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Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars
2020

So, I’ve covered Dolby Atmos speakers, Atmos height speakers, Atmos floor standing and even ceiling speakers. I’ve even covered Dolby Atmos headphones but the most common form of Dobly Atmos speaker on the market these days, which makes it easier for people to get atmos sound in their living rooms, is via a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

The question you’re asking yourself is ‘which dolby atmos soundbar to buy?’ which I will aim to answer here.

The other question you might be asking yourself is ‘do dolby atmos soundbars work?’. To answer that as briefly as possible, yes, they do. When I say yes you have to remember that Dolby Atmos soundbars often incorporate upfiring drivers which fire the sound off the ceiling so it bounces down on you.

While it isn’t as effective as having height speakers at the front of your room, nor is it as effective as having ceiling speakers it does still add a fuller and richer experience in the room. In essence it’s better to have an Atmos soundbar than not, in my personal opinion.

HiFi and Home Theatre purists wouldn’t recommend this as the best route to go down but if you’re tight on space or you don’t want to go to the extremes that a full Home Theatre set up requires then a Soundbar isn’t a bad choice.

Sonos Arc Atmos Soundbar with Subwoofer
Editor’s Pick

The bundled 5.1 Sonos Arc Soundbar with Dolby Atmos includes Sonos Subwoofer offers truly excellent sound. It’s not as big as the Yamaha and has less speakers but it can be easily added to your lounge or living room where its sound quality will impress and make your TV and Movie watching experiences heightened.

On top of your improved Home Theater you’ll also appreciate it for Atmos music playback.

VIZIO SB36512-F6 Soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Budget Pick
The Vizio SB36512-F6 is affordable, sounds good and come from a line of very successful soundbars. The inclusion of Dolby Atmos audio in this model makes it a great budget soundbar pick.

Here are a few of the current most popular models:

  1. Sonos Arc soundbar with Dolby Atmos audio – released in 2020 and an amazing all in one unit.
  2. Yamaha YSP-5600 – a gobsmacking 44 drivers with 2 bass drivers make this incredible Dolby atmos 4K soundbar worth a look.
  3. Sony HT-ST5000 – the sound is hard to beat and continues to show why Sony are really excelling in the audio space this decade, including soundbars.
  4. VIZIO SB36512-F6 5.1 Home Theatre and Soundbar – not technically a stand-alone but if you’re on a budget it’s worth considering.
  5. Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R – this 7.1.4 set up sounds great. If you can fit in the extra speakers it’s a really nice soundstage.

1. Sonos Arc Soundbar

The Sonos Arc is a level up for Sonos and took a long time to come to market. I think the reason being that they new, with the crowded market and their reputation, they needed to knock it out of the park.

Did they?

Sonos Arc Soundbar

Well, that’s subjective isn’t it. But, if we took a poll then we’d probably get a 4.5 our of 5 stars from all Panda bears. This is encouraging and I’m sure the product dev team at Sonos breathed a sigh of relief when the reviews started rolling in.

It must be a bit like being a theatre performer and waiting for the reviews roll in about your new play on Broadway.

The Sonos Arc soundbar comes packed with all the latest integrations including Airplay 2, Sonos App, control by voice or remote. Alexa is built-in too for voice bits. These inclusions mean you can also play music, set timers and do what ever else you want to do when you’re not watching home theatre movies or TV.

It is packed with Dolby Atmos as standard and has 11 drivers. So if you’re cranking your Netflix premium subscription and have Dolby Atmos audio included in your plan, you’ll enjoy some really nice audio from the Arc Soundbar, and, it looks nice.

Pair it with the Sonos Sub and you’ve got a really great small to medium room solution with the Sonos pedigree. The good news there is a bundled purchase option that includes the speaker and the sub in a 5.1 package.

It also comes in White and Black.

2. Yamaha YSP-5600 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

If I’m honest with you I’ve always had a bit of a crush on YSP-5600 soundbar. It’s got so many drivers I can’t even count (there are 44 drivers and 2 bass drivers actually) and they point in all sorts of directions to maximise Dolby Atmos sound tracks (and DTS:X).

As far as affection goes, the Yamaha is kind of like a punch in the face rather than a warm hug. This soundbar packs a powerful, impactful sound.

Oestensibly, this is a 7.1.2 channel soundbar in one. It has 4K Ultra HD passthrough so you can run your ‘stuff’ (Blu-ray, Apple TV, Firebox etc) through it without loss of quality.

Yamaha YSP-5600 Soundbar

If you have other Yamaha speakers you can use the Yamaha MusicCast system to use the multiroom capabilities.

Onboard connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay and Spotify.

While it has 2 bass drivers they are not going to give you what you need if you love good bass for your movies or TV so pairing this with a subwoofer is always a good idea. With Yamaha, I wouldn’t be too committed to matching the sub with the speaker. The Yahama sound signature isn’t as distinct as some speaker companies can be.

This unit is expensive and big. It’s not brand new but it’s full arrange of onboard speakers for Atmos home theatre and the HD passthrough is good.

3: Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar with Dolby Atmos

Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar

While the Sony headphones sound signature has never excited me this soundbar unit is a great pairing with the addition of the included subwoofer. This gives you a really nice 7.1.2 home theatre set up with just the default package.

We have the Sony dolby atmos speakers in our atmos add-on speakers list but find the Klipsch and ELAC units a little more desirable.

That was a really negative intro in to what is a really great atmos soundbar which definitely should be in your list of considerations.

The Sony HT-ST5000 has Hi-Res audio and HDR video. List the Yamaha it’s HDCP 2.2 compatible and has 1 ARC HDMI input for control over your other devices. It also has a optical SPDIF audio input which is still quite common on high end home theatre integrated amps despite it’s low usage. Maybe it’s cheap to include in the design?

If you have a small media room or living room you can pair this with a nice short throw projector for the ultimate movie night at home.

For audiophiles the ST5000 has LDAC for high res audio playback which will please many audio lovers, especially those who own a Sony DAP that has lossless files.

If you’re wanting to have a smart assistant then the good news is with this sony soundbar you get the smart one…you know…Google Assistant. The really big benefit of this is that it has Chromecast built-in. #winning

There is a multi-room option with Sony, as there is with Yamaha etc so if you are keeping your speakers in the same family then that is an option.

For the price and inclusion of a separate subwoofer this stands out as the best pick if you are starting with no other speakers and have around $1000 to spend.

4: VIZIO SB36512-F6 Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Ah, Vizio. The brand that manages to product home theatre audio and video products that actually sound and look great – especially considering the price.

Vizio has been voted the #1 Soundbar company in America. High praise but I do believe that is based on my first paragraph. They do two things well.

  1. They are affordable.
  2. They sound good.

Sounds like a winning combination to me. Their SB3821-C6 model is a best seller but doesn’t boast Dolby Atmos so you can check that 2.1 combo out if price is your number one driving force.

VIZIO SB36512-F6

You could quite easily drag this unit outside for a fun home movie night as it’s fairly light and at this price you wont be too stressed out about it getting some fresh air.

This Vizio Atmos enabled soundbar has up-firing speakers (2) for height sound effects. It’s important to note that Atmos height speakers are a bit like surround sound speakers. They only play highlights and effects through the height channels mostly. Think rain, helicopters, bullets etc.

Like everything on this list, which will be updated as new models come to market, you can do multi-room audio if you have other Vizio speakers. They call this SmartCast.

It’s 36 inches long. Should easily fit in most situations under your TV or wall mounted.

Frequency response is 40Hz – 20kHz which is fine if you consider the included Subwoofer is going to handle the 40Hz downward sound frequencies.

An important note is that this Subwoofer is designed to work with this soundbar and you cannot pair a different subwoofer to the soundbar.

If price matters to you then this is a great budget pick.

5: Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R Soundbar with Dolby Atmos Audio

Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R Soundbar

At first you might take a double look. Samsung and Harman Kardon in the same title? Yup. This is a double brand effort which in the end has delivered really great audio and value for money. Well played Samsung, well played.

This has Dolby Atmos audio and DTS:X so you can throw audio different formats at it and get great results. This assumes your source supports them too.

The Samsung HW-Q90R works with Alexa but it also says it needs a compatible echo so the assumption is you’ll use the AUX plug in to the Soundbar.

It has Bluetooth so you can stream music from your smartphone or similar.

The total speaker count is 17. Not that the number of speakers really matters but for some size counts.

The coolest part of this package is that:

  • It includes rear speakers
  • Those rear surround speakers are wireless!

Having wireless rear surrounds solves the issue of making your surround sound speakers wireless. For Home Theatre elite this won’t matter as it’s unlikely you will be shopping for a soundbar unless it’s for your rec room.

So all told this Samsung soundbar is a 7.1.4 package as it includes the Subwoofer, soundbar and wireless surround speakers.

It has 4K UHD HDR pass-through and also has HDR10 compatibility. If that means nothing to you – it allows for really great visuals to be passed from your source (Blu-ray, 4K Apple TV, Nvidia shield, Roku player) through the Soundbar to the TV. It passes through the high-resolution quality without dumbing it down.

I was going to try to only choose Soundbars that were stand-alone and had Dolby Atmos audio but the stand-alone thing seemed less important if the result of the package was a good home theatre or movie/tv watching experience.

Summary

Samsung HW-Q90R Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar close up on left end of speaker
Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R Dolby Atmos Soundbar – Photo by Mark Chan on Unsplash

So, what do you think? I think this gives you a great selection of the best Dolby Atmos compatible soundbars on the market today. There are more but this is a good sample.

We considered the JBL and others like the lg sk10y but for this first round, we wanted to cross over price, brand and quality and select the standouts from each.

If you have any questions or comments just drop them below.

Sonos Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Sonos Arc Soundbar
Build Quality
Sound Quality
Clarity
Value for Money
4.7

This post was last updated on 2020-11-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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