There’s one part of the home theater equation you might be overlooking; sound. Combine a beautiful picture with a thundering sound system, and you’ll be that much closer to bringing the movie theater experience home.
Dolby Atmos is one of the best surround sound technologies currently on the market. We’re highlighting some of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars that bring the technology into your home.
What Is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby has always been a big name in technology at the movie theatre and for home audio/visual enthusiasts. The company is leading the way in HDR TV formats with Dolby Vision. And Dolby Atmos is a big step up in sound technology.
Previously, with a surround sound system, the audio was assigned to a specific channel. But Dolby Atmos throws that confinement out the window. All of the different sounds exist as independent objects, meaning the technology can direct audio more precisely in a room.
A big part of the 360-degree sound experience is the upward-firing speakers. Instead of the usual 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 designations, any soundbar with Atmos will be indicated with a third number, for example, 7.1.2. That last digit lets you know how many speakers point up.
The second part of the equation is finding Dolby Atmos-supported video content and hardware, which both continue to grow. You can find Atmos support in many 4K Blu-Ray players, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and some high-end OLED televisions.
The technology is also supported by many streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV Cube and Apple TV 4K, and there’s a growing amount of content available with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.
If you’ve got some significant cash to spend, it’s hard to go wrong with the Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar. The 7.1.4 soundbar system features four upward-firing speakers along with a pair of side-firing speakers for an immersive Atmos experience. Samsung also includes a rear wireless kit of speakers that also fire upwards for even more immersion.
In total, the system—developed with Harman Kardon—sports 17 different speakers for a theatre-like experience. A unique feature is the adaptive sound mode that will automatically deliver optimal sound for each scene and allows you to hear voices clearly, even on lower volumes.
Anyone with an Amazon Alexa device can use just a simple voice command to interact with the soundbar. The system is also Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect any device like a smartphone or tablet.
For an entry-level Atmos experience, take a look at the LG SL9YG Soundbar. The 4.1.2 system sports 500 watts of total power and is compatible with both Dolby Atmos and DTS: X content. Google fans will be happy to hear that the system offers Google Assistant built-in.
With that feature, you can control your soundbar, entertainment options, and smart home. LG also includes Google Chromecast so you can play music wirelessly from several different streaming apps, including Pandora and Google Play Music. You can also connect to the soundbar via Bluetooth.
The Sony ST-5000 is a 7.1.2 soundbar offering a big kick with 800 watts of power. Along with full Dolby Atmos thanks to the two upward-firing speakers, the soundbar also supports the competing DTS:X standard and can playback high-resolution compatible audio. Sony also offers several different enhancements to improve sound quality.
A ClearAudio+ mode will automatically adjust sound settings to better suit what you’re listening to. Along with being able to control the soundbar through Google Assistant, you can stream music from another device via Bluetooth or from Spotify and others using Wi-Fi.
There’s no need to worry about a subwoofer with the Yamaha YSP-5600 as it provides 7.1.2 channel sound from a single soundbar. Compatible with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the sound beam directed at the ceiling can be adjusted manually or automatically to match your listening position in the room. The included microphone can also optimize the sound for the entire room, depending on the reflection locations.
The full 7.1.2 sound experience is one of four different choices you can select from. The others are 5.1 surround mode, a high-quality two-channel stereo offering, and a single-channel target option.
Using the MusicCast app, you can stream music to the YSP-5600 via Wi-Fi. Anyone with an Amazon Alexa-compatible device can control music on the soundbar. You can also connect using Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, or Spotify Connect.
Take a look at Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 for a full-featured soundbar with Dolby Atmos. Alongside the soundbar, with its four upward-firing speakers, Nakamichi includes two rear speakers and a wireless soundbar. The complete system, which is also compatible with DTS:X, offers 800 watts of power.
Another great plus is the ability to connect up to three HDMI devices to the soundbar with 4K HDR passthrough. Use the unique room size optimization button to better customize the sound to fit your room. You can select from a small, medium, or large room. You can also connect a smartphone or tablet to the system via Bluetooth.
Another more affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar is the VIZIO SB46312 Sound System. The 3.1.2 system doesn’t skimp on bass thanks to the wireless subwoofer’s 10-inch driver. As a nice touch, all of the cables are included so you’ll be able to get the system set up quickly and easily.
Along with being able to play entertainment options from your television, you can connect with Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. If you have a Google Assistant device, it’s also easy to play music and more with a simple voice command.
Enjoy the 360-Degree Soundscape With a Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Any one of these Dolby Atmos soundbars can help bring a new and immersive level of sound to your home theater. So why not buy one of these soundbars today, and enjoy the 360-degree soundscape?
And if you’re looking to turn up the sound quality without spending a bundle, these are some of the best soundbars for audiophiles on a budget.