CES is a great opportunity to see the latest innovations in home theater technology, and even though this year’s international exhibition was held online, we saw quite a few new soundbar models.
At CES 2021, soundbar makers proved once again that they can still surprise and surprise their users, especially when it comes to designing TV speakers that have a versatile design, thoughtful driver / emitter placement, and small footprint.
Not too long ago, soundbars were limited to the traditional form factor: a long and thin cabinet that looked great on a shelf under a TV or mounted to a wall, although of course there were bulky audio systems among them that took up most of the space.
Things are changing, however, and the latest soundbars range from huge multi-channel speakers with Dolby Atmos capabilities to miniature models that are highly optimized for any interior.
While some of these high-spec panels are more expensive, some of the newer soundbars also offer a wide range of features and good sound for a fair price.
Keep in mind that this is just the beginning of the year, so you can be sure there will be even more soundbars coming out over the course of 2021. For now, we can only be content with what CES has given us. Read on for our quick roundup of the latest and greatest home theater audio solutions unveiled at CES 2021 .
If you are looking for a soundbar that has all the features a modern user needs, the Samsung HW-Q950A could be a fantastic purchase for you in 2021. The exact date of an official release has yet to be confirmed, but the developer has said it plans to release it later this year.
The Samsung HW-Q950A is this year’s flagship, an update to the Q950T launched in late 2020. This model offered a 9.1.4 channel sound scheme, while its replacement is an 11.1.4 channel system.
In the new soundbar, Samsung is adding a pair of side emitters to its wireless rear speakers to further expand the soundstage. Both the front and rear also have upward facing speaker blocks to ensure proper Dolby Atmos / DTS: X performance.
Add to this massive speaker set a wireless subwoofer with a built-in microphone that helps the system adjust the outgoing sound to suit its surroundings, and you have a very expansive cinema system.
As with the company’s other flagships, you can expect this soundbar to be quite pricey. The 9.1.4-channel HW-Q950T was priced at $ 1,399 when it launched last year and we’re confident the latest model will be at least as expensive.
However, with such impressive specs, the Samsung HW-Q950A could be a serious contender for the best soundbar of 2021, potentially knocking the Sonos Arc out of the spotlight . We just can’t wait to test it.
LG QP5 Éclair
At the other end of the spectrum is the LG QP5 Éclair, which (as you might have guessed from the name) is shaped like a small eclair, measuring just 30 centimeters by 6 centimeters (W x H).
Its compact form factor makes it ideal for a small living room, unlike most soundbars on the market today, and its sleek, unusual shape is a good alternative for those tired of featureless black bars and blocks.
However, small does not mean weak. Inside the soundbar are five drivers: the center driver, the left and right side drivers (positioned at a 45-degree angle for surround soundstage), and upward-firing emitters, which are critical drivers for handling Dolby Atmos or DTS: X content.
The LG QP5 Éclair comes with a wireless subwoofer for bass boost, with bi-directional drivers that reduce vibration. In other words, you won’t get tired of booming and loud sound effects that press on your head while watching movies with noisy home theater.
Again, nothing is known about the cost yet. Obviously, if LG can set a competitive price for its mini soundbar, the company will indeed make a breakthrough in home audio components such as immersive speakers and surround sound bars, making them more affordable for the average consumer.
Let’s take a look at a budget soundbar that really does it all. The Cowin Soundbar is a 25W wireless soundbar that you can place under your TV or wall-mount to reinforce the sound of your TV’s built-in speakers. Simple and straightforward description provided by the developer.
However, if you decide that this is another low-end device, then don’t jump to conclusions. If you want to distribute the sound throughout the room, that is, to get a mini surround sound system, then you can simply split the Cowin Soundbar in two. You now have two separate speakers that can be placed on either side of the TV, or even mounted on opposite walls for an immersive experience.
It’s unclear if the soundbar can deliver true stereo sound when split in two, but it can certainly enhance the sonic performance of your home audio system and add a bit of portability to it thanks to Bluetooth 4.2 support as well as AUX ports, optical inputs and HDMI.
Of course, Cowin lacks features like Dolby Atmos support, the ability to choose between twin speakers and a traditional soundbar is very attractive, especially when you consider the low cost of this transformer – only $ 80.
JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
It might surprise you, but you don’t have to give up Dolby Atmos if you’re on a tight budget. The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam uses digital signal processing technology to create a three-dimensional sound experience and proprietary beamforming technology – JBL MultiBeam (directional sound stream).
The virtual surround sound effect may not be as immersive as the real flow generated by the mass of speakers, but a soundbar using this technology can be a great compromise if you want to save some money.
The JBL Bar 5.0 also has tons of connectivity options, including Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM), Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast built-in and of course Bluetooth so you can easily play your favorite songs from iOS and Android devices (which is is a necessity).
But perhaps the biggest selling point for Bar 5.0 buyers will be its price. JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam will be released sometime between March and May 2021 for $ 480, although world prices have yet to be confirmed. The 5.0 MultiBeam is $ 600 less than the Sonos Arc soundbar with Atmos surround sound.
Denon Home Sound Bar 550
And the last position of our review, no less important: Denon Home Sound Bar 550 . High-quality sound with extra space Dolby Atmos is another potential competitor to Sonos Arc, which could be part of a wireless system if you add a Denon Home 150 , 250 or 350 wireless speaker to the soundbar , which can be used as rear channel emitters.
It’s also possible to add the Denon DSW-1H wireless subwoofer to create a complete wireless 5.1 system with enhanced bass.
Support for the HEOS ecosystem, which includes the Denon Home line, as well as other Denon and Marantz devices , means you can add the soundbar to your wireless multi-room audio system without the need for intrusive cables cluttering your home.
Add Hi-Res Audio, Alexa voice assist, and a control panel that lights up when you move your hand to the mix, and you’ve got a pretty attractive soundbar. Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is already available for $ 600