Dolby Atmos enabled sound bars are coming down in price. Gone are the days where Dolby Atmos systems are available only on expensive multiple speakers and AV receivers. These affordable and compact sound bars with subwoofer are all you need to get in on the action.
Dolby Atmos Sound Bars with Subwoofer for under $400
These sound bars are no more than $400 but pack enough firepower and features to rival some of the best mid-range and even premium sound bars.
- Polk Audio Signa S4 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos
- Samsung HW-Q600A Soundbar Speaker with Subwoofer with Dolby Atmos
- SONY HT-G700 3.1 Wireless Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos
- VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos
- Denon DHT-S517 Soundbar with Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos
- LG SP8YA Sound Bar with Subwoofer, 3.1.2ch Dolby Atmos
- Hisense HS312 3.1ch Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer Dolby Atmos
- Sonos Beam Gen 2 Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos
We have to say that while these are affordable sound bars, they are by no means ultra budget or super cheap. We won’t compromise sound quality for the sake of the cheapest sound bar there is. These are sound bars with separate subwoofer to cover the high, mid and low range of the sound in its entirety with modern connectivity that supports at least 4K pass through and multi drivers to push sounds in different directions, unless you get one with simulated surround. The latter use clever Digital Sound Processing to alter the signal coming out of the speakers to simulate height, rear and sides.
1. Polk Audio Signa S4 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos – BEST ALL ROUNDER
- Surround Sound: 3.1.2 channels from 7 drivers (including up firing speakers) and a full range centre channel and 5.25″ subwoofer
- Power Output: NA
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC output Support 8K Ultra HD and up to 8 channels, Bluetooth, Optical, Analogue 3.5 mm, USB-A for firmware, remote control
From the Polk Audio Signal series come with Polk Audio Signa S4. This is the higher of the three popular sound bar all within our $400 budget. The other two are the Signa S2 and Signa Solo. However, this is the only unit that supports Dolby Stereo. It does this using a 3.1.2 channel audio using 7 drivers with a dedicated full range centre channel and active wireless subwoofer. The sound bar is wall mountable and can be connected with a single HDMI cable with 8K, 4K, HD TV and eARC support. Other connectivity includes Bluetooth, Optical and Analog 3.5mm.
From the sound bar there is a pair of upward firing speaker for height elevation, two tweeters and two mid range at either end and one full range centre speaker. Together with the Subwoofer, they create an immersive 3D sound channel with Dolby Atmos certification. From the infrared remote control, use this to customise the sound for Music, Movie or Night mode, and enable VoiceAdjust. The latter controls the voice and bass levels to balance the sound for clear dialogues and maximise the bass. If you must know, the sound bar measures 2.4-inch high and 41-inch wide.
2. Samsung HW-Q600A Soundbar Speaker With Subwoofer and Cinematic Dolby Atmos
- Surround Sound: 3.1.2 channels from 9 drivers producing Dolby Atmos and DTS:X theater quality surround
- Power Output: 360W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI eARCBluetooth TV connection, One Remote, Tap Sound, SmartThings and Tap Sound for quick pairing and mirroring. Compatible with wireless rear speaker kit.
Our next sound bar is from Samsung. Appearing at the bottom of the HW-Q series, the HW-Q600A is a 3.1.2 channel sound bar powered by 9 drivers. It is Dolby Atmos certified and pumps out 360 watt of power output. The sound bar pushes sound from the front, sides and above to envelope the audience, giving them an immersive feel. If you have a Samsung QLED TV that supports Q-Symphony, it audio will synchronise automatically.
Adaptive sound offers voice optimisation for better clarity and Acoustic Beam ensures the audio is spread dynamically around the room. If you like the look and sound if the HW-Q600A consider the newer HQ-Q600B, as it supports Game Pro. Early adopters may need to update its firmware for stability but otherwise another promising sound bar. Back to the 600A, for quick connectivity, use Tap Sound to connect a Samsung mobile with SmartThings app activated and mirror the sound from there. Both systems supports physical rear channels via the optional wireless rear speaker kit.
3. SONY HT-G700 3.1 Wireless Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos – BEST VIRTUAL SURROUND
- Surround Sound: 3.1 channel push 7.1.2 channel audio with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and vertical surround engine sound.
- Power Output: 400W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI cable 4K HDR pass through, Bluetooth for TV and mobile devices, eARC enabled, optical digital input, remote control
At the time of writing, this mid-range sound bar from Sony is on offer with 34% off its retail price, bringing its mid-range price point to one that is more affordable. This does not imply that it is a bad sound bar. Far from that. The 3.1 channel setup supports upscaling to 7.1.2 channels, for a full Dolby Atmos surround. It uses Immersive AE (Audio Enhancer), more on this later. The wireless subwoofer delivers plenty of punch in the low range as you would expect from Sony and the different sound modes offers customised pre-set sound settings to suit different content.
From the three drivers on the sound bar, the centre driver pushes clear voice and dialogue and you can push this further with Voice Enhancement. The left and right drivers covers the full range of sounds, including surround. Using Sony’s DSP (Digital Signal Processor), the three speakers can produce vertical sound instead of relying on upward or side firing audio for rear and height elevation channels. The speakers in the sound bar and subwoofer are protected by metal grill, instead of soft dust covers making it more durable too.
4. VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos – BEST VALUE
- Surround Sound 5.1 channel with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- Power Output: 205W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC with support for 4K Dolby Vision pass-through, Bluetooth, WiFi, Voice Assistant Compatible, Remote Controller
Two models from VIZIO that caught out attention, this, the M51ax and the more expensive M512a (VIZIO M-series 5.1.2 Premium Sound bar). Both support Dolby Atmos and DTX:S. The price difference between them is around a hundred and third. Together there are 9 drivers including separate tweeters and subwoofers in the sound bar and dedicated wireless subwoofer for an impressive surround sound. The two satellite speakers can be placed around the back as rear speakers or in front to sandwich the sound bar front surround mode.
The system also works hand-in-hand with voice activated smart speakers by lowering the volume automatically when you say the wake word to allow the smart speaker to receive your command clearly. We love the VIZIO for its physical rear channel speakers, but would consider spending more for the next model up, the 5.1.2 model (below) that includes two upward firing speakers in the sound bar on top of those rear satellite speakers for a total of 11 drivers to separate the channels for a true surround sound. Nothing beats actual height elevation drivers and real rear satellite speakers and the M512a has it all.
5. Denon DHT-S517 Soundbar with Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos – BEST CHANNEL SEPARATION
- Surround Sound: 3.1.2 channel speakers with 7 drivers and a wireless sub woofer for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital
- Power Output: 150W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC, ARC or digital optical input, Bluetooth, Remote Control
A little on the high side of our 400 budget, the Denon DHT-S517 is a great system if you have the money. The soundbar comes with 7 drives including two upward firing speakers for overhead surround effects. Together, the DHT-SS517 sound bar and wireless woofer supports Dolby Atmos surround. It also comes with that all important function to enhance voice or dialogue by adjusting the equaliser and overall volume so you can hear what the characters in the show are saying. Like most sound bars here, you get to choose different sound modes; Movie, Night and Music.
If you are listening to stereo music without spatial audio or 3D effects, consider the Denon Pure Mode. This removes all processing leaving you with pure unadulterated sound. This is undoubtedly a cheap and affordable yet great sounding surround setup for a second or third bedroom, or even the dining and seating room, when you already have a full multipoint setup for the TV or living room. You won’t get features like voice assistant compatibility and the app integration isn’t great but you are assured of great sound, and at this price point, it is all you will ever need.
6. LG SP8YA Sound Bar with Subwoofer with Dolby Atmos – BEST FOR CONNECTIVITY
- Surround Sound: 3.1.2 channel setup with support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Meridian Audio, High Res Audio (24 bit / 96 kHz) audio, AI Sound Pro, multiple sound modes
- Power Output: 440W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: HDMI eARC, Optical in, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, Dolby Vision & HDR10, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, Apple Airplay 2, Google ChromeCast, stream directly from Spotify
This LG sound bar costs a lot more than 400 with a retail price of $799 but we were surprised to find it on offer. It is possible at least at the time of writing to grab one for just under 400 which means you get a premium sound bar, for just under half the price. There are altogether 5 drivers in the bar alone (1 centre, 2 front and 2 up) which are music to our ears. This allows it to cover all the channels and directions to qualify for Dolby Atmos certification. Together with the wireless subwoofer, you get 6 channels in total in a 3.1.2 configuration.
It is important to note those upward firing speakers. They bounce sound off the ceiling to envelop and put you in the middle of the action. You get more than the standard sound modes; music, clear voice, cinema, sports, game, standard and bass blast. To enhance the sound even further, the onboard processor uses AI Sound Pro to work with an LG TV to produce clearer and more consistent sound. Being a premium sound bar means it also supports Hi-Res audio and a whole list of connectivity features such as built-in Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay2, compatibility with voice assistants and Spotify streaming via Bluetooth and WiFi. Throw in a couple of optional rear satellite speakers and yourself a dream set up.
A higher model, the LG SK9Y Dolby Atmos Soundbar is also available with more drivers for a 5.1.2 channel audio and again with real height elevation speakers.
7. Hisense HS312 3.1 ch Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Dolby Atmos – BEST BUDGET SOUND BAR
- Surround Sound: Cinematic Experience, 5 EQ Modes
- Power Output: 300W
- Subwoofer: Wireless
- Connectivity: 1 HDMI eARC, 4K Pass-Through, One Remote control, Roku TV Ready, Bluetooth, HDMI ARC/Optical/AUX, HDMI and optical cables included, wall mounting kit also in the box.
Hisense is making leaps and bounds into the living room space. Having started with white goods in the kitchen; refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer to cooker, oven, hob and extractor hood it now offers TVs and AV systems. With a full range of TVs and Projectors, sound bar is naturally the next product to sink their teeth into. The Hisenes HS312 is an affordable and solid 3.1 channel sound bar with Dolby Atmos support. Even though it is at the top end of their offerings, it is still affordable and with a wireless subwoofer and 300W power output it is as good as any Dolby Atmos soundbar here. Features that make this sound bar stand out from the rest is its compatibility with Roku TV, five sound mode for music, movie, news, night and sport. These EQ setting can be selected via the remote or physical button. Again, if you must know the sound bar is only 2.4-inch tall and it comes with all the connection you will ever need including the rare Aux (line in and coaxial).
8. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) – BEST FOR COMPACT SIZE & SMART INTEGRATION
- Surround Sound: Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Multichannel PCM, DTS Digital surround via HDMI eARC.
- HDMI eARC/ARC, Optical Input, WiFi, Voice Assistant built-in, AirPlay 2
The second generation sound bar from Sonos now supports Dolby Atmos with two new directional sound paths for that virtual surround sound. However, it doesn’t come cheap. Just the sound bar alone has blown our $400 dollar budget. There is a cheaper offering called the Sonos Ray but it only supports Dolby Digital and DTS surround, not Dolby Atmos. To complete the Beam 2nd Gen, you will need the Sonos Sub which again is not cheap. And, if you are ambitious, you might consider a pair or Sonos One or Sonos One SL as rear satellite spending even more than you originally set out to.You can go on adding, depending on how deep your pocket is so you have been warned.
Having said that, the Beam sounds good even on its own for a small to mid size room. It packs three passive radiators to enhance the low end. You also get one centre tweeter for crisp voice and four elliptical mid woofers for mid to low end. All five speakers are powered by five Class D digital amplifiers.
The sound output is adjustable via Sonos app with bass, treble and loudness setting as well as speech enhancement for voice boost and night mode to reduce the intensity of loud sounds. Finally, other advantages of the Beam is its support for voice assistant (Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) with onboard far field microphone array, AirPlay 2 and infrared receiver to synchronise with TV remote.
You will notice from our picks that while these are affordable sound bars, we limit our picks to only sound bars with separate Subwoofer be it wired or wireless. This is because no drivers in any sound bar can create the low end to the level that we are looking for. I am not expecting heart pounding bass or roof blowing booms but in order to get the deepest and lowest frequencies you have to look beyond the sound bar even if it comes with transducers and passive radiators.
The Sonos Beam is about as good as it gets working on its own. But even that, if you want to feel the rumble and roar from your blockbuster movie, you will still need the Sonos Sub. You music listening appetite might just be satisfied without the sub but you are likely to lose some of the low beats. So our honest advice is, unless you are seriously tight for cash or absolutely have no room for a wireless subwoofer, get a sound bar with dedicated subwoofer. The whole idea of a sound bar is to move away from small tinny sound from the built-in speakers on your TV, replacing it with slightly bigger speakers without a big subwoofer just won’t do.