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#1 Q Acoustics M4 Soundbar
The Q Acoustics M4 soundbar doesn’t immediately set pulses racing with its slightly prosaic looks, ‘mere’ 2.1-channel sound and lack of any HDMI support. However, you only have to hear what the M4 can do with both music and movies for your doubts about it to evaporate almost instantly. In fact, it sounds so good that it starts to make the idea of trying to deliver more channels from an affordable soundbar look a bit silly.
In fact, though, it sounds so much better than pretty much any rival soundbar in the same price bracket that it’s actually ridiculously good value – especially if you care about music as much as you care about movies.
#2 Samsung HW-MS650 Soundbar
Not content with dominating the TV world, Samsung now seems to have its sights set on becoming the number one brand for home entertainment audio, too. All this effort has already delivered outstanding results in the shape of both the HW-K850 and, especially, HW-K950 Dolby Atmos soundbars, as well as a range of ground-breaking multi-room wireless speakers.
But, above everything stands the South Korean manufacturer’s HW-MS650. No other one-body soundbar has combined so much raw power with so much clarity, scale and, especially, bass, or excelled so consistently with both films and music. It’s the sort of performance that only genuine audio innovation can deliver – and with that in mind, it’s well worth its $450/£599 price tag.
#3 JBL Bar Studio
On a sound-per-pound basis this JBL soundbar certainly holds its own. We originally tested it at £150, but you can now pick one up for just £99, proof that there are some fine soundbars to be had for little money. Connectivity includes a single ARC-enable HDMI output, an optical digital input and Bluetooth.
Given its petite size, the scale of the JBL’s sound is restricted, but it still delivers a confident, full-bodied upgrade to your telly’s speakers. There’s plenty of detail, clear dialogue and punchy, rich bass at the bottom end too.
#4 Sonos Beam
The Sonos Beam is a smaller, cheaper TV speaker than the Sonos Playbar and Playbase. It comes with a few additions to its spec sheet, including an HDMI connection and voice control assistant, initially Amazon Alexa, but Google Assistant and Apple Siri will follow.
This is an affordable soundbar that most could find space for, and that could transform your listening experience. The width, depth and three-dimensionality of the presentation smashes expectations. You really don’t need to spend another £300 for the Playbar – this should meet most people’s needs perfectly.
#5 Yamaha YAS-207
With a multitude of soundbars competing in the budget-to-midrange market, the fact the Yamaha YAS-207 manages to excel in some areas of sonic performance that others don’t makes it pretty special. The YAS-207 is a natural entertainer, and another chapter in Yamaha’s soundbar success story. A worthy Best Buy.
#6 VIZIO SB2920
The Vizio SB2920 offers unbelievably great sound for the price, delivering an immersive soundstage, crisp treble and solid bass despite not having a subwoofer. Ideal for smaller TVs, this 28-inch also packs Bluetooth support for easy music streaming.
#7 Sonos Playbase
The premium Sonos Playbase features just about everything you could want in a soundbar, offering room-filling sound within a slick design that will look great in your entertainment center or directly under your TV. The Playbase is big on bass and offers rich vocals thanks to its 10 custom-made drivers, and it does a great job doubling as a Wi-Fi speaker for any of your favorite music apps. Best of all, it can be paired with any other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multiroom experience, and supports voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa.
#8 Polk Audio MagniFi Mini
No soundbar packs huge audio into a tiny package quite like the Polk MagniFi Mini does. This unassuming speaker will fit seamlessly into any setup, and delivers crisp dialogue and deep bass with the help of its included wireless subwoofer. Plus, with Google Cast support, the MagniFi Mini doubles as a great home music speaker.