Denon Unveils An Affordable Dolby Atmos Soundbar To Take On Sonos, Sony And JBL

denon DHT S218
Your TV came with speakers, but let's face it, they're not very good. Adding a soundbar can instantly upgrade your audio game. However, a cheap speaker might not sound much better than what's built into the TV. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for a serioud upgrade, though. Denon has announced a new soundbar (model DHT-S218) that aims to compete with the likes of Sonos and Sony, and it's priced aggressively at £249/€269 (about $314).

The Denon DHT-S218 is compact at just 60mm (2.4 inches) tall and 890mm (35 inches) wide. The casing has the same understated black plastic as every other soundbar, but it's got some impressive hardware and features packed inside. It's also got keyhole-tyle mounting brackets on the back so you can attach it to almost any wall. 

Unlike the recently announced Sonos Ray, this soundbar supports HDMI eARC (audio return channel) with 4K passthrough, so you can easily pipe all your audio through the speaker without compromising on resolution or HDR. It'll also support VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode) if you want to plug your PlayStation 5 directly into the bar. That's usually the best way to ensure you get pristine audio without any other components causing the source to step down in quality.

This is a 2.1 channel audio system, featuring six full-range drivers, including two 3.5-inch midrange drivers and two 3.5-inch midrange drivers. On the low end, the DHT-S218 sports a pair of down-firing 3-inch subwoofers. You can also add a Denon wireless subwoofer if you want even more thump.


The other thing that sets the DHT-S218 apart is the audio support, which is impressive given the price. This soundbar can decode DTS-HD MA, Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos. It's rare to see that kind of support on a device in this price range. However, there is one notable shortcoming. While this soundbar can decode Atmos, it doesn't have any up-firing speakers. That means you won't get the full effect of the Atmos height channel.

Currently, the DHT-S218 is only available in Europe, but that's common for Denon. It does sell audio devices stateside, so the DHT-S218 could arrive in the US later. Even in Europe, it's not yet available from Denon's online store. Instead, the website directs interested parties to Denon authorized retailers, but that will likely change soon.
Tags:  Speakers, soundbars