Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best soundbars you can buy in Australia right now.
If you've just bought one of the best 4K TVs on the market but aren't too crash hot on the sound pumping out of it, then setting yourself up with a nice soundbar could be the go.
Soundbars offer the best bang-for-buck middle ground between the audio that your TV outputs and going all-in on a home cinema surround setup, but perhaps the most appealing aspect of soundbars is just how sleek and unobtrusive they are when placed with your TV.
Naturally, you'll want to consider the dimensions of your existing TV so that the soundbar can fit neatly beneath and/or in front of it, depending on your needs. You also won't want it to be too much larger or smaller than the width of your screen, so that it sits harmoniously in your setup.
Once you've considered how your new soundbar will gel with your current TV, you'll need to consider the unit's specs – some bars come with a subwoofer (some of which are wireless) and does it have the right kinds of connections for your TV? How about Bluetooth streaming, so you can turn it into your main living room sound source?
With all these considerations in mind, we've rounded up the best soundbars on offer in today's market. They're all easy enough to install and will help keep your setup minimal, tidy, and relatively free of unnecessary cabling
See all our soundbar reviews
Judging purely on a bang-for-your-buck basis, the five-star Sonos Beam is currently the best soundbar you can buy. It comes with a few additions to its spec sheet when compared to the Sonos Playbar and Playbase, including an HDMI connection and voice control assistance from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, with Apple Siri to follow.
This is an affordable soundbar that could transform your listening experience. It's small, light and will fit in front of most TVs. There are sleek touch controls on the top, as well as HDMI and Ethernet ports to the rear. You can wall-mount the Beam, although the optional bracket is somewhat pricey.
Sound quality is superb. Inside, four full-range drivers, one tweeter, three passive radiators and five class-D amplifiers help to drive sound around your room for a more immersive, cinematic experience.
The width, depth and three-dimensionality of the sound smashes expectations.
Read the full review: Sonos Beam
While there's little out there that's better value than the Sonos Beam (above), the company's more recent crack at a soundbar with full Dolby Atmos support is pretty close. You'll be paying a little more for the privilege of convincing surround sound via Atmos, but the price is still mighty reasonable compared to competition like the Sennheiser Ambeo below.
The Arc is simple to set up, in typical Sonos fashion, and is a true boon to have in the house thanks to all the integrated smarts that the brand is renowned for. It offers dynamic, detailed and weighty audio to pair with your TV or for any other kind of audio desire you may have.
If you're keen on the quality that Sonos brings to its soundbars but are after something a little more immersive than the Beam above, the extra money here is well spent.
Read the full review: Sonos Arc
This JBL Bar Studio is proof that there are some fine soundbars to be had for very little money. Sound is solid and punchy; connectivity includes a single ARC-enable HDMI output, an optical digital input and Bluetooth.
Build-quality is good, too – it's clear that JBL has crafted this model to its usual high standards of aesthetic modernity. Given its petite size (it's 60cm long and 6cm tall), the scale of the JBL's sound is a little restricted, but it still delivers a confident sound with plenty of detail, clear dialogue and punchy, rich bass at the bottom end.
You also get JBL Surround Sound, an in-house technology designed to replicate the wrap-around sound of a 5.1 system – further proof this soundbar is aiming to overcome the limitations imposed on it by its size.
It might not be a market-leader, but for the money, this is a superb buy for an impressive all-rounder. If you're after a full-bodied upgrade to your telly’s anaemic speakers, you can’t go wrong here.
Read the full review: JBL Bar Studio
The Ambeo Soundbar is Sennheiser's first consumer speaker, and it's quite the proposition – a premium soundbar crammed full of features including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, 4K HDR pass-through (all of which are useful if Netflix and/or Amazon are your main movie and TV show source). You also get auto-calibration and four HDMI inputs, plus Bluetooth and support for Chromecast.
Measuring 127cm wide and 14cm tall, it’s certainly a beast. The result is that the Sennheiser delivers a sound big enough not to need its own subwoofer, with clear, direct dialogue and detail and subtlety in spades. The way it stretches the sound around you creates a great atmosphere and really draws you into the action.
To get the full Dolby Atmos effect, you'll need to wall-mount or position the soundbar on the top shelf of your rack, so the upward-firing speakers aren't obstructed. It's well worth the effort, though.
For those who want convincing 3D sound without the speakers, this the best soundbar with a premium price tag that we've ever tested.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
With a multitude of soundbars competing in the budget-to-midrange market, the fact the Yamaha YAS-207 manages to excel in some areas of sonic performance that others don't makes it pretty special.
The YAS-207 is a natural entertainer and features YSP (Yamaha Sound Projection) technology, which is designed to emulate a surround-sound experience from a single soundbar. You also get immersive virtual sound, only this time by using DTS’s latest codec: DTS Virtual:X, which simulates a 11.1-channel set-up. As far as ‘virtual’ surround-sound experiences from a single enclosure go, it's hugely effective.
The bar also comes with a wireless external subwoofer, and plenty of features, including Bluetooth, an app to cycle between surround sound modes and an HDMI socket that enables 4K HDR passthrough.
Once positioned, performance defies the bar’s physical proportions. It produces a crisp, exciting sound and proves as adept at playing music as it does movie soundtracks. Another chapter in Yamaha’s soundbar success story – and a worthy Best Buy.
Read the full review: Yamaha YAS-207
With five different audio inputs, three ways to mount it and ten drivers all working together to deliver an immersive sound experience, there's plenty to talk about with the Dali Katch One. It is quite tall, so you really have to mount it on a wall, but that will only aid bass performance from the rear-firing drivers.
The Katch One is also a good looking bar and comes in three different finishes: Iron Black, Ivory White and Mountain White. There's an ARC-enabled HDMI socket for getting the audio from your TV, plus a pair of optical inputs and Bluetooth.
The Danish company has crammed in four mid/bass drivers, four passive radiators and two tweeters inside the soundbar and it serves a great dynamic performance with a broad, clear soundstage that works well for movies. It also boasts the ability to sound fun with music, too.
Provided you have the space to wall-mount it, this bar will be a delightful addition to any TV set-up.
Read the full review: Dali Katch One
There are numerous reasons you might shun a traditional full surround-sound system in favour of something more convenient – lack of space, too many wires, too much hassle. Yamaha’s YSP soundbar range has been one of the best solutions for over a decade now, offering a simpler, more compact way to get the surround-sound effect into your home.
The YSP-2700 is an excellent performer for the money, bouncing sound off the walls to create a 7.1ch effect, and comes with a cube-shaped, front-firing subwoofer. It delivers plenty of connectivity, including one HDMI out and three HDMI ins with support for HDCP 2.2, 4K video and Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS:HD audio formats. There's no Dolby Atmos support, though.
There's also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and Apple AirPlay streaming. And the presence of Yamaha MusicCast means you can integrate the bar into a Yamaha MusicCast multi-room system.
While it's at the top end of most budgets, the wide, spacious soundstage, good dynamics and superb feature count more than justifies the YSP-2700's price.
Read the full review: Yamaha YSP-2700
Accomplished Dolby Atmos soundbars are few and far between but the Sony HT-ST5000 happens to be one of them. It makes film soundtracks so immersive you'll think you're in the movie. The HT-ST5000 is fantastic – pairing a real sense of height (thanks to its upfiring drivers) with sophisticated sound quality.
The feature count on this Sony soundbar is impressive too, with three HDMI inputs, USB, Bluetooth and high-res audio support. You can also stream music to it wirelessly, via Wi-Fi or the Bluetooth 4.1 connection. Spotify Connect is also built in, as is Google Chromecast for Tidal or Google Play Music users. It even has a dedicated ‘Music Service’ button on the remote, which can automatically resume Spotify playback if you've been out and about, listening on your smartphone.
The soundbar is a little on the older side now, but if you can find one, it'll be a hassle-free way to get Dolby Atmos into your home without stretching the budget.
Read the full review: Sony HT-ST5000
The sound from this excellent soundbar is hugely engaging, and it looks very dapper to boot. The bar delivers a wide, spacious soundstage, and pings effects around the room with ease, giving them ample room to manoeuvre. Even the more hectic scenes don’t sound crowded. Add some low-end heft to thicken the sound and you have punchy soundbar that wipes the floor with many of its rivals.
Not sure about a red soundbar? Don't worry, the grilles are removable. Red, white and black come as standard but you can splash out on six other snazzy colours, including purple and lime green.
As you'd expect for the money, this is a solid bit of kit with a well-designed chassis and decent connectivity. For high-quality music streaming, there's aptX Bluetooth, plus two optical inputs, microUSB (so you can hardwire it to a Mac or PC and access high-res tracks) and a sub socket, should you feel the need to hook up a subwoofer.
There are no HDMI inputs and at 16cm high, the Dali might well justify its own shelf, but this bar presents itself extremely well – and, in our opinion, is worth every cent.
Read the full review: Dali Kubik One
The Sonos Beam (at the top of this list) might be the overall best value soundbar we've tested, and while the Arc has all but replaced the Playbar, there's still plenty of life left in this offering from Sonos. It offers many of the same Sonos smarts as the Beam, but in a much larger package. Connectivity is limited to an optical input, so it doesn't offer quite the same flexibility as the HDMI-toting Beam, but you still get access to Sonos' excellent user experience and multi-room smarts.
It's nicely made and can be wall-mounted using the optional mount or laid flat in front of your TV. The most impressive aspect of the Playbar is the wide, expansive soundstage which does a great job of filling your room. There's a surprising amount of bass weight too.
This soundbar will play everything (except hi-res audio tracks) that you’ve got stored on your computer or NAS device; you can send audio directly from an Android or iOS phone or tablet; and it connects to internet radio via Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and more.
The smaller, cheaper Beam features voice controls, but if you're after a simple, powerful device that will significantly improve the sound of your TV, the Playbar is an excellent option. Still undecided? Take a gander at our Sonos Beam vs Playbar comparison.
Read the full review: Sonos Playbar