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TaoTronics TT-SK023 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 26, 2020 at 10:24 am
TaoTronics TT-SK023 Picture
4.1
Mixed Usage
4.0
Dialogue/TV Shows
5.2
Music
3.6
Movies
Channels
2.0

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is a disappointing 2.0-channel soundbar. It has a compact design that feels fairly well-built but has a dull, boxy sound profile that isn't very versatile. While it can play pretty loudly without compressing, it's not the soundbar you'll want to pull out at a party or during a movie - it lacks not only thump and rumble, but detail and clarity too. It also has limited connectivity options, and only supports playback of PCM surround formats, which is rather restrictive. All things considered, this soundbar isn't recommended unless you're sold on the small form factor.

Our Verdict

4.1 Mixed Usage

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is a poor soundbar for most uses. While its compact design is practical, it has a dull, boxy sound profile that lends itself poorly to not only movies, but TV shows and music too. The soundstage is also quite small and there are no virtual surround effects to help with this. Surround support is also limited since it only supports PCM formats and doesn't have any HDMI ports.

Pros
  • Compact design.
  • Decent build quality.
  • Very good stereo dynamics.
Cons
  • Dull, boxy sound profile.
  • Very few sound enhancement features.
  • Small soundstage.
  • Limited connectivity options.
4.0 Dialogue/TV Shows

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is inadequate for dialogue and TV shows. It has a balanced reproduction of frequencies in the mid-range but lacks fullness in the bass and detail in the treble, which makes voices sound thin. The boxy sound profile could work for audiobooks or podcasts but isn't ideal, and there are no dialogue enhancement options to help.

5.2 Music

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is disappointing for music, even on the 'Music' EQ preset. Its bass performance is quite bad - not only since it lacks a subwoofer, but it just struggles to deliver good thump and kick in general. It also performs poorly in the treble range, with poor detail and clarity which results in a dull, boxy sound profile that isn't very versatile.

3.6 Movies

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is bad for movies. Since there's no subwoofer, it can't deliver the deep thump and rumble essential to a good action movie, and struggles with the rest of the bass range. The lack of treble also makes movies sound dull and boxy, which isn't ideal. It can get quite loud without compressing very much, which is good, but the lack of support of common surround formats like Dolby Digital means that even at max volume, you won't get a very movie theater-like listening experience.

  • 4.1 Mixed Usage
  • 4.0 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 5.2 Music
  • 3.6 Movies
  1. Update 9/23/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The TT-SK023 is part of TaoTronics' first soundbar lineup, launched in 2018. The online retailer specializes in budget products at a lower price point and this 2.0-channel soundbar makes no exception. Its main competitors are the Vizio SB3220n-F6, Sony HT-S100F, and the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is a simple soundbar that's surprisingly easy on the eyes. The entire bar is dark gray, with a metal grill in front. The top, ends, and back of the bar are covered in plastic that has a brushed metal look. It's quite a stylish bar overall and doesn't look too cheap at first glance.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer. If you're looking for a TaoTronics soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, check out the TaoTronics TT-SK026.

Design
Style - Satellites

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 31.5" (80.0 cm)
Bar Height 2.4" (6.0 cm)
Bar Depth 2.4" (6.0 cm)

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is a pretty compact soundbar. It's even smaller than the Vizio SB3220n-F6 and should fit between the legs of many 55" TVs. It might even be short enough to fit under your TV, but if it doesn't, it shouldn't block the bottom of the screen unless your TV screen sits directly on the table.

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

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

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

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

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

The back of this soundbar is plastic and has one opening for the two connectivity inputs, and the integrated power cable. You can wall-mount this soundbar, but it won't lay flush against the wall.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with satellite speakers.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 feels decently well-built. The bar is mostly made of plastic, but there's a metal grill that covers the front. While it doesn't look too bad at first glance, the plastic used in its build does feel pretty cheap. That said, the metal grill helps protect the drivers better than a fabric covering, like on the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth bar.

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

  • Manual
  • Remote (batteries not included, requires 2x AAA)
  • Optical cable
  • Stereo RCA to 3.5mm audio cable
  • Wall-mount kit

Sound
4.4
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-1.57
ST Std. Err.
4.98 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
87.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
12.5 kHz

The TaoTronics TT-SK023's stereo frequency response is bad. The mid-range is well-balanced, but since both bass and treble are rather severely lacking, this bar sounds dull and boxy. It lacks not only thump and rumble, but detail and clarity as well. This makes it a poor choice for most content, whether movies, music, or TV shows. It could work for podcasts but, even then, it's not ideal.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
1.83 dB

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 has an ordinary stereo soundstage. Music and movies will sound a bit wider than the bar itself, but not by very much. Many songs had decent focus, though, so even though the soundstage isn't the widest, it's still passable.

7.8
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
91.1 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
1.06 dB

Update 09/23/2020: We've discovered a value input bug that would cause the Dynamics box results to be slightly off. All soundbars reviewed since January 30th, 2020 have been updated.

This soundbar has very good stereo dynamics. It can get quite loud without compressing too much overall, making it ideal for use in large rooms or crowded parties.

7.1
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.58
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.38

The TaoTronics TT-SK023's total harmonic distortion performance is decent. It distorts significantly more at max volume than it does at normal listening volumes, so as long as you're not playing this soundbar at full blast, the distortion shouldn't be too noticeable.

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

Not only is this soundbar lacking a center channel, but it can't decode or downmix surround sound content to stereo, either.

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 have any surround channels, nor can it downmix, or even decode, surround sound content to stereo. If you're looking for a 2.0 soundbar and you don't mind that it downmixes surround content into stereo, check out the Vizio SB3820-C6.

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 doesn't support Atmos.

0.3
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
No
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

This soundbar has terrible sound enhancement features. The only thing you can change is the sound mode, and even then, there are only three EQ preset options: Music, Movie, and Game mode. You can't adjust the bass or treble levels, or activate virtual surround. Unlike the BOMAKER Odine II, it doesn't have a dialogue enhancement feature, which is quite bad.

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

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 only has two inputs: an optical-in, and a regular audio jack. While it comes with an RCA cable to plug into your TV or receiver, it doesn't have an RCA input, so you won't be able to easily plug a turntable into it. You also can't use it as a hub between your various home media devices since there are no HDMI ports.

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 support HDMI ARC.

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

This soundbar doesn't have any HDMI ports.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
No
DTS
No

Like the Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0, it only supports PCM formats over optical-in, which you'll need to specify in your TV's settings.

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

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 has okay wireless playback options. While you can connect your smartphone or tablet and stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth, you can't connect seamlessly with Chromecast or AirPlay.

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

Since this soundbar doesn't support HDMI, there's no video passthrough.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with a subwoofer.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't come with satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

This soundbar has a small display that lights up different icons based on the input and EQ preset options selected. The icons are simple and easy to understand, but visibility isn't the best behind the metal grill.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

This soundbar has physical buttons on the side for basic operation. You can turn it on/off, change inputs, and adjust the volume. The buttons are very small, so if you have larger fingers, you might find it hard to press one at a time.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

This soundbar comes with a very simple remote. You can switch between inputs, select EQ presets, and change the volume. However, music control only works when connected to a Bluetooth device.

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

This soundbar doesn't have a companion app.

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

You can't use your TV's remote to control this soundbar since it doesn't support HDMI, and it doesn't have any power-saving features either.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The TaoTronics TT-SK023 is a disappointing soundbar overall, especially compared to other 2.0 channel models on the market. While its compact design will please those looking for something that can fit in a tight spot, other small soundbars perform better overall. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best small soundbars, and the best soundbars under $200.

TaoTronics TT-SK026

The TaoTronics TT-SK026 is a slightly better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. The TT-SK026 has an integrated subwoofer with a more balanced sound profile and a text display interface. However, while the TT-SK023 is a 2.0 soundbar, it has a more sturdy build.

Bose Solo 5

The Bose Solo 5 is a much better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. The Bose has a much more neutral, balanced sound with better bass for music. It also supports Dolby Digital content over optical, feels better-built, and has a power-saving mode. The TaoTronics, however, has a couple of EQ presets, which the Bose is lacking, as well as a display to show you which settings you're on.

Bose Soundbar 700

The 3.0 channel Bose Soundbar 700 is much better than the 2.0 TaoTronics TT-SK023. The Bose can play both Dolby Digital and DTS surround formats over HDMI ARC, has a center channel for clearer voices and dialogue, a much wider soundstage, and a better-balanced sound. The TaoTronics is much more compact, though, which you may prefer if you're tight on space.

Samsung HW-Q90R

The 7.1.4 channel Samsung HW-Q90R is a much better soundbar setup than the 2.0 TaoTronics TT-SK023 standalone bar. The Samsung costs a lot more money, but sounds much better-balanced, can play surround sound, has HDMI ports, and a more premium design. The TaoTronics is worth considering if you're tight on money or space since it's a lot cheaper and more compact, but if you have the resources, the Samsung, is the better overall choice.

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth

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.

BOMAKER Odine II

The BOMAKER Odine II is a better 2.0 budget soundbar for dialogue and TV shows than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. The BOMAKER has a dialogue enhancement feature which can help improve vocal clarity, it can get much louder than the TaoTronics, and it also has a virtual surround feature. Although both soundbars downsample into PCM 2.0, the BOMAKER is able to do this over its HDMI ARC port, which the TaoTronics lack. That said, the TaoTronics has a more neutral and even sound profile as it can deliver somewhat more bass, and it feels better built.

Vizio SB3820-C6

The Vizio SB3820-C6 is a better overall 2.0 soundbar than the TaoTronics TT SK-023. The Vizio has a more balanced sound profile, a phantom center, and it can downmix surround content, allowing it to support Dolby Digital content. While it lacks an EQ, it has an auto-volume feature, and you can even adjust the bass and treble. The TaoTronics is much smaller, though, and can easily fit between the legs of most 55" TVs.

Vizio SB3220n-F6

The Vizio SB3220n-F6 is a much better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. It has a significantly better-balanced sound profile, a much wider stereo soundstage, and many more sound enhancement features. While neither bar supports HDMI, the Vizio can at least play Dolby Digital surround content over optical. That said, the TaoTronics has an even more compact design, which some listeners may prefer if they're tight on space.

Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0

The Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0 and the TaoTronics TT-SK023 are very similar soundbars, but the Insignia is better since it has a more balanced default sound profile. It also has a few more sound enhancement features. The TaoTronics feels less cheaply-made, though, and has an AUX port. The Insignia, on the other hand, can play files off a USB key or hard drive.

Sony HT-S100F

The Sony HT-S100F is a much better soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. While both soundbars lack bass and detail in the treble range, the Sony still sounds better-balanced overall. It's missing EQ presets, but has dialogue enhancement and virtual surround effects, and also supports Dolby Digital over HDMI. The TaoTronics has a more compact design, though, which some may prefer.

Vizio SB2020n-G6

The Vizio SB2020n-G6 is a slightly better performing soundbar than the TaoTronics TT-SK023. The Vizio is slightly better-balanced, it has a auto-volume mode as well as bass and treble adjustments, and it has a USB input so that you can play files directly from your flash drive. However, the TaoTronics can get louder, and you can also wall-mount it. 

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