Sonance SB46 M & SB46 L Adjustable Width Sound Bars Preview
- Three 1" Aluminum Dome Tweeters
- Three 4" Kevlar Midrange Drivers
- Six 4.5" Kevlar Woofers
- Frequency response - 90Hz - 20kHz ±3dB
- Impedance - 8 ohms nominal; 6 ohms minimum
- Sensitivity - 88dB SPL (2.83V/1 meter)
- Height/Depth - 5 9/32” x 2 9/16” (134mm x 65mm)
- Adjustable Width:
- SB46 M - 43 7/8” to 59 5/8”(1114mm to 1514mm)
- SB46 L - 61 1/2” to 77 5/16” (1562mm to 1964mm)
- Display Size:
- SB46 M - 50” - 65”
- SB46 L - 70” - 80”
- SB46 M - 21 lbs.
- SB46 L - 26 lbs.
Sound bars are popular for two reasons - first they increase the audio quality you experience from your display and second because they perfectly blend with your display. A sound bar will match your display so perfectly that people will just think you have a TV with a slightly larger bottom rather than a bar attached to it.
At least theoretically.
There are custom shops you can contact to ensure that your sound bar does, in fact, match your display. You also have the option of buying something from the manufacturer. But if you weren't pleased with the speakers in the display, a sound bar from the same company doesn't inspire confidence. The problem with aftermarket sound bars is that they have to, by definition, work with as many different displays as possible. That means that they likely won't line up edge to edge or flush to the front with your display. For some, this isn't an issue they care about. Others, however, will forever be bothered by the gaps and mismatched edges.
Sonance SB46 Sound Bar in action
Sonance is offering a solution for those that are concerned about the fit and finish of their installed sound bar. The new SB46 M and SB46 L (we're guessing that M=medium and L=large which begs the question where the S is) are not only quality sound bars, but they are adjustable. When we first read about them, we weren't impressed. Lots of sound bars have flexible placement and bracket options. Sonance wasn't talking about angling the bar, however, they were referring to the width. The SB46 sound bars adjust the width of the bar to fit your specific display!
To start off, the SB46 bars have a lot of similarities. They both sport a 1" aluminum dome tweeter and a 4" Kevlar midrange in a coaxial configuration for each channel. Using a coaxial driver makes a lot of sense as it eliminates off-axis lobing errors caused by horizontally mounted TM or MT driver configurations. This essentially creates a better listener experience for people not sitting directly in the middle of the sound bar thus widening the sweet spot.
There are three channels in the SB46 bars (Left, Center, and Right) and each channel has two 4.5" Kevlar woofers for additional bass. They both have a frequency response rated down to a surprisingly believable 90Hz (many manufacturers flub this spec to make their products look better on paper but this rating seems about right to us). The SB46 bars come with all the hardware you need to mount them including key hole wall mounts, a flat VESA display mount, a recessed VESA display mount, and rubber feet for table top mounting. The flat VESA and recessed VESA mounts allow you to attach the SB46 to the bottom of your display while giving you two options for matching the front of the display so that the speaker front is flush.
Of course, the claim to fame is the ability to adjust the widths of the SB46 sound bars. The SB46 bars are only 5-9/32” tall and 2-9/16” deep. The SB46 M can be paired with displays with diagonal measurements of 50" to 65" and adjusts from 43-7/8” to 59-5/8”. The SB46 L can fit displays with diagonal measurements of 70" to 80" and adjusts from 61-1/2” to 77-5/16”. The thing that is not totally clear from the press release and the limited information on their webpage is what exactly adjusts on the SB46 bars. We though the left and right channels would slide out to the side which would make for a larger stereo image and a wider sweet spot. Close examination of the quickstart guide, however, indicated that it might be only the grille that slides. While we understand why this was the solution they went with, the larger grille may look better on the wall but it will do nothing to make the sweet spot wider.
Sonically the two different SB46 bars should sound the same and they sport a passive design (meaning you'll need to power them with an amp of some sort). The enclosure is crafted out of aircraft-grade aluminum and the grille is perforated steel. Considering the size of the displays these are meant to be paired with, it should come as no surprise that the smaller SB46 M will retail for $1750 and the larger SB46 L for $2000.
Sonance is looking to make a statement with their first sound bars, the SB46 M and SB46 L. The first adjustable width sound bars to be mass produced, the SB46 line is striving to ensure that your sound bar purchase perfectly matches your display. Sporting three channels with a 1" tweeter/4" midrange in a coaxial configuration and dual 4.5" woofers, they are both rated down to 90Hz. At $1750 and $2000 respectively, the SB46 M mates with 50-65" displays and the SB46 L with 70-80" displays. Our only concern is that it is the grille that adjusts and not the Left and Right channels. While this might look nice on the wall, it does little to increase performance or increase the size of the sweet spot.
For more information, please visit www.sonance.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.