June 01, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
No matter how well you position them, those boxy speakers are going to stick out like a sore thumb next to that svelte new flat-panel TV. The solution: a soundbar-style speaker, a design that combines the front, left, right and center channels into a single housing that’s meant to float underneath a skinny display. The slimmer, sleeker profile resonates with consumers; a report from Futuresource forecasts that shipments of soundbars doubled between 2010 and 2011, reaching nearly 2.5 million units, and the growth is expected to continue through 2016.
“We’ve trended almost exactly the same way, up 55 percent in sales from last year,” says Noah Kaplan, president of Leon Speakers Corp. He attributes part of that growth to the increasing popularity of super slim LED TVs, and says the biggest growth area of Leon’s soundbar business has been in custom designs for displays larger than 70 inches. “We have a stream of business coming in for soundbars for TVs even as large as 103 inches. We used to do a soundbar for a huge screen like this maybe once a week; now, we get orders every day.” As the width of Leon’s sidebars has extended to match the width of larger TVs, it has been able to work higher power speakers into its housings. “We’ve been able to double the amount of woofers and use better drivers that can reach down to 60Hz,” says Kaplan.
Check out some of the custom-made soundbars by Leon Speakers here.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.