- The Sonos Arc is capable of delivering crisp, immersive sound.
- It is worth considering soundbars which come with additional features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, number of HDMI ports, and optical support.
- You should ensure your TV has the following inputs: HDMI, ARC, or optical inputs.
For years, television speakers have been considered good enough by many. But, for anyone looking for a better sound experience, soundbars have grown massively in popularity. The advent of Dolby Atmos has raised expectations even higher for what a soundbar can do, and for good reason.
Any soundbar with Dolby Atmos will add a rich audio experience without requiring four or five extra pieces of stereo equipment scattered around a room. This is one of the major reasons streaming services call out Dolby Atmos as part of their content selection.
So, if you want to know which Dolby Atmos soundbars will give your TV the best audio makeover, we’ve tested dozens of options over the past few weeks and narrowed them down to our favorites:
- Best Overall: Sonos Arc
- Best Gaming: Sony HT-A5000
- Best for Smaller TVs: Sonos Beam
- Best Premium: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
- Best Value: Vizio M-Series M512a-H6
- Best Surround Sound: Sony HT-A7000
- Best System: JBL Bar 9.1
- Best Tech: Vizio Elevate
Best Overall: Sonos Arc
- Features Dolby Atmos
- Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology
- Support for AirPlay 2 as well as many favorite music streaming services
- Blends in beautiful underneath a TV
Determining the best overall Dolby Atmos soundbar today is no easy task since competition is tough, but the Sonos Arc manages to distinguish itself as the perfect combination of excellent sound and price.
Sonos considers the Arc its “most immersive home theater experience,” and that’s very true. Regardless of your room size, the Sonos Arc will fill it with plenty of sharp highs, detailed mids, and strong lows with music. It’s just as good for movies and TV shows with crisp and clear dialogue.
The one catch is that you need a newer TV from 2019 or later to really enjoy the best of what the Sonos Arc has to offer. That includes Apple AirPlay 2 and controlling all of the soundbar’s functions directly from the Sonos app on iOS and Android.
At 45” long, the Sonos is small enough to fit under TVs 50” and above. Setting the Sonos Arc up, regardless of your TV size, is super easy. Plug two cables into the soundbar and TV and you’re done!
Check out the Sonos Arc on Amazon.
Best Gaming: Sony HT-A5000
- Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- 360 Spatial Sound adapts to your environment
- 8K and 4K/120 passthrough to enhance your gaming experiences
- Use Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to integrate with other connected devices
Video games all but require room-filling sound, and that’s exactly why you should look hard at the Sony HT-A5000.
No question that this Dolby Atmos-ready soundbar is an investment as it’s pricier than most consoles, but it’s going to live in your gaming room for years, thanks to 8K compatibility. Add that to 4K/120Hz passthrough and games will sound as good if not better than they play (hint: PlayStation 5 owners).
Part of the big gaming benefit is 360 degrees of spatial sound that makes it sound like you’re actually in the game. High-resolution audio and Sound Field Optimization only heighten that feeling, and that’s before you even consider adding two additional subwoofer devices supported by Sony.
Voice assistant compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant plus built-in support for Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth round out the excellent feature set.
Check out the Sony HT-A5000 on Amazon.
Best for Smaller TVs: Sonos Beam
- 3D surround sound with Dolby Atmos
- Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant
- Smart Trueplay tuning
- Easily expandable system
When a compact soundbar is called for, the Sonos Beam (second generation) is ready to answer the call. At only 25 inches in length, the Sonos is more compact, but you can still expect a room-filling Dolby Atmos sound
This second-generation Beam model takes everything that made the first Sonos Beam great and improves on it, like support for more audio formats, an HDMI ARC port, and 3D surround sound. All of these improvements come together for outstanding dialogue support and balanced mids.
Among the five front-facing speaker arrays hidden within the Sonos Beam, two are dedicated solely to overhead and surround sounds. It’s a virtual delivery of surround sound to be certain, but you will hardly be the wiser.
The size of the Sonos Beam also hides its excellent Wi-Fi connectivity for connecting to the likes of Spotify, AirPlay 2, and Sonos Radio.
Check out the Sonos Beam on Amazon.
Best Premium: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
- Deep 30Hz bass
- Delivers 3D surround sound via advanced room calibration
- Built-in equalizer and 3 bespoke AMBEO 3D technology modes
- Fully compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H
- Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect
When money is no object, the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is absolutely the way to go. Whether it’s for music or movies, the Sennheiser is one of the best Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars on the market today.
For the price, you expect it will live up to its claim of a truly immersive audio experience, and it does. For a soundbar that doesn’t come with a subwoofer, 30Hz of strong bass will have you feeling every bump of the woofer.
Virtualizing technology adds some of the best 3D surround sound around and can easily fill even the largest living room. The virtual 5.1.4 system adds two left channels, two right channels, one center channel, four additional channels behind the viewer, and one subwoofer. That’s 13 high-end drivers in total!
Connecting to a television is super simple thanks to three HDMI ports, optical and RCA ports, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Check out the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar on Amazon.
Best Value: Vizio M-Series M512a-H6
For the absolute best value in the Dolby Atmos soundbar space, the Vizio M-Series M512a-H6 awaits. What you lose by not being able to stream over Wi-Fi is gained by the inclusion of Dolby Atmos.
Not only do you get the soundbar itself, but you’re also getting additional value from the wired satellite speakers and a standalone subwoofer. The whole system takes only a few minutes to set up but you can quickly hear the presence of Dolby Atmos.
The sound is immersive and ideally balanced right out of the box. That’s good news for mids and dialogue for music, movies, and TV shows.
What it lacks with Wi-Fi and voice assistance, the Vizio makes up with HDMI eArc and DTS:X features that help future-proof the M-Series for well into the future.
Bluetooth is included so you still have the ability to stream directly from a mobile device, all while playing close to half of what more premium Dolby Atmos soundbars cost.
Check out the Vizio M-Series M512a-H6 on Amazon.
Best Surround Sound: Sony HT-A7000
- DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Vertical Surround Sound Engine
- 360-degree sound mapping
- Converts audio to 7.1.2 Ch automatically
- 4K/120 and 8K passthrough for the best visuals and gameplay
Less expensive than the Sennheiser Ambeo but still premium in its own right, you can’t go wrong with the Sony HT-A7000.
Complete with a 7.1.2 setup, there is an impressive array of speakers integrated into the hardware. Spatial audio is the name of Sony’s game and that means drivers that fire upward, against the wall, and a built-in subwoofer for room-filling sound.
Sony’s Sound Field Optimization supports any size room for a personalized sound which means no more concerns over who has the “best seat in the house.” That you can add on an additional subwoofer and set of rear speakers only heightens the idea that Sony has made the best surround sound soundbar with Dolby Atmos support.
With 8K and 4K/120Hz features plus Dolby Vision included as well, gaming, in particular, will sound incredible. That it also comes with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2 is just icing on the cake.
Check out the Sony HT-A7000 on Amazon.
Best System: JBL Bar 9.1
- Power output: 820W
- DTS and Dolby Atmos (with X decoding) built-in
- Surround speakers (detachable and battery-powered) included
- A 300W, 10-inch powered subwoofer allows you to experience real, deep, bass
- Supports Dolby Vision with Ultra HD 4K pass-through
Between 820 watts of power and truly customizable hardware, the JBL Bar 9.1 is a fantastic system.
Right from the start, the JBL stands out from the rest of the Dolby Atmos soundbar pack with its detachable, battery-powered surround speakers. Don’t want to use surround sound speakers? Just plug them right back into the JBL Bar and just use the single unit underneath a TV.
With or without the detachable speakers, you still have a 300-watt, 10” subwoofer that provides room-filling bass. When you want to relax and turn down the bass, Chromecast and AirPlay 2 enable music streaming from any compatible smartphone or tablet.
The JBL also stands out with Ultra HD 4K with Dolby Vision which, when combined with a 4K television, makes for an immersive audio and visual experience.
At 40” long when combined with the detachable speakers, the JBL is by no means small but for its size, you get some excellent sound.
Check out the JBL Bar 9.1 on Amazon.
Best Tech: Vizio Elevate
- 18 high-performance speakers
- Adaptive Height Speakers automatically rotate to optimize your audio experience.
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- 4 upfiring speakers
One of the most innovative Dolby Atmos soundbars available today, the Vizio Elevate adds a feature no other soundbar offers as of yet.
This 5.1.4 soundbar system uses a motorized driver to switch between Dolby Atmos and ‘normal’ sound on the fly. The speaker rotates to determine which is the best sound to deliver between the forward position, which is great for music, or Dolby Atmos, which excels at cinematic sound.
Even without the cool technology gimmick, the Vizio Elevate just sounds good. There are 18 total speakers between the soundbar, dual wireless speakers, and a wireless subwoofer. When paired with Dolby Atmos content, you’ll have an audio experience that quite literally bounces off the walls.
With two HDMI inputs, HDMI eARC, and Chromecast streaming over Wi-Fi, the Vizio is also future-proof. It’s ideally paired with Vizio TVs but it works just as well with any mainstream television brand.
Check out the Vizio Elevate on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar
If you didn’t know any better, all of the Dolby Atmos ready soundbars both on this list and off all look the same. Long black speakers that mount or sit in front of a television. Because of that, there are four main considerations buyers should be aware of before making any purchase.
- Sound Quality
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Dolby Atmos soundbars are not, by any means, inexpensive, as they range from $500 to $2,000+, making them a true investment. Realistically, most buyers looking for strong value should be closer to the $800-$1,000 range even if that’s not at all considered ‘budget.’ The good news is that for the price, most of these soundbars should perform for years, so you are not replacing them frequently at all.
That said, the more you spend, the more you get in terms of cinematic sound quality. If you want a good value, the Vizio M-Series is a solid compromise between price and features. On the other hand, the Sonos Arc is twice as much but adds more features and more immersive sounds.
When you’re looking for a Dolby Atmos soundbar, it’s likely because you want room-filling sound that feels cinematic. Rest assured that every option on this list will offer at least that and more. However, there is no doubt that the sound quality will differ from product to product. The Sonos Arc is likely to be your favorite for sound as it’s the crispest of the top choices.
Sennheiser offers outstanding sound but at a premium cost which will probably make you look at the Sonos more closely. You also want to consider if you’re just buying a soundbar or getting additional speakers and a subwoofer, as is the case with the Vizio M-Series M512a-H6.
The most important feature of any Dolby Atmos soundbar is undoubtedly Dolby Atmos but, beyond that, you can consider things like Wi-Fi connectivity, how many HDMI ports it has, optical support, and more. The majority of this list offers most of those features, but if you’re looking to save a little and you don’t mind not having Wi-Fi, the Vizio M-Series M512a-H6 is a great choice and you can save a little as well.
Alternatively, with the Sony HT-A7000, you get 8K and 4K at 120Hz which makes it future-proofed, plus it is fantastic for gaming. The best path is to decide what features you cannot live without and then choose which soundbar is right for you.
Before you make any purchase for a Dolby Atmos soundbar, make sure your TV is compatible with HDMI, ARC, or optical input. Fortunately, every modern TV released in the last few years should have at least one of these options. Optical inputs are popular but, for the best sound, ARC is the best input.
Using A Dolby Atmos Soundbar: What’s It Like
We’ve been testing each of these soundbars over the last three weeks and that’s been good news for us. Everyone in the house has loved seeing these hooked up, blasting movies, and playing Xbox at sounds they are way too loud for everyday use.
With main TVs that have ARC compatibility, we’ve come away impressed across the board. The Sonos Arc was definitely our favorite combination of sound, setup, and for regular use. The Sennheiser was equally so, but it’s pricey. If you want the most premium Dolby Atmos soundbar on the market, it’s a must-have. But, if you want to spend less, the sound difference between it and the Sonos Arc will be negligible to non-audiophiles.
Our other biggest test was how well these soundbars handled Wi-Fi connectivity. How far away could we still stream music without signal degradation? Sonos and both Sony models really outperformed in this space, giving us the ability to move across our entire home without losing any sound quality.
Even with strong competition, the Sonos Arc remains the best Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy today. Its combination of price, its excellent mobile app, features, and sound all make it a must-own for both audiophiles and anyone who just wants a cinema-like experience at home.
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