6 soundbars to turn your living room into a true home theatre

Upgrade your home theatre in minutes with an easy-to-set up soundbar. (Getty/File)

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Your huge TV is a dream to watch, but how does it sound? Perhaps a bit weak and tinny? That’s because the amazing slimness of modern flatscreen TVs imposes a very real physical constraint on their built-in speakers. A surround sound system is the dream fix, but they can be tricky to properly install and take up space.

The perfect middle ground? Soundbars. They generate rich, natural, theatre-quality audio, and in some cases will even trick you into experiencing a pseudo-surround sound effect. We’ve rounded up some great options for you to consider.

Best high-end 

If money means nothing and sound quality means everything, consider this absolute dream soundbar from the audio geniuses at Sennheiser. It delivers 100 watts of power for crystal rich, clear sound, uses virtualization technology to create a theatre-like 7.1.4 surround sound effect, and features built-in 4-inch dual subwoofers for natural, resonant lows. Sound from a bar doesn’t get much better.
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  • Plenty of wireless connectivity options, from Bluetooth to Apple AirPlay 2.
  • It self-calibrates, analyzing the shape and acoustics of your room in order to bounce soundwaves off flat surfaces for maximum effect.
  • Compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa for easy voice control.


  • It’ll leave a mortgage payment-sized crater in your bank account.
  • As amazing as its virtual surround sound effect is, it’s still not true surround sound.

Best bass on a budget

If you want floor-rumbling bass at an affordable price, this is the way to go. Samsung’s lower-end soundbar delivers crisp and clear stereo separation with a virtual 3D sound effect, but its real draw (if you have a little extra space) is a dedicated subwoofer that will make it feel like the action in your favourite films is taking place right in your living room.


  • Stream directly from your devices via Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect.
  • Supports Dolby Atmos (a state-of-the-art spatial audio tech) and upconverts lesser quality signals.
  • The Bose Music app lets you tinker with sound settings much more easily than using physical controls.


  • This bar packs a pretty powerful punch on its own, but if you want booming percussion you’ll need to add Bose’s bass module.
  • On the pricey side, but it’ll likely last you a decade or more.


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Best price

Not everyone is an audiophile. If all you want is a basic upgrade over your built-in TV speakers—louder, clearer volume without tinny-ness or distortion—this two-channel soundbar will do the trick. Plus, unlike some of the pricier options on this list, it actually comes with everything you need to get it set up, including an HDMI cable and a wall-mounting kit.



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  • Compact and lightweight, which makes for easy installation and high portability.
  • Bluetooth lets you listen to podcasts and music from your phone.
  • DTS Virtual:X tech delivers a basic but serviceable 3D audio experience.


  • Doesn’t include some Amazon features you might expect, like support for Alexa or Alexa Home Theatre.
  • Sound quality is a definite upgrade over TV speakers, but can’t compete with more established audio brands.


Best surround sound 

JBL thought a little outside the box with this one. It’s a 5.1 channel system with a wireless subwoofer that delivers an authentic surround sound simulation. But you can transform it into a true surround sound system by detaching the two speakers on either end of the bar and placing them behind you. They’re battery-powered, so you can just set them on a table and they’re ready to go.
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  • A combined total of 620 watts brings big audio energy to high octane movies, shows, and games.
  • The JBL One app makes digging into equalizer settings a snap.
  • It leverages Dolby Atmos tech for a more expansive and organic surround sound experience.


  • The bar is pretty long—especially with detachable speakers—and may not fit some tables (or aesthetic sensibilities).
  • The 10-inch subwoofer is giant, but it’s also wireless, so you can place it just about anywhere.

Best audio quality for money

A basic bar with a premium feel, Polk’s Signa S2 is a straightforward TV audio upgrade with a sleek design. At just 5 cm tall, it’s pleasantly unobtrusive when mounted to the wall under your TV or placed below the screen on a sideboard or shelf. And with five full-range speakers plus a wireless soundbar, you get a signature Polk audio experience marked by rich, natural dialogue and bum-rattling bass.
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