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What is the Best Soundbar with Optical Input?

Living room with big windows and soundbar

Without an optical input on your soundbar, you will be forced to settle for analog connections that will not do your content justice and will not be able to process high-quality audio. To make sure your soundbar can handle Dolby and DTS sound, our experts have reviewed the best soundbars with optical input.

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Reviews of the Best Soundbars with Optical Input

1. Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R Soundbar

Our experts were thoroughly impressed by the Samsung HW-Q90R soundbar. It features both of the leading audio technologies in the industry—Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. With these technologies, the soundbar will fully immerse you in true surround sound.

The soundbar system has a whopping 17 upward-firing speakers that bounce sound off the acoustics of your living room. Placing the external subwoofer and wireless rear speakers around the room will create multi-dimensional sound.

The HW-Q90R soundbar supports both HDMI and optical cable for wired connections. It also features Bluetooth connection for streaming content from external devices.

Pros

  • Full surround sound system
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technologies
  • 17 upward-firing speakers
  • HDMI and optical connections
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Adaptive Sound technology
  • Optimized for QLED
  • Game Mode Pro
  • Harman Kardon sound mastery
  • Works with Alexa

Cons

  • The soundbar is heavy
  • No Google Assistant

2. Yamaha YAS-209BL Soundbar

For those looking for thumping bass and enveloping sound for a moderate price, the YAS-209BL is the way to go. The Yamaha soundbar comes with Clear Voice technology to enhance speech so you won’t miss a conversation ever again.

DTS Virtual: X Virtual 3D surround sound will fill the room with high-resolution audio. And with the help of the external sub, you will feel the rumbling sound.

Alexa is built into the soundbar for you to control everything with the sound of your voice. You can also choose to stream content via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and connect the soundbar to your TV with HDMI or optical input.

Pros

  • Comes with an external subwoofer
  • Clear Voice technology
  • DTS Virtual: X Virtual 3D surround sound
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi supported
  • HDMI and optical cable input
  • Amazon Alexa built in
  • Works with the controller app

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with Google Assistant
  • Cannot be a multi-room system

3. Bose Solo 5 Soundbar

The Bose Solo 5 is an amazing soundbar with a compact design that makes it great for small living spaces. It’s a single soundbar with advanced technologies that can outdo your TV speakers easily. 

Dialogue mode on the Bose Solo 5 will enhance every word spoken on screen. The embedded technology will also improve bass tones and create richer sound effects. 

Due to the small size, the Solo 5 is easily wall-mounted or set down on your entertainment unit. You can connect the soundbar to your TV via the optical coaxial cable input or analog connections.

Pros

  • Small and compact design
  • Enhanced speech
  • Improves the bass
  • Flexible placement
  • Optical connection
  • Works with universal remote
  • Supports Bluetooth streaming
  • Auto shut-off function

Cons

  • No external subwoofer
  • No Wi-Fi

Soundbar with Optical Input Buyer’s Guide

The optical connection isn’t the only thing you need for a good soundbar. Other than the right form of connectivity, there are other factors to look for. To give you a hand, our experts have compiled a list to help you find the best soundbar with optical input.

Optical Cable

Optical cable connection is the most common wired connection for soundbars to TVs. It can handle higher quality content than analog options and can passthrough Dolby Digital. It’s also a cheaper option than HDMI.

Other Connectivity Options

HDMI is a wired connection option used to handle the highest quality audio resolutions. Where the other connections fail, HDMI comes though with the ability to process Blu-Ray, Dolby TrueHD, and more.

Laptop with plant

As for wireless, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also found in soundbars. They both offer wireless setup and streaming services via external devices.

Sound Quality

What advanced audio technologies is your soundbar capable of? Our experts say that Dolby [1] and DTS are the leading standards for true surround sound. You may also find soundbars to be bestowed with brand-specific technologies such as Clear Voice and Voice Adjust technologies that help enhance speech.

Price

Our team believes that price should not limit someone’s ability to enjoy higher quality sound. This is why our experts offer budget choices like the Yamaha Yas-209BL or the Bose Solo 5 for those who are tight on cash.

Easy Installation

With optical connection, setup and installation are easy. All you need to do is find the right input and output ports on both devices, plug in the cable, and enjoy elevated sound in a matter of minutes.

Subwoofer

A soundbar that comes with a subwoofer will guarantee richer bass tones. Soundbars with external subwoofers will have more powerful sound and have more customized placement compared to ones that are embedded.

Channels

Soundbars with 5 or more channels are capable of true surround sound. When used in tandem with advanced audio technologies, you will bring the power of true cinema sound home with you.

FAQ

1. Do soundbars have optical input?

Yes, soundbars have optical input. Some soundbars offer HDMI and analog inputs along with optical input, but optical connection is the most common form of a wired connection.

2. What is optical input on a soundbar?

Optical input on a soundbar is a form of wired connection capable of passing digital audio of up to 5.1 quality surround sound.

Our Top Pick For Soundbar with Optical Input: Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R

Our experts have chosen the Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R Soundbar as the best soundbar with optical input. Not only is it equipped with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technologies for unsurpassed sound, but it also has wireless rear speakers, an external subwoofer, and Adaptive Sound to deliver theater-level audio.

The HW-Q90R soundbar supports Bluetooth streaming and works with Alexa for hands-free control. It is also optimized for QLED TVs.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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