Dolby atmos dts x soundbar

Dolby atmos dts x soundbar DEFAULT

Wireless subwoofers? Bluetooth? HDMI? Of all the features available on a soundbar, one of the most requested by CNET readers is Dolby Atmos audio. Like its rival DTS:X audio format, Atmos differs from normal surround by adding height to your music and movies.

Dolby Atmos soundbars are now more affordable than ever, especially compared with a traditional Atmos receiver and surround sound speakers. These soundbars are also more compact and easier to set up, with the trade-off being they can't provide the same level of performance.

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The Vizio Ma, which replaces the excellent Vizio SBF6, is my favorite Dolby Atmos soundbar for under $ Yet, there are benefits to be had from the more expensive models, such as improved sound quality and even onboard virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. For example, the $ Sonos Arc is an all-in-one soundbar that offers great sound, exquisite build quality and excellent multiroom capabilities.

It's worth noting that there are plenty of simulated Dolby Atmos soundbars on the market -- speakers like the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and the Vizio M51ax can process Atmos but lack upfiring speakers. However, even the best virtual systems I've heard, such as the Sony HT-G, have been outperformed by systems with dedicated drivers when it comes to placing objects in 3D space. There's no substitute for physical height speakers.

These are my favorite Atmos soundbar options from $ and up, periodically updated as we review new products.

Best Dolby Atmos soundbar for the money

Vizio Ma

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Vizio Ma improves on its predecessor in almost every way: it looks better, it sounds better, and it's easier to use. While it keeps Bluetooth capability it does lose the ability to stream over Wi-Fi. If you're looking for the most cost-effective way to add Dolby Atmos to your television this is the one. 

Best all-in-one model

Sonos Arc

Ty Pendlebury

If you want the best Dolby Atmos sound from a single bar, but balk at paying $1, or more, the Sonos Arc is for you. This soundbar is a bit quirky, as you'll need a onwards 4K TV to make the most of it, and yet it still performs better than most. The Arc offers a bunch of great features too, including a choice of voice assistant and Sonos' excellent streaming architecture.


Why your next soundbar should have Dolby Atmos

Soundbars are incredibly popular for a reason. They offer way better audio quality than you can get from your TV alone, they&#;re a cinch to install and set up, and given the vast number of models, you&#;re bound to find one that fits your budget.

Not all soundbars are created equal. Some come with a wireless subwoofer for better bass, while others go even further, with additional speakers for full surround sound. But if there&#;s one feature that you need to know about before buying your next (or first) soundbar, it&#;s Dolby Atmos.

Dolby Atmos is popping up on soundbars from all of the major brands, including Sony, LG, Samsung, Vizio, Yamaha, Sonos, and JBL. It can make a big difference to your home theater experience. Here&#;s why your next soundbar should be a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

What is Dolby Atmos?

Samsung HW-K Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of Atmos soundbars, here&#;s a little background. (If you’re already familiar with the basics of Atmos, please skip ahead.) Dolby Atmos (and its counterpart, DTS:X) is a way of recording and reproducing surround sound that lets audio mixers control each sound you hear &#; from a buzzing bee to a fighter jet &#; as an individual sound object.

When you combine this object-based control with the addition of overhead speakers, it&#;s possible to move a single sound anywhere in space, without changing any other part of the soundtrack, like the background music or dialogue.


What this means for moviegoers is a far more immersive experience in which the movement of an on-screen object is accompanied by a matched moving sound. When executed with care, it can be a thrilling, lifelike way to watch a movie.

In a movie theater, these objects can be manipulated across dozens of speakers, many of which are directly above the audience, creating a hemisphere of sound.

At home, Atmos and DTS:X are scaled down to match the tools at hand, topping out at 34 individual speaker channels and two bass channels. The most basic configuration is , which involves a typical setup (left, center, right, and two surrounds), along with two height speakers, which can be mounted overhead or angled up from ground level to bounce sound down from the ceiling.

That may sound like quite a step down from a commercial theater, but make no mistake. Dolby Atmos at home can sound every bit as exciting if you have the right gear.

What makes Dolby Atmos soundbars different?

Sonos Arc exploded view

Just like standard surround soundbars, Atmos soundbars come in many flavors, including varying sizes, styles, and available channels. But two major features set them apart from their non-Atmos cousins.

First, and this might seem obvious, they&#;re compatible with Dolby Atmos content. In practice, this means that if you connect them to a Dolby Atmos source device, like an Apple TV 4K or a recent LG OLED TV, those devices will understand that they should provide a Dolby Atmos signal to the soundbar whenever one is available.

Second, they&#;re capable of reproducing the height channels that are part of the signature Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound experience.

Will my TV be compatible with a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

LG E8 Series OLED

Because Dolby Atmos uses a lot of digital information (or bandwidth), it&#;s not compatible with the optical connections that have been used for years to connect TVs to external receivers and soundbars. So any Dolby Atmos content, whether from your Blu-ray player, streaming media device, or the TV itself, must be passed along to the soundbar via HDMI.

If the sound is coming from a Blu-ray player or media streamer, you can usually rely on one of the soundbar&#;s HDMI inputs. If it&#;s coming from your TV, your TV needs to have an HDMI ARC or eARC port. Unfortunately, some older TVs do not have one.

If your TV doesn&#;t have HDMI ARC, you might still be able to connect it to the soundbar if the soundbar in question also has an optical input. If it does, you&#;ll get sound to the speaker, but it won&#;t be Dolby Atmos sound. If it doesn&#;t, you will be stuck using your TV&#;s internal speakers for any sound that comes from the TV itself (like built-in apps, or free over-the-air TV channels).

Before buying a new Dolby Atmos soundbar, double-check the connections on both your TV and the soundbar to avoid frustration later. See our section on &#;What are some of the features I should look for in a Dolby Atmos soundbar?&#; below for more helpful buying tips.

What is required to get Dolby Atmos sound?

Dolby Atmos label on a Blu-ray disc

Even if your soundbar is Dolby Atmos compatible, and it has a powerful wireless subwoofer as well as dedicated surround speakers, you won&#;t get true Dolby Atmos sound if you don&#;t have a source of Dolby Atmos content. Your soundbar will still sound great, even with Dolby Digital audio, but those object-based sounds we mentioned earlier simply won&#;t be a part of the experience.

It&#;s a little like playing HD content on a 4K HDR TV. The TV will do its best to make that HD content look amazing &#; and it will look considerably better than on a similarly sized HDTV &#; but it will never look as good as genuine 4K HDR content.

Making sure that you&#;re getting genuine Dolby Atmos sound can be a bit tricky, however, which why we&#;ve assembled this handy guide to getting great Dolby Atmos sound.

Why do some Dolby Atmos soundbars have separate speakers?

Technically speaking, to get a full Dolby Atmos experience, you need (at minimum) a speaker configuration. This means one center speaker, left and right front speakers, left and right surround speakers, left and right height speakers, and a subwoofer.

Some Dolby Atmos soundbars, like the Vizio SBG6, go all the way by providing discrete speakers for each of these channels, and even upping the ante by throwing in a second set of height channels (thus its designation as a system).

But you can still get excellent Dolby Atmos from a single piece of equipment, and Sennheiser&#;s Ambeo soundbar is a great example. It contains a whopping 13 drivers in a single enclosure, including two dedicated upward-firing drivers.

Drivers, by the way, are the individual elements like tweeter, woofers, and mid-woofers that physically create the sound you hear. An individual speaker can have just one or multiple drivers.

The Ambeo&#;s drivers use a technique known as surround virtualization, which mimics the effect of having dedicated speakers beside you. Dolby Atmos&#; height channels can also be virtualized, which we&#;ll discuss in a moment.

The recently released Sonos Arc does the same thing, but with fewer drivers. As tempting as it is to say that Dolby Atmos soundbars with separate speakers will sound better than those that place all of the drivers in one enclosure, it&#;s not necessarily true. There are a lot of factors that affect sound quality, and the number of discrete speakers is just one of them.

What are Dolby Atmos soundbars with height virtualization?

Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization diagram

Strange as it may sound, a Dolby Atmos soundbar can use as few as two speakers &#; what we&#;d normally consider 2-channel stereo. When a Dolby Atmos soundbar doesn&#;t have any upward-firing drivers for the height channels, it can virtualize them using the other drivers. When it doesn&#;t have extra drivers to help with the surround sound or center channel, it can virtualize these too.

We&#;ve never tested a soundbar that virtualizes the Dolby Atmos height channel, so we can&#;t say how effective it is. However, TVs that support Atmos via their internal speakers don&#;t sound noticeably better than their non-Atmos counterparts. For now, we recommend sticking with Dolby Atmos soundbars that possess dedicated, upward-firing drivers to deliver height channel sound.

What are some of the features I should look for in a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

Today&#;s Dolby Atmos soundbars have tons of features. Which of those features will matter most to you will come down to how you plan to use it. Instead of telling you what you should buy, here&#;s a list of the most common features and how they might enhance your enjoyment of a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

  • DTS:X compatibility: Believe it or not, although Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are similar, not all soundbars support both formats. If you have an extensive Blu-ray collection, you may want to ensure your soundbar supports DTS:X in addition to Dolby Atmos. While Atmos is currently the top 3D surround format on streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, when it comes to disc-based media, DTS is still more common.
  • HDMI inputs: While all Dolby Atmos soundbars receive their audio signals over HDMI (Atmos isn&#;t compatible with optical connections), not all of these soundbars let you plug your media streamer or Blu-ray player into them directly. The Sonos Arc, for instance, requires that you plug all of your devices into your TV&#;s HDMI inputs, and it then uses HDMI ARC/eARC to get the sound from the TV. That might be an awkward arrangement for some folks, plus not all TVs are able to pass Dolby Atmos back over HDMI ARC.
  • 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision pass-through: If you&#;re going to be plugging in streaming devices or disc players that use these video formats, you had best be sure your soundbar can pass them all through to your TV. Some soundbars that can pass through 4K and HDR10 can&#;t handle Dolby Vision, so double-check those specs.
  • HDMI eARC compatibility: HDMI ARC is great for sending audio and video back and forth along one cable, but it is limited in terms of quality. Dolby Atmos comes in two flavors: Lossy (via Dolby Digital Plus) and lossless (via Dolby TrueHD). Only HDMI eARC supports Dolby TrueHD, so if you want to be as future-proofed as possible, this is an important feature.
  • Voice assistants: A lot of new soundbars come with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa built-in. The Sonos Arc even gives you the option to use either of them. Having a voice assistant in a soundbar is generally handy for music and smart home control, but in a home theater, it can do even more, especially if your TV is compatible with one or both technologies.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is very common on even the least expensive soundbars, but it&#;s not on every model. Double-check that a soundbar has this if you want to stream audio from your Android phone.
  • Multiroom audio: If you have a multiroom audio system or plan to build one, it would make sense if your soundbar supported it. There are several ways to do multiroom, from Sonos&#; proprietary system to Google&#;s Chromecast and Apple&#;s AirPlay 2. The key is to know which one you want to use and then ensure that all of your speakers work with it.
  • An IR receiver and/or repeater: Despite the rapid increase in Bluetooth remotes, infrared (IR) is still the king when it comes to controlling home theater gear from the couch. A soundbar with the ability to receive IR commands will be compatible with most universal remotes. If it&#;s sitting in front of your TV, having a repeater means it can pass along any IR commands it might be blocking the TV from receiving.
  • Wall mounts: Some soundbars come with one, but for many, it&#;s an optional extra purchase. If you plan to wall-mount yours, make sure you&#;re covered one way or the other.
  • Subwoofer: When it comes to truly sofa-shaking low-end bass, size matters. That&#;s why so many soundbars ship with a dedicated (and usually wireless) subwoofer. There are several models that can get by without one (the Sennheiser Ambeo and Sonos Arc come to mind) but as a rule, soundbars can&#;t fill in that deep low end on their own.
  • Hi-res audio: We&#;re not sure that the ability to support hi-res audio is super-important in a soundbar, but if it matters to you, make sure yours has it.

What are some examples of Dolby Atmos soundbars?

At Digital Trends, we&#;re constantly on the lookout for new Dolby Atmos soundbars to review so that you can do your research before buying. Here&#;s a list of our most recent reviews:

Sonos Arc ($)

Sonos Arc Dolby Atmos soundbar

A sleek and super-sounding Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Arc is also relatively affordable. It is a no-brainer for those who want to upgrade a Playbar or add a new device to their Sonos ecosystem, though the lack of any HDMI inputs might give some buyers pause.

Read our in-depth Sonos Arc review

Samsung HW-Q90R ($1,)

A powerful Atmos soundbar with a discrete set of surround speakers and a wireless subwoofer, the HW-Q90R is also surprisingly nimble when it comes to music quality, something that not all soundbars are able to do. We did notice some minor latency in terms of audio and video sync, but we suspect most folks won&#;t be bothered by it, and there are some simple fixes for those who are.

Read our in-depth Samsung HW-Q90R review

Vizio SBG6 ($)

The SBG6 is Vizio&#;s shot across the bow of all other Dolby Atmos soundbars. In typical Vizio fashion, this soundbar with discrete surround speakers and a wireless sub sounds way better than its affordable price suggests. If you want separate speakers on the smallest budget, this is your soundbar.

Read our in-depth Vizio SBG6 review

Sennheiser Ambeo ($2,)

Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar review

It doesn&#;t have separate speakers or a subwoofer, but one listen to Sennheiser&#;s huge (and pricey) Ambeo and you probably won&#;t care. If price is no object and you&#;re looking for a one-speaker Dolby Atmos solution, you can&#;t do better right now than the Ambeo.

Read our in-depth Sennheiser Ambeo review

LG SN11RG ($1,)

LG SN11RG soundbar

A direct competitor to Samsung&#;s HW-Q90R in both price and features, LG&#;s awkwardly named SN11RG is anything but when it comes to delivering big, detailed Dolby Atmos sound. It only has two HDMI inputs, which may not be enough to replace your A/V receiver, but what it lacks in inputs, it makes up for in features. It has Google Assistant, DTS:X, hi-res audio capability, and LG’s AI Sound Pro, which continually adapts the sound to whatever you&#;re watching.

Read our in-depth LG SN11RG review

JBL Bar ($1,)

JBL Bar Dolby Atmos Soundbar wireless speaker

JBL’s Bar uses two fully wireless, battery-powered detachable surround speakers containing up-firing drivers, making Dolby Atmos both effortless and satisfying. It’s an ambitious idea that mostly works — except for the slightly muddy dialogue. Nonetheless, it has enormous bass thanks to a massive wireless sub and stands up to most separate-speaker Atmos soundbars with its competitive pricing.

Read our in-depth JBL Bar review

Should you buy a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

A Dolby Atmos soundbar is a fantastic alternative to a set up with dedicated A/V receivers and speakers. Many home theatre owners often put up with the frustration of building a system with separate A/V components. Still, with a Dolby Atmos soundbar, they can get amazing sound without dealing with a complicated setup.

You won’t regret shelling out the extra cash for the Dolby Atmos soundbar because it provides the same high-quality execution as a system with separate A/V components. 

Dolby Atmos soundbars are on the expensive side, and there aren’t many budget-friendly options out just now. If you’re on a tight budget, do not despair. We recommend the Yamaha YAS or the Sonos Beam soundbars as perfectly adequate, low-priced alternatives.

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Best Dolby Atmos soundbars the best Atmos TV speakers

Best Dolby Atmos soundbars Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best Dolby Atmos soundbars that you can buy in

If turning your living room into the speaker version of Stonehenge doesn't appeal to you then you'll be pleased to know that with the help of a Dolby Atmos soundbar, it is possible to enjoy immersive sounding film screenings from the comfort of your home, without the clutter.

A Dolby Atmos soundbar could quite literally take your TV's audio to another level without the hassle and cost of a full install. These streamlined speakers can recreate the enveloping, 3D audio experience you'd get at the cinema. Most premium Atmos soundbars use upward-firing drivers to disperse sound vertically and reflect it off your ceiling – giving the effect of having overhead speakers. The result is that objects on your screen, such as circling helicopters or pouring rain, can be heard all around you.

In the last couple of years, a slew of Dolby Atmos soundbars have hit the market, 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.

You don't have to look far to find Dolby Atmos content, either. Besides 4K Blu-ray discs, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix 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

1. Sony HT-A

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


Connectivity: eARC, 2*HDMI , optical, USB, WiFi, Ethernet

Sound format support : Dolby Atmos/ Dolby AudioTM/ DTS:X/ DTS-HD/ PCM

Streaming : Chromecast, Bluetooth 5, Apple Airplay 2, WiFi

Voice control : Google Assistant, Alexa

Dimensions (hwd) : 8 x x 14 cm

Weight: kg

Reasons to buy

+Robust low-end+Excellent Atmos performance+Feature-rich

Reasons to avoid

-No VRR or ALLM at launch-EQ controls would be nice-Slightly confused styling

Sony has excellent form with soundbars, and the What Hi-Fi? Award-winning HT-A is no different. A 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-A delivers a broad and high soundstage, whether you’re watching immersive content or not, while retaining musicality, presence and detail.

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.

In terms of supported audio formats, the A excels itself and includes Dolby Atmos (in both the Digital+ and TrueHD formats), DTS:X, LPCM, hi-res wireless audio and Sony Reality Audio.

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

Alongside two HDMI  pass-through sockets capable of handling [email protected][email protected], 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-A is an outstanding, future-proofed, all-in-one performer with excellent integration if you have a newer Sony Bravia TV.

Read the full review: Sony HT-A

2. Sonos Beam Gen 2

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


Sound format support: Dolby Atmos DP / Dolby Atmos True HD / Dolby Digital / Multichannel PCM/ Dolby Multichannel PCM / stereo PCM

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI eARC, Wi-Fi, Ethernet

Voice control: Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Dimensions (hwd) : 7 x 65 x 10cm

Weight: kg

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 soundbars 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, 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 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 review: Sonos Beam Gen 2


3. Sonos Arc

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


Sound formats: Dolby Digital , Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI eARC, 1 x optical digital, Wi-Fi, Ethernet

Voice control: Amazon Alexa, Google, Assistant

Dimensions: x x 12cm (HxWxD)

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.

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 review: Sonos Arc

4. Sony HT-ST

Not the cheapest Dolby Atmos soundbar, but this Sony does the business.


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI, 3 x HDCP , Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet

Dimensions: : 8 x x cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Breathtaking sound+Detailed bass+Simple set-up

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks a little midrange-Expensive

Sony's HT-ST is a true game-changer: if you're looking for epic Dolby Atmos sound from a compact set-up, you've found it in this What Hi-Fi? Award winner.

A separate subwoofer and two upward-firing drivers create cinematic sound on a grand scale, pairing a superb sense of height with plenty of depth and power. But despite its titanic arrangement and high level of sophistication, it's compact and easy to get up and running - the perfect marriage of performance and convenience.

Movies aside, it makes an excellent wireless speaker thanks to its punchy dynamics. Features include Chromecast compatibility and Sony's hi-res audio upscaling technology, which promises better sound from lower-quality files. You can't polish a Bublé, but at least you can improve the sound quality.

It might be on the pricey side, but this Sony soundbar delivers five-star sound quality that makes it worth every penny. And if you shop around, you should find it for a few hundred less than its original launch price. Happy days.

Read the full review: Sony HT-ST

5. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

If money's no object, this is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested recently.


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X

Connectivity: 3x HDMI In, 1x HDMI Out (eARC), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet

Dimensions: x x cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Rich, natural sound+Dynamic and detailed+Convincing 3D surround

Reasons to avoid

-Large-Expensive-Fussy with positioning

Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar is hugely impressive in both senses of the word. It's a beast, standing almost m 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.) 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. Connectivity is just as impressive, with Bluetooth 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. 

The absolute best-sounding – not to mention most expensive – soundbar we've tested so far, which is why it retained its title once again at the What Hi-Fi Awards.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

6. Sony HT-G

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


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (eARC), 1 x HDMI input, Bluetooth

Dimensions (HxWxD): 6 x 98 x 11cm (bar); 39 x 19 x 40cm (subwoofer)

Power output: W

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-G 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 AtmosandDTS: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, it doesn't compare to the much pricier Sony HT-ST (above) in terms of clarity. 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 serves up a seriously cinematic performance at a nice price.

Read the full review: Sony HT-G 

7. Yamaha YSP

This big and expressive-sounding Dolby Atmos soundbar packs a punch.


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (ARC), 4 x HDMI input, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Ethernet

Dimensions: : x x cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Good streaming connectivity+Straightforward set-up+Thrilling soundstage

Reasons to avoid

-Front display too small-Bulky

Yamaha was one of the first brands to bring out a Dolby Atmos soundbar, so this is now the granddaddy of the group. It's aged like a fine wine, though, and is still one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars out there.

The YSP uses a grand total of 46 speakers to simulate 3D sound equivalent to channels, creating a gigantic soundfield that deftly distributes audio with outstanding accuracy. 

Yamaha offers the option of a wireless subwoofer but it’s not really needed. If there's one thing this soundbar doesn’t lack, it is power. It's not exactly svelte but you can expect to be rewarded with gutsy low-end performance and subtle dynamics – even when you crank it up. There’s a nice spread of connectivity and Yamaha’s excellent MusicCast app makes it easy to stream from a smartphone and indeed to other compatible products in a multi-room set up. 

Since its launch, competition has got a whole lot hotter, but the YSP has stood the test of time and still performs admirably.

Read the full review: Yamaha YSP

8. Sony HT-ZF9

A small but mighty Dolby Atmos soundbar for the money.


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (ARC), 2 x HDMI input, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet

Dimensions: : x x cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Simple to use+Rich, balanced sound+Good surround processing

Reasons to avoid

-Dynamics could be sharper-Can be fiddly

This sensibly-priced Dolby Atmos soundbar is a good choice for those who want to enjoy audio fireworks without decimating their bank account. Sony has done things a little differently here since there are no dedicated upward-firing drivers. Instead, the bar creates surround sound using clever psychoacoustic technologies. The effect works beautifully, enveloping you in three-dimensional sound.

So is this a 'true' Dolby Atmos soundbar? Purists might quibble with the definition. Let's call it 'Dolby Atmos lite'. It might not be as immersive as the Sennheiser Ambeo or pricier Sony above, but it's hugely convincing, tonally refined and a whole lot more wallet-friendly. 

Calibration is a doddle, too, while connectivity and features are spot on. Spotify and Chromecast are present and correct, and you can expect higher-quality Bluetooth playback thanks to Sony's LDAC technology.

If you don't have the funds or space for the more expensive Sony or Sennheiser, this Sony HT-ZF9 is a great option. 

Read the full review: Sony HT-ZF9



A mid-range Dolby Atmos soundbar that proves less is more


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby AudioTM, DTS:X, DTS-HD, PCM

Connectivity: eARC, 1x HDMI, optical, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth , AirPlay 2, Chromecast

Dimensions: hwd: x x 12cm (bar); 39 x 22 x 31cm (sub)

Reasons to buy

+Extensive feature set+Room-filling soundscape+Easily expanded with surrounds 

Reasons to avoid

-Sub lacks definition and impact-Missing some height precision 

Up until recently, LG's soundbars have proven to be a bit of a mixed bag, but the company has redeemed itself with its line-up and the SP8YA is no exception.

This Dolby Atmos soundbar with a wireless sub is bang smack in the middle of the range in terms of price and size but retains the connectivity features of the higher-end models. There's eARC, plus another HDMI input with 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10 pass-through as well as an optical input and a USB port. Streaming is well catered for too. Alongside Bluetooth and wi-fi, there’s Chromecast and Apple Airplay 2, and if you have access to hi-res content, you’ll be pleased to know the soundbar can handle audio of up to bit/kHz quality.

Sonically this package also punches above its weight with a broad, vibrant soundstage that can easily match the cinematic scale of larger screens. It can also be easily upgraded to by the addition of the SPK8  surround kit for around £ ($, AU$).

There are better performers in terms of height available, like the Sonos Arc, and the low end is a little loose and undefined but for those looking for a reasonably priced Dolby Atmos soundbar with a high tech spec and a detailed, room-filling sound, the SP8YA is worth considering.

Read the full review: LG SP8YA


An enjoyable and immersive top-end soundbar package


Sound formats: Dolby Atmos, Dolby AudioTM, DTS:X, DTS-HD, PCM

Connectivity: eARC, 2x HDMI, optical, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth , AirPlay 2, Chromecast

Dimensions: x x cm (bar); 39 x 22 x 31cm (sub); 21 x 13 x 19cm (rears)

Reasons to buy

+Detailed top end+Large, well-spread soundscape +Comprehensive feature set 

Reasons to avoid

-Looks don’t match the price tag -Lacks a little punch-Sub feels one dimensional 

The SP11RA is a big investment in terms of money and space with a separate sub and two surround speakers, not to mention that the main soundbar clocks in at cm long.  However, it’s still a more convenient and less overwhelming undertaking than building a true home cinema system, particularly one that could hope to match the LG’s channels of excellent Dolby Atmos action.

So what's underneath all the black brushed metal? The main bar has three front-facing channels, two ‘surround’ channels at either end of the bar and on the top surface are a pair of upward-firing height speakers. The wireless sub houses an 18cm driver and rear port, while the rears each have a front and upward-firing driver.

We're pleased to report that all those drivers aren't going to waste; the SP11RA is a big improvement from previous LG models. It’s got a nimble and detailed top end and is easy to listen to, creating an even, immersive listening experience. While you may have to give up some space to house it, its connectivity spec is one of the most comprehensive and future-proofed we’ve seen.

Read the full review: LG SP11RA 

Samsung HW-QA

This Dolby Atmos soundbar packs a punch


Connections: eARC, HDMI, optical

Sound formats: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, LPCM 8Ch, Bluetooth , AirPlay 2

Dimensions: (hwd) 6 x 98 x cm (bar); 40 x 21 x 40cm (sub)

Reasons to buy

+Spacious presentation+Weighty, articulate sub+Good range of features

Reasons to avoid

-Could be more insightful-Height channel lacks precision

Very few soundbar packages have a sub that can perform as well as Samsung's QA with a muscular, room-filling sound and a gut-busting bass, all contained within a relatively small unit.

As for the main unit, it houses three forward-facing channels, and on the top are two upward-facing tweeters that provide height channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats. The whole system offers a capable channels of articulate, cinematic sound. There's also the option to add Samsung's compatible upward-firing surrounds (SWAS) to boost the QA to a mighty system.

And if you happen to own a Samsung TV, you can enhance the QA's sonic performance by using a new feature called ‘Q-Sybmphony’  that allows the TV's internal speakers to work in conjunction with the soundbar package to add more height and space to the soundfield.

Not only does the QA offer powerful overall performance, but it also has a broad feature set. Alongside two HDMI ports (one equipped with eARC) and an optical input, there’s Bluetooth and, once connected to wi-fi, you can stream via Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, all of which can be controlled by the built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

The QA is priced to compete directly with the Sonos Arc, and although the latter is crisper and more precise when handling height elements, the Samsung offers a present and compelling listen as well as an epic sense of scale at the low end of the sonic spectrum, which no solo soundbar could ever hope to match.

Read the full review: Samsung HW-QA


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