The 6 Best Soundbars For Music - Summer 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars For Music
111 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 100 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 9.1.4 soundbar has a premium feel, and it comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers to help create a more immersive listening experience. Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments as well as its graphic EQ and presets, you can easily customize this soundbar to your liking.

    This soundbar comes with an Auto EQ room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room. With this feature turned on, its sound profile is neutral and balanced, making it suitable for listening to lots of different music genres. It also gets quite loud, and there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume.

    Unfortunately, while this soundbar has a good overall build quality, its fabric coverings seem like they could rip or get dirty easily. Also, its soundstage performance isn't quite as impressive as some of the other soundbars we've tested, like the Bose Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module. That said, this soundbar is still a great choice for music, and its versatile overall performance can please lots of different types of listeners.

    See our review

  2. Best 5.1 Soundbar For Music: Bose 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 Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module. While the standalone Bose 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 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 aren't able to 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 soundbar has a very compact design that makes it easy to fit into your existing setup. Despite its small size, it still gets pretty loud, which is handy for listeners who like to crank up the volume.

    With its room correction feature on, this soundbar offers a well-balanced sound profile with a touch of extra brightness. There are even bass and treble adjustments available so you can customize its sound. Also, thanks to its side-firing speakers, its soundstage is perceived to be much wider than the bar itself.

    Unfortunately, since it lacks a dedicated subwoofer, this bar struggles to reproduce an extended low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like to feel the deep rumble in bass-heavy music like EDM. It doesn't come with any EQ presets or a full graphic EQ, either, which can be a bit limiting for users who really like to customize its sound. However, if you want to improve your music listening experience without taking up a lot of space, it's still a solid choice.

    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-Q900T: The Samsung HW-Q900T is a versatile, customizable 7.1.2 setup, but it has more compression artifacts at max volume than the Samsung HW-Q950T. 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 SN11RG: The LG SN11RG is a 7.1.4 setup with lots of sound enhancement features, but its bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box may not be ideal for all listeners. 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

Recent Updates

  1. Jul 06, 2021: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q950T with the next-generation Samsung HW-Q950A. Replaced the Sonos Arc full setup with the Bose 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. Nov 03, 2020: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q90R with the Samsung HW-Q950T in the Best Soundbar For Music category. Added the Vizio V Series V51-H6 and the Samsung HW-Q900T as 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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