The 6 Best Soundbars For Music - Fall 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars For Music
119 Soundbars Tested
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Soundbars are a great and compact way to enhance your music listening experience when you don’t have space for a full home theater setup. You can get great stereo audio reproduction with soundbars and excellent bass performance when your system has a dedicated subwoofer, although one isn’t necessary to enjoy good audio fidelity. Not all soundbars are the same, and you should choose one that suits your needs, whether you prefer using Bluetooth, your home Wi-Fi network, or even AirPlay to stream your favorite tracks.

We’ve tested over 110 soundbars, and below are our recommendations for the best soundbars for music. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars (if you watch a lot of movies), and the best budget soundbars.


  1. Best Soundbar For Music: Samsung HW-Q950A

    8.3
    Music
    Channels
    11.1.4

    The Samsung HW-Q950A is the best soundbar for music that we've tested. This unique 11.1.4 setup has a room correction feature called Auto EQ that automatically optimizes its audio reproduction based on the acoustic characteristics of your room. With this feature turned on, it offers a neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different music genres.

    This soundbar also comes with lots of sound customization features, including bass and treble adjustments as well as a graphic EQ and presets. It gets pretty loud, too, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite tracks without too much compression. It also has a good stereo soundstage performance, so voices and instruments seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location in the sound image.

    Unfortunately, while it has a good build quality overall, the fabric on the bar seems like it could rip or get dirty easily. Also, although this soundbar is the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q950T, it doesn't reproduce as much low-bass out-of-the-box as its predecessor. That said, it can still reproduce enough of the deep thump and rumble in the bass range to be suitable for bass-heavy genres like EDM.

    See our review

  2. Best 5.1 Soundbar For Music: Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module

    8.4
    Music
    Channels
    5.1

    If you're looking for a 5.1 setup, the best soundbar for music that we've tested is the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module. While the standalone Bose Smart Soundbar 700 is a good choice for music, the full setup with speakers and subwoofer offers a better overall performance. It even has built-in support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control your music using just your voice.

    With its room correction feature turned on, this soundbar has a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of music. You can even customize its sound using its bass and treble adjustments. Also, it has an amazing stereo soundstage performance, so its soundstage is perceived to be wide and instruments are accurately localized.

    Unfortunately, while this soundbar gets pretty loud, there are some compression artifacts present when you push it to max volume. Also, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, which can be disappointing for fans of Dolby Atmos Music and movies. That said, this versatile soundbar is still a solid choice for music lovers.

    See our review

  3. Alternative With Dolby Atmos: Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

    Channels
    5.1.2

    If you're looking for a 5.1 soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos content, consider the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers instead. While its soundstage performance isn't as impressive as the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module and its out-of-the-box sound profile isn't as neutral, it comes with two up-firing speakers for Atmos content. It comes with a room correction feature, and with this turned on, its default sound profile is slightly bright. However, you can use its bass and treble adjustments to create a more neutral sound. You can't purchase the full setup as a package deal at the moment, but you can buy the bar, subwoofer, and satellites separately then pair them together for an immersive listening experience.

    If you want a 5.1 soundbar with a better soundstage performance and a more neutral sound out-of-the-box, check out the Bose. However, if you like to listen to Atmos content, consider the Sonos instead.

    See our review

  4. Best Small Soundbar For Music: Sonos Beam

    7.5
    Music
    Channels
    3.0

    If you prefer a small soundbar, the best soundbar for music that we've tested is the Sonos Beam. This 3.0 setup is only about 25 inches wide, so it can easily fit into your existing setup without taking up a lot of space. Despite its small size, it still offers an impressive stereo soundstage, so your sound image is perceived to be much wider than the bar itself.

    This soundbar comes with a room correction feature, and with this turned on, it has a pretty neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, and there's a little extra brightness that adds sparkle to vocals and lead instruments. You can customize its sound using its bass and treble adjustments, too. It also gets pretty loud, although there's some compression in the bass range when you push it to max volume.

    Unfortunately, due to its small size, this soundbar struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass range, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music. Also, it lacks some more premium sound customization features, like a graphic EQ or preset modes. That said, it's still a good choice for music that doesn't take up a lot of room.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Soundbar For Music: Vizio V Series V51-H6

    7.8
    Music
    Channels
    5.1

    The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is the best budget soundbar for music that we've tested. This wallet-friendly 5.1 setup has a neutral default sound profile that's suitable for lots of different kinds of audio content. While it doesn't have a room correction feature, there are four EQ presets available so that you can adjust its sound to your liking.

    This soundbar has two satellite speakers that offer a fair surround performance, which can help create a slightly more immersive sound, although they're very bass-heavy. The bar can also get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room, and there aren't a lot of compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio sounds clear. It also has an AUX port, making it easy to connect some older devices to the bar with a wired connection. You can also stream your favorite tracks via Bluetooth.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't support Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, or Apple AirPlay, which some users may find limiting. The bar also lacks a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use it as a hub between your devices. Still, this affordable soundbar offers fairly versatile performance and is well-suited for those looking for a more immersive experience from their music.

    See our review

  6. More Customizable Alternative: Samsung HW-A550

    Channels
    2.1

    If you're looking for a budget-friendly soundbar that offers more sound customization features, consider the Samsung HW-A550 instead. While this 2.1 soundbar doesn't come with discrete satellite speakers like the Vizio V Series V51-H6, it comes with a graphic EQ as well as bass and treble adjustments, making it easy to adjust its sound more to your liking. Out-of-the-box, this well-built soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to most types of audio content, though it doesn't reproduce as extended of a low-bass as the Vizio. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream music from your phone to the bar.

    If you want a 5.1 setup with better center and surrounds performances and a more extended low-bass, check out the Vizio. However, if you want a 2.1 setup with more sound customization features, consider the Samsung instead.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Samsung HW-Q900A: The Samsung HW-Q900A is a 7.1.2 setup with lots of sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ and presets as well as a room correction feature. However, it lacks some low-bass on its 'Standard' preset. See our review
  • Samsung HW-Q800A: The Samsung HW-Q800A is a 3.1.2 setup that can get loud enough to fill a large or crowded room but there's some compression present at max volume. See our review
  • LG SP11RA: The LG SP11RA is a 7.1.4 setup with a slightly boomy but otherwise neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. While it has room correction and EQ presets, it lacks a full graphic EQ. See our review
  • JBL Bar 9.1: The JBL Bar 9.1 is a very versatile 5.1.4 soundbar that's very good for music thanks to its balanced, neutral sound profile and room correction feature. However, its soundstage performance isn't as impressive as some of the other bars we've tested. See our review
  • LG SP9YA: The LG SP9YA is a 5.1.2 soundbar that comes with a room correction feature as well as some EQ presets to help you customize its sound. However, it lacks a full graphic EQ, and its soundstage performance isn't as good as some of the other bars we've tested. See our review
  • Vizio SB36512-F6: The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a 5.1.2 soundbar setup that's very good for music and can get pretty loud. Its slightly bass-heavy default sound profile may be overwhelming for some users, though you can customize it for a more neutral sound. See our review
  • Yamaha YAS-209: The Yamaha YAS-209 is a bit more expensive than the Samsung HW-A550 but offers more wireless playback options. See our review
  • Vizio M Series M51a-H6: The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is a great 5.1 setup that's well-suited for music since it has a neutral default sound profile and has EQ presets to help tweak its sound. However, it's currently only available directly through Costco or the manufacturer's website. See our review
  • Vizio M Series M512a-H6: The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a 5.1.2 setup that has a neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. However, its soundstage isn't as impressive as some of the other bars we've tested. See our review
  • Vizio Elevate: The Vizio Elevate has an impressive soundstage performance thanks to its unique design with sides that rotate upwards to create a more immersive sound. That said, its bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box may not be ideal for all listeners. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Sep 03, 2021: In Notable Mentions, replaced the Samsung HW-Q900T with the next-generation Samsung HW-Q900A and the LG SN11RG with the next generation LG SP11RA. Added the Vizio Elevate and the Vizio M Series M512a-H6 to Notable Mentions.

  2. Jul 06, 2021: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q950T with the next-generation Samsung HW-Q950A. Replaced the Sonos Arc full setup with the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 full setup as 'Best 5.1' since the Bose offers a better soundstage performance. Added the Sonos Arc full setup as 'Alternative With Atmos'. Added the Samsung HW-A550 as 'More Customizable Alt'. In Notable Mentions, replaced the LG SN9YG with the next generation LG SP9YA.

  3. May 07, 2021: Replaced the Samsung HW-T550 with the Vizio V Series V51-H6 as the Samsung is currently unavailable in this price bracket. Also replaced the Vizio SB36512-F6 with the Vizio Elevate as the Elevate represents a better value to most users.

  4. Mar 08, 2021: Replaced the JBL Bar 9.1 with the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as the JBL isn't widely available. Added the JBL Bar 9.1, the Vizio Elevate, and the LG SN9YG to Notable Mentions.

  5. Jan 07, 2021: Removed the Samsung HW-Q70R from Notable Mentions to reflect changing availability.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best soundbars for music 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, sorted by their music 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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