What’s the best Atmos soundbar for that cinematic sound?
Best Dolby Atmos soundbar: A soundbar is a convenient solution to the problem of timid TV sound, but if you want to go a step further and create a cinematic experience at home, you may want to consider a Dolby Atmos soundbar
A Dolby Atmos soundbar is similar to any other, except for one main difference. As well as featuring speakers that fire sound towards the listener, like a conventional unit, they also feature upward-firing speakers that shoot audio towards the ceiling to create a sense of height.
This is a way of producing a soundstage that’s more immersive and spacious than a ‘normal’ soundbar. For best results, you’d need rear speakers to truly create an enveloping audio experience.
There are now more Dolby Atmos soundbars than ever as they grow in popularity, and they’re becoming more affordable. And unlike a surround sound package, they take up less space and require fewer trailing cables due to wireless connectivity.
Not every Atmos soundbar is created equal, with some offering a true immersive mix while others, through the wizardry of audio processing, can create a virtual sense of space. Here are the options we’ve rated as the best:
- Best overall: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
- Best all-in-one: Samsung HW-Q90R
- Best Hi-Res audio: Sony HT-ST5000
- Best compact: Sony HT-X8500
- Best stylish: Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
- Best gaming: Samsung HW-Q70R
- Best affordable Atmos system: VIZIO SB36512-F6
- Best for bass: LG SL9YG
- Best for smarts: LG SL8YG
- Best for setup: Panasonic SC-HTB900
For more info on those options read below for more detailed info. If you’re after something less fancy than an Atmos soundbar, something that’s cheaper or more fitting to your space, check out our best ‘normal’ soundbar.
- Read our list of the best soundbars
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
Possibly the best-sounding soundbar
- Superb 3D audio performance
- As good with music as it is movies
- Eye-wateringly expensive
- Big and not exactly pretty
Sennheiser’s Ambeo Soundbar is a big, costly and one of the best soundbars we’ve tested.
It’s stacked with support for audio formats that includes Atmos, DTS:X, Ambeo processing and MPEG-H format. In terms of sound, it produces a muscular and hard-hitting performance, with excellent effects steering, clarity and a superbly immersive soundscape.
It’s a phenomenal sounding bar that’s taken the concept of Atmos from a single box and elevated it to another level.
- Read our full Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar review
The best all-in-one solution
- Superb sound quality
- Genuinely immersive performance
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
- Simple to set up and discreet
- Attractively designed and well made
- Audio calibration very basic
- Not exactly cheap
The Q90R is an all-in-one package with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It’s easy to set up and proves to be an effective method for getting immersive audio into your home with little fuss.
Bass integration is good, with stereo separation even better. And as the HW-Q90R includes rear upward-firing speakers, it’s capable of producing a true surround sound experience by extending the height channels, as well as sounds whizzing behind and past you. It’s expensive, but superb Atmos bar.
- Read our full Samsung HW-Q90R review
Buy Now from EBay for $1242.70
A no-compromise 7.1.2 soundbar
- A dynamic, exciting performer
- Excellent clarity with High-Res Audio
- Premium build quality
- Powerful bass
- Dolby Atmos doesn’t surround you
- Short on streaming services
- Very expensive
If you want a unit that both looks and sounds good, the HT-ST5000 meets both requirements.
Along with Dolby Atmos, the Sony soundbar is a dab hand with High-Res Audio and supports Bluetooth and Chromecast. There are three HDMI ports for passing through 4K video signals, and it can upscale standard soundtracks by adding a height dimension to it.
The audio performance is fantastic, producing a sense of scale, depth, dynamism and clarity lacking on most alternatives.
- Read our full Sony HT-ST5000 review
Popcorn fun by the bucket load
- All-in-one 2.1 design
- Good with movies and music
- Plug ‘n’ Play installation
- No Wi-Fi support
- No up-firing Dolby Atmos drivers
- Pronounced sweet spot
If you’re short on space, the HT-X8500 is a great choice of getting Atmos into smaller living rooms.
While it’s not strictly an Atmos system in the truest sense, it gets past this with Sony’s inventive DSP post-processing to produce a surround sound effect that is genuinely impressive. You don’t get overhead effects, but you do get a sense of space as long as you sit in the sweet spot.
Perhaps not a soundbar for an audience of more than one, but if you’re after a cheap and compact solution, this fits the bill.
- Read our full Sony HT-X8500 review
Buy Now from EBay for $350
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
Stylish with cinematic sound
- Superb build quality and design
- Highly cinematic
- Multi-room support, with Airplay 2 and Chromecast built-in
- Only one HDMI input
- No dedicated remote control
- No USB port
The Beosound Stage from Bang & Olufsen is the Danish brand’s first soundbar.
It looks great and supports wall-mounting if you want to save space. For connections, it’s rather sniffy – only one HDMI, and there’s no remote either. This is partially made up for with Dolby Vision, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, built-in Chromecast and multi-room (BeoLink) support.
In terms of Atmos, it does a great job of creating height and width, with its angled drivers expanding the soundstage. There’s no shortage of power either with impressive bass. It’s also very good with standard soundtracks and a superior Bluetooth music speaker to boot.
- Read our full Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage review
Ideal for movies and games
- Big and immersive sound
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- Well-integrated subwoofer
- Solid build quality
- Simple to set up
- Single HDMI input
- Limited audio setup
- No eARC support
The HW-Q70R is a slender soundbar from Samsung that packs in a 3.1.2-speaker channel configuration, with support for Atmos and DTS:X.
Unlike the Q90R featured on this list, it doesn’t feature rear channels out of the box. For that, you’ll need the optional SWA-8500S speakers. Nevertheless, this offers an impressive immersive audio experience, with precise steering of effects and deep and controlled bass in an attractively sleek and well-built package.
Gamers will be keen to know that when used with a Samsung TV, the bar selects Game Pro mode automatically for a speedy gaming experience.
- Read our full Samsung HW-Q70R review
Plenty of bang for your buck
- A big, powerful performer
- Bags of bass
- Easy setup
- Rear speakers included
- Decent music performance
- Atmos performance could be stronger
- Plain design
- SmartCast Mobile app doesn’t connect
- No DTS:X
VIZIO specialises in cheaper audio systems, and the SB36512-F6 is good value for money.
While the design is somewhat plain, it supports Bluetooth and includes rear speakers, which are cabled to the subwoofer. The compatible stands are not included but have been designed to help the rear speakers hit optimal ear height performance.
The performance is thunderous with plenty of energy, and the rear speakers open up the surround channels. Atmos performance isn’t the tallest or the clearest, perhaps making this a system better suited for smaller rooms. Nevertheless, it offers plenty for bang for your buck.
- Read our full VIZIO SB36512-F6 review
Delivers the goods (mostly)
- Big front soundstage
- Plenty of bass
- Smart features
- Slimline design
- Excellent build quality
- Wall-mounting not ideal
- No surround presence
- No eARC/HDR10+ support
The SL9YG is the mid-range effort in its soundbar range, adding DTS:X support and built-in Google Assistant over the 2018 generation.
It’s a step up on the SL8YG in terms of speaker configuration (4.1.2-channel) and power (500W), delivering a solid sonic performance, producing a soundstage that fills the front of the room. It’s also good with music whether it’s delivered from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Chromecast.
One thing to avoid is wall-mounting, which adversely affects audio performance.
- Read our full LG SL9YG review
A smart Atmos bar
- Dolby Atmos & DTS:X
- Satisfying bass
- Sleek design
- Google Assistant integration
- The front-heavy soundstage isn’t particularly wide
- Fiddly remote control
- No rear speakers for full surround
The 3.1.2-channel SL8YG was LG’s 2019 entry-level Dolby Atmos soundbar. Despite its status, it has room for Atmos, DTS:X and Google Assistant.
It offers convenience, smuggling all the features mentioned above into a fine-looking slimline form factor. It generates a comfortably big soundstage that’s front-heavy without the accompanying SPK-8 rear speakers. It does offer an appreciable sense of height than some others on this list.
With strong bass, decent music performance and a confident sound, if you’re aren’t looking to shell out too much, the SL8YG are a good shout.
- Read our full LG SL8YG review
Buy Now from EBay for $365.19
How we test soundbars
Soundbars were created to boost TV sound quality – which means we end up watching a lot of TV. We play everything – news reports for voices, movies for scale and effects steering – to ensure that the soundbars that come through the doors at Trusted Reviews are given a proper challenge. We’ll play different genres of music, too, since a good soundbar should be capable of doubling-up as a great music system.
More complex soundbars feature network functionality for hooking up to other speakers and playing music around the home, so we test for connectivity issues and ease of use. We cover the spectrum of models available, everything from cheap soundbars costing less than £100 to those over £1000, to ensure our reviews benefit from our extensive market knowledge. Every product is compared to similarly priced rivals, too.