If you have just bought a new TV for Xbox Series X or PS5, you might be disappointed by the sound quality on the proprietary speakers. If that’s the case, you might be wondering what the best sound bar for TV is.
If you’re looking for a sound bar this holiday season to improve your TV sound quality – you might have already checked out our Black Friday sound bar deals page, which lists all of the best deals we can find this fall. However, if you’re interested in finding out what the absolute best sound bars are for your TV, you’ll want to keep on reading this page.
We are going to cover a few things – how a sound bar works, features to look out for, who makes the best sound bar, and how to choose the best sound bar.
Alongside all of that, we’ll also go in-depth on the best sound bars for TV covering the best value, cheapest, mid-range, highest quality, and more.
The best sound bars for TV (Budget, Mid-range, Best overall, smart, and best Dolby Atmos)
Here are our picks for the best sound bars for TV:
- Best overall sound bar: Sonos Arc
- Best budget soun dbar: Creative Stage V2
- Best mid-range sound bar: Klipsch Cinema 400
- Best smart sound bar: Bose Smart Soundbar 700
- Best Dolby Atmos sound bar: Sony HT-A7000
If you’re looking for a new TV to pair with your sound bar – check out this Samsung Q70A 55″ 4K QLED TV – Was $1099 now $899
Who makes the best sound bar?
There’s a few audio engineering companies an octave above the rest- they are:
While we can compose a list of the best sound bars for TV, we can’t say for certain what the individual best sound bar company is as they all offer a great range of sound bars.
How does a sound bar work?
A sound bar is a long speaker composed of small, omni-directional audio devices inside. The speaker then functions by firing audio channels into several different directions so that you are hearing a composite audio from multiple directions.
This sound atmosphere is usually designed with the Dolby Atmos codec in mind – which essentially splits up audio into separate channels so that it can then be heard from multiple directions.
Essentially, a sound bar creates the impression that the audio you’re hearing from a single source, is coming from the surrounding environment around you. When sound is fired from the individual speakers in the sound bar, it bounces off the walls around you and so the false sense of dynamic and real sound is created.
A sound bar will function perfectly without a subwoofer, however we think that you might still want to think about grabbing one. While you will be able to hear everything perfectly fine from the sound bar, the difference in quality is purely aesthetic. It will add depth and a more refined human quality to speech, and it will build out the bass and add volume to explosions, music, and action scenes.
Features to look out for in a sound bar
It can be quite difficult to gauge the quality of the best sound bar for your TV, especially when you’re shopping online. Reading specs and descriptions of audio devices can often seem quite futile, especially when those specifications are just jargon buzz-words and figures.
To help you out, we’re going to create a guide so that you can best evaluate what makes a sound bar good before you begin to buy.
Dolby Atmos – As mentioned above, Dolby Atmos is the codec responsible for configuring audio into separate channels so that it can be output into multiple directions. It’s the same experience as the cinema, in which sound is fired from each direction to immerse you into the movie.
Channels – Sometimes, when you’re listening to music with headphones you might hear one part of the audio output into the left ear – and another part to the right ear. This is done as some songs are mixed into two channels. The same happens for movie, game, and TV audio, which might be split into 5 – 7 channels. When audio is played through a sound bar or surround sound system, the several audio channels can be output into multiple directions. Essentially, more channels create a more realistic and immersive audio experience.
Connectivity – Especially if you’re shopping for a sound bar for TV, you’re going to want to confirm that the connectivity of both devices matches up. For example, you’ll want to be looking for a sound bar which has HDMI 2.1 so it can act as passthrough for the TV and device, such as your games console, to connect without losing any data quality. Alternatives to HDMI 2.1 are digital optical, however this will need to be connected directly from your output device to your sound bar, which means you’ll have to switch it over whenever you plug in a new console or device.
Where to buy the best sound bar for TV?
We have a few recommended sound bar retailers that we think you’ll have the best luck finding a sound bar:
- Amazon: Best deals on sound bars, TVs, speakers, and Home Cinemas
- Best Buy: Great selection of home audio devices available now
- Newegg: Wide selection of TVs, tech, and home hardware
- Ebuyer: Top tech deals
Best sound bars for TV (Budget, Mid-range, Best, and more)
Sonos Arc – the best sound bar for TV
Sonos Arc specifications:
- Codec: Dolby Atmos support
- Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, HDMI eARC, Apple Airplay 2, Alexa, Google Assistant, Sonos Voice Control
- Microphones: Echo cancellation for voice control
- Dimensions: 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 inches (W x H x D)
- Controls: Capacitive touch
The Sonos Arc launched in 2020 – and the sound bar is packed full of great features and technology. With absolutely phenomenal audio quality, this speaker stands up not only as the best smart sound bar, but the best overall one too.
Powered by the immersive Dolby Atmos codec, you’ll struggle to find better audio quality on a sound bar. We’ve selected this sound bar in our best picks not only for the superior sound, but also the smart capabilities of the device. Alexa and Google Assistant can run on the internal computer – which is powered by 1GB SDRAM and 4GB Non Volatile, and a quad core 1.4GHz A-53 CPU.
In terms of connectivity, the Sonos Arc has WiFi, Ethernet, HDMI eARC, and Apple Airplay 2. This means you can pretty much connect any device you can think of, so a lack of Bluetooth isn’t a problem unless you’re connecting a device from the early 2000s.
With eleven amplifiers, three silk-dome tweeters, and eight elliptical woofers, you’ll be hearing a really vibrant and spatial range of vocals, dialogue, bass, and acoustics. Alongside that, an adjustable EQ via the Sonos app allows you to adjust bass, treble, and volume, and this increases the level of modularity on the sound bar to a really professional and fine-tuned level.
Creative Stage V2 – the best budget sound bar for TV
- Codec: Sound Blaster’s Clear Dialog and Surround, SBC
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC, Optical, USB, Bluetooth, AUX In
- Microphone: None
- Dimensions: 26.8 x 3.94 x 3 inches (W x H x D)
- Controls: IR Remote Control
Released in 2021, the Creative Stage V2 is a phenomenal budget sound bar with a great range of connectivity and audio features.
Perhaps the best feature of the Creative Stage V2 is the range of sound modes – which only makes the sound bar’s great price point even more attractive. Clear Dialog and Surround allow you to alternate audio modes to best suit the content you’re consuming, which is really rare at the price you’ll pay for the CS V2. While the Surround audio mode doesn’t really compare to what Dolby Atmos or a DTS Virtual:X technology might offer, it still offers a good level of 3D sound quality.
The small form factor also pushes the sound bar forward in the leader-boards, as it will likely fit nicely beneath any TVs.
If you’re out looking for the best sound bar for TV on a budget, this is definitely the device for you, and you can check the price here.
Klipsch Cinema 400 – the best mid-range sound bar for TV
- Codec: Dolby Audio Decoder
- Connectivity: HDMI-ARC, Bluetooth, 3.5mm Analog, Optical Digital
- Microphone: None
- Additional: 8″ Subwoofer
- Dimensions: 39 x 3 x 4 inches (W x H x D)
- Controls: Wireless Remote
With a great ratio of cost to performance, the Klipsch Cinema 400 is a great mid-range sound bar for your TV set-up, whether you use it for gaming, home cinema, or for casual media use.
Fully equipped with a powerful subwoofer, this sound bar offers a really deep range of bass and acoustics despite the lack of Dolby Atmos support, so listening to bass-heavy music and watching films is no problem for the Klipsch Cinema 400.
You’ll be hearing crisp dialog and a beautiful dynamic range of acoustics, mids, lows, and highs, though the Surround Support is lacking – which means that you won’t be hearing full 3D audio. This isn’t a huge problem though, especially when the sound quality is as refined as this.
You won’t be disappointed if you pick up the Klipsch Cinema 400, as it’s the perfect complimentary sound bar for your TV set-up. You can go ahead and check the price here.
Bose Smart Soundbar 700 – best smart sound bar for TV
- Codec: Dolby Digital, DTS
- Connectivity: HDMI ARC, Ethernet, Optical, ADAPTiQ, Bose App, Bluetooth
- Microphone: Microphone Array for voice control
- Additionals: Optional Bose Bass Module 700 subwoofer and Rear Surround Speakers
- Dimensions: 38.5 x 4.25 x 2.25 inches (W x H x D)
- Controls: Universal remote
The Bose Smart Soundbar goes toe-to-toe with the Sonos Arc – vying for the top spot as the best sound bar for TV. Both are in a similar price range, though the superior sound quality of the Sonos Arc edges out its competition.
That said, the Bose Smart Soundbar is still a great product, and is miles ahead of any other competition. The Bose Smart Soundbar trespasses the border of speaker or sound bar, which is another great feature driving us to recommend it.
Its huge range of connectivity features really encourage it to stand out boldly, though if you’re needing to watch TV quietly – you can pair a set of headphones with the sound bar so audio is then redirected from your TV to the headphones. This is a sneaky feature, and a highly underrated one that more sound systems might think about incorporating after following Bose’s example.
Another great feature is the Bose app, which allows you to pair your phone and related applications such as Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, Tune In, etc, with the sound bar so that it can act as a dedicated speaker independent of your TV.
The lack of Dolby Atmos is the key missing feature that narrowly undercuts this sound bar’s competitive performance, though when paired with Bose’s Bass Module 700 and Rear Surround Speakers you can easily replicate the Surround Sound audio experience.
Sony HT-A7000 – the best Dolby Atmos sound bar for TV
- Codec: Dolby Atmos
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC x 2, HDMI ARC, WiFi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Spotify, Apple Airplay 2
- Microphone: Included
- Additionals: None
- Dimensions: 1300 x 80 x 142 mm (W x H x D)
- Controls: Voice Control
By far the most expensive sound bar on this list, this sound bar offers the most immersive Dolby Atmos listening experience.
When using this sound bar you are utterly lost in a sublime audio realm – Dolby Atmos and DTS: X are the technologies enabling this, while the optional 360 Spatial Sound speakers only add to this experience.
This 7.1.2 speaker offers great bass, near unparalleled by any other sound bar. It’s particularly impressive as this is achieved without a dedicated subwoofer.
Sony 360 Reality Audio helps reaffirm the spatial audio design, and will immerse all rooms in the movie or game you are enjoying.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a great TV and sound bar deal, you can save $1,500 on this Sony HT-A7000 + Sony Bravia 77″ 4K TV now.
Best sound bar for TV FAQs
Why get a sound bar for your TV?
It’s likely that your TV has really unsatisfactory speakers – it’s just not cost effective for manufacturers to invest in producing high quality audio devices when it’s likely that most consumers will just upgrade to better speakers.
A sound bar will allow you to have a high quality speaker with a really small footprint, still capable of producing boisterous and immersive sound.
Sound bar vs Speaker?
Speakers are often huge, expensive, and consume a lot of space. A sound bar on the other hand is small and can be cost effective. Sound bars are also designed to produce immersive, multi-directional audio, whereas speakers will often just fire sound in the direction they’re facing. Speakers might offer more refined audio, whereas a sound bar offers a well-rounded listening experience.
Who makes the best sound bar?
This is hard question with no definitive answer, but we can name a few brands we know to make excellent sound bars. This includes: Bose, Sonos, Sony, and Klipsch.