Gone are the days of elaborate home theatre setups just to get that cinematic “All Around You” vibe in your living room. Many brands from Sonos and Prism+ to Samsung have sound systems that even tech newbies can set up in a breeze. But with so many models to pick from though, how can you go about choosing the best sound system for you?
We asked 13 Singaporeans who made the jump from their default TV speakers to a dedicated home sound system what they’re using at home, and whether or not it’s worth your consideration.
Sonos Beam & Subwoofer
Image credit: @techfeed_ng
“The Sonos Beam & subwoofer has very solid bass and it doesn’t rely on Bluetooth so my music won’t get interrupted if I were to move elsewhere. The speakers can also play different tunes simultaneously across different rooms.”
“The sound quality is amazing, especially with the convenience of the app on the phone. I also like how it functions as both my home sound system and speakers for my smart TV.”
The Sonos Beam and the accompanying subwoofer is one of the most popular sound systems, thanks to its compact design, WiFi connectivity for higher-resolution audio streaming, and crisp sound quality. However, it comes with a hefty price tag that might deter those who only Netflix and Chill once in a blue moon.
The Sonos Arc in black, wall mounted.
Image credit: @flexsonforsonos
“I upgraded from the Sonos Beam to the Sonos Arc and felt that the audio is a lot more immersive with great clarity and base. The downside is that it’s super expensive, and even the Sonos Ones are pretty heavy.”
The Sonos Arc is the audio brand’s flagship soundbar that has a bigger and more atas-looking silhouette compared to the Beam, making it perfect for larger TVs. It supports Dolby Atmos content and can even play your favourite Spotify playlist without broadcasting the dreadful “Bluetooth device is ready to pair” announcement.
The Sonos Move.
Image credit: Sonos
“The Sonos Move’s strong bass is too strong, and I cannot chill when listening with the speaker because my heart will be pounding. It also makes you very aware of where the sound is coming from, and it lags a little when you play via WiFi.”
Those who don’t see the need for a large soundbar can opt for the portable Sonos Move instead. It weighs only 3KG so you can bring it from your living room to your kitchen with ease, and it boasts a battery life of around 10 hours, which is enough to watch almost the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Price: $729, bought on Carousell for $590
A Sonos Playbar wall-mounted.
Image credit: Amazon
“I bought the Sonos Playbar 5 years ago and haven’t found a reason to change it. It has a clean and minimalistic look and can be easily paired with all my devices. However, the vocals can be quite soft, and the remote itself is quite troublesome to pair.”
Note: The Sonos Playbar has been discontinued since 2020, and it was succeeded by the Sonos Arc.
The Sony HT-A9 sound system consists of 4 tower speakers to be placed at the 4 corners of a room.
“The immersion and Dolby Atmos effects of the Sony HT-A9 are some of the best I’ve heard from a non-traditional 5.1.2/7.1.2 home theatre system. I also have a Sony Bravia TV that allows me to use my TV speakers as the centre channel, and there’s a big difference with and without.”
Instead of one long soundbar, the Sony HT-A9 is made up of 4 speakers that are meant to be placed in every corner of your entertainment space for true surround sound. Microphones inside the speakers will determine their height and position so you don’t have to worry about moving your furniture just to sort out the audio.
Samsung Q Series HW-Q600A
Image credit: Samsung
“It has that “all-around-you” type of audio when watching movies, and we can easily toggle between different audio configurations depending on what we’re watching (e.g. movies or soccer matches). However, there’s a limit on the number of devices that can be connected to the HW-Q600A, which makes it a hassle to disconnect and reconnect when we want to switch between devices.”
The Samsung HW-Q600A comes with a dedicated subwoofer to deliver a thumpy, bassy sound whenever you’re watching movies. Bonus points if you pair it with a Samsung TV to make the most out of the Q-Symphony surround sound feature.
Image credit: Dominic Shimizu
“The speaker of the Samsung HW-H751 automatically turns on when you pair with it via Bluetooth, and it comes with an NFC tag for your guests to quickly pair with it as well. Its vacuum tube amplifier also delivers nice, warm mids which I prefer compared to the high bass and treble from most systems.”
Note: The Samsung HW-H751 has since been discontinued. If you’re after a similar product, you can get the Samsung HW-S801B instead which is retailing for $799. It has an ultra-slim design and can also calibrate the audio to your room’s acoustics with the SpaceFit Sound feature.
Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R 7.1.4ch Soundbar
Image credit: Samsung
“The soundbar has a rich sound when coupled with the subwoofer that’s plenty for my apartment, and Dolby Atmos is pretty cool with the right media. But there aren’t a lot of HDMI inputs, and pairing with the Samsung SmartThings app is a pain and often needs repairing.”
Samsung and Harmon Kardon came together to produce the HW-Q90R sound system which includes a soundbar, subwoofer, and 2 rear speakers, all of which support the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats. Aside from its 2 HDMI ports, you can also connect to the sound system via Bluetooth and WiFi.
Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4 & Onyx 3
Image credit: Huy Pham
“I love the SoundSticks 4’s unique and iconic design. It also has a very immersive soundstage, even at lower volumes. The bass is strong but still feels natural. However, there are too many wires, and the subwoofer can cause some rumbling if it’s not placed on a solid surface.
I also have the Harmon Kardon Onyx 3 in my room. But its back gets sticky after a while because of the material – I spent 2 hours cleaning it once using vinegar and baking soda. It’s quite troublesome to unplug it when you want to move it around.”
The Harmon Kardon SoundSticks 4, with its transparent and jellyfish-like design, does not look like your ordinary sound system. In fact, it was designed by Jony Ive – the same guy who envisioned the iPhone – and is now part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
The 2 side speakers output clean and neutral sounds while the subwoofer adds a bassy oomph. However, there is no app to adjust the EQ, and you can only connect it to your TV via Bluetooth.
The Prism+ Flow.
“For someone with relatively low expectations, the Prism+ Flow was great value for money and it serves me well. The bass is deep and immersive, not to mention the very prompt customer service is super proactive to ensure that your issues are resolved.”
The Prism+ Flow is one of the most affordable sound systems available, with many reviewers – including Timothy – praising the exceptional quality of the bass.
Image credit: Alastair Pang
“The LG SL7Y is an older model, but you can pick it up for around $200-$300 which makes it quite a steal. It supports most features that an average consumer will appreciate such Dolby Atmos sound, and it is pretty well-made too. This is an upgrade from my regular TV speakers and can go quite loud when in a small- or medium-sized living room.”
While the LG SL7Y is an older model compared to the rest on this list, it has support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio, plus you can also use Google Assistant to control the playback if your hands are full.
Image credit: Aditi Kashyap
“I like that the Bose 900 comes in 2 basic colours that are easy to match with any home decor, and the sound quality is also great.”
The Bose 900 might look unassuming at first glance, but it packs a number of features under its hood, including ADAPTiQ which optimises audio based on your room’s layout. You can also pair it with 2 rear speakers and a subwoofer for a more immersive listening experience.
Best home sound systems in Singapore
As you can see, plenty of Singaporeans use the all-encompassing Sonos ecosystem, although their main gripe with it is how expensive it costs to achieve an audio experience that can rival a home theatre’s setup.
If you’re on a budget, other notable audio brands such as Bose and Samsung also offer affordable soundbars and speaker systems; even Prism+ has branched out into soundbars that start from only $269.
Either way, let this be the sign you need to stop watching TV with the default TV speakers.
Check out other products Singaporeans are recommending:
Cover image credit: Sonos