Best TVs for sound 2022: the top built-in sound systems

Best TVs for sound 2022: the top built-in sound systems

The best TVs for sound deliver great picture quality and dynamic, room-filling sound to go with it. This might seem like something you’d expect from the best TVs on the market. But as the picture performance of TVs advances, sound tends to suffer. 

As TVs have gotten thinner over the years, there is less space in the display’s physical frame for adding speakers. The end result—in some cases—has been sound that’s as thin as the TV itself, which makes hearing voices particularly difficult, especially when they are mixed with music soundtracks and movie sound effects.

This is why we highly recommend you invest in one of the best soundbars or the best surround sound systems, even with many of the best TVs you can buy today. However, going down that route requires more research—checking you have enough space and the right connections—and extra budget.

Luckily there are several TVs on the market that come with superb sound systems as standard. You’ll get good sound quality from each of these TVs with no extra gear or work necessary. What’s more, sales season is nearly here. You might find one of the best TVs for sound in our round-up of Black Friday deals as the big day approaches on Friday 25 November.

We’ve tested hundreds of TVs over the years, so we know what makes a great package. Rest assured, each of the TV displays on our list don’t just sound good, they look fantastic and have much of the best TV tech built-in too. Whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster or just back episodes of Friends, the TVs we’ve selected below will make sure that whatever you’re watching sounds as good as it can.

Best TVs for sound in 2022—our top picks

(Image credit: Panasonic)

The best TV for sound

Specifications

Screen sizes: 55, 65-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: OLED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 125W

Reasons to buy

+

Universal HDR with Dolby Vision IQ

+

Dolby Atmos sound system

+

Sensational OLED picture

Reasons to avoid

Expensive

Needs some picture tweaking

Panasonic owns the Technics audio brand (every DJ’s favourite), and it’s put that know-how to good use on this set. The built-in 360 Soundscape Pro sound system is tuned by Technics, providing Hi-Fi quality sound for all your films, games, TV shows and music content. Also onboard are upwards and side-firing speakers to direct the sound more towards the viewer for rich Dolby Atmos results.

Indeed, in our five-star review, we said “The JZ2000’s speakers are truly incredible for built-in audio, being capable of recreating both the delicate footstep on a stairway and roaring explosion of a car crash in equal measure. You’re getting precise audio detail as well as a strong bass response.”

The image quality is just as mind-blowing, with tuning by Hollywood specialists helping to make things as accurate and cinematic as you’ll see in any TV. A brighter-than-average OLED panel with complete HDR support (both Dolby Vision and HDR10+) only helps with that.

And it’s good for gamers, with HDMI 2.1 support including 4K 120Hz and VRR. It’s a shame about the high price—as ever, though, you get what you pay for. Audiophiles, take note! At this price, it might not be the best option for everyone, but it is one of the best TVs for sound you can buy.

Read our full Panasonic JZ2000 review

The Sony X90J TV pictured on a grey wall displaying a sunset scene

(Image credit: Sony)

The best TV for sound for most people

Specifications

Screen sizes: 50, 55, 65, 75-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: LED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 20W

Reasons to buy

+

Clever positional audio

+

Best-in-class image quality

+

Excellent upscaling

Reasons to avoid

Slight screen glare

Mediocre off-axis viewing

The Sony X90J is nearly everything we’d want from a mid-range 4K LED-LCD TV. For the money, there are few TVs that can match it in terms of picture quality and feature set, making it top of its class for mid-range models.

For a mid-range TV without any attached soundbar, the Sony X90J is surprisingly powerful in the sound category. Using only two 10W full range drivers and two side tweeters, the X90J delivers convincing and clear audio that, largely, sounds very good. It’s one of the more powerful TV speaker systems we’ve heard on a mid-range 4K TV. 

Like other Sony TVs, the X90J uses Sony’s new X-Balanced Speaker to deliver clearer sound with less distortion at high volumes and the tweeters help broaden the soundstage of the TV—although it does make some compromises on the bass response. 

Shows, movies and games we played on the TV all sounded crisp and clear with easy-to-understand dialogue and solid simulated 3D sound. While the simulated 3D audio is never quite as good as a full Dolby Atmos setup—it’s not even close, really—it is a nice feature to have while you’re waiting to install a more fully featured AV solution. 

If you’re looking for an exceptional 4K HDR TV with Dolby Vision and impressive on-board audio, the Sony X90J’s appeal is that it delivers everything you need for a phenomenal 4K HDR performance at a reasonable price. That’s why it’s our top option for most people, because you don’t need to pay a small fortune for good sound.

Read our full Sony X90J review

The Samsung QN900B Neo QLED 8K TV displaying a forest scene

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best 8K TV for sound

Specifications

Screen sizes: 65, 75, 85-inches

Resolution: 8K

Panel technology: Neo QLED / Mini LED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 90W

Screen Size

65-inch – 85-inch

Reasons to buy

+

Increased backlighting accuracy

+

Built-in Dolby Atmos

Reasons to avoid

Lacks Dolby Vision support

New ‘Smart Hub’ UI a step backwards

Once again, Samsung’s QN900B Neo QLED 8K TV has set the benchmark for Mini LED television technology, improving on its predecessor in a number of important ways, such as a noticeable reduction in light blooming, along with better image processing, brightness, and even design. While we have some reservations about Samsung’s new (but not necessarily improved) user interface, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better LCD television this year.

Samsung’s QN900B Neo QLED 8K TV boasts a variety of audio improvements over its predecessor, the QN900A, most notably the inclusion of up-firing speakers that make it possible to (technically) achieve Dolby Atmos sound. Additionally, Samsung’s newest Neo QLED flagship now boasts the rather impressive ability to transmit Dolby Atmos audio to compatible Samsung soundbars over Wi-Fi.

In our review we wrote: “Samsung’s top-of-the-line Neo QLED 8K TV offered far better audio performance than we were expecting, with dialogue coming through in a particularly clear and prominent fashion.” Of course, if you want the most immersive, cinematic experience then you’ll need a soundbar. But if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution with fantastic 8K picture, this is the best choice for you.

Read our full Samsung QN900B Neo QLED 8K TV review

The Philips OLED+935 TV displaying a piano surrounding by blue, pink and purple flowers

(Image credit: Philips)

The best TV for sound with Bowers & Wilkins audio

Specifications

Screen sizes: 48, 55, 65-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: OLED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 70W

Reasons to buy

+

Stellar audio performance

+

Four-sided Ambilight

Reasons to avoid

Not the easiest TV to use

Android TV won’t suit everyone

This is part of Philips’ OLED+ range, which means it has a speaker enclosure made by legendary British hi-fi firm Bowers & Wilkins—and it’s been redesigned for even better audio performance.

The tweeter-on-top design—used in B&W’s high-end speakers—means the tweeter is kept separate from the speaker enclosure, eliminating interference from other speaker parts. Throw in four 50mm midrange drive units, a racetrack-style subwoofer unit, and twin upward-firing Dolby Atmos ‘Elevation’ units mounted on the top of the enclosure, and you’ve got a complete audio package.

It’s compatible with Dolby Atmos-encoded audio, and it will even up-mix non-Atmos multi-channel content too, giving older content three-dimensional immersion.

You can select different audio modes depending on how you place the TV, too. So whether it’s sitting on a TV cabinet, or wall-mounted, you can rest assured you’ll get the best possible sound quality.

The Philips OLED+936 certainly looks the part. The speaker enclosure takes design cues from B&W’s critically-acclaimed speaker range, with the tweeter grilles resembling those developed for B&W’s 800 Series Diamond range—while the bass enclosure is ported to the rear and uses Flowport technology, as developed by Bowers & Wilkins for its core loudspeakers. It’s essentially a hi-fi system that happens to have a TV attached—and an Ambilight TV at that.

Read our full Philips OLED+936 review

The Sony XR-A95K TV pictured in a grey living room displaying a blue and green abstract shot

(Image credit: Sony)

The best all-rounder for stunning picture and great sound

Specifications

Screen sizes: 55, 65-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: OLED(QD-OLED)

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 60W

Reasons to buy

+

Stunning picture quality

+

Exceptional build quality and design

+

Good sound quality out of the box

Reasons to avoid

Some connection frustrations and foibles

No HDR10+ support

Sony’s latest flagship TV, the A95K, is truly impressive. Sony’s excellent Cognitive XR processor has joined forces with new Quantum Dot OLED screen technology to deliver arguably the most flat-out beautiful images we’ve seen from a consumer television. 

The A95K also follows previous Sony OLED TVs in delivering excellent sound quality. This is thanks to Acoustic Surface technology, where the TV’s screen essentially doubles up as its speakers. Sure, you’d get a cinematic experience pairing the A95K with one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, but the audio here is impressive.

In our review, we wrote: “The sound’s directness is particularly excellent, pushing forward towards you with enough power and dynamic range to fill even a large room with an immersive, enveloping sound stage. Most rival TVs, by comparison, sound flat, or even as if their sound is coming from behind the TV.”

The Sony A95K really does tick all the boxes as it looks lovely, too. That’s thanks to a unique design with a metal stand and a build quality that proves this is a premium TV through and through. 

The A95K costs £2,399 / $2,999 for the 55-inch display and $3,999 / £3,499 / AU$5,995 for the 65-inch version, so this TV certainly isn’t cheap. But if you’re looking for a high-end TV with excellent sound, picture and bags of style, this is it.

Read our full Sony XR-A95K review

The Sony A80K series OLED displaying the Google TV interface

(Image credit: Future)

The best TV for sound on a mid-range budget

Specifications

Screen sizes: 55, 65, 77-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: OLED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 50-60W

Screen Size

55-inch – 77-inch

Reasons to buy

+

Two full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports

+

Strong built-in sound

Reasons to avoid

Not as bright as higher-end TVs

No HDR10+ support

The Sony A80K is an exquisite-looking OLED TV, packing the latest image processing tech and a high-quality OLED screen. The screen doesn’t go as bright as the Philips or Panasonic TVs further up, but in terms of overall quality, it’s very hard to fault. 4K detail is sharp, motion and upscaling is as good as it gets, and the colors are rich and accurate.

But behind the screen is Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech, which uses three actuators behind the panel to create sound by vibrating the screen itself, creating a big open sound. There are two more actuators at the side to add width, while two woofer drivers add bass.

In our full review, we were “surprised at how clear dialogue was and how loud the speakers could get without sounding strained. Switching to the Dolby Atmos sound mode, we also noted distinct vertical and overhead effects coming from the TV.” It’s good enough to mean you don’t need a separate soundbar, assuming you don’t want full surround sound.

The Sony A80K is great for gaming too, with HDMI 2.1 features (4K 120Hz, VRR and Auto HDR Tone Mapping on the PS5). It’s a great package, especially if you want a focus on sound quality.

Read our full Sony A80K review

The LG C2 TV pictured in a grey room on a grey cabinet.

(Image credit: LG)

The best ultra slim TV for sound

Specifications

Screen sizes: 42, 48, 55, 65, 77, 83-inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel technology: OLED

Dolby Atmos: Yes

eARC: Yes

Audio output: 40W

Screen Size

42-inch – 77-inch

Read more ▼

Reasons to buy

+

Superbly bright screen

+

Great sound for such a thin TV

+

Excellent connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

No HDR10+ support

Virtual surround sound isn’t super convincing

The LG C2 OLED comes with the company’s a9 Gen 5 AI Processor, which is capable of upmixing stereo audio into virtual 7.1.2-channel surround sound—something LG calls AI Sound Pro. 

This OLED TV houses a 2.2-channel system with 40W of power. Granted, that’s not as powerful as a separate soundbar, nor as immersive as a true surround sound system. However, in our review of the LG C2 OLED we wrote: “the LG C2 OLED does a good job of providing a clear and fairly spacious listening experience.” Especially for a slim TV.

Watching dynamic blockbusters like 1917 using the AI Sound Pro setting shows off the TV’s sense of sonic direction, with the sound of planes and bullets whizzing around the screen. You don’t get the overhead height as you would from a Dolby Atmos soundbar or surround system with upwards firing speakers, but it’s still immersive and impressively clear with enough dynamism to emphasize the loudest and quiet moments in the film.

We didn’t have any issues hearing dialogue in movies, but if you’re going to watch something like a Christopher Nolan mumblefest then you might appreciate Clear Voice Pro, a setting that makes spoken dialogue clearer. Sports Mode has a rather tinny quality but the Music mode is more naturalistic, with no huge emphasis on any frequency band. There are also Cinema, Game Optimization and Standard listening modes to choose from, so you should be able to find an audio profile you like.

This is a very impressive all-rounder, but it is expensive compared to other models, like the Sony X90J, which is a little more budget-friendly. 

Read our full LG C2 review

How to pick the best TV for sound

If you’re looking for the best TV for sound, first consider whether you need one. There are many more options available if you’re willing to get a great-looking TV with mediocre sound and pair it with a soundbar or sound system instead. 

However, if you have your heart set on an all-in-one package like the TVs listed above, keep your eyes peeled for a few key specifications. For example, power is important when it comes to sound. We’ve listed this as the number of Watts under each TV. The higher the number, the more powerful the sound. Granted, the best sound isn’t always the most powerful, but it’s a good indication as to whether you’re going to get an immersive room-filling sound from your new TV.

The number of built-in speakers matters, too. Many TVs have 2 speakers, but the more you have, the more wide and expansive the soundstage will be. For example, the Philips OLED+936 TV in our list above has a built-in subwoofer to really amp up low bass tones. 

Although sound is a priority, don’t overlook other important factors, too. Ensure that the picture quality is going to work well in your living room. For example, some TVs work better in bright light environments than others. And, of course, be sure to measure your space first to check you have room for your new display. 

What’s the best sound quality in a TV?

DTS:X and Dolby Atmos are the main home cinema audio formats. These rival technologies are both audio compression technologies that create a surround sound effect both in cinemas and in the home.

So which is better? Opinion is divided. DTS:X is encoded in a higher bitrate so should technically be better quality audio. But Atmos claims to be more advanced, and capable of producing a higher quality sound at a lower bitrate. As is often the case, it comes down to personal taste.

Atmos is more widely supported – by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, among others – and most modern TVs are compatible with it, whereas DTS:X requires a separate audio system.

Read more in our DTS:X vs Dolby Atmos vs DTS Play-Fi guide.

Round up of today’s best deals

Sony Bravia 164 cm (65... (opens in new tab)
Amazon (opens in new tab)

Author: Brandon Torres