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5 Shocking Soundbar Stories to Know Before You Buy

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5 Shocking Soundbar Stories to Know Before You Buy

Key Points

  • Soundbars are small speaker systems that sit below a TV and increase its volume output, providing a sleek and lightweight alternative to complex surround sound systems.
  • The Sonos Arc soundbar, known for its high-quality Dolby Atmos experience, has been reported to emit random loud pops and bangs, causing frustration for users.
  • Razer’s Leviathan V2 Pro soundbar features AI technology and an infrared camera that tracks viewers’ movements, raising concerns about privacy and security.
  • LG soundbars have received criticism for their audio quality and high prices, with one Reddit user reporting being electrocuted by their LG soundbar.
  • Some Samsung soundbars, such as the HW-Q990B model, have been plagued with issues, including speaker failures and unresponsive buttons, leading to frustration for users.

Since the advent of cheap flat-screen televisions, people have looked for ways to further enhance their home theatre experience. Then came along soundbars, thin rectangular speakers that sit below a TV and further project its sound. They can be a welcome addition to a television setup, but there are plenty of shocking soundbar stories to know before you buy.

In this article, we will explore the different ways these devices can easily break, produce bad-quality sound, and ultimately detract from your television viewing. First, let’s find out exactly what we mean when we say “soundbar.”

What Is a Soundbar?

Simply put, a soundbar is a small speaker system that sits below your television and increases its volume output. This is attractive for many reasons, but mainly because a soundbar’s whole projection system is built into a small, lightweight, and sleek speaker.

It requires no complex setup or gaggle of wires to get working. Plus, it fits snugly and aesthetically right below your television. For many people who are looking to boost the volume on their TV, it works great. And, while it won’t give you anything like a true surround sound system, soundbars can be a good compromise.

Unfortunately, these devices are often unstable, prone to error, or downright unreliable. A soundbar will give you a volume boost, but it might ruin your movie-watching experience in the process. Let’s investigate five shocking stories about soundbars and the headaches they cause consumers.

1. The Sonos Arc Jump Scare

shocking soundbar stories
Thousands of people have reported that the Sonos Arc produces shocking pop sounds at random moments.

The Sonos Arc soundbar costs nearly a thousand dollars. This is partly due to its use for the high-quality Dolby Atmos experience. The company claims it brings sound to life in an immersive and realistically spatial way. However, many users report shocking soundbar stories about the Arc, with loud pops and bangs coming from the device randomly.

In fact, thousands of owners report that the Arc emits random, frightening noises when using Dolby Atmos surround sound. While some say it happens at any given moment, others can get the device to make this loud pop by navigating streaming or Xbox menus.

Users en masse have reported the issue to Sonos, including creating extensive forum posts. The company, however, offers little in the way of a resolution. Reports of this issue have popped up since the Arc soundbar was first released. Still, the company has found no real fix in at least three years.

The best advice Sonos offers is to disable the Dolby Atmos surround sound feature completely. This gets rid of random audio explosions, but it utterly defeats the purpose of the Sonos Arc. This is because it’s specifically designed to play Dolby Atmos sound. There is little point in spending a thousand dollars on a product that can’t even play the type of audio for which it was designed.

2. The Leviathan V2 Pro Is Always Watching

shocking soundbar stories
Razer’s Leviathan V2 Pro comes packed with innovative features, including an all-seeing eye that tracks your every move.

Razer’s top-tier model soundbar is, no doubt, equipped with impressive features. These include a subwoofer and a frequency response between 40 – 20,000 Hz. Unfortunately, the company has gone all in on AI technology, as well, which means the device features an infrared camera to creepily track your movements.

The Leviathan V2 Pro uses this AI technology to measure exactly where a viewer is sitting and form a virtual soundscape around them. While this is impressive, Razer also encourages users to leave the speaker enabled at all times. This means the soundbar is watching you every second you’re in front of the TV.

No matter what you’re doing or how naked you are, the ominously named Leviathan V2 Pro will know. Plus, without a built-in shutter, it’s impossible to tell when the camera is enabled or not. Where this round-the-clock footage of you and your living room ends up is anybody’s guess. For the security or privacy-conscious consumer, this soundbar seems like a dystopian nightmare.

3. LG’s Electroshock Therapy

shocking soundbar stories
One Reddit user was nearly killed after being electrocuted by their LG soundbar.

LG does not have a good reputation for its soundbars. Many reviewers complain about LG’s audio quality and ridiculous prices. However, one Reddit user seemed to bear the brunt of LG’s unstable speakers after an SJ5 model electrocuted them.

Already dissatisfied with their soundbar due to constant signal-dropping, this user received quite a shock — literally — when attempting to turn on the device manually. After losing their remote, the Reddit user u/humanwall tried to turn on their soundbar via the button on the back of the device.

Instead, they received a jolt of electricity. This problem persisted each time they attempted to turn on their LG soundbar. The user notes that other people venturing to turn on the soundbar were electrocuted, as well. What’s more, u/humanwall felt that these shocks only grew in intensity each time someone touched the device.

Be it static electricity or something worse, this Reddit user got a taste of how dangerous a seemingly innocuous soundbar can be. One wonders how many other people have been electrocuted by soundbars, but didn’t live to tell their tale.

4. The Samsung Runaround

Another Reddit user endured quite a headache when attempting to fix their HW-Q990B model Samsung soundbar. Extensive complaints about the left-side speaker’s failure rate made them hesitant to buy, but they decided to go for it. However, they would quickly regret their leap of faith.

Almost immediately, Reddit user u/efstajas noticed the soundbar’s left speakers not working. They tried every troubleshooting method, but to no avail. Even a simple wave of their hand would make it fail, so they took it in for repairs two separate times. This did nothing, as their twice-repaired speaker still suffered from the same problem.

So, like any frustrated consumer, they sent it to Samsung for a refund. Instead, the company denied their request and sent them back their “repaired” soundbar. Somehow, the user’s HW-Q990B was even more broken, with the left speaker still failing and all its buttons now completely dead.

With no recourse left, u/efstajas returned to the original retailer, desperate for help. It was only after almost coming to blows with an employee that the store manager allowed him to swap out his Samsung soundbar for a Sony. Fortunately, this device worked like a charm.

5. Vizio Goes from Bad to Worse

shocking soundbar stories
One user’s Vizio soundbar went from working fine to being inoperable after a steady stream of faults.

The M series 5.1.1 soundbar by Vizio claims to be the leading soundbar in the country, with excellent connectivity, customizable surround sound, and extensive features. Reddit user u/SnooStrawberries6386, however, had quite a different experience when using this device.

Looking for something to improve their television volume, this Reddit user bought the M series 5.1.1 soundbar. The device worked fine, that is until its indicator light turned reddish-brown. Hours then turned into days, and no matter what they did, that reddish light stayed put. Little did they know these faults would snowball in quick succession.

Next, the subwoofer wouldn’t register when connected to HDMI, even though the audio was still running. Then, the indicator lights stopped working, meaning they couldn’t adjust any settings but the volume. After that, they tried to factory reset their Vizio soundbar. Unfortunately, there was no way to know if it worked, due to its faulty indicator LED lights.

The sound, however, still seemed to work fine. Not long after, though, the rear speakers stopped working randomly and the front speaker stopped functioning completely. At this point, u/SnooStrawberries6386 threw their hands up and tried to return the device. After that, it’s anybody’s guess what happened with their broken Vizio soundbar, as they have since deleted their Reddit account.

Conclusion

As you can see, many soundbars on the market can have shockingly bad quality. Even when operated by the most tech-literate of consumers, these devices can turn on you at the drop of a hat. Some might even send you to the hospital.

There are plenty more shocking soundbar stories out there, but never fear. A good one with an affordable price can be found with just a little research, diligence, and, frankly, suspicion. Your ears will thank you in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a soundbar?

A soundbar is a small thin speaker that goes below your television.

Why are soundbars good?

Soundbars are good for amplifying the volume of your television.

Are soundbars expensive?

Most soundbars are in the $200-500 range, but some on this list will run you thousands of dollars.

Why are soundbars bad?

Soundbars are notoriously unstable, with many on the market shorting out easily, producing strange noises, or just breaking completely.

Is it worth investing in a soundbar?

Soundbars are only a good investment for entry-level home theater aficionados.

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