Best AirPlay 2 Soundbars iMore 2020
AirPlay 2, the audio "casting" feature found on the iPhone and Apple TV, provides clean wireless sound to the connected speakers in our homes, without all of the wires. AirPlay 2 also works with HomeKit in iOS 13, giving you the ability to set your speakers or soundbar to play your favorite tunes the moment you walk through the door. Here are our picks for the best of the bunch to help you decide which is right for your home theater.
- Best for most: Sonos Beam
- Keep it 700: Bose Soundbar 700
- Cost effective: Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400
- Ace of base: Sonos Playbase
- Premium sound: Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 35
- Package deal: Denon HEOS HomeCinema HS2
The Sonos Beam offers a rare combination of great sound quality, ease of use, and an affordable price, making it the best for most. This compact soundbar not only offers AirPlay 2, but it also works with a wide range of third-party services through the Sonos app. If you don't mind the wires, the Beam also has an HDMI-ARC port, giving you direct sound from your TV.
Bose's Soundbar 700 brings the company's legendary sound to the home theater in a thin soundbar package. The Soundbar 700 spans 38 inches wide, which blends well with most TV sizes, and it has a glass and metal frame that gives it a clean look. This soundbar is also future-proof with Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant built right in, taking it along for the ride if you decide to change things up.
The MusicCart Bar 400 from Yamaha is a low-cost offering that gives you a lot of bang for the buck. In addition to the soundbar, Yamaha also includes a wireless subwoofer, and it has a variety of legacy ports if you want to keep things wired. Sound quality is no slouch either, with this pair offering up to 200 watts of total power through 4 woofers and 2 tweeters.
The Sonos Playbase takes a slightly different approach to the soundbar form factor with a wider base that slots perfectly beneath most mid-size televisions. This powerful soundbar packs in 10, yes 10, drivers inside of its thin profile, which can also mount to the wall still if needed. The Playbase features "speech enhancement" and "night mode," which delivers custom sound depending on the time of day and content playing.
Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound 35 is a premium soundbar that offers room-filling sound in a package that consists of high-quality materials. This beauty consists of an aluminum frame and base, along with an angular design that will most definitely be a conversation starter. For controls, the BeoSound 35 has an OLED touchscreen display, keeping things easy and familiar at the point of use, and of course, volume and content are adjustable through iOS or Siri.
The Denon HS2 bundles a completely wireless subwoofer with its completely wireless soundbar to give you instant home theater sound. Inside the soundbar are two tweeters and woofers that support most audio formats such as DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Plus. Unlike most AirPlay 2 soundbars, the HS2 also supports Bluetooth audio streaming, giving you an easy way to get guests connected.
AirPlay 2 takes music and video streaming to new heights with fast connections, in-sync high-quality audio, and completely wireless capabilities. AirPlay 2 also breathes new life into your speakers and soundbars through HomeKit automations and scenes, setting up scenarios where you can blast intruders with loud alarm sounds when your window opens at night. Ever dream of having your music play automatically when you arrive home from a long day of work? AirPlay 2 and HomeKit can also make this happen.
We love the Sonos Beam for its affordable price tag, sound quality, and its ease of use. This connected soundbar plays nicely with most audio services and voice assistants, making it one of the most flexible options around. The Sonos Beam also works with other speakers within the Sonos line, as well as with other AirPlay 2 speakers, giving you the ability to expand in the future.
Want a soundbar that offers the most bang for your buck? Then check out the Yamaha MusicCast 400. This soundbar not only delivers great sound, but it also comes with a powerful subwoofer which instantly upgrades your tv setup into a banging home theater. Whichever option you choose, AirPlay 2 is there to keep the tunes going across all the rooms in your home and keep your movie watching area nice and tidy.
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