So, you bought the best TV that is recommended by popular sites, brought it home, and connected to it all available signal sources. And then it turned out that the sound of your system is not very impressive. The reason is simple - modern flat-panel TVs can provide excellent image quality, but in terms of sound, they are far from perfect. It is simply impossible to integrate acoustics into their fashionable flat cases that would sound convincing and dynamic. In fact, there are many ways to improve the sound quality of a TV, and one of the easiest and most affordable is the use of the best soundbar with subwoofer.
Please note that not all soundbars have a low-frequency channel and a subwoofer. In addition, the location of the subwoofer in the soundbars can also be different - both separate and built-in.
When choosing a soundbar with a built-in subwoofer, keep in mind that the large subwoofer of the subwoofer greatly increases the dimensions of the device - such soundbars are more like shelves. And if the dimensions of the model with the built-in subwoofer are small, then the quality of bass reproduction becomes questionable.
Thus for you not to get lost in this article, we made separate groups. This will ease your hunt for the the most appropriate device.
All products presented in this category support wireless connection to a subwoofer.
Typically, Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars have integrated high-pitched speakers (pointing up), but the Sony HT-ZF9 departs from this concept. Its design is 3.1-channel, based on sound processing by a digital processor (DSP), a soundbar with an extension of the sound field to a volume of 7.1.2 channels. However, this is what Sony claims.
The best soundbar with wireless subwoofer is partially glossy, partially matte, and has a removable magnetizable grille. Although if you look closely, the soundbar doesn’t look so stylish without a grill. The trio of emitters is slightly repelled by its rustic appearance, and even the protrusion from below, which without a grill resembles a “protruding lip.” With its width of one meter, the soundbar is suitable for large screen sizes.
The HT-ZF9 subwoofer is just as compact and has a 16-cm paper emitter. This is a relative of the Sony subwoofer used in the HT-ST5000 last year. A sophisticated automatic calibration procedure for the Sony HT-ZF9 soundbar is not required, but it is possible to manually set the distance to the listening position (both for the panel and the subwoofer) and volume level.
In addition to selecting a source, there is a built-in Spotify service. The Sony HT-ZF9 can be upgraded with a pair of SA-Z9R wireless rear speakers, available separately. Connecting these devices creates a 5.1 physical system, backed up by ZF9 panel sound processing.
In terms of control, this soundbar is more confusing than the IKEA store plan. The first thing to understand is that the separate Vertical S button on the remote control does not enable Vertical Surround mode. Instead, it includes an upmixer for dual channel and regular 5.1 sound.
When a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X stream enters the soundbar, the Vertical Surround Engine turns on automatically. However, you can control the sound manually using the Dolby Speaker Virtualiser (in the audio menu), which disables the vertical sound engine.
Among other things, the HT-ZF9 soundbar also forms a number of sound presets (Cinema, Music, Game Studio, News, Sports, and Standard), although they do not work when using Chromecast or Bluetooth. There is DRC (dynamic range compression), but it is better not to use it.
The connection possibilities of the HT-ZF9 soundbar are provided by two HDMI inputs, as well as an HDMI output (with ARC). Plus, there is a USB port, a 3.5 mm analog mini stereo input and an optical digital audio input for those TVs that cannot work with ARC. By the way, due to the limited space for HDMI, volumetric connectors are unlikely to be used.
In addition to Wi-Fi, there is a Bluetooth connection compatible with Sony’s own LDAC codec, which provides an increased threshold for distortion in the signal. You can also connect with Bluetooth headphones. The Chromecast player is built-in, and, accordingly, the system is compatible with Google Assistant.
The Samsung HW-Q90R stands out among its competitors with its wireless rear speakers and four up-raising speakers, which together provide a truly immersive surround effect with DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. No other sound panel comes close in terms of object sounding, which makes this unit the best soundbar with subwoofer regarding performance.
The main feature of the Samsung HW-Q90R is support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (and their variants). However, what distinguishes it from other “bars” that you saw earlier is the ability to deliver these object audio formats using a genuine 7.1.4-channel setting, rather than resorting to acoustic radiation or psychoacoustics.
To achieve this, there are 12 speakers (including a subwoofer) using a total of 17 drivers. The front three channels use three speakers each - two subwoofers and a broadband tweeter, and all other channels are based on one driver.
The speakers are divided into 12 channels. These are front left and right, center, two sides, two rear parts, two front heights, a pair of rear heights, and a subwoofer. All these speakers are equipped with a built-in amplifier with a power of 512 W.
Despite the complexity of its object-oriented decoding and multi-channel delivery, the actual setup is quite simple. Although this simplifies installation it means that getting the most out of the system can be a bit difficult. It would be cool if Samsung added some form of automatic calibration so that everything worked optimally.
As for the connections, there are two HDMI inputs and an output, each of which supports 4K / 60p, 4: 4: 4, Rec.2020, wide dynamic range (HDR10, HLG, HDR10 and Dolby Vision), 3D and HDCP 2.2. This should ensure that Samsung can handle anything. This is a common complaint, but the two HDMI inputs seem stingy considering the price.
The only other physical connection is the optical digital input, but there are a number of wireless options, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, there is no support for Chromecast or Apple AirPlay, which disappoints the high-end soundbar.
Four sound modes are available: Standard, Surround, Game Pro, and Adaptive Sound.
Standard modes provide encrypted audio transmission, while surround modes amplify it to use all available channels. Two other modes will appear this year: Game Pro mode makes the game more fun, while Adaptive Sound mode analyzes the content and changes processing on the fly.
As you would expect from a modern soundbar, it can handle all popular audio formats with support for high resolution up to 32-bit. It also includes UHQ 32-bit scaling for high-fidelity audio playback from compatible smart devices.
Like most other Samsung products, SmartThings is supported - it simplifies setup and lets you manage the soundbar along with other connected units from the same hub. The model also works with Amazon Alexa, providing speakerphone control and listening to music through Spotify Connect.
If the possibilities of a budget soundbar seem insufficient, and there is no incentive to part with a tidy sum for Yamaha’s top-end sound projector, it makes sense to pay attention to the middle positions in the company's price list. There are a huge number of models, and some are quite interesting. For example, Yamaha YAS-207, the first to receive support for the latest DTS Virtual:X format and is the best budget soundbar with subwoofer.
The soundbar, depending on the type of placement of the TV, can be mounted on the wall or put on the bedside table in front of the screen. For hinged installation, no additional accessories are required, standard hinges are provided in the case; a template for fasteners is attached.
Digital optical differs in the broadest compatibility, while the cable is included in the package. With modern TVs, it is preferable to use HDMI. Moreover, the soundbar is equipped not only with output but also with one input of this format with the ability to broadcast a 4K signal with HDR and HDCP 2.2. In a word, in all respects, it is suitable for any source and televisions of the latest generation.
The main "trick" of the model is, of course, compatibility with the new surround format DTS Virtual:X. The name of this technology is consonant with DTS:X, competing with the Dolby Atmos format of object-oriented surround sound.
The "virtual" version, as well as the usual one, implies the extension of the sound panorama not only in one plane but also up and down. The essence of virtuality is that this is supposed to be done without additional speakers due to the special processing of the soundtrack by the sound processor. The best result is achieved if there are multi-channel tracks in the source material, but the system is ready to make its own surround mix even from the banal stereo. There are five surround modes, depending on the type of program - movies, games, sports, music, TV. There are bass amplifiers and dialogs.
The acoustic arsenal is noticeably wider than that of budget soundbars. In the central unit, there are four 45mm mid-frequency heads and a pair of 25mm tweeters, on which 100 watts of power are distributed. The subwoofer is equipped with a similar amplifier, supplying one low-frequency speaker with a diffuser with a diameter of 16 cm. There is also a wider range of audio tracks that the device is able to convert while maintaining localization.
The best soundbar with built in subwoofer Yamaha YAS-109 is made on the principle of "all in one" and therefore is very easy to place. The module has a small height, so it can be placed directly in front of the TV, however, with the help of the included mounts, it can also be hung on the wall. The Yamaha YAS-109 is made of thick ABS and has an attractive modern design with rounded corners. The front and sides of the soundbar are covered with a continuous protective fabric, which gives it a solid and attractive appearance, and the control panel is located on top.
Yamaha YAS-109 has a configuration of 2.1, and thanks to the large-width housing is able to form a wide sound picture in the room. Two bass speakers with a diameter of 55 mm and two 25mm tweeters are installed in the speaker - one pair in each channel. The emitters are made in such a way that they reproduce sound at high volume without distortion, to form a convincing acoustic pressure in the listening room. In addition, a 75-mm bass player is also mounted in the Yamaha YAS-109 case. All speakers in the speaker casing are installed so that the height of its casing remains minimal, and the sound distribution in the room is uniform. Each stereo channel in the Yamaha YAS-109 has 30 watts of output power, and the subwoofer speaker is powered by a 60-watt amplifier.
The Yamaha YAS-109 soundbar has an HDMI input with support for the return audio channel, so when using this connection to the TV, sound from all its signal sources will be transmitted to the sound panel. Also, in this model, an optical input is provided. With support for music streaming (using Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections), the Yamaha YAS-109 can play audio files stored on available network devices, as well as using available network services. And, of course, one cannot fail to note the presence of a voice control system Alexa.
The soundbar is equipped with Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, and also has a DTS Virtual:X processor to create a surround effect. Also, the Yamaha YAS-109 provides functions for enhancing bass and additional sound processing using DSP depending on the type of audio content.
The Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar is considered as the one with the best performance among units of this category. It is equipped with 46 emitters, 44 of which form the surround sound. This is a record number of speakers for the model of the YSP series, and it provides a convincing surround sound picture. The soundbar has a sleek appearance thanks to a protective mesh that completely hides its front and top panels. In order not to disturb the appearance of the Yamaha YSP-5600, the control LEDs are hidden behind the grid.
Given the height of the speaker, it will be difficult to put it on a shelf in front of the TV without blocking the screen, and the width of the YSP-5600 will go beyond the boundaries of most AV racks. Therefore, perhaps the best solution would be to install the soundbar on some fairly wide surface under the TV hanging on the wall, or also fix it on the wall. Accordingly, table supports are supplied with the YSP-5600, the use of which makes the speaker even wider and higher, and a special wall mount (SPM-K30). During testing, we placed the speakers on two shifted coffee tables, which, of course, cannot be considered an ideal solution, but it will do for our purposes.
The speaker is made in a minimalist design, all emitters are behind a protective metal mesh, and the case has a black finish. In the middle of the front grid, at the bottom, there is a simple display that shows the selected input, set volume level, and DSP mode. On the left, there are LED indicators showing the status of the system and the connection via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. To the right of the display is a jack for connecting a measuring microphone to the Intellibeam auto-tuning system. And finally, on top are several control buttons for switching inputs (and MusicCast connections), adjusting the volume, and turning the soundbar on / off.
The main distinguishing feature of the Yamaha YSP-5600 is the support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D formats. To reproduce high-altitude channels, six emitters are used, located on each side of the soundbar. Overall, the Yamaha YSP-5600 supports 7.1.2 configuration, which is enough to get convincing sound.
Traditionally for the models in this series, the Yamaha YSP-5600 is equipped with a proprietary DSP to process the surround sound and give it extra expressiveness. In total, ten sound processing modes are provided, divided into three categories. In addition, the special Dialogue Lift mode allows for more accurate dialogue transmission, especially in scenes rich in special effects.
The Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar has four HDMI inputs with support for 4K video, as well as one HDMI output. Also, the soundbar is equipped with digital and analog inputs, as well as Bluetooth and AirPlay for wireless connection of mobile devices. At the same time, the Yamaha YSP-5600 has a Bluetooth transmitter, with which you can listen to sound from the soundbar through wireless headphones or speakers.
The Yamaha YSP-5600 can be connected to a home computer network via Ethernet and Wi-Fi, and this model supports the proprietary MusicCast multi-room technology. Using a special mobile application through the soundbar, you can listen to music from local sources or Internet services.
The Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar has a very convincing surround sound with a good bass level sufficient to play movie and music soundtracks in medium-sized rooms. If desired, the system’s low frequencies can be enhanced by connecting an external subwoofer to the Yamaha YSP-5600.