A soundbar is among the best methods to enhance your TV’s audio, however what in the event you’re quick on area?
In the event you’ve been fascinated by choosing up a soundbar, you’ve little doubt encountered some giant and imposing choices when shopping your native audio retailer. Nonetheless, these chunky soundbars aren’t essentially the most sensible alternative for everybody.
Whether or not you might have sufficient area in your TV stand for an enormous soundbar or assume one would look foolish beneath your small TV, there are a rising variety of compact soundbars to select from as an alternative.
Many of those compact bars even assist extra superior applied sciences accessible, similar to 3D audio codecs in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
That doesn’t imply the choice is simple although, which is why we’ve examined one of the best small soundbars available on the market to find out which of them are price your cash, utilizing the units for an prolonged time frame to type a well-rounded opinion.
We sit by films and hearken to loads of music when reviewing a soundbar to look at how every handles dialogue, results and totally different genres of music. We additionally make use of all of the options accessible on any given soundbar together with voice assistants, Apple AirPlay 2 and multi-room assist the place every is accessible.
Maintain studying to find all one of the best small soundbars accessible proper now. In the event you can’t see something you want proper now, test again quickly as we recurrently replace this web page as new soundbars come by our workplace.
Ensure to take a look at our guides to one of the best soundbars and one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars. We’ve additionally narrowed down one of the best encompass sound methods for these with the area and price range to create a much bigger sound system.
Finest small soundbar at a look
- Finest compact soundbar: Sonos Beam 2 – test value
- Finest compact way of life soundbar: Samsung HW-S61A – test value
- Finest small Atmos bar beneath £300: JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam – test value
- Finest small Atmos bar with subwoofer: Polk MagniFI Mini AX – test value
How we check
Soundbars had been created to spice up TV sound high quality – which suggests we find yourself watching a variety of TV. We play every part – information experiences for voices, films for scale and results steering – to make sure that the soundbars that come by the doorways at Trusted Critiques are given a correct problem. We’ll play totally different genres of music, too, since a superb soundbar ought to be able to doubling-up as a fantastic music system.
Extra complicated soundbars characteristic community performance for hooking as much as different audio system and enjoying music across the residence, so we check for connectivity points and ease of use. We cowl the spectrum of fashions accessible, every part from low-cost soundbars costing lower than £100 to these over £1000, to make sure our opinions profit from our intensive market data. Each product is in comparison with equally priced rivals, too.
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
Finest small soundbar
- Clear and balanced sound
- Wonderful measurement
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant assist
- HDMI eARC enter solely
- Restricted DTS assist
In comparison with the unique Beam, the Beam Gen 2 has been subtly up to date to match the looks of its larger and dearer sibling, the Arc. It comes with addition of an eARC HDMI port that enables it to play full-fat lossless Atmos soundtracks. Which means you’ll want an eARC appropriate TV to get one of the best out of it. In any other case, issues stay the identical with the Beam 2nd Gen finest suited to TVs as much as and together with 49-inches.
The present Beam helps Wi-Fi and the S2 app, which affords entry to a mess of streaming providers similar to Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, in addition to Sonos’ personal Radio service. You can too name on voice help in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, in addition to provoke Trueplay (so long as you’ve obtained an iOS gadget), which optimises the Beam’s audio efficiency based on the atmosphere it’s in.
Throughout testing we discovered it produced a wonderful audio efficiency, providing a stable low finish and a typically balanced sound throughout the frequency vary. It additionally dealt with music impressively, with no noticeable distortion, dealing with extra delicate components with nuance. The addition of Dolby Atmos isn’t achieved by upfiring audio system however by digital processing, and it affords a superb efficiency with an honest sense of dimensionality once we watched Captain Marvel on Disney+. Another Atmos bar is the Polk Signa S4, which affords a superb sense of peak with its upfiring audio system, and whereas its cheaper it’s not as compact.
There’s a foot dangled within the path of DTS however assist for this audio format is just not full. The equally compact and priced Polk Magnifi Mini AX and Denon House Sound bar 550 do assist DTS:X, and just like the Sonos each may be paired with a subwoofer for added ‘oomph’. Nonetheless, whereas the Beam 2 is just not good, as a method of getting Atmos into the house, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a good way of doing so.
Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Assessment: Sonos Beam Gen 2
Finest compact way of life soundbar
- Broad, expansive sound
- Nice with music
- Tweaked design over older mannequin
- AirPlay 2 assist
- Sonos Beam nonetheless affords extra alternative and worth
- Bass restricted
The Samsung HW-S61A is a wonderful compact soundbar, a rival to the Sonos Beam Gen 2, particularly in the event you’re in search of one that may match right into a room’s décor. It’s across the similar measurement, form and look because the HW-S60T from 2020, and that’s no unhealthy factor as we discovered it to be a stunning wanting soundbar with its Kvadrat material (accessible in gray or white).
The position of the buttons on the highest floor and LED indicator have been introduced additional all the way down to make them extra seen from a seated place. A show can be extra helpful, but it surely’s arguably not included right here as it might spoil the bar’s seamless appears to be like.
The HW-S61A works with Samsung’s SmartThings app, which permits for straightforward set-up and connection to the Wi-Fi, in addition to working the bar by playback controls and activation of Amazon Alexa voice management. For the kind of viewers the bar is pitched at, that is the kind of management with a cellular gadget most will get pleasure from.
The bar may also be linked to hook as much as streaming providers similar to Spotify and Deezer, and there’s now assist for Apple AirPlay 2 in the event you’ve obtained an iOS gadget to forged audio from. The Faucet Sound operate is just for Samsung Galaxy telephones whereby a faucet on the bar sends audio on to the speaker. There’s no eARC, with connectivity arriving within the type of an optical out and HDMI ARC.
There’s additionally no room for immersive audio codecs similar to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, however Samsung goals to compete with its Adaptive Sound mode. This mode affords a wider, taller efficiency than its default mode, and we discovered it properly prolonged with the width of the soundstage, firing results out vast with extra objective than the unique mannequin. We additionally discovered the brand new centre channel aided in tidying up dialogue in movies and TV collection, handing out extra readability to what folks had been saying.
The HW-S61A additionally dealt with music nicely, with a spacious, crisp presentation with loads of element. We discovered it was a particular enchancment over its predecessor, although it stays a bass restricted effort. Add the SWA-W500 wi-fi subwoofer and the SWA-9100S wi-fi rear audio system, and you’ll create a much bigger, extra enveloping sound system.
Inventory for each the HW-S60A and HW-S61A fashions seems to be working low as of December 2022, however in the event you miss out, Samsung has successfully changed these two fashions with the 2022 S60B.
Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Assessment: Samsung HW-S61A
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
Finest small Atmos soundbar beneath £300
- Compact measurement
- Atmos + MultiBeam sound
- Multi-room assist
- Energetic sound
- Entrance-heavy Atmos presentation
- Problem with Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough
- Bluetooth music playback a bit of torpid
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam, just like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is an Atmos-flavoured small bar, and at its present value is a less expensive various to the Sonos.
Its characteristic set is sort of comparable with HDMI eARC to pipe by a lossless Atmos sign, Ethernet, and optical audio out. The JBL has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi assist, enabling playback from a cellular gadget and casting of audio by both Chromecast or AirPlay 2 (useful for iOS customers). With Alexa and Google multi-room assist that enables the bar to be linked to different good units, the JBL may be very versatile when it comes to becoming inside a house set-up.
The JBL solely is available in black however appears to be like glossy with its end and a clear acoustic mesh grille. We had no qualms with its construct high quality, which felt suitably strong, and if there’s curiosity in wall-mounting a wall-bracket is included. The entrance going through show is simple sufficient to learn from a sofa, and the easy distant bundled in consists of all the required controls for working gadget, in addition to starting the MultiBeam calibration course of that tailors the efficiency of the soundbar to a room’s acoustics.
We discovered its audio efficiency was one provided with a fantastic sense of power and gusto, the dimensions of the sound expands past its small measurement particularly with the MultiBeam calibration utilized. With Atmos enabled we discovered with many movies that there was stable elevation of results to current soundtracks with extra peak, although we did discover that with hectic motion movies it wasn’t the clearest of performances, with dialogue not handled as nicely.
It additionally performs at its finest with the amount turned up, providing extra dynamism and pleasure. Bass, as is the case with most compact soundbars, is okay, however if you’re after extra bass then it’s price trying out the Polk Magnifi Mini AX in its place.
Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Assessment: JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
Polk MagniFi Mini AX
Finest compact bar with subwoofer
- Thrilling, dynamic sound (in the precise mode)
- Extremely-compact dimensions
- Comes with a subwoofer
- Good vary of connections
- Sub can hog the eye at occasions
- Not really immersive
Whereas a small soundbar is useful when it comes to decreasing area, its measurement isn’t at all times nice for producing a extra cinematic sound, particularly with regards to bass. The Polk MagniFi Mini AX has you lined in that respect.
This an ultra-compact Dolby Atmos/DTS:X soundbar from American model Polk, and it differs from different choices on this record in that it’s not simply an all-in-one effort however one which comes with sizeable subwoofer. This permits it produce and energetic and dynamic efficiency, and given the load and energy behind the subwoofer’s efficiency, it’s most likely one which’s certain to alert the neighbours to what you’re watching.
In our opinion the Polk doesn’t full suffice as an immersive soundbar however performs higher than the Inventive Stage 360. It could do an honest impression of peak results however not with the best sense of definition, whereas its soundstage is entrance heavy, although you’ll be able to add Polk’s SR2 encompass audio system as actual channels for a better sense of area. Dialogue may be enhanced with Polk’s VoiceAdjust know-how, though we discovered that whereas it did its job of boosting voices, it additionally had a bent to boost surrounding noise as nicely.
Tonally we felt the soundbar sounded correct and there’s good ranges of element and readability to get pleasure from when the soundbar is put into its 3D mode, which additionally offers a much bigger, wider soundstage to Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. With music it’s a stable performer, enjoying music with a crispness that we discovered averted sibilance or harshness.
It has an array of connections that’s better than LG’s Éclair soundbar, with Chromecast accessible together with Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Join and a USB connection that may play MP3 music. With Atmos and DTS:X assist for a similar value because the Sonos Sub Mini, it is a good worth soundbar/subwoofer mixture.
We additionally thought-about…
For TVs that lack smarts, the Streambar affords nice worth sound and imaginative and prescient
No, but it surely’s finest for them to at the least be comparable in measurement. For a full-size soundbar, it’s finest to associate them with TVs 50-inches and above. With compact soundbars that TVs’ 49-inches and smaller can be one of the best match.
No, you received’t want a soundbar that’s the identical model because the TV. Any soundbar can work with any TV it’s linked to. The place chances are you’ll need to think about is whether or not the soundbar and TV have been optimised to work finest with one another. LG and Sony each have soundbars that share options with their respective TVs.
First Reviewed Date
Sound Bar Channels
Audio (Energy output)
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
651 x 100 x 69 MM
Sonos Beam (2nd Gen)
Black or white
1x tweeter, 4x mid-woofers, 3x passive radiators
HDMI eARC, Optical S/PDIF (by way of adaptor)
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, PCM
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
709 x 101 x 58 MM
5 x 48mm x 80mm racetrack drivers + 4 x 3 inches (75mm) Passive Radiators
Bluetooth 4.2, AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi, Chromecast
50Hz – 20KHz
Sure (Google, Alexa, AirPlay 2)
764 x 68 x 125 MM
centre speaker, wide-range tweeter, built-in woofer, dual-sided horn audio system
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Optical
Dolby Digital 5.1
Apple AirPlay 2
Polk MagniFi Mini AX
366 x 104 x 79 MM
MagniFi Mini AX
two 19mm tweeters, three 51mm mid-range, 127mm × 178mm woofer
AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast, Spotify Join
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio, DTS:X, DTS