Are you ready for an immersive 3D sound experience?
Dolby Atmos is the 3D sound format that has largely established itself in home theaters at the moment. The range of Dolby Atmos material is also larger than that of the competing formats DTS:X and Auro 3D. Dolby Atmos creates a completely new level of immersion by simulating the sound from above and moving objects, which could previously only be experienced in cinemas. If you want to know more about sound format Dolby Atmos we already have an article about ist.
Anyone who wants to enjoy Dolby Atmos to the fullest must of course have the right setup for it, and that this is rather in the upper price range can probably be guessed. If the models listed here are too expensive for your taste, you can take a look at the respective price categories in our best list. Soundbars that support the innovative sound format are available starting at $300.
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q950T
- ~550W total power (9.1.4)
- Subwoofer + 2 satellite speakers
- Dolby Atmos & DTS:X
- HDMI 2.1 / eARC
- Up- & side-firing speakers
- Wi-Fi & Smart Features
- No room correction feature
- No USB
With the Samsung HW-Q950T, the Korean manufacturer has released a 9.1.4 soundbar with Atmos satellite speakers and subwoofer that is in no way inferior to most sound systems. The sound profile of the soundbar is extremely well balanced and does not show any missing frequencies between the bass, midrange and treble frequency ranges, which are negatively noticeable in many soundbars.
This excellent sound profile makes the soundbar a true all-round talent and can be used for just about any content, such as music, dialogue-heavy content or movies. The up-firing speakers of the soundbar and the satellite speakers create an exceptionally good 3D surround sound and you are right in the middle of the action.
In combination with the powerful, yet precise subwoofer, a fascinating atmosphere is created, especially in movies, which will probably satisfy even the most demanding ears.
If the balanced sound profile is not quite to your liking, you can use the Samsung SmartThings app to adjust the equalizer to your liking. A Wi-Fi interface is available for using the app and many smart features, so a variety of streaming services are supported via Amazon Alexa.
Although there are soundbars in this price range that perform better, especially in terms of Atmos performance, the Samsung HW-Q950T has the best overall package, especially in combination with a QLED through the Q-Symphony feature. It can especially shine with the excellently balanced sounds.
More immersion & room correction: LG DSN11RG
- Room correction
- Better 3D surround sound
- Night mode
- More unbalanced sound profile
- No graphic equalizer
- Non-linear distortion
If you are more interested in good surround sound and the best possible Dolby Atmos performance with soundbars, and you also don’t want to miss the room correction feature, LG’s 7.1.4 soundbar with wireless Atmos satellite speakers and subwoofer is exactly the right soundbar for you. Especially the up-firing speakers do an excellent job, so Dolby Atmos material can be reproduced really well.
The sound profile is quite balanced despite a slight excess of bass, but slight non-linear distortions occur even at normal volumes, which increase as the volume increases. As a result, the sound does not seem quite as clean as with the Samsung soundbar. Unfortunately, this can’t be compensated that well either, since the LG SN11RG only has equalizer presets and not a freely adjustable graphic equalizer.
As far as smart features are concerned, the two soundbars are on par. Chromecast and Google Assistant make them really smart, and even a decent multi-room option is available.
In addition, the high-quality design of the soundbar is immediately obvious, which seemed to be less important for the Samsung soundbar, which is a bit weak in this price range.
Freely placeable battery satellite speakers: JBL Bar 9.1
- Battery Atmos satellites
- 3D surround sound
- Room correction
- No app
- No graphic equalizer
- No Dialogue Enhancement Feature
Like the other two soundbars, the JBL 9.1 can play Dolby Atmos uncompressed via Dolby True HD. It doesn’t have as much hardware as the other two models, but it does have two battery-powered speakers that are detachable from the soundbar and can be placed anywhere in the room completely wirelessly. Impressively, this unique feature works amazingly well and the up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers give a truly successful impression of height.
In combination with the sophisticated room correction feature, this allows the JBL 9.1 Soundbar to create an even better soundscape than the Samsung HW-Q950T, especially in terms of surround sound and 3D Dolby Atmos sound. However, it cannot quite hold a candle to it in terms of additional features. The JBL soundbar does not have a dedicated app. It can be integrated into Google Home, but the soundbar can only be controlled to a limited extent. It also lacks features like a graphic equalizer or the Dialogue Enhancement feature, which could make dialogues even more understandable.
These features and the missing app are not absolutely necessary, but they offer a lot of added value, since the soundbar can be controlled and calibrated better. In return, you have the perfect solution for truly wireless Atmos satellite speakers.
Affordable Atmos Soundbar: Sony HT-G700
- Great price/performance ratio
- Vertical Surround Engine
- More versatile
- No Wi-Fi
- Atmos downmix to stereo
- Slightly bass-heavy sound
Of course, it is obvious that the Sony HT-G700 cannot quite keep up with the other leading soundbars in the Dolby Atmos category in terms of performance since the Sony model costs less than a third. Its sound is quite decent, but a bit bass-heavy compared to the high-end models. Due to the low price, it also has to do without satellites to produce great, virtual 3D sound.
In this regard, the HT-G700 takes a completely different approach, as it doesn’t have any up-firing speakers. Instead, it uses Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine to create the impression of Amtos heights. This stereo downmix of Atmos material has its advantages, though. For example, you don’t need additional hardware like satellites, and the properties of the ceiling and the angle of reflection to the listener don’t matter as well. Therefore, it’s easier to set up and use the soundbar without having to worry about any alignment and installation issues. So it is much more versatile and can even create a good, virtual 3D soundscape in rooms with slanted ceilings.
After all, one thing is certain about the HT-G700. Even though there are no up-firing speakers, the simulated Dolby Atmos sound is really good and not achievable by any other model in this price range. Thus, you can already enjoy this innovative sound format for less money. However, you have to be aware that compared to the high-end soundbars in this category, quite an amount of immersion is lost, since the sound only hits the listener from the front.
Dolby Atmos Soundbars in comparison
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar
JBL Bar 9.1
|Channels||9.1.4 (9.1.4 virtual)||7.1.4||5.1.4||3.1 (7.1.2 virtual)|
|HDMI 2.1||2x In + 1x Out||2x In + 1x Out|
|DTS||DTS:X||DTS HD-Master + DTS:X||DTS HD-Master + DTS:X||DTS HD-Master + DTS:X|
|Room size||above 40 m2||above 40 m2||above 40 m2||up to 40 m2|
|Dimensions Height x Width x Depth||69,5 x 1232 x 138 mm||63 x 1443 x 146 mm||62 x 884 x 120 mm||64 x 980 x 108 mm|
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