Best soundbars Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best soundbars you can buy in 2019.
If your TV looks great but sounds flat, what you need is a soundbar. The very best soundbars can pack great, meaty sound into a package small enough to sit in front of your TV. They might also boast wireless subwoofers, Bluetooth, 4K-friendly HDMI inputs and even Dolby Atmos audio.
These are our picks of the best soundbars for a range of different budgets. All of them are simple to install and will avoid the need for lots of speakers and cables cluttering up your living room.
The Sonos Beam is a smaller, cheaper TV speaker than the Sonos Playbar and Playbase. It comes with a few additions to its spec sheet, including an HDMI connection and voice control assistant, initially Amazon Alexa, but Google Assistant and Apple Siri will follow.
This is an affordable soundbar that most could find space for, and that could transform your listening experience. The width, depth and three-dimensionality of the presentation smashes expectations. You really don't need to spend another £300 for the Playbar – this should meet most people's needs perfectly.
Read the full review: Sonos Beam
On a sound-per-pound basis the JBL certainly holds its own. We originally tested it at £150, but you can now pick one up for just £99. Sure, that might be too cheap for a true all-rounder, but the JBL Bar Studio is proof that there are some fine performers to be had for little money. Connectivity includes a single ARC-enable HDMI output, an optical digital input and Bluetooth.
Given its petite size, the scale of the JBL's sound is restricted, but it still delivers a confident, full-bodied upgrade to your telly’s speakers. There's plenty of detail, clear dialogue and punchy, rich bass at the bottom end too.
Read the full review: JBL Bar Studio
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 another chapter in Yamaha’s soundbar success story. A worthy Best Buy.
Read the full review: Yamaha YAS-207
If you don't want to spend a fortune on boosting your TV's sound, this JVC soundbar will do the job and still give you plenty of change from £100. It's nicely put together and not too obtrusive, so if your TV's already on a stand it should slot underneath without any problems. There's a simple remote handset, optical/coaxial digital inputs and Bluetooth connectivity for straightforward music streaming.
The overall sound is a little bass-light, but its 'Movie' setting helps deliver a nicely rounded spread of sound, while still portraying voices and effects clearly and convincingly. The size of the bar means it doesn't really suit huge flatscreens, but we'd have no hesitation hooking it up to a smaller screen in a bedroom or study.
Read the full review: JVC TH-W513B
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's excellent performance and unique capabilities more than justify its price.
Read the full review: Yamaha YSP-2700
Accomplished Dolby Atmos soundbars are few and far between. The Sony HT-ST5000 is 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 with a sophisticated sound quality. If you’ve been looking for a fuss-free way to get Dolby Atmos into your home, this is the best we’ve seen so far.
Read the full review: Sony HT-ST5000
One of the best premium soundbars we've tested - the sound is hugely engaging, and it looks very dapper to boot. Dali says the Kubik One is not exactly a soundbar – it’s a system in its own right, rather than a mere extension of your TV. Whatever the appropriate nomenclature, one thing is for sure: we think it’s brilliant. Award-winningly brilliant, in fact.
Read the full review: Dali Kubik One
The Sonos Beam be the best soundbar we've heard in 2019, but there's still plenty of life left in the Playbar. It offers 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 £35 mount or laid flat in front of your TV. The built-in accelerometers automatically sense its orientation and adjust the sound for the best experience. The most impressive aspect of Playbar's sound is its wide, expansive soundstage which does a great job of filling your room.
There's a surprising amount of bass weight too, while the speaker's musical nature means it's more than capable of playing your favourite tracks from its multitude of streaming services.
Read the full review: Sonos Playbar
Like the Sony HT-ST5000 above, the Samsung HW-N950 is a great advert for Dolby Atmos soundbars. Given you need room to accommodate the bar, a wireless subwoofer and two wireless rear speaker modules, it's actually more of a system, but you do get proper 7.1.4 Atmos sound. You also get a good spread of features and connectivity options, including three, 4K-compatible HDMI sockets, Bluetooth and wi-fi.
The Samsung's biggest asset is its room-filling soundfield. The system makes a huge impression, flinging sounds and surround effects far and wide. There's plenty of weight behind explosions and voices sound solid too. The Sony does have the dynamic edge which is why we've positioned it higher, but the Samsung is still a viable alternative for those looking for a premium soundbar-based set-up.
Read the full review: Samsung HW-N950
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