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The 5 Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars - Spring 2020
Reviews

Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars
41 Soundbars Tested
  • Store-bought soundbars; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound format that supports height channels, which means sound can come from above your head. This results in an even more immersive listening experience since, depending on your home theater setup, you can hear sounds coming from all directions. Many 4k Blu-rays, and even some streaming services like Netflix, support Dolby Atmos — but not all soundbars do. The ones that do tend to be more expensive than most, but if you're after a more natural listening experience, they're worth considering. Note that soundbars usually use up-firing speakers to simulate an illusion of height by bouncing the sounds off the ceiling, back to the listener. This won't be as accurate or immersive as down-firing speakers with a more traditional home theater setup.

We've reviewed nearly 40 soundbars so far, and below you'll find the best Dolby Atmos soundbars to buy. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars for music, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.


  1. Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q90R

    8.1
    Mixed Usage
    8.1
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    8.2
    Music
    8.1
    Movies
    Channels
    7.1.4

    The Samsung HW-Q90R is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested so far. Coming with a main soundbar, subwoofer, and two satellite speakers, the 7.1.4 setup ensures you'll get an immersive listening experience all around you. It's very well-built and provides amazing overall performance.

    This setup has a neutral sound profile with just enough bass extension to deliver rumble and thump, making it suitable for all kinds of audio. If you like to further fine-tune your sound experience, it comes with a graphic EQ inside its app. This soundbar comes with a variety of inputs such as 4k HDMI passthrough, HDMI ARC, and optical. You can also stream wirelessly using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi if you want to play music or podcasts from your favorite streaming platform.

    As this soundbar comes with satellite speakers, they'll need to be plugged into a power source, which could clutter your setup. Fortunately, they connect to the soundbar wirelessly. While they underperform when compared to dedicated down-firing speakers, this soundbar does a decent job of creating a sense of height in Dolby Atmos content, making this one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars available.

    See our review

  2. Immersive Alternative: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch

    Channels
    9.2.4

    If you're looking for an even more immersive setup, then go with the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch. While it might have a warmer and more bass-heavy sound profile than the Samsung HW-Q90R, its unique 9.2.4 setup means you'll get excellent and accurate object localization. It has two subwoofers and four rear speakers for an impressive surround sound listening experience. Those who like to crank up their audio will also rejoice as it's one of the loudest soundbars we've tested so far, although at max volume there can be noticeable distortion in the bass range. On the other hand, it's very sleek-looking and you can place the rear speakers in different orientations to better suit your preferences.

    If you're looking for a soundbar with a fairly neutral sound profile that is very straightforward and easy to use, get the Samsung. However, if you want additional speakers to really immerse yourself, then get the Nakamichi.

    See our review

  3. Best 5.1 Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q80R

    8.0
    Mixed Usage
    8.0
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    8.1
    Music
    8.0
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1.2

    The best 5.1 Dolby Atmos Soundbar that we've tested so far is the Samsung HW-Q80R. If you don't have space for separate rear speakers and would prefer a 5.1 setup that just comes with a bar and a subwoofer, this is a good choice.

    This soundbar looks and feels premium, thanks to its solid build. With its balanced sound profile, it's suitable for everything from action movies to audiobooks. Those who like to fine-tune their sound will appreciate the graphic EQ. This soundbar also has great connectivity options such as two fill HDMI-in ports, HDMI ARC, and optical-in. Still looking for more? You can expand this soundbar's system with two additional rear speakers sold separately.

    Unfortunately, you won't be able to pass the aux cord with this soundbar as it doesn't have a regular audio jack. There's also no USB port. However, you can play audio from your phone or tablet wirelessly, which is great when you're having a party. If you're tight on space at home, this is a good 5.1 option.

    See our review

  4. More Affordable Alternative: Vizio SB46514-F6

    Channels
    5.1.4

    If the price of the Samsung HW-Q80R is out of your budget, the Vizio SB46514-F6 is an affordable option that has impressive performance. The Vizio might not be as well-built or as sleek-looking as the Samsung, but it has dedicated rear speakers, which can help a more immersive listening experience. Also, the satellites have up-firing speakers that can result in a better illusion of height elements with Atmos content. Unfortunately, you need to wire them directly to the sub, which might be a bit tricky depending on your room setup. On the upside, it has Chromecast built-in and still has a 3.5mm jack if you want to easily plug in your phone.

    If you're limited on space and don't have room for rear speakers, get the Samsung. However, if you want to save a couple of hundred dollars without too many compromises, the Vizio is a great option. You can also check out the Vizio SB36512-F6, which doesn't have up-firing speakers on the satellites but is our choice for the best budget Dolby Atmos soundbar.

    See our review

  5. Best Standalone Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar

    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.4
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    6.4
    Music
    7.0
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1.4

    The best standalone Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested so far is the Sennheiser AMBEO soundbar. Its unique 13-speaker integrated design creates an immersive experience with only a standalone bar. It's definitely an eye-catcher with such a massive design and high-end look.

    While not as great as dedicated down-firing speakers, it still produces good surround sound thanks to its unique 3D audio mode. Its room correction feature helps adapt audio to your room: using an external microphone, the soundbar can correct some sound and enhance your listening experience. This soundbar has an impressive amount of connectivity options including Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in. This soundbar also has a standby mode triggered by 20 minutes of inactivity. If you need to clean them, you can remove the fabric covering the speakers.

    On the downside, this soundbar is large and its positioning is quite difficult. If you don't have AMBEO mode activated, the sound signature also lacks bass and instead leans more bright. On the upside, if you don't like this sound profile, you can customize the EQ with the companion app. If you're looking for a standalone soundbar that can do it all without a dedicated subwoofer, this one is a good choice.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG SL10YG: The SL10YG is a decent soundbar but has fairly disappointing Atmos performance. It doesn't perform as well as the HW-Q90R and it's quite expensive. See our review
  • Vizio SB36512-F6: The SB36512-F6 is a smaller alternative to the SB46514-F6 that doesn't have up-firing speakers on its satellites, but it's noticeably cheaper. See our review

Recent Updates

05/12/2020: Minor text changes for accuracy. 

03/13/2020: Changed some picks as we reviewed more products.

11/01/2019: Added the Vizio SB36512-F6 as a 'More Affordable Alternative' to the Samsung HW-Q90R.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Atmos soundbars for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews of soundbars with more than 5.1 channels. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

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