We Ranked The 3 Best Gaming Soundbars

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Reviewed By

Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

401,127

Reviews Analyzed

Updated Apr 5, 2024 12:42 PM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

best gaming soundbar guide that shows the top best soundbar model

A whopping 75% of electronic and appliance reviews are untrustworthy. That’s why every reviewer gets a Trust Rating so our True Score System filters out the fake reviews. See how we do it.

If you’re a gamer, a soundbar with excellent sound quality and powerful bass can significantly enhance your gaming experience. The best gaming soundbars often include features like Dolby Atmos support for immersive soundscapes, a dedicated subwoofer for deep, impactful bass, and an equalizer to fine-tune the audio. However, poor bass response and latency issues are common pain points, potentially disrupting the audio sync with gameplay.

We ranked the three best gaming soundbars, analyzing over 140 soundbars and evaluating 394,661 reviews. Despite this extensive research, 91% of experts were unreliable. Our unique approach utilizes True Score and a proprietary Trust Rating to filter out fake reviews and verify the products as tested. The winning soundbars excelled in our testing, offering top-tier performance and reliability for an unparalleled gaming audio experience.

How Did We Rank the Best Soundbars for Gaming?

Selecting the best gaming soundbars required us to dive deep into the research. We reviewed over 200 sites, analyzing various testing methodologies, customer feedback, and expert reviews. Our guide focuses on the essential criteria for gamers, including 2 required test results, 2 nice-to-have test results, and 3 must-have specifications. Thanks to our true score system, we can confidently present you with the best soundbars to elevate your gaming sessions.

Our commitment to unbiased reviews is powered by our ‘True Score’ system, targeting low quality and fake reviews. When you shop through our links, you’re backing our mission. Dive deeper to see how.

?️ Minimum Specifications

  • Must have Dolby Atmos
  • Must have an equalizer
  • Must have subwoofer (independent)

? Test Criteria

  • Total Harmonic Distortion: A total harmonic distortion (THD) below 0.7% at 80 decibels to guarantee high-fidelity audio reproduction without unwanted frequencies.
  • Volume Output: The soundbar should be able to deliver a powerful and immersive sound performance, exceeding 91 decibels in volume output.

? “Nice To Haves”

  • Latency: With a latency under 100 milliseconds, it ensures minimal delay in data transmission or audio processing.
  • Low-End Roll Off: A low-end roll-off of <45 Hz to ensure there is plenty of thump and rumble in the bass to enhance your gaming experience.

Latest Updates

  • 04/05/2024: Published the list of best soundbars without a subwoofer based on our True Score system.

Top Soundbars for Gaming For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

To secure a spot on our list, a soundbar for gaming must meet our stringent criteria for audio performance and quality. If it doesn’t meet these standards, it won’t be featured!

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q950A

    • Best For Gaming

    The Samsung HW-Q950A excels as a premium soundbar offering excellent sound quality for gaming, movies, and music, featuring low latency, high volume, minimal distortion, and balanced bass and treble.

    Samsung HW-Q950A Review →

    True Score

    90
    90
    8

    Experts

    91
    5k

    Customers

    $1,262.50

    Snapshot

    Reasons to Buy

    • Impressive sound quality
    • Immersive surround performance
    • Incredible voice clarity
    • Good bass response
    • Excellent connectivity and smart integration

    Reasons to Avoid

    • The app has limited control

    Specifications

    Bluetooth EnabledBluetooth EnabledYes
    DepthDepth5.4"
    Dialogue Enhancement FeatureDialogue Enhancement FeatureYes
    Energy Star CertifiedEnergy Star CertifiedNo
    Equalizer SettingsAdvanced
    HDMI ARCHDMI ARCYes
    HeightHeight2.7"
    Number of Audio ChannelsNumber of Audio Channels11.1.4
    SubwooferSubwooferIncluded
    Surround Sound SupportedSurround Sound SupportedDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS:X
    Voice AssistantVoice AssistantAmazon Alexa
    Wall MountableWall MountableYes
    WeightWeight44.3 lbs
    WidthWidth48.5"
    Wireless ConnectivityWireless ConnectivityBluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi
    Wireless Subwoofer ConnectivityWireless Subwoofer ConnectivityYes
    Works WithWorks WithAmazon Alexa, SmartThings

    All Specs

    Test Results

    Low End Roll Off (Hz)35.13
    High End Roll Off (Hz)13.28k
    Max Volume Test (db)98.8
    Latency (ms)80
    THD @ 80dB0.18

    All Retailers

    • $1,262.50

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      Yes

    Our Verdict

    The Samsung HW-Q950A is a premium option for gamers who also love movies, TV shows, and music. It offers exceptional sound quality, great clarity, and good latency. Its low latency of 80 ms ensures that audio syncs up with on-screen action for any video game you play, but if you’re ultra-competitive, faster options exist on our list.

    The soundbar also gets as loud as you need it, hitting 98.8 dB when you crank it all the way up, and avoids becoming distorted thanks to its total harmonic distortion of just 0.18, the very best in its class. Its low-end roll-off at 35.13 Hz means that it not only replicates explosions and gunfire with fantastic accuracy but it can also add a huge punch to movies and TV shows when you stop gaming for the night. With a high-end roll-off of 13279.64 Hz, the Q950A adds fantastic detail to music to sparkle.

    However, if you were hoping to secure a soundbar you can use for gaming for a less premium price tag, then the Samsung HW-Q800A is a much better option. You give up some max volume and some distortion handling, but you also save over a thousand dollars.

    The HW-Q950A offers fantastic gaming performance with the ability to tackle movies and music right out of the box with minimal adjustment. The Samsung HW-Q950A stands out for its adeptness at providing gamers and audiophiles alike with a soundbar that excels in delivering immersive, high-quality audio tailored for an array of entertainment experiences.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q800A

    Budget-friendly yet high-performing, the Samsung HW-Q800A delivers responsive, rich audio for gaming, movies, and music with low latency, impressive volume, and detailed sound across low and high frequencies.

    Samsung HW-Q800A Review →

    True Score

    89
    87
    8

    Experts

    92
    525

    Customers

    SAVE $748
    $999.99
    $251.99
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW Q900T

    Midrange and ideal for gamers, the Samsung HW-Q900T stands out for its exceptionally low latency and loud, distortion-free audio, though it falls short on high-frequency details, making it less suitable for audiophiles.

    Samsung HW Q900T Review →

    True Score

    79
    77
    3

    Experts

    83
    444

    Customers

    SAVE $411
    $1,299.99
    $889.00

    Did you know 92% of soundbar reviewers are

    untrustworthy?

    Our research found 10 of 122 soundbar reviewers as of July 2024 can be trusted. To do this, we give every soundbar review site a Trust Rating, which measures how trustworthy the site and their testing claims are. We then leverage AI & a machine learning model to combine and calculate the Trust Rating with data from experts and consumers to deliver the True Score, the web’s most accurate product quality rating.

    401,127

    Soundbar Reviews Analyzed

    149

    Total Products Analyzed

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Soundbars for Gaming?

By focusing on these criteria (2 required, 2 nice to have), anyone can quickly and easily compare these soundbars and how they’ll perform. This helps you make an informed decision and purchase a soundbar that will sound great.

CRITERIARANGEREQUIREDDEFINITION
Total Harmonic Distortion< 0.7YesThe amount of distortion introduced by the soundbar when it processes an audio signal at a given volume (typically 80, 85 or maximum dB output.)
Max Volume> 91 dBYesThe maximum volume that a soundbar reaches when it’s output it turned up to 100%.
Latency< 100 msNo (nice to have)The time it takes for a soundbar to process audio signal from a source and output it through the speakers.
Low End Roll Off< 45 HzNo (nice to have)The point at which bass begins to sharply fall below the target response point on a frequency response graph, making harder to hear.

Our Trusted Data Sources

(Publication category Score is 80%+)

We looked at 120+ soundbar reviewers and while 10 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating), we only use data from the testers that are “very trusted” which means a Trust Rating above 70%. The three we have listed below are our most trusted for soundbars.

  1. Becca Fischer – Rtings, MuckRack
  2. Matt Bento- Techgear Lab, MuckRack
  3. Sam Moore – Sound Guys, MuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every soundbar review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Soundbars Test Data & Results

1. total harmonic distortion test result

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) measures the fidelity of soundbars by indicating the percentage of unwanted harmonics added to the original audio. A THD under 1 ensures minimal distortion, critical for preserving audio quality across music, movies and games. This low distortion level enhances clarity, maintains detail, and ensures a high-fidelity listening experience, crucial for understanding dialogues, appreciating music nuances, and immersing in game sounds.

We believe soundbars should have less than 1% THD because this helps confirm their ability to accurately reproduce a wide range of audio without perceptible distortion. We say “perceptible” because it’s impossible to remove all distortion, but you can reduce it to the point it’s impossible to notice. Low THD also helps improve your comfort by preventing fatigue during extended use, making it an essential for anyone that marathons movies, games or music.

Total Harmonic Distortion (lower is better)

2. max volume test result

Maximum volume is the easiest aspect of a soundbar to understand: it’s just how loud the soundbar itself will actually get. What’s less clear is why a soundbar getting loud is so important. While higher max volumes give you the ability the fill rooms with sound or use a soundbar as makeshift party speakers, they’re also responsible for helping ensure that audio stays clear when listening at normal listening levels.

This is commonly referred to as “headroom”, and having enough headroom on a soundbar means that the soundbar is able to play back sounds at a high enough level (and with good enough clarity) that the volume level you’ll normally listen to music, movies or games with will sound perfectly clear and distortion-free. We recommend your soundbar have no less than 91 dB of maximum volume and the higher you go, the better your soundbar is at filling larger and larger rooms.

Max Volume (in dB; higher is better)

3. latency test result

Large amounts of latency create problems when trying to sync up audio and video. While you’ve got a bit of wiggle room with how much of a delay can exist between the audio that comes out of your soundbar and the images on your TV, it’s not a ton. If there’s too much latency the mismatch starts to become obvious, and people start looking like they stopped talking while dialogue is still playing. This is especially concerning for gamers, who rely on audio and video to sync up well enough that the footprints you hear around the corner are accurately getting closer.

It’s for these reasons we recommend a latency less than 100 ms. For most content, this is a low enough delay that any mismatch is going to be largely unnoticed. If you’re a highly competitive gamer and don’t want to do calibration out of the box to line up the A/V, the lowest latency you can find is going to work best. For music and moves, though, 100 ms or less will work great.

Latency (in milliseconds; lower is better)

4. Low end roll off test result

When it comes to getting the most bass you can out of your soundbar, low-end roll off is a great indicator of just how deep the bass on it can get. If a soundbar doesn’t have a roll off that starts deep enough into the bass part of the audio spectrum, then it’ll result in quiet or even absent bass, which removes most of the punch and impact of not only music, but also movies and video games. the longer it takes bass to roll off, the better.

When it comes to most soundbars for most use cases, we recommend a roll off that doesn’t start until at least 45 Hz, but it only gets better the further you go down. It’s worth noting that the roll off will only get so low, so don’t expect to find soundbars hitting the teens for roll off, but it isn’t uncommon for very bass-forward options to hit 30 Hz before roll off starts. By aiming for at least 45 Hz, you have a much better chance of getting the deep, rumbling bass you’re looking for out of your music, movies or games.

Low end roll off (in Hz; lower is better)

Best Soundbars for Gaming: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Ignoring Compatibility: Overlook compatibility at your peril; ensure the soundbar integrates seamlessly with your gaming setup by checking for HDMI ARC, optical, or Bluetooth connectivity and verifying support for gaming audio formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. When considering how to connect a soundbar to your gaming console or PC, weigh the benefits of HDMI vs Bluetooth connectivity. HDMI offers high-quality audio transmission and is ideal for minimizing latency during gaming sessions, whereas Bluetooth provides convenient wireless connectivity for mobile devices and streaming content.

  2. Disregarding Dialogue Clarity: Clear dialogue is crucial for understanding in-game communication and storyline. Avoid soundbars with poor dialogue clarity or inadequate center channel performance, as this can detract from the overall gaming experience. While the best soundbars for dialogue prioritize this aspect, they may not be ideal if you want to feel the rumble of the bass during gaming sessions.

  3. Overlooking Surround Sound: Spatial awareness is key in gaming; don’t limit yourself by choosing a soundbar without virtual or true surround sound technology, instead opt for models with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or proprietary surround sound processing to fully immerse yourself in the game world. The best 5.1 soundbars offer surround sound capabilities with dedicated rear speakers to enhance spatial awareness and positional audio cues for a more immersive gaming experience. For more flexibility, explore the options for the best wireless surround sound systems, which provide the benefits of surround sound without the hassle of running wires across your gaming setup.

  4. Forgetting About Room Size: Don’t let your soundbar overpower or underwhelm your gaming space; consider the dimensions of your room and choose a soundbar that provides optimal coverage without overwhelming the environment. Proper soundbar placement is crucial to achieving balanced audio throughout your gaming room.

The Best Soundbars for Gaming Tests Compared

Product
True Score
Low End Roll Off
High End Roll Off
Max Volume Test
Latency
THD @ 80dB

Samsung HW-Q950A

  • Best for Gaming

90
  • 35.13 Hz

  • 13,279.64 Hz

  • 98.8 db

  • 80 ms

  • 0.18 dB

$1,262.50

Samsung HW-Q800A

  • Best for Best Overall

89
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 17,221.56 Hz

  • 95.1 db

  • 31 ms

  • 0.4 dB

$251.99
$1,000
$748

Samsung HW Q900T

  • Best for Large Rooms

79
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 8,992.01 Hz

  • 99.5 db

  • 13 ms

  • 0.18 dB

$889.00
$1,300
$411

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