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 25 soundbars and below are our recommendations for the best soundbars for music in 2019. See also 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 we’ve tested so far is the Samsung HW-Q90R. This 7.1.4 setup has a great stereo frequency response with an amazing bass performance thanks to the dedicated wireless subwoofer. Its sound profile is neutral and very well-balanced, making it suitable for a wide variety of music genres. The sub is great for recreating the deep thump and rumble of bass, but it won’t drown out vocals.
This high-end soundbar supports wireless playback thanks to its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility, which is great. However, it doesn’t have Chromecast or Apple AirPlay built-in. On the upside, you can easily EQ the sound to your liking and adjust the level of bass coming from the subwoofer. This soundbar also gets very loud and won’t compress much at max volume, which is great for crowded rooms in parties.
Although it’s one of the best soundbars we’ve tested, it doesn’t have a traditional audio jack where you can plug in a 3.5mm AUX cable, unlike the Vizio SB36512-F6. However, if you’re only looking for a soundbar for music and don’t need the satellites for movies, we suggest taking a look at the slightly less expensive Samsung HW-Q80R and Samsung HW-Q60R. That being said, the Q90R is a great option for music if you can afford it, and is versatile for all uses.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable than the Samsung HW-Q90R that'll still offer great audio quality on top of staying versatile for other uses, then get the Vizio SB36512-F6. It doesn’t have as wide a soundstage as the Samsung and isn’t as well-built, but it offers a surprisingly great performance for the price. It has a great audio reproduction and will reproduce your favorite songs with high fidelity. Its wireless subwoofer offers great bass thump and rumble, although some people may hear port noise when pushing the system to its limits. On the upside, it’s very versatile as it has Chromecast built-in and has a 3.5 audio jack to plug in an AUX cable, on top of being Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible.
Get the Samsung if you want the better audio quality for music and care for a more premium setup, but if you want a good performance to price ratio, then get the Vizio.
The best standalone soundbar for music we’ve tested so far is the Bose Soundbar 700. It can be easily upgraded with a wireless subwoofer for better bass performance, but if you lack the space for it, the bar by itself still offers decent performance. It has a well-balanced and neutral sound profile, which is great for a wide variety of music genres. However, it might lack a bit of sub-bass, meaning it will sound a bit bright on bass-heavy content.
This is one of the better-built soundbars we’ve reviewed so far. It has a sleek and very robust design, with a nice glass panel on the top. It also has side-firing speakers that aim to reflect sound off the walls, back at the listener, making their soundstage wider than tower speakers from a traditional home theater. However, some may feel like it’s overdone and too unnatural. On the upside, it supports many wireless playback options, like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and even Apple AirPlay.
Unfortunately, like most recent soundbars, it doesn’t have a 3.5mm for an AUX cable for you to quickly change between devices at a party without going through its wireless pairing procedure. Nevertheless, it's a good choice for music, especially since you can push the bar at a high volume without affecting the audio quality. It also has a great room correction feature that will adapt the audio reproduction to your room.
If you don’t have a lot of room for a soundbar and would like something compact without sacrificing on sound quality, then get the Sonos Beam. It doesn’t support streaming via Bluetooth and compresses a bit more than the Bose Soundbar 700 when playing at max volume, but it's noticeably smaller and easier to fit in your home setup. It has a neutral and well-balanced sound profile, but lacks sub-bass without a wireless subwoofer, which can be bought separately if needed. The bar’s soundstage is also quite impressive, as it's almost as large as home theater tower speakers, without sounding too diffused. It also has a lot of sound enhancement features, including room correction, which adapts the performance to your room.
Get the Bose if you listen to music at high volume and care about having clean sound without compression, but if space is an issue, get the Sonos.
The best budget soundbar for music we’ve reviewed so far is the Yamaha YAS-207. It comes with a wireless subwoofer that offers decent bass performance, especially for the price. The rest of the response is flat and accurate. It also has a few sound enhancement features, which is nice, but it doesn’t have any dedicated EQ. Also, its soundstage isn’t the widest, though most people will be satisfied with its overall performance for the price.
This soundbar can get loud enough for most uses and has a 3.5mm audio jack for an AUX cable, which can be useful for those who want a quick and wired connection. You can also connect to it via Bluetooth to stream your favorite music wirelessly.
Unfortunately, this soundbar is covered by a cheap-looking mesh, which doesn’t give it a very pleasant aesthetic. Its sound quality also can’t be customized to your liking, and there’s some audible compression in the bass range when pushing the bar to its limits, meaning you might not get that desired thump and rumble if you’re having a party. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for good performance without breaking the bank, the Yamaha is a pretty decent option for music listeners.
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. 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.