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 140 soundbars, and below are our recommendations. 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.
The best soundbar for music that we've tested is the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. Compared to other premium bars on the market, this soundbar has an amazing stereo soundstage, so you feel immersed in your favorite songs from all angles. Sound reaches out to the walls of your room, so it seems like you're right in the center of a concert. It comes with a lot of sound enhancement features that you find with most premium setups, including a room correction feature to optimize audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics, which Bose calls ADAPTiQ.
This soundbar offers a neutral sound profile suitable for listening to everything from classical music to EDM. With its balanced mids, voices and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and with detail. Its subwoofer adds a touch of extra punch in the bass range, so you feel the energy in genres like hip-hop without overwhelming the other instruments in the mix. While there are bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound, there isn't a graphic EQ to give you control across the range. If you want a premium bar with more customization features, check out the Samsung HW-Q950A—though its soundstage isn't as impressive as the Bose.
The Bose is quite versatile, with support for lots of different audio formats so you can get an immersive sound while watching concerts on DVDs and Blu-rays. Since there's Dolby Atmos support, you can take advantage of music mixed in Dolby Atmos that's available through streaming services but can't playback DTS content. The Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers is also a solid alternative, with DTS support that's great if you're already a fan of the Sonos ecosystem—but again, its soundstage isn't as good as the Bose.
The Samsung HW-Q900A is a more affordable alternative that still offers an impressive performance with music. It's a 7.1.2 setup, and since it doesn't come with satellites, it's a great option if you don't have a lot of space in your living room. It offers the same selection of sound enhancement features that you get with more premium models like the Samsung HW-Q950A, including a 7-band graphic EQ and presets to customize its sound. Its room correction feature, called Auto EQ, automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics for a more consistent sound, too.
Out-of-the-box, the bar's sound is pretty neutral, especially in the mids, where most voices and lead instruments are reproduced. Its dedicated sub offers an extended low-bass, but it's a bit quiet in its default setup, though you can set its subwoofer level to '3' to get similar performance to our top picks. It's a versatile bar with support for audio formats like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital for concert-lovers and music fans who want to make the most of premium offerings through streaming services. That said, its performance with multichannel content isn't as impressive as our top picks, nor is its soundstage, so you don't get the same top-of-the-line immersive feel.
The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a wallet-friendly option that doesn't offer as many premium features as our top picks but does a great job with music. It's a 5.1.2 setup with a dedicated subwoofer that packs a little extra punch in the bass range, ensuring you feel the excitement in bass-centric genres like hip-hop. Its mids are balanced and neutral, so voices and lead instruments are present and detailed in the mix, making it suitable for lots of different music genres.
Unlike our top picks, you won't find a room correction feature available with this soundbar, so it sounds different depending on the room you're in. Fortunately, there are still bass and treble adjustments on hand to help you set its sound to your liking, as well as a couple of EQ presets. The bar also supports Dolby Atmos content, and the included satellites help to create a more clear and real experience when you listen to multichannel content like Dolby Atmos Music found on streaming services. Its soundstage is great, so you get an immersive sound at a wallet-friendly price—though it's still not quite as wide and detailed as the Bose's soundstage.
The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is a solid pick if you're shopping on a tight budget. It's a 5.1 setup that's quite simple but still does a very good job with music. Thanks to its balanced mids, it reproduces clear and accurate vocals and lead instruments, and its dedicated subwoofer ensures that you feel the punch and rumble in the bass. Its neutral sound makes it suitable for listening to everything from classical music to rock to hip-hop. You get a pretty standard selection of sound enhancement features for its budget price point. You won't find a graphic EQ or a room correction feature, but there are bass and treble adjustments that give you some control over its sound.
It supports 5.1 surround sound content, meaning you can watch concerts mixed in Dolby Digital, but there's no support for Dolby Atmos to help you take advantage of top-of-the-line streaming service offerings. Overall, it's just not as versatile as our top picks, but it's still suitable if you just want a plug-and-play bar to enjoy music at a budget-friendly price.
If you don't have a lot of space in your living room, you can still get a solid listening experience thanks to the best small soundbar for music we've tested, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). This well-built 5.0 setup has a premium design, and its small size makes it easy to add to your existing setup. Despite its compact design, it has a wide soundstage thanks to its side-firing speakers that beam sound throughout your room, immersing you in your favorite music from all angles. Using a compatible iOS device, you can use the room correction feature to optimize audio based on your room's unique acoustics.
Its default sound profile is pretty neutral, especially in the mids where most instruments are reproduced, making it suitable for most music genres. You can always use its bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound, but since it lacks a dedicated sub, you don't get the low thump and rumble in the bass found with bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. If you want to improve its bass reproduction, you can always add a separate subwoofer from Sonos, but it will take up a little more space in your room.
Jun 21, 2022: Restructured the article for greater clarity and consistency.
Apr 22, 2022: For clarity, we changed the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 full setup to the 'Best Plug-And-Play' and the Samsung HW-Q950A to the 'Best Customizable'. It gives a better idea of the difference between the two setups, as the Bose offers a better soundstage and a better stereo frequency response, but the Samsung has more customization features. Updated Notable Mentions.
Feb 21, 2022: Added the Klipsch Cinema 1200 as 'Best For Bass'. Minor updates to the text.
Dec 23, 2021: Replaced the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module with the next generation Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. Replaced the Sonos Beam with the next generation Sonos Beam (Gen 2). Added the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 to Notable Mentions.
Nov 02, 2021: Added the Bose Soundbar 900 to Notable Mentions.
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.