Easily supplanting our previous favorite, the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass, the Klipsch Cinema 400 adds great design and an even bigger wireless subwoofer. Sound quality is still king, though, with a real sense of dynamics and excellent music replay. If you want to make your TV the next best thing to a movie theater, this is one of the most affordable ways to do it.
While we really like the Roku Streambar Pro, the Roku Streambar does essentially the same job for $50 less. With a full-fledged 4K HDR Roku streamer built in and a single voice remote controlling everything, this bar gives you audio and video in one simple bar. The Roku soundbar setup is a breeze; just add to a TV with a simple HDMI port connection. This affordable soundbar has sound quality that's acceptable for the size and price, and you can add a $129 wireless subwoofer for more punch. Key features
If you're looking to ditch your TV speaker, this is where we suggest you start. The subwoofer may be smaller than usual for the brand, but this audio bar still sounds great, as well as offering HDMI connectivity with ARC and a much easier-to-understand input display. The Vizio V-Series 2.1 is the best soundbar value we have tested in the last few years.
For less than a C-note, the Creative Stage soundbar offers a bunch of previously unheard-of features, including HDMI connectivity with an HDMI ARC port and a subwoofer. But what's even more remarkable is that this affordable soundbar sounds better than most of its ultrabudget competition; its wired subwoofer fills the room with great bass. It has a variety of audio modes, making this soundbar speaker especially suited to music, concerts and gaming. Excellent sound quality for gamers and movie fans alike.Key features
Sonos' new entry-level soundbar offers a lot for the money including the company's excellent multiroom music system onboard. A two-channel soundbar with Dolby Digital decoding, the Ray is roughly two-thirds the size of the Sonos Beam, yet it delivers a surprisingly wide soundstage.
A true step up from the preceding soundbars, the Vizio M512a-H6 is the most cost-effective way to get true Dolby Atmos playback. This surround system includes the main soundbar with up-firing height speakers built in, a 6-inch subwoofer and two wired rear speakers. That's a lot of parts, but they were easy to set up and we were impressed with the overall build quality. Most importantly, it offers excellent performance with movies, including real Atmos effects we could hear, as well as music. The M512a-H6s lacks Chromecast and AirPlay streaming, but still earns our hearty recommendation both for home cinema fans and for people looking to listen to their favorite album (whether in Atmos or not).
If you simply must have the least number of boxes and remotes in your living space and yet demand the best Atmos quality sound performance you can get, this Sennheiser speaker is your baby. It's a single unit, without a subwoofer, but it's able to conjure up the most realistic overhead and true surround-sound effects we've ever heard. It's also controlled entirely via remote control. It's not a cheap piece of sound equipment but it's comparable in price to a full set of surround speakers without the bulk and with 85% of the great sound and performance. It's now been joined by the cheaper Ambeo Soundbar Plus.
If you're interested in setting up a multiroom sound system, a Sonos soundbar system is still the best option. The Sonos Arc is the company's best soundbar and includes Dolby Atmos playback, a class-leading music ecosystem and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built into the bar itself. The soundbar system sounds good with music and movies, and adding a pair of Ikea Symphonisk bookshelves should really boost your home theater sound experience. The Arc sounds a lot bigger than the cheaper Beam TV sound, which needs the $700 subwoofer on top to make it comparable in terms of sound.
The Yamaha YAS-209 offers excellent sound quality in a compact soundbar. Built-in Amazon Alexa voice control is useful, allowing this smart soundbar to stream music, and the mics work well in loud environments. The soundbar's implementation of DTS Virtual:X virtual surround sound offers a rich effect reminiscent of surround speaker sound. Two HDMI connections are included, one with HDMI ARC. This smart soundbar's wireless subwoofer is more articulate and offers more headroom than the competing, and also excellent, Polk Command Bar. However, the Yamaha soundbar YAS-209 doesn't use the company's MusicCast system, so it won't sync up with other Yamaha speakers.
We evaluate the performance of each soundbar with a number of different types of content, including movies, music, TV shows and games. We use a number of test scenes -- including the opening of Mad Max:Fury Road for Atmos playback as well as the Thanator Attack scene of Avatar (26.53) for dynamics and detail retrieval.
When it comes to music, we use a number of CNET test tracks which you can find here in a Tidal or Spotify playlist. Tracks such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Red Right Hand, with its deep bass and tenor vocals, help determine a system's ability to track male voices in particular without sounding congested. It also helps with uncovering hidden details and the relative dynamics a speaker is capable of. Using both types of content -- movies and music -- we then grade the sound quality of each soundbar. We evaluate characteristics such as speech clarity, dynamics/volume, bass response and musical playback.
Compared with the sound that comes out of your TV, soundbars are the most economical way to improve sound quality. TV speakers face downward so a lot of detail is lost, and a dedicated soundbar can make speech more understandable. Spending as little as $100 on a soundbar can improve your TV-watching experience tenfold.
Soundbars are designed to be placed in front of the TV on a TV stand or other furniture. Most are less than 2 inches tall so that they won't block either your television's infrared remote port or the screen itself. Some soundbars can also be wall-mounted and come with brackets in the box. Third-party kits for wall-mounting soundbars are also available.
With only a handful of exceptions you can use any soundbar with any TV, though it does sometimes help to match TV and soundbar brands. Many new soundbars use HDMI ARC to channel the audio from your TV through the soundbar, so if both devices have one of these ports that's all you need. Some older soundbars use an optical connection and most TVs offer these as well.The exception Roku TV Wireless Speakers and Samsung SoundConnect. The former uses a proprietary wireless connection, and lacks an HDMI port, so you need a Roku TV (and not a Roku streamer) to use it. The second is also proprietary between Samsung soundbars and TVs, though the soundbar usually offers HDMI for connection to other brands.
Music played through your TV almost always sounds better when you have a soundbar connected. Many soundbars have Bluetooth, meaning you don't need the TV on to listen to your tunes. In general a soundbar with a wireless subwoofer is best for music as it will help reproduce dynamics as well as deep bass.
The right sound system immerses you in the action of your favorite movies, games, and songs, in every twist and turn. For the best possible experience, you need a wireless surround sound system that will level up your listening.
There are many systems on the market, which makes it overwhelming to sift through options and price tags. But don't worry, ZDNET experts scoured the market to find the best wireless surround systems for a variety of preferences and price pounds. Based on thousands of real user reviews and in-depth market research, these are the best wireless surround systems you can buy.
The JBL Bar 9.1 includes a 10-inch subwoofer with 820-watt output and detachable surround sound speakers that use batteries to operate. With built-in Wi-Fi, there is excellent audio with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D sound incorporated. You will also enjoy fantastic clarity through Dolby Vision. An available HDMI port makes it easy to start working, or you can stream from Chromecast or AirPlay.
When you open the box, you'll find the soundbar, two detachable wireless surround speakers, two L-shape wall-mount brackets, two U-shape wall-mount brackets, a remote control, an HDMI cable, power cords, and a kit with screws.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max is a wireless surround sound system that includes dual subwoofers with twin-cone drivers and a soundbar design. You also receive four modular surround speakers. With this surround system, Nakamichi-exclusive software meets Dolby Atmos for more powerful sound. When you need to hook up to your speakers, multiple options exist for connectivity, including RCA, Bluetooth, auxiliary, optional, HDMI, and coaxial cables for a well-rounded system.
To buy a surround sound system from Sonos, you must bundle the Sonos Arc with the Sonos Sub and Sonos One. The wireless surround sound system perfectly captures highs and lows with a particular attention to dialogue. With the addition of Dolby Atmos, you receive strong bass and excellent clarity for a truly immersive experience. The Sonos app gives you complete control, too, with the ability to stream all sorts of music and content with Apple Airplay 2 available.
The JBL Bar 9.1 may not be the cheapest wireless surround sound system, but the three piece system performs as well as other larger systems. It delivers strong, powerful bass with startling clarity, and users agree -- it is the best wireless surround sound system.
Why It Made The Cut: With voice control built right in, this Polk Audio soundbar is ready for Alexa-based, multi-room music, and upgradeable with wireless surround sound speakers that are ready to pair.
Drama happens in dialogue, and the Polk Audio React is a soundbar meant for delivering great dialogue, and engaging in it, too. This is a soundbar with Alexa built right in from the bottom to the top. Not only is it fully voice controlled, allowing you to change the volume and sound modes vocally, but it will also sync with your Amazon multi-room playback, so that you can listen to Alexa-controlled music all throughout the house. 59ce067264