What’s the best Atmos soundbar for cinematic sound?
A soundbar solves the issue of poor TV, but if you’re interested in giving the latest Hollywood soundtracks the treatment they deserve, you should consider getting a Dolby Atmos soundbar.
A Dolby Atmos soundbar is one that has speakers that fire sound at the listener much like a conventional unit, and they also feature upward-firing speakers that shoot audio towards the ceiling to create a sense of sound above you.
With the right performance, it’s more immersive and spacious than a ‘normal’ soundbar and to get the best results, you’d ideally need rear speakers to fill in the gaps behind you. And as the tech finds more traction, it’s becoming more affordable for those looking to give their film collection a boost. See below for our list of the best options at various price points, along with summaries on each and links to reviews.
1. 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
2. Sonos Arc
A great going on brilliant Sonos speaker
- Expansive, well-defined and invigorating sound
- Good impression of audio height and width
- Fine spec
- Ample control options
- Slightly bumpy frequency response
- Some treble stridency
- No MQA support
Sonos newest soundbar is one able to do justice to both cutting-edge movie soundtracks and music. It’s Sonos’ first adventure into Atmos sound and the results are impressive.
Trueplay support allows users to fine tune the sound in a way that suits their room, and the Sonos S2 app provides plenty of ways to feed audio into the soundbar with its huge support for streaming services. The bar sounds excellent, generating a sound that’s far wider, bigger and taller than the soundbar itself, creating the height Atmos needs for flinging sounds above the listener. You will want to pair with a TV that has an eARC HDMI port to maximise its Atmos performance.
- read our Sonos Arc review
3. Sony HT-ST5000
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
4. Sony HT-X8500
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
5. 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
6. Sony HT-G700
An Atmos system for smaller rooms
- Atmos for a compact space
- Vertical Surround Engine is clever
- Tight, punchy bass
- Enjoyable music performance
- More suited for compact spaces
- Overcomplicated menu system
- Claims of virtual surround sound is overstated
- Squashed aspect to the sound at times
Sony’s latest soundbar sees it bring Atmos sound to rooms where it isn’t practical to fit multiple speakers. While the claims of surround sound are overstated, in terms of the ‘height’ effect that Atmos/DTS:X requires, the HT-G700 is a success.
It’s not the most expansive sounding bar, but it delivers an entertaining performance with both films and music. And the audio wizardry it conjures up to create height effects without actual upfiring speakers is rather ingenious. If you have a small room this would be a plum choice for filling it.
- read our Sony HT-G700 review
7. Sharp HT-SBW800
A cheaper Atmos set-up
- Big front soundstage
- Well-integrated subwoofer
- Informative display
- Attractive and well-made
- Great price
- No DTS:X support
- No rear channels or option to add
- No built-in Wi-Fi
The Sharp HT-SBW800 is designed to deliver a genuine Dolby Atmos experience at an affordable price. It is limited in terms of features with no sign of DTS:X, no built-in Wi-Fi or the option to add rear channels.
However, this is a soundbar that’s easy to set-up, well made and produces an expansive, if rather front-heavy, multichannel experience. Throw in plenty of connections, an intuitive remote control, and an informative display and it becomes something of a bargain.
- read our Sharp HT-SBW800 review
8. LG SL8YG
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 with room for Atmos, DTS:X and Google Assistant.
It smuggles smart convenience into a fine-looking slimline form factor, generating a comfortably big soundstage that’s front-heavy without the SPK-8 rear speakers to back it up. It does offer an appreciable sense of height than some others on this list. With strong bass, decent music performance and a confident sound, the SL8YG are still available to purchase online if you can find them.
- Read our full LG SL8YG review
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.
- Read our list of the best soundbars