2017 is the year that Dolby Atmos went mainstream. Klipsch contributed to the steady stream of immersive audio compatible soundbars seen at CES 2017 with the Theaterbar ($1300 target price). This model offers four HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, optical-digital, and analog RCA inputs as well as Bluetooth support.
This soundbar comes with a wireless sub sporting a 10″ driver. It’s quite a bit larger and more substantial than the subs I’m used to seeing included with soundbar systems.
The Theaterbar uses horn-loaded tweeters to control directivity and deliver dynamic audio to listeners. Two up-firing channels allow it to render Dolby Atmos content, and two side-firing drivers bounce audio off side walls to render surround-sound. Three forward-firing speakers take care of left/center/right channel duties.
Overall, I’ve been encouraged by the performance of Atmos-enabled soundbars, including when upmixing non-Atmos content. The addition of two height channels to a soundbar is surprisingly effective at expanding the soundstage, both horizontally and vertically. One benefit is voices appear to come from the screen, instead of below it.
Judging performance in an open both on the show floor at CES 2017 was not worth the effort. However, the Theaterbar is a sharp-looking design, and given Klipsch’s track record with all things speaker-related, there is a solid chance it will be a great performer. I look forward to hearing one at some point in the future.