First of all, before turning to the “best 5.1 soundbar” title nominees, let’s reveal the essence of the surround sound. It is literally “surround”, when speakers capture every space zone and deliver high-quality sound to you from all angles. Moreover, the sound is completely diversified when separating bass from high and other frequencies but still remains well-balanced. In other words, no frequency provokes dissonances by standing out from other.
Why 5.1 rather than other numbers or letters? – Just because you need 5 speakers and 1 sub to set this system.
There are also plenty of other speaker systems. For example, a 2.1 system consists of 2 satellite speakers and a sub and is able to deliver high-quality sound. Other configurations mean 6.1 and 10.1 systems that are great for complex acoustic systems in large rooms. For instance, in 6.1 configuration, 1 satellite speaker is necessary to balance the sound in the back of the large room with its front zone.
Some models of soundbars can create wireless 5.1 surround sound virtually via speakers and a wireless sub in the housing. Such models give an opportunity to get surround sound while watching TV, which is more cost-effectively than to buy expensive components for a 5.1 acoustic system.
Look through the following 5.1 soundbar reviews to choose the appropriate model with good value for money.
This Atmos-enabled model boasts DTS Virtual:X surround to simulate overhead sounds. It is also remarkable for its USB input that is compatible with both .wav and .mp3 formats when plenty of models in this price range are able to offer only .wav compatibility. Moreover, this unit doesn’t demand VIZIO TV to control volume and mute buttons from a single remote but it makes such control possible being connected to a TV of any other brand. Its speakers are not wireless. They should be connected with the sub that produces sufficient bass.
The unit comes with the battery-operated wireless speakers that are able to operate for 10 hours without a recharge. Despite the fact that the soundbar isn’t able to replace an advanced home theater system, it can become the best 5.1 soundbar due to its powerful wireless sub that has a large brand driver of 10” and a top-notch 300-watts amp. Such equipment onboard let the model deliver accurate and deep lows, even and clear highs without distortions. JBL Bar 5.1’s central channel makes instruments sound flawless and not muted.
It comes with 2 HDMI ports that are compatible with 4K content and have the UHD Blu-ray protection. However, it can’t upscale video or provide signal loss generating in the passthrough mode.
It’s the entry-level Dolby Atmos model with a sound bar in the front, and rear speakers and a subwoofer in the back. Wired connection between speakers and the sub is required. Besides, it has 3 in-built forward-facing speakers.
The remote is in the box and it has a screen onboard to display source selection, volume, speaker setup, and EQ. The soundbar can be hooked up not only to a TV but also to other AV sources – a game console, computer or a Blu-ray player. Built-in Chromecast and HDCP 2.2 compatibility let everybody enjoy the advantages of 4K and HDR.
This model is one of the best 5.1 soundbars that comes with the wireless sub and a pair of satellite speakers (note that they should be plugged into a socket for power). Each speaker has its own up-firing driver that interacts with dual up-firing drivers of the soundbar to create a perfect surround sound immersion effect. At the same time, side-firing drivers and advanced Acoustic Beam tech expand soundstage. As a result, one can enjoy clear and crisp sound with good bass.
Proper settings are desired to get a rich sound. For example, DTS Neo decoding delivers full-range sound for both music and movies, Dolby mode sounds better with dialogues, and The Game mode can sound a bit harsh.
The soundbar comes with aluminum caps and metal grilles with a black powder coating. The system includes discrete rear-channel speakers and a 10-inch sub. It lacks an LCD display but has some indicators to show the volume and center speaker status, to display how high or low the bass and treble are tweaked.
The unit’s HDMI connectivity means 1 input and 1 ARC-compatible output. Its Bluetooth allows streaming from mobile devices. The model demonstrates great performance with dialogues but a sub is too loud even at low volume. It is not compatible with HDCP 2.2, but it can support 4K pass-through on HDMI ARC.