Soundbar technology has come a long way. Whereas 10 or 15 years ago a soundbar under your television or elsewhere in your home was a bit of a novelty, they are mainstream in 2022. People are demanding a lot more in terms of features on their soundbars, and some of the huge electronics brands have ensured that there are so many fantastic selling points for the top soundbars, including Dolby Atmos.

Let’s look at the best soundbars, hand-selected from the 2022 market from some of the biggest electronics brands.

Sonos Arc

A lot of people buy a soundbar for the convenience it offers, packing the functionality of a 5.1 system into one speaker. The Sonos Arc does exactly this, while some competitors rely on subwoofers and supplementary speakers. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but the sound that comes from this single soundbar is more impressive when you consider the competition.

The Arc has excellent compatibility with Apple AirPlay devices and also uses eARC connections to carry audio from your devices, such as Blu-Ray players and amplifiers.

Using Dolby’s Digital Plus and TrueHD sound functions, you can enjoy the incredible lossless sound that some streaming services now provide, and that Blu-Rays have provided for some time. The clever Atmos technology bounces sounds off the surroundings to give an immersive feel.

The setup is simple, and there is even an app for your phone (Android or iOS) which allows you to tailor the sound based on your room and preferences. This is an incredible Atmos soundbar that remains relatively compact.

Sony HT-G700

This is an exceptional value option. Just because you are looking for incredible sound in your own home, doesn’t mean you have to spend an unreasonable amount of money, and the Sony HT-G700 is available for around half of the price of some competing models. It still does a great job, though.

It is an upgrade from an earlier model, the HT-X8500 which didn’t have any upward firing drivers, but the HT-G700 fixes this, and upscales to 7.1.2 channel sound. It even comes with a wireless subwoofer, and while you do have to find a home for this extra speaker, it gives you an excellent boost in the bass frequencies, great for movies and music.

The immersive audio available at this price tag earns this model a place on our list. While it doesn’t quite hit the high fidelity of some of the other models out there, it represents great value. Connect your Sony HT-G700 using a simple eARC HDMI cable, and enjoy surround sound from your TV or other devices without spending a huge sum of money.

Sennheiser Ambeo 3D

All about audio clarity and high fidelity? The Sennheiser Ambeo could be ideal for you. This soundbar is not cheap, but it is not the type of electronic product that is going to be obsolete in a couple of year’s time, either. This can be the basis of your home cinema setup for some time.

Sennheiser is a powerhouse audio brand, known for making speakers and microphones. This may be their first foray into soundbars, and this model may be big in size and price, but the features are good, and the sound quality is elite.

It introduces the brand’s “Ambeo Virtual 3D” sound system, but also includes Dolby Atmos functionality, so you can enjoy your choice of immersive platforms. It can be connected via eARC or streams over Wi-Fi as well as Google Home, meaning this is one of the easiest models of soundbar for music lovers to stream their favorite tracks in Atmos or lossless platforms.

That extra size also allows the Sennheiser speakers to pack a bit more of a punch, with an impressive bass, 500W of power means this can fill a room with no trouble whatsoever.

It’s not the ideal choice if you’re living in a studio apartment, but for music lovers and movie lovers who want an amazing immersive sound setup without any complex cabling or amplification, the Ambeo 3D could be great. It’s sound quality is among the very best soundbars on the market.

Samsung HW-Q950T

There are loads of Samsung soundbars on the market now, and while the HW-Q950T isn’t the newest soundbar out there, it is undoubtedly still one of the very best. The Q950A is actually a newer version of this speaker, but the response on that particular model isn’t ideal for music.

Keep in mind that the Samsung HW-Q950T comes with satellite speakers as well as a subwoofer, so to get the most out of it you are going to need a bit of space.

The Q950T has a huge level of power as well as scaling to 14 different channels of sound including upfiring speakers, and a slimline shape so it doesn’t look too cumbersome near your television.

The Samsung range is impressive, and the audio is very clear, with a frequency response that means even bassy music can be replicated with ease. Of course, the subwoofer helps a great deal with this.

The system uses DTS:X and Dolby Atmos to bring 3D audio to your home, and you can stream audio from your device easily using Wi-Fi and using Bluetooth. It’s simple to stream lossless audio to the soundbar.

If you’re going for the “old fashioned” way, use the eARC connection to ensure you’re getting the best audio from your device and taking full advantage of the surround sound.

Summary

The soundbar market can be really hard to navigate. There is a huge variation in price tag and in features when you compare the cheapest and the more expensive soundbars out there, and brands like Samsung are always releasing new models, which aren’t always an upgrade in terms of audio.

The four models above provide you with choices at a few different price points, coming in different sizes, too. All give excellent audio for both watching films and listening to the latest Dolby Atmos and Immersive Audio releases.

About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his site, Subreel.
IAA Sonic Brand & Dolby Atmos Channel Test
Our cutting edge sound collage and downloadable channel test for Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround sound.