Have you just bought an expensive, new 4K TV because of how good the picture looks on it? Yet there was a lousy sound on it! From watching this TV you would expect clear, bright and detailed sounds, just like the images it makes.
Luckily, it’s possible for you to fix your TV’s sound quality with a soundbar. How can I help you find your perfect electronic pet? Pop some corn, kick up your feet and let our team help you find the best soundbar for your needs. Here are some of the best soundbars for a great home theater experience.
- Best Soundbars for Awesome Home-Cinema Audio on Dolby Atmos and HDMI Arc Support
- 1. The Elevate Soundbar
- 2. M-Series Soundbars
- 3. V-Series Soundbars
- 4. Creative Stage
- 5. Vizio V21
- 6. JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass
- 7. Yamaha YAS-209
- 8. Vizio SB36512-F6
- 9. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
- 10. Polk Signa S3
- 11. Sonos Arc
- 12. Roku Streambar
- FAQ for Best Soundbars of 2022
- What is soundbars?
- How do soundbars work?
- What are the leading soundbars in the market of 2022?
- What should I consider before buying a soundbar?
- What are features of a soundbar?
- What are benefits of owning a soundbar?
- How is a soundbar beneficial for movie and TV lovers?
- What is the difference between an A/V receiver and a soundbar?
- Are soundbars compatible with all TVs?
Best Soundbars for Awesome Home-Cinema Audio on Dolby Atmos and HDMI Arc Support
We were impressed last year by Vizio’s Elevate, Atmos enabled soundbar. So when Vizio announced its 2022 lineup, it was exciting to see what they had in store. Although Vizio may be associated with affordable TVs, it has strong roots in the audio market and has had great success with soundbars.
How will Vizio continue to build on its innovative Elevate soundbar, which scored a 9/10 in our review? This challengers the Sonos Arc for best soundbar. Let’s take a look at all of the 2022 models so that you can decide if they deserve a place under your TV.
1. The Elevate Soundbar
Although the Elevate soundbar, 48 inches in size, cost $1,000, it was introduced in 2020. It is still the mainstay of the 2022 line-up. This innovative design features mobile speaker pods, which rotate in real-time and whose direction they fire is determined entirely by the audio source. This soundbar is designed to fully exploit object-based surround sound technologies such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.
Although the wireless subwoofer itself is quite large, it houses an 8-inch driver. It can handle frequencies as low at 30hz, and is louder than the rest of Vizio’s 2022 lineup. The Elevate system includes four speakers (bar, surround speakers, and wireless subwoofer), as well as 18 drivers in a 5.1.4 configuration. It can also crank up the volume to 107 dB.
Fourteen of the 18 drivers are dedicated up-firing speakers that create a truly immersive soundscape. HDMI 2.1. Enhanced Audio Return Channel, (eARC), connectivity aids in this department too. It shutstling lossless audio back-and-forth between TV and soundbar (more later). The bar also has two separate HDMI 2.1 inputs.
Another great perk is that Elevate, unlike the rest of Vizio’s soundbar range, is Wi-Fi enabled with support for Chromecast Audio.
All soundbars made by Vizio are “Voice Assistant ready” for 2022. None of these models can be used as smart speakers. You can also control them using smart assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Siri. If you have a smart speaker such as a Nest mini, Amazon Echo, or a Vizio soundbar, you can connect it via Bluetooth or the Aux jack. The soundbars will detect when assistants are active and adjust the soundbar audio to allow you to interact with them.
We were again impressed with Elevate during our test run. It is worth a second look if you have the budget.
- 5.1.4-channel Elevate: $1,000, available now
- Wide, focused soundstage.
- Dialogue enhancement feature.
- Four EQ presets.
- A bit of distortion at max volume.
- No graphic EQ.
2. M-Series Soundbars
The Elevate’s $1,000 price tag may seem a little steep, but if you are looking for more performance than what you will find in Vizio’s V-Series offerings, then this is the place to go. The M512ax/J6 ($330) and M512ax/H6 ($450) are the top-of-the-line models of the M-series, respectively in terms of performance and price.
The systems have four speakers, including a bar, wireless subwoofer and two satellite speakers. They are also, like all models in this series, Dolby Atmos/DTS:X compatible. However, the M512a-H6 is the only model that has dedicated, up-firing speakers. These drivers provide additional sound information to maximize object-based audio.
The M215aJ6 at $300 is a notable option for experiencing virtual Dolby Atmos through a 2.1 channel configuration.
All models are Bluetooth-enabled, with the exception of one model that has an HDMI 2.1 input and one HDMI out connection with HDMI EARC. The $150 m21dH8 is the odd one out. This is an “all in one” system that does not require surround speakers or subwoofers.
eARC is a key feature that differentiates the Elevate from the M-series and the Elevate from the V-series, which are only ARC-enabled but do not have any HDMI inputs. ARC uses HDMI 2.0 and 1.4 to transmit audio information back and forth between your TV, soundbar, and soundbar. However, it uses lossy compression which uses less bandwidth than eARC.
The LCD-backlit remote is another distinguishing feature. It is included with all Elevate models and all M-series models. However, it is only available for one V-Series model (V51x–J6).
- 5.1.2-channel M512a-H6: $450, available July 2021
- 5.1-channel M51ax-J6: $330, available now
- 5.1-channel M51a-H6: $350, available now
- 2.1-channel M215a-J6: $300, availability TBD
- 2.1-channel M21d-H8: $150, available now
3. V-Series Soundbars
The V-Series, as we said earlier, is the budget-friendly choice. Audio doesn’t have to cost a lot. Although none of the models are equipped with Dolby Atmos, and no dedicated up-firing drivers, they are all compatible with DTS Virtual:X. This digital signal processing (DSP), allows for immersive audio to be provided using only two speakers.
Vizio claims that its subwoofers have been redesigned for a “tighter and more impactful sound” at the low end. Given the limited low-end range in the V-series offerings (V21dJ8, V20J8), it will be interesting to see how that pays off.
The V51x-J6 and V51-H6 5.1 models are the best. They include low-profile surround speakers as well as 4.5-inch wireless Subs. The V20-J8 is the more affordable option. The V20-J8 is a stand-alone unit that runs at 70 Hz. It won’t produce the low-end rumble many home theater fans desire, but it can still be a significant (and affordable!) upgrade to your TV sound.
All V-series bars have optical, USB and 3.5mm Aux inputs. There is also an ARC-enabled HDMI output connection. However, none of these bars have an HDMI input.
- 5.1.-channel V51x-J6: $200, available now
- 5.1.-channel V51-H6: $250, available now
- 2.1.-channel V21x-J8: $150, available now
- 5.1.-channel V21-H8: $180, available now
- 2.0-channel V21d-J8: $100, available now
- 2.1.-channel V21t-J8: $150, available August 2021
- 2.0-channel V20-J8: $100, available August 2021
Sounds good. We’ll keep you updated with news and reviews on new products in the future, so be sure to check out our 2021 Best Soundbars guide if you need to buy a soundbar soon.
4. Creative Stage
Best Soundbar Under $100
A soundbar can cost a lot of money, but there are ways to save. You might not think the Creative Stage soundbar can be any good, but it’s worth giving it a try. Creative has finally made the move from PCs into our living room, making their 2.1 sound system a great addition to your house.
This affordable soundbar comes with all the bells & whistles of any high-end device, and it’s super compact too. It has great sound quality, and I like how the speaker is separate from the subwoofer. You can bet your audio output device that this TV is going to rock it!
The Creative Stage won’t knock your socks off. But it’s still a decent option if you want to save money. The sound quality is spot on and will keep you from bleeding in the ears while listening. Sweet!
- Room-filling bass
- Decent volume
- Lots of inputs
- Not great at being quiet
- Flimsy remote
5. Vizio V21
If you’ve been planning to add speaker system, then the Polk Audio isn’t going to disappoint. It’s got a pretty solid reputation for being one of the best options at this price. The Vizio V21 is the one after its predecessor seeing as it also has a ridiculously long name. Meaningful updates were made to the V21 that make it a behemoth in its own right. Vizio really outdid themselves this time.
This soundbar is new and has HDMI, a subtle new design, and a connection with smart speakers. The soundbar can provide a natural and unhurried level of sound and provides an excellent playback experience.
The bass from the 8-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer is rich and punchy. One of Vizio’s best features is their Virtual:X compatibility, which basically lets your TV act as a home theater system. It’s particularly cool since it performs as well as some of the pricier ones on the market.
For just $180, you can buy a Vizio V21 which isn’t expensive and still provides an excellent sound.
- Excellent value
- Great sound
- DTS Virtual:X improves immersion
- The subwoofer is not very articulate
- Not forward compatible
6. JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass
Best Soundbar Under $300
The bass on the JBL Bar 2.1 is awesome – it will blow your mind!” This bar has a great sound quality and doesn’t have many features to distract from it.
The JBL Bar 2.1 is a deep sounding package that comes with a large wireless sub. You’ll really feel the low end! Honestly, this speaker sounds great. Highs are clear and the bass is punchy. You can tailor it to your liking very easily too.
If you are a bass lover, JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass wireless sound bar is perfect for you. Featuring Dual Passive Radiators and dual drivers for deep, resonant bass and crystal-clear vocals for a full HD theater experience in any room. It’s loud and clear, but makes (surprisingly) delicate sounds. I’ll look forward to movie nights at home.
- Subwoofer goes deep
- Two HDMI ports
- Detailed and dynamic sound for movies
- Light on features
- Optical cable doesn’t stay in place
7. Yamaha YAS-209
Best Soundbar Under $400
The Yamaha’s YAS-209 is made for the sound quality snobs out there who don’t have much space. With Amazon Alexa, you can control it with your voice and music streaming is seamless. Just like the Vizio V21, the new YAS-209 creates a rich surround effect with the help of DTS Virtual:X.
The bass is articulate and powerful, and the soundbar gives a full frequency response. For most people, the Yamaha YAS-209 will deliver a well-balanced audio profile and sleek design that will fit right in with your living room aesthetic.
- Great sound profile
- Excellent build quality
- Good stereo performance
- Amazon Alexa
- The surround performance is not very good
8. Vizio SB36512-F6
Best Soundbar Under $500
Yep, Vizio again! The company must be making great soundbars. The Vizio SB36512-F6 is one of the best cheap ways to bring Dolby Atmos to your living room. It’s a very versatile bar and has plenty of inputs. Namely, an HDMI, Chromecast and Wi-Fi music. The Bluetooth is also great!
The SB36512-F6 works with any type of content and is perfect for most situations. This microphone has a sound profile that works for both voice content and music. With 2 dedicated surround speakers, the listening experience is one of the best.
- Excellent stereo performance
- Great soundstage
- Many connectivity options
- Dolby Atmos support
- Wired surround speakers must be wired to the wireless sub
- Buggy app
9. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
Best Soundbar Over $1000
Sennheiser AMBEO is a 5.1.4 soundbar with thirteen speakers that delivers immersive audio and bass without any wires or a speaker connect box. If you’re looking for a soundbar, this one is worth considering. It’s made to work on its own and can deliver an immersive sound that’ll make your TV viewing experience more enjoyable. The 3D mode in the bar helps make it sound almost like you’re right at whatever concert you want to watch.
Sennheiser has created several different models of microphones that come with various input options and audio outputs. The sound profile is pretty accurate but it lacks in the deep bass range. Even then, mid-range performance is really excelllent and you’ll get an accurate reproduction of voices when watching movies.
The AMBEO isn’t the cheapest speaker system I’ve seen, but it does provide a great experience. You get the full surround sound without having to put all the speakers where they need to go.
- Impressive sound for a stand-alone soundbar
- Great surround
- Supports multiple audio formats
- Great build quality
- Poor bass performance
10. Polk Signa S3
Best Soundbar For Music Listening
There are a lot of soundbars that also work for music. If you want one for movies too, then check out our recommendations. Want a great soundbar with really good bass? Check out Polk Audio’s Sigma S3 Soundbar and subwoofer. It delivers at a high-end level without you having to spend too much money.
It’s important to keep in mind that the features are pretty limited, but the Chromecast and Assistant integration are fully there. The Polk Signa S3 is fantastic. It’s punchy and musical without eating up your budget. Out take? The S3 is a really nice TV and works great for larger TVs, the soundstage is impressive.
- Great presence
- Well-integrated subwoofer
- Sound good with movies and music
- Limited connections
11. Sonos Arc
Best All-In-One Soundbar Under $1,000
Here’s one thing you can’t argue with – Sono speakers are well made and sound great. The Arc takes things a step higher with multi room sound. It’s an excellent foundation for a house-wide system given its versatility, powerful features and sleek design.
The Arc is one of the best standalone soundbars we’ve ever reviewed and the best part is that you can upgrade it later with a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers for an even better audio experience. You’ll be able to use Airplay, Alexa, and Google Assistant with your system. You’ll also have room correction software built-in.
Sonos Arc is very straightforward and does everything well, it’s a soundbar that won’t let you down. It’s not the best speaker for playing all types of music though. To compensate, the dedicated center channel delivers accurate reproducing of voices from your favorite movie dialogue.
- Excellent build quality
- Room correction
12. Roku Streambar
Best Soundbar for Streaming Video
The Roku Streambar has a lot of power for its small size. This budget 2.0 bar is impressively tiny and allows you to access streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix via Roku’s media streamer.
You can also add extra speakers to your sound system. For example, the Sonos Arc can be upgraded with separate satellites and a subwoofer to improve the sound stage. This is great news for those who need a lot of bass. The front speaker reproduces clear dialogue, so it’s perfect for shows with a lot of dialogue.
If you’re someone that loves Hulu and Netflix and don’t need a soundbar that’s too big, you should go for the Streambar. It’s not the most expensive TV soundbar on the market and it’ll fit in your small apartment.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility
- 4 EQ presets
- Dialogue enhancement
- Lacks low bass
- No room correction
- Not suitable for a large room
You’ll never have to worry about poor TV sound again with a soundbar. You can watch movies anywhere in the home now and max out the experience.
FAQ for Best Soundbars of 2022
What is soundbars?
The soundbar is a device that provides sound to an individual or group. Its primary function is to amplify the audio coming from a television, computer, or mobile device.
Soundbars are also known as surround sound systems. They have the ability to deliver sounds in all directions and focus on one particular speaker at a time for more clarity and precision.
How do soundbars work?
A soundbar is a type of audio device that can be placed on a TV. The bars are usually connected to the TV through an HDMI cable. They enhance the quality of sound, and are often used to improve the overall experience of watching TV in a home theater setup.
Soundbars use a wireless connection to send sound to the speakers in your room. The soundbar will then send the signal to the connected speakers in your room. Some systems use a wired connection, but most of them use wireless connections for easy installation and mobility.
What are the leading soundbars in the market of 2022?
The soundbar market is to grow of the increase in demand for home theater systems. These soundbar are used as a source of entertainment and can be connected to your TV or other devices.
The leading soundbars in the market of 2022 are expected to be Dolby Atmos, SONOS, and Bose SoundTouch.
What should I consider before buying a soundbar?
It is important to consider the price of soundbars when you are looking for one. While there are many different models, each with different features and prices, it is important to consider the quality of sound that you are getting for your money.
When it comes to soundbars, cost does not always equate to quality. It is important to look at the features and reviews of a given product before buying.
A good example of a soundbar that costs less than $200 is the Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch Sound Bar System. This compact device has a slim profile that makes it easy to fit into any home theater setup. It also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet without having to use wires or an external speaker system.
What are features of a soundbar?
The features that come with soundbars include wireless connectivity, Bluetooth compatibility, voice assistant compatibility, and more.
What are benefits of owning a soundbar?
Soundbars are another way of improving home theater experience without investing in expensive home theater equipment like speakers, sub-woofers, and amplifiers.
How is a soundbar beneficial for movie and TV lovers?
Soundbars are beneficial for movie and TV lovers because they allow users to customize their listening experience. They can also adjust the soundbar to fit the room size, which is helpful for people who have different sized rooms or just want to enjoy a more personalized listening experience.
Soundbars are also beneficial because they provide a more immersive experience than traditional speakers. They create sound waves that are reflected off of walls, ceilings and floors, which creates an even louder sound than what’s coming from your TV or movie screen.
What is the difference between an A/V receiver and a soundbar?
An A/V receiver is a device that has inputs for audio and video. It can be used to play movies, TV shows, games, etc. A soundbar is just a bar that has speakers on it. It’s typically placed on top of a TV or in front of the TV.
Are soundbars compatible with all TVs?
Soundbars are a type of speaker that you can often find in a TV stand. They are designed to provide better sound quality than the speakers built into the TV.
Soundbars can be compatible with all TVs, but it is important to check if your TV has enough ports for the soundbar. If it doesn’t, then you will have to buy an HDMI switch so that you can connect your soundbar and your TV at the same time.