The 6 Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars - Spring 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars
104 Soundbars Tested
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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 sound off the ceiling and 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 tested over 90 soundbars, 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-Q950T

    8.2
    Mixed Usage
    8.2
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    8.2
    Music
    8.2
    Movies
    Channels
    9.1.4

    The Samsung HW-Q950T is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar that we've tested. This well-built 9.1.4 setup comes with two satellite speakers and a dedicated subwoofer to help provide an immersive movie-watching experience. Though we don't test for it, it comes with Q-Symphony, which can create a speaker-like sound by using your compatible Samsung QLED TV's speakers in addition to the soundbar.

    Out-of-the-box, it has a neutral, balanced sound profile that can reproduce both thumps and rumbles in action-packed scenes and dialogue clearly. You can use the graphic EQ and presets to help customize its sound, and there's even a surround level adjustment for watching movies. It has a good soundstage performance, so objects in the stereo image like footsteps seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location, and it gets really loud.

    Unfortunately, unlike some of the other premium soundbars we've tested, it doesn't come with a room correction feature, so your audio may sound a bit different depending on the room you use it in. Also, the tight fabric covering the speakers seems like it could collect dust easily over time. However, if you like watching Atmos movies, it offers versatile overall performance.

    See our review

  2. Two-Sub Alternative: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch

    Channels
    9.2.4

    If you want an extra subwoofer in your setup, consider the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch instead. While this soundbar's sound profile isn't as well-balanced as the Samsung HW-Q950T, and it doesn't offer as many sound customization features, its two wireless subwoofers can help add extra thump and punch to action-packed movies. It's better-built than the Samsung, and it also comes with four rear speakers to help immerse you in your audio. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile, but it can also sound a bit dark or dull. There are a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound, and you can also use the 'Bass' button on the remote to control the subwoofer volume. It has a bit more compression than the Samsung at max volume, but it still gets loud.

    If you want a 9.1.4 setup with a neutral sound and a graphic EQ for greater sound customization, check out the Samsung. However, if you want a 9.2.4 setup with more speakers and subwoofers to really immerse yourself in your audio, consider the Nakamichi instead.

    See our review

  3. Best 5.1 Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

    7.9
    Mixed Usage
    8.2
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.9
    Music
    7.7
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1.2

    The best Dolby Atmos soundbar with a 5.1 setup that we've tested is the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. This 5.1.2 setup comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers so you can immerse yourself in your favorite movies. When you watch Dolby Atmos content, it uses up-firing speakers on the bar itself to bounce sound off the ceiling to simulate height.

    It has a room correction feature that automatically optimizes its audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of the room you're listening in. With this feature turned on, it has a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different audio content, and it can get pretty loud, too. It also has an impressive soundstage performance, and objects like voices and footsteps seem to come from an accurate location rather than a general area.

    Unfortunately, while it comes with bass and treble adjustment features, it lacks a full graphic EQ for greater sound customization. Also, the full setup isn't widely available as a full package at the moment, so you may have to buy the components separately on the Sonos website. However, if you're looking for a premium soundbar that can immerse you in your favorite Atmos content, it's a solid choice.

    See our review

  4. Cheaper Alternative: Vizio SB36512-F6

    Channels
    5.1.2

    If you want a more affordable 5.1 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos, consider the Vizio SB36512-F6 instead. Although its soundstage doesn't feel as wide as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers, it delivers a versatile performance at a cheaper price point. This 5.1.2 setup has a well-balanced sound profile, making it suitable for a variety of audio content. It also comes with EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments, so you can tweak its sound profile to your liking. It uses up-firing speakers on the bar to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards the listener to simulate height. It can also get very loud, without much compression present at max volume. Unfortunately, its sound profile for surround sound content isn't very balanced, and it can feel quite boomy.

    If you want a better-built soundbar with a better surround sound performance, consider the Sonos. If you want a more affordable model that still has a balanced sound profile, check out the Vizio instead.

    See our review

  5. Best Standalone Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar

    8.0
    Mixed Usage
    8.5
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.6
    Music
    7.8
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1.4

    The best standalone Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested is the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar. Its unique 13-speaker integrated design creates an immersive experience with only a standalone bar. It's 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 to enhance your listening experience. It has an impressive amount of connectivity options, including Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in. It 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.

    Unfortunately, it's large, and finding the right position for it is 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. While it may be difficult to find on some third-party retailers, you can still purchase it on the Sennheiser website. If you're looking for a standalone option that can do it all without a dedicated subwoofer, this one is a good choice.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Dolby Atmos Soundbar: TCL Alto 8i

    6.8
    Mixed Usage
    6.9
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.2
    Music
    6.6
    Movies
    Channels
    2.1

    The best Dolby Atmos soundbar in the budget category that we've tested is the TCL Alto 8i. This 2.1 setup has two subwoofers integrated into the bar, which helps with bass production. It's advertised as Roku TV Ready, so it should be easy to pair it with your Roku TV.

    When set to the 'Music' EQ preset, its sound profile is punchy and boomy overall, though its mid-range is well-balanced, so dialogue sounds clear and present in the mix. There are bass and treble adjustments, as well as three EQ presets, letting you tweak the sound profile to your liking. It has a wide soundstage, and it's suitable for large rooms since it can get very loud. You can also stream audio wirelessly from your smart device via Bluetooth.

    Unfortunately, since it doesn't come with satellite speakers, it has to downmix surround sound content into stereo, which results in a less immersive surround sound experience. Also, it lacks a dialogue enhancement feature and room correction feature, so its sound profile may vary depending on the room it's in. That said, if you're looking for a soundbar at a more affordable price point and don't mind a simpler design, it's worth considering.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG SN11RG: The LG SN11RG is a great 7.1.4 setup for movies, but it has a slightly boomy sound profile and fewer customization options than other options. See our review
  • Vizio SB46514-F6: The Vizio SB46514-F6 is a 5.1.4 setup that's great for watching movies, but it doesn't have a room correction feature. See our review
  • Samsung HW-Q900T: The Samsung HW-Q900T is a 7.1.2 setup with a similar performance to that of the Samsung HW-Q950T. However, it lacks two rear satellites and has a worse Atmos performance. See our review
  • Vizio Elevate: The Vizio Elevate is a unique 5.1.4 setup with left and right sides that rotate upwards to create a wider soundstage when listening to Atmos content. However, its bass-heavy sound profile can be overwhelming for some listeners, and it doesn't come with a room correction feature. See our review
  • JBL Bar 9.1: The JBL Bar 9.1 is a very versatile soundbar that uses up-firing speakers and satellites to really immerse you in your favorite Atmos movies. However, it's difficult to find in stock at the moment. If it's officially discontinued, we'll remove it from this article. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 23, 2021: Added the 'Best Budget' category and selected the TCL Alto 8i as the pick for that category. Confirmed the rest of the picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.

  2. Feb 24, 2021: Due to changing availability, replaced the JBL Bar 9.1 with the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as 'Best 5.1'. Added the JBL Bar 9.1 and the Vizio Elevate to Notable Mentions.

  3. Jan 25, 2021: Removed the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as 'More Immersive Alt' due to changing availability. No other changes in product picks after re-evaluating and checking their availability.

  4. Dec 22, 2020: Replaced the Vizio SB46514-F6 with the Vizio SB36512-F6 to reflect pricing changes.

  5. Sep 21, 2020: Replaced the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch with the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as 'More Immersive' alternative to 'Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar' and added the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch as 'Two-Sub' alternative. Replaced the Samsung HW-Q80R with the JBL Bar 9.1 as 'Best 5.1'. Moved the Samsung HW-Q80R from Best 5.1 to Notable Mentions.

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 sorted by their Atmos performance. 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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