A soundbar is one of those items you may have looked at and wanted but found it hard to justify. It's also one of those items that you try once and wonder why you waited for so long.
That sums up my experience so far with the AVerMedia SonicBlast GS333. This $149 soundbar is geared towards gamers along with a host of the company's other products, but it has much wider appeal.
And it sounds tremendous.
$149 (opens in new tab)Bottom line: A great all-in-one soundbar that doesn't cost a lot.
- Compact design.
- Excellent sound quality.
- Built-in subwoofer
- Bluetooth among its ample connections.
- No included optical audio cable.
- The different modes don't offer much change to overall sound.
- Takes a bit of working out which color LED relates to which mode.
What you'll like about the AVerMedia SonicBlast GS333
The SonicBlast GS333 is capable of being the audio output for your entire home entertainment setup. Just about every connection you could want can be found here. It's got optical audio, great for hooking up your games console, an aux input, left and right channel inputs for your stereo, USB and Bluetooth. Whatever you want to play sound from, the SonicBlast should be able to handle it.
Unlike some soundbars aimed at gamers such as the Creative BlasterX Katana, the SonicBlast doesn't look like it's for gamers. There's no wild styling or RGB lights, just a muted, compact design that will look good in any setup, gaming or otherwise. You don't need a giant TV for this to sit in front of, I've been using it with a 32-inch set and it's perfect. This also makes it a good choice for gamers who might be using it in conjunction with a monitor.
The SonicBlast also doesn't require an external subwoofer, although AVerMedia does have one it can connect to. The GS333 has built-in dual subwoofers firing downwards with dedicated bass controls on the remote. Despite the small size, there's 36W of bass that comes from this soundbar. And because it has legs, you get a clean delivery without excessive vibration of the surface it sits on. It can really boom if that's how you like it.
The SonicBlast provides 60W of audio power from four 2-inch speakers and definitely brings room-filling sound. For movies and music you get oodles of volume and a really rich, full sound that will transform your experience if you've been using your built in TV speakers before.
It's when you hook it up to your games console that you really get a feel for how impressive the effects of this soundbar are. I've had an Xbox One S hooked up over optical audio and the results frankly blew me away. The rumbling bass, the excellent soundstage and the almost ridiculous volume puts you into a different place when you're playing a game.
The included remote is basic but functional, and while it's something else to lose down the back of the sofa, you can control everything it does directly from the soundbar itself if you wish.
What you'll dislike about the AVerMedia SonicBlast GS333
Probably the thing that bugged me the most is that this is marketed as a gaming soundbar but doesn't include an optical audio cable in the box. Literally every other cable you can connect to the SonicBlast is included except optical. They're not expensive, but it meant that out of the box, I couldn't hook this up to my Xbox.
I was also a little disappointed with the different EQ modes. The sound quality from the SonicBlast is superb, but aside from a little extra clarity for vocals when in the music mode, I'm not convinced there's a whole lot of difference between them. Gaming just seems to crank the bass right up, which I've turned down anyway.
Using the SonicBlast can be a little confusing at first as well. There's no indication which color LED light on the soundbar corresponds to which input. Aside from assuming Bluetooth is blue, the rest I had to figure out by connecting things one by one and cycling through the inputs until I heard the sound. Just a sticker or something would have been nice!
Should you buy the AVerMedia SonicBlast GS333?
The soundbar space is pretty packed, and the SonicBlast GS333 certainly has plenty of competition. Thankfully its price on its own makes it attractive, as at $149 it sits below a number of better known audio and TV brands.
Where it probably stands out is if you're a gamer or you're already familiar with the quality you get from AVerMedia. Not only is their customer support excellent, but you get a two-year warranty on the SonicBlast, and it's as well made as any of their other gaming products.
If you like to game and want to step up your audio chops, it's certainly something you should consider. Especially if something like the Creative Katana at $300 is too steep. This is half the cost and doesn't need the giant subwoofer. Though you can certainly add one if you so wish.
A few annoying issues aside this is a very good soundbar and something I'd happily recommend.
An affordable soundbar for everyone
AVerMedia makes a lot of great products targeted at gamers and this soundbar is no exception. And it's great for non-gamers, too.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
So is it a 'gaming' sound bar because it doesn't have HDMI inputs or outputs?
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