Despite a glut of innovative Dolby Atmos soundbars vying for prizes in the 2022 What Hi-Fi? Awards this year, there is a full house of repeat winners from Sonos, Sony and Sennheiser, proving that while features and technology in this field continue to improve apace, ultimately great sound is tough to beat.
This is particularly true of the Sonos Arc, which somewhat inconceivably has now won the top prize in its price category an impressive three years on the trot. This year we saw rival manufacturers take aim at the Arc, with many products directly competing with it in terms of spec and price, but time and again in our testing room, the Arc came out on top.
Its true Dolby Atmos performance is still above and beyond anything we've heard for the same money, and aside from that it offers simple, streamlined functionality and detailed, dramatic audio for a substantial but still very reasonable price.
Sonos also remains the brand to beat in the most affordable price band, with the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) returning once again to the winner's enclosure after dethroning the original Beam in 2021. The Beam (Gen 2) produces excellent virtual Dolby Atmos sound, with a refined tone and dynamics, as well as the intelligent features that the brand is renowned for, marking it out as an outlier in the word of budget bars.
Higher up the price spectrum, Sony's all-singing-all-dancing HT-A7000 holds onto its spot thanks to its outstanding delivery of 7.1.2 channels of robust audio from a singular bar. Crammed with connectivity and features, the A7000 is an immensely talented, future-proofed performer that takes performance and price beyond that of the Arc.
And at the very top end of the soundbar category, the gigantic slab of sound that is the Sennheiser Ambeo remains an immovable force.
This enormous soundbar has a potent sonic quality to match its stature, conjuring up convincing Dolby Atmos surround sound and an abundance of low frequencies, proving you can have both without the need to cram your living room with a full surround sound system.
Now, only one of these four Best Buy winners will win our enviable Product of the Year trophy for the soundbar category when those special awards are announced at the What Hi-Fi? Awards ceremony on the 9th November, so don't forget to keep your eyes on whathifi.com that evening for the results.
Read our review of the Sonos Arc
Our pick of the best soundbars: budget to premium
See all the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winners