Best 5.1 Soundbar

Votes 2 2
Rating 4.5 4.5
Overall Audio features Streaming services Connectivity Features Multichannel surround
Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 7.6 8 9 9 8 4 See price
VIZIO SB46514-F6 7.2 8 5 8 8 7 See price
JBL Bar 5.1 7 8 10 8 5 4 See price
VIZIO SB36512-F6 7 8 7 8 7 5 See price
Samsung HW-N650 6.8 7 10 7 8 2 See price
Samsung HW-Q80R 6.8 8 4 7 8 7 See price
VIZIO SB4451-C0 6.6 8 10 8 5 2 See price
Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50 6 6 inapplicable 6 inapplicable inapplicable See price
Klipsch R-10B 5.4 7 10 4 4 2 See price
Samsung HW-Q60R 4.4 8 0 6 4 4 See price

The soundbar (aka sound panel or sound projector) is a compact audio system, thanks to which you will enjoy high-quality sound without installing and configuring bulky equipment. Instead of a subwoofer and several powerful speakers, which used to be the ultimate dream of moviegoers and music lovers, you can get by with one small soundbar.

What gives a soundbar:

  • high-quality sound of the TV and external devices connected to it
  • playback of audio and video files through external drives
  • convenient control (remote control from the soundbar and TV, as well as a voice in some models)
  • space saving: a mono speaker requires it several times less than a home theater
  • support for mobile devices with a Bluetooth connection

Here we’ll find the best 5.1 soundbar for your needs. Choosing the one remember that all models in our rating of 5.1 soundbar reviews have a separate subwoofer with wireless connectivity and Bluetooth support.

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JBL Bar 5.1 - best overall

Our rating
7/10

JBL Bar 5.1

Soundbar JBL Bar 5.1 is the best unit of this configuration on the market. It is able to create a convincing ambient sound space in the room when using only one front speaker. To get convincing basses, the soundbar is equipped with a powerful external wireless subwoofer, but the rest of the speakers are located in the soundbar itself. The soundbar JBL Bar 5.1 will look great together with a modern TV, and due to the low height of the case, the soundbar can be placed on a stand directly in front of it.

The reviewed device is equipped with five high-quality broadband speakers mounted on the front panel, as well as two 1.25-inch, located on the sides. In combination with the special sound processing provided by the proprietary MultiBeam technology, this allows the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround to create a wide sound picture that encompasses viewers from all sides. The accuracy of multi-channel audio processing is provided by the Dolby Digital decoder. The total sound power of the system is 550 watts, and it develops a high sound pressure sufficient to work effectively in an ordinary living room.

JBL Bar 5.1 is equipped with HDMI input and output with support for 4K / Dolby Vision video and ARC audio return channel. The presence of the latter will allow you to redirect the signal to the soundbar from all sources connected to the TV, which will simplify the overall layout of the system. Also available are optical and analog inputs, USB for connecting portable drives, and Bluetooth version 5.0 for easy connection with various mobile devices. JBL Bar 5.1

The flexibility of using JBL Bar 5.1 Surround increases the availability of built-in Wi-Fi and support for Chromecast and AirPlay 2. They stream music from numerous online services or network drives using a smartphone or tablet as a convenient control panel. The system has a robust design, dynamic, and rich sound and easy installation, and will be an excellent solution for creating your own home theater for many users.

The surround speakers automatically go into standby mode when the battery is turned on. The manual shutdown is possible. After turning on the JBL Bar 5.1, be certain to turn on the surround speakers again by holding the sync button.

Each speaker has a rubber base that allows them to be placed on most surfaces. Each of them has a pair of mid-range speakers and a soft dome-shaped tweeter, as well as amplification and, consequently, a battery.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 5.1
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): yes
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 114.8 x 5.8 x 9.3/45 x 2.3 x 3.7
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Not only does it sound awesome, but it's just so great to show off
  • You'll only need the JBL remote if you want to configure the settings

Cons

  • Some users claim the mids were non-existent

Samsung HW-Q80R - best performance

Our rating
6.8/10

Samsung HW-Q80R

The Samsung HW-Q80R is a powerful combination of mid-range soundbar and subwoofer. The HW-Q80R can play DTS:X and Dolby Atmos audio formats. This is not the only advantage of the considered soundbar with a 5.1.2 sound circuit and 370 W power. This unit delivers the best performance among available models.

Even before opening the box, it can already be argued that the HW-Q80R is a serious set. The subwoofer does not look particularly attractive. To some extent, it's just a thick black “box,” although its corners are slightly rounded. Bass lovers will be very pleased to watch the impressively large (8-inch) speaker located on the side panel of the subwoofer.

Having a bass reflex with substantial airflow located on the back of the subwoofer helps maintain low-frequency flow. The main soundbar looks more attractive. It has a lower profile than Samsung's high-quality sound panels of the previous generation, which makes it easier to place it under the TV screen.

It is also worth noting that due to the side speakers, the user can not put this model in a niche under the TV. The Samsung HW-Q80R also benefits from rounded corners and a sturdy metal case. A small LED window on the right side gives information about the selected input, volume settings, and when the Dolby Atmos channel is on.

The Samsung HW-Q80R remote control is pretty cute. Its narrow, slightly curved shape fits comfortably in hand, and the button layout is minimalistic but effective. The key switch, designed to increase the overall volume, accidentally pressed quite easily, and thus activate the mute.

The HW-Q80R speaker system as a whole was designed jointly with sound experts from Harman Kardon. HW-Q80R is capable of, in fact delivering the declared total sound power of 372 watts. This is done using 13 speakers operating in a 5.1-channel configuration. The side speakers located at each end of the soundbar produce surround sound.

Two extreme speakers reproduce frontal sound and sound from above, thereby reflecting the effects of the pitch. This arrangement presents some requirements for the layout of the room. For example, vaulted or beamed ceilings can cause problems with height effects. Samsung HW-Q80R

It is recommended that the soundbar be positioned so that the side speakers have more or less the same distance between the walls from which they will reflect sound. Immediately, we note that for the Q80R soundbar, this arrangement will give maximum efficiency. In other cases, the sound effect of the HW-Q80R soundbar will also be very good.

Despite the fact that the 5.1 channel soundbar Samsung HW-Q80R is designed specifically for movies, it plays music also very well. To tell the truth, the panel can play FLAC, AAC, WAV, and ALAC files. Another great feature of the Samsung HW-Q80R is the use of its own high-frequency twitter. This allows the sound to spread over a wider range. Therefore, the consumer does not need to sit in a certain place in order to achieve maximum effect.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 5.1.2
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): yes
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 122.4 x 8.1 x 13.4/48.2 x 3.2 x 5.3
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Touch-sensitive buttons on the soundbar for volume level, inputs, and basically everything you need in a quick layout
  • The controller is comfortable to hold. I found the enjoyment of seeing buttons for setting treble, bass, audio sync, and the levels of the various speakers

Cons

  • Only two HDMI inputs. Basically your TV and a gaming console

Samsung HW-N650 - best under $500

Our rating
6.8/10

Samsung HW-N650

The HW-N650 is the best soundbar if your budget is under $500. It includes many of the same features as the previous year’s models but adds Samsung’s new Acoustic Beam technology.

The N650 uses a very similar design from previous Samsung models, with a simple rectangular shape and all-metal construction. This strength extends to the metal grilles top and front, as well as a brushed metal section along the edges and sides.

However, despite the fact that the N650 is quite wide, it also has a rather low form factor with a height of only 560 mm: this means that it should be located in front of most TVs without blocking the screen.

The front panel of the soundbar on the right has a simple LED display. The console provided is excellent, and far from the credit card size controllers often included in sound cards.

The connections are located in two recessed sections at the bottom of the soundbar. Unlike many modern Samsung soundbars, the N650 features a separate, wireless active subwoofer.

The N650 uses a 5.1-channel speaker configuration with the claimed frequency range from 42 Hz to 20 kHz and the total power of 360 watts. Along with the three front channels, there are also two upstream channels - but here, everything becomes interesting.

These beams are directed up and to the side, bouncing off the ceiling and walls to create a much wider, higher, and more exciting sound stage. As already mentioned, the N650 features an active wireless subwoofer.

The N650 connectivity looks good on paper, especially when you consider the inclusion of Bluetooth. The number of HDMI inputs is also rather scarce given the price, but you can always use ARC to send sound from the TV to the N650 via HDMI. For reasons that they themselves know best, Samsung chose not to support end-to-end HDR transmission, despite using HDMI 2.0 connections. Samsung HW-N650

The N650 supports 5.1-channel versions of both Dolby Digital and DTS, but cannot decode lossless formats and thus does not support Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. The connection and control are complicated by the lack of a full screen: it is, but very tiny and hidden under a grid on the right side of the soundbar. To be precise, this is not a display, but an alphanumeric indicator. Nevertheless, we connected via Bluetooth without even reading the instructions - the algorithm is quite standard.

With TVs, everything is also simple: in addition to conventional HDMI, there is an optical and RCA connector, so you can connect even the most advanced model. The most logical way to control the soundbar is to use remote control, and if you have one of the compatible Samsung TVs, it could be a remote control from the TV itself. In extreme cases, the main buttons are located on the side panel of the soundbar.

Another option is to download the Samsung Audio Remote app and control it on your smartphone. In fact, it has the same buttons as on the remote.

Key specs

  • Built-in channels: 5.1
  • Separate subwoofer (in package): yes
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • Size (Wx H x D), cm/in: 109.2 x 5 x 7.6/43.3 x 2.3 x 3.9
  • Official website
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Wide and immersive soundstage
  • Wireless sub with well-integrated bass
  • Great performance with music

Cons

  • Lacks certain features, what is the disadvantage of the price

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