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AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 23, 2020 at 08:20 am
AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Picture
4.3
Mixed Usage
4.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
5.0
Music
3.6
Movies
Channels
2.1

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth is an affordable yet simple 2.1 soundbar with an integrated subwoofer. While it may be affordable for those working within a tight budget, its low price is reflected in its build quality, sound reproduction, and features. Its bass-tilted and uneven sound signature produce a dark sound. Unfortunately, if you play bass-heavy audio at max volume, you might hear a lot of distortion. Overall, this is a budget soundbar that doesn't deliver anything other than a poor audio experience.

Our Verdict

4.3 Mixed Usage

Poor for mixed usage. The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth has an uneven sound signature that tilts towards the bass. Unusually, the thump and rumble in the bass range is also lacking, which isn't great for action movies. For a 2.1 soundbar, it has a mediocre soundstage, which won't really immerse you into your audio either. There are distortion artifacts in the bass range at max volume too, making it less than suitable for house parties. On the positive side, this soundbar has three modes to better enhance your listening experience.

Pros
  • Auto-off power saving feature.
Cons
  • Plasticky build with loose fabric cover.
  • Very uneven sound signature.
  • Lacks most common sound enhancement features.
4.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

Poor for dialogue and TV shows. The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth's bass-tilted sound signature might impact your listening experience, but while we tested this soundbar on standard mode, it also has a dialogue enhancement feature called "news mode" which can help to bring out speech. On the downside, however, it lacks an auto-volume/night mode to correct differences in volume.

5.0 Music

Disappointing for music. The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth's bass-tilted sound signature is uneven and dark. Bass lacks thump and rumble while the treble is dull and dark. With the volume cranked up to the max, you'll hear distortion artifacts in the bass range. On the upside, you can stream audio from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth to wirelessly listen from your soundbar.

3.6 Movies

Bad for movies. The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth has a dedicated movie mode. However, as it doesn't have a center or surround speakers, you'll get a narrow soundstage that won't be immersive. It also doesn't have height channels or Atmos support. However, while we tested this soundbar with its standard mode, you might get better results using movie mode.

  • 4.3 Mixed Usage
  • 4.7 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 5.0 Music
  • 3.6 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth soundbar system is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar from AmazonBasics. This is the only soundbar currently produced by Amazon and is fairly simple in design. If you're looking for other affordable soundbars, budget options such as the Sony HT-S100F and TCL Alto +7 are the main competitors.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The 2.1 Channel Bluetooth is a small soundbar. While mostly made of plastic, the bar is covered in a loose fabric that feels cheap and easily rippable. Beneath the bar is the integrated subwoofer, protected by a metal plate. It has a set of silver button controls on the right-hand side. This bar also has feet with small rubber dots instead of a flat surface.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is embedded into the bar.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn't have satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 31.3" (79.5 cm)
Bar Height 3.6" (9.2 cm)
Bar Depth 3.7" (9.5 cm)

Unlike the Vizio SB3820-C6 36", this bar is fairly small and should fit between the legs of most 55-inch TV stands. It also shouldn't block the screen, unless your TV sits directly on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width N/A
Sub Height N/A
Sub Depth N/A

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth doesn't have a separate subwoofer in this setup.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

There are no satellites in this setup as it's a 2.1 channel soundbar.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

The back of this bar is slightly curved, so it won't sit completely flush to your wall. It has one opening for the input ports.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

The subwoofer is integrated into the bar.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This setup doesn't have satellites.

6.0
Design
Build Quality

Update 05/08/2020: We've reduced the build quality score of this soundbar to better reflect how it compares to other products.

The AmazonBasics 2.1's build quality is mediocre. It has a black plastic build covered in a loose, cheap-feeling fabric that could be prone to ripping. A metal plate protects the integrated subwoofer hidden under the bar. Feet texturized with rubber dots raise this soundbar slightly off the table. As a whole, it doesn't feel as well-built as the BOMAKER Odine II, which uses a thin metal grille.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
3.9 ft (1.2 m)

  • Manuals
  • Wall-mount template
  • Remote control with two AAA batteries
  • Power adapter and cord
  • RCA audio cable
  • Optical audio cable
  • AUX 3.5mm audio cable
  • 2x wall brackets with screws

Sound
4.7
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-1.65
ST Std. Err.
4.21 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
73.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
8.7 kHz

The AmazonBasics 2.1 has a bad stereo frequency response. Tested on standard mode, it has a noticeable tilt in its tonal balance, producing a more bass-heavy sound. However, while you'll get more bass, your audio won't be able to produce deep rumbles and thumps. If you like to watch action movies with a lot of explosions, it'll sound shallow or lacking. Notes from the treble range such as from flutes or violins will also sound dull, giving this soundbar an uneven but dark sound. For a more balanced-sounding budget soundbar, consider the Vizio SB3220n-F6.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.54 dB

The stereo soundstage performance of the 2.1 Channel Bluetooth is mediocre. The width of the soundstage is fairly limited to the size of the bar while the focus is uneven, performing better on some songs than others. Its soundstage can be boxy on some tracks, too.

6.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
93.1 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
4.96 dB

This soundbar has sub-par stereo dynamics. If you like to crank up the sound, you'll get a decently loud sound from this soundbar but it won't be suitable for crowded environments like a house party. However, at max volume, it produces a lot of pumping and compression artifacts, most noticeably in the bass range. If you're looking for a 2.1 channel soundbar that can get slightly louder and with less compression, take a peek at the TaoTronics TT-SK026.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.51
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.13

The THD performance of this soundbar is okay. At normal volume, you'll get a clean and pure sound. However, at max volume, the THD jumps across the range and is especially elevated in the mid-range. However, this shouldn't be audible to most.

0
Sound
Center
C Localization
N/A
C Slope
N/A
C Std. Err.
N/A
C SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
C Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth doesn't have a physical center speaker. It can't even decode or downmix surround sound content on the center channel.

0
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
N/A
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
N/A
Sr Std. Err.
N/A
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support surround channels and can't downmix into stereo.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar system doesn't have height channels and it doesn't support Atmos.

2.1
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
No

The sound enhancement features of the 2.1 Channel Bluetooth are terrible. It lacks most other features including an auto-volume mode. Fine-tuning your sound is also really limited to the preset EQs. However, if you watch a lot of dialogue-heavy content such as telenovelas or dramas, the news preset can enhance it as it acts as dialogue enhancement.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
No
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No

This soundbar has limited connectivity options. While it does come with an RCA In and AUX cable input, it lacks an HDMI In input. It also doesn't have an HDMI ARC and Out input, either. You won't be able to use it as a hub for all of your devices but if you're just looking to play music from just one source like a record player or TV, these inputs should be adequate.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

This soundbar doesn't have an HDMI connection and can't play content via ARC. If you're looking for a 2.1 setup with an ARC port, consider the Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth doesn't have a full HDMI In port which would allow it to connect to external devices that support the reproduction of advanced sound formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

The 2.1 Channel Bluetooth can only reproduce sound in the Dolby Digital format. Unfortunately, it doesn't support DTS, unlike most other soundbars.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

This soundbar can connect to any device that supports Bluetooth such as your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to play your favorite jams through this speaker.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
N/A
HDR10 Passthrough
N/A

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth lacks an HDMI port and can't serve as a hub between your devices and your TV.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

The 2.1 Channel Bluetooth's subwoofer is integrated into the bar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't have any satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface of the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth is fairly simple. It doesn't have a display but it instead uses lights on the top of the soundbar to indicate which input and preset you're on. Unfortunately, there isn't a light or audio cue to indicate whether you've successfully connected via Bluetooth or not. While there is a light on the front of the bar that turns on when you've pressed the Bluetooth button, it always stays on whether or not you're connected via Bluetooth.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The bar controls of this soundbar are relatively simple. Its physical buttons allow you to toggle between three sound modes: standard, movie, and news. There's also a handy Bluetooth button that allows you to turn on and off the connection, although it doesn't have a light or audio cue to let you know if it is or isn't connected. You can even toggle between the wired connections with its dedicated button. Just like the sound modes, you'll know which setting you're on thanks to the light located to this button's left side. Finally, you have dedicated up and down volume control.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The 2.1 Channel Bluetooth's remote has basic controls, allowing you to toggle between inputs and modes. It also has a large Bluetooth button. However, the play/pause and skip tracks button will only work with your Bluetooth connection.

Additional Features
App
App Name N/A
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth doesn't have a companion app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Auto-off
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
No

This soundbar has an auto-off power-saving feature. Since it doesn't support CEC, you won't be able to power on/off or change the volume of the soundbar using your TV's remote.

Compared to other soundbars

The AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth soundbar is a poor soundbar compared to speakers within the budget or entry-level range. Although it's probably the most affordable soundbar we've tested so far, its design and features reflect its low price point. Especially when compared to other budget models, its bass-tilted sound signature and overall poor performance make it forgettable among other similarly priced soundbars.

If you're looking for more affordable or better performing soundbars, check out the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.

Sonos Beam
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The 3.0 channel Sonos Beam is a much better soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth bar. Not only is the Sonos even more compact, but it has a significantly better-balanced sound profile, a wider soundstage, and more sound enhancement features, including room correction. Neither soundbar has full HDMI-in, though, and both only support Dolby Digital surround content.

Samsung HW-Q90R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The 7.1.4 channel Samsung HW-Q90R is a much better soundbar setup than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth bar. The Samsung is a lot more expensive, but it has a significantly better-balanced sound profile, can support more surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, has more diverse connectivity options like HDMI, and has a more premium design. If you're tight on space, the inexpensive AmazonBasics bar will likely be a better option, but if you have enough room and can afford the Samsung, it's the better choice overall.

Bose Soundbar 700
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The 3.0 channel Bose Soundbar 700 is much better than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth soundbar. The Bose sounds much better-balanced with a wider soundstage, has more sound enhancement features, including room correction, and also supports DTS surround content. It's a pretty long soundbar though, so the AmazonBasics might be a better option if you're tight on space.

TCL Alto 7+
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The TCL Alto 7+ is a slightly better performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The TCL is better built and has a more neutral sound profile than the AmazonBasics, but it lacks bass. Similar to the AmazonBasics, the TCL has noticeable compression when the volume is at max. It also has a narrow soundstage, making it a less than great choice for movie content.

Sony HT-S200F
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Sony HT-S200F is an overall better-performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Although similarly priced, the Sony is slightly more expensive but it outperforms the AmazonBasics, especially for dialogue and TV shows. It can't get as loud as the AmazonBasics but at its max volume, the Sony still performs well. Just like the AmazonBasics, the Sony doesn't have a very wide or immersive soundstage.

BOMAKER Odine II
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BOMAKER Odine II is a better budget soundbar for dialogue and TV shows than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The BOMAKER feels better built, it can get much louder with less compression, and it has a virtual surround feature. While it's really lacking bass, it has a more neutral mid-range, which helps out vocals. However, the AmazonBasics can play Dolby Digital via its Optical In, and it produces much more bass, even though it's still lacking in this department.

Sony HT-S100F
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony HT-S100F is an overall better-performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The Sony's sound profile is more neutral and balanced compared to the AmazonBasics and it performs better at max volume. The Sony is also well-suited for dialogue-centric audio content. If you're power-conscious, the AmazonBasics has an auto-off compared to the Sony's standby mode.

TCL Alto 5+
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

While the TCL Alto 5+ is also a budget soundbar, it performs slightly better than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Overall, the TCL has a bass-heavy but more neutral sound profile than the uneven, bass-tilted AmazonBasics. Although the TCL's center channel performance isn't great, the AmazonBasics can't decode surround signals at all. Both soundbars don't get very loud but at max volume, the TCL has fewer artifacts.

Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Vmai 2.1 Channel Sound Bar is a better overall soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Both are entry-level 2.1 setups with an integrated subwoofer that lack center channels and surround and Atmos support. However, the Vmai is better-built, and it has a much more well-balanced, neutral sound profile compared to the Amazon's dark sound profile. It also has a more focused soundstage, so objects seem to come from a pinpoint location instead of a general area. The Vmai has an HDMI ARC port and bass and treble adjustments, unlike the Amazon.

TaoTronics TT-SK023
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Both the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth and the TaoTronics TT-SK023 are pretty bad soundbars. Neither has a very versatile sound profile - the AmazonBasics sounds more dark and boomy while the TaoTronics is dull and boxy. Both soundbars have limited connectivity options but at least the AmazonBasics supports Dolby Digital over optical. The TaoTronics, however, compresses much less at max volume and feels better-built, too.

Vizio SB3820-C6
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Although the Vizio SB3820-C6 is a 2.0 channel speaker, it has a better performance than the 2.1 channel AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. The Vizio has a better-balanced sound profile and has fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It also has a phantom center channel and it can downmix surround content. While it doesn't have EQs, it has bass and treble adjustments as well as three virtual surround sound features. The AmazonBasics, on the other side, offers a dialogue enhancement feature.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The 3.0 channel Sonos Playbar is a better soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth bar. The Sonos is a high-end soundbar with a more premium design, better-balanced sound, and more sound enhancement features, like room correction. Both soundbars lack connectivity options, though, and neither supports DTS - only Dolby Digital. Since the Sonos is quite a bit more expensive, if you're on a budget and aren't super picky about sound quality, the AmazonBasics is likely a better option.

TaoTronics TT-SK026
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a slightly better performing soundbar than the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth. Although they're both 2.1 channel soundbars, the TaoTronics has a more balanced sound profile and it can get slightly louder but with fewer compression artifacts. However, the AmazonBasics can support Dolby Digital content and it has an auto-off timer.

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