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Article updated on February 15, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar of 2024

These are the best TV speakers for immersive audio in the home.

Our Experts

Written by 
Ty Pendlebury
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
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Our Picks

$384 at Amazon
vizio m512 soundbar
Best Dolby Atmos soundbar overall
Vizio M512a-H6
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$705 at Amazon
vizio elevate soundbar
Best soundbar with surround
Vizio Elevate
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$287 at Amazon
Polk Signa S4 Soundbar
Best Atmos under $400
Polk Signa S4
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$499 at Bose
Bose Smart Soundbar 600 on a TV stand
Best compact Atmos soundbar
Bose Smart Soundbar 600
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$799 at Bose
bose-smart-ultra-soundbar-1
Best all-in-one
Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar
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$2,000 at Amazon
02-sennheiser-ambeo-soundbar
Best high-end soundbar
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
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Wireless subwoofers? Bluetooth? HDMI? Of all the features available on a soundbar, one of the most requested by CNET readers is Dolby Atmos audio. Like its rival DTS:X audio format, Atmos differs from normal surround by adding height to your music and movies.

Dolby Atmos soundbars are now more affordable than ever, especially compared with a traditional Atmos receiver and surround sound speakers. These soundbars are also more compact and easier to set up, though the trade-off is that they're unable to match a larger system's performance. With that in mind, these are my favorite Atmos soundbar options available right now.

What's the best Dolby Atmos soundbar?

The Vizio M512a-H6, which replaces the excellent Vizio SB36512-F6, is my favorite budget Dolby Atmos soundbar. It has dedicated height and surround speakers and sounds great with both TV and music. Yet, there are benefits to be had from the more expensive models, such as improved sound quality and even onboard virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. For example, the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar is an all-in-one soundbar that offers great sound, exquisite build quality, and excellent multiroom capabilities.

It's worth noting that there are plenty of simulated Dolby Atmos soundbars on the market -- speakers like the Sonos Beam Gen 2 can process Atmos but lack up-firing speakers. However, even the best virtual systems I've heard have been outperformed by systems with dedicated drivers when it comes to placing objects in 3D space. There's no substitute for physical height speakers.

$384 at Amazon

Best Dolby Atmos soundbar overall

Vizio M512a-H6

The Vizio M512a looks better, sounds better, and is easier to use than its predecessor. While it keeps Bluetooth capability it does lose the ability to stream over Wi-Fi. If you're looking for the most cost-effective way to add Dolby Atmos to your television this is the one. 

$705 at Amazon

Best soundbar with surround

Vizio Elevate

If you like a bit of "high tech" in your tech then look to the Vizio Elevate. This is a 5.1.4 soundbar system that uses motorized drivers to switch between Atmos and normal surround sound. It's not just a gimmick -- it also sounds good! The Elevate also includes everything you want from a modern soundbar, including multiple HDMI inputs and Wi-Fi music streaming. 

$287 at Amazon

Best Atmos under $400

Polk Signa S4

The Polk Signa S4 is the cheapest soundbar with Dolby Atmos on board yet, but it doesn't sacrifice performance to get that price down. This is a 3.1.2 channel soundbar with a host of useful sound modes and Bluetooth streaming. The wireless soundbar and dedicated heights help it belt out Atmos soundtracks, and it sounds great with music, too.

$499 at Bose

Best compact Atmos soundbar

Bose Smart Soundbar 600


Many companies have tried making a compact, affordable soundbar that can also play Atmos natively, but I’d argue only one company has so far succeeded. The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 offers dedicated height speakers in a modest-sized cabinet, and its sound quality is top notch. The speaker also adds in multiroom music and the Alexa voice assistant as well.

$848 at Bose

Best all-in-one

Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar

If you want the best Dolby Atmos sound from a single bar but balk at paying $1,000 or more, the Bose Smart Ultra is for you. It sounds great whether you're listening to music or watching a movie, and it's not half-bad-looking either. 

$2,000 at Amazon

Best high-end soundbar

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Want the ultimate Atmos audio home theater sound system experience with just a single box? It may be a grand more than the Sony but the Sennheiser Ambeo standalone soundbar offers the best immersive sound we've ever heard. Google Chromecast and Bluetooth connectivity are built-in for a seamless experience. Ambeo's lack of a subwoofer, while still sounding full, should be especially attractive to apartment dwellers.

How CNET tests Dolby Atmos soundbars

At CNET I test audio equipment from compact soundbars all the way to surround sound speakers systems, but regardless of the device my methodology is largely the same. I always compare products against one or more reference devices that offer the best performance at a similar price. 

When it comes to soundbars, I want to see how well a system performs with music as well as with movies, as most people will want to do both. I watch from a handful of test scenes from 4K Blu-ray or streamed from a 4K streaming service (Vudu, for example) and evaluate aspects such as bass performance and dialogue clarity. I also use a number of test music tracks and evaluate any streaming features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It's systems that can perform well with both types of entertainment that inevitably score the highest.

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Other soundbars I've tested

I have tested the following soundbars in the CNET audio lab against models of a similar price. Each of these soundbars are worthy in their own way, but aren't quite as recommendable as our main picks.

sonos-beam-gen-2-5

The Sonos Beam Gen 2 offers excellent simulated Atmos sound

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Factors to consider when buying a Dolby Atmos soundbar

bose-smart-ultra-soundbar-01

The Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar ($899) includes Dolby Atmos and onboard Amazon Alexa

Josh Goldman/CNET

In the last few years, we've seen an explosion in the number of Atmos soundbars. Even better, the prices have finally dipped below $500, making them more affordable than ever. There is a big difference between Atmos compatible and Atmos capable, though. Some of the soundbars can only read the standard but not play it, typically the cheaper models. While the Sonos Beam Gen 2 does a great job of simulating height effects, it pays to invest in a model with dedicated height speakers.

If you're buying a new soundbar, then music streaming is an important consideration. This can take one of two main formats: Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. Wireless streaming lets you play music from a multitude of sources, such as Spotify on your phone or iTunes on your computer, via your soundbar. Wi-Fi offers several upgrades over Bluetooth, including the ability to listen in multiple rooms and even control it with a Google Assistant or Alexa.

Many Dolby Atmos soundbars have a smart assistant onboard; these days, it's usually only Amazon Alexa. Having a smart assistant can make controlling the soundbar easier and also help set the scene by dimming lights and closing curtains. If you use Google Assistant or Siri in your house, then most of these models can be controlled by them, too. Worries about privacy? Either turn off the soundbar's microphone or get a model without one!

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Dolby Atmos soundbar FAQs

Do I need HDMI 2.1 to listen to Atmos?

Dolby Atmos can be played over a normal HDMI ARC connection with streaming services, which use the Dolby Digital Plus codec -- and when it works it's great. If you want the full-blooded Dolby Atmos experience then you may need to upgrade to a new TV with an HDMI 2.1 port, as it will enable higher quality Atmos streams from Blu-ray players and gaming consoles.

Is a Dolby Atmos soundbar worth paying extra for?

If you're a gamer or enjoy watching the latest blockbusters, then yes, a Dolby Atmos soundbar is worth paying more for. But you need to make sure that you have a TV with an HDMI ARC port (for Dolby Digital Plus) and a Dolby Atmos-capable source, such as the Xbox Series X or the latest Roku streamers.

Which connection is best for a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

The short answer is HDMI. The long answer is that there are two ways to get Atmos into one of these speakers -- the first, and best, is to have a TV with an eARC port (HDMI 2.1). This port is a feature of many new TVs and enables Atmos information to be fed from your TV (via either smart apps or another connected device) to an external speaker. Normal HDMI ARC will work for some streaming services that offer Dolby Atmos

On the other hand, if you have an older TV and an Atmos source such as a Blu-ray player, you'll need a soundbar that has more than one HDMI port. The Vizio M512a enables you to connect external devices directly by HDMI.