The 4 Best Soundbars for Dialogue in 2024

Evan Shephard Avatar

Reviewed By

Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

401,127

Reviews Analyzed

Updated Apr 5, 2024 1:39 PM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

best soundbar for dialogue 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.

When you’re prioritizing dialogue clarity, the best soundbars offer essential features like a dialogue enhancement mode, excellent treble response, and balanced sound profiles. These features ensure voices are crisp and clear, preventing them from being drowned out by background sounds. High maximum volume capabilities and low harmonic distortion also contribute to maintaining sound clarity at any listening level.

In our analysis, we vetted 140+ soundbars, ultimately identifying four standouts. We scrutinized 394,661 reviews, certifying the authenticity of the feedback, and discovered that 92% of so-called experts provided unreliable information. Our selection process incorporates True Score and Trust Rating systems, filtering out fake reviews and ensuring the verified products deliver outstanding performance in dialogue clarity.

How Did We Rank the Best Soundbars for Dialogue?

Our selection of the best soundbars for dialogue is the product of an exhaustive review process. We dissected over 200 websites, weighing customer feedback and expert reviews against stringent testing methodologies. This deep dive allowed us to determine the 2 essential tests, 2 desirable features, and 1 critical specifications that matter most. The soundbars we recommend offer unparalleled dialogue clarity, ensuring you catch every word.

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 dialogue enhancement feature.

? 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 some rumble in the bass to enhance your music or movie-watching experience.

Latest Updates

  • 04/05/2024: Published the list of best soundbars for dialogue based on our True Score system.

Top Soundbars for Dialogue For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

To earn a spot on our list, a soundbar must meet our high standards for audio performance and quality, no exceptions! If it doesn’t make the cut, it won’t be featured!

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q800A

    • Best For Gaming

    The HW-Q800A excels in delivering clear dialogue and a wide audio spectrum, with powerful volume and minimal distortion, making it ideal for a variety of content.

    Samsung HW-Q800A Review →

    True Score

    89
    87
    8

    Experts

    92
    525

    Customers

    SAVE $748
    $999.99
    $251.99

    Snapshot

    Reasons to Buy

    • Highly accurate sound quality.
    • Clear, accurate vocals
    • Smart features/connectivity
    • Low latency
    • Thumpy bass output

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Poor surround sound experience

    Specifications

    Bluetooth EnabledBluetooth EnabledYes
    DepthDepth4.5"
    Dialogue Enhancement FeatureDialogue Enhancement FeatureYes
    Energy Star CertifiedEnergy Star CertifiedNo
    Equalizer SettingsAdvanced
    HDMI ARCHDMI ARCYes
    HeightHeight2.4"
    Number of Audio ChannelsNumber of Audio Channels3.1.2
    SubwooferSubwooferIncluded
    Surround Sound SupportedSurround Sound SupportedDolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS TruVolume, DTS Virtual:X, DTS:X
    Voice AssistantVoice AssistantAmazon Alexa
    Wall MountableWall MountableYes
    WeightWeight29.5 lbs
    WidthWidth38.6"
    Wireless ConnectivityWireless ConnectivityBluetooth
    Wireless Subwoofer ConnectivityWireless Subwoofer ConnectivityYes
    Works WithWorks WithAmazon Alexa, SmartThings

    All Specs

    Test Results

    Low End Roll Off (Hz)34.62
    High End Roll Off (Hz)17.22k
    Max Volume Test (db)95.1
    Latency (ms)31
    THD @ 80dB0.4

    All Retailers

    • $251.99
      $1,000
      Save $748

      Availability

      Free Shipping

      No
    • $427.97

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      No
    • $499.00
      $900
      Save $401

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      No

    Our Verdict

    The Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar delivers unbeatable value, excels in making dialogue crystal clear, and enhances the overall audio experience for a variety of content, from music to action-packed movies. Its built-in dialogue enhancement feature ensures that every word is heard with clarity, making it perfect if you value the nuances of conversation in films and TV shows.

    With its impressive low and high-end roll-off frequencies at 34.62 Hz and 17,221.56 Hz, respectively, the HW-Q800A is able to handle a wide audio spectrum, meaning that dialogue is not only clear but bass and top-end are properly represented. Whether you’re listening to the deep bass in an action movie or the high pitches in a symphony, the soundbar maintains a balanced and full-bodied sound.

    Its maximum volume capability of 95.1 dB ensures that your audio is not just clear but also powerful, filling your space without losing quality, and the total harmonic distortion of 0.4 means that even at max volume, sound doesn’t become distorted. If that still isn’t loud enough, you can consider the HW-Q950T, which delivers higher max volume and lower distortion, but you’ll also have to fork over several hundred dollars.

    With a latency of just 31 ms, any content you watch and games you play will have no delay between audio and video, which improves immersion and removes annoyances when sound doesn’t align with fast-paced action games. Furthermore, the soundbar’s advanced equalization capabilities allow you to tailor the sound profile to your specific preferences or the type of content you’re enjoying.

    The Samsung HW-Q800A is a soundbar that stands out for its ability to enhance every aspect of your home audio experience. It brings clarity in not only dialogue but also music and sound effects and can use Dolby Atmos to transform your living room into a concert hall or movie theater at a phenomenal price point.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q950T

    Offering room-filling sound, clear dialogue, and strong bass, the HW-Q950T is perfect for larger rooms, with features like Dolby Atmos enhancing the audio experience.

    Samsung HW-Q950T Review →

    True Score

    88
    88
    7

    Experts

    89
    264

    Customers

    $1,189.98
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Polk Audio Magnifi MAX SR

    Known for its clear dialogue and rich sound, the Magnifi Max SR suits audiophiles and movie lovers, though its slower latency may deter competitive gamers.

    Polk Audio Magnifi MAX SR Review →

    True Score

    79
    76
    2

    Experts

    83
    1k

    Customers

    SAVE $359
    $599.99
    $240.99

    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

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Klipsch Cinema 400

    Budget-friendly with clear dialogue and wide sound, the Cinema 400 offers great fidelity and minimal latency, ideal for gamers and action movie fans.

    Klipsch Cinema 400 Review →

    True Score

    78
    76
    3

    Experts

    82
    4k

    Customers

    SAVE $96
    $329.99
    $233.99

    DON’T SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

    If you’re pairing your soundbar with a top TV, the synergy can significantly enhance your viewing experience. However, if you encounter your soundbar not working properly, it’s crucial to troubleshoot connections and settings first. For those loyal to specific brands, the best Sony soundbar might be your go-to choice for seamless integration with Sony TVs.

    Besides soundbars, the best bookshelf speakers offer an alternative for rich, room-filling sound. For a compact option with notable performance, consider exploring our Klipsch The One II review, which highlights its vintage design and impressive audio capabilities for its size.

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Best Soundbars for Dialogue?

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%.
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.
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.

Our Trusted Data Sources

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. 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)

4. 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)

Best Soundbars for Dialogue: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Ignoring Audio Clarity: Don’t overlook the importance of clear dialogue; ensure the soundbar you choose prioritizes speech enhancement features and dialogue clarity settings to prevent speech from getting lost amidst background noise, ensuring an immersive viewing experience. Additionally, knowing how to make your soundbar louder can further improve clarity and detail, ensuring that even in dynamic scenes, dialogue remains front and center.

  2. Neglecting Voice Enhancement Technology: Don’t underestimate the significance of voice enhancement technology; opt for soundbars equipped with features like dedicated center channels or dialogue enhancement modes to amplify dialogue without compromising overall audio quality, enhancing your enjoyment of movies and TV shows. When considering an upgrade, the best Dolby Atmos soundbar can offer a superior cinematic experience, combining voice clarity with immersive, three-dimensional soundscapes that put you right in the heart of the action.

  3. Overlooking Compatibility: Don’t disregard compatibility with your existing setup; verify that the soundbar integrates seamlessly with your TV or streaming device, supporting connectivity options like HDMI ARC or optical to ensure hassle-free installation and operation. Understanding how to connect a soundbar properly, such as the best gaming soundbar, can significantly enhance your audio experience. This will ensure that all your devices work harmoniously for the best sound quality.

  4. Forgetting Room Acoustics: Don’t forget about soundbar placement and room acoustics; consider the size and layout of your viewing area when selecting a soundbar, opting for models with adjustable EQ settings or room calibration features to optimize sound performance based on your specific environment, delivering clear and intelligible dialogue regardless of room size or layout. When weighing your options between a soundbar vs surround sound systems, consider soundbars’ simplicity and space efficiency, especially with the best soundbar without a subwoofer, which can offer a streamlined look without sacrificing audio quality.

The Best Soundbars for Dialogue Tests Compared

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

Samsung HW-Q800A

  • Best for Gaming

89
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 17,221.56 Hz

  • 95.1 db

  • 31 ms

  • 0.4 dB

$251.99
$1,000
$748

Samsung HW-Q950T

  • Best for Dialogue

88
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 13,867.58 Hz

  • 101.1 db

  • 46 ms

  • 0.18 dB

$1,189.98
79
  • 35.13 Hz

  • 15,565.83 Hz

  • 97.6 db

  • 99 ms

  • 0.35 dB

$240.99
$600
$359
78
  • 29.54 Hz

  • 17,472.05 Hz

  • 91.1 db

  • -8 ms

  • 0.52 dB

$233.99
$330
$96

Soundbars for Dialogue Questions (FAQ)

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