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The 6 Best Soundbars For Music - Winter 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars For Music

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 160 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.


  1. Best Soundbar For Music

    The best soundbar for music that we've tested is the Samsung HW-Q990B. It's a top-of-the-line bar with versatile overall performance and shines when it comes to reproducing your favorite songs. There are many customization tools, including a room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. With it on, its frequency response is quite balanced, especially in the mids. Voices and lead instruments are clear and detailed in the mix, and its dedicated sub brings the rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM. Whether you're listening to vocal-centric folk tunes, punchy hip-hop songs, or classical tracks, the bar does a great job.

    If you prefer a different sound, you're also in luck. The bar has standard bass and treble adjustments as well as a 7-band graphic EQ, which lets you control its frequency response across the range. You can add more bass or brighten up the treble, for example. Since it's incredibly versatile, it's a solid choice for movies. There's Dolby Atmos support, meaning you can take advantage of movies mixed in this format, as well as Dolby Atmos Music found with certain streaming services. If you want bars with even more immersive 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.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Soundbar For Music

    If you're looking for a premium soundbar for music at a more affordable price, check out the Samsung HW-Q930B. It's similar to the Samsung HW-Q990B in many respects, and while it doesn't come with as many features, some will find that it's a better value overall. As soon as you plug it in, you get a neutral, balanced response, meaning that voices and instruments are clearly and accurately reproduced. The sub brings plenty of thump in the bass, meaning you can enjoy everything from bass-heavy hip-hop to more classical music. It's versatile, so you can even use it to enjoy movies and concert DVDs. Its Atmos performance is pretty similar to the Q990B overall.

    Of course, this bar doesn't have as many options as Samsung's top-of-the-line model. For example, you don't find the Auto EQ feature that optimizes the subwoofer's output based on your room's acoustics. Still, you get access to SpaceFit Sound, which is a similar room correction tool that's designed to customize the bar's audio reproduction. Also, there are bass and treble adjustments as well as a graphic EQ, allowing you to control the bar's sound across the range. It's not the most premium option on the market. However, it's still a good value and is suitable for listening to many different music genres, as well as other audio content like movies.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Soundbar For Music

    The Samsung HW-Q900A is the best mid-range soundbar for music we've tested. This 7.1.2 setup is a great alternative if you don't have space in your setup for rear satellites, and it still provides an immersive listening experience with the standalone bar and subwoofer. Right out of the box, voices and lead instruments are reproduced with great accuracy and detail. Its bass is extended enough to bring the thump and rumble in bass-centric genres like EDM and hip-hop. It gets plenty loud, so you can crank up the volume to rock out to your favorite tunes without degrading the quality of your audio.

    Thanks to its Auto EQ feature, this soundbar automatically calibrates its output based on your room's unique acoustics for the best possible sound. Like other Samsung models on the market, you have access to plenty of customization tools to ensure that your audio sounds just how you want it— there's a graphic EQ, as well as bass and treble adjustments. Streaming music from your phone is simple, too, thanks to its Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2 support. With built-in Alexa capabilities, you can switch to the next song or change albums with only the sound of your voice, which is handy.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Soundbar For Music

    The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is an even more wallet-friendly option. This 5.1.2 setup offers versatile performance, and it's great for music, too. Its neutral, balanced sound right out of the box means that voices and lead instruments in all your favorite albums reproduce with clarity. Its dedicated subwoofer 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 right out of the box. Unlike the Samsung HW-Q900A, you won't find a room correction feature available with this soundbar. That means that it sounds a little different depending on the room you're in. There's no graphic EQ, either.

    That said, this bar is still pretty customizable. You can use its bass and treble adjustments to make up for the lack of a room correction feature, and there are also some EQ presets on hand. Since it comes with satellites, it's a good pick for movie lovers, and you get a clear and real experience when you listen to multichannel content like Dolby Atmos Music found on streaming services. If you don't watch many movies, you can also check out the similarly-priced Klipsch Cinema 700. It's a good alternative without satellites, so 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.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Soundbar For Music

    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.

    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, though, which is disappointing if you want to take advantage of Dolby Atmos Music or movies mixed in this format. Overall, 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.

    See our review

  6. Best Small Soundbar For Music

    Whether you're 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, however, it adds support for 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 comes with lots of 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.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module: The Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module is a premium setup with an immersive sound right out of the box. It's the predecessor to the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module, and it doesn't support Dolby Atmos. It's fine if you don't watch many movies, but the Samsung HW-Q990B is more versatile overall. See our review
  • Klipsch Cinema 800: The Klipsch Cinema 800 is a 3.1 setup that's not as well-built as the Samsung HW-Q900A. However, it's still a great choice for music, with a dedicated sub that brings a lot of extra rumble in the bass. It doesn't have room correction, though. See our review
  • Samsung HW-A450: The Samsung HW-A450 is a budget-friendly 2.1 setup that offers more customization tools than the Vizio V Series V51-H6, including a graphic EQ. It doesn't have a very extended low-bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy genres. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 16, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.

  2. Oct 18, 2022: Replaced the LG SP9YA with the Samsung HW-Q900A.

  3. Aug 19, 2022: Replaced the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with the new Samsung HW-Q990B as 'Best Soundbar'. Added the Samsung HW-Q930B as 'Best Upper Mid-Range'. Replaced the Samsung HW-Q900A with the LG SP9YA as 'Best Mid-Range' since the Samsung's price rose.

  4. Jun 21, 2022: Restructured the article for greater clarity and consistency.

  5. 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.

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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