Connecting easily to your Xbox One, 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, I pulled together this list of some of the best soundbars you can use with your Xbox One.
The Playbar (about $700) 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.
Even without the benefit of surround speakers, both deliver a soundstage that is both wide and pleasantly deep, and thanks to their discrete tweeters they produce clear highs and highly intelligible voices without the muddiness that single-driver competitors 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.
Bose SoundTouch 300
The Bose name brings with it quite a reputation, and the SoundTouch 300 (about $700) is what you'll want to check out if shopping for a soundbar. It features HDMI connectivity and 4K passthrough, plus it can connect via Wi-Fi to your other devices for wireless audio streaming. PCMag, in its warm review, had this to say:
We have little to complain about with the Bose SoundTouch 300. For every limitation, like the lack of onboard EQ controls, there are useful features that might entice you, like the AdaptIQ settings that adjust to your room's contour and reflections.
The bar has four drivers and a single tweeter, altogether pumping out clear sound that mimics a 5.1 setup. Keep this one in mind if you plan on sticking with Bose.
The Razer Leviathan is an affordable gaming soundbar — it starts at about $180 — 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, which 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.
Quality soundbars keep getting cheaper, and Yamaha's YAS-207 (about $270) is a perfect example. The bar itself is slim to fit easily in front of the TV, and the included 100W subwoofer connects wirelessly for extra bass. Add 100W of sound from the soundbar, and you're getting quite a bit of sound. CNET reviewed the Yamaha YAS-207, stating:
The YAS-207 was so good we sometimes forgot we were listening to a sound bar, and just enjoyed the movie we were watching. That's high praise indeed for this affordable system! If you want a step up from ultra-budget speakers, we'd recommend this Yamaha.
This soundbar also supports HDCP 2.2 and can be connected with HDMI, analog, or optical inputs. Check it out if you want a lot of sound for a reasonable price.
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.
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.
The Sony HT-ST5000 (about $1,500) certainly isn't cheap, but it delivers 800W of Dolby Atmos sound for your Xbox One. Both the soundbar and subwoofer are rather large, but the 7.1.2 sound through seven front-facing and two up-firing 2.6-inch drivers will blow you away. Tom's Guide chose this soundbar as its top pick when it comes to Dolby Atmos, stating:
Get the Sony HT-ST5000 soundbar if you want excellent audio quality, Atmos surround sound and features that rival those of an audio-video receiver — and if you don't mind the premium price.
This soundbar supports 4K HDR and HDCP 2.2, and you can plug in using one of three HDMI ports on the back. There's also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options, and the exposed tweeters give this soundbar a bit of a different look compared to the flat fronts of most.
Vizio SB3621n-E8 2.1
Considering it's only about $150, the Vizio SB3621 delivers serious sound. It's perfect for anyone who prefers not to have separate satellite speakers, as the whole package consists of the soundbar and a subwoofer.
It's been well-reviewed pretty much across the board, thanks to an easy setup and great sound from the 2.1 system. If you'd prefer something with extra speakers, the Vizio SB3651 5.1 system is also a great option, generally costing somewhere around $250.
If you love Dolby Atmos, you might just be tempted to shell out the bucks for a beefy soundbar that supports the advanced sound technology. Enter the Samsung HW-K950 (about $1,000). 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 award, 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.
Updated July 25, 2018: I've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting the absolute best soundbars for Xbox One gaming.
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