After installing many soundbars I never thought or crossed my mind a simple question that I saw over and over on different forums on the internet. I am pretty sure it was because new technologies and trending new TVs are better and better over time. And It was about if I set up a soundbar this could damage my TV in any way. I did some research and here’s what I found.
So, can a soundbar damage a TV? Magnets in speakers are known to damage the old box-shaped CRT TVs, however, this isn’t an issue with modern Plasmas, LCDs, LEDs, and DLP TVs. Soundbars used in the way that’s recommended in their user manual don’t damage a TV in any way.
According to the home theater manufacturer Fluance.
Also, soundbars have been around for 20 years, and if there were any known to cause problems with TVs it would be common knowledge. However, based on my extensive research online, soundbars don’t reliably damage TVs in any way.
The technology in modern TVs is very different from that used in old TVs and monitors, also large speakers are said to have magnetic shielding to limit damage to other electronics.
But, I looked further into these issues and found some surprising results, read on to discover what I found.
How Close should a Soundbar Be To A TV?
It’s advised by soundbar manufacturers in their manuals to place a soundbar just below the TV and directly facing you. The user manuals for soundbars do not specifically mention a warning regarding how close a soundbar should be to a TV to avoid damaging your TV.
The reason for the positioning of your soundbar is to create the best sound experience. When you sit down in front of your TV your ears are generally directly in front of the screen.
So, you want the sound waves to travel directly out from the speakers to sound like they’re coming from directly in front of you.
That way when you’re watching a scene in a TV show or movie you feel immersed in it because the sound is ‘originating’ from the picture.
You achieve this best by putting your soundbar in front of the TV, but if you put it right where the TV is it would block the screen – “down in front” – so the next best option is to have it just below the screen. I wrote an article related to this topic named; Where Should I Place My Soundbar?
And is what’s recommended in every soundbar manual I’ve come across in my research, and especially from the top soundbar manufacturers like Sony and LG.
Can Speakers Damage A TV?
Older box-shaped TV’s are damaged by magnets, and speakers contain neodymium magnets – some of the strongest magnets in the world, according to research done at Texas A&M University. But, based on experiments I observed on Youtube, a powerful magnet will not damage an LCD TV.
Here’s another video showing a magnet having no effect on a flat screen TV:
Unfortunately, the following experiment is performed in the Russian language, which I don’t understand. But, you can see what happens during the experiment. Here’s the video below:
Now, it’s wise to keep any speakers a reasonable distance from your TV, to avoid long term damage.
The vibrations from a subwoofer can cause what’s known in mechanical engineering as vibration fatigue. This is where vibrations will weaken materials, cause screws to loosen, and glue to split and crack.
Can You Put A Soundbar Behind A TV?
You can technically put a soundbar behind a TV. But, it’s not the recommended place to put it because it will block the sound that comes out of your soundbar.
The recommended place to put it is just below the front of the TV. For wall-mounted TVs, you can also mount the soundbar to the wall.
Some soundbars will come with a bracket that you can use to mount your soundbar to the wall. Putting the soundbar behind is also not the best place to put it because the soundtrack for the TV show or movie is specifically made to create a life like sound profile.
Where it feels as if you’re ‘in’ the TV show or movie. Also, is important to know What Is the Best Height for a Soundbar? explained in this article.
Is It Safe To Put Speakers Near A TV?
Speakers in general should be kept as far away from your TV as they can. There are many different kinds of speakers and they have powerful magnets inside that can damage a TV, especially very old box shaped TVs. The vibrations from a speaker such as a subwoofer can also damage a TV over time.
Home theater setups recommend placing speakers to the side of the TV, and behind it. Whereas, the soundbar should be placed in front and very close to the TV.
As your receiver will split up the sound between the speakers to create an immersive experience.
I have been unable to find any research papers that have looked specifically at this issue, and all the user manuals I’ve read don’t recommend placing speakers close to a TV.
So, it’s best to read the user manual of your speakers and your TV for any warnings. Based on my experience you don’t want to put your speakers less than about a foot (30 cm) from your TV.
It’s unclear whether this is to not damage your TV or to create the best sound experience. But, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
If you’re short on space a good idea is to mount your speakers to the wall or put them on a shelf. So that they’re as far away from the TV as possible.
Are Soundbars Worth It?
The bigger the speaker the better the sound quality. Modern TVs are flat and thin, so the inbuilt speakers need to be small and thin. As a result, their sound isn’t that great.
Soundbars dramatically improve the quality of the sound, and they are surprisingly cheap. Some models also come with a subwoofer, which is a great deal.
I recently did an analysis of the best soundbars for the money which you can read by clicking here.
A soundbar is an economical way to drastically improve the sound for your TV, rather than going all out with a full-blown home theater system. And you can also use one on your computer.
Definitely pick up a cheap one to see what you think.
Can You Put A Soundbar On The Floor?
You can put a soundbar on the floor, but it makes it easy to kick, and trip over.
According to the user manual of the well-known electronics brands like Sony and LG, ideally, you want to put your soundbar on a cabinet, directly below your TV or mounted on the wall. That’ll give you the best sound quality.
If you absolutely can’t because of your setup then it won’t do any harm to keep a soundbar on the floor.
What Are Magnetic Shielding Speakers For?
According to Fluance, a home theater manufacturer, magnetic shielding was used in speakers to protect CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs – the big and bulky box-shaped TVs.
However, they say that modern plasma, LCD, LED, and DLP TVs are designed in such a way that they don’t need magnetically shielded speakers because magnets don’t damage them.
A soundbar doesn’t damage a TV in any way, but it’s a good idea to keep other speakers a good distance from your TV so that the vibrations they make as they’re playing sound doesn’t damage your TV.
Also, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and position your soundbar slightly above or below your TV to give you the best sound experience and to limit interference with the electronics in your TV.
Speakers have very powerful magnets in them that will damage CRT TVs, however, the new flat-screen TVs aren’t affected by them, at least in the short term.