What are the best TCL soundbars? TCL has made a name by providing affordable and fully featured TVs. That said, its selection of soundbars is also great for any user, coming with a wide range of features and fitting various use cases.
Shopping around for soundbars is always a difficult task. You’ll have to balance your needs with your budget and shop accordingly. This guide will cover some of the best soundbars TCL has to offer, as well as the particular strengths of each. Here are five of the best TCL soundbars we’ve found:
- Best Overall: TCL Alto 8+ 2.1.2
- Best for DTS Virtual:X: TCL Q Class 3.1
- Best for Surround Sound: TCL Q Class 5.1
- Best for Budget Power: TCL S Class 3.1
- Best for Budget Surround Sound: TCL S Class 5.1
#1 Best Overall: TCL Alto 8+ 2.1.2
There is plenty to love about the Alto 8+, which is why it’s our #1 best overall pick. You’ve got a fully wireless soundbar and a wireless subwoofer. The bass response of the unit itself produces plenty of rumbles, and you’ll be feeling some deep lows with said subwoofer.
Dialogue and music also shine on the Alto 8+, making it one of the best TCL soundbars on the market currently. It also comes with support for Dolby Atmos right out of the box, meaning you can enjoy spatial audio on supported media.
|The Alto 8+ has a great frequency response.||The Alto 8+ is quite large, and likely won’t fit directly under your TV.|
|It comes with Dolby Atmos support for any supported media.||Bluetooth connectivity can be spotty at times.|
Check out the TCL Alto 8+ 2.1.2 on Amazon.
Best for DTS Virtual X: TCL Q Class Premium 3.1
- 350W total audio power
- Auto Room Calibration powered by AI Sonic
- Dolby Audio combined with the immersive 3D sound of DTS Virtual:X
The TCL Q Class 3.1 packs some serious punch. You’ve got 350 watts of power distributed through the soundbar and included subwoofer. Calibration time is out the window, as well, since the Q Class uses built-in AI for optimizing output to your room.
This is an overall smaller soundbar, especially compared to the Alto 8+. TCL has also packaged a dedicated central speaker for handling dialogue, a must when you’re deep in an action film replete with explosions and other foley.
|AI Sonic room calibration automatically adjusts settings to fit your room.||It doesn’t have Dolby Atmos support, using the older Virtual X codec.|
|The Q Class 3.1 comes with a dedicated central speaker for dialogue.||The included speakers don’t have the best clarity overall when compared to the Alto line.|
Check out the TCL Q Class 3.1 on Amazon.
Best for Surround Sound: TCL Q Class Premium 5.1
Now, the TCL Q Class 5.1 isn’t a true surround sound setup. Despite having directional speakers, a subwoofer, and a dedicated soundbar, it doesn’t come with native support for Dolby Surround. However, it uses Dolby Virtual:X, which does an admirable job.
The Q Class is a great stopgap over your built-in TV speakers. That said, it doesn’t have sound quality on par with the Alto series of soundbars. If you’re looking for surround sound without breaking the bank, the Q Class 5.1 is a fantastic choice.
|It uses the same AI Sonic seen in the 3.1 Q Class to calibrate the audio automatically.||The audio quality of the Q class isn’t on par with the Alto series.|
|450 watts of audio means you’ve got powerful output in any room.||Dolby Virtual:X isn’t true surround sound or lossless, meaning artifacts and compression will be obvious with louder audio.|
Check out the TCL Q Class 5.1 on Amazon.
Best for Budget Power: TCL S Class 3.1
The S class of soundbars is a rung below the Q series in terms of overall quality. However, you’ll find the TCL S Class 3.1 channel for a little less than the Q series. You’ve got access to DTS Virtual:X, which will be a recurring theme with most of these soundbars.
The S Class 3.1 is a wired design and utilizes HDMI pass-through for its connectivity. You’ve got 240 watts of output between the soundbar and the included wireless subwoofer. If you’re short on cash and need a solid soundbar, the S Class 3.1 is a great choice.
|A budget-friendly way of getting spatial audio for your home viewing.||It has no support for Dolby Atmos or more modern spatial audio codecs.|
|The S Class comes with a dedicated center speaker for dialogue.||The wall mount is weak and prone to breaking.|
Check out the TCL S Class 3.1 on Amazon.
Best for Budget Surround Sound: TCL S Class 5.1
The S Class 5.1 is functionally identical to the 3.1 but brings an additional two channels of audio for simulated surround sound. The same DTS Virtual:X is in use, which isn’t an ideal solution. However, when looking at the overall cost of the unit, you’re getting quite a bit for the money.
The overall sound quality of the S class does leave something to be desired. However, it’s a notable upgrade from built-in TV speakers. You’ll get far better frequency response out of TV’s audio with this soundbar. Dialogue clarity is great, as well, thanks to the center speaker.
|Five channels of simulated virtual surround are great for immersion while watching or gaming.||It isn’t a true lossless surround sound experience.|
|The included subwoofer has plenty of power.||Five channels of simulated virtual surround are great for immersion while watching or gaming.|
Check out the TCL S Class 5.1 on Amazon.
Picking the Best TCL Soundbar: What to Know
Picking a soundbar really comes down to a few deciding factors. You’ll likely be picking one to get past the mediocre speakers that seem to be built into every modern TV. Thankfully, soundbar shopping doesn’t have to be a drag.
There are numerous audio codecs on the market, each with its own specified purpose. If you’re after spatial audio, then the likes of Dolby Atmos or 5.1 channel lossless surround is the best option.
Dolby Virtual:X will sound better than just plain stereo audio. However, it isn’t true surround sound nor is it lossless. Better audio codecs usually mean you’re paying a bit more somewhere.
The overall size of a soundbar is a considerable deciding factor. After all, you need space to accommodate a soundbar along with your television and other entertainment devices. Larger soundbars — say, around 55 inches or so in length — can be cumbersome to put in the home.
They have more room for better-quality drivers and cones on the speakers, but you’ll likely have to wall-mount them for the best fit. Smaller soundbars will have less power dedicated to the speakers, generally speaking, and might not have the best quality cones and drivers.
The means of connectivity can also be a large deciding factor for a soundbar. Wired connections are stable and reliable, but can also lead to a snarl of cabling in your entertainment area. Wireless connections are tidier but can be prone to interruptions and signal loss.
There really isn’t an ideal choice of connectivity, especially with modern Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards. You’ll be getting lossless audio one way or another, but it depends on what inconvenience you can stomach when setting up your viewing area.
Using a TCL Soundbar: What It’s Like
When properly configured, a soundbar acts as a natural extension of your TV. You’ll get better sound or, in some cases, spatial audio. Soundbars are a great way of getting more power and extra functionality to your TV’s audio.
They also have the benefit of taking up far less room compared to a traditional surround sound or Hi-Fi setup. You’ll have great audio without having to worry about tripping over a tweeter located in the corner of the room.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©BobrinSKY/Shutterstock.com.