Sonance SB46 Soundbar Measurements

Sonance SB46 Soundbar Measurements


Sonance's SB46 soundbar is a new design that telescopes so it exactly matches the size of a flat-panel TV. I recently reviewed the larger version, the $2,000 SB46 L, for the website Home Theater Review. The SB46 L is made for TVs sized from 70 to 80 inches.

Home Theater Review doesn't do measurements, but I measure every speaker and headphone I test. So since I was already running the measurements, I thought I'd publish them here on Stereos. If you want to know how I did all the measurements, you can skip to the last panel.

Sonance SB46 L Measurements: Frequency Response

Brent Butterworth

Frequency response, left channel
On-axis: 98 Hz to 20 kHz ±5.1 dB, ±4.8 dB to 10 kHz
Avg 0° to ±30°: 98 Hz to 20 kHz ±3.4 dB (same to 10 kHz)

Frequency response, center channel
On-axis: 98 Hz to 20 kHz ±6.5 dB, ±4.2 dB to 10 kHz
Avg 0° to ±30°: 98 Hz to 20 kHz ±4.7 dB, ±2.7 dB to 10 kHz

Here's the frequency response measurements of the SB46 L. Measurements of the center channel are scaled down -10 dB so you can see them better. That's the left channel at 0° on-axis (blue trace) and average of 0°, ±15° and ±30° (green trace). Below it is the center channel at 0° on-axis (purple trace) and average of 0°, ±15° and ±30° (orange trace). You can see that the response on both channels between 2 and 5 kHz is a bit elevated, which is likely the cause of the slight brightness I heard.

This is actually fairly flat response for a soundbar, especially in the center channel, which is essentially flat to 6 kHz. The next chart is more revealing, though.

Sonance SB46 L Measurements: Left & Center Compared

Brent Butterworth

This is the response of the SB46 L left channel (blue trace) and center channel (red trace), both at 0° on-axis While the center channel has the same general character as the left, it measures much flatter overall. That's a good thing in general, but it's probably why I liked the SB46 L much better with movies (which rely most heavily on the center channel) than with music.

Sonance SB46 Measurements: Impedance

Brent Butterworth

Impedance (minimum/nominal)
left/right channel: min 4.6 ohms at 298 Hz/-28 deg, nominal 7 ohms
center channel: min 3.9 ohms at 302 Hz/-32 deg, nominal 8 ohms

Sensitivity (2.83V/1W @ 1 meter, quasi-anechoic)
left/right channel: 82.1 dB
center channel: 84.0 dB

This chart shows the left channel impedance magnitude (dark blue trace) and phase (light blue trace), and the center channel impedance magnitude (dark green trace) and phase (light green trace). There's a huge spike in impedance and a big phase shift below 100 Hz, but that's at the bottom of the intended operating range of the soundbar so it shouldn't be a significant problem.

The sensitivity's not real high, but this is a quasi-anechoic measurement. In-room, you'll probably get an extra +3 dB or so. Still, this soundbar will work best with a good mid-priced or better receiver or a separate amp, something with a decent amount of power.

How I Measured the Sonance SB46 L Soundbar


I decided to measure the frequency response of the SB46 L's left channel and center channel, so I could see how well they perform on an absolute basis and how well they match. To do this, I used an Audiomatica Clio 10 FW audio analyzer (seen above) and MIC-01 ​measurement microphone, later importing the data into a LinearX LMS analyzer for post-processing. I used quasi-anechoic technique, which removes the effects of reflections from nearby objects. I placed the soundbar atop a 2-meter-high stand, with the microphone placed at a distance of 2 meters, first centered in front of the soundbar, then with the mic centered on the left-channel driver array.

The curves you see in the charts were smoothed to 1/12th octave. Bass response of the speakers was measured using close-miking technique, with the mic positioned as close as possible to one of the woofers for each channel. These measurements were scaled appropriately, then spliced to the quasi-anechoic measurements at 275 Hz. Results were normalized to 0 dB at 1 kHz.

For a more in-depth (yet still accessible) primer on speaker measurement, read my extended piece on the subject (PDF), done with the help of the engineers at Harman International.

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