Featured Buy: Sonos Beam
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Best Soundbars for Enhancing Home Theaters in 2023
The Samsung HW-Q90R soundbar offers an exceptional audio experience with its top-tier features and advanced technologies. With a remarkable 17.4 speaker setup and a 7.1.4 channel arrangement, this soundbar delivers impressive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound, bringing your home theater to life.
One of the standout features of the HW-Q90R soundbar is its 7.1.4 channel sound, which is achieved through a total of 17 speakers, including upward-firing and side-firing speakers. This configuration ensures a truly immersive audio experience, with sound that moves around you and above you, creating a three-dimensional soundstage.
In addition to its exceptional sound quality, the HW-Q90R soundbar comes with a rear wireless speaker kit, providing you with additional surround sound capabilities. The wireless speakers further enhance the audio experience, immersing you in rich, detailed sound from every direction.
Adaptive Sound technology is another notable feature of the HW-Q90R soundbar. It automatically analyzes the content being played and adjusts the audio settings to deliver optimized sound quality. This ensures clear and balanced sound reproduction, making dialogue crisp and intelligible, even during action-packed scenes.
The HW-Q90R soundbar has garnered positive reviews and awards for its performance, making it a top choice among soundbars in 2019. It is designed to complement Samsung QLED TVs, offering seamless integration and compatibility. The soundbar also includes features like Game Mode Pro, which enhances gaming audio, and SmartThings connectivity, allowing you to control the soundbar and other connected devices with ease. Furthermore, it supports 4K pass-through, ensuring that your audio and video signals are transmitted without any loss in quality, and Bluetooth streaming for wireless music playback
The Sony SRS-X9 is a high-end soundbar that offers a strong and immersive audio experience, making it an excellent choice for audio enthusiasts. With its 7.1 channel setup, it provides a genuine surround sound experience, creating a captivating audio environment for movies, music, and more. The soundbar is equipped with advanced features, including High-Resolution Audio, which ensures accurate and detailed sound reproduction, allowing you to hear every nuance and subtlety in your audio content.
In terms of design, the Sony SRS-X9 features a modern appearance that complements any home decor. Its sleek and sophisticated design adds an aesthetic touch to your entertainment setup. Additionally, the soundbar offers a range of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI, providing flexibility and convenience when connecting to your devices.
The Sony SRS-X9 wireless speaker offers superb connectivity, spacious sound, and supports various file formats and sample rates, including high-resolution audio. It boasts a sleek design with touch-sensitive buttons and a proximity sensor. With seven drivers supported by an eight-channel digital amplifier, it delivers an output of 154W, providing powerful and impressive sound with a great sense of scale and rich tones. The speaker performs exceptionally well with high-resolution music, offering superb sound quality and versatility
Vizio M Series M512a-H6
The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a highly recommended soundbar for those seeking a premium audio experience at an affordable price. With its 5.1 channel setup, it delivers a solid and immersive audio experience, making it an excellent choice for home theater enthusiasts. The soundbar also features DTS Virtual:X surround sound technology, which creates a three-dimensional audio experience, enhancing the immersion and realism of your favorite movies, TV shows, and music. Additionally, the M512a-H6 boasts a modern design that complements any living space, and it offers various connectivity options, including Bluetooth and HDMI, for easy integration with your devices.
The Vizio M512a-H6 soundbar is praised for its balanced and detailed sound quality, with powerful bass coming from the small subwoofer. The soundstage is wide, and the center channel performs well, ensuring clear voice reproduction. The soundbar provides a surround sound experience with discrete surround speakers, while the up-firing speakers create a sense of height, delivering an enjoyable audio experience, especially for average-sized living rooms. The soundbar offers sound enhancement features, including EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments for customization. It supports various audio formats, such as Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM, ensuring compatibility with different sources. The soundbar features physical inputs like HDMI and USB, supports wireless streaming via Bluetooth, and has low latency over ARC, Optical, and HDMI In connections. It includes a display, physical controls, and a remote with a display screen for easy operation. The Vizio M512a-H6 is a well-rounded soundbar that provides options for further enhancements and adjustments.
The LG SK9Y soundbar offers a solid and immersive audio experience with its 5.1.2 channel setup. It delivers a complete surround sound experience, and it includes Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound technologies, which provide a three-dimensional audio experience, adding depth and realism to your audio content. The SK9Y also features a modern appearance, making it an attractive addition to any home entertainment setup. It offers a range of connectivity choices, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI, ensuring seamless integration with various devices and sources.
The LG SK9Y soundbar features a long design with a combination of plastic and metal materials. It incorporates up-firing speakers and a subwoofer with a solid plastic top. While the build quality is decent, it may not feel as premium as some other models. In terms of sound performance, the stereo frequency response is passable, but the low-bass performance is sub-par. The soundstage is decent, although the volume output is not as loud as competing models. The center channel performance is good, ensuring clear dialogue reproduction. However, the surround performance is average, and the sound profile can be muddy. When playing Atmos content, there is a noticeable difference in sound, but precise object localization may be lacking. The soundbar offers features like adaptive sound control and a night mode, providing customization options for different listening scenarios. It supports various audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, and 5.1 PCM. In terms of connectivity, it offers options such as optical, HDMI ARC, Full HDMI In, analog audio in, RCA in, USB, and Ethernet. Wireless connections can be established via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and it also includes Chromecast built-in for convenient streaming. The subwoofer connects wirelessly, and the soundbar features a simple LCD display. It comes with a remote control and supports Google Assistant for voice control. Additionally, the LG Wi-Fi Speaker app allows for easy control and management of the soundbar. The SK9Y includes power-saving features and supports HDMI CEC for basic control with the TV remote.
In summary, the LG SK9Y soundbar offers a solid and immersive audio experience with its 5.1.2 channel setup, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X surround sound technologies. It features a modern appearance and provides multiple connectivity choices, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI. While the sound performance may have some limitations, such as sub-par low-bass performance and average surround performance, the soundbar offers customization options and supports various audio formats. With its unique design and Dolby Atmos capabilities, the LG SK9Y provides a compelling sound experience for home entertainment enthusiasts.
The Sonos Beam is a highly recommended soundbar that offers a remarkable audio experience with its 3.0 channel setup. Its compact design allows it to seamlessly attach to most TVs, making it a versatile choice for various setups.
One of the notable features of the Sonos Beam is its compatibility with voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing users to control the soundbar effortlessly with their voice. This feature enhances the convenience and accessibility of the device.
In terms of connectivity, the Sonos Beam offers several options, including Bluetooth and HDMI. This means users can easily connect their devices to the soundbar and enjoy their favorite content with high-quality sound.
The Beam has received positive reviews for its superb sound quality, which provides a strong and engaging audio experience. It supports surround sound decoding for PCM and Digital Dolby formats, ensuring immersive audio reproduction. However, it’s important to note that the original Sonos Beam does not support advanced features such as Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual:X. For those seeking a more immersive listening experience, newer options should be considered.
Additionally, the Sonos Beam is praised for its modern design, making it an attractive addition to any home entertainment setup. It comes in black-and-white color options, allowing users to choose the one that best matches their aesthetic preferences.
While the original Sonos Beam remains a solid soundbar option, it’s worth mentioning that a newer model is available, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). The Gen 2 version offers significant upgrades, including Dolby Atmos support, HDMI eARC compatibility, and a refreshed design. The Beam (Gen 2) has received positive reviews for its wide soundstage, hi-res audio compatibility, and compact design. However, it should be noted that the virtual Atmos performance may need to be more compelling.
The Beam is a fantastic choice for those looking for a high-quality soundbar. It delivers impressive audio performance, supports voice commands, and offers a modern design with various connectivity options. While the original Beam lacks advanced features like Dolby Atmos, the newer Sonos Beam (Gen 2) addresses this with its enhanced capabilities.
Bose Soundbar 700
The Bose Soundbar 700 offers a genuine surround sound experience with its 3.0 channel setup. It incorporates Bose’s proprietary PhaseGuide technology, which enhances the soundstage, creating a larger and more realistic audio environment.
In terms of connectivity, the Bose Soundbar 700 provides various options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI, allowing you to connect it to different devices and enjoy seamless audio streaming.
One notable feature of the Soundbar 700 is its sleek and modern appearance. It features a perforated wraparound aluminum grille and a tempered glass top, which gives it a high-end and stylish look. However, the glass top tends to smudge with fingerprints easily and reflects the TV screen, which can be distracting.
On the positive side, the soundbar has an excellent remote app, ADAPTiQ audio calibration, and the inclusion of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which make it a smart speaker. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. The review points out that the soundbar is light on bass, lacks support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and does not have HDMI inputs.
The Bose Soundbar 700 offers solid, engaging sound with a wide sound field. It praises the soundbar’s stylish build and excellent multi-function remote. However, it notes that the soundbar is overpriced for its feature set, lacking Dolby Atmos or DTS:X support and video passthrough capabilities.
In terms of design, the Bose Soundbar 700 has a unique and premium style. It features a glass top and a metal grille that covers the front and sides, giving it a high-quality look and feel. The soundbar’s build quality is robust, with a combination of plastic and metal components.
Regarding sound performance, the Soundbar 700 offers a good stereo frequency response. It includes the ADAPTiQ room correction feature, which optimizes the sound output based on your room’s acoustics. The sound profile is balanced and suitable for various types of audio content. However, it may deliver less low bass than the full Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with additional speakers and a bass module.
Overall, the Bose Soundbar 700 provides a genuine surround sound experience with its 3.0 channel setup, enhanced by Bose’s PhaseGuide technology. It offers multiple connectivity options, a sleek design, and smart speaker capabilities. However, it is worth considering its limitations, such as the lack of HDMI inputs, the absence of support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and the reflective glass top.
Buyers Guide for Soundbars Built for Home Theaters
Flat-screen TVs have become the norm in today’s home entertainment setup, but they often lack the audio quality to match their impressive visuals. That is where soundbars come in. Soundbars are all-in-one speaker systems designed to enhance the TV viewing experience by delivering high-quality sound without needing a complex home theater setup. With the wide variety of soundbars available on the market, choosing the right one for your home theater can be challenging. This comprehensive buyer’s guide will provide valuable insights and recommendations to help you select the perfect soundbar for your needs.
Soundbars are slim, elongated speaker systems that house multiple speakers in a single enclosure. They are specifically designed to improve the audio performance of flat-screen TVs, which often have inadequate built-in speakers. Soundbars offer an easy and space-efficient solution that delivers superior sound quality compared to TV speakers.
Considerations Before Buying a Soundbar:
- Sound Quality: Soundbars are designed to enhance your TV’s audio experience, so it’s important to prioritize sound quality. Look for soundbars that offer clear dialogue, balanced sound reproduction, and immersive surround sound capabilities.
- Placement: Determine where you plan to position your soundbar. Whether you prefer wall-mounted, placed on a shelf, or positioned beneath the TV, ensure that the chosen soundbar fits your space and complements your existing setup.
- Compatibility: Check for compatibility with your TV and other devices. Some soundbars offer seamless integration with popular streaming services, voice control assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant, and wireless connectivity options.
- Size and Aesthetics: Take measurements of your TV and stand to ensure the soundbar’s length and height match your setup. Considering the visual aesthetics and how well the soundbar complements your home theater environment is essential.
- Price Range and Features: Soundbars are available in a wide range of prices, typically ranging from $100 to over $1,000. While more expensive models may offer advanced features, it is essential to consider your budget and prioritize the features that matter most to you. Many mid-range soundbars offer excellent sound quality and features suitable for most home theater setups.
- Brand Reputation: Soundbars are produced by various audio companies and TV manufacturers. While a soundbar made by the same company as your TV may offer compatibility benefits, it’s essential to prioritize sound quality. Brands specializing in audio equipment often deliver superior sound performance compared to those primarily focused on TVs. Research different brands, read customer reviews, and consider the reputation and expertise of the manufacturer.
- Subwoofer: Some soundbars come with a separate subwoofer, usually wireless. A subwoofer enhances the low-frequency sounds, providing deep and impactful bass. If you enjoy a more immersive audio experience with powerful bass response, consider a soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer.
- Connectivity Options: Check the connectivity options provided by the soundbar. Most soundbars connect to your TV using an HDMI cable, but they may offer alternatives like optical or coaxial connections. Ensure the soundbar’s inputs match your TV’s available outputs for seamless integration. Additionally, some soundbars support wireless connectivity, allowing you to stream audio from your smartphone or other devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.