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onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 21, 2022 at 09:57 am
onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.2
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.1
Music
7.1
Movies
Channels
5.1.2

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer is a budget-friendly 5.1.2 bar. It's part of the Walmart brand's lineup, which includes several different budget-friendly soundbars that you can only purchase from the retailer itself. Unlike the brand's 36" 2.1 setup, it comes with a dedicated subwoofer to improve bass reproduction. Compared to its 36" 5.1 setup, it also comes with additional support for Dolby Atmos content. As a result, it's the most premium offering available in the lineup.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar is decent for mixed usage. The bar has a really bass-heavy and dark sound profile right out-of-the-box, but there are some adjustment features to help you customize its sound to your liking. You can balance out the mids, so voices in movies and TV shows are clear and present in the mix. There's also Atmos support, which is great if you watch a lot of movies on streaming platforms. That said, its Atmos performance isn't very impressive, even when compared to other budget-friendly bars. Not all of its features work, either, as its EQ presets can't change the frequency response for a different sound.

Pros
  • Subwoofer level adjustment.
  • Supports Dolby Atmos content.
Cons
  • EQ presets don't change frequency response.
  • No dialogue enhancement mode.
7.2 Dialogue/TV Shows

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar is decent for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. Using its subwoofer level and treble adjustments, you can get an even, neutral response, especially in the mid-range where most voices are reproduced. That means that dialogue is clear and detailed in the mix. Its discrete center helps localize those voices to clear points in the soundstage, too. However, unlike many other budget models, there's no dialogue enhancement mode, which is quite disappointing.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Great center channel performance.
Cons
  • EQ presets don't change frequency response.
  • No dialogue enhancement mode.
7.1 Music

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar is a decent choice for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a really bass-heavy and dark sound that overwhelms vocals in the mix, but you can use its treble and subwoofer level adjustments to customize its sound more to your liking. It gets really loud, so you can crank up the volume for parties. However, there's some compression at its max volume, meaning that audio isn't as clearly reproduced at loud volumes.

Pros
  • Subwoofer level adjustment.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Compression at max volume.
  • EQ presets don't change frequency response.
7.1 Movies

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar is decent for movies. Once you adjust its frequency response, dialogue is clear and present in the mix, so you can hear the characters on your screen. However, since there aren't any surround speakers, its surround performance isn't the most impressive. It's one of the only bars in its price range that offers Atmos support, but its performance doesn't really stand out amongst the competition, since it fails to create a really immersive sound.

Pros
  • Subwoofer level adjustment.
  • Supports Dolby Atmos content.
Cons
  • EQ presets don't change frequency response.
  • No dialogue enhancement mode.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.1 Music
  • 7.1 Movies
  1. Updated Apr 27, 2022: Changed Wi-Fi compatibility from 'Yes' to 'No'. The bar isn't capable of Wi-Fi on its own, and it needs to be connected to the network using an Ethernet cable for Apple AirPlay compatibility.
  2. Updated Apr 21, 2022: Review published.
  3. Updated Apr 14, 2022: Early access published.

Check Price

Black/Grey 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Unavailable
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a pretty stylish design that looks good from your couch. There's a nice grey-colored fabric wrapping around the front, and it's also covering the Atmos drivers on top. However, when you look at it closely, you can see that the top part of the bar doesn't feel very premium. The plastic buttons are cheap-looking and clunky to touch.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar's sub has a simple design, so it fits discreetly into your living room without drawing a lot of attention. It's black, with a melamine build and a plastic bottom.

Design
Style - Satellites
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 41.7" (106.0 cm)
Height 3.5" (9.0 cm)
Depth 5.7" (14.5 cm)

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar is fairly wide, so it doesn't fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV stand. It's also a bit taller than other bars, but still, it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 10.2" (26.0 cm)
Height 13.0" (33.0 cm)
Depth 10.2" (26.0 cm)

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar's sub is roughly the size of a typical desktop computer. It connects to the bar wirelessly, making it easy to place anywhere in your setup. You just need to connect it to a power outlet to use it.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on underside)

On the back of the bar, there are some openings for the inputs and the power cable. On one side, there are some small grooves to help with cable management, which is quite nice. You can also mount it to your wall with the included wall-mounting kit - the holes are located on the underside of the bar.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the sub has a plastic port. You also find the input for the power cable as well as a pairing button.

Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a decent build quality. It seems like the top is made of either melamine or MDF, which doesn't feel very premium, and the plastic buttons seem rather cheap. There's a nice fabric covering the Atmos channels on top, and it also covers the front of the bar. The back and the bottom of the bar are made of plastic. The subwoofer, meanwhile, is mostly made of melamine with a plastic bottom.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.9 m (6.2 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.8 m (6.0 ft)

  • 2x power cables
  • Manuals
  • Mounting plates with 2x screws
  • AUX cable
  • Remotes with 2x AAA batteries
  • Ethernet cable
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable

Sound
7.6
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Standard
Slope
-1.84
Std. Err.
4.85 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
33.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a good stereo frequency response. Right out-of-the-box, it has a dark and bass-heavy sound profile that really emphasizes the punch and thump in the bass range. Voices are still pretty clear in the mix, but there's a little extra boom that carries over into the mid-range where they're reproduced, so they also sound a bit muddy. The recessed treble range causes the dark sound, meaning that higher-pitched voices and instruments like cymbals are dull in the mix. That said, there are subwoofer level and treble adjustments on hand to help you customize its sound.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Standard
Suggested Bass Setting
-6
Suggested Treble Setting
3
Slope
-0.61
Std. Err.
3.09 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
39.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

With its subwoofer level set to '-6' and its treble set to '3', the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer has a good stereo frequency response. Its sound profile is more neutral and balanced, especially in the bass and treble ranges. Vocals are clearly and accurately reproduced thanks to its balanced mids, and you can hear higher-frequency sounds such as cymbals, too. The bass is present and thumpy, but it doesn't overwhelm the other instruments in the mix.

Note: We usually perform the calibration tests with the bass and treble adjustments. However, the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a subwoofer level adjustment instead. The difference? It only adjusts the amount of bass reproduced by the subwoofer, while a bass adjustment feature would control the bass reproduction of the sub, the bar, and the satellites together. You can still get a solid result with the subwoofer level, as seen in the graph above.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
3.61 dB

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a decent stereo soundstage. The soundstage is perceived to be a little wider than the bar itself, but it doesn't have any tricks to make it seem wider than that. On the upside, it has good focus. If you're listening to a recording of an orchestra, for example, each instrument seems to come from an accurate, pinpoint location in the soundstage, matching the spots where each musician would sit in the pit.

7.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
99.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
4.34 dB

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a decent stereo dynamics performance. This bar can get pretty loud, so it can easily fill a large and open living room. However, at its max volume, there's quite a bit of compression present that degrades the quality of your audio. It's better to listen to the bar at average volumes if you want a clean audio reproduction.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.30
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.91

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a great stereo THD performance. At an average listening volume, distortion falls within good limits, so your audio is clean and pure. Like most bars, there's a jump in THD when you push the bar to max volume, especially in the bass range. That said, this isn't an issue if you listen to the bar at moderate volume levels.

8.2
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
-0.14
Std. Err.
2.76 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.1 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.73
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.11

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer has a great center channel performance. Its discrete center channel anchors voices to a pinpoint location in the soundstage, so dialogue is more clearly and accurately reproduced. Its neutral, balanced frequency response, especially in the mids, ensure that voices are clear and detailed, too.

4.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.98
Std. Err.
8.57 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.0 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.40
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.79
7.1 Rears
No

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer has a poor surrounds performance. It uses side-firing drivers built into the bar itself to simulate surround objects (think voices, footsteps, or moving vehicles) in the soundstage. However, these objects don't sound as clear and real as they would with a discrete localization. Audio seems like it's coming from in front of you, rather than from speakers placed all around you. There's a large dip in the treble range, too, so higher-pitched voices are quite dark and dull.

5.4
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
-1.73
Std. Err.
6.04 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
86.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.65
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.86

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer has a disappointing Atmos performance. It uses its two up-firing drivers to bounce sound off the ceiling to create the illusion of height. Dialogue in movies is pretty clear, thanks to the balanced mids, but higher-pitched voices are dark due to the recessed treble.

As for its soundstage, the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar does a decent job replicating height in certain movie scenes. However, sound seems to reach to the sides of the room, and it doesn't extend over your head or behind you. It doesn't seem to immerse you like more premium bars on the market. Sound is pretty quiet, too, so you need to crank up the volume to really get a solid listening experience.

3.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
No
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
Yes
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
Yes
Virtual Surround
No

There aren't a lot of sound enhancement features available, which is pretty typical for bars in this price range. You have a couple of EQ presets available, including 'Standard', 'Music', and 'Movie'. That said, these presets don't actually change the bar's frequency response as shown by the graph here. Also, unlike a lot of other budget-friendly bars, there's no dialogue enhancement mode or auto-volume feature, which is disappointing if you watch a lot of vocal-heavy content and want to control the clarity of dialogue.

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer also has a subwoofer level adjustment feature that lets you control the amount of bass reproduced by the sub. The bar's display reads 'BASS' when you adjust this feature, but the manual specifies that it only controls the subwoofer, not the bar like a true bass adjustment feature would.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
3
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
1

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer has a lot of physical inputs to choose from. You can connect it to your TV using its ARC and HDMI In connections, and there's an Optical port for connecting to older TVs. The Ethernet port lets you connect the bar to the Internet, too, so you can access Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay. The Ethernet cable is included in the box, which is handy.

8.8
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has amazing audio format support via ARC. There's support for the most common surround sound format, Dolby Digital. It can also playback some lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos. Unfortunately, there's no support for DTS, which is found on some Blu-ray discs.

8.7
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
Yes

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has excellent audio format support via Full HDMI In. It supports Dolby Digital surround sound as well as some lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos. That said, there's no support for DTS content.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar supports Dolby Digital content via Optical. It's the most common surround sound format, and you can often find it on Blu-rays and streaming platforms. There's no DTS support, but this format isn't very common on its own.

9.1
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
26 ms
Optical
22 ms
Full HDMI In
-32 ms

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar has a fantastic latency performance. The audio you hear is in sync with the video that you see on your screen, and you don't notice any delays with lip-synching. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can influence latency results, including the TV or the app that you use, so your results can vary.

7.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
Yes

There are a few different ways to wirelessly stream audio to the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. You can stream from your mobile devices to the bar via Bluetooth. The bar isn't capable of Wi-Fi on its own, unfortunately, but you can use the included Ethernet cable to access Apple AirPlay. However, this feature doesn't work if the Ethernet cable isn't connected.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar can passthrough some of the highest quality bandwidth signals. When you use the bar as a hub between two devices, such as your PC and your TV, text on the screen is clear and crisp. That said, there's no Dolby Vision Passthrough support and it can't passthrough 4k @ 120 Hz, either.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The sub connects to the bar wirelessly. You just need to plug it into a power outlet to get it to work.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

There's a display on the front of the bar, beneath the fabric. It shows you the audio format that's being played as well as the settings as you change them. However, it can be hard to read the display when there are a lot of lights on in the room. Unfortunately, there's no way to change the brightness.

There's also a small red light located near the screen that shows whether or not the bar is connected to the Internet. It flashes for fifteen minutes when there's no connection, and then it turns off. If the included Ethernet cable is connected and the light is still flashing, that means that the bar needs a firmware update. It updates automatically, though.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar, there are some buttons. You can use them to power the bar on/off, change the input, adjust the volume, and play and pause your audio.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer's remote is simple and lets you control the bar's features. That said, it's not a universal remote, so it can't be used to control your TV.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Additional Features
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts As A Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No
Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar goes into standby mode after ten minutes of inactivity. It also supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control some of the bar's basic features.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer is available in a Black variant with Grey fabric. You can see the label for the tested model here.

If you come across another version of the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer, let us know in the discussions below so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer is a budget-friendly 5.1.2 setup. It's one of the few models in its price range with support for Dolby Atmos content, which is nice. That said, it lacks a lot of features, even when compared to other price-friendly models. For example, you can't enhance its dialogue, and its EQ presets don't change the frequency response, either, which is quite disappointing. Its Atmos performance isn't quite as good as the Polk Audio Signa S4 or the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6, either.

See also our recommendations for the best soundbars under $500, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best budget soundbars.

Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. The Samsung is an 11.1.4 setup with discrete satellites and offers better surround and Atmos performances. Its soundstage is better, too, and it supports more sound enhancement features. Unlike the onn, there's even DTS support.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. The Vizio is a 5.1.2 setup with discrete satellites, and it has better surround and Atmos performances. Its soundstage is better, too, and unlike the onn, it has DTS support.

Vizio M Series M51ax-J6

The Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. They're both affordable 5.1.2 setups with Atmos support, but the Vizio soundbar's Atmos performance is better. The Vizio comes with discrete satellites for a better surround sound, too. There are also more sound enhancement features available and DTS support, which the onn lacks.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. The Sonos is a bit different, as it's a 5.0.2 standalone bar with a more premium design that you can upgrade with a sub and satellites down the line. Still, it has better soundstage, surround, and Atmos performances. There are more sound enhancement features available, too, and DTS support. It can't reproduce as much bass on its own compared to the onn.

LG SP8YA

The LG SP8YA is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar for most uses. The LG is a 3.1.2 setup with more sound enhancement features, including room correction. It gets louder, and unlike the onn, it has DTS support. Also, its default sound is more neutral than the onn's bass-heavy sound.

LG SP9YA

The LG SP9YA is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. They're both 5.1.2 setups with Atmos support, but the LG is more versatile. It's better-built with a better stereo soundstage. There are more sound enhancement features available, too, and DTS support. It also has a more neutral sound out-of-the-box compared to the onn.

Vizio SB36512-F6

The Vizio SB36512-F6 is better than the onn. 42" 5.1. 2. Dolby Atmos Soundbar. They're both budget-friendly 5.1.2 setups, but the Vizio offers better surround and Atmos performances. It comes with discrete satellites, unlike the onn, and there are more sound enhancement features available. Also, it can reproduce a more extended low-bass to help you feel the rumble in action-packed movies and bass-heavy music.

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