbar is one that not only looks good, but performs great as well. It will need to be affordable and powerful so you have a truly great experience. Here are a couple of things you can look into while buying a passive soundbar.
- Quality of the sound – The most important factor to consider is the sound quality. Though there are many soundbars in the market that do look good and seem premium quality, they lack the power and at times the audio gets distorted. You will need to ensure that the speakers in the soundbar are designed to handle the load and you should be able to hear clear vocals at high volumes. Always request for a demo when buying a soundbar.
- Channels – As you may have noticed from the list above, soundbars come with different channel capabilities and anything typically over 5.1 channels to 9.1 would be perfect to go for. This is because as per industry standards 5.1 is the base for true surround sound and when you add more channels to that you receive audio that’s detailed and immersive.
- Connectivity – Passive soundbars are available in both wired and wireless variants so you can basically connect them to anything you desire. We would recommend picking a soundbar that has either a HDMI port or a Toslink jack as these forms of connection will ensure you receive the best audio quality possible. Bluetooth is good, but not as perfect as wired connections go.
- Price – Finally, make sure you find a passive soundbar that fits within your budget. This is essential because you don’t want to break your bank on a single soundbar (unless it’s extremely powerful and comes with 9.1 capabilities) then yes go for it. But ensure you don’t exceed the budget you have allotted. There are many soundbars to choose from and hundreds of them are affordable, so just keep an eye on the product specifications and buy one accordingly.
It’s never easy to pick the best passive soundbar. With many out there and different features to choose from, it gets a bit difficult finding the right one to best suit your requirements. This list contains some of the best passive soundbars in the market you can buy today and I do hope we were able to ease your selection process.
Until next time.
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Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.
I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.
Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.