Have you just bought an expensive, new 4K TV because of its amazing image quality? But there was a lousy sound on it! From this TV, you would expect the sound to be bright, detailed and bold, just like the images it makes.
Luckily, it’s possible to fix your TV’s sound problem with a soundbar. Need a little help wading through all the designs, features, and control options? Grab some popcorn, sit back, and let us help you pick out the best soundbar for your needs. Here are the best soundbars for amazing home theater sound this year.
- 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
Last year, Vizio seriously impressed us with its Elevate, Atmos-enabled soundbar, so when the company announced its full 2022 lineup, we were excited to see what it had to offer. While the Vizio brand may conjure images of affordable TVs, the company has a strong foothold in the audio industry as well and has been particularly successful with soundbars.
So, how will Vizio follow up on the innovative, Elevate soundbar that scored a 9 out of 10 on our review and challenges the Sonos Arc for the title of best soundbar on the market? Let’s dig in and take a look at the entire 2022 lineup so you can determine if any of these models deserve a spot beneath your television.
1. The Elevate Soundbar
The 48-inch, $1,000 Elevate soundbar debuted in 2020, but it’s still the headliner of the 2022 lineup. The innovative design features mobile speaker pods that rotate in real time, and the direction in which they fire depends entirely on the audio source. In short, this soundbar was designed to take full advantage of object-based surround sound technologies like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
The accompanying wireless subwoofer is a bit of a behemoth, but that extra space is put to good use — housing an enormous 8-inch driver. The sub can handle frequencies as low as 30hz and outpaces the rest of Vizio’s 2022 lineup in terms of rumble. All told, the Elevate system comprises four speakers (bar, wireless subwoofer, two surround speakers), 18 drivers in a 5.1.4 configuration, and can crank up the volume to the tune of 107 dB.
Four of those 18 drivers are dedicated, up-firing speakers, which helps produce a truly immersive soundscape. HDMI 2.1. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) connectivity aids in that department as well, shuttling lossless audio back and forth between TV and soundbar (more on that later), and the bar also features two separate HDMI 2.1 inputs.
Another cool perk is that (unlike the rest of Vizio’s soundbar lineup), Elevate is Wi-Fi-enabled with support for Chromecast audio.
For 2022, all of Vizio’s soundbars are what the company calls “Voice Assistant-ready.” That’s a bit misleading. None of the models can act as smart speakers, nor can you control them via smart assistants like Alexa, Siri, etc. However, if you own a smart speaker like a Nest mini or Amazon Echo, you can connect it to a Vizio soundbar via Bluetooth or the 3.5mm Aux jack. When you do, the soundbars will recognize when these assistants are active and lower the soundbar audio so that you can interact with them.
Again, we were seriously impressed by Elevate when we took it for a test run, so it deserves a long look if it falls within your 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
If the $1,000 price tag on the Elevate is a bit steep for you, but you want a bit more performance than you’ll find in Vizio’s budget-friendly V-Series offerings, this is where you’ll want to look. There are five M-series models in total with the ($450) M512a-H6 and M512ax-J6 ($330) at the head of the pack in terms of both price and performance.
Both systems feature four speakers (bar, wireless subwoofer, two satellite speakers) and — like all models in the series — are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X capable. The M512a-H6, however, is the only offering that features dedicated, up-firing drivers, which provide that extra layer of sound information to help you get the most out of object-based audio.
The M215a-J6, at $300 is notable for being one of the least expensive ways to experience virtual Dolby Atmos, albeit through a 2.1 channel configuration.
The entire series is Bluetooth-enabled and all models save one feature one HDMI 2.1 input, as well as one HDMI 2.1 out connection with HDMI eARC. The odd bar out is the $150 m21d-H8, which is billed as an “all-in-one” system, meaning that there are no stand-alone subwoofers or surround speakers; the bar itself does all of the heavy lifting.
eARC is a big part of what differentiates the Elevate and the M-series from the less expensive V-series offerings, which are merely ARC-enabled and do not feature any HDMI inputs. ARC uses HDMI 2.0 or 1.4 to relay audio info back and forth between your TV and soundbar but with less available bandwidth than eARC, it uses lossy compression.
Another differentiator is the LCD-backlit remote, which is included with the Elevate and all M-series models, but only 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
As we mentioned earlier, the V-Series is the more budget-friendly option here. You don’t always have to break the bank for great audio. Though none of the models in the series feature dedicated, up-firing drivers and none are Dolby Atmos-enabled, all are compatible with DTS Virtual:X, which employs digital signal processing (DSP) to provide immersive audio using a smaller number of speakers (as few as two).
Also of note is that Vizio claims to have redesigned its subwoofers for “tighter, more impactful” sound at the low end of the spectrum. It will be interesting to see if that pays dividends given the somewhat limited low-end range of the V-series offerings, two of which do not feature standalone subs (V21d-J8, V20-J8).
The 5.1 models (V51x-J6, V51-H6) are the cream of this crop here and include low-profile surround speakers in addition to 4.5-inch wireless subs. The $100 V20-J8, on the other hand, is the cost-conscious option. Bottoming out at just 70Hz, the stand-alone bar will struggle to produce the low-end rumble that many home theater enthusiasts seek, but it should still serve as a substantial (and affordable) upgrade to your TV’s sound.
V-series bars all feature optical, USB, and 3.5mm Aux inputs, along with one, ARC-enabled HDMI out connection. None of these bars, however, feature 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
Well, that’s that. We’ll keep you updated with news and reviews in the days ahead and be sure to take a look at our Best Soundbars for 2021 guide if you’re in the market.
4. Creative Stage
Best Soundbar Under $100
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way a soundbar worth $70 can be any good. Well, Creative Stage begs to differ. With this excellent 2.1 system, Creative has finally transcended the PC and made a bold entrance into your living room.
This compact soundbar comes with more features than any other budget soundbars in the market. It plays clearly, and the separate subwoofer sets it apart from all-in-one sound systems. You can bet it will absolutely melt the tiny speakers that came with your TV.
The Creative Stage won’t blow your socks off. But it does deliver on its promise – sound that won’t make your ears bleed for less than $100. Sweet!
- Room-filling bass
- Decent volume
- Lots of inputs
- Not great at being quiet
- Flimsy remote
5. Vizio V21
If you’re looking for the best soundbar for the money, it’s tough to do better than this. The Vizio V21 is the successor of the ridiculously named Vizio SB3621n-E8 soundbar released in 2017. The Vizio V21 picks up where its formidable predecessor left off with a slew of mouthwatering upgrades.
This new soundbar comes with HDMI, a sleek new look, and a smart speaker connection. Now to the meat and bones of the review. The sound is natural and unhurried, and the bar plays back music in fine fashion.
The bass from the 8-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer is rich and packs a punch. Vizio’s secret weapon is DTS Virtual:X compatibility. This nifty feature allows the V21 to emulate a surround system that performs exceptionally.
For only $180, the Vizio V21 stands on its own as a reliable speaker at excellent value.
- 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
JBL Bar 2.1 is called Deep Bass for a reason; it will rock your couch. This bar keeps things nice and simple. It doesn’t have much in the way of features and instead focuses on what matters most- the sound quality.
JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass sounds good. It comes with a large wireless subwoofer that goes just as deep as it claims. The highs are clear and crisp, and you can adjust the bass to match your taste. No arguments here, it’s the complete package.
If you’re a bass head, you’ll absolutely love the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass. It’s a beast with the lows and surprisingly graceful with the highs. Movie nights will be the next best thing to going to the cinema.
- 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 YAS-209 by Yamaha features excellent sound quality in a compact design. It comes with Amazon Alexa for seamless voice control and music streaming. Just like the Vizio V21, the YAS-209 uses DTS Virtual:X to create a rich surround effect.
The subwoofer is articulate, and the soundbar has a great full-frequency response. Overall, the Yamaha YAS-209 adds a well-balanced sound profile to your TV and a sleek design that will fit right into your living room.
- 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, yet another Vizio! The team over at Vizio Inc. must know a thing or two about making great soundbars. The Vizio SB36512-F6 is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring Dolby Atmos to your living room. The bar features a compact design, plenty of inputs, including HDMI, Chromecast Wi-Fi music, and Bluetooth.
The performance of the SB36512-F6 is good and is suitable for all types of content. It has a neutral and accurate sound profile that works a treat for both voice-oriented content and music. The dedicated surround speakers make the listening experience all the more impressive.
- 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 setup soundbar that comes with 13 speakers. For a stand-alone soundbar, the AMBEO delivers an impressive, immersive sound that will give your TV a much-needed upgrade. Thanks to the unique 3D mode, the bar can conjure up an unbelievably realistic and true surround sound.
Sennheiser AMBEO comes with a ton of inputs and supports all sorts of audio formats. The sound profile is pretty accurate but lacks in the deep bass range. Even then, mid-range performance is exemplary, and you’ll get an accurate reproduction of voices when watching movies.
Indeed, the AMBEO isn’t cheap, but you get the experience of a full surround system without the bulk.
- 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
Are you looking for a soundbar that’s just as good for music as it is for movies? Look no further than the Polk Audio’s Sigma S3 soundbar. For the price, this soundbar and subwoofer combo delivers a stellar and punchy 2.1 audio experience.
While features are limited, it still comes with essentials such as Chromecast, Bluetooth, HDMI input, Voice Adjust, and the ability to work with Google Assistant.
Without a doubt, the Polk Signa S3 soundbar is cracking. The manufacturer has achieved a performance that’s both punchy and musical without blowing the budget. Out take? The S3 is an impressive all-rounder and has an excellent soundstage and is perfect for larger-sized TVs.
- 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 – Sonos speakers have excellent build quality and deliver consistent, appealing sound. The Sonos Arc is no exception. In fact, it’s an excellent starting point if you’re looking to set up a multi-room sound system in the future.
The Arc is one of the best stand-alone soundbars we have reviewed. And here’s the best part – you can add a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers later to achieve a more immersive audio experience. The bar features Atmos support, built-in Alexa and Google Assistant, and room correction.
Sonos Arc is a pretty straightforward soundbar that seems to do everything well. However, it lacks in the low end, so it might not be ideal for all types of music. To compensate, the dedicated center channel delivers accurate reproduction of voices, which makes dialogue stand out.
- Excellent build quality
- Room correction
12. Roku Streambar
Best Soundbar For Streaming Video
The Roku Streambar comes with a surprising amount of home theater power in a small package. This budget 2.0 bar is impressively small and allows you to access streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix via Roku’s media streamer.
Like the Sonos Arc, you can upgrade it with separate satellites and a subwoofer to improve the sound stage. This is good news for those who need some deep bass. The center channel reproduces clear dialogue, so it’s well suited for vocal-centric content.
The Streambar is the best TV soundbar if you love Hulu and Netflix and live in a small apartment, but don’t want to pony up the big bucks.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility
- 4 EQ presets
- Dialogue enhancement
- Lacks low bass
- No room correction
- Not suitable for a large room
Don’t settle for mediocre TV sound. A soundbar sitting under your TV will compensate for any audio woes you might be facing. Movie nights will never be the same again.
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.