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The 5 Best TCL Soundbars for 2023: Ranked and Reviewed

TCL has earned a stellar reputation for manufacturing affordable, high-quality TVs loaded with features. And their soundbar lineup delivers the same excellent value. If you own a TCL television, pairing it with one of their audio bars is a foolproof way to upgrade your home entertainment system without breaking the bank.

But with several series available at different price points, how do you determine which TCL soundbar is right for you? This comprehensive buyer‘s guide will explain the key differences and rank the top options to consider in 2023.

What to Consider When Buying a TCL Soundbar

While less expensive than a dedicated surround sound system, a soundbar still represents an investment. Let‘s overview what specs and features matter most so you can shop smart.

Sound Quality – This is determined by the audio technology supported, number of built-in speakers, wattage powering those speakers, and clarity of dialogue/music reproduction.

Size – Measure the space in front of your TV to ensure a proper fit. Soundbars come in different lengths, plus some have wireless subwoofers requiring more room.

Connectivity – Most TCL bars have HDMI ARC/eARC to handle both video and audio signals via one cable. But also consider wireless Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support if you want to stream music.

Audio Codecs – Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding brings true surround sound. If a model lacks those advanced codecs, it may still emulate 3D audio using Dolby Audio or DTS Virtual:X processing.

Price – TCL soundbars range from $100 to $300. The more you spend, the better audio performance and feature set you‘ll enjoy. But even budget models pack impressive value.

Now let‘s dive into the top five TCL soundbar recommendations across various series and price points.

1. Best Overall: TCL Alto 9+

  • Dolby Atmos/DTS:X decoding
  • 5.1.2 channel sound (upfiring Atmos speakers)
  • Wireless subwoofer included
  • 440 watts total system power
  • HDMI eARC, Optical, Bluetooth 5.0, USB inputs
  • Dialogue enhancement technology
  • $279

TCL‘s flagship Alto 9+ soundbar clearly tops this list thanks to sublime audio performance from Dolby Atmos support to the powerful wireless sub. Five built-in speakers plus two Atmos height channels create an immersive 3D bubble of sound perfect for movies and gaming.

Even without Atmos content, the upward-firing drivers add a more spacious quality. Bass output astounds for the price courtesy of a 6.5-inch sub. The bar itself clarifies dialogue via a dedicated center channel. Plus you get DTS:X decoding and DTS Virtual:X upmixing.

With HDMI eARC simplifying connections, Bluetooth streaming from your mobile devices, handy built-in Chromecast, and great tuning, the Alto 9+ does it all. It‘s the best TCL soundbar available today.

Pros

  • Dolby Atmos & DTS:X decoding
  • Deep, room-filling bass
  • Wireless subwoofer included
  • 440W total system power
  • Great value under $300

Cons

  • Large size may block bottom of TV screen
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity option

2. Best Value: TCL Alto 6+

  • Dolby Audio Processing
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • 180 watts total power
  • HDMI ARC, Optical, Bluetooth inputs
  • Integrated Roku streaming
  • Dialogue enhancement
  • $129

The TCL Alto 6+ retains the same sleek, low-profile design as the Alto 9+. Except here you get an integrated subwoofer rather than external wireless model. Co-locating all drivers inside one cabinet allows this soundbar to slip under your TV stand rather than wall mounting.

With Dolby Audio tech onboard, the Alto 6+ mimics surround effects well. The sound projects bigger than its size suggests thanks partly to that built-in sub. Four total speakers including a center channel boost vocal clarity.

Integrated Roku TV brings all your streaming apps right to the soundbar. Connect the included HDMI cable for ARC convenience or use optical input and Bluetooth wireless streaming. At this bargain price, the Alto 6+ is impossible to beat.

Pros

  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Dolby Audio Processing
  • Compact size fits anywhere
  • Very affordable price

Cons

  • No Dolby Atmos support
  • Not as powerful as wireless sub models

3. Best with DTS Virtual:X: TCL Q Series

  • Up to 450 watts total power
  • AI Sonic calibration tuning
  • DTS Virtual:X 3D audio
  • Wireless subwoofer included
  • HDMI ARC, Optical inputs
  • Sleek, low-profile design
  • $200-$250

While not quite matching the Alto lineup‘s performance, TCL‘s Q Series models still impress given reasonable prices below $250. The flagship Q Class 650 with included wireless sub and rear surround speakers pushes a whopping 450 watts!

All Q models utilize handy AI Sonic room correction to optimize acoustic output based on your unique space using the built-in calibration microphone. For enveloping audio sans Dolby Atmos, DTS Virtual:X impresses thanks to AI tuning.

Choice of 3.1 channel or 5.1 channel setups with wireless sub, the Q-Series boasts excellent power and connectivity. They may lack advanced surround sound decoding but still emulate immersive effects very well for less money.

Pros

  • High power output up to 450 watts
  • AI Sonic room correction
  • Wireless subwoofer included
  • Great prices under $250

Cons

  • Lacks Dolby Atmos/DTS:X
  • Not as clear sounding as Alto lineup

4. Best Budget: TCL S Class

  • Up to 320W total power
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • AI Auto Volume Control
  • DTS Virtual:X audio
  • 3.1 and 5.1 channel options
  • Integrated center channel
  • $100-$185

If spending under $200 for a soundbar, you expect to make some sonic sacrifices. Not so with TCL‘s value-packed S Class models! For just $100-$185 depending on channels, you enjoy perks like Bluetooth streaming and DTS Virtual:X 3D audio processing.

Note these bars lack fancy upfiring Atmos height speakers or even wireless subwoofers. But they produce pleasing, hard-hitting bass thanks to dedicated woofers inside each cabinet. Plus all models integrate a center speaker to clarify movie dialogue and vocals.

From wall-mountable designs to handy integrated touch controls, the S Class impresses. Factor price into the equation, and either the 3.1 or 5.1 channel versions rank among the best budget soundbars available.

Pros

  • Incredible prices under $200
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • DTS Virtual:X audio
  • Dedicated center channel

Cons

  • No Dolby Atmos
  • Mediocre bass response

5. Best for Dialogue Clarity: TCL Ray-Danz

  • Proprietary audio technology
  • Angled full-range drivers
  • 16W + 40W + 60W power
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Wall mount included
  • Compact 14-inch size
  • $119

Featuring a completely unique "speakerless" look thanks to angular aluminum housings, the TCL Ray-Danz soundbar uses patented audio tech to deliver stunning voice clarity. Rather than traditional cone drivers, it relies on special directional waveguides emitting sound at exact angles.

Performance surprises given the slim, sleek design. While overall power doesn‘t impress at 116 watts, focused high-end and midrange results in outstanding dialogue reproduction critical for TV and movies. The angled full-range drivers essentially act as a center channel.

With convenient Bluetooth and sturdy wall mounting bracket included, just plug the Ray-Danz into your TV‘s ARC HDMI input and admire the innovative aesthetic while following every line spoken by characters. It nails clarity above all.

Pros

  • Crystal-clear vocal reproduction
  • Ultra sleek modern aesthetic
  • Solid TV & movie performance
  • Very affordable price

Cons

  • Lacks bass impact
  • Mediocre music playback

TCL Soundbar Buyer‘s Guide

Use this chart to compare key specifications and features across TCL‘s soundbar collection spanning the Alto, Q Series, S Series, and Ray-Danz models:

Model Channels Power Wireless Sub Audio Formats Price
Alto 9+ 5.1.2 440W Yes Dolby Atmos, DTS:X $279
Alto 8+ 2.1 320W Yes Dolby Atmos $179
Alto 6+ 2.1 180W No Dolby Audio $129
Alto 3 2.0 100W No Dolby Audio $79
Q Series 650 5.1 450W Yes DTS Virtual:X $249
Q Series 250 3.1 350W Yes DTS Virtual:X $199
S Series 5.1 5.1 300W No DTS Virtual:X $185
S Series 3.1 3.1 240W No DTS Virtual:X $119
Ray Danz 3.0 116W No Stereo $119

Pairing Your TCL TV with a Matching Soundbar

Since TCL manufactures both affordable TVs and audio gear, their products naturally complement each other. All modern TCL televisions include either ARC or eARC HDMI ports simplifying connections to supported soundbars. You can control volume using one remote rather than juggle multiple controllers.

Plus TCL soundbars are cosmetically designed to visually match their TV counterparts in terms of color, finish, and styling. So if you recently purchased one of their 6-Series, 5-Series, or 4-Series models, consider buying the matching audio bar for a cohesive home theater look.

For the cleanest, most seamless integration choose the same TCL series to build a unified entertainment system on a budget.

How to Set Up and Use Your TCL Soundbar

Installing a TCL soundbar is quick, easy, and straightforward:

  1. Position underneath your TV – Leave about 2 inches of breathing room if not wall mounting. Place wireless subwoofer off to the side at front of room if unit came with one.

  2. Connect HDMI cable – Use provided HDMI ARC/eARC cable to link soundbar with ARC HDMI port on back of TV. This carries both audio & video signal via one cord.

  3. Power on devices – Turn on TV first, then the soundbar unit. They should automatically sync via HDMI CEC control once powered up.

  4. Adjust audio settings – Double check TV is outputting sound through external speakers rather than internal ones. Toggle surround sound modes on bar.

  5. Run room correction – High-end TCL models include built-in room equalization mics to optimize acoustic performance.

  6. Stream music – Connect mobile device via Bluetooth to play tunes through the soundbar wirelessly.

Once hooked up properly, the TCL soundbar essentially functions as external speakers for the television. Just use your TV remote to adjust volume.

FAQ About TCL Soundbars

Do TCL soundbars come with a subwoofer?

  • Higher-end Alto and Q models include wireless subwoofers. Lower-priced S series have built-in subs. The Ray Danz lacks a dedicated sub.

Which soundbars support true surround sound?

  • To experience object-based formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X requires the Alto 9+, 8+, or certain Q models with satellite speakers. Other bars emulate surround effects.

Can you mount TCL soundbars on the wall?

  • Most TCL bars either include wall mounting brackets in the box or sell them separately. Low-profile models like the Alto 6+ sit on a TV stand.

Do TCL soundbars work with Alexa or Google Assistant?

  • Select models with Roku TV built-in are compatible with Alexa/Google voice control devices. Streaming boxes add smart assistance to other bars.

What cables are needed to connect soundbar to TV?

  • An HDMI ARC or preferably eARC cable handles both video and audio signals between TV and soundbar conveniently via one wire.

The Best Soundbar to Pair With Your TCL TV

After reviewing all the top-rated options available, the clear standout TCL soundbar is their Dolby Atmos-enabled Alto 9+. With superb 3D audio performance, thunderous bass, sleek style to match TCL sets, and easy HTMI eARC connectivity, it‘s a phenomenal audio upgrade enhancing any television.

If staying under $200 matters more, opt for the high-value Q Series with DTS Virtual:X instead. And the stunning Ray-Danz nails pristine dialogue clarity like few competitors. Whichever model you choose, TCL soundbars enhance entertainment while pleasing your wallet.