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The Best Soundbar to Buy in 2023

Brian Harrison
  Jan 30, 2023 7:40 AM

If you don't know how to set up a soundbar, take a look at how to set up TV speakers and soundbars: we asked the pros for the best results. The best soundbars are not the only option. Consider the best surround sound systems for a truly cinematic audio experience, or the best Dolby Atmos speakers and soundbars instead.

VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with Dolby Audio, Bluetooth, Wireless Subwoofer, Voice Assistant Compatible, Includes Remote Control - V51x-J6


Overview

There is a model for everyone, whether you want a Dolby Atmos soundbar or something to plug in your MP3 player. Not all soundbars, however, are created equal, and some provide a more enjoyable listening experience than others. The best soundbars accurately reproduce dialogue from your favorite shows.

Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote Control


Reviews

1. SAMSUNG HW-Q990B/ZA

Product’s Specifications

  • Brand: SAMSUNG

  • Model Name: Q Series

  • Speaker Type: Soundbar

  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

  • Recommended Uses For Product: For Surround Sound Systems, For Televisions

Product’s Highlights

Samsung's best flagship soundbars are fantastic, but its slightly less expensive models aren't always as good. This one deviates from the norm, not least because it includes rear speakers that previous models did not. That makes a huge difference in the soundstage, and it delivers extremely impressive and immersive audio in movies and TV shows with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding.

The HDMI loop-through supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR formats, as well as 4K resolution at up to 60Hz frame rates. There is no support for the 4K/120Hz or variable refresh rate (VRR) features now offered by the PS5, Xbox Series X, or highish-end PCs, but almost all other current soundbars do. The soundbar also supports Q Symphony in Samsung TVs, intelligently pairing its speakers with those of the TV to provide a larger soundstage.

This soundbar isn't great for music, but it's fantastic for home theater: it's the most immersive sub-four-figure soundbar we've ever heard. That's a bold statement given how impressive the top-tier Q990B was, but the savings here will be well-matched for most people looking for an epic surround system with minimal compromise. If you enjoy watching movies, this is the best soundbar for the money.

Pros

  • The most immersive Dolby Atmos soundbar experience under £1000

  • Sound that is both powerful and nuanced and balanced

  • A large number of channels

Cons

  • By soundbar standards, it is expensive

  • Not very good at music

  • Shrill trebles can occasionally sound a little harsh

SAMSUNG HW-Q990B/ZA 11.1.4ch Soundbar w/Wireless Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

View on Amazon

2. Sony HT-G700

Product’s Specifications

  • Brand: Sony

  • Model Name: HT-G700

  • Speaker Type: Soundbar

  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, HDMI

  • Special Feature: Bluetooth Audio Streaming; Dolby Digital Decoding; S-Force PRO Surround Sound Technology

Product’s Highlights

The Sony HT-G700 distinguishes itself by providing "cinematic surround sound" via a 3.1-channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X soundbar and wireless subwoofer.

Physically, those three channels face forward and have nothing to do with surround sound or the height channels commonly associated with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats.

Rather than adding additional drivers for those channels, the Sony bar aims to deliver both traditional and vertical surround sound through the magic of audio processing. This is a rarely effective strategy. But if anyone can, it's Sony.

Sony's sound bar is 98cm long, with a matte gray top surface and a front metal grille punched through with a slew of holes - our estimate: $52,684. Soundbars should be visually unobtrusive while being audibly obtrusive: ear friendliness is essential, eye friendliness is secondary, and Sony checks both boxes.

The bar's 6.4cm height keeps it clear of all but the most low-slung of today's TVs, and it has a commendable array of IR passthrough transmitters on the back, so even if it does block your TV's infrared receiver, it will relay remote commands through (this requires activation in the settings menus). This passthrough facility is not uncommon among competitors, but it should be far more common.

Pros

  • Atmos/DTS:X compact bar

  • Immersive AE for lower signal levels

  • Bluetooth for music and TV

Cons

  • There are no dedicated height/surround drivers

  • Height/surround claims are exaggerated

Sony HT-G700: 3.1CH Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar with Bluetooth Technology

View on Amazon

3. Sonos Arc

Product’s Specifications

  • Brand: Sonos

  • Model Name: Sonos Arc

  • Speaker Type: Soundbar

  • Connectivity Technology: HDMI

  • Special Feature: Enhanced Trueplay Tuning Technology; Automatic EQ Adjustment; Speech Enhancement

Product’s Highlights

Sonos' latest surround sound solution, Arc, is entirely contained within a single soundbar. While we're not sure if the device's name comes from the HDMI interface it employs, the curved sound it produces, or the fact that it is, metaphorically, a vessel delivering impressive surround sound to the modern minimalist home, in any case, this system is hell-bent on short-circuiting the surround sound game.

The Sonos Arc wireless speaker uses Dolby's latest TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to deliver the highest quality lossless audio found on cutting-edge Blu-ray discs and some of the most popular streaming services.

While all of this may appear complicated, the Sonos Arc setup couldn't be easier, requiring only a few steps on the smartphone app. The streamlined aesthetic is enhanced by the minimal cable connections and all-in-one system construction.

Pros

  • Dolby Atmos, TrueHD, and Dolby Digital Plus are all supported

  • All-in-one soundbar that is discrete

  • Surround sound and music playback are fantastic

Cons

  • It isn't appropriate for every room

  • Trueplay Tuning is only available on iOS

  • Integration of smart assistants is restricted

Sonos Arc - The Premium Smart Soundbar For TV, Movies, Music, Gaming, And More - White

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4. Samsung HW-Q800A

Product’s Specifications

  • Brand: SAMSUNG

  • Model Name: E1SAMHWQ800AZA

  • Speaker Type: Wireless, Subwoofer, Surround, Wall Mount, Soundbar

  • Connectivity Technology: Wifi, HDMI

  • Special Feature: SpaceFit Sound; Built-in Voice Assistant; Adaptive Sound Mode, Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

Product’s Highlights

If you enjoy watching movies, the Q800A is one of the most powerful, convincing, detailed, and practical soundbars available at this price. Its subwoofer provides massive amounts of bass as well, and the system is so well built that its massive power causes no rattling, buzzing, or distortion issues even when playing action movies at insane volume levels.

More musically inclined souls may prefer a soundbar with a slightly less aggressive sound and a little more hi-fi refinement, such as the Sonos Arc. However, the Q800A ticks the 'huge sound from a compact speaker' box exceptionally well. Especially when combined with one of Samsung's new premium TVs.

Samsung hasn't crammed in quite as many speaker channels as one or two competitors; for example, while the Q800A has a 3.1.2 channel system, the only slightly more expensive LG SP9YA has a 5.1.2 channel system. However, Samsung's Acoustic Beam technology makes the Q800A appear to have more audio channels than it actually does by pushing height channel information through 56 distinct holes, resulting in a larger, more widely dispersed overhead sound stage.

Pros

  • Powerful, immersive, and room-filling audio

  • The subwoofer provides excellent bass support

  • Design that is appealing and compact

Cons

  • The best features necessitate a new and reasonably priced Samsung TV

  • By soundbar standards, it's pricey

  • The number of 3.1.2 channels could have been higher

 Samsung HW-Q800A 3.1.2ch Soundbar w/Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

View on Amazon


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Last update on 2023-01-30 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API


FAQs

1. Are soundbars worth the money?

Absolutely. The best soundbars transform your TV viewing experience, even if you don't consider yourself a die-hard cinephile. Built-in TV speakers simply can't do your favorite movies, TV shows, and games justice.

Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar | Works with 4K & HD TVs | Wireless Subwoofer | Includes HDMI & Optical Cables | Bluetooth Enabled, Black

2. What should I expect to pay for a soundbar?

You may have to pay $800 / £800 / AU$1,000 or more for the best soundbar technology has to offer. There are, however, many excellent low-cost soundbars available, with some costing less than $100 / £100 / AU$150. Remember that you usually get what you pay for, and these low-cost models are unlikely to include premium features like Dolby Atmos, built-in rear speakers, and high-resolution audio support.

3. What should I do with a soundbar?

When it comes to soundbar placement, you generally have two options: wall-mounting it or placing it below your TV on your TV cabinet. Wall-mounting your soundbar may be the best option if it is quite tall, as it may obscure the IR receiver on your TV, rendering your remote control useless.

  • Looking for true surround sound? Take a look at the best Dolby Atmos speakers.

  • TV stands: Choosing the Best TV Stand for Your Living Room Cinema.

All Reviews

We consider price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a more expensive one if the difference isn't worth it), visitor feedback, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you want to make your own decision, here is a list of all of our soundbar reviews, including the best soundbars for TV and the best Bluetooth soundbars. Keep an eye out for details. No soundbar is flawless. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will be more important in your choice.


4.5
2 ratings
Brian Harrison
Brian Harrison
Brian Harrison is a professional streamer. What's special about him is he always wants to help his viewers see the most unbiased reviews of the products he uses. High-resolution monitors, high-speed PCs, or good-quality keyboards will all be objectively reviewed by him on HowToRadar.