Sound Base vs Soundbar — Which Speaker Style is Better?

soundbar vs sound bar

If you want to enhance the sound of your TV without the additional speakers or room requirements of a full surround sound setups, soundbars and soundbases are your best options. But are they enough, or will they be money down the drain? Our experts would give you the information that you will be needing between the advantages and disadvantages of a soundbar vs soundbase. 

Soundbar vs Sound Base

Soundbars and soundbases vary in terms of style, sound, and placement. Sound bars are long and slender devices that are commonly fixed and have a few internal speakers as well as an external sub. Soundbases are smaller, lie behind the TV, and have more internal speakers. So, which is better and what are the reasons? Let’s find out. 

Soundbar

Sound bars are long, slim loudspeakers that can be mounted above or below a television or display. They’re cost-effective, and they’re getting close to matching the sound dispersion quality of surround sound systems these days. 

BYL Bestisan S9920-W Soundbar

Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio processing are often included in many soundbars and support Bluetooth streaming. Since the bar’s own speakers are not capable of delivering heavy bass, most soundbars come with separate subwoofers.

Pros

Cons

Sound Base

Sound bases are meant to be placed on a table or cabinet under the tv. Soundbases are designed to have superior sound quality than the TV’s internal speakers while being cost-effective and easy to mount. 

Sonos Playbase

Soundbase usually has larger speaker drivers, more built-in amplification, and the ability to use a bass driver. Furthermore, since no separate subwoofer is needed, the soundbase can take up less room.

Pros

Cons

Buying Guide

Optical Digital Audio Input

Both soundbar systems and soundbases offer digital optical connections to the ARC port (audio return channel) on your TV, which will result in high-def sound. Some would have HDMI as well as stereo analog inputs. HDMI is a good option, so look for it. A home entertainment system can have Dolby and DTS audio processing built-in.

Design

Sound bars are normally a few feet long to accommodate the width of your TV and have a sleek, thin build. They are also elegant and fashionable. They are always mounted, so they are seen daily. Soundbases are small in size and lightweight, often with a narrower diameter than a sound bar. They are, however, thicker and sturdier since they are intended to be used with a TV on top of them.

Blackweb soundbar below a tv

Speaker Configuration

When choosing what to buy between soundbars vs soundbases, one thing to consider is the speaker configuration. Soundbases usually have a 2.1 or 3.1 speaker arrangement, which means they have a left and right speaker as well as a subwoofer, or a left, right, and middle channel speaker as well as a subwoofer. 

On the contrary, soundbars typically have three to five internal speakers, but some of the newest models on the market have seven or eight internal speakers to boost audio clarity to cope with standard speaker systems in your home theater setup. They can have a built-in subwoofer or internal technology to boost the bass.

Placement

The placement for sound bases is very limited. They can only be placed at the base or top of your TV, or sit on a TV stand, cabinet, or entertainment stand – mounting is not a viable option. While soundbars are more versatile as they can be mounted on a wall, which is a big advantage and something to consider for people with small spaces.

Sonos Playbase placed below a tv

Sound Quality

Audio quality is also a vital feature you need to consider when buying. A soundbase is not as big as a sound bar, but it has a lot of space within the enclosure. Soundbases with more capacity will have larger internal speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers, resulting in more efficient audio without the need for additional tv speakers.

A sound bar, on the other hand, can have a more room-filling surround sound thanks to a broader audio landscape, but the bass drivers will often be a letdown. Soundbars usually need an external subwoofer for pronounced bass, although there are several alternatives on the market for high-quality built-in subwoofers.

Compatibility

It’s worth noting the difference in compatibility and styles of a soundbar vs sound base. They have different extra features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, smart home platform compatibility, and more. Furthermore, they provide a variety of wired networking choices, including HDMI, analog, optical, and even RCA[1] that can impact your purchase decision. 

One other difference between a soundbar and soundbase is some soundbars already come with wireless connectivity for streaming. You just need to pair other Bluetooth or Wi-Fi supported devices, to enjoy seamless access to your music library in multiple rooms.

Pricing

Money is always a factor that needs consideration whenever you’re choosing to buy between soundbars vs soundbase. When it comes to pricing, sound bases are the kind of equipment that is a bit more expensive versus soundbars because fewer manufacturers are making them.

Klipsch Cinema 600 soundbar controls

To be fair, an expensive soundbase will outperform a low-cost sound bar, and vice versa, so work out the budget and compare similarly priced pieces. Pricing usually runs between $100 and $500 up depending on brand and overall quality.

FAQ

Is a sound bar better with a subwoofer?

No, a sound bar isn’t better with a subwoofer. At least, not all of the time. Soundbars have many internal speakers that can produce high-quality audio on their own, but as per our experts’ advice, subwoofers can produce low-frequency audio that many soundbars cannot.

How much should I spend on a soundbars?

You should spend what you can on a soundbar while being considerate of your budget. You could spend as low as $100 to find a good quality soundbar, one that could produce awesome audio quality. They can also feature extra advantages such as sound modes, and many advanced audio format decoding abilities.

Do watts matter in a soundbar & sound base?

No, the wattage doesn’t matter when it comes to how the soundbar or soundbase would produce quality audio. The overall number of watts has no bearing on the performance of the device involved.

Conclusion

A high-end soundbar will outperform a low-cost soundbase, and vice versa. However, the best solution for you will eventually be determined by your budget and personal preference. Some prefer a lot more bass for their surround sound system, while others prefer a crisper and clearer tone.

For other related pages, you can also check the following: 

Amplifier vs preamp

Stereo sound vs surround sound

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

Latest posts by Willie Greer (see all)