With no exceptions that we know of, the latest generation of TVs suck when it comes to sound output quality — no thanks to the flat-panel design that gives no room for robust speakers. So, to get enhanced sound quality from your TV, you need to invest in a soundbar.
While you have the option of going for a soundbar that comes with a standalone subwoofer, you’d be better off with one without a subwoofer if you don’t have a lot of living room space or you prefer an unobtrusive home entertainment setup.
Bear in mind that soundbars without subwoofers actually have their own subwoofers built into them. So, expect from them what you’d get from most models with standalone subwoofers.
In this post, we’d be looking at some of the best soundbars without subwoofers.
Best Soundbars without Subwoofer: Our Top 10 Picks
Choosing the right “subwooferless” soundbars from the tons of options available on the market can be a huge challenge. But we’ve done all the hard work for you. After scouring the market to compare the best models in terms of sound output quality, durability, power consumption, brand trust, user opinions, and pricing, we winded up with 10 top contenders.
So, here are the 10 best soundbars without subwoofers — based on our research.
1. Sonos Playbar
Sonos has always been a key player in the multi-room audio business and the Sonos Playbar is another release to establish its dominance. It has no separate subwoofer but it is worth every penny. This is apparent from the moment you unbox this sound equipment as you will get a great build quality, especially since it’s sculpted in a lozenge shape. A black mesh runs round the soundbar and is supported by aluminum edges that harmonize to create a premium appeal. And thanks to its small size, you can hide it away from view under a 42-inch TV or larger.
If you dislike the idea of having multiple remotes in your entertainment room, the Sonos Playbar might appeal more to you as it doesn’t ship with one. For controls, you’d have to download the Sonos app which uses IR blaster to transmit signals. As per the setup, the manufacturer keeps things simple and you should be able to set up the soundbar in minutes.
Most soundbars come with a limited number of connections and the Sonos Playbar isn’t any different. On the rear, you’d get two Ethernet ports, power, and an optical audio input. HDMI is obviously missing here which is disappointing, so make sure you confirm that your TV has an optical output.
Coming to the performance of this soundbar, it maintains a healthy balance between movies and music playback. For starters, it has one of the best frequency ranges you can find on any 3.0 system in this price category. The dialogue resonates well and the rumble during low-end effects is easy to notice. The soundscapes might not be the best you’ve heard, but the detail and depth will make your TV experience an enjoyable one.
- Amazing sound quality
- Fantastic design
- Integrates well into Sonos system
- Easy streaming from Spotify
- Very expensive
- Only one input
2. Vizio SB3820-C6
Vizio is a brand that’s been in the business of producing high-quality soundbars at reasonable prices, and the SB3820-C6 ticks all the important boxes. As expected, it sports a minimalist and compact design that makes an attractive addition to any audio setup. A black mesh runs around the sides with exception to the aluminum edges which bear the logo of the brand while the buttons for controls are positioned at the top. The buttons include power, input, Bluetooth and volume up/down.
Flip the soundbar and on the rear, you will find a range of connectivity options including USB, 3.5mm, stereo RCA, digital optical and coaxial inputs. You can also use the built-in Bluetooth to stream audio from your smartphone and other compatible devices. It comes with a range of features to deliver value such as Dolby Digital surround sound and DTS TruVolume. These DTS technologies are designed to enhance sound quality while also maintaining a consistent volume.
For a soundbar without a subwoofer, the SB3820-C6 knocks out some powerful sound. It provides a decent and expansive soundstage that lends itself to movies, music, and gaming. For instance, the movies mode gives a clear and lively voice reproduction as you can distinctly hear each sound while also handling the background noise well. Similarly, fire up your favorite music and you’d get a nice midrange and high response that translates to detailed bass and acoustics output.
Also, the manufacturer claims that the SB3820-C6 delivers 100dB of room-filling, crystal clear sound with less than 1% total harmonic distortion. Overall, the performance is impressive for its price point and the sound quality can be compared to what expensive soundbars offer.
- Small and compact build
- Good sound for the money
- Not the best quality control
3. Yamaha YAS-108
The soundbar market might be saturated but Yamaha is a brand you can trust for an audiophile-grade soundbar. The YAS-108 is a natural entertainer, delivering high performance at a crazy-low price.
If you’ve used a Yamaha soundbar before, you’d agree that Yamaha doesn’t make stylish designs a priority which isn’t a bad idea since soundbars are meant to be heard and not seen. Rocking a sleek and shiny plastic body, the soundbar is enclosed in black mesh with rounded edges. The sound equipment measures roughly 2 inches height so it can sit in front of your TV without blocking the blocking off a part of the TV. It doesn’t have a separate subwoofer but it has two 3-inch subwoofers into the unit to deliver additional bass.
If you wish, you can wall-mount the YAS-108 without worry as the soundbar has a built-in gyroscope for that orientation to deliver full sound. Thankfully, you can connect this soundbar to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously as well as connect it to your Amazon Echo so Alexa can stream music and podcasts to it.
Much like its predecessors, the YAS-10 maintains the track record of excellence in terms of sound quality. It delivers a rich, powerful bass that defies its physical proportions, proving to immersive and enveloping. The sound output is detailed, clear, accurate and sharp without any sign of shrill. It has a low rate of sound modification and distortion compared to other soundbars in its price range. It gives a good account of itself during movies by managing the hushed conversations and loud sounds (like gunshots and explosions.)
The performance is also incredible during music playback as its precision unearths the finest details of effects, drawing you deeper into the soundstage. Similarly, it does well too when you play games or watch the news segment on it.
- Full sound from a compact form
- Sharp treble and good bass
- HDMI and 4K pass-through
- Fair price point
- Can connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously
- No app support yet
- Lackluster setup experience
4. Bose solo 5
Bose has always been a top-rated manufacturer of audio systems and the Solo 5 is a new offering on the market with an affordable price tag. Being an entry-level soundbar, the sound quality is pretty good but not the same as what its high-end soundbars produce.
Unboxing the Solo 5, the first impression you will get is that of a high-quality soundbar with a simple design that’s all-black. Although the cabinet is made of plastic, it feels pretty solid while the sides are built with aluminum to harmonize the aesthetics. There are status indicators on the front and they light up in different colors to depict the mode that’s currently in use.
On top of the soundbar are six preset buttons while the connection on the back is limited, consisting two digital audio inputs (optical and coaxial), a stereo analog input plus built-in Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music. A drawback here is the lack of HDMI port to feed HD audio to the soundbar and the usual 3.5mm audio jack.
There are other things features to consider such as the auto-wake feature which enables the Solo 5 to power on when it picks a signal. The soundbar will remain awake until 60 minutes of inactivity which eliminates the need of turning it off every time. Amazingly, you can save up to eight devices on the sound equipment so you can stream music from any of them simultaneously using Bluetooth.
The Solo5 might be smaller than most pedestal-type soundbars but it delivers an impressive sound for its category. The bass levels are decent but it sometimes gets muffled during movie playback while the midrange and treble are clear enough to make out distinct sounds. Watch your favorite blockbusters or your choice tracks and you will get a sound quality that’s marked by details and clarity.
- Small and compact design
- Easy to use
- Universal remote
- Chunky remote
- No wall-mount kit
- No sound adjustment features
5. Samsung 3.0 – HW-M650
Samsung is a leader in consumer electronics but the tech giant is exploring the audio market with a range of soundbars. The HW-MS650 is the latest release from the brand and is one of the best soundbars on the market.
Design-wise, the MS650 looks gorgeous even though it does not draw attention away from the TV. It is fashioned like a rectangular box with a grille of speakers encased in a black mesh while the finished edges are brushed to make a perfect blending. Unlike some soundbars, you can wall-mount the MS650 using the VESA mounting points and power loop-through feature so you can connect it to a single socket alongside your TV.
The connections on this 3.0 system are standard which includes a 4K-capable HDMI loop-through system, optical and auxiliary input while there’s support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless streaming. There’s, however, no optional HDMI which means you won’t be able to route multiple audio sources to the soundbar. Going further, the soundbar comes with Samsung’s multi-room app which supports popular services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora.
As per the sound quality, the MS650 delivers more than what Samsung promised as it cancels distortions to knock out an impressive scale of sound that’s boosted by a bass extension. When used for movie playback, it delivers a powerful film soundstage that doesn’t diminish the vocals or make the bass moments sound too heavy. Whatever the game mode might be, you will hardly get an imbalance between the midrange and low frequencies.
- Incredibly powerful sound
- Unrivaled bass handling
- Supports many sources
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- The slightly limited stereo effect
- A bit taller for some TVs
- No Dolby Atmos support
6. Sonos Beam
Sonos as a company has built a reputation of quality and longevity, and the Sonos Beam is the latest product to join the company’s line of soundbars. Its major selling point is that it can fill the entry-level home theatre studio gap. Measuring 650 x 100 x 68.5mm, the Beam is smaller than its sibling, the Sonos Playbar. There are no buttons for control; what you’d rather get are touch-sensitive controls for volume, play/pause and speaker mic/off.
Unlike some soundbars on the market, the depth the Beam produces when you wall-mount it is similar to what you’d get when you place it under the TV due to its “100mm depth” specification. A fabric drapes over the soundbar with ports on the back for connection such as Ethernet, HDMI slot (which the Sonos Playbar lack), power and a Wi-Fi button.
To control the Beam, head over to play store to download the company’s app which offers over 60 audio services that are compatible with the Sonos Beam. It also comes with Alexa voice control integration so you can tell the soundbar what to do. There are plans to integrate Siri too to provide versatility.
The sound output is powerful but not overwhelming. You will get a fantastic delivery that consists of rich and deep audio, and it gets better when you pair it up with the Sonos:1 as rear speakers. The Vocal Enhancement feature helps optimize sound output to make dialogue clear while managing the warped sound effects. Overall, the Beam performs above acceptable standards and this is impressive.
- Great compact design
- HDMI ARC compatible
- Incredible sound
- No Dolby Atmos
- No remote
- The setup gets tricky if you don’t have HDMI ARC
7. ZVOX SB500
If the name Zvox doesn’t ring a bell, don’t let it bother you as you’re not alone. The company focuses exclusively on making soundbars but for some reason, they’ve not become a household name like Bose or Yamaha. The Zvox SB500 is one of the models from the company and it offers real value for money.
The SB500 adopts a minimalist and streamlined design, featuring an all aluminum cabinet with solid metal speaker grille, while the edges are covered with rubberized plastic. It measures 43.9 x 3.3 x 5.7 which is ideal for TVs larger than 50 inches for proper blending. Like its predecessors, the SB500 is a 3-channel system and comes with a pair of 4-inch bass woofers to provide enough soundstage to fill any room.
For connections, there are no HDMI inputs but you will get a single digital connection (coaxial or optical), analogue input for stereo and Bluetooth input for connectivity. A chunky remote comes with the package but you can use your TV remote for basic controls if you wish as the SB500 can learn the volume, mute, and power toggle codes that your favorite remote uses.
There are tons of feature that will thrill budget buyers and one of them is output leveling which keeps the volume of commercials from getting louder or overpowering when they come on. Another is the Intellivoice function which helps process dialogue for the hearing impaired so the voices, in particular, sounded naturally balanced and articulate.
To complement the features, the SB500 performs well as the dialogue and the rumbles have a bite. Check the soundbar’s performance with music and you will get a delineated sound delivery that distinguishes the finest details. The performance during movie playback is also engaging as the background noise is decent enough to create the right effects without drowning the dialogue.
- Powerful, dynamic bass
- Impressive soundstage spread
- Rock-solid build quality
- No HDMI in or out
- Larger than most soundbars
8. TaoTronics TT-SK023
TaoTronics is a manufacturer that specializes in making affordable soundbars that don’t look cheap, and the TT-SK023 is ideal for those who want to dip their toes into the world of soundbars without breaking the bank.
The TT-SK023 rocks a design that doesn’t look premium, and yet doesn’t look cheap either. Like most models on the market, it comes in black and is extremely light for its size, weighing just 3.9 pounds. It has a plastic body which is easy on the eyes and a grille that covers the front side with no inscription other than the initials of the brand. The body dimensions are equally slim to save valuable space.
A small display on the front of the grille is apparent to indicate the command you give to it via the remote such as volume and Bluetooth while the back of the soundbar has an optical, coaxial and RCA but HDMI is missing in action here. The TT-SK023 comes with a remote control in the package
There’s a dearth of notable features here but the sound equipment has 3 different equalizer modes to fine-tune your soundbar namely: games, music and movie modes. With this feature, you can get customized sound delivery to enhance your listening experience. It also has Bluetooth support so you can use the soundbar in a wireless mode.
Performance-wise, the TT-SK023 delivers all-encompassing sound, proving to live up to the hype. Its forte is its bass capabilities which are strong enough to fill the room, especially for movies and music playback. You will only notice the imperfection when you crank up the volume as the output becomes harsh and fatiguing to listen to. Overall, the performance is decent but with a few imperfections.
- The price is a steal
- Powerful bass
- No HDMI
- Sound harsh at high volume levels
9. BYL S6520
The BYL S6520 soundbar doesn’t come from a well-known manufacturer but gives a good account of itself to a commendable degree. It is a compact soundbar that can fit into any space in your entertainment room or even your bedroom. Encased in an all-black plastic body, this soundbar has dual-speakers underneath the hood to deliver premium, acoustic sound, and crystal-clear balanced bass. It has a shape that allows it fire sound upwards for proper surround effects.
Connections are limited but you will get the regular optical and RCA inputs as well as built-in Bluetooth that allows you to stream music from up to 33 feet away from the soundbar. The package also comes with a remote which also allows for full customization such that you can reset the soundbar to factory settings.
As far as features go, the soundbar packs the DSP technology which lets you have three choices for sound effects: news, movie, and music so you can choose according to the content you want to watch.
The sound performance of the BYL is pretty good considering its size, delivering a decent cinematic experience due to the three audio profiles. The bass response is also decent but not anything to get excited about while the dialogue is crystal clear. The sound quality might not wow you but it sure gets the job done.
- Good bass performance
- Complex remote control
- Suitable for wireless connectivity
- Included memory reset button
- No HDMI
- Not the largest physical controls
10. MEGACRA S6520
The MEGACRA S6520 is a great soundbar that can easily be used as a home theatre as it knocks off some powerful sound. It has an all-plastic body with the grille taking up the entire space on the front side with nothing other than the logo of the brand. Measuring a length of 38 inches, it can sit underneath your TV or could be wall-mounted. On the rear, you will find the connectivity options which include digital optical, analog audio, stereo RCA, 3.5mm jack and USB ports. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity for streaming from mobile devices.
Equipped with DSP (Digital Signal Processor) technology, the MEGACRA S6520 offers three sound modes for a pleasurable multimedia experience namely the movie mode, music mode and news mode. It also comes with a remote control and a low harmonic distortion rate due to its dual full-range drivers, so you can get consistent highs and deep lows for remarkable clarity.
Coming to the performance, the MEGACRA S6520 doesn’t disappoint as it delivers crisp highs, very nice mid-tones, and punchy bass impact. The sound output is powerful enough to fill any room, providing high-end audio experience for the bedroom or apartment. In all, you will get clear audio which adapts well to movies, news, and other programs
- Supports wired and wireless connectivity
- Decent sound quality
- Doesn’t decode Dolby Digital
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