Majority Sierra Plus: Two-minute review
With the Sierra Plus, affordable audio brand Majority has (mostly) decided to go big. Big on specification, big on sound, big on the size of the soundbar that’s accompanied by a wireless subwoofer. In fact, one of the few ways the MAjority Sierra Plus isn’t big is in regards to the asking price. Here’s a 2.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos soundbar and subwoofer system for comfortably under £250 / $280, challenging the best cheap soundbars around for specs.
Setup is straightforward. The Majority Sierra Plus' control options are few but well-implemented. Wireless connectivity between soundbar and subwoofer is solid and stable. Once you’ve established where the two elements of the system are going to be positioned (and, in the case of the soundbar, made sure it doesn’t block a portion of your TV screen), it’s simple in the extreme to get up and running.
And where outright scale of sound is concerned, the Majority is a high achiever. There’s width and a suggestion of height to its sound, robust and well-controlled contributions from the soundbar, and a level of midrange communication and fidelity that’s almost as unexpected as it is welcome.
Treble reproduction is a concern, though - it sounds as if it belongs to another system entirely. And while the subwoofer doesn’t drone, it doesn’t add a whole lot of detail to your listening experience. And these negative traits are given greater emphasis if you decide to switch from listening to movies to listening to music.
If you want a hint of Dolby Atmos at this sort of money, it’s difficult to suggest too many viable alternatives among the best soundbars. But we'd encourage people to look to the Sony HT-G700 and Samsung HW-Q700B (when they're on deals) for better overall Dolby Atmos sound without spending tons more.
Majority Sierra Plus review: Price & release date
- $269 / £229 (around AU$410)
- Released in the middle of 2022
The Majority Sierra Plus Dolby Atmos soundbar/wireless subwoofer system is on sale now, and will cost your around $269 / £229, depending on current offers. That makes it about AU$410 in Australia, though its availability there seems limited at best.
This, it hardly needs stating, is a very aggressive price for a Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar that’s accompanied by a wireless subwoofer. Certainly it’s possible to spend more than this without even getting a sniff of spatial audio. So is the Majority Sierra Plus that most unusual of things: an authentic bargain?
Majority Sierra Plus review: Specs
Majority Sierra Plus review: Features
- 2x HDMI passthrough ports are great for the price
- HDMI ARC doesn't support lossless Dolby Atmos
- No center channel, no DTS support
It’s important to keep your expectations realistic when considering the features and specification of the Sierra Plus. Don’t forget how much (or, more accurately, how little) Majority is asking for this system and you shouldn’t go far wrong.
The soundbar is where all the physical inputs and wireless connectivity live – the subwoofer just has a power lead (and not a long one, it’s worth noting) and a button to initiate pairing with the soundbar in the unlikely event that the process doesn’t happen automatically.
There’s an HDMI ARC socket, a pair of HDMI 2.0 4K HDR pass-throughs, a digital optical input, USB slot and a 3.5mm analogue input, all in a little recess at the rear of the soundbar’s cabinet. Wireless stuff, meanwhile, is restricted to Bluetooth 4.2 with SBC and AAC codec compatibility.
At this sort of money, the HDMI pass-throughs are a fairly unusual and very welcome provision – certainly they’ll keep the number of connections to your TV down to a minimum. HDMI ARC, meanwhile, is good for dealing with the lossy form of Dolby Atmos that’s used by the likes of Disney Plus and Netflix – but owners of the best 4K Blu-ray players won’t be able to access the lossless version their machines deal in. That requires an HDMI eARC input. There's also no DTS support.
No matter how you get your audio on board, though, it’s delivered to you by a complement of six drivers in the soundbar plus another in the subwoofer. Facing out from the front of the soundbar in a ‘left/right’ arrangement there are four 57mm (fairly) full-range drivers, two at either end – each pair is reinforced by what Majority calls an ‘airport’ but what looks to me very much like a bass reflex port.
On the top of the soundbar are a couple more of these drivers, angled up and out in an effort to create some of that sonic height that’s the reason we all got excited by Dolby Atmos in the first place. The subwoofer’s side-firing driver is bolstered by a forward-facing reflex port.
Majority suggests there’s a total of 400 watts of Class D power doing the amplification business – there’s no indication of how that total is divided, though.
- Features score: 4/5
Majority Sierra Plus review: Sound quality
- Impressively wide sound, with some height
- Big, with well-integrated bass
- Weak treble, and not very dynamic
There’s two ways of looking (or, more correctly, listening) to the Majority Sierra Plus. The first is to admire the scale and forceful nature of its sound, look again at the amount you spent on it, and think ‘job done’. The second, naturally, is to go beyond the simple shock and awe of the system’s presentation and consider every element of its performance.
In addition to the horizontal projection of its sound, the Majority also manages to extract a mild, but definite, sensation of height from an appropriate soundtrack too (and given that this is a 2.1.2 -channel system with ‘only’ an HDMI ARC input, a stream of Black Widow via Disney+ will do just fine). The vertical effect is curtailed, sure, and nothing like as pronounced as the width that’s on offer here – but it’s there, for sure. Which already puts the Sierra Plus ahead of any number of price-comparable alternatives.
There’s reasonable consistency to the tonal balance of the system from the midrange on down – quite often in products of this type, at this sort of money, the subwoofer can be heard doing its own thing, but the subwoofer here has a decent relationship with the soundbar.
The handover between the two is achieved without alarms, and while the sub doesn’t have the variation or detail levels of the soundbar, it’s not quite as blunt an instrument as some alternatives. The bass stuff may not be the most varied, but it hits with determination and it’s controlled pretty well. Certainly the Majority doesn’t default to the droning some rival designs indulge in.
The midrange projects well, and carries enough detail to make dialogue sound characterful – there’s enough space around a speaker’s voice to allow them to communicate fully, even if they’re whispering. There’s good balance and poise to midrange information, a very pleasant kind of naturalness that makes voices both convincing and easy to follow.
It’s a different story at the top of the frequency range. The soundbar has no dedicated tweeters, remember, and treble contrives to sound edgy and insubstantial. This is a trait that is only compounded by increases in volume – so not only do top-end sounds seem unnatural, they don’t relate to what’s going on beneath them in the slightest.
Despite its ability to sound big and bold, though, there’s not a huge amount of dynamic subtlety to the Sierra Plus. Rather than go from ‘quiet’ to ‘loud’ it tends to prefer going from ‘loud’ to ‘louder still’ – and the result is a distinct lack of light and shade. Everything occurs at a very similar level of intensity, and consequently the overall presentation lacks drama.
As far as music is concerned, the Majority is somewhat out of its (already quite constricted) comfort zone. The subwoofer’s lack of insight is thrown into sharp relief by a listen to Chic’s Le Freak, and it relates to the soundbar with a fair bit less positivity than before. Rhythmic expression is no better than average, and the strange remoteness of the treble seems more pronounced too.
- Sound quality score: 3/5
Majority Sierra Plus review: Design
- Suitable for TVs of 48 inches and up
- Quite tall – be careful with low-slung TVs
- Well-made and finished
If the quantity of raw materials your money buys you is important, you’ll be delighted by the Majority Sierra Plus – because your money buys you plenty. Be warned that the soundbar is tall enough to get in the way of the bottom of your TV screen if it has a low stand, and its width means it's suitable for TVs of 48 inches and up. Majority provides some basic wall-mounting equipment in the packaging.
The subwoofer is a little more manageable, but bear in mind its power cable is hard-wired, so even though it connects wirelessly to the soundbar, its 1m-long power cable will dictate where in your room it ends up.
Despite the ‘quantity-of-stuff-to-price’ ratio, though, there are no obvious compromises to the way the Sierra Plus is built or finished. The plastics and metal grilles of the soundbar look and feel fine, and are fitted together perfectly well. The subwoofer is the usual ‘vinyl wrap over MDF’, naturally – but, again, it’s constructed with obvious care and seems ready to last for ages.
- Design score: 4/5
Majority Sierra Plus review: Usability and setup
- Always-on display
- Remote to change modes
- Wireless subwoofer connected was seamless
There’s a quite assertive display behind the front grille of the soundbar letting you know what’s going on in terms of volume – and it’s on whether you like it or not. It will also give you some indication of input selection and the type of audio information it’s dealing with, but only swiftly, before it’s back to volume-level information.
As far as affecting volume level, selecting input and all the rest of it, there are some rubbery buttons on the top of the soundbar that deal with the basics, and a remote control handset that covers everything.
Unlike a lot of products of this type and at this sort of money, the Majority’s remote control is quite robust and tactile, and it’s of a decent size, too. It lets you examine the four EQ presets, finesse bass and treble response, mute the system and so on.
We found that the soundbar and sub connected immediately, without any hassle.
- Usability and setup score: 4/5
Majority Sierra Plus review: Value
- Upfiring speakers and HDMI passthrough for a low price
- Sound fidelity can be beaten at this kind of price
As we’ve said all along, it depends how you look at it. There’s plenty of stuff here for your money, and in some ways there’s plenty of performance here too – certainly you’re unlikely to confuse the sound of the Sierra Plus to that of your unassisted television.
There are shortcomings where the sound quality is concerned, though – and while Majority’s determination to offer a taste of Dolby Atmos at this price is to be commended, it’s safe to say you can get a more convincing (although admittedly smaller) sound for the same money elsewhere.
So if you want Atmos for a low price and some HDMI passthrough ports as a great bonus, it's incredible value. If you want a focus on sound quality, you can do better. On balance, we'll call it good value.
- Value score: 3.5/5
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Majority Sierra Plus review: Also consider
- First reviewed: March 2023