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Soundbars are a must-have addition to your home theater, especially if you’re trying to recreate a cinematic experience from home. A good soundbar can successfully enhance your audio, all without taking too much space on your TV console.
Newer soundbars have taken this a step further, delivering such roof filling, realistic audio, that you almost feel like you’re at the center of the action yourself. These advanced soundbars have a secret weapon in tow, and it’s called Dolby Atmos.
What Is Dolby Atmos?
In layman terms, Dolby Atmos is a type of spatial surround sound that produces three-dimensional (3D) audio — making it feel like you’re hearing audio from every corner of the room, even though the speaker is upfront.
Instead of just using channels, Dolby Atmos produces sound by bouncing audio off of objects. This gives every dialogue, action sequence or song you hear a more immersive touch. Soundbars that use Dolby Atmos, for example, will usually bounce sound waves off of ceilings to recreate accurate aerial sounds for the listener. The result? You’ll feel the action happening all around you instead of just on the screen.
Dolby Atmos Soundbar Buying Guide: What to Look For
There are a couple things to keep in mind when shopping for the best Dolby Atmos soundbar for you. Here’s what you need to know.
Size: Do you want a soundbar wide enough to match your TV or do you want one that’s even wider than your TV? Some of you might need a new soundbar that’s smaller or more portable. The size of your Dolby Atmos soundbar will depend on the size of your TV, your entertainment unit and/or wall space (should you choose to mount your soundbar). Keep this in mind while you shop.
Connectivity: Most soundbars have both HDMI and optical inputs which can be used to connect to your TV. Some soundbars are also Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to connect your smartphone or tablet to it and stream music whenever you like.
Smart Home Integration: Some soundbars are smart soundbars, meaning they can be used in conjunction with your chosen voice assistant. Next time you need to lower the volume just ask Google or Alexa to do so (once your new soundbar is fully connected to your smart home ecosystem).
Channels: When you’re shopping for a Dolby Atmos soundbar you’ll see three numbers usually listed, something like 5.1.2 or 3.1.2. What this means is that your soundbar has either three or five channels (more channels produce more distinct audio), has one subwoofer or a good range of low-frequency drivers, and two upwards facing speakers for Dolby Atmos surround sound.
What Are the Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars?
Below, we’ve listed the four best Dolby Atmos soundbars available right now. All of these soundbars are highly-rated for audio quality, performance features and ease of use.
1. Sonos Arc
Sonos has made a name for itself when it comes to audio, thanks to its understated., minimalist designs and speakers that produce big sound.
The Sonos Arc soundbar combines just that and comes equipped with Dolby Atmos for a more immersive listening experience. The design is sleek and will fit seamlessly below your TV, and you can choose between two colors (black and white).
This Sonos soundbar also features clear, cinematic sound along with Speech Enhancement features, if you ever feel like you need to pay close attention to the dialogue on screen. The brand also claims the Arc fires sound in all directions (including two dedicated height channels) to enhance every whisper on the screen.
Other features include compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant as well as support for Apple Airplay 2. Plus, you can sync this soundbar with your existing TV remote to reduce clutter.
2. Samsung HW-Q950A
Samsung’s HW-Q950A soundbar packs a punch with 11 different channels and four upwards facing drivers, giving you theater-like sound, straight at home
This Samsung soundbar is also built to function best with Samsung TVs (though it’s compatible across all brands and models). With Q symphony all your audio will be perfectly synced to the action onscreen and you can even customize your sound for deeper bass if needed. You can even enhance dialogue for clarity or sit back and relax while your new soundbar automatically adjusts the sound to your chosen entertainment.
Alexa is also built-in as well for a hands-free user experience and there’s support for AirPlay 2. Non iOS users can connect via Bluetooth to play their favorite music through this soundbar.
3. Bose Smart Soundbar 900
Bose’s Dolby Atmos soundbar is another great option to add to your home theater, and it’s got Alexa built-in. (though you can also use it with Google Assistant).
Not to mention, it’s wireless with both Wifi and Bluetooth compatibility so you can easily connect all the devices you need. As for sound, you’ve got six transducers, a central tweeter and upward-firing speakers for surround sound. Bose’s TrueSpace spatial processing also works in conjunction to produce sound that envelopes you, according to the brand.
You’ll also like the streamlined design, with no visible buttons to deter from this soundbar’s monochromatic look.
4. Polk Audio Signa S4
At a significantly lower price point than all the other Dolby Atmos soundbars on our list, the Polk Audio Sugna S4 is still almost as good as its competitors.
Unlike the stand-alone soundbars on our list, this Polk set comes with a wireless subwoofer included, which helps to enhance those deep bass notes and beats, while still managing to be compact enough to fit on your TV console.
Sound is decent too with up-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos Certified surround sound as well as mid drivers and tweeters that enhance all your entertainment, including sports and video games. There are customizable sound modes too that help you find the right settings for your entertainment. Plus, with Polk’s VoiceAdjust you can listen to dialogue and speech more clearly, all without raising the volume.
Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect your smartphone or tablet straight to your new soundbar. If you’re looking for a high-octane soundbar set, you won’t find better value — or better performance — than with Polk Audio.