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Which? uncovers new highest-scoring sound bar

Latest testing finds joint-best ever model along with one other Best Buy and three Don’t Buys

The latest batch of sound bars to go through the Which? test lab ran the full gamut of scores. The first test of 2017’s new ranges yielded two Best Buys, one matching the highest ever score of 84%, and three Don’t Buy models.

The group on test included models from home entertainment giants Samsung and Sony, alongside models from smaller brands such as Cambridge Audio, Orbitsound and wireless audio specialist Sonos. The Sonos Playbase, heavily advertised in recent weeks, was the highest profile member of the batch.

The Playbase is technically a soundbase rather than a sound bar, and is specifically designed to be used as part of a wireless multi-room audio system. Wireless multi-room audio is becoming more common with sound bars in 2017, blurring the lines between sound bars and wireless audio speakers.

To find out which model gets our best ever score, and which to avoid, read our sound bar reviews.

Sound bars on test this month

Sonos Playbase, £700

Sonos calls this model a ‘wireless soundstage’, but a better classification would be ‘wireless soundbase’. It’s designed for your TV to sit on top of, and to seamlessly integrate with other Sonos speakers to create a multi-speaker system in your house. It’s even possible to use other Sonos speakers as wireless rear speakers in your living room and create a surround-sound set-up.

It’s supposed to be a high-end product, and the price is certainly reflects this. At £700 you’d expect top quality sound, but what did our expert listening panel think of it? Find out in our full review of the Sonos Playbase.

Samsung HW-M360, £190

The first of Samsung’s 2017 range to make it into our test lab, we were excited to see whether it would lay down a marker for the rest of the year. It’s not huge, but a separate wireless subwoofer means that it’s designed to handle whatever Hollywood throws at it, as well as day-to-day TV.

This compact sound bar doesn’t include the latest and greatest wireless multi-room technology, but at £190 it won’t cost the earth, and it still includes Bluetooth and a physical 3.5mm jack if you want to play music through it. To find out whether this sound bar was a hit or a miss in our testing, read our full Samsung HW-M360 review.

Sony HT-MT300, £200

The baby of Sony’s 2017 sound bar range is a direct competitor to the Samsung model above. The unique selling point of this sound bar is its slim-line wireless subwoofer, designed so that it can be laid down flat underneath your chair or sofa. Sony says that this will provide you with a more ‘exciting’ cinema-like sound, as explosions and rumbles will vibrate your seat.

Unusual subwoofer aside, the specifications and price are very similar to its Samsung rival, but which one did our expert listening panel prefer? Find out by reading our full Sony HT-MT300 review.

Full list of sound bars on test

Cambridge Audio TV5 (2nd gen)

Orbitsound One P70

Q Acoustics M3

Samsung HW-M360

Samsung HW-K850

Sonos Playbase

Sony HT-MT500

Sony HT-MT300

Sony HT-MT301

Sony HT-CT800

Yamaha YAS-306

Want to see all the sound bars that come out on top in our tests? Browse our Best Buy sound bars.

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