These soundbars deliver a well-balanced and rich soundscape without having to run wires everywhere.
Updated March 15, 2017: Dolby Atmos is coming to Xbox One in the near future, so we refreshed this list to include two Dolby Atmos soundbars, as well as a new budget and luxury option, to ensure everyone finds a soundbar that works for them.
Connecting to your Xbox One with just a digital optical cable, soundbars are a great and compact way to enhance your gaming experience. Most won't quite match the capabilities of a true surround sound system, but they're usually less expensive and far easier to install.
In case you are in need of some great sound, we pulled together this list of some of the best soundbars you can use with your Xbox One.
The Playbar is a nine-driver soundbar that truly shines at creating a simulated surround sound experience. The speakers inside of it do a great job of making sounds feel like they are coming from different directions, even though it doesn't have rear speakers.
Selected as the best overall soundbar for most people by The Wirecutter, that site had this to say:
Even without the benefit of surround speakers, it delivers a soundstage that is both wide and pleasantly deep, and thanks to its discrete tweeters it produces clear highs and highly intelligible voices without the muddiness that single-driver products suffer from.
Since the Playbar has the added benefit of easily connecting wirelessly to other Sonos speakers, it's a great choice for people who've already bought into the Sonos ecosystem. That being said, if you want to build a Sonos system, starting with the Playbar is one of the best ways to do it. You can use other Sonos speakers to set up a true wireless surround sound system for your TV or to play audio throughout your residence.
The Yamaha YAS-203 is a 2.1 system that comes with a wireless subwoofer, meaning you have one less cord to worry about. It supports both Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, so you'll always get the best sound when you're playing your Xbox One.
Awarded Editors' Choice by CNET and chosen as the best overall soundbar by Tom's Guide, you know you're getting a quality product with rich sound. Surprisingly, it's in the middle range as far as price — you can get one for roughly $350 — making the YAS-203 an attractive choice for anyone not holding out for Dolby Atmos.
The 6.5-inch driver in the wireless sub does a great job of providing warm bass that remains consistent between gaming, watching movies, and playing music, and the host of extra features, like night mode and simulated surround sound, mean you can listen how you want.
If you're as excited as we are about Dolby Atmos coming to Xbox One, you might just be tempted to shell out the bucks for a beefy soundbar that supports the incoming sound technology.
Enter the Samsung HW-K950. The soundbar itself has forward- and upward-facing drivers, there are two rear satellite speakers, and a subwoofer rounds out the 5.1.4 Atmos setup, delivering some impressive surround sound.
CNET awarded this sound bar with an Editors' Choice, and went on to say:
The HW-K950 offers ripping surround sound and excellent music replay — a talent that is exceedingly rare among sound bars. While there's probably no such thing as an "ultimate sound bar," the Samsung HW-K950 is the closest you might get for the money.
This soundbar decodes DTS content and features 4K pass-through, meaning you can play any 4K video source on your TV through the HW-K950. If you've been holding out on a soundbar for one that supports Dolby Atmos, the sleek Samsung HW-K950 should be taken into serious consideration.
The Razer Leviathan is an affordable gaming soundbar — it starts at about $200 — that comes with a separate subwoofer that emits impressive bass, offering warm low-end tones that really stand out. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, which makes it handy for listening to music from your favorite devices when you're not gaming.
It was chosen as the best gaming soundbar by Tom's Guide, and that site stated:
Razer's onto something with a soundbar aimed at gamers — the virtual surround sound and booming bass improved the gaming experience.
Razer calls this a 5.1 system, but it's really only emulating a surround sound setup with a few individual drivers in the soundbar and no rear speakers. It's more like a 2.1 system, but it's one that is loud enough to satisfy most gamers.
If you're carefully counting down the days until Dolby Atmos technology arrives for Xbox One and you have a large budget for a soundbar, you'll be very interested in the Yamaha YSP-5600.
Although it doesn't come with a subwoofer, it does have a ton of directional beam drivers — think 44 — plus two 4.5-inch woofers that send sound everywhere in the room. This soundbar fills a room so well, in fact, CNET had this to say in its review:
What the Yamaha YSP-5600 does best is project a huge, room-filling sound field, and it does it better than any other sound bar we've tested.
Adding to its list of features is DTS:X support and 4K pass-through, plus it is compatible with Yamaha MusicCast speakers, meaning you can add it to an existing wireless setup. If it's Atmos you crave and you have the budget to support it, the Yamaha YSP-5600 is a great soundbar. It starts at about $1,600.
While many people don't exactly need a super high-end soundbar if they stick strictly to gaming, many audiophiles also prefer something they can use when they don't have an Xbox controller in their hands.
The Paradigm SoundScape soundbar fills this need, and was chosen as the soundbar with the best sound by The Wirecutter:
It offers the best combination of sound quality, features, and usability of any soundbar that we can find, and when we pitted it directly against other top models in our hands-on testing, it handily beat them all.
It's a bit bulkier than other soundbars, but that's because of the size and orientation of the drivers inside; there are four four-inch bass and mid drivers, as well as three tweeters that really pump out the sound. If you're an audiophile first and a gamer second and want a soundbar that delivers the absolute best sound quality, have a look at the Paradigm SoundScape.
If spending a cool thousand on a soundbar just isn't possible, don't fret. There are plenty of budget options, but many don't come close to the sound quality you find in the Yamaha YAS-106. Named the best soundbar under $200 by Tom's Guide, that site stated:
The YAS-106 doesn't act like a budget soundbar. It has the features you want — HDMI, 4K pass-through, an array of surround sound modes — and it's definitely an improvement over the built-in speakers on your TV, especially when it comes to producing bass.
If anything, this soundbar has been blamed for creating too much bass, even though there's no standalone subwoofer. The Wirecutter even chose it as its pick for anyone who doesn't have room for a standalone subwoofer or for anyone who just hates having a box sitting on their living room floor.
If it's a slim, sleek soundbar with a serious amount of bass you want but can't see yourself spending upwards of $1,000, the Yamaha YAS-106 should be taken into consideration.