Best 3.1 Soundbar

Votes 1 1
Rating 5 5
Overall Audio features Streaming services Connectivity Features Multichannel surround
Sony HT-Z9F 6.8 7 6 8 7 7 See price
Samsung HW-Q70R 6.6 7 4 7 8 7 See price
ZVOX SB380 4 6 0 4 4 2 See price

The built-in speakers of modern TVs are not always enough to completely immerse yourself in content and watch the high-quality video. The situation can be corrected by buying the best 3.1 soundbar - a compact device that will provide high-quality sound and allow you to play audio files from external drives.

This soundbar is a great option for creating a home audio system. These devices take up much less space than sets of multi-format speakers for home theater but often are not inferior to them in sound quality. Which soundbar to choose and which models to pay attention to in 2020, read in our article. Here we have gathered all the best models that have a separate subwoofer with wireless connectivity and Bluetooth support.

3.1 soundbar reviews

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Sony HT-Z9F - best overall

Our rating
6.8/10

Sony HT-Z9F

It seems that Sony designers draw soundbars in their free time. If some companies try to give devices original or even bizarre shapes, then everything is simple - a rectangular plastic-metal bar with a protective grid on the magnets in front.

But such minimalism has a practical side. A similar design is combined with almost any TV, echoing the delicate edging of the screen. The included SA-WZF9 wireless subwoofer is also devoid of individual features - a medium-sized plastic box with a phase inverter opening in front.

The Sony HT-Z9F is the best 3.1 channel soundbar as long as it is equipped with the latest features and is capable of voicing a medium-sized living room. Among the main features of this model is support for 3D audio formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which is provided due to proprietary technology Vertical Surround Engine.

Sony HT-Z9F has a configuration of 3.1. However, thanks to the Vertical Surround Engine, it is able to create surround sound space similar to that formed by the component system 7.1.2. In addition, to fully immerse yourself in what is happening on the screen, you can connect wireless rear speakers (purchased separately) to the Sony HT-Z9F.

The soundbar is very easy to place due to its small size - it can be hung on the wall or installed in front of the TV, and the wireless subwoofer can be placed in any convenient place in the room. Sony HT-Z9F has two HDMI inputs and one output with support for 4K Ultra HD video, Dolby Vision and HDR10. Since the HDMI output in the soundbar supports the ARC Audio Return Channel function, sound on the Sony HT-Z9F will also be transmitted from all sources connected to the TV. Thanks to CECV Bravia technology, you can control multiple compatible devices connected via HDMI from one remote control. In addition, the column has a USB connector for connecting drives with music files.

Of course, Sony HT-Z9F also has music streaming in its arsenal of features, while the network connection is possible both via cable and Wi-Fi. The soundbar can work with popular online services or play files from available network devices. In addition, this model also provides Bluetooth technology for easy connection of mobile devices. At the same time, the soundbar can also transmit a signal via Bluetooth, for example, to compatible headphones. Sony HT-Z9F

With a total sound power of 400 watts, the Sony HT-Z9F soundbar can create convincing sound pressure in a room when watching movies or listening to music. This model has a DSP with several modes of operation that optimize the sound when listening to various content. Also available are modes for increasing the accuracy of dialogue transmission and limiting the dynamic range of sound when watching movies late at night.

The model is another attractive audio panel from Sony, which is now on the rise. The overall performance is excellent, with a large and powerful soundstage along the front. Left and right drivers provide an accurate stereo effect. A center speaker provides clear and focused dialogue, while Acoustic Beam technology provides extra width and presence above your head.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 3.1
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): yes
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 100 x 6.4 x 10/39.4 x 2.5 x 3.4
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Great for the everyday person who appreciates fantastic sound but just wants an easy living room setup
  • There's a very noticeable difference with or without the rears

Cons

  • Awful for large spaces, those who want huge amounts of volume, those expecting tower-level performance out of a soundbar

Samsung HW-Q70R

Our rating
6.6/10

Samsung HW-Q70R

The mid-range soundbar Samsung HW-Q70R got its design hints from the 2018 HW-N650 soundbar, but with some modernization in the form of a larger subwoofer and support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The Q70R soundbar, whose name, as it turned out, is the same The abbreviated name of the model in the company's QLED TV line is using Samsung Acoustic Beam technology.

The HW-Q70R soundbar uses the same chassis as the previous N650 soundbar. This means that it is equally low (56 mm) and will not block the screen when placed in front of the TV. The design is sleek and stylish, with sturdy construction and finish that Samsung calls “black mineral ash.”

On the front panel on the right are several basic controls for power, volume, and source selection; everything else is controlled using the included remote. For those who plan to install this soundbar on the wall, the kit includes a mount with screws and a template. The package also includes a high-speed HDMI cable, which is very convenient.

The Samsung HW-Q70R acoustic panel is a combination of a seven-driver soundbar and a wireless subwoofer, providing a 3.1.2 surround sound configuration. The acoustic beam function is based on a tuned resonating tube that directs sounds to the side and up to the ceiling. These acoustic rays bounce off the sidewalls and ceiling, creating a more immersive sound.

There are also three forward speakers, i.e., dialogs are reproduced by the own center speaker. When all these speakers are combined with a subwoofer, you get a multi-channel object sound. The HW-Q70R supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in all variations except IMAX Enhanced DTS:X.

The Samsung SmartThings app makes it easy to configure the HW-Q70R, as well as interact with Amazon Alexa, Spotify Connect, and manage voice. There is support for all popular audio formats, plus scaling to UHQ for compatible devices. Samsung HW-Q70R

The extent to which this is implemented is highly dependent on the environment. For this type of technology to work correctly, reflective walls and ceilings are needed. This means that you must avoid an excess of the upholstered furniture that will absorb sound rays. You also need a low and flat ceiling that reflects the sound down to the listener.

All HW-Q70R switching is located in a recess in the back of the device, and it is not numerous. For example, there is only one HDMI input and one HDMI output. But they both at least support 4K / 60p, HDCP 2.2, and all formats with an extended range of HDR (HDR10, HLG, HDR10 , and Dolby Vision). Thanks to a recent firmware update, the HDMI output also supports eARC.

Limited connectivity does not end there. The only physical input is an optical connector. As for wireless connections, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s a pity that the panel does not support Chromecast or Apple AirPlay. Yes, and USB-drives, there is no way to play anything. The USB input is for updates only.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 3.1.2
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): yes
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 110 x 5.8 x 9.9/43.3 x 2.3 x 3.9
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Because of identical drivers, it’s easier to move the speakers around the three-dimensional soundstage without noticeably changing character from speaker to speaker
  • Touch-sensitive buttons on the soundbar for volume level, inputs, and basically everything you need in a quick layout

Cons

  • The setup is simple, but there are so many features that I wish this system can guide you through upon “setting up”

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    Sony HT-Z9F

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