Regular Cheapskate readers know that when it comes to TV audio, I recommend -- no, insist on! -- a sound bar. Anything less is cheating your ears in a way that's just unforgivable.
But what should you expect to pay for a decent one? A hundred bucks? Two hundred? Not today: GoGroove is offering its BlueSync SBR Bluetooth sound bar for $74.99 shipped when you apply coupon code SBRDEAL at checkout. Regular price: $99.99.
I've had good experiences with the BlueSync lineup in the past, but because this is a brand-new product, with almost no user reviews to be found, I asked for a test-listen before sharing the deal. Spoiler alert: The SBR sounds good. Like, surprisingly good. This despite it being a bit narrower (
42.5 31 inches) than the average sound bar and feeling like it's made of balsa wood. (The speaker weighs just 3.75 pounds.) Update: Although both the packaging and online specs indicate otherwise, the speaker measures just over 31 inches long, not 42.5. GoGroove apologies for the error.
I first paired it with my TV (the SBR has both RCA and optical inputs), then with my phone. Then it was just a matter of toggling between the two sources via the clearly labeled membrane remote.
That remote includes not only volume and treble/bass controls, but also three preset modes (Music, Movie and Voice) and play/pause and skip buttons for controlling music. I especially appreciated the clearly labeled buttons on the side of the speaker itself, which could come in handy should the remote go missing.
I'm no audiophile, but to my ears the SBR sounded splendid. (I tended to prefer the nicely balanced Music mode for all listening, including TV.) I actually put it right in front of the under-cabinet speaker that normally provides my TV audio, and honestly couldn't tell any difference.
Then I streamed my favorite Pandora stations (mostly of the indie/adult-alternative flavor) and found the music warm and resonant. So much so, in fact, that I started thinking of the SBR as less of a sound bar and more of a Bluetooth speaker, one that can be conveniently wall-mounted.
However you use it, I think you'll like the BlueSync SBR. GoGroove's three-year warranty is the icing on the cake. That said, I do have two complaints. First, it comes without any audio cables, even RCA. Second, it has no option for pairing with a subwoofer. Assuming you can live with that, go forth and listen.
Bonus deal: In case you missed it last week, StackSocial has extended the sale on the. This turned out to be massively popular (I heard from a bunch of readers who were truly excited about it), and I'm glad to see it's going to be available a bit longer. Can't help wondering if we'll someday see a similarly sweet deal on the Nexus 6!