Soundbars are meant to bring you sound that’s several steps above your TV’s built-in speakers, but without all the room-consuming equipment that is a home theater system. These picks take the usual soundbar experience to the next level by all being Dolby Atmos enabled.
As a quick refresher, Dolby Atmos essentially allows your speakers to move sound around in three-dimensional space, creating a huge soundstage.
Now to the soundbar picks!
1. Editor’s Pick: Samsung HW-N950
“From the moment we plugged in our Dolby Atmos test disc, we knew the N950 was special,” begins Digital Trends in their review. “Power, fluidity, and sheer clarity in detail were all at the forefront when diving through the specially crafted scenes.” Home Theater Review’s experience was a similar one, specifically with the film John Wick: Chapter 2. “If you ever wondered how much great audio adds to your appreciation of a film, the sound effects in the Wick sequel definitively answer that question. I viscerally felt the concussive force of the explosion and the pricks of glass shards as Keanu Reeves’ character gets blown throw a picture window and out of his house by a rocket-propelled grenade.”
The Samsung HW-N950 is a collaboration with speaker manufacturer Harman Kardon (which is owned by Samsung). The Samsung HW-N950 features 17 total speakers and drivers, including two wireless rear speakers with upward firing drivers and a wireless subwoofer to truly surround you with sound. The Samsung HW-N950 supports all music file formats and can be streamed through Bluetooth and Amazon Alexa.
For basic connectivity, the Samsung HW-N950 also features an optical input.
2. LG SK8Y
Trusted Reviews is a little critical of the LG SK8Y’s bass capabilities, but notes the soundbar still packs a punch. “It propels its sound forward boldly, and has enough scale and presence to fill even a pretty large room. Moreover, it does this without the speakers breaking down into distortion or the bodywork starting to rattle or buzz.” TechRadar’s testing honed in more on the Dolby Atmos aspect, saying the soundbar “manages to deliver a wall of sound that has genuine height to it, as well as width. Helicopters flying over head or volcanic rocks hurtling through the air actually do sound like they’re in the sky above the main soundtrack action.”
The LG SK8Y is compatible with Bluetooth, Google Chromecast and Google Assistant devices, allowing you to seamlessly stream up to 24-bit/96kHz quality. The SK8Y can also be upgraded with the SPK8-S optional wireless surround speakers, should you want to take your Dolby Atmos experience to the next level. If not, the SK8Y still comes with a wireless subwoofer.
The LG SK8Y features an ethernet port, an HDMI out and HDMI in, optical output, and a 3.5mm port.
3. Sony HT-Z9F
TechRadar’s review of the Sony HT-Z9F couldn’t be more positive, saying “there are no Dolby Atmos soundbars quite like the Sony HT-Z9F,” adding later “So just how does the HT-Z9F offer Dolby Atmos, you might reasonably ask? The answer is ‘virtually’. And it virtually works.” Digital Trends recommends the bar if “you’re looking for powerful virtual surround in the smallest profile possible”, while Home Theater Review discusses their positive experience with the 2017 remake of Jumanji. “The helicopter’s thumping blades appeared to be coming more from the front of the room than directly overhead, but the sound definitely served as a good example of the Dolby Atmos height effect.”
The Sony HT-Z9F features an array of modes to choose from that best suit whatever you’re watching (or playing, or listening to). These modes are output through the bar and wireless subwoofer’s 7.1.2 channel sound system to give you the best experience possible. The Sony HT-Z9F is Wi-Fi compatible for streaming, as well as compatible with Bluetooth, Google Assistant, Chromecast, and Alexa. The Sony HT-Z9F alos features a 4K passthrough.
The Sony HT-Z9F features two HDMI inputs, an HDMI output, a LAN port, an analog in, and optical in.
Trusted Reviews wastes no time in telling you in their review “you want the most powerful, dynamic and room-filling Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbar/subwoofer combination, the N850 is it.” Toms Guide discusses the Atmos capabilities in terms of subtleties, saying the speaker’s “height channels helped make a swirling leaf in an Atmos demonstration video feel like it was moving in the room, though having separate wireless surrounds would have improved the illusion.” TechRadar agrees, and in their review uses the film Ready Player One, saying the “ N850 created an impressive front soundstage that had great width, and a plenty of height to the effects.”
Much like the Samsung HW-N950, the Samsung HW-N850 is also a collaboration with speaker manufacturer Harman Kardon. The Samsung HW-N850 features 13 total speakers and drivers, including two wireless rear speakers with upward firing drivers and a wireless subwoofer to give you a fantastic soundstage. The Samsung HW-N850 supports all music file formats and can be streamed through Bluetooth and Amazon Alexa.
For easy, basic connectivity with almost any TV, the Samsung HW-N850 features an optical input.
5. LG SK9Y
Best Buy customer drklbc says the Dolby Atmos-enabled LG SK9Y made it feel like “the sound was traveling around me,” while Txs60 said “the Dolby Atmos speakers in the soundbar do have a noticeable effect. We watched Mission Impossible Fallout, and could definitely perceive the upward-directed Atmos audio channels when there was an overhead train or helicopter in the movie.” All Home Cinema puts it a little more succinctly, saying the soundbar’s “sound is broad, warm, room-filling, pure and Dolby Atmos does a great job.”
Whereas the LG SK8Y features two front-firing speakers, the LG SK9Y features two front-firing speakers, two surround speakers, two upward-firing speakers, and a center channel. The LG SK9Y also features a 4K resolution passthrough. Much like the LG SK8Y, the LG SK9Y comes with a subwoofer, is compatible with Bluetooth, Google Chromecast and Google Assistant devices, allowing you to seamlessly stream up to 24-bit/96kHz quality.
The LG SK9Y features an ethernet port, an HDMI out and HDMI in, optical output, and a 3.5mm port.
Vizio sells more soundbars than anybody and is known for packing them full of features at an attractive price. The Vizio SB46514-F6 is an affordable and compact way to get a 5.1.4 system.
This soundbar includes a 10-inch wireless subwoofer that also powers the rear satellites.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works here.