Best soundbars 2017: 5 soundbars that kick bass

Short of kitting out your living room with a full set of surround sound speakers, a soundbar is the single best upgrade you can make to your TV's surround sound setup. 

But why would you want to? Well, with TVs having become as slim as they are these days, they don't have much space to contain a decent set of speaker drivers. 

By dedicating just a little more room to your sound you'll achieve a massive step up in audio performance. 

Investing in a good soundbar could also save you money on your next television since you can save money by opting for a set that might be lacking in the sound department. 

A full surround setup is the premium solution to bad sounding televisions, but if you're a little shorter on space (not to mention budget) then a soundbar offers a very decent compromise. Plus, these days higher-end soundbars will also include the latest and greatest audio technologies like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. 

So whether you're looking to buy a budget or high-end model, soundbars right across the price spectrum will have something to offer. 

Of course not all soundbars are made equal. In their quest to improve upon the bass-free output of a TV's inbuilt speakers, some soundbars go too far in the opposite direction, and give you a bass overload. Others forgo bass to focus on mids and highs and can therefore never provide true cinematic experiences. The best soundbars, as you might imagine, have no problem doing both.

Because good sound is hard to find, we've tested tons of 'bars in the hopes of finding the best of the best. In our quest we've got something to match every budget, and our price tracker will make sure that should you do decide to buy one from our list then you'll be getting the absolutely best price possible.

What’s the best soundbar?

Soundbars come in many shapes and sizes, and range in price from under Rs. 6,500 to over Rs.97,000. Cheaper models have basic connections, more expensive ones add superior HDMI inputs (including 4K/HDR passthrough), wireless audio streaming (e.g. Bluetooth and AirPlay), better power, more refined speaker drivers, and decoding of Blu-ray sound formats.

Design is also important, with some models able to sit in front of your TV on a stand while others may need a separate shelf, or to be wall mounted. However, whatever your budget, there are some cracking good acoustic upgrades to be had that can give your TV the sound it deserves.

Here are the 5 best soundbars, ordered by their price-to-performance ratio:

  1. Philips Fidelio B5
  2. Q Acoustics M4 Sound Bar
  3. Focal Dimension
  4. Sonos Playbar
  5. Bose SoundTouch 300

Philips Fidelio B5

The Philips Fidelio B5 is an impressive bit of kit, and it's the perfect soundbar for someone who appreciates good cinema sound but has no interest in tearing up their living room to install a 5.1 surround sound system to use only every now and then. The B5 enables you to pick and choose your movie moments, and do it on a whim. And it creates a pretty decent surround sound experience too, using both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround decoding.

The combination of convenience and good audio – the raison d'etre of the soundbar – with its transformative surround sound capabilities makes the Fidelio B5 a great option for the movie fan who can't face all the aggravation of a proper 5.1 installation.

Read the full review: Philips Fidelio B5

The Q Acoustics M4 soundbar doesn’t immediately set pulses racing with its slightly prosaic looks, ‘mere’ 2.1-channel sound and lack of any HDMI support. However, you only have to hear what the M4 can do with both music and movies for your doubts about it to evaporate almost instantly. In fact, it sounds so good that it starts to make the idea of trying to deliver more channels from an affordable sound bar look a bit silly.

In fact, though, it sounds so much better than pretty much any rival soundbar in the same price bracket that it’s actually ridiculously good value – especially if you care about music as much as you care about movies. 

Read the full review: Q Acoustics M4 Sound Bar

Best Soundbars

Focal, most known for its excellent sounding speakers (and the recently released Focal Listen headphones), is late to the soundbar space, but its Focal Dimension was worth the wait. The Dimension soundbar is simply gorgeous, with its piano black accents and aluminum unibody construction.

At Rs. 90,263 it's not exactly cheap, but you're paying for excellent build quality, sound and design.

Read the full review: Focal Dimension

Best Soundbars

The Sonos Playbar is a non-HDMI device that uses optical to hook up to a TV. Used simply on its own it delivers a massive sonic boost to your TV listening, but operating it does require using a smartphone or tablet app. 

The benefit is that it can seamlessly segue in to a Sonos wireless system, and can even act as the front three speakers in a 5.1 setup with two Play:1s acting as rears. 

Unfortunately although it's optical-only setup will be great for most, it does exclude owners of TVs that lack this connector, which has pushed it a little further down this list. 

Read the full review: Sonos Playbar

Boasting high-end design, Bose's slim soundbar looks superb, and sounds above average. At 97.9cm wide, it’s best partnered with larger screen sizes (50-inch+) and priced at Rs. 45,154, it offers great sound. There are caveats regarding usability and price, but overall it warrants a cautious two thumbs up.

It's also worth mentioning that, as this isn’t a 2.1 package, there’s no subwoofer supplied – although Bose will sell you a wireless Acoustimas sub and the ST300 can be partnered with the brand’s Virtually Invisible (i.e. small at 10cm) 300 surround speakers. The system is also compatible with the Bose SoundTouch wireless multiroom system which includes smaller Bluetooth speakers.  

Read the full review: Bose SoundTouch 300

Any suggestions for our list? Let us know in the comments below! 

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