The Best Soundbars at the moment : Although many people still don’t believe in sound bars, there are really good models for sale. Here’s an overview of the best sound bars.
The best Soundbars of 2020/2021
Giving an overview of the best sound bars will still not convince many audio enthusiasts to buy one. But that does not mean that they are basically bad products. Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations a bit, but with a soundbar it is almost always possible to get a nice sound from your television. In any case, much better than the sound of the TV itself. This sound reproduction is also getting better and better by means of different audio techniques. In recent months, a lot of convincing soundbars have been released and you will find them on this list.
What should you pay attention to when buying best Soundbars at the moment?
Many sound bars basically do the same thing: ensure that your television produces excellent sound. One soundbar is of course better at that than the other soundbar and usually that has to do with the price you pay for it. However, a higher price is not the best argument for a soundbar, because cheaper models can also meet certain requirements. So don’t just let fancy marketing terms or sales pitches take you away. Before you start your search, it is important to determine what is important to you.
For example, it can be important that your soundbar supports e-arc , especially if you want to listen to audio formats such as Dolby Atmos in the highest quality. In other cases, the predecessor hdmi-arc is still a good option. It just depends on how much you value Dolby Atmos : surround sound technology that moves audio around the room. For even the best sound bars this can be a challenging part as they cannot lean on other speakers in the room. Dolby Atmos soundbars often have extra drivers that point upwards and the sides in order to provide a spatial Atmos effect by means of reverberation. In addition, manufacturers use acoustic tricks to present something convincing (provided you are also in the right place).
If you want to have a soundbar because of the convenience and the compact design (two points that speak for such a device) and still want to use rear speakers, then you can. Many sound bars offer that option, but you have to pay attention to that. You can buy sound bars that have wireless rear speakers (or a power cable) as standard or sound bars that can later be expanded with wireless rear speakers. Don’t need a subwoofer? Then choose a soundbar where the subwoofer is optional or not available at all.
It is also good to check whether the soundbar comes with WiFi and whether there is an app that can be used to operate the device and to unlock additional options. It is also important to check which streaming techniques are supported, such as Google Chromecast, bluetooth or Apple AirPlay 2. In this way you can always find a way to play your favorite music.
Finally, it is important to consider the physical connection options. If you connect multiple sources (game console, Blu-ray player, set-top box, etc.) to your TV, it is not important that the soundbar has multiple HDMI inputs. One is enough. However, HDMI is recommended in all cases, as it allows you to achieve the highest audio quality and thus get e-ARC and ARC as functions. If you want to connect the sources directly to the soundbar, you need a soundbar with multiple HDMI inputs.
Best soundbars at the moment – Samsung HW-Q950T
The Samsung HW-Q950T is by far one of the best sound bars, if not the best, of the moment. With a suggested retail price of over 1500 euros you can of course expect something. The top-class soundbar is able to offer audio in 9.1.4, or an over-complete Dolby Atmos experience. The soundbar is packed with speakers (no less than twenty) and comes with a wireless subwoofer and two wireless rear speakers. These speakers have an extra height channel, leaving room for the surround and height effect.
The Samsung soundbar offers support for a variety of audio formats, you can operate it via the SmartThings application and has e-arc support. Not everyone has such a high-end TV with multiple HDMI inputs or even a Samsung device with One Connect Vox. In that case, the two additional HDMI inputs on the HW-Q950T are very practical. It is true that rivals such as the Sonos Arc go all the way for just one HDMI port, but we still like to see a few extra inputs on top models. If you connect a video source to this, you can count on 4K and HDR support. Unfortunately, the soundbar does not have a Chromecast or AirPlay, but it does have Bluetooth and Spotify Connect.
Read the detailed review of the Samsung HW-Q950T Soundbar here.
Pros of Samsung HW-Q950T
- True 9.1.4 view
- Support for Atmos and DTS: X
- Best in class surround performance
- Q-Symphony is quite effective
Negatives of Samsung HW-Q950T
- Screen is invisible from the sofa
- You can’t just place rear speakers anywhere
- Higher price range
In addition to Samsung, LG also released a soundbar with four height channels in 2020. That’s what the four stands for when you look at the number 7.1.4. The LG DSN11RG is equipped with speakers that sit on top of the soundbar and comes with two extra rear speakers, for an even more convincing surround sound. Yes, you still get more hardware than if you only opt for a soundbar, but the installation is smooth and the space occupied by the extra (optional) speakers is fortunately minimal.
The LG DSN11RG offers support for things like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X and you can set it up via the Google Home app. You can also use the LG application dedicated to speakers to access the AI Room Calibration feature. An important function that allows you to set your soundbar for the best sound reproduction in your home. There is also support for Google Chromecast and the Google Assistant, so you can include the soundbar in your speaker group and use it in a smart home.
Do you have a smaller budget, but still want a good Atmos experience and a good stereo experience? Then take a look at the cheaper LG DSN8YG . This soundbar may be the entry into LG’s premium line for 2020, but the performance is already pretty good. Especially the stereo-with-center reproduction is very good, with decent height channels in the front that still offer a 3D experience at a certain level. The LG excels thanks to its many extras: Chromecast, Google Assistant and the effective room calibration function.
Pros of LG DSN11RG
- Built-in microphone for Google Assistant, Chromecast compatible
- Calibrates sound to your room
- Volume for each channel can be adjusted separately
- Very wide soundstage
- Excellent for music and gaming
Negatives of LG DSN11RG
- Very large soundbar, rather for 65 inch TVs
- Remote lacks premium feel
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
Are you going for design and audio quality, and is Bang & Olufsen high on your wish list? Then the Beosound Stage soundbar is interesting. We know Bang & Olufsen as a manufacturer of luxurious, expensive audio devices. But with the Beosound Stage, the Danes do things differently.
For around 1,500 euros you get a hefty yet refined soundbar that is compatible with Dolby Atmos (3D surround with extra sound from the height), Chromecast and Google Assistant. In addition, you can choose from various stylish designs.
Pros of Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
- One of the best looking sound bars available
- Powerful bass without a subwoofer
- Wide appearance, also suitable for large rooms
- Great for music
- Can also be placed flat against the wall vertically
Negatives of Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
- Remote is a separate purchase (and actually a must)
- No calibration function and modest audio options
- The beautiful wood version is slightly more expensive
- Poor in terms of HDMI inputs
The Sonos Arc soundbar is a product that is especially a nice addition for people who have already invested heavily in the Sonos ecosystem. With a high suggested retail price of 899 euros, however, you can expect more and fortunately we see that Sonos delivers. For example, the Arc offers support for AirPlay 2 and Dolby Atmos. The latter is especially important, because many video streaming services and video games opt for that standard. The great thing about AirPlay 2 is that you can also use speakers other than those from Sonos in a mutli-room setup.
It is also important to know that the Sonos Arc offers support for HDMI e-ARC. In addition, the soundbar works with the company’s new mobile application, the Sonos S2; as a result, it may be that some setups with old speakers from the company no longer work properly. On the other hand, you immediately have full access to the very good and extensive Sonos ecosystem. And in terms of ease of use, the company still scores a good ten. If you are really into Sonos, you can equip the soundbar with two Subs and Sonos One speakers for a real cinema feeling at home.
Pros of Sonos Arc
- TruePlay adapts sound to the acoustics
- U itstekende spaciousness and positioning of Atmos-effects
- V eel streaming options
- Multiroom possibilities
- Industrial design
Negatives of Sonos arc
- No DTS support
- G an option to upmix
- G an individual volume control height channels
- i OS device required for TruePlay
The best soundbars do not all have to cost 900 euros or more, Denon shows with the Denon DHT-S216. This is a slim, affordable soundbar with a lot of options at home, so you can go in many directions with it. For example, the device has HDMI arc and you can send signals up to 4k and 60 fps through the device via linked devices. A subwoofer is not included as standard, but you could still connect it separately if you want. But for the current price you already get a complete package.
However, you should not assume that everything sounds just as good on this cheaper Denon as on the most expensive Samsung. That is a comparison that simply does not hold. That does not alter the fact that the sound from your television is much better than without and that you can enjoy music that you play wirelessly with it. You can do that via Roon, AirPlay 2, bluetooth or Spotify Connect, for example, because those are standards and options that the soundbar supports. This is a typical case of good value for money.
Pros of Denon DHT-S216
- Unique design with sleek finish
- Very good audio quality
- Roon, AirPlay 2, bluetooth and Spotify
- Easy in use
Negatives of Denon DHT-S216
- Pricey (especially as a complete multi-room system)
- No physical inputs
- Roon required to play local music
Best soundbars at the moment – Samsung HW-Q800T
Are you interested in a Samsung soundbar for under your Samsung television, but can it also be an ounce less? Then you can consider the Samsung HW-Q800T. This is a South Korean brand midrange soundbar capable of reproducing Dolby Atmos soundtracks effectively. It is also a fairly compact system, which makes it suitable for many setups in the living room. As with more expensive sound bars, we also see speakers at the top here, which send the sound into the room perfectly.
The soundbar blends well with the Samsung ecosystem that you may have at home. There is support for Q Symphony and of course smart home platform Samsung SmartThings. With Q Symphony it is possible that you let the speakers of the TV work together with the speakers of the soundbar. Sony also offers such a similar feature, so it’s not a unique one, but it’s a useful one. In addition, there is support for e-arc, so you can be sure that the soundbar can handle the latest audio formats.
Pros of Samsung HW-Q800T
- Not extremely wide or high, fits between TV feet
- Displays Dolby Atmos soundtracks very effectively
- Simple setup
- Additional HDMI input
- Expandable with wireless rears
Negatives of Samsung HW-Q800T
- No Chromecast or Airplay
- Sub must be properly adjusted and placed
Harman Kardon Multibeam 700
Another alternative with a slightly lower price tag is the Harman Kardon Multibeam 700. It is one of the best soundbars at the moment for several reasons. For example, we see the characteristic design of the Citation series in it, it is possible to create a multiroom setup via the Google Home application and you can count on support for AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and the Google Assistant. This allows you to use it in your smart home and it is possible to play music wirelessly on the device.
Even more important is the extensive calibration function, which makes it possible to realize a wide soundstage. And that while firstly you do not pay the main price and secondly you also lose relatively little space. If you do not like the sound completely (which we cannot imagine), you have the option to expand the soundbar with rear speakers and a separate subwoofer. But in principle, that subwoofer is not necessary, which in this case is a strong point when you have little or no space for peripherals.
Pros of Harman Kardon Multibeam 700
- Heel clever design and Topping
- Multiroom possible
- AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Google Assistant
- Very wide soundstage in the front
- Expandable with subwoofer and rear speakers
- Effective calibration function
Negatives of Harman Kardon Multibeam 700
- Wall mounting is not that subtle
- Balan sound effects and dialogues are sometimes hard to find
- Work best in rooms that are not crowded
Best soundbars at the moment – TCL Ray-Danz TS9030
Finally, we do not want to deny you the TCL Ray-Danz TS9030. This is also a cheaper soundbar (often cheaper than the Samsung and Harman Kardon soundbars discussed above), which plays a 3.1 sound and comes with a wireless subwoofer. Not only the design can be called unique, but also the way in which the sound is sent into the room. The sound is sent very wide into the room, giving you the idea of being surrounded by the sound, especially intended for open living rooms.
The TCL Ray-Danz TS9030 also has many connections, including HDMI arc and an extra HDMI port, and wireless options, such as Google Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and bluetooth. In addition, there is support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. That said, there is also a price-quality ratio that works in favor of the soundbar, provided that your expectations are of course not sky-high. That is not possible in this price segment.
Pros of TCL Ray-Danz TS9030
- Excellent price / quality ratio
- Additional HDMI input
- Chromecast and AirPlay 2
- Immersive surround bubble with movies
- Atmos compatible
Negatives of TCL Ray-Danz TS9030
- Longer boot time
- Cheaper finishing of certain elements
- Music performance could be better