Buying guide for the best sound bar: Welcome to the collection of the best sound bars (also spelled sound bars) from TechRadar that you can buy in 2018.
While the appearance of a television should be , rightly so, the most important thing to consider when buying a new set, the way it sounds is a very close second.
Unfortunately, as the panel's technology has improved over the years, less and less space has been provided for the audio of a set, which leads to an audio that often sounds weak and metallic. This can make it difficult to listen to actors and actresses while revealing the key points of the plot during the dialogue, and makes the cinematic moments like explosions and car crashes less impactful than they should be.
The easiest way to rectify this problem is with a sound bar. These speakers sit nicely under your TV, and often offer tremendous sound without taking up much more space in your living room.
Buy intelligently and you will not only get better sound, but also more advanced features such as virtual surround sound and Dolby Atmos compatibility.
What is the best sound bar?
Sound bars come in many shapes and sizes, and range in price from less than £ 100 / $ 100 to more than £ 1,000 / $ 1,500. Cheaper models have basic connections, the more expensive ones add higher HDMI inputs (including 4K / HDR pass-through), wireless audio transmission (eg Bluetooth and AirPlay), better power, more refined speaker drivers and decoding of formats of Blu-ray sound.  A complete surround sound setup is the premium solution for TVs that sound bad, but if you are a bit smaller in space (not to mention the budget), then a sound bar offers a very decent compromise. In addition, these days the high-end sound bars will also include the latest and greatest audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.
Design is also important, with some models that can sit in front of your TV on a stand while others may need a separate shelf, or to be mounted on the wall. However, whatever your budget, there are some good acoustic updates that can give your TV the sound it deserves.
1. Soundbar Samsung HW-MS650
Be afraid, traditional hi-fi speakers. Be very afraid
Dimensions: 1060 x 78 x 130 mm (W x D x D) | Speaker Configuration: 3.0 | Rejected audio power: 9 x 20W | Connections: Single HDMI 4K / HDR input, an optical audio input, 3.5mm audio port, bidirectional Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Incredibly powerful sound
Challenging bass handling physics
Supports many sources
Slightly limited stereo effect
Not content with dominating the world of television, now Samsung seems to be aiming to become the number one brand for home entertainment audio. All this effort has already produced outstanding results in the form of the Dolby Atmos HW-K850 and, especially, HW-K950 sound bars, as well as a range of innovative multi-room wireless speakers.
But, above all is the South Korean manufacturer HW-MS650. No other single-body sound bar has combined so much unprocessed power with such clarity, scale and, especially, low, or excelled so consistently with both movies and music. It's the kind of performance that only genuine audio innovation can offer, and with that in mind, it's worth its $ 450 / £ 599 price.
Read the full review: Samsung HW- MS650 Soundbar
2. Soundbar Sony HT-ST5000
A luxury sound bar that justifies its price
Dimensions: 1180 x 80 x 145 mm (W x H x D) | Speaker Configuration: 7.1.2 | Claimed audio power: N / A | Connections: 3 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output (ARC), analog audio input / output, Ethernet, optical audio input, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Beautiful build quality
Dolby support Atmos  Compatible with high resolution audio
Without DTS: X
The Sony HT-ST5000 is the most expensive sound bar on the list, but for the money you will get an exceptional piece of equipment that offers support for Dolby's Atmos space technology, as well as exceptionally good handling with more conventional surround sound.
The quality of construction and design of the sound bar are exceptional, and its overall audio performance impresses with its clarity and spatial presentation.
That being said, its high price means that it will not be for everyone, and most people will get everything they need from the previous Samsung HW-MS650. But if you want to have the best high-end sound bar, the HT-ST5000 is the right one.
Read the full review: Sony HT-ST5000
3. Q Acoustics M4 Sound Bar
& # 39; If there is a sound bar with better sound on the market for less than £ 400 / $ 400, we have not heard it & # 39;
Power: 100W | Speakers: 2 | Dimensions: 1,000 x 90 x 142 mm | Weight: 4.9kg | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x digital optical, 1 x 3.5 mm | Departures: N / A | Wireless: Bluetooth aptX | Subwoofer included ?: Yes | Special functions: N / A
Easy to use
Without HDMI input
The Q Acoustics M4 sound bar does not immediately trigger racing pulses with its slightly prosaic appearance, the sound & # 39; simple & # 39; of 2.1 channels and the lack of HDMI support. However, you just have to listen to what the M4 can do with both music and movies so that your doubts about the subject evaporate almost instantly. In fact, it sounds so good that it starts to make the idea of trying to offer more channels from an affordable sound bar seem a bit silly.
In fact, though, it sounds a lot better than virtually any rival sound bar at the same price which is actually ridiculously good value for money, especially if you care about music as much as you care about movies.
Read the full review: Q Acoustics M4 Sound Bar
4. Philips Fidelio B5
Surround sound or portable Bluetooth: the choice is yours
Power: 120W | Speakers: 4 | Dimensions: 1,035 x 70 x 156 mm | Weight: 16kg | Inputs: Digital coaxial input, Optical digital input, HDMI 1.4 (ARC) output, HDMI 1 input, HDMI 2 input, 3.5 mm audio input | Wireless: Bluetooth APT-X and AAC | Subwoofer included ?: Yes | Special functions: N / A
Satellites are disconnected from the main sound bar
Easy to set surround sound
A little too large for most TV settings
] The Philips Fidelio B5 is a bit of an impressive kit, and it is the perfect sound bar for someone who appreciates the good sound of the cinema but has no interest in destroying their living room to install a 5.1 surround sound system to use occasionally. The B5 allows you to select and choose the moments of your movie, and do it at your whim. And it creates a quite decent surround sound experience too, using Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround decoding.
The combination of convenience and good audio – the raison d'être of the sound bar – with its transformative surround sound capabilities makes the Fidelio B5 a great option for the movie fan who can not cope with all the inconvenience of a proper installation of 5.1.
Read the full review: Philips Fidelio B5
5. Sonos Playbar
Converts your multi-room audio system into wireless surround sound
Power: Not scheduled | Speakers: 9 | Dimensions: 900 x 85 x 140 mm | Weight: 5.4kg | Inputs: 1 x digital optics, 2 x Ethernet LAN | Departures: N / A | Wireless: WiFi | Special functions: Sonos Play: 1 speakers can be connected as wireless rear speakers
Integrates with Sonos systems
Requires particular televisions
Sonos Playbar is not HDMI device that use optics to connect to a television. Used simply by itself, it offers a massive sonic boost to listening to your television, but its operation requires the use of a smartphone or tablet application.
The advantage is that it can pass smoothly to a Sonos wireless system and can even act as the three front speakers in a 5.1 configuration with two Play: 1 reproductions that act as rears.
Unfortunately, although its single-optics configuration will be excellent for most, it excludes TV owners who lack this connector, which has taken it a little further down this list.
Read the full review: Sonos Playbar
6. Samsung HW-K950
This sound bar combo, two wireless sats and Dolby Atmos is a switching game
Power: 500W | Speakers: 9 | Dimensions: 47.6 x 3.2 x 5.1 inches | Weight: 14.7lbs | Entries: 1 x digital optics, 1 x HDMI | Outputs: 1 x HDMI | Wireless: Bluetooth and WiFi | Subwoofer included ?: Yes | Special functions: Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos incorporated
Wireless satellites and sub
Surround sound slightly matted
Do you need Dolby Atmos? This most immersive technology of 3D bubble surround sound & # 39; is here, created not only by a standard sound bar design, but with a pair of satellite speakers and an added subwoofer. Is that scratching in a messy home theater cinema of yesteryear? Maybe in theory, but this is one of the most elegant implementations of Dolby Atmos so far. The use of rear speakers with loudspeakers that shoot upwards, actually creates a 5.1.4 virtual system.
OK, then the £ 1,299 / $ 1,499 / AU $ 1,499 HW-K950 is not perfect. It only plays DTS in stereo (unless you have a Blu-ray player that can convert it to Dolby Digital), but this easy-to-configure package is amazing and should be close to the audiometer's sound bar audition list. .
Read the full review: Samsung HW-K950
7. Q Acoustics M2 database
Technically a sound basis, the M2 is a satisfactory sound improvement
of the sound of your TV
Power: 80W | Speakers: 2 | Dimensions: 550 x 93 x 338 mm (W x H x W) | Weight: 5.6kg | Inputs: 1 x Digital optical input, 1 x HDMI-in, 1 x 3.5 mm | Wireless: Bluetooth | Subwoofer included ?: Yes | Special functions: aptX HD
Pressed and controlled bass
Narrow sound stage
Without pass through HDMI
So far we have only covered the bars sound, but the sound bases a little different.
Instead of being designed to be mounted under or in front of your television, sound bases have a much deeper form factor, which means they are more suitable to act as a support for your television. The Q Acoustics M2 also has the additional benefit of a switch that alters its sound to work better in case you prefer to hide it inside a cabinet.
Due to some minor problems with the sound and the passage through HDMI, Q Acoustics M2 is not the type of product that will revolutionize your living room, but having said that, it will offer a significant boost to the sound of your TV at an affordable price of $ 350 (£ 299 / AU $ 549).
Read the full review: Q Acoustics M2 Database
8. Focal dimension
An awesome sound bar with some false installation steps
Power: 450W | Speakers: 5 | Dimensions: 1,155 x 115 x 115 mm | Weight: 5.5kg | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x digital optical, 1 x 3.5 mm | Departures: N / A | Wireless: Bluetooth aptX (via dongle) | Subwoofer included ?: No | Special functions: designed for large rooms
Virtual surround sound
Focal, best known for its excellent speakers (and the recently launched Focal Listen headphones), is late for the space of the sound bar, but its Focal Dimension deserved the wait. The Dimension soundbar is simply beautiful, with accents in piano black and aluminum construction in one body.
At $ 1,399 (£ 799, AU $ 1,699) it's not exactly cheap, but you're paying for excellent build quality, sound and design.  Read the full review: Focal dimension
9. Sony HT-MT300 Soundbar
An affordable, compact entry-level sound bar that sounds great
Power: N / A | Speakers: 2 | Dimensions: 50 x 5.4 x 10.3 cm (W x H x D) | Weight: 3.2kg | Entries: 1 x digital optics, 1 x auxiliary | Wireless: Bluetooth | Special functions: Wireless subwoofer
Easy to set up and use
Well balanced sound
Narrow sound stage
Without HDMI ARC
There's a lot to like about Sony HT-MT300 . Its compact form factor means it fits virtually anywhere and its wireless sub allows you to place it under the sofa for added bass effect.
The sound bar sounds good with both movies and music, but keep in mind that you do not like it when it comes to surround sound.
For the price, you get a great entry-level sound bar that fits virtually anywhere and is easy to use and configure. If you have a tight budget and are looking for a sound bar for a small configuration, the HT-MT300 is a great option, but if you have fewer restrictions, you can choose another sound bar in this list.  Read the full review: Sony HT-MT300 Soundbar
10. Bose SoundTouch 300
An accurate and beautifully crafted sound bar sound
Power: N / A | Speakers: 1 | Dimensions: 42 x 6.2 x 5 inches | Weight: 15.2 lbs | Inputs: 1 x digital optics, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x 3.5 mm connector for the ADAPTiQ system configuration, 1 x 3.5 mm connector for connecting the module serious, 1 x micro-USB connection | Outputs: 1 HDMI output with audio return channel (ARC) | Wireless: Bluetooth | Subwoofer included ?: No | Special Features: Multiroom
Wide and articulated sonic presentation
Magnificent design and build quality
Potentially frustrating setup
Does not come with a subwoofer
Features high-end design, Bose's thin sound bar looks excellent and sounds above average. With 97.9cm wide, it is better combined with larger screens (50 inches +) and priced at £ 599 / $ 700 / AU $ 999, it offers excellent sound. There are warnings about usability and price, but in general it deserves two thumbs up.
It's also worth mentioning that, since this is not a 2.1 package, there is not a subwoofer supplied, although Bose will sell you a Acoustimas wireless subwoofer. and the ST300 can be associated with the Virtually Invisible (ie small to 10 cm) surround speakers of the brand. The system is also compatible with the Bose SoundTouch wireless multi-room system, which includes smaller Bluetooth speakers.
Read the full review: Bose SoundTouch 300
BONUS: Creative X-Fi Sonic Carrier
This Dolby Atmos sound bar of 11.2.4 channels is outside of our league
Power: 2,000 watts | Speakers: 17 | Dimensions: 521 x 151 x 96 mm (59.9 x 5.9 x 3.8 inches, length x width x height) | Weight: 35.3 lbs | Inputs: 2 x digital optics, 3 x HDMI (ARC), 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x 3.5 mm connector, two ¼ "microphone connectors, two USB 2.0 type A connectors for flash drives USB and HDD, one SD card slot and three microSD card slots together with | Outputs: 1 HDMI output with audio return channel (ARC) | Wireless: Bluetooth | Subwoofer included ?: Yes | Special functions: SuperWide X-Fi
It's an 11.2.4 channel sound bar!
Precise, almost perfect sound
] Unrivaled DSP with SuperWide X-Fi
Your neighbors will hate you
You know, it just did not seem fair to me to compare the Creative Sonic Carrier of X-Fi with other sound bars on this list, it would be like comparing jet-skis with yachts.
That said, if you have your pockets full to afford it, the Creative X-Fi Sonic Carrier is in a league ferent of sound bars. It has 17 speakers configured in a configuration of 11.2.4 channels or 15.2 channels that can emit more than 110 dB of sound and are compatible with Dolby Atmos from the start.
Do you spend too much $ 4,000 on a sound bar, even one as genuine as the X-Fi Creative Sonic Carrier? Probably. But is it worth it to spend a few to convert your basement or garage into an almost cinematic quality clubhouse / movie theater? Yes. It's.
- We've created a list of the best science fiction movies to put your sound bar to the test.