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 170 soundbars, and below are our recommendations. Also, 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 Samsung HW-Q990C is the best soundbar for music that we've tested. Whether you like the classics or bass-heavy genres like EDM, this soundbar shines thanks to its impressive sound quality. It's the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q990B, and you notice an improved sound quality overall, with a more balanced and controlled sound, especially in the bass range. The dedicated sub can reproduce that deep thump and rumble that brings genres like EDM and hip-hop to life without muddying the vocals and lead instruments in the mid-range. The result is a clean, clear sound suitable for different audio content, especially music.
Like most premium bars on the market, it boasts a room correction feature, so audio reproduction is optimized based on your room's unique acoustics. This bar stands out from the crowd thanks to its wide array of customization tools—bass and treble adjustments and a 7-band graphic EQ that lets you switch up its sound however you like. It's versatile enough to offer a stand-out performance with television and movies, too, and it's a great choice for more immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos Music, which you find on platforms like Apple Music.
With a wide and immersive sound, audio stretches into the space around your living room, making you feel like you're in the middle of a concert. The satellites bring a more clear and real feel to instruments in the space around you. If you want bars with even more immersive stereo soundstages, you can check out two other premium options, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module and the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. They're both great alternatives, especially if you already own audio products in these manufacturers' ecosystems—however, they aren't as customizable as the Samsung soundbar since they lack graphic EQs.
The Samsung HW-Q930B is a great alternative if you want a standout music performance at a more affordable price. This bar is a great value buy, especially since it offers many of the same functions and features as the more premium Samsung HW-Q990C. It has a great sound quality, so voices and instruments reproduce accurately right out of the box. The dedicated sub isn't as stylish as the more premium model, but it can still bring all the thump and rumble in the low-bass. Plus, with a graphic EQ and bass and treble adjustments, you have no trouble customizing the bar's sound.
So, what's the difference between the two models? First, the Q930B is a 9.1.4 setup with two fewer surround channels than the 11.1.4 Q990C. Also, its sound quality isn't quite as impressive right out of the box. There's a little more boom in the bass range, which more astute audiophiles notice running into the mids, so voices and lead instruments are a bit more muddied. The bar's customization tools give you a more even sound, but it's not ideal for everyone. The Q990C offers the best plug-and-play performance, so it's worth a look. If you're a more casual listener looking for a more affordable alternative, you may find that the Q930B is a better value overall.
The Samsung HW-Q800B is another great pick for music available at a wallet-friendly price. Plus, it's a great alternative if you don't have space for a bar with rear satellites in your living room. This well-built 5.1.2 soundbar offers a balanced sound with stereo content that's similar to the Samsung HW-Q930B. Voices and lead instruments clearly and accurately reproduce, and its dedicated sub brings plenty of rumble for bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. As with Samsung's other top-of-the-line models, the graphic EQ available in its app lets you customize its performance.
You can stream music from your phone to the bar through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Apple AirPlay. Since it gets plenty loud, you don't have any trouble filling your room with your favorite tunes, meaning you can rock out all day long. If you want to switch it up and watch a concert DVD, you're in luck—this bar's flexible performance makes it a good choice for TV shows and movies, too. It can playback 5.1 surround formats and Dolby Atmos, which is great for movie lovers. However, without satellites, you don't get the same immersive feel. That said, if you're low on space or don't watch many movies, you may find it's the better value overall.
The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is an even more wallet-friendly option for music lovers. Right out-of-the-box, you get a clear and detailed audio reproduction that's great for listening to everything from rock to pop to EDM to classical music. Voices and lead instruments reproduce accurately, and the dedicated sub brings the rumble in the low-bass. Crank up the volume to enjoy your favorite songs as loud as you want. It doesn't have a graphic EQ like the Samsung HW-Q800B, but you can still adjust its bass and treble to get the best possible sound.
This bar is a great fit if you want to use your soundbar for more than just listening to music. Since it comes with satellites, it offers an immersive sound with surround content, and it also supports Dolby Atmos, both commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays. You can check out the similarly-priced Klipsch Cinema 800 if you don't watch many movies. It's a good alternative without satellites, meaning it's better suited for smaller rooms. Of course, its surround sound isn't as good as the Vizio, so it's not quite as versatile.
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 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.
If you want a versatile bar, you're in luck. Despite its budget-friendly price, you still get satellites with the bar. If you watch concerts mixed in Dolby Digital, you get a pretty immersive sound for the price, so instruments seem to come from pinpoint locations in the space around you. Unlike the Vizio M Series M512a-H6, there's no Dolby Atmos support, which is disappointing if you want to take advantage of Dolby Atmos Music or movies mixed in this format.
It's not as versatile as our top picks, but it's still suitable if you want a plug-and-play bar to enjoy music at a budget-friendly price. For a similar price, you can even check out the Samsung HW-B550, a great choice for music that comes without satellites, meaning it doesn't perform as well for movies.
Whether in a small room or a tight apartment, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a great pick that won't take up a lot of space. It has the same compact design as the original Sonos Beam, measuring under 26 inches in width, with a sleek and premium style that blends in easily with your decor. Compared to its predecessor, it supports Dolby Atmos content frequently found on streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs. Using psychoacoustic principles, it stretches sound well past the edges of the bar itself, so you get a wide and immersive-sounding experience with your audio, just like if you were seated right in the middle of the action.
Like the premium Sonos Arc, this soundbar has many customization tools, including a TruePlay room correction feature that adjusts audio output based on your room's acoustics. Voices and lead instruments are clear right out of the box, but its bass and treble adjustments give you extra control over its sound. Bass lovers can add on a separate sub if they want, and Sonos sells compatible satellites, too—the full Sonos Beam (Gen 2) with Sub Mini + One SL Speakers is a great option if you have space for the extra components. Of course, compared to the Arc, this smaller soundbar doesn't get quite as loud and can't reproduce as much height in the soundstage. That said, it's still a solid pick overall.
May 16, 2023: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q990B with the next generation Samsung HW-Q990C.
Apr 14, 2023: Confirmed product picks. Minor text updates for accuracy.
Feb 14, 2023: The Samsung HW-Q900A's price rose, so we replaced it with the Samsung HW-Q800B as our 'Best Mid-Range' pick.
Dec 16, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Oct 18, 2022: Replaced the LG SP9YA with the Samsung HW-Q900A.
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.