Soundbars have become the top choice as an alternative to TV speakers and even as a home theater system. There are compact in size and fits right into any home, it doesn’t matter if your room is big or small, you just place the soundbar right below the television. The drawback of being compact is having too many speaker drivers cramp into such a tight enclosure. Due to this, the overall sound is really muddy and the dialogue usually gets the worst end of the stick. Then you try to improve the dialogue clarity by turning up the volume which then reveals the unnatural ‘metallic’ sound at the top end.
Over the years, with the advancement of technology and innovative speaker drivers, soundbars’ sound quality has improved by a lot. The soundstage is bigger and more refined. The overall sound is less muddy and more natural. More importantly, the dialogue clarity has greatly improved as well. But of course, these improvements do not apply to all the soundbars on the market. This is why I have picked 10 of the very best soundbars with top-notch sound quality and pristine dialogue clarity.
Top 10 Best Soundbar for Dialogue Clarity in 2021
1. Sonos Arc
This is no ordinary soundbar, Sonos Arc features Dolby Atmos, the latest in immersive surround sound experience that will greatly enhance your shows, video gaming, and movie experience, bringing it to the next level. Using its comprehensive Trueplay tuning technology, Sonos Arc will optimize the sound for the unique acoustics of your room and calibrates the height channels for precise localization. Creating a multi-dimensional soundstage that envelopes you, hearing every single whisper and explosions with dramatic clarity, detail, and depth. You will feel like you are been teleported into the movie itself, fighter jets flying past with such realism and thunder cackles above as the storm slowly moves past you.
Using the help of Oscar-winning sound engineers, Sonos Arc has been carefully tuned so to emphasize the human voice and because of this, you’ll never miss a word from your favorite TV shows and movies. To further enhance the dialogue clarity, you can activate the Speech Enhancement via the app to clarify the dialogues.
Sonos Arc has almost all the music streaming services you’ll ever need. Use the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2 to manage your music streaming, podcasts, and more, without even the need to turn on your television. Another cool feature will be the voice control as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are integrated into the Arc. You can further expand your home theater system by adding Sonos wireless subwoofer and rear surround speakers.
- 11 Class D digital amplifiers specially tuned for Sonos Arc.
- 8 elliptical woofers for pristine playback of the mid-range and vocal frequencies, with the addition of rich bass.
- 3 silk-dome tweeters which are angled with such precision that will generate crisp highs and clear dialogues.
- Trueplay is a tuning software (IOS device required) that calibrates the speakers accordingly to the unique acoustics of your room.
- Speech enhancement that enhances the dialogue clarity of your source playback.
- You can adjust the EQ settings such as bass, treble, loudness, etc. via the Sonos app.
- Voice control using Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa which are built into the Sonos Arc.
- For quiet listening, you can use Night Sound mode as it will reduce the intensity of loud sound effects.
2. Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar
The main reason why Bose Solo 5 soundbar is in the top 10 list, is because of a feature called Dialogue mode. When you activate the dialogue mode, it immediately makes every word easier to hear. Bose Solo 5 is designed and built with the focus of clearly reproduce everything from the dialogue to sound effects of your movie playbacks. The compact design of this soundbar makes Bose Solo 5 an easy fit in almost any room. The minimalistic visual look of this soundbar will blend in nicely with most home decors.
Solo 5 is made as a 2.0 sound system, which means it can’t play surround sound like Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, etc., but it can downmix them into stereo mode. It is integrated with a subwoofer which is decent for the price and can’t really expect much from it. If you require a soundbar that reproduces crystal clear dialogues and well-defined mids, then Bose Solo 5 will be an excellent choice. It has a solid build and comes with a metal grille to protect the drivers.
- Great for dialogue-heavy content.
- Designed and built to reproduce clear dialogues. Well-balanced and defined midrange.
- Activate Dialogue mode and it makes every word easier to hear without the need to adjust the volume.
- Compact and solid build, you can easily position Bose Solo 5 near your TV.
- Integrated with subwoofer but can’t go low.
- It has Bluetooth connectivity which you can pair with your mobile devices to stream music.
- Affordable pricing.
3. JBL Bar 5.1
This is a powerful 5.1 channel 4K Ultra HD soundbar with 510 Watts of power, assuring you an exhilarating movie experience right at the comfort of your own home. Comes with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer which gives you the convenience of flexible placement anywhere in the room, without the worries of messy wires. You can also detach two battery-powered wireless surround speakers and position them behind/beside you accordingly. The batteries will last you up to 10 hours of playtime, more than enough time to watch a few movies/shows in true wireless 5.1 surround sound.
Another powerful feature of JBL Bar 5.1 will be the 4K connectivity which you can use to connect to 4K source components thus upgrading your home entertainment into Ultra HD. Access any mobile devices wirelessly using Bluetooth and start streaming all your favorite music. You can use your existing TV remote to control JBL Bar 5.1, this JBL soundbar is designed to work with many of today’s top television remote controllers. A unique feature of JBL Bar 5.1 will be JBL SoundShift as it can instantly switch between sound from your television and sound from mobile devices.
I am truly impressed by the frequency response range of JBL Bar 5.1 which is 35Hz-20KHz. It can go really low for a soundbar at this price. It also comes with a wall mount bracket kit, giving you more placement choices. Since is a 5.1 channel soundbar with so much power and a separated wireless subwoofer, plus the flexibility to mount it at ear level, it would have no problem in reproducing clear dialogues from movies, shows, and video gaming. Not to mention it will be fabulous for music playback too. The only qualms I have with JBL Bar 5.1 will be that it only supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS.
- Powerful 5.1 channel soundbar, 510W of power.
- Wireless 10″ subwoofer.
- 2x Detachable rear surround speakers, up to 10 hours of playtime.
- True 4K Ultra HD connectivity.
- Wireless music streaming with Bluetooth.
- Use your existing TV remote to control JBL Bar 5.1.
- JBL SoundShift instantly switches between sound from your television and sound from mobile devices.
- Comes with a wall mount bracket kit.
4. Sony HT-Z9F
Sony HT-Z9F is a soundbar that comes with a wide range of features and one of the best features will be Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine. It is their latest surround sound technology that lets you enjoy the latest in cinematic audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Another impressive feature will be the S-Force Pro front surround, which virtually reproduces the surround sound field without the need to add rear speakers. Saving you space while lets you enjoy immersive surround sound with audio coming to you on both sides.
Sony HT-Z9F soundbar has multiple sound mode which includes one that improves the clarity of dialogues. You can also watch movies in 4K HDR quality and it is compatible with Dolby Vision, it is an HDR streaming format supported by Netflix. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, you can now stream your music wirelessly with ease. To further enhance your music experience, Sony HT-Z9F is capable of play High-Res Audio files, and by using Sony’s DSEE HX, it can upscale your existing music to near high-resolution sound quality.
The amount of features packed into this soundbar is simply amazing. Unlike some of the other soundbars, Sony HT-Z9F also looks into giving you the best music experience possible with this sound system. It is after all a 3.1 channel soundbar, the upscaled Dolby Atmos surround sound is not as immersive when compared to Sonos Arc. To improve the surround sound field of HT-Z9F, you can connect two wireless rear speakers SA-Z9R for an added cost. Overall the sound quality provides you with clear and crisp vocals and dialogues, the wireless subwoofer does a good job in the bass department.
- Vertical Surround Engine is a technology that lets you enjoy the latest audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with just one soundbar unit.
- S-Force Pro front surround is a technology by Sony, that virtually reproduces the surround sound field without the need to add rear speakers.
- 4K HDR quality and it is also compatible with Dolby Vision.
- Comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections for your music streaming.
- Capable of playing High-Res Audio.
- DSEE HX is a feature that can upscale your existing music to near high-resolution sound quality.
- Clear and crisp dialogues.
- A powerful 3.1 channel soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer, total power output 400W.
5. Yamaha YAS-207
Another soundbar comes with tons of features but at a more affordable price. Let’s talk about the most important feature, the Clear Voice function, which allows Yamaha YAS-207 to make narration and dialogue a lot clearer and audible while keeping the overall sound quality intact. Whether you are watching a movie or the news, every word will be crystal clear. Another sound feature will be the use of DTS Virtual:X, a 3D surround that immerses you into the movie, live concerts, and video games themselves. YAS-207 also includes an external subwoofer to further enhance your movie experience, let you enjoy high-octane action scenes in movies and the atmosphere of live concert videos.
You can either place Yamaha YAS-207 on the table or mount it on the wall. You can stream your favorite music/songs via Bluetooth, the soundbar will even automatically enhance the high frequency of compressed music files and deepens the mid-to-low ranges, allowing you to enjoy your music like never before. Use your TV remote to control YAS-207 as well, only works if your television is compatible with HDMI-CEC. To give you more control over your soundbar, you can use Yamaha’s Home Theater Controller app. From selecting the inputs you want to play to fine-tuning the sound all from your mobile device.
In the video department, YAS-207 supports high-resolution 4K / 60p video signals and compatible with HDR. The sound quality is dynamic and the vocal/dialogues are clear and crisp, it is a soundbar you will enjoy having. To have so many features at an affordable price, Yamaha YAS-207 is a good buy and definitely worthy of the spot in the top 10 soundbars for dialogue clarity for 2021.
- Yamaha’s Clear Voice function, allows YAS-207 to make dialogue and narration a lot clearer and audible.
- DTS Virtual:X is a 3D surround sound that gives you spacious and immersive sound.
- You can wall-mount Yamaha YAS-207, giving you flexibility in speaker placement.
- Bluetooth connectivity with automatic enhancement in the overall sound quality of your compressed music files.
- You use your TV remote to control the YAS-207 soundbar, your television must be compatible with HDMI-CEC.
- Home Theater Controller app gives you greater control over your soundbar via your mobile devices.
- Supports high-resolution 4K / 60p video signals and it is also compatible with HDR (High Dynamic Range).
- It is affordable.
6. Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim
If you are on a tight budget and in need of a good quality soundbar, then Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim is your best choice. The reason for the Polk Audio Signa S2 soundbar to appear in our 10 soundbars for dialogue clarity 2021, is because of the Polk VoiceAdjust Technology. What it does is that it will customize the voice levels thus reproducing clear and crisp dialogues. You won’t miss a single word from your movies and TV shows ever again. Even for this price, it still comes with a wireless subwoofer. The low-profile soundbar is able to decode Dolby Digital, letting you enjoy 5.1 surround sound.
Polk Audio Signa S2 is an ultra-slim soundbar, allowing you to fit it below the TV or wall-mount it. Stream music directly from your mobile devices via a Bluetooth connection. You can use your TV remote to control the volume of Polk Audio Signa S2, which requires CEC-enabled TV to do so. The preset EQ settings for movies and music will ensure you get the clearest dialogue and vocals. If you are trying not to disturb others, you can use the Night Mode function which will lower the bass and increase Polk VoiceAdjust for clearer dialogue, without raising the master volume.
As mentioned earlier, if you are on a tight budget and looking for a soundbar with dialogue clarity, this will be a great choice for you but if you are able to afford higher-end models. Then you should look around first before deciding.
- Very affordable even for users with a tight budget.
- Polk VoiceAdjust Technology will customize the voice levels of your favorite movies/shows, reproducing clear and crisp dialogues.
- Comes with a wireless subwoofer.
- Low profile design allows Signa S2 to easily fit into any room, you can also wall-mount it.
- Able to decode Dolby Digital, letting you enjoy 5.1 surround sound.
- Bluetooth connection is available and you can stream music directly from your mobile devices.
- Control the volume of Polk Audio Signa S2, by using the remote control of CEC-enabled TV.
- Night Mode function will lower the bass and increase Polk VoiceAdjust for clearer dialogue, without the need to raise the master volume of the Signa S2 soundbar.
7. Samsung 2.1 Soundbar HW-R450
It is a 200W 2.1 channel soundbar that includes a wireless subwoofer, allowing the sound system to hit bass as low as 43Hz. It is an astonishing feat for a soundbar of this price. Like the Polk Audio Signa S2, it is very affordable even when you are on a tight budget. If you are a gamer, then you will be pleased to know that Samsung HW-R450 optimizes your gameplay sound where the cross-talk cancellation technology removes distracting sounds so you can hear clear audio exactly from the right direction.
You can connect HW-R450 to compatible Samsung TVs via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi without the messiness of wires. Use Samsung TV’s One Remote to control your soundbar’s volume and sound effects but only with selected Samsung TVs though. One of the coolest features of Samsung HW-R450, it could automatically analyze your sound sources and optimize the audio track especially crucial for movies/shows with quiet dialogue, as it can provide clearer sounds.
If 2.1 channel is not your cup of tea, you can purchase Samsung’s wireless surround kit so to expand your Soundbar to a surround sound system. Like most modern home sound systems, you can also use an app to control Samsung HW-R450. This soundbar is very highly rated by owners and definitely worth an audition.
- Automatically analyze and optimize your sound sources to provide clearer sounds, great for movies/shows with quiet dialogue.
- Suitable for gamers as Samsung HW-R450 optimizes your gameplay sound and helps you gain an advantage.
- You can connect HW-R450 to compatible Samsung TVs via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- Use Samsung TV’s One Remote to control your soundbar’s volume and sound effects with selected Samsung TVs only.
- The total power output of 200W, capable of reaching as low as 43Hz.
- Purchase Samsung’s wireless surround kit and expand HW-R450 into a surround sound system.
- Very affordable.
- A wireless subwoofer is included which you can easily position anywhere in your room.
8. Vizio V Series V51-H6
Can the largest LCD TV seller in North America make affordable and high-quality soundbars? They sure can do it, introducing Vizio V Series V51-H6, a 5.1 channel home theater sound bar that looks good and sounds good. It includes a 5″ wireless subwoofer that is compact for easy placement and powerful enough to reproduce big bass. V51-H6 is easy to clean due to its black textured surface which makes it easy to wipe off dust and fingerprints. It also uses a new Vizio remote that is fully featured and has a comfortable grip.
By increasing the Dialogue Level setting, you can hear every word more clearly than ever before. To further improve the presence of voice/dialogues in your movie/TV shows, you can also increase the center channel level. There is DTS Virtual:X which enhances your movies/shows/music into a virtualized 3D sound for total immersion. Vizio V51-H6 is voice assistant ready as you can connect to Siri, Google Assistant devices etc., either using persistent Bluetooth or dedicated AUX input. Talking about Bluetooth, you can stream your music/songs by pairing with any mobile device.
With such a plethora of features that comes with Vizio V51-H6 and the price that is asking for, it is an absolute bargain. After adjusting the Dialogue Level and Center Level, every single word is as clear as day. Is a pity the subwoofer can’t go as low as the others (50Hz) but the mid-bass is more than enough to satisfy you. It also can’t go as loud when compared with other soundbars.
- Comes with a compact 5″ wireless subwoofer.
- It is easy to clean.
- A full-featured Vizio remote with comfort grip.
- Dialogue Level/Dialogue Enhancement EQ setting, for clearer and more audible dialogues.
- Center Level adjustment to improve the presence of dialogues in your content.
- DTS Virtual:X for room-filling and floor-to-ceiling virtualized 3D sound.
- Vizio V51-H6 is voice assistant ready, connect to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant devices.
- It is an absolute bargain.
9. Sonos Beam
Like its big brother Arc, Sonos Beam also has Speech Enhancement that you can turn on in the app, to improve dialogue clarity when characters are whispering or during an action scene where they are a lot of explosions. With the inbuilt Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, you can play music, check the news, get your questions answered, and more, without the need to use your hands.
The compact size of Sonos Beam makes it easier to fit into most homes. Even though is compact, it can still deliver impressive enveloping sound that immerses you into the movie scenes. There are 5 class-D digital amplifiers that power 4 full-range woofers and 1 tweeter, along with the Trueplay tuning system, Sonos Beam will reproduce a soundstage that is wide and spacious. There are scale and weight to the bass which is impressive for its size. Probably because of the 3 passive radiators which help move air around inside the compact enclosure and add warm sound to the bass.
Sonos Beam also supports Apple Airplay 2 which you can stream straight from your iPad, iPhone, and Mac. You can also wall-mount Sonos Beam. It is easily upgradeable as you can add a Sonos Sub and a pair of Sonos speakers for a true 5.1 surround sound. Sonos Beam reproduces clear and direct dialogue, making it a must-have if you are in need of a soundbar with amazing dialogue clarity. The only downside is that it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos like Arc thus less immersive.
- Speech Enhancement to improve dialogue clarity when characters are whispering or during an action scene.
- Also has Night Sound mode to reduce the intensity of loud sound effects for quiet listening and not disturbing others in your home.
- Hands-free voice control with inbuilt Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
- The compact size and wall mount feature allows Sonos Beam to fit in easily in any home.
- Five Class-D digital amplifiers, powering four full-range woofers, three passive radiators, and one tweeter.
- Trueplay tuning system to tailor the sound to your room.
- Supports Apple Airplay 2
- Easily upgradeable, add a Sonos Subwoofer and a pair of Sonos speakers for an immersive 5.1 surround sound.
10. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
The most expensive soundbar in this top 10 list. The reason why Sennheiser Ambeo is chosen to be on the list is due to the crisp, clear, natural tonality and texture sound quality of the dialogue/voice. It is impeccable for music playback and superbly immersive, a 3D home audio experience that you shouldn’t miss. There are 5 high-fidelity tweeters delivering studio-quality sound, 6 long-throw woofers that go all the way down to 30 Hz, and the precision of the midrange vocals. This is studio-grade high fidelity sound, and dialogue clarity is no longer an issue.
Sennheiser Ambeo is compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H. Their proprietary Upmix Technology can convert stereo and 5.1 audio formats into an immersive 3D sound experience. This 5.1.4 soundbar is not only incredible in sound performance, but it also has 4K passthrough compatibility, as well as eARC and Dolby Vision. This is an all-in-one soundbar system you’ll ever need, and you don’t need to get any more speakers or subs.
Ambeo also comes with 3 AMBEO 3D technology modes and a built-in equalizer, you can adjust and tailor the sound to suit your own listening taste. You can also wall-mount the soundbar which is important since it is big and may not fit well on tables. It comes with a Smart Control App as well. It is certainly expensive but you are paying for the premium parts and high sonic performance. Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar is made for people who only want the very best.
- Is a 5.14 soundbar with a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz (-3 dB). Out of the 10 soundbars, Sennheiser Ambeo can go the lowest and without even the need for a subwoofer.
- Superb sonic performance and studio-grade audio quality.
- 13 independent drivers and combining with AMBEO technology recreates an immersive surround sound.
- Five 1″ tweeter, aluminum dome tweeters.
- Six 4″ long-throw woofer, cellulose sandwich cones.
- Two 3.5″ full-range drivers (top-firing).
- Three AMBEO 3D technology modes with a built-in equalizer, to adjust and tailor the sound to your liking.
- 4K passthrough compatibility, eARC, and Dolby Vision.
- Wall-mount is available.
- Smart Control App.
The Best Soundbar for Dialogue Clarity 2021
Sonos Arc will be the best soundbar for dialogue clarity in 2021, due to its innovative way of creating a multi-dimensional soundstage that is immersive, reproducing every single whisper and explosions with dramatic clarity, detail, and depth. It also comes with Dolby Atmos and its own Trueplay tuning system which further enhances your movie experience. The Speech Enhancement also improves the dialogue clarity greatly. The price tag is in the midrange but with all the features and impeccable immersive sound quality, this is the best deal in town.
If your budget is tight
If you are low on funds, then you should go for Vizio V Series V51-H6 as it has many features at a low price. Furthermore, with the Dialogue Level/Dialogue Enhancement EQ setting and Center Level adjustments, you can get clearer and more audible dialogues in any content. Making Vizio V Series V51-H6 the best soundbar for dialogue clarity in 2021 for people who have a low/tight budget.
The Best of the Best
If budget is no issue, and you only want the best soundbar sound quality that money can buy. Then you should go for Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar, studio-grade sound quality, great for both movies and music which most soundbars are not capable of. Has all the latest features of a modern home entertainment system such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, MPEG-H, 4K passthrough compatibility, eARC, and Dolby Vision.
If the main criteria are to play High-Res audio, then Sony HT-Z9F will be your best option. It also has DSEE HX, which can upscale your existing music to near high-resolution sound quality. Sony HT-Z9F is also an amazing soundbar with crystal clear dialogue, so you are basically hitting two birds with one stone.
Soundbars have come a long way and their sound quality has improved by leaps and bounds, especially in the dialogue clarity. The top 10 soundbars listed here are all designed to provide you with clear and audible dialogues. You can shortlist them based on your budget or in terms of features. No matter which soundbar you have shortlisted, you should head down to your nearest dealer and take your time to audition them. Don’t forget to bring along your favorite CDs and/or Blu-rays for the soundbars auditioning.
Some of them even allow you to audition them at your own home, like the Sonos Arc and Beam. So if it is possible, you should go through this top 10 list and contact each of the manufacturers/distributors, and request for a demo at your own home (if they have this option). By auditioning the soundbars at your home, you can immediately know whether if you like the sound quality and most importantly is the dialogue clarity is at the level you desire.