Soundbar vs Speakers

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

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Updated September 12, 2022

Because TVs often have exceptionally miserable built-in speakers, many people look for the best speaker solution they can find to beef up their home theatre audio. Surprisingly, they often find that, after researching and testing some of the market’s finest soundbars, a soundbar can be a great option that saves money and space. But if you’re on the fence between choosing soundbars vs speakers, keep reading.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Soundbars and speakers are both great ways to achieve a higher quality sound than built-in TV speakers.
  • Speakers are ideal for surround sound formats and those looking to master an incredible audio experience.
  • Soundbars have decent quality audio and are recommended for casual listening and smaller rooms.

Soundbars vs Stereo Speakers

Let’s get one thing straight: just about anything beats a TV’s integrated speakers. Soundbars and stereo speakers both blow factory junk out of the water. But although they both improve in integrated speakers, we must also distinguish what makes them different.

Insider Tip

If you’re on a budget when setting up your sound system, it’s best to prioritize the main three front speakers.

While this article looks into the speaker portion of a stereo system, if you want to read a more holistic comparison, we have an article on soundbars vs surround sound.

Audio Quality

When comparing the sound quality of these two options, note that speakers have a very high ceiling, while soundbars come with their limits.

Because soundbars are designed for compactness, you wind up with limited speaker power and size. However, some soundbars come with additional channels, letting users set up separate speakers for a more immersive experience; but this article focuses specifically on single soundbar options.

Stereo speakers allow users to choose from a wide range of sound options. And when paired with an excellent AV receiver, home theatre owners can set up surround sound formats and achieve a truly immersive audio experience.

If you want to learn more about the amplification differences between these two options, also check out our article comparing soundbars vs receivers.

Warning

While some Dolby Atmos soundbar options exist, many budget soundbars won’t support the higher resolution audio formats.

Convenience

There’s no all-in-one device when it comes to surround sound systems. For this reason, those with limited space adore the ease of setup and compactness of soundbars. Additionally, surround sound requires a complicated setup process and almost always means tons of wires. However, soundbars require only a single connection with an HDMI cable.

Affordability

The price ranges for these two options are vastly different. Cheaper soundbars can start at around $50, while the more expensive soundbar options reach upwards of $500.

STAT: The human ear can detect sound from 20 Hz – 20 kHz. (source)

On the other hand, you can find decent individual speakers for around a hundred a piece. However, to get the full thunder of a surround sound speaker system, you must be willing to go in for close to $1,000. And if you want to get crazy with it, you can easily spend close to $10,000 on top-of-the-line surround sound setups.

Soundbars vs Speakers FAQs

Is it necessary to have a dedicated subwoofer?

To know if a separate subwoofer is the right option, consider the space you are in, the content you're watching, and if that deep bass range is required.

Is it possible to use speakers and soundbars together?

There are many soundbars with additional channels to support rear speakers and subwoofers.

Why are built-in TV speakers so bad?

Because modern TVs are built so thin, it highly limits the quality and size of speakers.
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