Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2023: budget to premium home cinema sound

Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2023: Jump Menu

Sonos Arc

(Image credit: Sonos)

1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall: Sony HT-A7000
3. Best small: Sonos Beam Gen 2
4. Best for versatility: Sonos Arc
5. Best premium: Sennheiser Ambeo Max
6. Best cheap: Sony HT-G700
7. How we choose
8. How we test

We test a lot of TVs here at What Hi-Fi? and the overarching sentiment is that TV speakers just aren't very good. While that might sound like a sweeping generalisation, we promise you that it's not entirely untrue. 

With more slender sets becoming the norm, the space for properly powerful speaker units just isn't available now, leaving much to be desired in the audio department for most modern TVs.

So what's the solution? Well, our usual solution would be to kit yourself out with a top-notch AVR and home theatre speaker system, but we recognise that it might not be a feasible solution for everyone regarding budget and available space. So, we turn to the next best thing, a Dolby Atmos Soundbar. 

Offering access to the immersive Dolby Atmos audio format without costing an arm and a leg or taking up loads of space, it can be a great alternative to upgrade your cinematic sound experience. 

That being said, there are many options on the market, so which one should you opt for? Luckily for you, we've answered that very question by compiling the very best options available right now. 

Lewis Empson author profile image
Lewis Empson

With over a year's experience at What Hi-Fi? under his belt, Lewis has quickly become attuned to the ever-expanding world of Dolby Atmos soundbars. He's tested and reviewed everything from cheap and simple up to the more premium, feature-packed offerings on the market.

The quick list

Here you will find an overview of our favourite Dolby Atmos soundbars with a quick explanation as to why we think they're worth your attention (and money of course). If you'd like more information, you can check below for specifications and a summary of the reviews for each model.

The best Dolby Atmos soundbars we recommend in 2023

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Best overall

Powerful and muscular room-filling Dolby Atmos from a single soundbar


Connectivity: HDMI out (eARC), 2 x HDMI in, optical, USB, wi-fi, ethernet, Bluetooth
Sound format support: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, PCM
Streaming: Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Voice control: Google Assistant, Alexa
Dimensions (hwd): 8 x 130 x 14 cm (3.14" x 51" x 5.6")
Weight: 8.7kg (26lbs)

Reasons to buy

Robust low-end
Excellent Atmos performance

Reasons to avoid

EQ controls would be nice
Slightly confused styling

Sony has excellent form with soundbars, and the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning HT-A7000 is no different. 

A 7.1.2 slab of sound, this Dolby Atmos soundbar packs in two up-firing speakers, two beam tweeters, five front-facing drivers and a built-in dual subwoofer into a single chassis. Using a combination of driver placement and psychoacoustic techniques, the Sony HT-A700 delivers a broad and high soundstage, whether you’re watching immersive content or not, while retaining musicality, presence and detail.

During our checks, we found that, in terms of height and precision, the performance is similar to that of the Sonos Arc, but the width of the soundstage and its forward projection is more convincing. It’s not the same as having direct audio from the speaker above or the side, but it’s effective and dramatically enticing, enriching the viewing experience. The integrated sub is also particularly impressive with a taut, controlled and powerful performance.

 The A7000 excels with its extensive audio formats support, which includes Dolby Atmos (in both the Digital+ and TrueHD formats), DTS:X, LPCM, hi-res wireless audio and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

The A7000 is as packed with streaming smarts as it is stuffed with speakers with Spotify ConnectApple AirPlay 2Google Chromecast all on board and integration into a multi-room system – with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home all supported. 

Alongside two HDMI 2.1 pass-through sockets capable of handling 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz, and Dolby Vision HDR, there are ports for eARC, analogue and optical audio inputs and USB type-A. There’s also an analogue output for Sony’s Acoustic Center Sync, which lets a compatible Bravia TV become part of the soundbar’s centre channel when the two are connected using the supplied cable.

The Sony HT-A7000 is an outstanding, future-proofed, all-in-one performer with excellent integration if you have a newer Sony Bravia TV.

Read the full Sony HT-A7000 review

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Test results
SoundExcellent Atmos performance with a robust low end★★★★★
FeaturesAbout as feature packed as it gets★★★★★
BuildSolidly built and discrete enough for most rooms★★★★★

Best small

2. Sonos Beam Gen 2

The dinky Sonos Beam delivers a refined sound and excellent Dolby Atmos interpretation


Connectivity: HDMI out (eARC), wi-fi, ethernet
Sound format support: Dolby Atmos, PCM
Streaming: Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Sonos S2 app
Voice control: Google Assisstant, Alexa
Dimensions (hwd): 7 x 65 x 10cm (2.7" x 26" x 3.9")
Weight: 2.8kg (6.35lbs)

Reasons to buy

Effective handling of Dolby Atmos
Warm, refined sound
Streaming smarts

Reasons to avoid

No additional HDMI ports
Doesn’t support DTS:X

Delivering Dolby Atmos from a small chassis is no mean feat but the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Sonos Beam Gen 2 achieves a convincing, immersive performance without so much as a vertical speaker in sight. 

Instead, when watching Atmos content, two of the soundbar's five front-facing arrays are dedicated to reproducing overhead and surround sounds. With its hefty processing power, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 uses psychoacoustic HRTF (head-related transfer function) technology to give the impression of height without needing to get vertical.

While genuine overhead sounds are perhaps a stretch too far for this petite performer, based on experience using it, its virtual delivery of the Atmos format outstrips any similarly priced soundbar and even a few that are more expensive. The Beam Gen 2 offers an enveloping, spatial soundscape with rich, detailed audio as well as tangible motion and depth. 

Not that many soundbars at this price point come with networking capabilities, but this being a Sonos product, the Beam Gen 2’s ability to integrate into a wireless multiroom system is fundamental to its design. This means you can stream to the Beam Gen 2 from a handheld device using Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect is built-in too. There will also be a forthcoming upgrade to add support for Amazon Music Ultra HD audio, which will give access to lossless 24-bit/48kHz tracks as well as Dolby Atmos Music.

Despite the lack of upward drivers, if space and budget are limited there isn't a better Dolby Atmos soundbar that we'd recommend.

Read the full Sonos Beam Gen 2 review

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Test results
SoundWarm and effective handling of Atmos★★★★★
FeaturesRobust suite of streaming smarts★★★★★
BuildDinky design makes it a great option for small rooms★★★★★

Best for versatility

The best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've heard at the money.


Connectivity: HDMI out (eARC), opitcal, wi-fi, ethernet
Sound format support: Dolby Atmos, PCM
Streaming: Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Sonos S2 app
Voice control: Google Assisstant, Alexa
Dimensions: 8.7 x 114 x 12cm (3.43" x 45" x 4.56")
Weight: 6.3kg (14lbs)

Reasons to buy

Convincing Dolby Atmos
Dynamic, detailed and weighty
All of the usual Sonos smarts

Reasons to avoid

Music could be better projected
Heavily reliant on your TV’s specs

Soundbars aren't new territory for Sonos, but the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Arc is the only soundbar from the brand to deliver Dolby Atmos with verticle speakers. It sits above the Beam (Gen 2) in terms of pricing and is suited to 55in TVs and above, with optional wall mounting fixings available for £79 ($79/AU$99) .

There are touch-sensitive play/pause and volume controls on the bar with LEDs that indicate status and when you're talking to the built-in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Connectivity includes AirPlay 2, ethernet and eARC for Dolby Atmos from compatible TVs.

The Sonos Arc uses 11 drivers to create your soundfield, a number of which are upward-firing and angled into your room to bounce sound off your walls and ceiling and give you a more realistic Dolby Atmos effect. It all adds up to one of the most convincing Atmos performances you can get from a soundbar based on our tests.

You're transported to the heart of the action. Surround effects are expertly placed and there's great dynamism and good weight to the sound too. Tonally, it's nicely balanced if you just want to listen to music, although it could sound a tiny bit more direct. But, there's no doubt this is a hugely impressive Dolby Atmos soundbar for the money.

Read the full Sonos Arc review

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Test results
SoundDynamoc, detailed and controlled Dolby Atmos performance ★★★★★
FeaturesAll the usual Sonos smarts included★★★★★
BuildDiscrete with a low profile★★★★★

Best premium


(Image credit: Sennheiser)
If money's no object, this is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested recently.


Connectivity: HDMI out (eARC), 3 x HDMI in, optical, RCA, wi-fi, ethernet, Bluetooth
Format support: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, PCM, MPEG H, Sony 360 Reality Audio
Streaming: Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect
Voice control: Alexa, Siri
Dimensions: 14 x 127 x 17cm (5.3" x 50" x 6.7")
Weight: 18.5kg (40.8lbs)

Reasons to buy

Rich, natural sound
Dynamic and detailed
Convincing 3D surround

Reasons to avoid

Fussy with positioning

Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar Max is hugely impressive in both senses of the word. It's a beast, standing almost 1.3m wide – that's noticeably larger than the competition. (It's also a lot heavier, which is good intel if you're thinking of lugging it back from the shops on the bus as our testers did.) But all that extra space has been put to excellent use. While most soundbars rely on an external subwoofer, the Ambeo simply crams in larger, more powerful drivers – and it works a treat. 

You can expect spine-tingling 3D audio that sounds totally effortless, sparkling dialogue and plenty of bottom-end grunt based on our experience using it. Connectivity is just as impressive, with Bluetooth 4.2 and Chromecast for streaming. 

Admittedly its size makes it a little tricky to position. And it doesn't come with a wall mount, so you might need a separate trip to your local hardware store. But once you're squared away the results are breathtaking. 

Read the full Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Max review

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Test results
SoundRich, natural sound★★★★★
FeaturesAll the connectivity you'll need ★★★★★
BuildLarger than most soundbars★★★★★

Best cheap

5. Sony HT-G700

A good entry-level Atmos soundbar with plenty of bass.


Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (eARC), 1 x HDMI input
Format support: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Streaming: Bluetooth
Voice control: N/A
Dimensions (HxWxD): 6 x 98 x 11cm (bar); 39 x 19 x 40cm (subwoofer)
Weight: 7.5kg (16.5lbs) with subwoofer

Reasons to buy

Big, weighty sound
Impressive Atmos effect
Solid and stylish

Reasons to avoid

Lack of crispness and clarity
No streaming functionality

If you're on a tight budget, the Sony HT-G700 could be just the ticket. It might not be the most compact bar around, but it's certainly big on sound, big on value and comes with a wireless subwoofer, dedicated HDMI input and support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.  

Sony’s own Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround technologies dish up a convincing Dolby Atmos soundscape while that chunky subwoofer (39cm-tall) adds plenty of heft to big explosions. 

Of course, being an entry-level Dolby Atmos soundbar,  we found it doesn't compare to the much pricier Sony HT-ST5000 (above) in terms of clarity. when we ran them head-to-head. It also lacks music streaming features and voice control.   

Still, if you're after a dedicated bit of home cinema kit on a budget, the powerful-sounding HT-700 serves up a seriously cinematic performance at a nice price.

Read the full Sony HT-G700 review 

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Test results
SoundBig weight sound, with an impressive Atmos effect★★★★☆
FeaturesNo streaming functionality★★★★☆
BuildSolid and stylish★★★★★

How we choose

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?  Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

A slew of Dolby Atmos soundbars have hit the market in the last couple of years, and there's now a range of models to suit most budgets. The more you spend, the more features you tend to get and the more driver units the soundbars tend to use; hence, most of our entries tend to be pricier than ordinary soundbars. In our experience, spending more also means you should get more convincing home cinema sound. That said, if you are looking for a model at the more affordable end of the market, our best budget soundbars page is here to help. If you'd like more advice, then head on over to our dedicated guide on how to choose and set up a soundbar.

Before you buy, there are some things to bear in mind. Consider the dimensions of your TV to work out just how big your new soundbar needs to be. Also, check the height – if you need to place the soundbar in front of your TV, you don't want it obscuring half the picture, and if it has upward-firing drivers, they need a clear line of sight to your ceiling to be effective.

It's important to note that not all Dolby Atmos soundbars have upward-firing drivers. Some decode the format and present it virtually using DSP processing to create an illusion of a 3D soundstage. The performance of virtual Atmos models varies, and while genuine height effects are certainly beyond their scope, there's more to Atmos than just the Y-axis. In some cases, a high-quality virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar can deliver more immersive and engaging sound than a mediocre model with verticle speakers.

Whenever a soundbar does have height drivers, it's important to remember that you'll get better results if you have low ceilings to bounce the sound off and that the top of the soundbar needs to be uncovered and placed clear of the TV screen.

Typically soundbars are a single long speaker with several drivers inside, but some come with external subwoofers for extra low-end extension and rear speakers for surround sound effects. Some Atmos soundbars even have upward-firing drivers on the satellite speakers. If floor-shaking bass and encompassing sound are high on your priority list, then these are models you'll want to consider.

Moving on to features and connectivity, Dolby Atmos soundbars will all boast either ARC or eARC-enabled HDMI ports necessary to handle multichannel audio formats and also allowing you to control the volume of your soundbar with your existing remote control. It's worth considering if having a separate physical remote for the soundbar is important to you or if you're comfortable with controlling settings from a smartphone app. 

Most Dolby Atmos soundbars have some options for wireless music playback with wifi streaming via services such as Airplay 2Spotify Connect and Chromecast, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. Some also have microphones with voice assistant functionality or compatibility. If you have external devices such as games consoles or a 4K Blu-ray player, keep an eye out for additional HDMI passthrough ports that could make your setup more flexible.

If the highest-quality 3D sound is important to you, you'll want to make sure both your TV and potential soundbar support Dolby TrueHD and eARC. Some Dolby Atmos Soundbars will only have ARC, and while that can handle Dolby Atmos, it can only do so in its lossy Dolby Digital Plus form. In contrast, Dolby TrueHD can deliver full-fat Dolby Atmos in all its lossless glory. 

You don't have to look far to find Dolby Atmos content. Besides 4K Blu-ray discs, Amazon Prime VideoApple TVNetflix and Disney+ offer plenty of Atmos movies and TV shows. Ready to boost your binge-watching with the best Atmos soundbar? Let's take a look at the options...

How we test

How we test the best Dolby Atmos Soundbars

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Reading, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door.

Each Dolby Atmos soundbar we test is paired with an appropriate reference TV and is directly compared to the best in its price and features class – whether that's the current What Hi-Fi? Award winner or a few of the latest models we've been impressed by in recent reviews. What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, and we keep class-leading products in our stockrooms so we can easily compare new products to ones we know and love.

We are always impartial and do our best to make sure we're hearing every product at its very best, so we'll try plenty of different styles of films and TV shows that show what each soundbar is capable of with both advanced and standard audio formats. We'll check all the features onboard including music playback with a variety of genres and allow for plenty of listening time as well as running them in before we begin reviewing.

All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team rather than an individual reviewer to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we're being as thorough as possible, too. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.


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