Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar in 2021

Dave Mostert
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Smart speakers, universal remotes, and even the humble soundbar have been around for a while now. But no one really wanted to sacrifice their room’s acoustics. Technology is stepping in to alleviate this with Dolby Atmos sound bars.

Dolby Atmos enables you to have not just surround sound, but 360-degree surround sound. What can be better than that? Probably nothing. The addition of Atmos to a sound bar has its benefits — video as well as audio — and what makes it even more special is the price. Obviously, there’s never a free lunch, but it’s great to know that Atmos functionality doesn’t necessarily have to come at a high cost attached.

Here, we delve into the best Dolby Atmos soundbars in 2021.

For this “The Best” section, we’ve included new and current models but have not considered discontinued soundbars. We’ve also included the best soundbars to match with your current TV. It’s certainly a handy comparison to be able to read.

But first, just two things to keep in mind.

What is Dolby Atmos?

NameCategoryProduct
Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos SoundbarBest OverallNakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Samsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70RBudget PickSamsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70R
Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound barUpgrade PickSony Z9F 3.1ch Sound bar

1. Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos Soundbar

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Pros:

  • Dolby Atmos sounds excellent, and can be implemented in a subtle and easy way
  • The packaging was simple and customer support is excellent

Technology.

2. Sony HT-X9000F 2.1 Channel Dolby Atmos Bluetooth Soundbar

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sony HT-X9000F 2.1 Channel Dolby Atmos Bluetooth Soundbar

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Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Haven’t yet run into any issues with connection
  • App access looks very promising
  • Great sound. It’ll blow you away.

Cons:

  • App access is still a work in progress
  • Will only be able to use it with streaming services like Hulu
  • Doesn’t handle bass very well

When it comes to staying up to date with the latest technology, one of the things you want is a Dolby Atmos sound bar. And one of the best ones you can buy comes from Sony in the form of the HT-X9000F.

This one is a true 5.1.2 channel sound bar that can deliver a dazzling 150 watts of power and 4K lossless audio. While we’re not sure how you can lose the highest fidelity sound, it’s all about the technology that is being utilized in this sound bar.

In addition, the system is equipped with Sony’s patented Virtual Surround that is designed to reproduce a realistic surround sound experience while watching movies, TV shows, sports, and more from the comfort of your own living room.

3. Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound bar

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound bar

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Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Simple and elegant design
  • Comes with voice assistant integration
  • Inbuilt Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Smart speakers may disappoint in the future
  • Pricey

Sony’s HT-Z9F is a powerful soundbar that will actually exceed your expectations of a device of this type. The soundbar is compatible with Dolby Atmos, making it perfect for upmixing an ordinary audio track into a high-definition surround sound experience. The sound quality it offers on its own is also excellent, and it comes with a number of settings to customize the sound profile according to your needs.

The Sony soundbar is one of the few devices that allows you to connect a TV remote through Bluetooth. This allows you to switch between regular mode and soundbar mode without picking up the remote and pressing the button. The voice assistant integration works very well too, allowing you to pair your soundbar with select smart speakers from Amazon, like the Echo Dot.

4. Samsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70R

Our rating: 6 / 10

Samsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70R

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Pros:

  • Dolby Atmos and HLG support coming soon
  • Integrated Bluetooth 5
  • Automatic sound optimization for premium sound
  • The Samsung Q70R uses the latest version of Samsung's proprietary AirPlay-like streaming technologies that lets you connect directly to any streaming service app with a simple tap to the speaker
  • The Samsung Q60R is compatible with all major sound formats including DTS, Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • The included wireless subwoofer coverts the audio signal to a Bluetooth connection. It eliminates messy cables and wires while also giving high-end audio performance
  • This subwoofer also gives you the option to use it as a standalone speaker when you're not using it with your home theater system
  • The Samsung Q60R is equipped with Samsung's Acoustic Beam technology that creates a sound field that encompasses you and makes you feel like you're in a cinema or concert hall.
  • Voice recognition is supported
  • In addition to asking Alexa to turn on a movie or play a specific song, you can use the Samsung Q60R to control lights or thermostats in your smart home

Cons:

  • Certain features like the AI Opioid and Ambient Mode require a Samsung SmartThings hub
  • The included power cord is built-in

(2019 Model)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it worth buying a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

Surround sound systems are rapidly becoming the norm as more and more consumers pick up a 4K UHD, 3D capable Smart TV with a Dolby Atmos soundbar. It’s too bad everyone doesn’t have that kind of money.

Hollywood film makers have been using Dolby Atmos for years through IMAX and other cameras, which are far too expensive for a consumer to buy at this point. Dolby Atmos is a system that is built on a foundation of speakers and sound that are located inside your room. This means that sound can bounce off the walls and objects in your room, creating a realistic sound experience that makes you feel like you are watching the movie right there in front of you.

What soundbars have Dolby Atmos?

In terms of overall structure, you will probably find very little difference between the range of Dolby Atmos soundbars available. The only real difference will be between sound and cost. While Dolby Atmos is an amazing piece of technology it will cost you. Compared to other sound bars, Atmos sound bars are noticeably more expensive.

Interestingly, you need an Atmos home theatre system to even get these soundbars to work at their best, as you will need to be hooked up to an Atmos system to enjoy Dolby Atmos correctly.

Does Dolby Atmos work with a soundbar?

Yes, if the soundbar is Dolby Atmos compatible. Dolby Atmos works with compatible TVs that support the latest feature, which is admittedly few.

In order to get Dolby Atmos to work, you will need a device that is dual-core and a higher-end soundbar. The soundbar will work as the three front speakers in your setup. If your TV is known to provide Atmos support, then it should also provide enough requirements to run as part of a 5.1 surround sound.

If it does, you'll be able to add your compatible soundbar to the mix of speakers for your room.

Be sure that the soundbar has Atmos stamped on it somewhere; you'll be able to see the badge on its body or in the product information labels.

What is the best soundbar 2021?

The selection here is limited to soundbars that feature Dolby Atmos, but that doesn’t mean that other models are inappropriate.

You might want to skip the premium soundbars if you don’t need the extra frills. While they’re perfectly serviceable for movies, they don’t tend to be an especially good fit for music listening. Even some of the more affordable models are better suited for music listening.

There are a variety of soundbar styles to choose from. They range from wall-mountable, to floor stands, to soundbases, to A/V receivers. Soundbar designs can also vary based on how many channels the surround sound system has. That’s because more channels usually means you can place the speakers further apart. And in-wall models have their own distinct designs.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing a sound bar, the best thing you can do is go for one that allows for easy set up and simple operation. There’s also the sound of course, but your needs and budget will help you decide what’s most important.

In this article, we look at the best sound bars for your home theater today. They’re best for what they are… sound bars. However, there are other ways to get better sound quality into your home theater if that’s what you’re looking to do.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos SoundbarBest OverallNakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Samsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70RBudget PickSamsung Harman Kardon 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar HW-Q70R
Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound barUpgrade PickSony Z9F 3.1ch Sound bar