A soundbar is likely one of the best methods to enhance your TV’s audio, however what when you’re quick on area?
If you happen to’ve been interested by selecting up a soundbar, you’ve little doubt encountered some massive and imposing choices when searching your native audio retailer. Nevertheless, these chunky soundbars aren’t probably 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 below your small TV, there are a rising variety of compact soundbars to select from as a substitute.
Many of those compact bars even assist extra superior applied sciences accessible, equivalent 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 the perfect small soundbars available on the market to find out which of them are value your cash, utilizing the gadgets for an prolonged time frame to type a well-rounded opinion.
We sit by way of motion pictures and take heed 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 on the market.
Hold studying to find all the perfect small soundbars accessible proper now. If you happen to can’t see something you want proper now, examine again quickly as we frequently replace this web page as new soundbars come by way of our workplace.
Be certain that to take a look at our guides to the perfect soundbars and the perfect Dolby Atmos soundbars. We’ve additionally narrowed down the perfect encompass sound programs 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 – examine worth
- Finest compact life-style soundbar: Samsung HW-S61A – examine worth
- Finest small Atmos bar below £300: JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam – examine worth
- Finest small Atmos bar with subwoofer: Polk MagniFI Mini AX – examine worth
How we check
Soundbars had been created to spice up TV sound high quality – which suggests we find yourself watching plenty of TV. We play all the things – information studies for voices, motion pictures for scale and results steering – to make sure that the soundbars that come by way of the doorways at Trusted Opinions are given a correct problem. We’ll play totally different genres of music, too, since soundbar ought to be able to doubling-up as an awesome music system.
Extra advanced soundbars function community performance for hooking as much as different audio system and taking part in music across the house, so we check for connectivity points and ease of use. We cowl the spectrum of fashions accessible, all the things 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
- Glorious dimension
- 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 greater and costlier sibling, the Arc. It comes with addition of an eARC HDMI port that enables it to play full-fat lossless Atmos soundtracks. Meaning you’ll want an eARC appropriate TV to get the perfect out of it. In any other case, issues stay the identical with the Beam 2nd Gen finest fitted 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 equivalent to Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, in addition to Sonos’ personal Radio service. You too can name on voice help in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, in addition to provoke Trueplay (so long as you’ve obtained an iOS machine), which optimises the Beam’s audio efficiency in keeping with the setting it’s in.
Throughout testing we discovered it produced a superb 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 parts with nuance. The addition of Dolby Atmos isn’t achieved by way of upfiring audio system however by way of digital processing, and it affords efficiency with an honest sense of dimensionality after we watched Captain Marvel on Disney+. An alternate Atmos bar is the Polk Signa S4, which affords sense of peak with its upfiring audio system, and whereas its cheaper it’s not as compact.
There’s a foot dangled within the route 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 might 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 an effective way of doing so.
Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Evaluation: Sonos Beam Gen 2
Finest compact life-style soundbar
- Extensive, 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 when you’re in search of one that may match right into a room’s décor. It’s across the identical dimension, form and look because the HW-S60T from 2020, and that’s no dangerous factor as we discovered it to be a beautiful wanting soundbar with its Kvadrat cloth (accessible in gray or white).
The location of the buttons on the highest floor and LED indicator have been introduced additional right down to make them extra seen from a seated place. A show could be extra helpful, nevertheless it’s arguably not included right here as it will spoil the bar’s seamless appears.
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 way of 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 machine most will take pleasure in.
The bar may also be related to hook as much as streaming providers equivalent to Spotify and Deezer, and there’s now assist for Apple AirPlay 2 when you’ve obtained an iOS machine to forged audio from. The Faucet Sound perform 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 equivalent 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 broad with extra function 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 effectively, 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 when you miss out, Samsung has successfully changed these two fashions with the 2022 S60B.
Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Evaluation: Samsung HW-S61A
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
Finest small Atmos soundbar below £300
- Compact dimension
- Atmos + MultiBeam sound
- Multi-room assist
- Energetic sound
- Entrance-heavy Atmos presentation
- Situation with Dolby Imaginative and prescient passthrough
- Bluetooth music playback just a little torpid
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam, just like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is an Atmos-flavoured small bar, and at its present worth is a less expensive different to the Sonos.
Its function set is kind of comparable with HDMI eARC to pipe by way of a lossless Atmos sign, Ethernet, and optical audio out. The JBL has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi assist, enabling playback from a cellular machine and casting of audio by way of both Chromecast or AirPlay 2 (helpful for iOS customers). With Alexa and Google multi-room assist that enables the bar to be related to different good gadgets, the JBL could be very versatile when it comes to becoming inside a house set-up.
The JBL solely is available in black however appears smooth with its end and a clear acoustic mesh grille. We had no qualms with its construct high quality, which felt suitably sturdy, and if there’s curiosity in wall-mounting a wall-bracket is included. The entrance dealing with show is straightforward sufficient to learn from a sofa, and the straightforward distant bundled in consists of all the mandatory controls for working machine, 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 an awesome sense of power and gusto, the scale of the sound expands past its small dimension 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 effectively.
It additionally performs at its finest with the quantity turned up, providing extra dynamism and pleasure. Bass, as is the case with most compact soundbars, is okay, however in case you are after extra bass then it’s value trying out the Polk Magnifi Mini AX in its place.
Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Evaluation: 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 actually immersive
Whereas a small soundbar is useful when it comes to lowering area, its dimension isn’t all the time nice for producing a extra cinematic sound, particularly relating 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 checklist in that it’s not simply an all-in-one effort however one which comes with sizeable subwoofer. This enables it produce and energetic and dynamic efficiency, and given the load and energy behind the subwoofer’s efficiency, it’s in all probability one which’s positive 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 might do an honest impression of peak results however not with the best sense of definition, whereas its soundstage is entrance heavy, although you may add Polk’s SR2 encompass audio system as actual channels for a larger sense of area. Dialogue might be enhanced with Polk’s VoiceAdjust expertise, though we discovered that whereas it did its job of boosting voices, it additionally had an inclination to boost surrounding noise as effectively.
Tonally we felt the soundbar sounded correct and there’s good ranges of element and readability to take pleasure in 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, taking part in music with a crispness that we discovered averted sibilance or harshness.
It has an array of connections that’s larger 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 worth because the Sonos Sub Mini, this can be a good worth soundbar/subwoofer mixture.
We additionally thought of…
For TVs that lack smarts, the Streambar affords nice worth sound and imaginative and prescient
No, nevertheless it’s finest for them to a minimum of be comparable in dimension. For a full-size soundbar, it’s finest to companion them with TVs 50-inches and above. With compact soundbars that TVs’ 49-inches and smaller could be the perfect 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 related to. The place chances are you’ll wish 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