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The 6 Best Soundbars For Music - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars For Music
128 Soundbars Tested
  • Store-bought soundbars; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

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 125 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 unique 11.1.4 setup has a room correction feature called Auto EQ that automatically optimizes its audio reproduction based on the acoustic characteristics of your room. With this feature turned on, it offers a neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to many different music genres.

    This soundbar also comes with lots of sound customization features, including bass and treble adjustments as well as a graphic EQ and presets. It gets pretty loud, too, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite tracks without too much compression. It also has a good stereo soundstage performance, so voices and instruments seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location in the sound image.

    Unfortunately, while it has a good build quality overall, the fabric on the bar seems like it could rip or get dirty easily. Also, although this soundbar is the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q950T, it doesn't reproduce as much low-bass out-of-the-box as its predecessor. That said, it can still reproduce enough of the deep thump and rumble in the bass range to be suitable for bass-heavy genres like EDM.

    See our review

  2. Best 5.1 Soundbar For Music: Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module

    8.6
    Music
    Channels
    5.1.2

    The best soundbar for music with a 5.1 setup that we've tested is the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. This premium soundbar uses Bose's PhaseGuide technology to beam sound throughout your room, resulting in a wide and immersive-sounding soundstage. It also gets pretty loud, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite tunes without degrading audio quality.

    Its ADAPTiQ room correction feature automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's acoustics. With this feature on, it has a neutral, balanced sound profile with a touch of extra punch in the bass range. As a result, it's suitable for listening to lots of different types of music, and you can even customize its sound with its bass and treble adjustments.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't have an EQ, which might disappoint users who want more control over the bar's sound. It also doesn't support DTS content. However, if you want a versatile bar with an excellent music performance, it's a solid choice.

    See our review

  3. Alternative With Better Surround Performance: Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers

    Channels
    5.1.2

    If you want a 5.1 soundbar with a better surrounds performance, consider the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers instead. While this soundbar isn't as well-built and doesn't have as impressive of a soundstage as the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module, it offers a better surrounds performance for 5.1 music. It also comes with a room correction feature called TruePlay, though it's only available through the app on compatible iOS devices. Its default sound profile is a bit bright and lacks some bass, but you can easily use its bass and treble adjustments to get a more neutral sound. However, there's no EQ available.

    If you want a better-built bar with a better soundstage, check out the Bose. Consider the Sonos if you want a bar with a better surrounds performance.

    See our review

  4. Best Small Soundbar For Music: Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

    7.4
    Music
    Channels
    5.0

    The best small soundbar for music we've tested is 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.

    Using a compatible iOS device, you can use the TruePlay room correction feature to optimize audio based on your room's unique acoustics. Its default sound profile is pretty neutral, making it suitable for most music genres, though there's some extra punch in the bass range that can slightly muddy vocals and lead instruments. You can always use its bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound, though.

    Unfortunately, this small bar struggles to reproduce the low thump and rumble in the bass found with bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. However, you can always purchase a compatible subwoofer to add to your setup if you prefer.

    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 we've tested. This wallet-friendly 5.1 setup has a neutral default sound profile suitable for many different kinds of audio content. Thanks to its dedicated subwoofer, it can accurately reproduce the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM, too.

    This setup comes with some sound enhancement features to help you customize it, including EQ presets as well as bass and treble adjustments. It also gets pretty loud, and there isn't a lot of compression when you push the bar to max volume. It even comes with two discrete satellite speakers to enhance your surround sound listening experience.

    Unfortunately, this setup lacks more premium sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ and room correction. Also, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, so you can't use it for Dolby Atmos Music. However, it still offers a versatile performance that can please many different listeners.

    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. 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. 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-Q900A: The Samsung HW-Q900A is a 7.1.2 setup with lots of sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ and presets as well as a room correction feature. However, it lacks some low-bass on its 'Standard' preset. 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 SP11RA: The LG SP11RA is a 7.1.4 setup with a slightly boomy but otherwise neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. While it has room correction and EQ presets, it lacks a full graphic EQ. 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 with a room correction feature and 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
  • 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
  • Vizio M Series M512a-H6: The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is a 5.1.2 setup with a neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. However, its soundstage isn't as impressive as some of the other bars we've tested. See our review
  • Vizio Elevate: The Vizio Elevate has an impressive soundstage performance thanks to its unique design with sides that rotate upwards to create a more immersive sound. That said, its bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box may not be ideal for all listeners. See our review
  • Bose Smart Soundbar 900: The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is an impressive standalone bar with a wide, immersive-sounding soundstage. It doesn't reproduce a very extended low-bass on its own, but you can add on a dedicated subwoofer if you want. See our review
  • Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module: The Bose Smart Soundbar 700 with Speakers + Bass Module is an excellent choice for listening to music with a wide, immersive-sounding soundstage. However, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content like the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. 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.

  2. Nov 02, 2021: Added the Bose Soundbar 900 to Notable Mentions.

  3. Sep 03, 2021: In Notable Mentions, replaced the Samsung HW-Q900T with the next-generation Samsung HW-Q900A and the LG SN11RG with the next generation LG SP11RA. Added the Vizio Elevate and the Vizio M Series M512a-H6 to Notable Mentions.

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

  5. 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.

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.

Discussions