Best Passive Soundbar

Votes 1 1
Rating 5 5
Overall Audio features Streaming services Connectivity Features Multichannel surround
Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50 6 6 inapplicable 6 inapplicable inapplicable See price
KEF HTF7003 5 6 inapplicable 4 inapplicable inapplicable See price
Dayton Audio BS36 4.5 5 inapplicable 4 inapplicable inapplicable See price

Want to immerse your home into a high-quality sound? You definitely need the best passive soundbar.

As you know, there are two types of speakers - active and passive. Active speakers are those that come with built-in amplifiers. They are also known as powered speakers and can be directly connected to the mixing board. Passive speakers, also known as non-powered home theater systems, are traditional speakers that require external amplifiers or AV receivers.

Passive soundbar pros and cons

  • You can choose your own amplifier and receiver and experiment with various settings of the subwoofer and soundbar
  • Passive speakers have great flexibility
  • They lack digital signal processing
  • Passive speakers lack inputs

When choosing a soundbar, you should consider a number of features. First of all, it is power, functionality, and the way to connect the device. Additional criteria include subwoofer type, interface, number of channels, and wireless communications.

Passive soundbar reviews

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Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50 - best overall

Our rating
6/10

Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50

The best passive soundbar available for today, Mythos SSA-50 from Definitive Technology, takes a unique approach to soundbar design. In addition to enabling bona fide tweeters for the left, center and right front channels - this is a big departure from most manufacturers' designs without twitter - tweeters are located right in front of the mid/bass drivers of the corresponding channel. The result of the design of the gambit is a more sophisticated and accurate sound, more like a high-quality five-channel satellite system. Ultimately called the SSA-50's unique tweeter/midrange arrangement “Axially Aligned,” and it is at least partially responsible for the SSA-50's accurate sound. The soundbar is finished at a high level, and we think that it is really quite attractive.

The SSA-50 is a five-channel speaker, but the front left, center and right channels feature five 4.5-inch mid/bass drivers, three of which have 1-inch tweeters inset in the center (Definitive calls that "Axially Aligned"). The surround channels are handled by four 3.25-inch mid/bass drivers. Its sensitivity is 90 dB, frequency range 50 Hz - 30 kHz.

Unlike many other soundbar models, which use their own surround decoders and amplifiers, the Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50 combined speaker system is based on the BYOP principle - Bring Your Own Processor. Accordingly, structurally, this speaker is actually five independent speakers, assembled in a single housing, and having independent acoustic inputs.

There are 12 speakers in the unit. The “speakers” for the front channels are two-way to save space on the front panel and get a more uniform sound dispersion, the tweeters in them (having an aluminum dome with a diameter of 25 mm) are placed in front of the bass speakers in special acoustic fairings. The rear channels sound broadband speakers. Where are four other emitters, you ask? They are used to eliminate the interference of sound between different channels using Spatial Array proprietary technology.

Two of these additional speakers suppress the overlapping signals of the left and right stereo channels, creating the corresponding antiphase sound wave. Two more are designed to work together with the speakers of the rear channels of the speaker system. This technology makes Mythos SSA-50 unique for its market segment since the quality of the surrounding sound space formed by it does not depend on the acoustic properties of the listening room. In addition, a special HRTF filter changes the spectral balance of the sound of the rear speakers so that the listener perceives it as coming not from the front, but from the back, as when using conventional rear speakers. Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50

As for the ability to connect signal sources, it has two digital inputs - coaxial and optical, plus USB (for playing WAV, not MP3, oddly enough) and a linear input on the 3.5 mm mini-jack connector.

The casing of the speaker is closed, made of aviation aluminum, and has deep internal damping, and is reinforced with additional partitions. The external surface of the speaker is polished, and can be silver, or painted with black piano lacquer - both finishes are in excellent agreement with the appearance of modern flat-panel TVs. Mythos SSA-50 can be mounted on a rack, or suspended on a wall using the included hardware.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 5.0
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): no
  • Bluetooth: no
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 13.6 x 117.5 x 10.7/5.4 x 46.2 x 4.2
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Virtual surround speaker housed in a sleek 46-inch-wide aluminum cabinet
  • Nine-driver full-range design enables use without a separate subwoofer

Cons

  • No included table stand

KEF HTF7003

Our rating
5/10

KEF HTF7003

This single soundbar is quite modest and humble at an affordable price. But do not rush to the final decision. Browse this piece of passive soundbar reviews, particularly the KEF HTF7003 brief description to see if this device can give you exactly what you need.

Despite the fact that this bar was first launched in 2005, it is still in a top position, which is quite impressive for the home theater market, where new models appear weekly. Does this mean that you will also like this device? You might as well do, read on to understand why the HTF7003 is so amazing.

If you think this soundbar is what you need, I have some good news. KEF is still producing this model with the same characteristics that it had when it first appeared on the market.

There is a rare wall mount bracket that provides you with various placement options. A table stand is also included in the package. Both are quite durable. They are very easy to attach and detach, which means the placement will be very simple and easy.

The sound is very natural, clear, and exciting. Do not expect any of the latest technological benefits. The KEF HTF7003 features a timeless, powerful, high-quality sound with a huge volume range. If you cannot live without 3D technology, etc., you may need to look for the perfect soundbar elsewhere.

The impressive 6 dB sensitivity is really impressive, especially for a weight of 6 pounds. This single device impresses with its three triples of tweeters located in a line in the center. Sound quality will not be affected by placement.

It is equipped with a built-in 200-watt amplifier, which runs on a 200-mm speaker. In order to make the bass deeper and more powerful, while maintaining intelligibility and dynamics at the lowest frequencies, KEF uses the original ABR (Active Bass Reflex) solution in this subwoofer, which implies the use of a second speaker in the subwoofer, similar in its parameters to the first, but not having its own "motor" system.

Around back, the HTF7003 has three pairs of all-metal spring connectors that accept bare wire ends or wires terminated with pins or spades; banana plugs won't fit. KEF HTF7003

For your convenience, the HTF7003 comes supplied with a wall mount bracket and table stand, so you can set it up wherever your listening and watching space allows.

Although all tweeters are directed forward, the sound feels multidimensional and immersive, being redirected from the walls and ceiling. There is no Alexa, no voice control, and, of course, no smartphone app. This model was released before these technologies became so widespread. There is no Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi.

AV inputs are available but no HDMI input or output. This means that you must double-check whether you can connect it to Smart TV directly. Or, if you can do it through the receiver. All in all, this is a great inexpensive family-run soundbar. I would recommend this to people for its good quality and value for the money.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 3.0
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): no
  • Bluetooth: no
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 78.5 x 8.1 x 6.1/30.9 x 3.1 x 2.4
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Excellent sound on movies for a soundbar
  • KEF offers matching bookshelf surround speakers
  • Relatively lightweight makes wall-mounting easier

Cons

  • Needs a separate subwoofer for credible home theater sound
  • Rubber support pads are too small

Dayton Audio BS36

Our rating
4.5/10

Dayton Audio BS36

In terms of acoustic performance, this non powered soundbar Dayton Audio BS36 does not disappoint. It boasts long-excursion speakers that deliver amazing bass. The subwoofer is specially designed to enhance the influence of bass. Movies with a lot of action and special effects, such as Jurassic Park and Fast and Furious, are nice to watch on Audio BS36.

It animates the scenes and makes them more lively and exciting. Whether it is the roar of a lion or the wheezing of a racing car engine, the rumble of clouds, or the loud sound of home music, the soundbar captures every nuance with breathtaking accuracy.

Dayton Audio BS36 has different left, right, and center channels. It has three 3-3 / 4-inch paper-diffuser subwoofers and three 5/8-inch aluminum tweeters. The woofers process the low frequencies, and the tweeters the high. Together they launch broadband audio with high frequencies, clear mid-range frequencies, and deep bass.

Audio BS36 is a very adaptive panel that is compatible with a wide range of receivers of different brands. The soundbar has a frequency response of 100 Hz to 20 kHz, an impedance of 8 ohms, and a sound pressure level (SPL) of 87 dB 1 W / 1 m. Thus, it is fully equipped to handle very high and very low-frequency ranges for balanced acoustic output. The maximum power of the device is 80 watts, and the RMS power is 50 watts. This gives the system ample muscle for rock'n'roll films and high bass music such as EDM (electronic dance music).

Dayton Soundbar is an elegant soundbar. It is designed for small houses with limited space, to complement the decoration of modern homes. It has a glossy black lacquered surface that gives durability to an elegant and sophisticated look. The soundbar is suitable for medium and large flat-screen TVs up to 55 inches. It is not very heavy and weighs 14.2 kg. Please note that the panel uses separate spring-loaded positive and negative terminals to connect to external receivers/speakers/subwoofers. Dayton Audio BS36

It has a width of 36 inches, a height of 4 inches and a depth of 4 inches. The soundbar sits comfortably under the TV, without interfering.

It has a flat, low profile frame and does not take up much space on the table. It can be mounted on a wall or on a desk, shelf, or media console. This makes the system very flexible, and you can install it anywhere. There are ventilation holes on the back for attaching the bar to walls or other vertical surfaces.

It has screw mounts and M5 threaded inserts for 16-inch center pins. There are two sturdy rubber legs for placement on a table by the rack. They hold the bar firmly and prevent it from vibrating or shaking.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 3.0
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): no
  • Bluetooth: no
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 93.1 x 10.1 x 10.1/37 x 4.2 x 4.8
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • The speaker cabinet is heavy-duty and has a nice gloss black finish
  • The speaker bar uses separate spring-loaded terminals (positive and negative) to connect your speaker wire to each speaker, so TV shows and movies sound great
  • The mid to high range is an amazingly clean and great sounding

Cons

  • Just don't expect to get low range sound without a subwoofer

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