Picture quality has historically always been the most important characteristic of a TV. It doesn't matter if you're a movie enthusiast or a sports fan; image quality is the first priority when choosing a TV. However, no home entertainment system can deliver an extraordinary experience without proper sound quality. Just like in a movie theater or a stadium, sound plays an important role in immersing the audience in the action. Although TVs don't have the most complete sound systems, there has been significant progress in that area. Modern TVs can get loud, have decent bass, and deliver clear and understandable dialogue. If, however, you want the best sound to accompany your great TV, we suggest that you buy a dedicated sound system or a soundbar (see our recommendations for the best soundbars).
We've tested more than 70 TVs and below are our recommendations for the TVs with the best sound you can buy. See also our recommendations for the best TVs, the best outdoor TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The LG E9 OLED is the TV with best sound that we've tested so far. It can get fairly loud thanks to its embedded soundbar and can deliver a decent amount of body and punch to its bass. However, there's no thump or rumble so it can't deliver the experience of a movie theater. Dialogue, however, is clear and understandable even at higher volumes, which is great for open spaces.
Like all OLEDs, it has excellent picture quality with wide viewing angles. It delivers perfect blacks in a dark room, so watching movies is a remarkable experience. HDR content is displayed full of rich, saturated colors and highlights that pop, thanks to the wide color gamut and decent HDR peak brightness. Motion handling is excellent thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time, and gamers should appreciate the remarkably low input lag and support for HDMI Forum variable refresh rate (VRR) for nearly tear-free gaming experiences.
Unfortunately, just like all OLEDs, this TV has the risk of permanent burn-in. It's unlikely that this will be an issue for most people who watch normal, varied content, though. On the upside, thee TV is equipped with support for HDMI 2.1 which currently doesn't add much but makes the TV future-proof. Overall, it's a remarkable TV delivers excellent performance and good sound quality.
If you prefer a TV with much better out-of-the-box color accuracy so you don't have to get it calibrated, the LG CX is a great alternative. It performs very similarly to the LG E9 OLED, although the built-in speaker is a bit better on the E9. The CX still has a good frequency response and okay distortion performance, so it's good enough for watching TV shows. Like most OLED TVs, it has an infinite contrast ratio, perfect black uniformity, and very wide viewing angles. Even though it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, it has outstanding reflection handling if you want to place it in a bright room. It's also future-proof, as it has four HDMI 2.1 slots, allowing it to display 4k @ 120Hz.
If you want the best sounding OLED TV we've tested, you can't go wrong with the E9, but if out-of-the-box color accuracy is important to you, consider the CX.
The best sounding LED TV we've tested so far is the Samsung Q80T QLED. It's an impressive overall TV that doesn't have the burn-in risk associated with the OLEDs, and it should please people for any type of use.
This TV has a decent frequency response, better than any other Samsung TV we've tested. Its bass gets low enough for some rumble, it produces clear dialogue, and it can get fairly loud. It also has a room correction feature that adjusts the sound according to the room's acoustics. This TV delivers a great overall picture quality with its great wide color gamut, excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, and very good brightness. It has a VA panel that's able to display deep blacks, but not as deep as other VAs since it has an 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer to improve its viewing angles. Luckily, it has a full-array local dimming feature that further deepens any blacks.
Unfortunately, it has some uniformity issues as the corners of the screen appear darker, but this could vary from unit to unit. If you're a gamer, you should be happy to know it has an excellent response time, VRR support, and incredibly low input lag. Overall, this TV is a great choice for any use, making it the LED TV with the best sound we've tested so far.
If you're looking for the best TV for sound quality at a cheaper price, check out the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019. Its input lag isn't as low as the Samsung Q80T QLED and it doesn't support any VRR technology, but it has a much wider color gamut and decent HDR peak brightness, so HDR content looks great on this TV. It has an okay frequency response and it can't produce much bass, but it has almost no total harmonic distortion at moderate listening levels. This TV has an excellent contrast ratio, but at the cost of narrow viewing angles, and it has a very quick response time, so fast-moving content looks smooth. Unfortunately, you can't download any extra apps besides the ones it comes with, but luckily, you can cast anything you want onto the TV.
If you want the best LED TV with good built-in speakers, check out the Samsung, but if you're on a tighter budget, the Vizio is a good choice too.
The best sounding TV in the budget category is the Samsung RU7100. You won't get the perfect blacks you get on an OLED or the high peak brightness you'll find on other LEDs. This is an okay TV overall, with decent picture quality.
This TV has alright sound quality; it can get fairly loud, and it's okay for most uses. Unfortunately, just like most TVs, it lacks thump or rumble in the sub-bass range and a bit of punch to its bass. On the upside, dialogue is well-balanced and clear. It has a high native contrast ratio and can deliver deep blacks in a dark room, but lacks a local dimming feature to further improve the quality. It can't get very bright and it has just okay reflection handling, so it's more suitable for an average-lit room. It has a remarkably low input lag, great for gaming, but motion isn't as crisp as on higher-end models which might disappoint sports fans.
Unfortunately, this TV has poor viewing angles and you have to sit straight in front to enjoy the most accurate picture, so it isn't your best choice for watching the big game with a group of friends. Overall, it's a decent budget TV, making it the best TV for sound quality in the budget category.
06/23/2020: Replaced the Samsung Q80R with the Q80T, the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 with the Quantum 2019, and the LG C9 with the CX. Updated notable mentions.
04/24/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
01/06/2020: Replaced the LG E8 OLED with the LG E9 OLED and the LG C8 OLED with the LG C9 OLED.
10/31/2019: Replaced Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and the Samsung NU6900 with the Samsung RU7100.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best sounding TVs to buy for most people with different tastes. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs with their sound performance. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. Keep in mind that no TV can deliver the sound quality of a dedicated sound system or a soundbar.