Best surround sound bars of August 2022

More compact and less expensive, soundbars are proving to be an interesting alternative to traditional 5.1 systems and a good way to improve the sound of your TV. Here's a quick look at the best models according to our tests.

Best surround sound bars of August 2022

Best surround sound bars 

Update 02/08/2022 - The Sonos Ray made it into our selection last month, as it offers satisfactory performance for its size and rather reasonable price for a Sonos product. Our ranking thus remains unchanged, but still relevant. As always, those looking for advice on how to choose their soundbar are invited to go to the bottom of the page where they will find our dedicated FaQ.

1. LG SP11R: the best sound bar on the market

LG SP11RA

A complete home cinema solution with wireless subwoofer and rear speakers, LG's new soundbar delivers rich Atmos sound with a power that few soundbars can match. 

Even if you're not using Dolby Atmos features, it's excellent for music and other content, which it can play wirelessly over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The companion application is also top-notch. Among its minor faults, it is a little bulky and a little expensive. 

But considering all its features and very good audio performance, the SP11RA sets the bar very high in terms of sound. Immersive cinema enthusiasts and audiophiles can be tempted with their eyes closed, provided they accept the high price of course.

2. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar: the former best soundbar, still on top 

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar

With the Ambeo Soundbar, Sennheiser simply offers the best surround experience on the market. It's hard to say what kind of black magic it is, but the Atmos, DTS:X or MPEG-H effects (yes, it does handle the major 3D formats) are just incredible. 

The sound is powerful and detailed with deep bass, which is amazing for a soundbar without a subwoofer (although you can add one to take it even further). It also has a complete and modern wired connection system with an eARC HDMI output and three classic HDMI inputs, as well as a stereo RCA analogue auxiliary input, a sub output and an Ethernet port. 

It can also work with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In short, it lacks nothing, all we can say is that its price is well above the competition, and perhaps its imposing size. But the Ambeo Soundbar still represents the best of what is currently available on the soundbar market.

3. Sonos ARC: the most scalable soundbar

Sonos Arc

At £899, the Arc is currently Sonos' most expensive product. But it offers audio quality and comfort that no other Sonos soundbar can match. 

Even if you're not using Dolby Atmos (which would be a shame, though, since the bar also has vertical speakers), the Arc offers an excellent feature set, including multiroom, and very good sound for everything else from jazz to rock to action movies. Unlike the Beam, we don't think you really need to add the Sonos subwoofer, which makes the Arc more economical. It's still upgradeable, though. 

Beyond the subwoofer, you can also add surround speakers to the rear. Although it lacks a Bluetooth connection and some additional wired connections, the Sonos Arc is a very nice proposition from the brand.

4. Polk Signa S4: the best Dolby Atmos bar for less than £400

Polk Signa S4

If you want true Dolby Atmos (3D sound) at an affordable price, the Signa S4 is the cheapest soundbar we've seen so far. A low price does not mean a lack of performance, as the Polk is as solid as any other speaker in its class, for both music and movies. 

Although the Atmos effects produced by this model are not as good as the higher end soundbars, it does allow you to experience the technology at a lower cost. In addition, this bar offers quite a few audio modes and a Bluetooth connection (but no Wi-Fi unlike its big sister the S3). 

It's also a shame that you can't adjust the vertical channels and that you can't add surround speakers at the back. Nevertheless, it's a bold and very interesting offer in terms of quality/price ratio that Polk proposes.

5. JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass: the best sound bar for less than £300

JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass

The least we can say is that the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass lives up to its name. Accompanied by a large wireless subwoofer, this little sound bar will bring you powerful bass to give depth to your favourite films and series. It offers rich, detailed sound and HDMI, optical and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming sound from a smartphone for example. 

However, it doesn't have Wi-Fi or any 3D spatialization technology, not even Virtual Atmos or DTS Virtual:X. It's a shame, but it's still very good value for money. An excellent model sold at a relatively reasonable price.

6. Sonos Ray: the compact multiroom soundbar for less than £300

Sonos Ray

The Ray offers satisfactory performance for its price and small size. It's also a good option for accessing Sonos' excellent multiroom platform. However, a subwoofer wouldn't have done it any harm and we regret the limited connectivity. 

Limitations to be tempered, the Ray sounds particularly good for music and vocals and can be upgraded with Ikea Symfonisk rear speakers and/or a Sonos subwoofer. Sonos refinement for less than £300.

7. Creative Stage 2.1: the best sound bar for under £100

Creative Stage 2.1

The Creative Stage 2.1 is the perfect speaker to enhance the sound of your TV or PC (Creative obliges) without breaking the bank. And despite a price tag of less than £100, it's packed with features, more so than most of its entry-level rivals. It has HDMI ARC, Bluetooth, USB, optical input, subwoofer, built-in screen and remote control, all in an extremely compact chassis. 

Very comfortable with music or video games, this one offers slightly lesser cinema performance. This is due to the predictable lack of spatialization given the very limited size of the product, but for such a low price, the Stage 2.1 is without a doubt an excellent little soundbar.

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