If scale and immediacy are near the top of your wishlist, this Majority is going to sound like a bargain. It is not without its issues, though…
- Large, sturdy sound
- Undeniable hint of spatial audio
- Plenty of stuff for your money
- Can be edgy at the top end and lack variation at the bottom
- Soundbar could be intrusive
- No HDMI eARC
- BluetoothBluetooth 4.2 with SBC and AAC codec compatibility
- Power400 watts of Class D power
- SubwooferWireless subwoofer
Everything’s relative – and this profoundly affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar/subwoofer combo is one of Majority’s most expensive products.
I’ve covered many soundbars at enticing prices but, with the Sierra Plus, UK-based Majority seems to be offering a fair bit more than price-comparable alternatives can manage. So the obvious question has to be: is it too good to be true?
The Majority Sierra Plus Dolby Atmos soundbar/subwoofer that sells for a profoundly aggressive £229. Customers in America are looking at an equally competitive $269, while in Australia you’ll need to part with AU$449 or thereabouts – sales outside the UK all happen through Majority’s Amazon storefront.
It almost goes without saying that this isn’t much money at all for a Dolby Atmos soundbar with wireless subwoofer, even if the Dolby Atmos nature of the presentation is somewhat curtailed. Heck, it’s not all that much money for a stand-alone soundbar without pretensions towards spatial audio. This must be a no-brainer, right?
- Soundbar: 81 x 960 x 108mm (HxWxD)
- Subwoofer: 370 x 190 x 306mm (HxWxD)
- Soundly built and finished
First things first: the price may be low-profile, the soundbar it buys you is not. At a touch over 8cm tall, there’s every chance it’ll foul the bottom of your TV screen if they’re both on the same shelf – Majority is good enough to supply some rudimentary wall-fixings, though, which might help. And its width is such that you should consider a 48-inch screen to be the smallest the soundbar can accompany while remaining visually coherent.
Despite the eye-catching price, though, there are no obvious areas of corner-cutting where the build and finish of either component is concerned. There’s plenty of soundbar here, but its combination of plastic and perforated metal grille looks fine, feels good and is put together without obvious compromise.
The subwoofer, meanwhile, is the inevitable vinyl-wrapped MDF – but, again, it’s put together properly. Bear in mind, though, that while the subwoofer connects wirelessly to its soundbar partner, it still requires mains power – and its captive mains lead is little more than a metre long. This is bound to dictate its position in your room, at least a little.
- 2.1.2 -channel sound
- HDMI ARC, Bluetooth 4.2
- 400 watts of power
Yes, this is a Dolby Atmos system – but it’s worth noting right now that a) there are degrees of Dolby Atmos, and b) the Majority Sierra Plus needs putting into spatial audio context.
As far as physical inputs go, the soundbar features an HDMI ARC socket, a couple of HDMI 2.0 4K HDR pass-through sockets, a digital optical input, a USB-A slot and a 3.5mm analogue input. Having HDMI pass-though certainly cuts back on the number of connections you’ll need to make directly to your TV – but HDMI ARC is (unlike the pricier HDMI eARC alternative) only capable of handling the lossy Dolby Digital Plus version of Dolby Atmos. That’s fine if you’re sourcing your content from a streaming service, but owners of 4K UHD Blu-ray players will miss out on the lossless True HD alternative their machine can provide.
Wireless connectivity, meanwhile, is restricted to Bluetooth 4.2 with SBC and AAC codec compatibility with no Wi-Fi functionality.
Once the audio information is on board, it comes back out again via a six-strong driver array in the soundbar and one big driver in the subwoofer. The soundbar is arranged with four 57mm full(ish)-range drivers facing forwards – there are two close to each end of the ‘bar, each bolstered by a reflex port (or ‘airport’, as Majority would have it).
Two more of these drivers fire up and out from the top of the soundbar in an effort to generate some of the sonic height that’s the whole party-piece of Dolby Atmos soundtracks, and there are two more ports – one at each end of the soundbar. The subwoofer features a side-firing 133mm bass driver and a forward-facing bass reflex port. Majority reckons there’s a total of 400 watts powering this line-up – but quite how it’s divided is unknown. And as we shall see, that figure seems to be, if I’m being polite, optimistic.
Control is available either by the rubberised buttons on the top of the soundbar itself (power on/off, volume up/down and input selection) or the remote control handset. This isn’t a bad item at all by prevailing standards – it feels reasonable in the hand, it’s neither too small nor too thin, and it covers off every control eventuality you can think of. Here’s where you can select one of four EQ settings (Music, Movie, 3D and, News), trim bass and treble response and mute the system altogether.
There’s quite a big, bold dot-matrix display on the front of the soundbar that’s good and bright, and that scrolls once through, for example, confirmation that a Dolby Atmos signal is incoming before never showing that information again until the source signal changes. And good luck getting any sense out of the manual – it would seem that responsibility for writing it was given to whoever in the organisation has the most tenuous grasp of English, and then proofreading and spell-checking has been ignored.
- Big, solid soundstage (except in 3D mode)
- Edgy treble, slightly monotonal bass
- Good detail retrieval
Superficially, the Majority Sierra Plus is a very impressive device at the price. The soundstage it can create when replaying the Dolby Atmos soundtrack to Wakanda Forever streamed via Disney+, for example, sounds big and robust. There’s appreciable width to the sound, and a mild-but-undeniable sensation of height. Low-frequency information hits good and hard, and when the going gets rowdy the Majority is happy to get rowdy right along with it.
It’s not the most dynamic system you ever heard, though – it tops out quite early where outright drive and attack is concerned, and while it’s capable of playing at fairly oppressive volumes it doesn’t seem particularly adept at putting appreciable distance between the rowdy stuff and the quiet stuff. Consequently everything that happens happens at a fairly consistent level of intensity.
Movie seems the best of the EQ presets to work with – it’s in this mode the Sierra Plus sounds its biggest and most immersive. Actually, that’s not true – 3D is bigger still, but it’s badly lacking focus and is to be avoided. News shoves the midrange forwards and is handy for keeping on top of dialogue if you’re listening at lower volume levels.
Where tonality is concerned, there’s pretty decent consistency from the bottom of the frequency range to the top of the midrange – and the handover between subwoofer and soundbar takes place with a degree more finesse than some rival models can manage. At the top end, though, the Majority sounds like a slightly different product – the neutrality of the rest of the frequency range is replaced by an edginess and an airiness that doesn’t sound remotely natural.
The Majority retains the majority of detail from a soundtrack and is able to position it with a fair degree of positivity. It’s not bad at all where midrange resolution is concerned, allowing voices plenty of expression, and it’s similarly adept when the subwoofer takes the spotlight. Bass sounds are reasonably well controlled, and both attack and decay are acceptably straight-edged. The subwoofer’s not the most expressive around, though, and can be a little monotonal where more accomplished designs carry noticeable variation.
Switching to some music (Madvillain’s Accordion, for example) makes the relationship between the subwoofer and the soundbar seem a little less cosy, and also makes the sub’s relative lack of light and shade seem more pronounced. Rhythmic expression is passable, though, even if the subwoofer seems even keener to assert itself in these circumstances.
Should you buy it?
You the biggest sound possible for as little outlay as you can get away with: There’s no arguing with the Sierra Plus on a ‘scale per quid’ basis.
You have Dolby Atmos-based expectations: 2.1.2 is what’s on offer here, and the overhead ‘.2’ isn’t especially pronounced.
Majority isn’t the first company to try and offer specification and performance out of all proportion to an asking price, and I doubt it will be the last. It seems efforts like this are always doomed to lesser or greater failure, though, and the Sierra Plus can’t buck the trend. Yes, there’s plenty of it for the money, both in terms of stuff and of sound – but, especially where sound is concerned, the product’s ambition outstrips its abilities.
How we test
We test every soundbar we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested for several days
Tested with real world use
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The Sierra Plus does support upfiring speakers for Dolby Atmos in a 2.1.2 channel set-up.
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