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Best Dolby Atmos sound bars for 2024

Save space and get big, immersive sound with these Atmos sound bar systems

In this article: We’ll point you towards some of our best Dolby Atmos sound bars...

...Along the way, we’ll break down the different ways that sound bars offer an Atmos experience and what to look for when you’re shopping.

C

hances are you’ve heard of Dolby Atmos. Originally designed for movie theaters, this immersive audio format has since made its way into home audio gear. An Atmos system creates a realistic soundscape by placing and moving sound effects around you and above you. Those height effects are key for a soundstage that stretches to the ceiling.

Atmos might summon images in your mind’s eye of a house full of speakers lining the walls and ceiling. But you can actually get a great Atmos experience at home with just a sound bar system. You may wonder how a sound bar can deliver the immersive sound Atmos is known for without all those extra speakers. In a few different ways, as it turns out.

What to look for in an Atmos sound bar

The kind of Atmos experience a sound bar can deliver depends on its sound processing and how many and what type of drivers are built in. You'll also need to make sure you're using the right setup. We'll start there, then walk through the key ways sound bars can reproduce Dolby Atmos. Let’s dig in.

HDMI eARC

To take advantage of Dolby Atmos or other kinds of uncompressed audio formats like DTS:X, you’ll need to connect your compatible TV with the bar’s HDMI eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) port. You’ll also need an HDMI cable of version 2.0 or better. Check out our articles on HDMI cables and eARC for more details.

rear panel connections on a sound bar

HDMI eARC lets you pass an uncompressed Dolby Atmos signal between you source and sound bar with a single cable.

You’ll also want to ensure that have a smart TV or source like a Blu-ray player, media streamer, or gaming console that supports Dolby Atmos.

Up-firing drivers

The best Atmos sound bars have “up-firing drivers.” These are tiny speakers built into the top of the sound bar that direct sound upwards and bounce it off your ceiling, giving the impression of sounds cascading down on top of you. This is the closest you can get to having an actual speaker built into your ceiling. And a sound bar with drivers pointed at your ceiling is even better at generating realistic overhead sound effects than one without them.

Sennheiser AMBEO Plus exploded view with up-firing drivers

A full array of discrete speaker channels, including drivers that fire upwards towards your ceiling, lets a sound bar direct sound effects around and above you.

Bigger bass with a sub

Some sound bars feature low-frequency woofers built in for improved bass performance. These all-in-one bars are designed to provide the best experience possible with limited space. But the best bass you’re going to get will come from a dedicated subwoofer.

Sonos Sub Mini compact wireless subwoofer

Many sound bar systems include a dedicated powered subwoofer to deepen your bass impact for more exciting home theater sound.

Wireless subwoofers are commonly packaged with sound bars to increase your immersion with deep bass impact that matches the action onscreen. This is the perfect complement to the expansive sound offered by Dolby Atmos.

Rear-channel speakers

Some sound bars have angled, corner, or side-firing drivers designed to precisely direct sounds and bounce them off walls for surround effects. But nothing beats the true wraparound effects provided by separate surround speakers positioned behind you.

These rear-channel speakers usually connect to the sound bar wirelessly, giving you extra placement flexibility. AC power is still required in most cases, of course.

Yamaha True X Speaker 1A wireless battery-powered rear speakers for Yamaha True X sound bars

The best Atmos experience a sound bar system can provide backs up it's speaker-packed bar with a wireless subwoofer and rear-channel surrounds.

The full package

A bar that rocks up-firing drivers, includes a subwoofer, and comes with wireless surround speakers gives you the biggest, most immersive home theater you can get from a sound bar system. These high-end systems can even compete with a traditional component home theater system with discrete speakers for each channel.

Budget-friendly bars with virtual Atmos effects

Some Atmos sound bars rely solely on digital signal processing and the science of psychoacoustics to create simulated or “virtual” Dolby Atmos effects. Essentially, these bars trick your ears into thinking sounds are coming from above and even behind you. This often relies on room correction technology that adjusts the sound based on the bar’s surroundings.

Illustration of Dolby Atmos height virtualization

Some sound bars use advanced sound processing to simulate height effects for a cost-effective and space-efficient Atmos experience.

Standalone bars with Atmos virtualization can offer excellent sound and are a great option for folks looking for a simple, affordable audio system for their TVs.

Our best Dolby Atmos sound bars

We carry a ton of great sound bars with Dolby Atmos. But there’s no better way to point you in the right direction than taking a look at some of the best of the best. Along the way, we’ll also highlight some budget-friendly alternatives.

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX

Best all-in-one — Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Max

The original Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar made a big splash here at Crutchfield, with a demo that folks still talk about to this day. And customers are on the same page. It’s been one of our best-selling and top-rated sound bars for years. The speaker-packed AMBEO Soundbar Max delivers room-filling sound that injects life and impact into everything you listen to.

Each of the AMBEO Max’s 13 drivers are expertly controlled to produce incredibly immersive and detailed sound. And Sennheiser’s AMBEO advanced virtualization technology auto-calibrates the bar’s sound to match your room’s acoustics. This helps the Max simulate realistic surround and height effects, so you can hear sounds above and around you that feel true to life. You can even customize the level of virtualization the bar produces to match your mood or what you're watching.

Details

  • 13 built-in drivers deliver 5.1.4-channel sound from a single sound bar
  • AMBEO 3D technology creates an immersive experience using 32-bit processing and room calibration to virtually place speakers around the room
  • supports content encoded with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Chromecast built-in for easy streaming and multi-room music, compatibility with Google Assistant voice control
  • mono RCA subwoofer output lets you add your own powered subwoofer

Budget-friendly alternative

The Max is super-powerful, but it requires more space than many sound bars. The Sennheiser AMBEO Plus offers similar acoustic performance in a more slender package. And if you’re tight on space, there’s also the extra-compact AMBEO Mini.

What our customers say about the Max

Samsung HW-Q990D 11.4-channel sound bar system

Most immersive — Samsung HW-Q990D

The Samsung HW-Q990D envelops your room in immersive sound with a whopping 11.1.4 speaker channels, including dedicated up-firing and side-firing drivers in both the sound bar and the included rear surrounds. This combination gives you true wraparound and overhead effects for sound that feels like it's coming from different directions. There’s also a compact subwoofer included, for deep bass impact to match the onscreen action.

Samsung designed this bar to work seamlessly with their impressive QLED TVs, and it offers even bigger sound with Q-Symphony, a feature that lets the sound bar and your compatible TV's speakers play together.

The Q990D is also one of the few bars on the market that supports wireless Dolby Atmos. You can pass an Atmos signal from a compatible 2022-2024 Samsung TV via Wi-Fi for cinematic home theater sound with less cable clutter.

Details

  • delivers 11.1.4-channel sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Q-Symphony feature allows bar to synchronize with select Samsung 2022-2024 TVs to create a fuller soundstage
  • SpaceFit Sound Pro lets compatible Samsung TVs process the audio signal based on your room for added clarity and immersion
  • built-in dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® for wireless music streaming from compatible devices
  • compact surround speakers with front, side, and up-firing drivers

Budget-friendly alternative

Coming in at less than half the price of the HW-Q990D, the HW-Q600C rocks up-firing drivers with Samsung’s acoustic beam technology for compelling overhead effects. It also includes a wireless subwoofer for deep bass.

Sonos Arc Soundbar

Best for music — Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc has been a consistent hit with our customers for several years running. It offers high-quality sound with 11 built-in speakers, including angled side-firing and up-firing speakers that can precisely aim sound effects so they seem like they’re moving around you. Sonos is also famous for making it easy to listen to what you want, when you want with an expansive range of music streaming services.

Sonos is famous for how easy they make it to expand your sound system throughout your home. You can group and control all of your Sonos gear wirelessly with their intuitive app. This lets you beef up your home theater with a Sonos Sub and a pair of Sonos Era 300s or Era 100s. Or you can have music playing in the kitchen while you cook at the same time the rest of the family is jamming out in the living room.

Details

  • 11 built-in speakers (two up-firing drivers, dedicated center channel, and eight elliptical woofers)
  • communicates wirelessly with other Sonos players
  • quick, easy setup and control with free Sonos app
  • you can add other Sonos speakers to your TV sound system
  • easy to integrate into Sonos wireless whole-home audio system

Budget-friendly alternatives

The Sonos Beam is the little brother of the Arc and is a great option if you’re a little tight on space. This compact Atmos bar delivers surprisingly big sound for a bar of its size and features up-firing drivers.

What our customers say about the Arc

JBL Bar 1300X sound bar with wireless rear speakers

Most convenient — JBL Bar 1300X

The JBl Bar 1300X delivers expansive, detailed home theater sound with a powerful bar, sub, and 100% wire-free surround speakers. The included surround speakers provide true wraparound sound, while both the bar and surrounds feature up-firing drivers for overhead effects. The system's MultiBeam technology reflects sound off your ceiling and walls to position sound cues all around you.

The 1300X doesn’t just sound great, it makes surround sound ultra-convenient with its battery-powered surrounds. They charge when connected to the bar and can be detached in seconds. This lets you effortlessly add rear-channel effects when you need them, without worrying about finding an AC outlet.

The surrounds also feature Bluetooth that can be operated separately, letting you use them to play music in another room. Just pair them up and go. You can even use a single surround speaker to listen in mono, just like a portable Bluetooth speaker. When JBL says "wireless," they mean it.

Details

  • powered sound bar, wireless 12" subwoofer, and true wireless surround speakers
  • 11.1.4-channel sound with MultiBeam technology, DTS:X, and Dolby Atmos for immersive 3D audio
  • surround speakers feature built-in batteries and recharge when attached to the sound bar
  • PureVoice technology for crystal-clear dialogue
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Chromecast built-in for wireless music streaming from compatible devices

Budget-friendly alternatives

The JBL Bar 700 features the same type of true wireless rear-channel speakers as its larger brother for easy surround sound. And the JBL Bar 500 packs in nearly as much punch as the 700 but drops the wireless surrounds for a simpler bar and subwoofer set up.

What our customers say about the 1300X

Bose Smart Soundbar Ultra

Best smart features — Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar

The Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar is a sleek, powerful sound bar system and the latest in Bose’s line of top-rated sound bars. It delivers the clarity and detail Bose is famous for, with a wide assortment of smart features that have made it a hit with our customers, like built-in voice control and robust music streaming options. The Ultra even allows you to control your TV and cable/satellite box with just your voice by expanding Alexa with Voice4Video™ technology.

Your favorite movies and games are brought to life with the Ultra’s multichannel surround processing. It even up-mixes traditional soundtracks and stereo audio sources to deliver spacious Atmos-like effects no matter what you're watching. Plus, ADAPTiQ® room correction technology ensures the sound matches your space for the best listening experience.

Details

  • specially designed drivers deliver full, spacious sound
  • PhaseGuide® technology simulates surround sound
  • built-in voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • support for Dolby Atmos for an immersive, theater-like experience
  • solid build with a metal grille and beautiful tempered glass top panel

Budget-friendly alternative

The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 has all of the convenient smart features of the Ultra, but packed in a slimmer frame. This powerful bar still adds plenty of “oomph” to your home theater, though.

What our customers say about the Smart Ultra Soundbar

Sony HT-A7000 Dolby Atmos sound bar system

Best 3D sound — Sony HT-A7000

The Sony HT-A7000 packs in 11 built-in speakers, including dedicated height and surround channels and even a pair of built-in subwoofers to reinforce the action onscreen with punchy bass. It uses advanced sound processing to bounce sound off your ceiling and walls, producing effects that feel like they're coming from every direction.

Even when you’re listening to conventional surround soundtracks or stereo audio, the HT-A7000 can create an Atmos-like experience. Just press a button on the remote to automatically add overhead effects and deeper immersion to what you’re watching. And if you have a compatible Sony BRAVIA TV, you can connect with Acoustic Center Sync to have the TV provide center channel sounds like dialogue, helping them emanate from where they appear onscreen.

If you pair the HT-A700 with the SA-RS3S wireless speaker kit, you can expand your surround sound even further. This not only provides true wraparound sound but allows the bar and surrounds to work together to simulate “phantom speakers” all around you with 360 Spatial Sound Mapping (firmware update required).

Details

  • 11 built-in speakers powered by a 500-watt amplifier
  • Vertical Surround Engine uses virtual surround technology to simulate sounds above you
  • S-Force Pro Front Surround processing simulates sound on both sides of your seating position
  • press the Immersive AE button on your remote to add overhead effects and increased immersion to conventional surround soundtracks and stereo audio
  • 360 Reality Audio delivers an immersive music listening experience with compatible music streaming services

Budget-friendly alternatives

The Sony HT-A5000 features the same speaker and processing technology as its bigger brother with a slimmer profile. It supports 5.1.2-channels sound for compelling 3D audio. And if you’re tight on space, the HT-A3000 offers a more compact 3.1-channel set up.

What our customers say about the HT-A7000

Get started today!

If you still need help picking out a sound bar, we have a handy guide for just that. We also have a dedicated team of Advisors who can recommend something that will fit your needs.

And don’t forget that every purchase with Crutchfield comes with free lifetime tech support.

Popular questions customers ask

Not aways. Self-powered sound bars are more common than passive sound bars. You don't need a receiver or amplifier of any kind to drive a self-powered sound bar. The amplification is built into the bar itself.

We carry over 50 sound bars that can learn your remote’s commands. This helps keep the number of control devices to a minimum. From your TV’s remote, you can adjust the volume, switch sources, and more.

Yes. While your TV’s speakers might have had you saying, “Huh?” a lot, sound bars are great for making dialog discernible. Some have a dedicated center channel for dialogue, and many even have dialog enhancement modes that add even more emphasis to voices.

If you already have a self-powered subwoofer you'd like to use alongside your sound bar, you're in luck! We carry a handful of models that have a dedicated mono subwoofer output. All you need to connect the two is a standard subwoofer cable

Most of the sound bars we carry have Bluetooth built in for streaming your favorite tunes. Some models only support basic Bluetooth, while others support higher resolution codecs like aptX and LDAC. There are also a few models that support Bluetooth transmission, which lets you send audio wirelessly to headphones and compatible Bluetooth speakers. 

  • Mahim from New York

    Posted on 1/8/2024

    Very good and very helpful for you

    Commenter image

    Colin M. from Crutchfield

    on 1/8/2024

    Thanks Mahim! Glad to help. :)
  • John from Belmont

    Posted on 1/14/2023

    I need help very bad

    Commenter image

    Colin M. from Crutchfield

    on 1/16/2023

    Hi John, we've got your back! We have a dedicated team of Advisors that can help you find exactly what you're looking for. And every purchase with us also includes Lifetime Technical Support, so once you've picked something up from us our team can help you get everything up and running over the phone. Just give us a ring if you still need help. :)
  • John from ARLINGTON

    Posted on 1/11/2023

    Have a 110" screen and UST projector. Am wanting a good soundbar with a wide stage, over 36". Budget is $500. Suggestions?

    Commenter image

    Colin M. from Crutchfield

    on 1/12/2023

    Hi John, this filtered list of sound bars might be a good start. It includes all of our bars 36" and above that are at or below $500. No doubt there will be other considerations you'll want to make for your space. If you need help with those, don't hesitate to get with one of our Advisors. They'll point you in the right direction!
  • Marty from Meridian MS

    Posted on 12/28/2022

    If I didn't already own a home theater component system I would probably buy one of these systems. But too deep into what I have to convert now.

  • Dave Cobb from Maple Grove

    Posted on 10/22/2022

    How does the Sony HTA 5000 & 7000 compared to these? I was impressed by these at local display b

    Commenter image

    Colin M. from Crutchfield

    on 10/30/2022

    Hi Dave, the HTA-5000 and HTA-7000 are both excellent sound bar systems and are definitely comparable to the bars in this list. If you have a compatible Sony BRAVIA TV, these are especially great options, where both bars offer extra features like Acoustic Center Sync.
  • Dennis Sayers from COLUMBUS, OH

    Posted on 10/1/2022

    I've had 4 zvox sound bars over the years and they do help with accuvoice. But what I'd really like is a sound bar with a remote center speaker run on bluetooth fòr dialog next to my chair.

  • Izz from Oxnard

    Posted on 9/28/2022

    I've owned the Sonos Arc with Sub and One SL's for over a year now and I can proudly say I have my very own movie theatre and concert venue. The sound is immersive, sound is all around me, and movies, shows, and music sound like they were intended. It's a flawless system. I have also enjoyed taking my One's and Sub to the backyard to listen to music while hosting friends. It's an incredible wireless system. Worth every penny!

  • Al from Daytona Beach

    Posted on 8/11/2022

    The Sonos Arc now has Sonos Voice

  • Manny from Columbus

    Posted on 8/8/2022

    Inside of HDMI ARC "output", don't you mean "input"? The output comes from the TV. And, into the soundbar, wouldn't that be in input to the soundbar?. Please clarify. Thanks

    Commenter image

    Colin M. from Crutchfield

    on 8/9/2022

    Hi Manny! This one's a little tricky. We've erred on the side of distinguishing between ARC ports and regular HDMI connections that only receive video signal (which are useful for things like passthrough if you're connecting a video source to your sound bar). An HDMI ARC port is both input and output. ARC stands for Audio Return Channel because the signal goes out then comes back again to its source. Without this, you would need separate cables for your audio and video signals in many setups. Sometimes we simply use the phrase HDMI ARC "port" or "jack" to avoid confusion. I hope this helps clear things up a bit! If you still need help, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our Advisors.
  • Renato de Paula from Rio de Janeiro

    Posted on 11/2/2020

    Very, very good article. Congratulations!

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