5 Best Soundbars Under $500 Of 2023
Investing in a good TV and sound system is more important than ever, and a soundbar is the easiest, most affordable way to get a cinematic surround-sound experience at home. For those with different budgets or performance priorities, there are many options for the best soundbars under $500 available in the market today. In this article, I’m gonna show you our top picks for the best soundbars of 2023.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Soundbars
When looking for the best soundbar under $500, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you should take into account the size of the soundbar and make sure you have enough space for it. Secondly, look for soundbars that offer improved audio quality over your TV’s built-in speakers. You should also consider other factors such as price, features, and design when selecting a soundbar.
Soundbars under $500 can provide a marked improvement in audio quality compared to your TV’s built-in speaker system. When selecting a soundbar, consider the number of audio channels it offers, whether it has wireless or wired connectivity options, and if you need an additional subwoofer or rear speakers to get the most out of your setup. These reviews and recommendations can help you find the best soundbar for your needs within your budget.
Some individuals might assume that because a collection of soundbars are all similar in shape, they all have the same internal components. That’s not the case, though. All soundbars hold many speakers inside one box, however, their channel configuration might vary a lot. Two-channel stereo soundbars provide basic stereo sound, while three-channel options add a center channel for clearer vocals and dialog. Five-channel soundbars are better equipped for recreating surround sound, while larger speaker arrays can offer even more channels.
No matter what your budget is, there’s sure to be a soundbar that meets your needs when it comes to audio channels. Whether you’re looking for basic stereo or full surround sound capabilities, there’s an option out there that fits your needs and budget.
Add-on speakers can be a great way to enhance the sound of your home theater system. Soundbars are a popular choice for those looking for an easy and affordable way to upgrade their audio experience. Many soundbars come with subwoofers for added bass, and some even come with or can be expanded with rear satellite speakers for a more realistic surround sound experience. Additional speakers add to the overall sound quality but also usually add to the cost. So consider if you want a soundbar alone or a more comprehensive arrangement.
Connectivity is an important factor to consider when shopping for a soundbar. Today’s soundbars are designed to supplement your TV’s audio, so they all have an HDMI port to transmit the TV’s sound. However, the level of connectivity varies greatly from model to model. Some have additional HDMI inputs and 4K passthrough HDMI eARC for the most modern TVs, while others don’t.
You may also find analog and digital audio connections, USB drive ports, Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi for wireless streaming, and even integration with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant on some models. It is important to consider which features are important to you before making a purchase in order to ensure that you get the best soundbar for your needs.
The Best Soundbars Under $500
Bose Smart Soundbar 600
This soundbar is powerful and has more than enough oomph to amply fill a room of average size. For Atmos, it also includes up-firing speakers. The 600 has a larger and higher soundstage than the Beam, making it more immersive as effects like helicopters and explosion debris accurately surround the TV. All of the dialogue is understandable. The conversation always rides along the top so you never miss the plot, even in more challenging movie mixes where voices can seem buried beneath the action.
Setup is quick and simple thanks to the superb Bose Music app; even with the app download, it takes less than 15 minutes. The Bose supports Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Wi-Fi streaming over a number of providers in the app in addition to HDMI eARC for a cable connection.
Although the Soundbar 600 has excellent low-end for its size, an additional subwoofer’s rumble would enhance the sound. Additionally, there isn’t any room correction software or an HDMI port for sources other than a TV. However, Bose has produced a remarkable Dolby Atmos experience for the price of just under $500. There isn’t a standalone soundbar available for a better price.
Vizio M Series M512a-H6
The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is an excellent option for music, movies, and TV shows since it provides a flexible overall performance at a lower cost than more expensive versions. The action from the TV seems to be happening all around you because of its broad soundstage, and its subwoofer adds rumbling bass for a truly cinematic experience.
Whether you’re watching 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital or object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, you receive a clean and realistic listening experience thanks to its rear speakers, which place sound effects in specific locations in the soundstage. This bar offers a balanced sound profile from the beginning, making it excellent for listening to most audio content.
Because of their neutral, balanced mids, the lead instruments and vocals are audible and present in the mix. Additionally, its deep thump and rumble are replicated by its extended low bass, which is used in anything from bass-heavy music to action-packed movies. There is no room correction option, thus it will sound slightly different depending on the acoustics of your area since it doesn’t offer as many sound-enhancing capabilities as premium sets.
Also, there is no graphic EQ to regulate how it responds across the range. However, its treble and bass control still lets you have some control over the sound, which is good. Generally, it gives great quality for the price.
Sonos Beam Gen. 2
The Sonos Beam Gen. 2 maintains the adaptable features, dazzling sound, and expandability that made the first version a success with its new design and virtual Dolby Atmos sound. The Sonos Beam Gen. 2 is essentially a smaller, less expensive version of the Sonos Arc. If you enjoy the design and functions of the Sonos Arc soundbar but have a smaller area or budget.
It offers Apple AirPlay 2 streaming and smart speaker features including built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. And the upgraded Sonos Beam Gen. 2 has a little more streamlined design, includes HDMI eARC, and supports Dolby Atmos content with a more powerful processor that generates a simulated Atmos height effect from the Beam 2’s L/R and side-firing speakers.
The effect of Atmos 3D is not a substitute for genuine Atmos systems with overhead speakers, but it’s still a subtle addition. The Beam’s basic design has several restrictions, such as a single HDMI port and a remote that can only be used by an app. However, despite its diminutive size, the soundbar has an amazing soundstage, and the side speakers do a good job of enlarging stereo and surround sound signals so that they can fill a small- to medium-sized space.
The YAS-209 from Yamaha is among our top picks for soundbars in this price range for some reasons like it offers excellent sound quality for its price, is simple to set up and operate, and is full of features. Although it lacks Dolby Atmos, it still provides most people with all they want at a reasonable price, containing virtual surround sound, a second HDMI connection for your preferred streaming device or gaming console, Wi-Fi streaming, Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and more.
Is Alexa not your thing? The YAS-209 can be used as a conventional soundbar by simply turning off the microphones on top of the bar. And this soundbar excels in that area. The 209’s sound quality is hot for its price range, even though it can’t compete with pricey audiophile systems or bars with numerous up-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos immersion.
The wireless subwoofer’s bass response is sleek, and the Clear Voice EQ option makes it simple to comprehend the dialogue. To that end, the bar provides a variety of sound options that make it simple to customize the EQ. It’s hard to find many flaws with this straightforward yet effective sound system, however, you can get more if you choose to spend more on a high-end soundbar.
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
There aren’t many solutions available if you want to add a small soundbar to your TV to play Dolby Atmos content but only have a small area for it. However, some of them make use of Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, a technology that simulates the Atmos 3D effects from a speaker system without up-firing or overhead speakers. Top-firing speakers are what give the 3D height-oriented Atmos effects their unique quality in compact soundbars at that price.
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam soundbar uses virtual Dolby Atmos processing, similar to the Sonos Beam Gen. 2, to recreate Atmos effects from its L/R stereo and side-firing speakers. We pick Bar 5.0 MultiBeam as the best Dolby Atmos soundbar under $500 because it performs at least as well with Atmos content as the Beam Gen. 2, but has more connectivity options thanks to Bluetooth 4.2, a 4K HDMI connector, and a USB input.
That makes the JBL soundbar, which is even more reasonably priced than the Beam, a more varied centerpiece for a home theater. Additionally, the Bar 5.0 Multibeam includes a superb dedicated center-channel driver that enhances the clarity of music and movie dialogue. Moreover, it has the ability to reach loud volumes (over 90 dB) without losing any of its crisp sound qualities.
Do budget soundbars work well?
The quick response? They can, indeed. In certain cases, there are many excellent solutions at a much cheaper price range, so it’s crucial to read soundbar reviews to make sure the user experience is up to pace.
Does a soundbar require a subwoofer?
Depends, really. You might not require a subwoofer if you have a highly effective soundbar that has been carefully calibrated. A subwoofer may be unnecessary for you if you don’t require bass that shakes the floor. For some bass enthusiasts and cinephiles, a dedicated subwoofer is frequently the only way to get the full impact of the low end. You might also be fine to ignore the sub if the TV you’re connecting to isn’t a major screen that’s constantly used for watching movies.
Are there any wireless affordable soundbars?
Even in the last several years, the home theater audio business has advanced significantly. Today, it is definitely possible to acquire wireless soundbars that are reasonably priced.
What is a soundbar used for?
A soundbar improves a TV’s audio output. A good built-in sound system can’t be accommodated in many TVs because they are so thin and light, therefore it needs to be taken care of separately. A high-quality soundbar will make audio louder, louder, and wider, give the sound more depth, and improve your whole audio experience.
In conclusion, soundbars are an excellent way to upgrade your home audio system without breaking the bank. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. However, by taking into account factors such as specs, features, and audio quality, you can find a soundbar that meets your needs and budget. Our comparison of the best soundbars under $500 has hopefully helped you narrow down your choices and make an informed decision. With any luck, you’ll soon be enjoying high-quality audio in your home at an affordable price.