The Best Soundbar Speakers to Buy in 2019 For The Ultimate Aural Delight

By Vaidyanathan Subramaniam / December 4, 2019

With the proliferation of home entertainment systems, we are now seeing many consumers investing in large 4K TVs and soundbar speakers. A soundbar usually sits flush with the design of the TV and helps minimize wire clutter eliminating the need for connecting individual speakers as in a traditional home theatre setup. Often, the only additional speaker you would need apart from the soundbar itself is the subwoofer. There are soundbars that offer built-in subwoofers as well, though.

There are some considerations to be taken while shopping for the best soundbar speakers for your need. Firstly, select a soundbar that reflects the aesthetics of your existing TV or room. An odd-looking soundbar might not be very pleasing to look at. Next, decide on the type of content you would be primarily consuming. For movie aficionados, having a soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X is advisable while those primarily into music need to look into good stereo performance. Additional features such as wireless Bluetooth streaming from your mobile device and smart assistant features are also to be considered.

Sound quality is largely subjective but we've decided to nevertheless narrow down some of the best options available in the market today to ease your purchasing decision a bit.

So, here are the 14 best soundbar speakers to buy in 2019.

1. Yamaha YAS-207BL

The Yamaha YAS-207BL Soundbar is a Bluetooth wireless soundbar and is one of the world's first to support DTS Virtual:X Virtual 3D surround sound. This support wasn't available in the initial release but Yamaha released a firmware that enabled this feature. The design of the soundbar and the subwoofer is very slim and compliments your existing setup and record very well. You can set up the YAS-207BL using Bluetooth, HDMI, optical, or analog connections. It can also upmix traditional stereo sound to more life-like positional audio. Yamaha also offers a smartphone app for controlling the soundbar and it offers a few additional options not found in the remote.

The only major gripe with the YAS-207BL is that it does not support Wi-Fi streaming such as Google Chromecast or Spotify Connect. But that should not be a major concern as you can simply buy a Google Chromecast dongle and plug it in.

2. Samsung HW-N950

The Samsung HW-N950 is a premium soundbar that is designed by experts from Harman/Kardon. Together with the subwoofer and side speakers, the soundbar integrates a total of 17 speakers that aim to deliver the ultimate in Dolby Atmos and DTX:X positional audio. You can control the soundbar via a single remote that works for both the TV and the soundbar. The rear speakers connect wireless and they work well with Amazon Alexa. The best thing about this soundbar is the side-firing effect.

The Samsung HW-950 works largely without any issues and the only issue we found was that it does not accept IR inputs directly unless the source setting is changed. The speaker cord lengths can be a bit longer but overall, the Samsung HW-N950 is hard to beat.

3. Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is one of the best compact soundbar speakers available and it offers premium quality with full range woofers and tweeters. The Sonos bundles in several features found in its smart speaker lineup including speech enhancement, support for Amazon Alexa, privacy features, and more. It connects over HDMI ARC that allows pairing the soundbar's remote to the TV and controlling the TV directly via Alexa. You can also connect other Sonos speakers in other rooms to create a house filling sound effect.

The Sonos Beam is a standalone soundbar so if you need surround sound output, you need to pair it with other Sonos speakers for true 5.1 or 7.1 surround. Also, while individual Sonos speakers can connect wirelessly, you still need a wired connection between the Beam and the TV. Note that if you pair the Xbox One with the Sonos, there will some perceived delay if you play DTS audio via the Xbox as it takes some time to convert DTS to Dolby. The Sonos Beam does not offer DTS to Dolby conversion so this is something to be aware of.

4. VIZIO SB2920

The Vizio SB3621 is one of the best soundbar speakers under $100. Despite the comparatively cheap price, the VIZIO SB2920 offers excellent sound quality with support for major DTS and Dolby sound formats. You also get Bluetooth, USB, and analog connectivity options. The SB290 can output 95 dB of sound that is enough to fill a mid-sized room.

For a soundbar speaker that does not even cost a couple of hundred dollars, you also get a wireless subwoofer included in the package. There are also some lights on the sides of the speaker. But we are not exactly sure why and when they glow. The soundbar also goes into standby frequently after short periods of inactivity so you might want to change the setting if you find it irritating.

5. Polk Audio MagniFi

The Polk Audio MagniFi is one of the best soundbar speakers under $300 and it offer a great home theatre experience in a sleek minimalist design. The MagniFi supports Polk's its own patented digital sound format called Polk SDA and Dolby Digital 5.1 for room-filling sound. It also offers a Night Mode for low volume listening at night without disturbing the family. The Polk Audio MagniFi has a six-driver array and along with the powerful subwoofer, can create a true 5.1 experience. It also supports streaming over Bluetooth from your smartphone or mobile device.

The Polk Audio MagniFi only offers support for Dolby so DTS streams have to be converted to Dolby before they can be played back by this soundbar. Also, the remote is not well designed and often requires putting it in the line of sight of the soundbar and multiple presses to activate a function.

6. Q Acoustics M2 Soundbase

The Q Acoustics M2 offers a great soundbar speaker experience and comes with a built-in subwoofer in its compact body. Despite the size, the M2 offers a room-filling surround sound experience. It can also playback music over Bluetooth from your smartphone or tablet and thanks to its 80W amplifier, BMR wide dispersion, and MoviEQ tech, you get deep bass and accurate reproduction of mids and highs as well. The remote is fairly simple to use and offers all needed controls within reach.

The Q Acoustics M2 is a sound base speaker that withstand weights of up to 25kg. So unless you have a laundromat masquerading as a TV, this sound base speaker can take the weight of just about any flat-screen television. The bass is capable enough to fill a large-sized hall. And the neutral balance of tone makes sure the bass never overpowers the clarity of voices.

7. BOSE Soundbar 700

The Bose Soundbar 700 is one of the best soundbar speakers under $1000. It comes with the traditional sound quality that BOSE is known for and offers great room-filling sound. The Soundbar 700 can calibrate and adapt the output automatically to your room acoustics via the ADAPTiQ calibration system. It comes built-in with Amazon Alexa and a blue light bar glows at the top indicating that Alexa has indeed heard your voice. The remote offers contextual backlighting to show only the functions that are needed.

The BOSE Soundbar 700 sounds great by itself but can be extended to offer a true 5.1 experience. However, there are some issues to be noted. You need the BOSE Music app to set up the soundbar properly and users have complained that it is buggy at times. The Soundbar is also not wirelessly compatible with other BOSE speakers such as the Soundtouch. It also does not support Dolby Atmos so this is only for music lovers and for those who can get by with a standard 5.1 setup.

8. Yamaha YSP-5600

If you are looking for a top of the line music and movie experience, look no further than the Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar. The YSP-5600 offers a 7.1.2 output directly from the soundbar (subwoofer kit needs to be separately purchased). Each of the 46 drivers in the speaker is controlled and amplified independently. They are oriented in different directions and are projected towards the user via the Yamaha Digital Sound Projector technology.

The Yamaha YSP-5600 offers MusicCast support so can hook up compatible MusicCast devices wireless and have the YSP-5600 relay music to them. There are lots of inputs for the system, including four ins for HDMI and an out. Above and beyond the specs of the unit, it is the sound performance that stands out.

Given the powerful features of this device, it is important that you set it up correctly and plan your room accordingly for optimal sound reproduction. Although the YSP-5600 includes built-in woofers, you would feel there is something lacking in the sound if you don't buy the subwoofer kit.

9. JBL Bar Studio 2.0

The JBL Bar Studio 2.0 is great for those who don't wish to spend a lot on a soundbar but still desire a quality audio experience. At around 24 inches wide, the JBL Bar Studio fits into any living space. Towards the top, you find the controls for power, volume, and source. The connections are provided at the back. There aren't too many connections, though with the only ones being one HDMI (ARC), optical, and USB. The JBL Bar uses a dual bass port and has two speakers and a woofer. The dual bass port helps in enhancing the low-frequency effects. Unlike many other soundbars that support Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, the JBL Bar Studio comes with proprietary JBL Signature Audio that simulates a multi-channel sound stage. It works fairly well and provides a decent 5.1 surround simulation. Although you get a dedicated remote control, the JBL Bar works with your existing TV remote as well as saving the trouble of having to juggle multiple remotes.

The JBL Bar Studio offers a good bass response and decent performance in the mid and high frequencies. It has a moderate power output so it's not really suited for large living spaces. Also, the JBL Bar is more suited for movies than pure music. The price is very low for a soundbar, which does raise some eyebrows with respect to overall quality. However, the JBL Bar Studio 2.0 offers a definite upgrade over your current TV's sound system and is easily one of the best cheapest soundbars you can buy.

10. Sony HT-ST5000

If you are on the lookout for a capable Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Sony HT-ST5000 should satisfy your needs to a great extent. Generally, getting a good Dolby Atmos effect requires investing in a surround speaker system, which requires a lot of investment and space planning. The Sony HT-ST5000 offers upward-facing speakers for enhanced height channel effect to simulate speakers mounted on the ceiling. The Sony HT-ST5000 offers a wide range of connectivity options including three HDMI-in, one HDMI-out, optical-in, and AUX-in. The soundbar is also compatible with Bluetooth streaming and supports the LDAC codec for efficient compression. Sony also offers the ability to pair the soundbar with compatible speakers via a feature called MusicCast so that you can sync your music with other speakers in different rooms. There's also Spotify Connect for those who wish to stream Spotify playlists from their phones along with support for Google Chromecast. The HT-ST5000 supports a maximum playback bitrate of 24-bit/96 kHz and Sony even offers a feature to upmix your existing music to this bitrate.

The dynamic range of this soundbar is excellent and you will not find any distortion even after cranking the volume to the maximum. Dolby Atmos movies play particularly well on this soundbar. Thanks to the dedicated subwoofer, the bass is punchy and tight with good detail. Music playback is excellent as well although it could use some tuning in the mids. The Sony HT-ST5000 might seem expensive but is easily one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars in the market. The firmware update also adds support for DTS:X 7.1.2 audio as well.

11. Dali Kubik One

If you aren't really after surrounding sound technologies such as Dolby Atmos or DTS and prefer the better stereo sound to enjoy your music from any device, the Dali Kubik One is the one you should be looking at. The Dali Kubik is much more than a normal soundbar. It is a complete speaker system in itself. The soundbar is ideal for music and voice. However, movie lovers wouldn't be disappointed either. The overall dynamic range is good and all frequencies sound fairly neutral. You can choose the Dali Kubik One in a variety of front mesh colors. The interior is supported by a single aluminum frame that helps to suppress resonance effectively.

Connectivity is well provided for. You get optical and analog connections as well as microUSB-in. Using the microUSB port, you can hook up the Kubik directly to a computer. High-res audio files in the 24-bit/96 kHz format play well. You also get Bluetooth support for wireless streaming music from your smartphone. The Kubik offers enough bass, but you do get the option to add your own subwoofer if you wish. Overall, the Dali Kubik One is an expensive soundbar but satisfies the needs of stereo connoisseurs very effectively.

12. Sonos Playbar

The Sonos Playbar is quite unlike the Sonos Beam detailed earlier. The standalone Playbar is just like any other soundbar in this list and offers quite a nice upgrade from your regular TV speakers. The soundbar is perfect for playing music from most playback sources including internet streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, etc. It can also be hooked up to your NAS or PC and used to playback your music in excellent stereo. Unlike most other soundbars though, the Sonos Playbar offers very minimal connections. You get only one optical-in and two Ethernet ports. One of the Ethernet ports can be connected to your home router while the other can be connected either to your TV (if it supports Ethernet connections) or to another network device. If your TV lacks either an optical-out or Ethernet, this soundbar is not the one you should be after. The Playbar sports accelerometers to adjust the sound according to the angle you place it — a very nifty feature. Setting up the Playbar is easy via the Sonos app on Android or iOS. You can also add more speakers such as a subwoofer or other Sonos Play:3 speakers wirelessly to create a true 5.1 setup. Bear in mind though, that opting for this route can get very expensive.

Apart from sacrificing inputs, the Sonos Playbar also dumps Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice control. If you need those, the Sonos Beam is your best bet at the moment. On its own, the Sonos Playbar works great for a variety of audio sources. Music and sports sound great and so do movies provided the Playbar is fed with pre-decoded surround streams. It supports Dolby Digital but does not support high-end surround formats such as DTS or Dolby TrueHD. We would recommend this Sonos Playbar only if you are more of a stereo audio fan and are okay with future wireless speaker expansion.

13. Harman Kardon Enchant 1300

The Harman Kardon Enhance 1300 offers 13 speaker drivers to provide an immersive aural experience without the need of adding a subwoofer. Of course, you can also purchase it with the optional subwoofer add-on that enables even more low-frequency effects. The Enhance 1300 itself is capable of faithfully reproducing up to 70 Hz so you already get a good bass response out the box. There is no Dolby TrueHD or DTS:X decoding support. Instead, Harman Kardon focuses on a flat sound stage that is enhanced by the MultiBeam Surround system. The width of the Enhance 1300 suits most of the large screen TVs and looks good on any wall. The soundbar supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, optical, and analog inputs along with three HDMI-in ports. There is also an HDMI-out with ARC. The Enhance can pair with your mobile phone or tablet over Bluetooth and supports streaming from a wide range of online streaming platforms.

The Enhance 1300 does not feature native Dolby Atmos or DTS:X decoding so it extracts the Dolby Digital part from the soundtrack and distributes it to the 13 speakers. Adding a subwoofer offers even deeper bass for movies. Even without that, the Harman Kardon Enhance 1300 helps elevate your audio experience quite significantly as long as you are okay with not having Dolby Atmos support.

14. Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400

The MusicCast Bar 400 is a very capable soundbar from Yahama and comes with a subwoofer for deep bass. The Bar 400 resembles the Yamaha YAS-207BL in many aspects with the major design change being that the Bar 400 sports a metal front grill instead of a fabric one. There are two HDMI ports on the Bar 400 one of which connects to the TV and one that connects to a video source such as a Blu-ray player. This allows for 4K video passthrough and native decoding of Dolby Digital and DTS surround tracks from the player itself. The Bar 400 supports Yamaha's MusicCast function that allows you to wirelessly connect additional MusicCast-enabled speakers for true surround sound. The speakers can be hooked up via the MusicCast app available for Android and iOS. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are supported as well. The Bar 400 offers a slew of audio enhancements including support for DTS Virtual X for upmixing stereo tracks into the surround.

The Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400 offers excellent sound reproduction be it with music or movies. The speakers deliver enough power to cover a mid-sized room. With Clear Voice turned on, you can easily pick nuances in the dialog that you may have previously not noticed. The soundbar offers decent surround output on its own, but you'd want to use a few more satellites for a proper surround effect. The only negative is the lack of an OSD to properly tell you which mode the soundbar is operating. Otherwise, the Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400 is one of the best soundbars under $500.

Dear readers, those were our recommendations for the best soundbar speakers to buy in 2019. Before buying one, we recommend that you first decide on the room design and what sort of content you would be watching before deciding on a speaker system. Having the most expensive soundbar will not guarantee an immersive experience if you don't get the acoustics right and don't feed it quality content.

We hope that this article helped clear any confusions you may have regarding selecting the best soundbar speakers. As always, we are here to help if you need any further information. Post your questions and comments below and we’ll get back to you at the earliest.

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