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The 7 Best Soundbars For Dialogue - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated May 17, 2024 at 02:54 pm
Best Soundbars For Dialogue

Soundbars can be a good upgrade from your TV speakers, especially if you have trouble understanding voices in TV shows and movies. It's also a great way to enhance your listening experience when listening to podcasts or audiobooks, especially when you want to cast that content wirelessly. Some soundbars make dialogue clearer and easier to understand, while others can make voices sound more muddy and cluttered. So, how do you know which is the best soundbar for voice clarity? You'll need something with a well-balanced stereo frequency response, and having a dialogue enhancement feature can help.

We've tested over 185 soundbars, and below are our recommendations for the best soundbars for speech. Also, make sure to check out our picks for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars if you watch a lot of movies, and the best budget soundbars if you're on an even tighter budget.


  1. Best Soundbar For Dialogue

    Prime Day Deal: The Samsung HW-Q990D has dropped in price by $500 at Amazon.com.

    The best soundbar for dialogue we've tested is the Samsung HW-Q990D. This premium 11.1.4 soundbar is a versatile pick ideal for listening to all sorts of content with dialogue, from movies to TV shows. With a discrete center channel designed to improve vocal reproduction, you can easily follow along with the conversation on screen. It also supports immersive audio formats like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos (both of which are commonly found on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays), providing an all-around sound that makes it feel like you've been dropped right in the middle of the action. It's a little much if you just listen to dialogue-centric content like sitcoms, but if you want a bar that can do it all, it's worth a look.

    This bar stands out from the crowd thanks to all its sound enhancement features. You can enhance the dialogue in the mix or use its graphic EQ to customize the output manually. There are some other premium bars worth a look, too, including the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module and the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers, both of which have better stereo soundstages than the Samsung. These models are also great if you already own products in their respective ecosystems. However, they aren't as customizable as the Samsung soundbar, so it remains our best pick for dialogue overall.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Soundbar For Dialogue

    Looking for a more affordable alternative? Check out the Samsung HW-Q930C. This soundbar is another great choice for movies and TV shows, thanks to its clear and accurate dialogue reproduction. While this bar has two fewer surround channels than the Samsung HW-Q990D, it still includes a discrete center channel to improve vocal quality in the mix. Many of the same sound enhancement features are on hand, including Night Mode to even out the volume between programs and Voice Enhance to enhance voices and dialogue. Note that, at least in the US, this model seems to be available only from the manufacturer's website and Best Buy.

    Much like its more premium cousin, this soundbar shines when it comes to multi-channel content like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos, both of which are common on streaming platforms and Blu-rays alike. Two discrete satellite speakers bring sound effects into the space around your living room for a clear and real sound. Its sub also reproduces a deep rumbling bass for those more intense scenes. The result is a cinematic experience right in the comfort of your home. However, this bar doesn't get quite as loud as the Q990D, and there's more compression when you push it to max volume. Still, for the price, it's worth a look.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Soundbar For Dialogue

    Prime Day Deal: The Vizio Elevate has dropped in price by $250 at Amazon.com.

    The Vizio Elevate is a more wallet-friendly option that also shines with dialogue. It's a 5.1.4 setup with fewer surround channels than our top options. However, with its discrete center, dialogue doesn't get lost in the action, so you have no problem making out voices in your favorite movies and TV shows. It also has some dialogue-focused tools, like a voice enhancement feature and a night mode, to balance its volume level between different programs. Unlike the Samsung HW-Q930C, there's no room correction tool, though, meaning it can sound a little different depending on your room's layout, but at least there are bass and treble adjustments to make up for this a bit.

    Overall, this soundbar's unique design makes it stand out. Its sides rotate upwards when you watch Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content, and you can program it to perform the same with other formats. As a result, it offers a wide, immersive-sounding soundstage that makes it feel like you're sitting right in the middle of your favorite flicks. Its subwoofer brings plenty of rumble in the bass, and its rear speakers stretch sound effects to the space around your living room. With its balanced mids, voices remain clear and present in the mix, making it a solid pick for more dialogue-heavy movies. Unfortunately, you must wire the satellites to the sub, which isn't ideal for every layout. Still, it's a versatile bar for its price with great dialogue performance.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Soundbar For Dialogue

    The best soundbar for vocal clarity we've tested for under $500 is the Vizio M Series M512a-H6. It's another versatile setup that shines with everything from movies to TV shows, and it's available at an even more budget-friendly price than our top picks. Right out of the box, you can enjoy a clear and detailed reproduction of vocals in the mix, largely thanks to its discrete center channel. If you like to watch movies, you'll appreciate the included satellite speakers, which enhance surround sound by making it seem like the action is happening all around you. This 5.1.2 setup offers many of the same sound enhancement features as the more premium Vizio Elevate.

    So, why the price difference? A few differences between this soundbar and the Elevate are worth noting, especially if you're a big fan of surround sound. First, the M Series doesn't have rotating sides, so its soundstage is a little less wide and immersive-sounding. Also, it lacks up-firing drivers built into its satellites, so all height sound effects come from the bar itself. This results in less action happening in the space behind your couch, which takes away from the overall life-like feel. These are minor details, especially for more casual listeners. If you don't listen to much Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos content, you may find this bar a better value overall.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Soundbar For Dialogue

    Shopping on a budget? The best soundbar for vocal clarity is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. This affordable 5.1 setup is a great choice for listening to everything from movies to music to TV shows, thanks to its clear and accurate reproduction of voices in the mix. Sound enhancement features are more limited, which is typical of bars in this price range, but you can still use its dialogue enhancement feature to make voices clearer and crisp. Plus, its night mode tool enhances vocal clarity when you listen at night and don't want to bother anyone around you, which is a nice touch.

    Compared to the Vizio M Series M512a-H6, there's no Dolby Atmos support to help you take advantage of more immersive, object-based formats. That said, its discrete surround speakers help it stand out compared to other budget-friendly picks, especially if you watch a lot of 5.1 surround sound content like Dolby Digital. If you don't have room for satellites, or if you don't watch a lot of movies, consider the Samsung HW-B650, which doesn't come with satellites. However, its surround sound isn't as good as the Vizio, which remains the most versatile pick in this range.

    See our review

  6. Best Standalone Soundbar For Dialogue

    If you want quality vocal reproduction but don't have a lot of space in your living room, consider a standalone soundbar like the Sonos Arc. Compared to some of the other picks on our list, this soundbar is available on its own, so you don't have to worry about finding space for a subwoofer or satellites in your living room. Like most Sonos products, this soundbar boasts a sleek and premium design, with built-in voice assistant support to control it with your voice. Whether you're listening to TV shows, movies, or podcasts, you get a clear and even sound that ensures dialogue is easy to follow in the mix.

    Like most premium setups on the market, this soundbar has a room correction feature designed to optimize the bar's output based on your room's unique acoustics—Sonos calls it TruePlay. It's only available with iOS devices, but it ensures that voices are as clear as can be. You can use its dialogue enhancement tool to produce a crisper vocal sound. Without a sub, of course, it brings less rumble in the bass than top picks like the Samsung HW-Q990D, and without satellites, you don't get the same immersive feel with surround sound. Still, you can add a separate sub and satellites to improve its performance later if you move to a larger space.

    See our review

  7. Best Small Soundbar For Dialogue

    If you want a standalone soundbar but want something smaller, check out the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). It has a 5.0 setup that is less than 26 inches wide, with a sleek design that blends in easily with your existing home decor. Despite its small size, it's a great choice for listening to dialogue-centric content, as voices are clearly and accurately reproduced right out of the box. Like the Sonos Arc, there's even a room correction feature called TruePlay on hand to optimize the audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. However, just like the Arc, this feature is only available via iOS. On the upside, all users can take advantage of the dialogue enhancement tool to make voices clearer and crisper in the mix.

    This soundbar is also a great choice for watching movies. Dialogue is easy to follow, and its wide and immersive soundstage stretches other sound effects into the space around you for a cinematic feel. Compared to the original Sonos Beam, this bar adds Dolby Atmos support, so you can watch the most premium audio formats with ease, and you can also add a separate sub and satellites as the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) with Sub Mini + One SL Speakers for improved performance. Of course, compared to the larger Sonos Arc, it doesn't get quite as loud, and you don't get as much height with Atmos content. Still, for such a small bar, it packs a punch.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Samsung HW-Q990C: The Samsung HW-Q990C is the previous generation of the Samsung HW-Q990D. The largest difference between the two models is that the D model has HDMI 2.1, which is good for gamers who want to passthrough 4k content at 120Hz from their console to their TV. However, if you don't need this feature, the C model offers a comparable sound performance to its successor, and you may even be able to find it at a discounted price. See our review
  • Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module: The Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module is a versatile 7.1.2 setup with Dolby Atmos support. Compared to other premium models, it doesn't offer many sound customization features, and its surround and Atmos performances aren't as impressive as those on the Samsung HW-Q990D. See our review
  • Sonos Beam: If you don't care for Dolby Atmos support, the Sonos Beam is a good alternative to the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). It's another small bar with built-in voice assistant support for hands-free control. See our review
  • Samsung HW-Q900C: The Samsung HW-Q900C is a good alternative to the Vizio Elevate if you don't have room for satellite speakers in your living area. The trade-off is evident with surround sound, though, as the lack of satellites brings a less clear and real feel to your movies. See our review
  • Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar: The Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar is a good alternative to the Sonos Arc, especially since it has an AI Dialogue feature designed to dynamically adjust dialogue for a better sound. That said, its center channel and surround performances aren't as impressive as that of the Sonos, and it doesn't support DTS content. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 17, 2024: We've replaced the Samsung HW-Q990C with this year's model, the Samsung HW-Q990D. You can still find the Q990C model in our Notable Mentions, though.

  2. Mar 21, 2024: We've made minor changes to the text to improve its accuracy and clarity but there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  3. Jan 23, 2024: Confirmed product picks. No changes.

  4. Nov 28, 2023: Added the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar as a Notable Mention.

  5. Oct 06, 2023: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q930B with the next generation Samsung HW-Q930C due to its improved sound.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best soundbars for voice clarity 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 soundbar reviews. 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.