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Best soundbar UK 2024: Tried and tested options at every price point

Best soundbar - featured image of the JBL Bar 1300 in front of a television

Upgrade your television’s sound with the best soundbars we've tested

If you want a true cinematic experience at home, there are no two ways about it: you need the best soundbar you can afford.

A good soundbar brings films, TV shows and sports to life with powerful, immersive audio. But with so many options available, finding one that meets your needs and is within your budget can be tricky.

That’s where we come in. We’ve tested and reviewed dozens of soundbars in recent years, and below you’ll find our top buying advice and recommendations. We’ve listed 15 of our favourite soundbars across a range of price points, all of which have been put through their paces by one of our audio experts.

For more information about the benefits of soundbars and the key features to look out for, head to the buying guide at the bottom of the page. Or, keep scrolling for the best soundbars currently available.

Best soundbar: At a glance

Best soundbar under £100Creative Stage V2 (~£95)Check price at Amazon
Best standalone soundbar under £1,000Sonos Arc (~£899)Check price at John Lewis
Best multichannel soundbar systemSamsung HW-Q990D (~£1,699)Check price at Samsung
Best low-cost Atmos soundbarCreative Stage 360 (~£200)Check price at Amazon

How we test soundbars

Our in-depth testing assesses every aspect of a soundbar, from build quality and ease of setup to audio performance and customisation options.

As soon as each bar is unboxed, we measure and weigh it to get a sense of how easy it is to place and install, and check its sturdiness and quality of finish. We then connect via HDMI to a 4K TV – or a desktop computer if that’s what it’s designed for use with.

Testing the Devialet Dione soundbar

We then put each soundbar through its paces by feeding it a wide range of content, including films, sports and TV shows. We pay close attention to sound reproduction across the frequency spectrum, with a focus on the three cornerstones of soundbar performance: bass response, dialogue clarity and crispness of treble. If there are different EQ presets available we’ll try these out with appropriate content. All tests are run at a variety of volume levels, including maximum volume to push the product to its limits.

We use 4K Blu-ray players and the latest blockbuster movies to test how each soundbar handles surround-sound audio encoded with DTS:X. We also test Dolby Atmos, using compatible content available from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.

After testing each soundbar with video sources, we try out any wireless music streaming capabilities it may have, be that via Tidal over Bluetooth or Spotify Connect over a Wi-Fi network. We also try out features such as Chromecast and AirPlay 2 to ensure they work as intended.

If the soundbar can be integrated into a multi-room speaker system, we’ll test that too, and we’ll note in our review how easily achieved (or otherwise) it is. If there’s a built-in voice assistant we trial it to see how accurately it can pick up and execute requests – and we’re always sure to check whether there are any features hidden away inside a companion or control app, which again we’ll detail in our full review.

READ NEXT: Best budget soundbars

The best soundbars you can buy in 2024

1. Sonos Beam (Gen 2): Best soundbar under £500

Price when reviewed: £449 | Check price at John Lewis

  • Great for… engaging spatial audio from a standalone soundbar
  • Not so great for… physical connectivity, films with DTS:X soundtracks

The original Sonos Beam delivered superb sound quality in a compact one-box package – and the second-generation iteration sounds even better, thanks to the addition of Dolby Atmos. It also introduces NFC for a faster, more reliable setup, and while there’s no support for DTS:X surround sound, Amazon’s 3D Audio allows you to enjoy spatial audio on compatible platforms.

There’s no dedicated remote, but you can use the Sonos mobile app to control the bar from afar. There’s also built-in voice support for both Alexa and the Google Assistant, and we found this worked so well that we never needed to fire up the app.

The Beam 2’s only real weakness is connectivity: it has only a single HDMI port and requires a TV with an eARC HDMI port to make use of Atmos, so those with older TVs won’t be able to get the best from it. If you do own a TV with eARC, you won’t find a better-sounding standalone soundbar at such a great price.

Read our full Sonos Beam 2 review

Key specs – Channels: 2.0; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): 651 x 100 x 68mm; Weight: 2.8kg; Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (eARC), 1 x optical

2. Samsung HW-Q990D: Best soundbar system for all-round immersion

Price when reviewed: £1,699 | Check price at Samsung

Best soundbar samsung hw q990d

  • Great for… cinematic surround-sound immersion, current-gen gamers
  • Not so great for… those on a budget, small rooms

If you’ve got a big budget and want the best surround-sound experience available, the Samsung HW-Q990D is the system to buy. It’s a combination of a soundbar, subwoofer and a pair of rear speakers, enabling it to deliver exceptional Dolby Atmos and DTS:X experiences. We were blown away by how immersive it is and were particularly impressed by the system’s powerful and controlled bass.

The HW-Q990D handled stereo and 5.1-channel content admirably during our testing too. Music sounded warm, detailed and precise, while TV dialogue was clear and focused. The bar is also a great option for gamers, thanks to the inclusion of HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K/120Hz signals and can pass through every version of HDR.

An easy installation process and control options including in-built Alexa further enhance the HW-Q990D’s appeal. We’re not so fond of the front display, which is hard to read and not very useful, but that barely detracts from what is overall an awesome sound system.

Read our full Samsung HW-Q990D review

Key specs – Channels: 11.1.4; Total power output: 656W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,232 x 138 x 69mm, subwoofer – 220 x 410 x 413mm, rear satellites – 130 x 140 x 201mm; Weight: Soundbar – 7.7kg, subwoofer – 11.7kg, rear satellites – 3.4kg each; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1 inputs, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, optical, Bluetooth (SBC), Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2

3. Samsung HW-Q930C: Best value true surround-sound soundbar

Price when reviewed: £799 | Check price at AO

  • Great for… value, surround sound immersion
  • Not so great for… musical insight, older eARC TVs

Samsung’s premium soundbars are incredible, but they’re not cheap. If you’re looking for cinematic immersion on a tighter budget, consider the HW-Q930C instead.

Although this is strictly speaking last year’s model, we were consistently impressed by the performance of its 9.1.4-channel setup during testing. The compact rear speakers punch above their weight, while the subwoofer digs deep to produce impactful bass – and the main soundbar gets seriously loud without quality suffering. The upward-firing speakers handle the height effects of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks with aplomb too, and the system as a whole works together brilliantly to provide perfectly coherent all-around sound.

We weren’t quite so impressed when we tried playing music through the HW-Q930C; here we felt the sound was slightly constrained and lacking in expression. But if you’re primarily interested in TV and film content it’s a very satisfactory sound system, with a great array of features, plenty of connection options and in-built Alexa.

Read our full Samsung HW-Q930C review

Key specs – Channels: 9.1.4; Total power output: 540W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,187 x 277 x 585mm, subwoofer – 210 x 403 x 403mm, rear satellites – 130 x 140 x 201mm; Weight: Soundbar – 5.4kg, subwoofer – 9.8kg, rear satellites – 3.1kg each; Connectivity: 1 x HDMI 2.0 input, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, optical, Bluetooth (SBC), Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2

4. Creative Stage V2: Best soundbar and subwoofer for under £100

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… those seeking big sound on a small budget
  • Not so great for… maximum volume or immersion

Value-for-money soundbars don’t get much better than the Creative Stage V2. For less than a ton you get not only a high-quality bar to sit under your TV, but also a standalone subwoofer that adds rich, powerful bass.

For the best experience there are a few different sound modes to choose from: Surround mode widens the soundstage to create a more immersive impression without the need for physical surround speakers, while Dialog mode boosts the EQ to enhance voices on screen. We found this worked well, with the bar articulating mid-range and treble frequencies very capably.

The Stage V2 has connection options aplenty, too. Optical, HDMI ARC and AUX connections are all on hand, while a USB Type-C port also allows you to hook the bar up to your PC and use it as a desktop soundbar. Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth is available for those wanting to stream content from external devices.

It can’t quite match the volume or spatial imaging of a top-shelf, multi-speaker sound system, but if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly way of improving your TV’s audio, the Creative Stage V2 offers incredible bang for your buck.

Read our full Creative Stage V2 review

Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 160W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 680 x 100 x 78mm, subwoofer – 116 x 250 x 423mm; Weight: Soundbar – 2kg, subwoofer – 3.3kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (ARC), 1 x optical, 1 x 3.5mm, 1 x USB-C

5. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus: Best standalone soundbar

Price when reviewed: £1,299 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… big sound from a compact, easy-to-install package
  • Not so great for… those seeking a low-cost upgrade

The Ambeo Soundbar Plus does a phenomenal job of creating immersive, spatial audio without the need for satellite speakers. No other soundbar can match the Ambeo’s simulated 7.1.4 channels: somehow this single unit delivers convincing height effects, with clear 3D movement and a deep, wide soundstage that really envelopes you in the audio. If you want you can extend the low end with an optional subwoofer, but for most media and environments it’s honestly not necessary.

In addition to its exceptional sound quality, the Ambeo Soundbar Plus has a pleasing range of connection and control options. Physical buttons on the bar itself, a bundled remote control, a companion app and voice assistant support mean you’re spoilt for choice in terms of control, while the numerous physical ports are complemented by extensive wireless streaming options, with support for Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect.

The only real misfire is Sennheiser’s Ambeo feature; this applies audio processing to expand the spatial image and create a wider, all-around sound, but it comes at the cost of some precision and solidity. Never mind: you can just leave that option switched off and enjoy incredible audio, with a big sound and laser-focused delivery.

Read our full Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus review

Key specs – Channels: Virtual 7.1.4; Total power output: 400W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,051 x 121 x 75mm; Weight: 6.3kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, 1 x HDMI (eARC), 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x digital optical, 2 x stereo RCA inputs, Ethernet, 1 x USB-A

6. Sonos Ray: Best compact soundbar

Price when reviewed: £279 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… small TVs and confined spaces
  • Not so great for… physical and wireless connectivity options

The Ray is the smallest and cheapest soundbar in the Sonos lineup, but it delivers the kind of high-quality sonic performance we’ve come to expect from the American audio manufacturer.

For a compact 2.0 bar, it sounds superb. There’s great tonal balance across the frequency spectrum, bass is well articulated and punchy (despite the lack of a subwoofer) and treble is perfectly crisp. Some of this is down to Sonos’ ingenious app control, which lets you tune the audio profile to suit the acoustic needs of your room. The bar itself has an elegant design that will fit just about anywhere, and it’s available in either black or the striking white finish pictured above.

The Ray isn’t without its faults. It lacks Bluetooth, it has only a single optical port, and – to be clear – it doesn’t match the detail and energy of the much pricier Sonos Beam 2 or Arc soundbars. But if space is at a premium and you want an inexpensive soundbar that can pack a punch, the Sonos Ray is perfect.

Read our full Sonos Ray review

Key specs – Channels: 2.0; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): 559 x 95 x 71mm; Weight: Soundbar – 2kg; Connectivity: 1 x optical, Wi-Fi

7. LG S95QR: Best soundbar for LG TV owners

Price when reviewed: £1,700 | Check price at John Lewis

  • Great for… clear dialogue, pairing with an LG OLED TV
  • Not so great for… current-gen gamers

If you’re lucky enough to own one of LG’s premium OLED televisions, this is the soundbar system to pair it with. The S95QR is the first soundbar in the world to feature a centre height channel, and this ensures crystal-clear dialogue that’s backed up by a clean mid-range and crisp treble. We found the overall experience extremely immersive, with a huge soundstage bolstered by a beefy wireless subwoofer and a pair of large rear speakers.

When used with an LG TV packing the company’s latest Alpha9 Gen5 processor, the soundbar benefits from additional processing horsepower and AI-powered upscaling to deliver an even more impressive experience. One minor shortcoming is limited HDMI passthrough support – it won’t work with 4K 120Hz content, which may frustrate gamers. Otherwise, it’s a winner: even if you don’t own an LG OLED, the S95QR has what it takes to transform movie night into something more closely resembling a trip to your local cinema.

Read our full LG S95QR review

Key specs – Channels: 9.1.5; Total power output: 810W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,200 x 135 x 63mm, subwoofer – 202 x 403 x 407mm, rear speakers – 159 x 142 x 223mm each; Weight: Soundbar – 5kg, subwoofer – 10kg, rear speakers – 4kg each; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI input, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2

8. Sonos Arc: Best standalone soundbar for multi-room setups

Price when reviewed: £899 | Check price at John Lewis

  • Great for… multi-room speaker functionality, voice assistant options
  • Not so great for… HDMI connectivity

We loved the minimalist excellence of the Sonos Beam, but when it comes to convenience and sound quality the Sonos Arc is where it’s at. It’s a standalone bar, with no subwoofer supplied, but we found it delivered such astonishing depth and breadth of sound that we didn’t miss the really low frequencies. If you do want to add more dynamism, you can connect a Sonos Sub to fill out the sound – and optionally add Sonos 1 speakers at the rear for full surround sound.

The Arc supports Dolby Atmos (although only via eARC) as well as both Alexa and Google Assistant. It also can be fully integrated into a Sonos multi-room audio system and controlled via the excellent Sonos S2 app.

Our only caveat is that physical connectivity is limited to a single HDMI ARC/eARC port, with no HDMI or optical digital input available. Overall though it’s an astonishing achievement in AV audio engineering.

Read our full Sonos Arc review

Key specs – Channels: 5.0.2; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): 1,142 x 116 x 87mm; Weight: 6.25kg; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 1 x HDMI ARC/eARC

9. JBL Bar 1300: Most versatile premium soundbar

Price when reviewed: £1,291 | Check price at JBL

Best soundbar - JBL Bar 1300

  • Great for… flexibility, surround sound immersion
  • Not so great for… HDR10+ and 4K/120Hz content

The JBL Bar 1300 takes a fresh approach to surround sound. While rivals typically include mains-powered rear speakers, the Bar 1300 uses battery-powered units that charge over USB Type-C and then deliver up to 12 hours of fully wireless audio – brilliant for anyone who doesn’t want cables trailing around their room.

The wireless speakers can also be used as standalone Bluetooth speakers or as a stereo pair for streaming, making the whole package an extremely versatile one.

With the soundbar, subwoofer and rears all working together, we found the sound created was powerful and highly immersive. The various channels all pull together cohesively, and there are bags of fine directional detail, with sound effects steered effortlessly around the room. Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks are handled brilliantly too: the 11.1.4-channel soundstage makes you feel as though you’re sitting in the middle of a bubble of sound.

A slick companion app offers numerous ways in which you can customise your experience and is the icing on what is a very tasty cake.

Read our full JBL Bar 1300 review

Key specs – Channels: 11.1.4; Total power output: 1,170W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,000 x 139 x 60mm, subwoofer – 305 x 305 x 440mm, rear speakers – 202 x 139 x 60mm each; Weight: Soundbar – 4.3kg, subwoofer – 10kg, rear speakers 1.25kg each; Connectivity: 3 x HDMI inputs, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, 1 x optical, 1 X Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2

10. Creative Stage 360: Best low-cost Dolby Atmos soundbar

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… Atmos support on a budget, connection options
  • Not so great for… analogue inputs, impatient people

Dolby Atmos soundbars are becoming increasingly popular as the amount of available content increases, and the Creative Stage 360 is a great budget option. Although it’s only a 2.1-channel system, we were impressed by how effectively the soundbar and subwoofer combo rendered Atmos content: the soundstage is nice and wide, audio cues to the left and right are positioned accurately and you get a real sense of sound coming from above you too.

In addition to Atmos support, the Stage 360 offers a decent range of connection options, including two HDMI 2.0 inputs and Bluetooth. There are four sound modes to choose from, namely Music, Movie, Wide and Night, along with near-field and far-field profiles that take into account how close you are to the bar. If you want to enjoy Atmos content but can’t stretch your budget to a true surround-sound system, the Creative Stage 360 is the answer.

Read our full Creative Stage 360 review

Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 120W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 566 x 88 x 75mm, subwoofer – 115 x 250 x 422mm; Weight: Soundbar – 1.7kg, subwoofer – 3.4kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (ARC), 2 x HDMI input, 1 x optical

11. Devialet Dione: Best-looking premium soundbar

Price when reviewed: £1,800 | Check price at Devialet

  • Great for… striking, original design, wall mounting
  • Not so great for… smart functionality, EQ options

The Dione is the first soundbar from acoustic engineering specialist Devialet – and it’s an extremely strong debut. The French manufacturer has a reputation for striking design, and that’s expressed here in a patented “Orb” that houses the centre channel speaker and can rotate to fire forwards regardless of the bar’s orientation. The 17 drivers that make up the 5.1.2-channel arrangement take on different roles depending on whether the bar is wall-mounted or on a shelf; wherever we put it, we found the sound quality delivered was nothing short of superb.

Dialogue clarity from the aforementioned Orb is particularly good, while the upward-firing drivers generate height effects that create a convincing sense of verticality, particularly when watching content with an Atmos soundtrack. The Dione’s bass response is wonderfully impactful, too, hitting hard when necessary but also able to deliver subtlety and warmth when needed.

For the price it’s a shame that Devialet doesn’t include a remote control – nor is there any sort of voice assistant support. Even so, in terms of style and performance, few standalone soundbars come close to the Dione.

Read our full Devialet Dione review 

Key specs – Channels: 5.1.2; Total power output: 950W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,200 x 165 x 88mm; Weight: 12kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (eARC), Ethernet, optical TOSLINK

12. Denon DHT-S216: Best soundbar under £200

Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… affordable virtual surround sound
  • Not so great for… connectivity, EQ options

The Denon DHT-S216 is an affordable soundbar that prioritises audio performance over bells and whistles. There’s no Wi-Fi connectivity or smart functionality, but it delivers where it matters, providing an immersive audio experience no matter what you’re watching or listening to. Connect the DHT-S216 to your TV via its HDMI ARC port and you’ll be able to use it as an all-in-one sound hub for every other device plugged into your TV, and there’s an output for an optional subwoofer, in addition to an HDMI input, an optical port and built-in Bluetooth 4.2.

The DHT-S16’s big selling point is the incorporation of DTS Virtual: X technology, which simulates surround sound with height effects from a single soundbar. This doesn’t match the audio experience you’d get with a real set of surround-sound speakers, but we were nevertheless quite impressed by how well it works – toggle it on and you’ll soon find yourself swept up in the onscreen action.

While this is the Denon DHT-S216’s best trick, there are other modes to play around with too, with specific settings for watching movies, listening to music and watching TV at night. A great, versatile soundbar for not much cash.

Read our full Denon DHT-S216 review

Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 120W; Dimensions (WDH): 890 x 120 x 66mm; Weight: 3.4kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI, HDMI (ARC), optical, 3.5mm

13. Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 1100: Best soundbar for music under £1,000

Price when reviewed: £633 | Check price at Harman Kardon

  • Great for… all-round sound quality
  • Not so great for… rear channel effects

There are plenty of standalone soundbars capable of delivering an engrossing film soundtrack, and many that excel when it comes to musical reproduction. Few however combine the two as well as the Citation Multibeam 1100. In films with Dolby Atmos mixes we found its raw power, Multibeam technology and up-firing drivers created a big, broad soundstage complete with convincing height effects. But when we switched to streaming a playlist via Apple AirPlay 2, the bar tastefully reined in its potent bass response, resulting in a balanced and refined audiophile experience.

The Multibeam 1100 looks as good as it sounds, with an attractive and relatively compact design that houses a beautifully detailed LED display. Frustratingly, though, that display is positioned on top of the bar rather than on the front of it, meaning you can’t see it when watching TV. Another limitation is the absence of DTS:X support, which might concern those with large Blu-ray collections, and being a single bar it naturally can’t deliver rear effects either, although you can upgrade it with satellite speakers and a subwoofer.

Aside from that, there’s nothing to dislike about the Multibeam 1100: it’s a superb single-speaker solution whose versatility outshines the competition.

Read our full Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 1100 review

Key specs – Channels: 3.0.2; Total power output: 630W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,150 x 130 x 65mm; Weight: 4.6kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI, HDMI (eARC), optical, USB-A, Ethernet

14. Samsung HW-S800D: Best slimline soundbar

Price when reviewed: £749 | Check price at Samsung

samsung hw-s800d review - left view of soundbar on tv stand

  • Great for… style, space-conscious consumers
  • Not so great for… enveloping sound, films with DTS:X soundtracks

Immersive soundbars are typically unwieldy, awkward-looking things but not so the Samsung HW-S800D. The main soundbar unit is incredibly slender at 40mm deep and, at 38mm tall, will neatly fit beneath TVs with minimal clearance under their panel.

As aesthetically pleasing as it is practical, the S800D is also able to deliver a surprisingly large and convincing soundstage. We were impressed by its clear mid-range reproduction and the detail it articulates further up the frequency spectrum, while the discrete subwoofer generated plenty of low-end punch despite being relatively compact.

We should point out that there’s no support for DTS:X and that the audio is a little front-heavy due to the absence of rear speakers. However, those wanting to rectify the latter issue can do so by buying Samsung’s SWA-9500S (£249) separately, and the omission of DTS:X isn’t a deal-breaker given there’s limited support for the format.

Read our full Samsung HW-S800D review

Key specs – Channels: 3.1.2; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,160 x 40 x 38mm, subwoofer – 238 x 238 x 241; Weight: Soundbar – 1.4kg, subwoofer – 6.4kg; Connectivity: HDMI (eARC), Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi

15. Polk MagniFi Mini AX: Best compact soundbar with subwoofer

Price when reviewed: £429 | Check price at Peter Tyson

  • Great for… connectivity options, impactful cinematic sound
  • Not so great for… convincing height effects, musical reproduction

When space is tight, a standalone soundbar might be your best pick – but if you’re able to accommodate a subwoofer, this compact option from Polk is a superb choice. The tiny bar delivers a clean, arresting sound that belies its size, while the sub fills in all the necessary body and punch. We were impressed by how well the 3D sound mode handles Atmos and DTS:X content, with onscreen audio cues and the movement of sound articulated precisely – though in the absence of up-firing speakers, the system doesn’t quite manage to deliver fully convincing height effects.

When it comes to diminutive soundbars capable of room-filling sound, you won’t find a better option than the MagniFi Mini AX. Just make sure that the main unit will fit underneath your TV – despite being extremely narrow, at 79mm it’s a little taller than the average soundbar.

Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini AX review

Key specs – Channels: 3.1; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 366 x 104 x 79mm, subwoofer – 182 x 396 x 371mm; Weight: 1.7kg; Connectivity: HDMI (eARC), 3.5mm, optical, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi

16. LG GX: Best soundbar for wall mounting

Price when reviewed: £499 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… wall mounting, preset sound modes
  • Not so great for… deep bass

If you’re after a soundbar to mount on your wall, the LG GX is perfect: a mere 33mm deep, it’s designed to hang neatly below your TV without protruding into the room – and the subwoofer is wireless so you can easily tuck it away somewhere unobtrusive.

Though the GX soundbar is officially designed to be paired with LG’s GX OLED TV, its standard HDMI connector will work with any TV. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound are both supported, while for regular audio you can choose from five preset sound modes, namely AI Sound Pro, Bass Blast, Standard, Movie and Music.

We found the GX delivered well-balanced sound, with nice clear high frequencies and ample detail in the mid-range. The system also does an admirable job of conveying front-to-back depth, particularly when you’re listening to music, and if you want to create a true surround experience it’s compatible with LG’s wireless rear speakers. Our only real quibble is that the subwoofer isn’t the most capable we’ve tried – it struggles to reproduce the deepest rumbles – but overall this is a system that both looks and sounds elegant.

Read our full LG GX soundbar review

Key specs – Drivers: 8; RMS power output: 420W; Dimensions: 1,440 x 150 x 32.5mm; Weight: 5.8kg; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 1 x HDMI 2.1, Bluetooth, USB

How to choose the best soundbar for you

How do I choose the best soundbar?

It’s important to pick a soundbar that suits your TV and living room. The first thing to look at is the size of the bar: if it’s too wide it may not fit on your AV cabinet – or it might stick out well beyond the sides of your TV, which may look unsightly, especially if you plan to wall-mount the bar. If you plan to situate the bar in front of your TV, check its height too: you don’t want it to obscure the bottom part of the screen.

Next, consider whether you want a standalone soundbar or one with extra speakers to enhance the audio experience. A standalone unit is the neatest and easiest to set up, but it naturally won’t be able to provide true all-around sound, and such units often struggle to deliver convincing bass. A separate subwoofer will add richness and body to your audio and can deliver room-shaking low-frequency sound effects when called upon. Ideally, you want your subwoofer to be wireless, so you can easily hide it away out of sight – it doesn’t need to be in the centre of your home cinema setup, as bass frequencies aren’t very directional.

Some soundbars also come with rear speakers that deliver 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, for a truly enveloping, immersive aural experience. Naturally, these push up the price; it’s sometimes possible to start with a single unit and add speakers later on.

READ NEXT: Best UK TV deals

What’s the best way to connect a soundbar?

The most important connector is HDMI. Many bars have multiple HDMI inputs, which can be connected to different sources such as a Sky box, a games console and so forth. A single HDMI output then passes the active video signal onto your TV.

A particular feature worth looking for is HDMI ARC (audio return channel) support; this lets the soundbar receive and play audio directly from the TV – useful for smart TV apps such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix. ARC is also handy if you run out of HDMI inputs on the soundbar, as any audio that would normally play through the TV speakers is routed back to the soundbar.

Many bars have other connectors too, for different types of audio source, which give you more flexibility. One connector worth looking for is an optical digital (also called TOSlink or S/PDIF) socket; this can’t carry a lossless surround-sound signal such as Dolby True HD or DTS:X, but it’s an easy way to hook up a music source – or a TV if the soundbar doesn’t support HDMI ARC.

You may also see analogue connectors such as stereo RCA and 3.5mm inputs; these provide an easy way to connect older audio gear, but they’re becoming less common on soundbars, and it’s normally not a disaster if your soundbar doesn’t have these. If you want to play music from a phone or tablet, many soundbars support Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming audio. Some also have Wi-Fi capabilities that allow for higher-quality streaming, integration into a multi-room wireless speaker network (if the bar supports it) and support for digital voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

Is it worth buying a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

Dolby Atmos is a relatively new surround-sound standard that expands upon the established 5.1- and 7.1-channel setups to add audio height. In other words, where older systems could produce sound from the sides and rear of the room, new Atmos gear can also make sounds come from above you.

Soundbars with Atmos generally work by using upward-firing speakers to bounce audio off your ceiling. This can be very effective, but for the best results your ceilings will need to be the right height: if you’re thinking of investing in a system like this, check the specifications to confirm the recommended room dimensions.

It’s worth noting too that Dolby Atmos soundbars tend to be more expensive than simpler 5.1-enabled units, and they have a nasty habit of excluding support for non-Dolby surround-sound standards. This isn’t the end of the world, but many Blu-ray movies use DTS encoding for their surround sound; if you’re watching such a disc on a Dolby-only soundbar you’ll be limited to the standard stereo soundtrack.

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