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Best Soundbar 2022: Upgrade your TV audio

You’ve bought a TV and have come to realisation that it doesn’t sound very good. You need a soundbar to solve your audio woes, and we have the answer.

We’ve tested soundbars from affordable efforts to top-of-the-range Atmos and DTS:X soundbars. We spend time with every soundbar watching plenty of TV to see how they handle dialogue, movies for how well they deal with scale and complexity and sports.

Whether you’re looking for something that fits into your budget needs or a specific set-up to fits your space, this list covers what you need. If you’re after a soundbar that can deliver more height and scale, then check out our list of the Best Dolby Atmos soundbars.

How we test

How we test soundbars

Soundbars were created to boost TV sound quality – which means we end up watching a lot of TV. We play everything – news reports for voices, movies for scale and effects steering – to ensure that the soundbars that come through the doors at Trusted Reviews are given a proper challenge. We’ll play different genres of music, too, since a good soundbar should be capable of doubling-up as a great music system.

More complex soundbars feature network functionality for hooking up to other speakers and playing music around the home, so we test for connectivity issues and ease of use. We cover the spectrum of models available, everything from cheap soundbars costing less than £100 to those over £1000, to ensure our reviews benefit from our extensive market knowledge. Every product is compared to similarly priced rivals, too.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Arguably the best sounding soundbar on the planet
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Pros

  • Superb 3D audio performance
  • As good with music as it is movies

Cons

  • Eye-wateringly expensive
  • Big and not exactly pretty

Sennheiser’s Ambeo Soundbar had been in development for a while, but the wait was worth it as it’s one of the best sounding units we’ve heard.

With support for Atmos, DTS:X, Sennheiser’s Ambeo processing and MPEG-H format, this hefty bar produces a muscular and hard-hitting performance, with excellent effects steering, clarity and a superbly immersive soundscape.

For those who don’t have to room for a traditional speaker package or even a 5.1 soundbar solution, the Ambeo is a phenomenal sounding bar that convincingly apes a 5.1/object-based speaker packages.

Reviewer: Steve May
Full Review: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Wharfedale Vista 200S

Exceptional value
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Pros

  • Great with movies and music
  • Well-integrated bass
  • Low-profile and well-made cabinet
  • Exceptional value
  • Easy to setup

Cons

  • Nothing at this price

The Vista 200S is a 2.1-channel soundbar suited for TVs 65-inches and more. An HDMI ARC, optical and coaxial digital inputs and a 3.5mm jack are available in terms of physical connections, with Bluetooth there for wireless connections.

Its simple to set-up and use, with the Vista 200S putting in a great performance across movies and TV shows. In our test space, the wireless sub delivered deep, punchy bass; dialogue is rendered with clarity and it can cope well with busy soundtracks, sifting through the detail on offer. It’s easily one of the best value soundbars currently available, and a good find if you’re after performance on a budget.

Reviewer: Steve Withers
Full reviews: Wharfedale Vista 200S

Polk Command Bar

Built-in Alexa support
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Pros

  • Amazon Alexa built in
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • None at this price

If you’re after a soundbar that can do smarts then the Polk Command Bar can oblige. It provides the benefits of a soundbar plus the convenience of voice control. Want to order a Dominos pizza? Ask Alexa. Fancy turning down the lighting for that perfect cinema feel? Alexa will help. For those more savvy with smart features, an IFTTT protocol could be set to switch to movie mode and dim the lighting all in one go.

Performance-wise we enjoyed the the Command Bar’s audio delivery: voice clarity is excellent and it sounds great with movies, music and sports alike.

Reviewer: Luke Edwards
Full review: Polk Command Bar

Sony HT-A7000

A sonic delight with movie and music
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Pros

  • Well-featured
  • Excellent sonic performance
  • Strong bass for a single bar
  • Terrific music performance

Cons

  • Needs plenty of space
  • Adding subwoofer and rear channels is expensive
  • Standalone bar is pricey

The Sony HT-A7000 is a speaker that needs space to operate, the size of its dimensions makes this a system that’s best suited to bigger rooms (and one to sit on bigger furniture). And to call it a soundbar would be true, that would be underselling what is also a very capable music system too.

For its premium price it delivers a formidable one-box performance with Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, the combination of physical upfiring speakers and its Vertical Sound Engine technology delivers one a convincing performance with films and TV series given plenty of height, power, and width.

Though Sony claims it can do virtual surround sound, the A7000’s performance isn’t as clear cut and to add a subwoofer and rear speakers does bring make the Sony a much more expensive option if you want more bass and true surround sound.

There are plenty of ways to feed it audio through Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect. The 360 Reality Audio technology adds, quite literally, another dimension, while for gaming there’s support for ALLM and VRR technologies, plus there’s also 8K support so this is a soundbar that’s well placed to be used for future TVs.

With its impressive feature set and impressive performance, the Sony HT-A7000 is the immersive soundbar to beat at its price.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full review: Sony HT-A7000

Sonos Arc

Sonos enters the Atmos-phere
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Pros

  • Expansive, well-defined and invigorating sound
  • Good impression of audio height and width
  • Fine spec
  • Ample control options

Cons

  • Slightly bumpy frequency response
  • Some treble stridency
  • No MQA support

Despite some sonic idiosyncrasies, we feel that Sonos’ first attempt at a Atmos soundbar has plenty to recommend it. It carries the same design aesthetic as other Sonos speakers, and can be mounted on a wall or placed in front of the TV

The width and height of the soundstage we encountered with Atmos content was impressive, and for Sonos owners it’ll slot easily into their current set-up easily via integration with the Sonos S2 app. Like other Sonos speakers, there’s wide app support and access to various streaming services

Our feeling is that the bass/mid-range integration could be handled better, and the eARC-only HDMI means you’ll need to be careful to pair with an eARC-compatible TV if you want a true Atmos performance.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full review: Sonos Arc

Samsung HW-Q900A

Another powerful Atmos bar from Samsung
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Pros

  • Big, spacious sound
  • AirPlay 2 support
  • Alexa integration
  • Big bass performance

Cons

  • Front heavy presentation for “immersive” soundbar
  • Confusing display placement
  • Room calibration feature only possible with Samsung QLEDs

The HW-Q900A is the step-down model from the Q950A, dropping the rear surround channels from the set-up. That means its front-heavy performance doesn’t provide the same level of immersion, but if you don’t have space for surround speakers then getting up close and personal to this soundbar might be the best option.

The HW-Q900A supports Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks and once the volume and height channels have been tweaked, the soundbar creates a terrific sense of space and scale, firing effects in every direction it can but without over-egging it. The bar consistently delivers enjoyable and natural sound whether it’s playing action films, suspenseful horrors, or dramas.

Features include AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Alexa support. There is no Chromecast support though, and you can’t use Alexa to fire up your favourite Spotify playlist (but you can kickstart your Amazon Music playlist). After years of asking for the feature, the Q900A includes room calibration… of sorts. The main unit is compatible with Samsung’s Space Fit tech that optimises the delivery but that’s only supported with specific Samsung TVs, while subwoofer has an Auto EQ feature that when run tunes the bass performance for your room.

Samsung’s Q-Symphony tech is only possible with a compatible Samsung TV, but it works well, synchronising the speakers of the soundbar with the TV to deliver the kind of experience you get from a cinema as dialogue and effects are accurately placed on and to the side of the screen. You can currently get it for well under £1000, which makes this soundbar something of a steal.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full review: Samsung HW-Q900A

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

A powerful update that brings modern movie sounds to the smaller soundbar
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Pros

  • Clean and balanced sound
  • Upgradeable
  • Excellent size
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support

Cons

  • HDMI eARC input only
  • No DTS support (coming soon)

Designed for smaller TVs and rooms, the Gen 2 Beam carries on where the original model left off, bringing Dolby Atmos along as part of its feature set. It delivers clear and defined audio that outperforms a TV, and though it’s not as accomplished in delivering an expansive Atmos presentation like that of its Arc big brother, it can wrap sound around you and features a surprising amount of bass for a bar of its size.

It features all of Sonos’ multi-room prowess which is especially useful if you have any Sonos products in your home. This is a soundbar that can deliver a great music experience, fitting in with your existing system, not replacing it.

Trueplay enables the bar to produce its best sound regardless of where you place it in a room, while set-up is super-fast and easy with the soundbar ready to go within a few minutes of installing it. Some will find the single eARC input restricting and though Sonos did bring a DTS update to its products in 2021, it doesn’t support all the DTS formats.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent and clever compact Atmos soundbar and will make plenty of space for those who want cinematic sound without having to pay through the nose for it.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Sonos Beam Gen 2

Samsung HW-S61A

Samsung’s second attempt at dethroning the Sonos Beam
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Pros

  • Wide, expansive sound
  • Great with music
  • Tweaked design over older model
  • AirPlay 2 support

Cons

  • Sonos Beam still offers more choice and value
  • Bass limited

The Korean brand’s first attempt at a compact lifestyle soundbar was a success though there were areas that could have been improved. The tweaks Samsung has made to the HW-S60A/S61A successor have ensured that it is a better all-round soundbar and lives up to more of its potential.

The new centre channel helps with preserving the quality of dialogue in soundtracks, while the soundbar is more able to handle the type of complex soundtracks that Hollywood action firms are best known for, handling them more clarity, with more intensity, presence, and weight.

A few changes have been made to its design with the placement of the top button and LED indicator brought forward to make them easier to see from a sitting position. The addition of AirPlay 2 brings compatibility with iOS devices, while integration with Deezer, Spotify and TuneIn turn the HW-S60A into a music system and Alexa integration provides the smarts.

As a whole, the HW-S60A is a much more confident performer than its predecessor. It’s crisp and precise tone works across a range of sources, the Adaptive Sound tech that optimises audio from any source produces less noise, and the soundstage is convincingly tall and wide for a soundbar of its size. Its music performance is very credible too, ensuring that whether you want to watch films or listen to music, the S60A can play them with aplomb. An impressive compact soundbar that’s a good, if non-Atmos alternative, to the Sonos Beam.

Philips Fidelio B97

If movie sound is your priority, the Fidelio B97 gets an awful lot right
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Pros

  • Expansive, immersive and convincing movie sound
  • Clever modular design and impressive finish
  • Generally decent music reproduction

Cons

  • Height effect not as pronounced as you might expect
  • Full operation requires multiple apps
  • Quite big – or, rather, long

Philips’ Fidelio B97 has surround speakers that are detachable from the main unit, offering a choice between either have a wide front heavy presentation or creating the effect of a more surround sound set-up. In terms of convenience, there’s no other soundbar on this list that’s as happy to cater to your room.

Plugged into the speaker are numerous drivers, including a couple that fire upwards to reflect off the ceiling to deliver a 7.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos surround-sound experience. The height channels aren’t as prominently displayed as you may expect – this is more of a subtle nuanced performer than a brash and overt one. Nevertheless, its sound is broad and wide with the wireless subwoofer digging deep into the low frequencies and hitting hard but never overstating its presence.

Add plenty of connectivity options – HDMI eARC, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 – and you have many ways of sending audio to the speaker. IMAX Enhanced certification ensures that any compatible content the is ready to be played at IMAX’s exacting standards, while DTS Play Fi throws in support for high resolution audio playback and multi-room.

With a sonic signature that’s as impressive with music as it is with movies, the B97 might justifiably be described as an ‘all-in-one’ just as readily as a ‘soundbar’.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full review: Philips Fidelio B97

DALI Katch One

A gorgeous-looking soundbar
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Pros

  • Wide, detailed and articulate sound from any source
  • Good looks, relatively speaking

Cons

  • Can be bettered for bass
  • Some may hanker after greater audio attack

The Katch One is DALI’s first dedicated soundbar (the Kubik One was an all-in-one system), and continues the Danish brand’s knack for stylish aesthetics and good audio.

It’s another one-box system that saves on space and produces a good hi-fi performance. We like its well-judged tone to produced during testing, giving the whole frequency range full expression with plenty of precision, detail and insight. The lack of a subwoofer means it’s short of power and punch when it comes to more bass-heavy soundtracks.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full review: DALI Katch One

Roku Streambar

A soundbar and video streamer in one box
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Pros

  • Good vocal clarity
  • Space-saving size
  • Good streaming performance
  • Great value Slick voice search

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision or HDR10+
  • Audio more suited to TV and apps
  • Remote only works with Streambar

For any TV that suffers from a lack of smarts and flat audio, the Roku Streambar aims to swoop in and save the day.

The Streambar is both a soundbar and video streamer rolled into one. And to our surprise, we found during testing it produced a sound bigger and louder than you’d expect. If you have no interest in more advanced audio formats such as Atmos or DTS:X, the Streambar is more suited to you.

There was an issue with HLG HDR for streaming on iPlayer that’s still unresolved, but in general we found picture quality to be satisfactory with colourful images and consistent levels of clarity and detail with 4K content. It’s a smart (in more ways than one) and convenient soundbar/streamer.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Roku Streambar

Denon DHT-S516H

Smarts and multi-room skills
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Pros

  • Expansive and detailed sound
  • Easy to set up HEOS multi-room
  • Good smart features

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No remote control
  • Limited to lossy audio

The DHT-S516H has no aspirations for immersive sound, focusing instead on a 2.1 audio. With HEOS included there’s support for Google Assistant and Alexa. AirPlay 2 brings in the iOS platform (plus Siri), and there is HEOS’ integration of several music streaming services that emphasises this soundbar’s musical traits.

Which is useful as the DHT-S516H has been designed with music in mind, putting in a detailed performance with warm vocals. We found during testing films benefit from its accuracy and clarity, and though it can’t quite deal with the complexity of some movie soundtracks, bass is an improvement on anything your TV can muster.

Reviewer: Steve Withers
Full reviews: Denon DHT-S516H

Canton Smart Soundbar 9

A crisp performer
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Pros

  • Great looks
  • Big, revealing and informative sound
  • Dynamically assured
  • 3 x HDMI inputs

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited bass
  • Not that smart

The Smart Soundbar 9 is another winning soundbar from German brand Canton. Impressively built, good-looking and featuring three HDMI inputs (which is a lot for a soundbar these days); with the wide range of content we tested on it, it produced a crisp, detailed and nuanced performance. A subwoofer is optional but the bass output is decent enough without one.

We feel it is expensive for what it does, and despite its name it actually lacks built-in smart abilities that other options on this list have.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Canton Smart Soundbar 9

Yamaha SR-B20A

Yamaha’s compact bar for small spaces
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Pros

  • Neat and tidy
  • Enveloping ‘3D’ sound
  • Shelf- or wall-mountable

Cons

  • Short of bass variation

There’s been a move towards compact soundbars that can produce an expansive performance in space-saving form. The SR-B20A is Yamaha’s affordable unit in that part of the market.

At 53 x 910 x 131mm (HWD) it’s manageable in terms of its size. You can wall-mount if that’s of interest and it’s discrete in terms of look, its smoothly applied acoustic cloth adding a touch of class.

In terms of sound the Yamaha is a clear boost over a TV with its expansive, hefty and assertive performance. It doesn’t do Atmos/DTS:X, creating its 3D sound through audio processing. It’s expansively wide and decently tall in this respect, adding a sense of space and immersion beyond a standard TV. Bass is an issue; its lack of variation and expression makes bass-heavy tracks sound one-note. If you can deal with that, this is a pretty satisfying soundbar for the asking price.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full review: Yamaha SR-B20A

FAQs

What’s best soundbar for a Samsung TV?

If you’re after a soundbar (not a wireless surround system), then the Samsung HW-Q900A would be our recommendation. It’s designed to work in-sync with certain Samsung QLED to produce a bigger, wider sound.

What’s the best soundbar without a subwoofer?

If you’re short on space or prefer not to have a subwoofer as part of the package, then the Sonos Beam is an excellent choice with its wide soundstage and detailed performance with voices.

What’s the best soundbar under £200?

Our recommendation would be the Wharfedale Vista 200S. It can be found for a few pounds under £200 and is great with both movies and music. We found it to be superb value.

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Specs compared

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