best Soundbars Under 300 - VALUE FOR MONEY PICKS FOR 2023

Whether you’ve got a top-notch OLED TV setup, or a cheap, $500 one, chances are you’re dissatisfied with the audio quality.

Even though flat-panel TV’s these days produce much better sound quality than they did in the past, they’re still no match for soundbars. 

If you’re tired of listening to the muffled sound produced by your TV’s built-in speakers, soundbars are the solution you’re looking for here. 

And no, I’m not going to talk about the high-end options, either. I’m here to offer you a more budget-friendly way out – the best soundbars under $300.

Stick around, and you’ll see what I mean!

In a hurry? The test winner after 23 hours of research:

JBL BAR 2.1 Best Soundbar Under 300

Why is it better?

  • Affordable price
  • Excellent design
  • Powerful subwoofer
  • Good sound separation at higher frequencies
  • Rich and wide soundstage
our score


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Last Updated: February 2023

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best soundbar under 300 available for those who are interested in enhancing their home theater sound system. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best soundbar under 300 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

What is a soundbar? 

The shortest, most straightforward answer to this question would be that a soundbar is a practical solution to boosting your TV’s audio performance. Chances are you figured it out on your own already, though.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and see what makes soundbars what they are: 

Audio-enhancing devices that will keep your home theater dreams alive, without the room being cluttered with speakers. 

A soundbar is an ideal choice for those who want to elevate their audio experience without a full-blown home theater system.

It utilizes virtual surround sound capabilities that allow you to enjoy dramatically improved audio quality, with no extra speakers or tangled wires required.

What do you need to know about soundbars under $300? 

With the latest innovations and technologies such as OLED and QLED, the flat-panel 4K TVs are continuously being improved to be as thin and modern-looking as possible. They’re delivering the best picture quality we’ve ever seen. 

However, they all struggle with one thing – fitting full-range speaker drivers into these minimalistic housings. As a result, you’re often left with perfect picture quality, and less-than-stellar audio – the sub-standard dialog, inadequate bass, and underwhelming sound in general. 

That’s where soundbars come in and steal the show.

But if you’re looking to buy the best soundbar under $300, you’re going to have to pay attention to a few vital factors. Let’s go through them together!

Soundbar sound quality

Okay, first things first. I mean, what could be more important in an audio device than the actual sound quality? 

The sound quality should bring a drastic improvement compared to the one your TV’s speakers have to offer. Besides the mere “loud and clear” part, it should be more detailed and deeper, as well. You should be able to hear everything from simple dialogue to background sounds and vocals in music with exceptional quality.

It may be tricky to access sound quality without hearing the soundbar in action, but it can be done. You’ll have to take a closer look at the specifications list though, and watch out for factors such as the output power, frequency range, and the size and capacity of the drivers. 

To a total novice, these parameters might seem like nothing but a bunch of letters and numbers thrown together. However, they can tell you a lot about the audio quality that the soundbar will be able to deliver.

Surround sound

When shopping for a soundbar, pay attention to the number of audio channels in its configuration. It will determine its performance when it comes to multi-channel surround sound featured in most mainstream movies.

Most soundbars will simulate the surround sound effect by using the technique called virtualization. By cross-mixing the multi-channel sound information, it gives the listeners the illusion of a surround sound experience, even though the sound comes from the front of the room only. 

Of course, dedicated surround speakers are unmatched here because the resulting sound will always be more precise and immersive – but it’s worth giving a shot. 


Soundbars will typically come with several connectivity options to meet your needs and allow you to connect them not only with your TV but other audio and video sources as well. On that note, the options that allow you to stream your content wirelessly are always a welcome addition. 

You’ll need several different inputs to match the outputs on your source components. So, it's vital that you understand what each of these connectivity types offers in terms of the receiving and processing abilities. 


This is, by far, the most advanced digital connection option available for audio and video devices designed for home use. Thanks to the higher bandwidth, HDMI connection transfers high-quality video formats, as well as high-quality multi-channel audio. 

Many HDMI connections these days also support the Audio Return Channel feature – or ARC – as well. This feature allows you to send the audio signal from the TV to the soundbar, and vice versa, in a single HDMI connection. 

Digital audio outputs 

Most soundbars will include at least one digital format of sound transmission, be it Optical or Coaxial, along with an analog stereo RCA or mini-jack outputs. That will give you the option to connect not only your TV but portable music players and other gear, as well. 

However, bear in mind that their outputs are somewhat restricted due to lower transmission bandwidth compared to that of HDMI.


Bluetooth connectivity is the bear minimum found in pretty much all soundbars available on today’s market. It’s most commonly used for pairing wirelessly with mobile devices and playing stereo content from platforms such as iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and the like. 

You’ll even find near-field communication (NFC), two-way Bluetooth, and higher bandwidth codec support in some soundbars, as well. 


Soundbars with built-in WiFi option allow you to communicate with your device within the same network. You can do it anywhere inside your home, rather than being restricted to a certain distance, as you would with a Bluetooth connection. 

As such, it’s no surprise that it’s becoming an increasingly popular and sought-after feature in soundbars.

Moreover, WiFi connectivity also allows you quick access to online streaming services, such as Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Prime – and even your network-connected library.

Best soundbar under $300

Let's review the top contenders for this lavish title of best sound bar under 300: 

1. JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Soundbar System

JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Starter System with Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer with Bluetooth

Our Rating: 87/100

JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Starter System represents a welcome departure from the range of products the manufacturer seems more comfortable – wearable tech.

But, the results are just the same. This package is yet another feather in JBL’s very ornate cap.

The design

Speaking in terms of design, this neat theater system represents everything we’ve come to expect from JBL by now. Simple, yet stylish lines, graced with a slight touch of futuristic.

In this case, that would be a simple grilled body with a hidden LED screen that shows you the selected input channel.

But, taking into consideration that this is not a simple soundbar, but rather a 2.1 system, we also have to talk about the subwoofer you get in the package.

And what to say – it’s a true testament to the idea that beauty lies in simplicity. Also, I dig the matte surface – the dust and fingerprints are no issue here.

As for the connectivity options, JBL has covered almost all things that cross the mind. On the back of the soundbar unit, you will find HDMI ARC, optical port, and USB port (you can play the high-quality lossless music from your portable hard drive).

Unfortunately, the ability to connect to a home Wi-Fi network is sorely missing. But, Bluetooth is very easy to set up (that is, after all, bread and butter), so you won’t have any streaming options. Some compromises had to be made to reach this price point.

I am also very pleased with the dimensions of the units I got in the package. The soundbar is slim and wide which is probably the best option for this type of unit. As for the woofer, substantial as it is, it doesn’t take a heavy toll on your free space. And it looks so good.

Finally, you get to choose between two control options. You can use the remote that easily syncs up with the unit and, most importantly, doesn’t interfere with the rest of the devices you may have in the room.

The other control options are the good old round buttons located at the top of the unit. Both these alternatives work just fine.

best soundbar under 300 - JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Starter System with Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer with Bluetooth

The sound quality

Let's now move to some more important topics. I briefly mentioned that the soundbar unit is pretty long. This fact is very important because the device sets up one very wide and rich sound stage.

However, the overall performance of the whole system was very inconsistent. In combination with the cable box, the bass felt horribly underutilized. Things got better with a bit of manual adjustment, though.

As for the movies featuring surround sound, the bass appeared considerably stronger – so much so that some of the midrange frequencies ended up lost in the mix. Still, loud explosions sound incredibly satisfying.

On the higher frequencies though, sound separation worked much better and you could hear all the lines of dialogue loud and crisp. The movie scores, especially the big orchestral sounded simply amazing.

I had, however, experienced some issues with a different type of connectivity. Namely, the optical cable had a very hard time staying in place and this issue had a huge impact on the quality of the sound I’ve got.


  • Affordable price
  • Excellent design
  • Powerful subwoofer
  • Good sound separation at higher frequencies
  • Rich and wide soundstage


  • Inconsistent performance
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity option
  • The package lacks HDMI cable

2. Klipsch RSB-3 All-in-one Bluetooth Soundbar

All in one Bluetooth Soundbar

Our Rating: 70/100

Klipsch is definitely a brand with a strong reputation, even amongst casual consumers. The company that has at some point supplied AMC theaters has to know something about putting together good speakers.

Well, the glory days of this audio giant have long since gone, but the brand recognition still remains. So, the question remains – is Klipsch still capable of putting out solid sound equipment, or we’re dealing with the case of riding on the past glory?

The design

Judging by the design, I say both – but not in a bad manner at all. Klipsch RSB-3 somehow manages to marry the contemporary streamlined soundbar design with the retro-looking elements that come straight from the time when Atari ruled the gaming scene.

I especially dig the golden edges at each end of the bar. Klipsch, in general, likes to play with this color scheme, but here – they made something truly wonderful.

The body of the unit is covered with nice-looking, metallic grills, while the center of the unit hosts the branding and a set of appropriately retro-looking controls.

The soundbar unit is, at the same time the only piece of equipment you get in the package since the manufacturer decided to build subwoofer directly into the bar.

The remote is barely serviceable and not really worth talking about. It looks cheap, it feels cheap and it is unresponsive. A huge letdown.

On the other hand, connectivity options are pretty decent. Besides the standard mentions like optical input (no cables included), 3.5mm jack (3.5mm-to-RCA cable not included) HDMI port (no cables included), and a USB port, the unit also supports Bluetooth connection.

Full-blown Wi-Fi connectivity is, once again, MIA, but that’s something to expect at this price point. All in all, after you spend some time buying all the cables the package is missing, you will have a nice set of available device options.

Klipsch RSB-3 All-in-one Bluetooth Soundbar back side

Speaking in terms of dimensions – with its width of 36 inches (91 cm) and weight of 7 pounds (3.2 kilograms), RSB-3 looks and feels quite substantially.

But, taking into account the overall design language of the product this bulk seems oddly fitting. Besides, you have to remember that the unit is hosting dual 2.5-inch woofers, and they too eat some space.

The sound quality

In terms of sound quality, though, RSB-3 largely fails to leave the same impression as to its stellar design. Let’s break things down, shall we?

On the more positive side, the manufacturer has equipped this homeboy with a pair of interesting features, that do make a real-life difference. For instance, Virtual Surround mode does its best to simulate the multi-speaker experience. Of course, you won’t be fooled into thinking you are in the theater, but you do get a wider stereo sound which is great.

Second, the dual tweeter dual woofer setup drastically benefits from the inclusion of DPS controlled crossover and separate amplifier channels for each of the output pairs. Things like this make the overall performance much more crisp and refined.

The area where the performance takes a slight drop is the power and the consistency of the woofers. Generally speaking, the built-in units aren’t able to deliver the same performance as the separate units. But, even by these standards, RSB-3 struggles to authentically reproduce the impact of things like gunshots and explosions.

On the other hand, the tunes that feature heavy bass lines produce a very potent booming sound that sometimes engulfs lyrics and lines of dialogue (this can be partially addressed by switching to Dialogue Mode). The reproduction of voices, as well as brass and string instruments, is near perfect.


  • Reasonably affordable
  • Built-in woofers save a lot of space
  • Awesome design
  • Solid connectivity options
  • Different reproduction modes do a lot to improve inherent drawbacks
  • Solid dialogue and music reproduction


  • The package lacks some essential items
  • Poor remote
  • The bass performance is all over the place

Best Soundbar for Gaming

Now, this category requires a different approach & requirements. Let's explore the current options on the market:

1. Soundbar BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel

Sounbar BlasterX Multi Channel

Our Rating: 85/100

I’ve always had a delightful experiences with Creative Labs when it comes to their inexpensive Bluetooth speakers. So, when I first came across the Creative Sound BlasterX Katana, I was intrigued:

Is it worth the money, or is it nothing but an overhyped Bluetooth speaker?

If your first thought here is that soundbars are better suited for home theaters, you’re right – but the Katana works surprisingly well as an under-monitor speaker system. It’s as wide as an average desktop monitor, and doesn’t take up too much space, either.

The design 

The first thing I noticed was that both the soundbar and subwoofer feature quite a bit of plastic parts. Despite that, the soundbar feels surprisingly well-made, yet lightweight at the same time.

The top side features smooth, brushed aluminum that lends it a minimalistic appearance, despite the fact that the buttons and the dual speakers are all located there, as well. 

Speaking of the buttons, I have to say that I was less than thrilled about their build quality. They appear fine at first, but have that cheap, plasticky feel to them.

It’s evident that’s where the corners were cut. It’s not a big deal, but I figured it was worth noting, nonetheless.

Featuring two upward-firing, 2.5-inch mid-bass drivers, two angled 1.3-inch front-firing tweeters, and a separate one long-throw driver in the subwoofer, the Creative Sound BlasterX Katana is a five-driver setup.

BlasterX Katana

But, the real star of the show is the Aurora Reactive System you can find at the bottom of the unit, which utilized 49 programmable LED lights to create different light patterns depending on the sound blasting through the speakers.

I, personally, find this light show a bit distracting, but I can see avid gamers with customized setups having a lot of fun with this piece of tech.

The subwoofer is big and bulky, but still retains the same sleek and almost industrial-like design language like soundbar unit. If anything, it won’t make your room look worse.
Moving onto connectivity.

Here, the unit really shows its gamer-oriented nature. Namely, in spite of covering all the common options like audio-jack, USB and Bluetooth, the unit lacks HDMI connectivity which has, by now, become a staple of home entertainment systems.

This makes a lot of sense, though, taking into consideration that, with its width of 26.7 inches (60 centimeters), the unit creates a soundstage best suited for PC gaming.

The sound quality

As I already briefly mentioned, Katana (the main unit) is a full-blown 5.1 setup which promises a very good output quality and excellent sound separation. And for the most part, the built-in Digital Signal Processor does a very solid job of juggling the different sounds and frequencies.

Lower bass lines are relegated to the booming woofer, while the higher frequency sounds like arpeggios are played through the main speakers with a lot of precision and clarity. Unfortunately, mids tend to suffer through this separation and sometimes fall very stuffy and empty.

But, the overall impression is definitely above the average and well-suited to the range of sounds you may get from your average shooter.

I have to warn you, though, that the whole setup is incredibly loud, especially given the fact you are going to keep it just a couple of inches in front of your face. If you want to get the best performance from this unit, be sure to keep it hushed and well-tuned through software settings (the bass sometimes needs to be tamed).


  • The whole setup looks incredibly good
  • The sound separation works very well
  • Aurora Reactive System will strike a home run with its intended audience
  • Tight bass with a lot of oomph
  • Excellent choice for smaller rooms


  • No HDMI connectivity
  • Sometimes a bit too loud
  • Mids tend to end up overlooked by the system software

2. Yamaha Audio YAS-109 Sound Bar

Yamaha Audio Sound Bar

Our Rating: 88/100

Yamaha has long been known as one of the leaders in producing audio devices that deliver a lot more than you might expect considering the price. The one that I was most impressed with recently falls into their home-theater-oriented line of products – and the YAS-109 Sound Bar, in particular.

Granted, I did decide to include it in my round-up as one of the best soundbars for gaming, and I’ll explain my reasons in a second. Spoiler alert - Alexa integration may have something to do with it.

The design

When you take a look at YAS-109, chances are you will notice two things. First, the thing looks incredibly stripped-down but still beautiful. Second, the thing is huge, or to put it more precisely wide.

Let’s cover both these things in more detail.

So, as for the body. Although it features some varying elements (mainly in the form of the control board), the entirety of YAS-109 is covered in one huge, uninterrupted grill – a solution that is incredibly simplistic, but creates an incredibly elegant and harmonious visual impression. Props to the designers.

As for the length – the unit spreads out to very generous 37 inches (94 centimeters) which makes a lot of sense, taking into consideration that the bar hosts as much as six different units (dual L/R speakers, dual tweeters, and built-in dual subwoofer). The extended width also creates quite an impressive soundstage, but more on that later.

So, we can now agree that Yamaha has pretty much nailed design of this product, and made a very solid foundation for an excellent performance. What about the connectivity options and controls?

Here, things are just peachy. The unit covers a whole range of connection possibilities ranging from the traditional plug-and-play options like optical and HDMI cables to interesting wireless alternatives like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support. Finally!

Yamaha Soundbar

This is the point where Amazon’s own Alexa assistant kicks in and elevates the bar on the whole other level. Not, only you are allowed to operate your unit through pretty tight voice controls – the inclusion of Wi-Fi turns YAS-109 into a full-blown entertainment center capable of streaming of music directly from the web. Impressive...

The sound quality

So, rather than adding a separate subwoofer, Yamaha decided to go with dual integrated subwoofers, for an even slimmer, space-saving design. I was a bit skeptical about their performance, but they produce enough bass to add some resonance to dialogues.

However, if you want more “boom” – and you probably will if you plan on making it a part of your gaming setup – you’re better off adding a separate subwoofer. Keeping that in mind, the unit works very solid and puts on the performance on par with similar products with built-in woofers.

And this could be the best way to describe the general performance of the product – roughly on par with the rest of the bunch. Nothing feels overly bad, but the unit rarely rises above the rest of the bunch and aims to impress.

Sure, you do get a lot of interesting modes to play with. For instance, Clear Voice (it prioritizes the dialogue lines in the overall mix) does a good job at making some spoken lines easier to understand. Also, Virtual X makes the whole listening experience more fun by creating more spacious and lifelike effects.

But, when all is said and done, you still get your crystal clear and incredibly satisfying highs, solid mids, and underpowered low bass lines. And that’s ok. Especially if you are using the unit for gaming which traditionally puts less pressure on sound devices than overblown Hollywood blockbusters.

Soundbars feature some inherent limitations. Yamaha Audio YAS-109 Sound Bar leverages these limitations to put on one very solid performance.


  • A whole slew of connectivity options
  • Tight Alexa integration
  • Solid sound separation
  • Good overall performance
  • Simple but very elegant design


  • Some of the frequencies tend to end up muffled
  • Underpowered woofers

3. Polk Audio Signa S2 TV Sound Bar

Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim Universal TV Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth Enabled Music Streaming, Black

Our Rating: 83/100

Although a relatively new contender in the soundbar market, Polk made a pretty damn good impression with their first foray in these waters Signa S1.

It was an excellent little soundbar that offered consistent and reliable performance on a fairly modest price.

Today, we finally get the opportunity to play with its direct successor Signa S2. Looking at its price, it’s easy to observe that Polk has once again released the product that will have a very wide market appeal.

But, has the manufacturer made the necessary upgrades to finally challenge the big sharks heads on?

The design
If you take a look at this soundbar unit you would be hard-pressed to notice what has actually changed with the days of Signa S1. But hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So we are once again stuck with the fairly bland design that, as bland as it may be, it doesn’t make any major offenses. Leave the unit in the room and you’ll simply stop noticing it after some time.

The good news here is that the very soundbar is still slim enough to fit any TV stand without obstructing the TV remote sensor.

The wireless subwoofer that makes the other essential part of Signa S2 setup follows a similar design pattern.

Besides a rather large branding you can find at the front of the unit, there’s nothing too exciting is going on here.

best soundbars Signa S2

As I previously said, all these things are not bad. It’s just the manufacturer did a really poor job to hide the fact they are selling the budget system. Still, the materials are very solid, and generally speaking, the whole package looks well put together.

In regards to connectivity options, Polk has finally used the solid base we got in S1 (all of the standard audio ports) and expended the connectivity arsenal with the inclusion of HDMI ARC socket – an option that has a drastic impact on the overall usability of the system.

And, I am also very happy to report that, this time, all the cables you will need to hook up the system are present in the package.

Finally, there is an option to connect to the unit wirelessly (via Bluetooth) and stream music directly from your favorite apps and into the soundbar. Overall, I’m very pleased with all these options – especially, taking into consideration the product’s price.

The sound quality

When it comes to the audio quality, Signa S2 performs surprisingly well. As you would expect from a budget unit, the soundbar often struggles to make the lines of dialogue clear in the wake of striking musical sections or heavy bass lines. But, since you are going to use the unit primarily for gaming, this should not be too big of an issue.

Even if you turn on some action blockbuster, you’ll get a fair amount of sound separation and a lot of adjustment options that will help you to deliver crisp lines of dialogue.

As for the bass, the improvement over S1 is incremental but still noticeable. It’s sufficiently loud, deep and booming, and the freedom to place the subwoofer unit wherever you want (a perk of wireless connection) does make a real-life impact.

Overall, the system sets up a pretty rich sound stage, and delivers very gratifying if somewhat compromised, immersive experience. Polk has definitely thrown a punch above its weight this time but delivered a pretty strong blow nevertheless.


  • Great value for the money
  • The system looks good enough
  • All of the basic connectivity options
  • Pretty solid and consistent performance throughout
  • All the cables are included in the package
  • Wireless subwoofer


  • Getting clear lines of dialogue sometimes require a lot of tweaking
  • Throwaway remote
  • The soundbar does not show incremental sound levels

4. Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System

Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System

Our Rating: 78/100

With its long tradition and vast lineup of quality audio product, Bose is no stranger to roundups of this sort.

Still, the product I’ve eventually decided to roll with does represent a departure from the things we’ve got used to seeing from this manufacturer.

Bose is well-known for high-quality and expensive audio equipment. Seeing it venture so deep into the entry-level does represent something worth talking about.

The design

It doesn’t take more than a passing look at Solo 5 to see we are talking about a pretty basic device. After all, there are only so many things you can squeeze into a 21.5 inch (55 centimeters) body. The design of the whole thing is appropriately simplistic and blocky.

And still, this unsuspicious look and modest size are, at the same time one of the unit’s biggest assets. If you are short on space, this is one of the most viable options of this scale you can find on the market.

Be aware, though – with the weight of 3.7 pounds and now wall-mount kit included in the package you may need to do a bit of additional shopping to set the unit in place.

soundbars under 300

In terms of connectivity, Solo 5 has one fatal flaw – you are provided with pretty well-made AUX, optical and coaxial input sockets, but the HDMI port of any sort is sorely missing.

That, in itself, wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the product featured a more affordable price tag. With the things as they are though, Bose’s portable sound system has a very limited appeal. So, if you want to use this product, better make sure your device of choice features some of the available connectivity options.

Finally, I have to briefly mention the remote. Instead of making a dedicated unit suited for this system, Bose threw one of their stock universal remotes into the package. If you need a spare unit you want to use on your TV or receiver, you have all the controls you need here.

The sound quality

If compact dimensions were one of Solo 5’s biggest assets in terms of design, it also represents a huge limiting factor when it comes to sound quality. To put it quite simply, with only two front-facing speakers hidden behind the grill, the amount of sound separation you can do is very limited.

This whole problem is only made worse by the fact that soundstage the bar produces is pretty narrow.

With the things as they are, the sound you get is pretty comparable to the output produced stereo speakers. Very expensive and crisp stereo speakers but stereo speakers nevertheless.

Even so, I have to admit that I was rather pleased with the output I’ve got. Taking into consideration all the limitations the system has (it’s pretty barebones), I found gaming very pleasing, especially when I was going through sections with a lot of mids and trebles.

The movie-watching experience wasn’t bad either. Just make sure to turn up the bass to get the most of gunfights and explosions. On default settings, it feels somewhat underpowered.


  • Compact dimensions
  • Solid audio quality
  • Universal remote
  • Bluetooth connectivity


  • No HDMI port
  • Barebones entry-level device
  • Modest soundstage

Best soundbar under $500 

I know that I promised you the best soundbars under $300, and so far, that’s what you’ve got. But in case you’re willing to spend a bit more and get a top-notch soundbar with exceptional audio quality, I’ve got your back. 

1. Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R Series Soundbar

Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q70R Dolby Atmos Q70R Series Soundbar

Our Rating: 90/100

Samsung’s audio lab has been on quite a roll these past few years. Almost every soundbar model they released has been met with nothing but praised for superb sound quality and design.
The new kid on the block, the HW-Q70R, is a part of the Q Series. It’s not considered cheap, but it’s one of their lowest-priced soundbars that support both DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.

You’re probably wondering what makes it worth the money, so let’s get straight to it. 

The design
Design-wise, they stuck to the sleek and stylish appearance of the HW-N650, with solid, rectangular-shaped construction and an all-metal grille. Even the four buttons located on the right edge of the unit are identical to the ones on HW-N650, along with the small LCD on the far right.

The HDMI input and output, the optical audio input, the USB port, and the AC connector are all found at the bottom of the soundbar, in a dedicated, recessed area. Wireless Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are an option, as well.

The sound quality

The speakers are arranged in a somewhat traditional 3.1.2 channel configuration, with two upward-firing and three forward-firing drivers, as well as a wireless subwoofer to give an extra kick to the low frequencies.
The soundbar supports both DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, which is a massive part of its exceptional performance. It mimics real life, allowing sound to move around you in all directions.

That’s combined with the Acoustic Beam technology that delivers directional sound and panoramic audio experience. The Adaptive Sound mode, one of four available sound profiles, analyzes and optimizes the audio automatically, based on the contents of the scene.

Although a bit front-heavy, it’s tough to beat. I’d say that this is a perfectly executed combination of a soundbar and subwoofer. It sounds equally impressive whether you’re watching movies and TV shows, playing games, or listening to music.


  • The 3.1.2 channel configuration with a dedicated wireless subwoofer
  • It supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 
  • Acoustic Beam technology delivers directional sound 
  • Four available sound profiles, including Adaptive Sound 


  • Limited number of HDMI input
  • Front-heavy soundstage
  • Somewhat pricey 

Best soundbars under $300 - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between 2.1 and 5.1 soundbar?

A: 2.1 soundbar system includes two speakers – left and right – with a separate subwoofer incorporated along with them. The 5.1 soundbar incorporates five speakers, and a subwoofer, with the front channels integrated into the soundbar itself. The surrounding speakers usually come as separate units. Such a setup not only adds more volume but enhances the surround sound experience and builds a more cohesive environment, too.

Q: Where do you place a soundbar?

A: There are several options for soundbar placement. That includes mounting it on the wall, placing it on a stand or shelf right below your TV, or directly on the floor. Whatever you choose, it’s essential that no objects are obstructing or interfering with the sound waves.

Q: Are soundbars as good as surround sound speakers?

A: Soundbars offer sleek design, easy installation, and the ability to simulate the surround sound experience to a degree. They may be a suitable upgrade to the wimpy TV speakers, but my inner nerd votes in favor of the surround sound speakers. Setting up a home theater is no place to cut corners. That said, as with any other audio product, the quality and the associated performance will vary among devices.

Q: Should I get built-in subwoofer?

A: Designed as dedicated speaker drivers that produce low-frequency audio – think deep, intense hums, rumbling bass, and an “extra kick” to any audio output – subwoofers make all the difference. I prefer a separate wireless subwoofer due to more customization options. If you want a more “discrete” setup, though, you can’t go wrong with a built-in subwoofer, either.

After it's all said and done, for under $300 we recommend:

JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Starter System with Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer with Bluetooth

Why is it better?

  • Affordable price
  • Excellent design
  • Powerful subwoofer
  • Good sound separation at higher frequencies
  • Rich and wide soundstage
our score

All of these soundbars had their sets of quirks, but all of them brought something unique to the table. I’m sure, personal taste will play a huge role once you start sorting through your options.

Be that as it may, I’m still convinced that, at least sound-wise, JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Starter System the most capable and well-balanced product on the list. Sure, it may feature a somewhat spicy price tag, but this time, the price is earned.

Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.

The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 

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