Table of contents:
- The best sound bars 2020: All test winners and recommendations at a glance
- Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (with subwoofer): Samsung HW-R450
- Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (standalone soundbar): Nubert nuPro AS-250
- GIGA editorial team recommends: Sonos Beam
- Cheap soundbar: Samsung HW-N400
- Luxury soundbar: Sony HT-ST5000
- Soundbar for the TV: what you should know before buying
Video: Soundbar Test 2020: Stiftung-Warentest Winner And Recommendations
2023 Author: Sheila Hailey | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 15:18
- Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (with subwoofer): Samsung HW-R450
- Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (standalone / soundplate): Nubert nuPro AS-250
- GIGA editorial team recommends: Sonos Beam (standalone)
- Cheap soundbar: Samsung HW-N400 (standalone)
- Luxury soundbar: Sony HT-ST5000 (with subwoofer)
- Soundbar for the TV: what you should know before buying
The best sound bars 2020: All test winners and recommendations at a glance
|Test winner Stiftung Warentest (with subwoofer)||Samsung HW-R450||approx. 170 euros||To MediaMarkt|
|Test winner Stiftung Warentest (standalone / soundplate)||Nubert nuPro AS-250||approx. 545 euros||To Amazon|
|Recommendation of the GIGA editorial team (standalone)||Sonos Beam||400 euros||To Saturn|
|Affordable soundbar (standalone)||Samsung HW-N400||approx. 160 euros||To MediaMarkt|
|Luxury soundbar (with subwoofer)||Sony HT-ST5000||approx.1,200 euros||To Otto|
GIGA editor Stefan has incorporated his own experience and research in specialist journals into this summary. Current TV soundbar models are presented, which have received special praise from the press and customers and are therefore recommended for a purchase. The test procedure for sound bars used by the Stiftung Warentest is also explained on the corresponding website.
Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (with subwoofer): Samsung HW-R450
The Stiftung Warentest last checked sound bars in issues 07/2020. The new winner in the "Soundbar with separate subwoofer" category is the Samsung HW-R450 (verdict: "good", grade 2.4). With a price of 169 euros (RRP), it is a comparatively cheap soundbar - all the more remarkable that it tested itself against significantly more expensive competitors such as the Panasonic SC-HTB900 (approx. 600 euros) and even the in-house Samsung HW-Q80R (approx. 660 euros).
The sound is “good” (2.3), the equipment (including Bluetooth, wireless subwoofer) is more than okay considering the price. Optionally, the system can be expanded with the matching "Wireless Rear Speaker Kit" SWA-8500S (around 120 euros). Special features such as WLAN, Dolby Atmos or Alexa compatibility are not included in the "entry-level model" Samsung HW-R450, however, you have to spend a bit more (e.g. Samsung HW-Q70R).
Samsung HW-R 450 soundbar with subwoofer
Now from € 188.84 at Amazon Similar offer at Mediamarkt Price can now be higher. Price from 2020-26-07 11:42 p.m.
- good sound
- comparatively cheap
without network functions, no HDMI connection
Test winner at Stiftung Warentest (standalone soundbar): Nubert nuPro AS-250
We come to the one-piece systems, i.e. sound bars without a subwoofer. The challenge here is that the soundbar generates the bass that is important for film effects all by itself. With the Nubert nuPro AS-250 for 545 euros, the Swabian box manufacturer Nubert shows that they are up to the task - thanks to decades of experience in the hi-fi sector. At the Stiftung Warentest (issue 10/2018), the Nubert nuPro AS-250 was awarded the “good” (2.0) winner in the “one-piece soundbars” category. The good sound and the remote control are praised.
The special features of the Nubert nuPro AS-250: It is a sound deck with a load capacity of over 100 kilograms, so that you can place the television on the speaker, like on a base. The Nubert nuPro AS-250 also dispenses with virtual surround sound, which many other manufacturers integrate with digital signal processing. Instead, the nuPro AS-250 only plays unchanged stereo - so clearly and level-stable that it can keep up with some full-blown stereo systems. Stereo cinch, S / PDIF, Toslink, USB, USB voltage socket, sub-out, link - the numerous connections are exemplary. It is a pity, however, that an HDMI connection is missing - an adapter (approx. 65 euros) is required for the connection via HDMI ARC.
Nubert nuPro AS-250 soundbar stereo
Now from € 531.00 at Amazon price can now be higher. Price from 27.07.2020 02:20 a.m.
- Good sound, is also suitable for music
- Robustly built
- HDMI-ARC connection only via adapter
- Comparatively bulky and less elegant design, which certainly does not fit every interior
Addendum from 2020-02-07: In the 07/2020 issue, the Stiftung Warentest tested the Nubert nuBox AS-225 soundbar. In this comparison, the loudspeaker achieved the best rating with a 2.2 ("good"). The 60-centimeter wide nuBox AS-225 is technically located below the larger and heavier Nubert nuPro AS-250 (nuPro series), which is described above. The soundbar from the nuBox series offers fewer drivers (2 instead of 4 bass-midrange speakers) and is priced at just € 365, which is more beginner-friendly than its big brother.
GIGA editorial team recommends: Sonos Beam
Sonos Beam: Smart and compact soundbar (manufacturer video)
"Less is more" - this wisdom occasionally also applies to technology purchases. The Sonos Beam for around 400 euros is one such case. The simple design and compact design are groundbreaking. The sound quality is astonishing considering the small size of the case. In our detailed test, we gave the rating 87 percent - since then the Sonos Beam has been one of our favorites, which many members of the GIGA editorial team have also bought privately.
Before you buy the Sonos Beam, you have to be aware that the Californian manufacturer offers a more or less closed system. This scores with simple setup, automatic sound calibration (Sonos Trueplay), an excellent app, countless supported music services and much more - a dream of convenience! On the other hand, you are noticeably limited when it comes to expansion: For example, the only subwoofer compatible with the Sonos Beam is the Sonos Sub (approx. 800 euros). Fortunately, you can save the additional bass box in small rooms, because the Beam sounds great on its own.
Sonos Beam, smart soundbar with voice control
Now from € 387.00 at Saturn Similar offer at Amazon price can now be higher. Price from 26.07.2020 23:54
- Good sound with a compact design
- All advantages of the Sonos system (e.g. many directly supported music streaming services, easy networking)
Only a single HDMI connection
Cheap soundbar: Samsung HW-N400
The small television in the bedroom or guest room does not need surround effects or brute bass force. A loudspeaker is actually enough to give the flat, flat-screen TV sound a bit of a boost, so that one understands dialogues better and the sequence of the crime scenes gains a bit of atmosphere. For such cases, the Samsung HW-N400 is the answer - a standalone soundbar at an attractive price, which is compact (64 cm wide) and can be easily connected to the TV via HDMI.
The customer reviews at Amazon speak a clear language: 4.4 out of 5 stars, numerous users praise the good price-performance ratio of the Samsung HW-N400. In terms of sound, it audibly enhances most TVs. A moving "firework of effects" shouldn't be expected, of course, because of the size and price range.
Samsung HW-N400 soundbar
Now from € 159.00 at Amazon Similar offer at Otto Similar offer at Mediamarkt Price can now be higher. Price from 27.07.2020 02:08 a.m.
Good value for money
Sound quality and equipment clearly entry-level
Luxury soundbar: Sony HT-ST5000
Be it the display on the front, Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD, HDMI eARC, multi-room functionality via WLAN, Bluetooth, Chromecast or Spotify Connect - the Sony HT-ST5000 leaves almost nothing to be desired in terms of equipment. The manufacturer also calls for a hefty 1,499 euros (RRP). The good deal (actually two, because a subwoofer is included) can now be found in stores for around 1,200 euros. The top model from Sony also got top marks from the specialist press: 5 stars, both at WhatHifi and Techradar.
There is praise for the excellent sound, the good build quality and the equipment (e.g. 3x HDMI, LAN, Opt. In, USB). Apart from the high price, you should also consider the size: With 118 x 80 x 14.5 centimeters (subwoofer: 24.8 x 40.3 x 42.6 centimeters), the Sony HT-ST5000 is only a sensible purchase if it is sufficient Space in the living room and a matching giant TV are available. For this you can finally banish your old AV receiver and the standing boxes from the living room, because they will be replaced.
Sony HT-ST5000, Dolby Atmos soundbar with subwoofer
Now from € 1,099.00 at Otto Similar offer at Amazon Similar offer at Saturn Price can now be higher. Price from 27.07.2020 00:04 a.m.
- Outstanding sound quality
- Very good equipment (connections, formats)
Dolby Atmos creates room effects, but cannot replace real surround setups from multiple speakers
Start photo gallery (11 photos)
Soundbar for the TV: what you should know before buying
Construction: one-piece, multi-piece or a sound deck?
What exactly is a "soundbar"? The simplest subdivision is based on the type. These are the three main types of soundbars that are available in stores:
- Classic sound bar ("sound bar" / "stand-alone" / "one-piece sound bar"): A single, usually elongated speaker that is placed in front of the base of the TV. Usually expandable with additional speakers. Examples: Sonos Beam, Bose Soundbar 500
- Soundbar with subwoofer ("Soundbar system", "2.1"): These models are equipped with a corresponding subwoofer ex works. This special loudspeaker box is only responsible for the low tones (basses) - usually a cuboid housing that stands on the floor and is placed somewhat hidden. Examples: Yamaha YAS-207, Polk Audio Command Bar
- Soundplate ("Soundbase", "Sounddeck"): You place a classic soundbar in front of the TV or hang it on the wall - the soundplate, however, comes under the TV. It is a flat and robust loudspeaker, which is designed to carry the entire weight of the TV standing on it. Examples: Nubert nuPro AS-450, Sonos Playbase
Before buying, it makes sense to determine the requirements within your own four walls. A small TV (e.g. 32 inch diagonal) in the bedroom can be upgraded with a one-piece soundbar. There is more space in the living room or home cinema and more power is needed: combinations with a subwoofer are interesting. The optional expandability with rear speakers is also a point that can be decisive for the purchase.
Connectivity: HDMI, eARC, Apple AirPlay and more
How does the sound get to the soundbar? With the many connection options (including HDMI, HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, TOSLINK, S / PDIF, jack, cinch) you are quickly overwhelmed. Again, it is worth checking what your own TV offers and how you can ideally connect the soundbar before buying. Otherwise you might be standing in the living room and realize that an adapter is needed. If you like it wireless, pay attention to Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 or another WLAN speaker system (Sonos, Yamaha Musiccast etc.) when buying the soundbar.
Sound: stereo or surround?
Even if some manufacturers speak of "impressive surround effects from just one box" - with virtual surround (mostly generated by sound reflections on walls and ceilings) one should not expect a miracle. Anyone who has ever heard a real surround system with subwoofer, rear and ceiling speakers will not forget this impression. In particular, the small standalone soundbars cannot achieve this experience despite digital signal processing. In addition, Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD and Co. are not readily available: You need the right coded source material (Blu-ray, streaming service), a suitable player (e.g. Apple TV 4K) Cables (e.g. HDMI) and connections (e.g. HDMI ARC for Dolby Atmos, see also our test of the Sonos Arc Soundbar). At least many soundbar models can be expanded later, so that you can retrofit a subwoofer or speakers for the rear channels if necessary.
The best subwoofers for home theater and music: test winners and bestsellers
If you mainly consume the TV program (news, shows), a simple sound bar with decent stereo is sufficient. However, you should also know here that "Stereo" can only be understood as an entry in the data sheet. Due to the small distance between the two channels within a soundbar, the panorama effect is audibly limited - no matter what the manufacturer promises. For high-quality music enjoyment you need two separate boxes at a greater distance.
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