Which high-end soundbar is best?
Adding a soundbar to your TV is a good way to immerse yourself in whatever you’re watching, and while the selection can be a little intimidating, the best high-end soundbars all have one thing in common — top-notch, unrelentingly good audio quality. Still, many prefer soundbars with other features like surround sound compatibility, varying connectivity options and voice commands, though it’s ultimately up to the buyer what will work best for them.
A good place to start is with the Bose 700 3.1-channel Soundbar and Subwoofer, which offers a good balance of price and versatility, without costing as much as a full home theater system.
What to know before you buy a high-end soundbar
Where you plan to put your soundbar
While the best soundbars range a little bit in size, it’ll be important to consider where you plan to put your soundbar before you make your purchase. If you use a projector with no entertainment center front-and-center, for example, it may be best to mount your projector to the wall below your projector screen. Still, others may have little room beneath their TV and the surface it sits on, so it may be important to consider a thin soundbar that won’t block the bottom of the screen.
Soundbar only vs. subwoofer and other bundles
Many buyers seek a soundbar to suit their entire audio needs without having to purchase multiple speakers, though others may prefer to buy soundbars in bundles with other equipment. Many soundbar bundles come with a subwoofer, while other, larger bundles may include a subwoofer and other speakers along with the soundbar itself.
Whether you plan to purchase a full home theater setup or not, it might be worth looking into soundbars that feature surround-sound compatibility, just in case you ever want to upgrade in the future. Most soundbars will include surround sound compatibility for formats like Dolby Atmos, as one example. Those using only a soundbar can also usually find a soundbar model that includes a virtual surround sound option for separating the audio within the soundbar itself to simulate the feature.
What to look for in a quality high-end soundbar
Strong audio quality
Most importantly, users buying a high-end soundbar will want to ensure that their model’s audio quality is top-notch, especially since these units go for top-dollar. Most high-end soundbars will also offer upgraded audio quality features like virtual surround sound, equalization, sound modes and more.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and voice commands
Soundbars today also need to have a variety of connectivity and casting options, which is why you’ll find most models at the high-quality end of the spectrum also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, voice commands or other convenient listening options.
Upgradeable surround sound
While it may not be necessary if you plan to use your soundbar on its own for years to come, many buyers also find it worthwhile to upgrade their home theater systems down the road. One of the benefits of buying a soundbar is that they are usually compatible with either 3.1-, 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound hardware, meaning that you can purchase surround sound speakers separately and they’ll work with your soundbar in most cases.
How much you can expect to spend on a high-end soundbar
High-end soundbars feature a wide range of prices, though, as you might expect, they’re quite a bit more costly than the average cheap soundbar. In most cases, you can find high-end soundbars starting around $800, with many of them costing as much as $2,000 in bundles and sometimes even more, depending on what you buy.
High-end soundbar FAQ
Is a soundbar a good alternative to a full home-theater setup?
A. If you aren’t quite sold on paying the money it requires to get a full home theater setup, soundbars are often a great alternative that will still up your TV audio experience. In addition, most soundbars can be upgraded in the future to work with other speakers, if you decide to go the home theater route down the road.
Are soundbars surround sound?
A. While soundbars aren’t exactly surround sound on their own, many of them feature virtual surround sound or similar options that can help simulate real surround sound. Most soundbars, however, do feature 3.1-, 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound compatibility, so users can often also achieve surround sound by purchasing a full lineup of home theater speakers. Still, those who want a middle ground without getting a full speaker setup may benefit from at least adding a subwoofer to their soundbars.
What’s the best high-end soundbar to buy?
Top high-end soundbar
What you need to know: This 3.1-channel surround sound home theater set from Bose offers superior sound, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and a wide range of other features and sound modes.
What you’ll love: For those looking for a single home theater system without totally breaking the bank or ordering several different speakers, this 3.1-channel surround soundbar boasts impressive audio and comes with the 700 line’s powerful subwoofer.
What you should consider: At this price point, some buyers preferred a 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround system.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top high-end soundbar for the money
What you need to know: Buyers looking to get just a soundbar will find this model from Sony sufficient for all their needs, offering DTS:X and 360 Reality surround sound-emulating audio and a range of other features.
What you’ll love: On top of offering excellent audio for a reasonable price, this soundbar is Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible, and also works with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. In addition, buyers can upgrade with Sony’s compatible surround sound speakers at a later point, or in bundles with a soundbar.
What you should consider: Some preferred cheaper soundbar bundles than spending this much on a soundbar alone.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This soundbar and subwoofer combo features all-out 7.1-channel surround sound compatibility, and it even sounds great without the full setup.
What you’ll love: Including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay, Spotify Connect and other ways to cast audio, the MultiCast is a modern genius for quick streaming solutions on superb audio. Its thin design also makes it perfect for blending in with any home theater entertainment center, and the bundled subwoofer makes it a great deal.
What you should consider: While many said the audio is great, some said it doesn’t really feel like surround sound without getting the rest of the 7.1-channel speakers installed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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