Soundbar VS Speakers

If you’re thinking about amplifying the sound of your home audio system, do you know if you should go for a soundbar or a speaker? To answer your question of which way to go, our experts have compared both in this speakers VS soundbar article to help you find the most suitable for your surround sound system.

Soundbars OR Speakers?

Best for Budget
Soundbar
Best for Power
Speakers
 Polk Audio Signa S2
Speaker
A soundbar is generally more affordable than a speaker but has a less powerful sound. However, it can have multiple speakers and a subwoofer built-in to become a miniature home sound system.
Speakers are used to amplify sound and, consequently, are more powerful. They can produce and support higher audio quality content and have more channels for surround sound.
Best for Budget
Soundbar
 Polk Audio Signa S2
A soundbar is generally more affordable than a speaker but has a less powerful sound. However, it can have multiple speakers and a subwoofer built-in to become a miniature home sound system.
Best for Power
Speakers
Speaker
Speakers are used to amplify sound and, consequently, are more powerful. They can produce and support higher audio quality content and have more channels for surround sound.

Features of Soundbars and Speakers

Soundbars are basically miniature versions of a full home theater system. But soundbars can also come with external components such as a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers to match regular home theater speakers. The soundbar produces the audio from whatever is on display.  As far as bass and low-frequency sounds go, soundbars are fairly decent in that regard.

At the end of the day, sounding bars are still smaller devices compared to speakers, which is why they will still lack the ability to produce the amount of acoustic depth that speakers can.

To help you find one you like  and make the best decision for your step, our acoustics team will break down the features of both soundbars and speakers for a clearer picture.

Design and Style

There are more speaker options than there are for soundbars. You have your pick of separate speakers, regular TV speakers, and passive and active ones. 

A sound bar can also be passive or active. The difference between the two is the need for an amplifier. A soundbar  and wireless subwoofer also take up less space, and are often equipped with controls for convenience. The fact that soundbars are convenient and require minimal wiring makes them a minimalists dream.

Size and Power

The size and power you should get will depend on the room. If you have a sub, then you would need to account for more capacity. A 2-channel system like the KEF Q100 and Q150 speaker or a sounding bar would require less space than an option with 5, and a soundbar with left and right channels and a center channel will also take up more space.

The power rating is important to achieve the sound effects you want. Speakers are larger and usually have higher power ratings, but a sounding bar can perform just as well for smaller spaces and living room. If you prefer speakers, a small set of speakers can give you a pretty amazing listening experience. They’re known as bookshelf  or sometimes standmount. Elac B6 and KEF Q100 are both compact bookshelf speakers needing less space when mounted.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is greatly affected by the number of channels the speaker or soundbar has. If you want a surround sound system, you would need 5 or more channels [1]. Yet, a top notch quality surround sound for speakers or soundbars requires receivers to amplify its audio and sound. There are available AV receivers under 500 to connect to your speakers as well. 

Dolby Atmos and other embedded advanced acoustic technologies can affect the sound standard as well. These can be found in both speakers and soundbar. (Here are the best soundbars with Dolby Atmos.)

Brand-specific features and audio decoding formats can simulate a surround sound system with high sound even without 5 channels. Similar to a floor-standing model, bookshelf soundbar will often include the same tweeter and mid/bass driver. Great sound is achieved with the center speaker and rear speakers working together. Speakers are larger and can produce louder and more 3D sound providing a better listening experience.

Integrations: Speakers vs Soundbar

For the integrations of the speakers and soundbar, both devices can be used with TVs, computers if necessary, and other external devices via wireless streaming. Sonos models including Play 3 and Play 1 can better integrate with other devices using wireless connectivity. 

Soundbar & Speaker Connections

Both soundbars and speakers can feature wired and wireless connections, but especially high end home theater speakers. Wireless connections are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or both. 

As for wired connections, our experts always suggest purchasing devices that feature HDMI. This way, the equipment will be easy to set up and it can process superior audio standard and higher sound quality and video frequencies where applicable.

Wireless Controls

Soundbars can be outfitted with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa to offer you hands-free control, while speakers cannot. You will most likely get a remote control included in your purchase or your device could be programmed to work with universal remote controls. However, these conveniences may impact the price.

Customization and Enhancements

If you are a hardcore cinephile or audiophile, then you don’t want to settle for music or audio system from your sound bar or speakers without customization options. One good thing about speakers is they can be customized easily by adding an AV receiver and other music components.

An AV receiver isn’t necessary for a soundbar, which also offers less customization and enhancement options than speakers.

Compatibility

While both speakers and sound bars are compatible with most of your entertainment devices, to get real standard sound you may need an AV receiver. A receiver is an amplifier that also has a radio section. With a receiver, your sounding bar or speaker can be compatible with other components of your entertainment unit. Receivers can also level up your speaker set such as  Logitech Z313 and Logitech Z323 making sound more realistic.  

FAQ

Is a soundbar better than speakers?

Yes, a soundbar is better than speakers in terms of price and size. Soundbars are perfect for watching tv shows. You would want a soundbar for a more affordable choice and compact size.

Which is better, Bluetooth speaker or soundbar?

A soundbar is better than a Bluetooth speaker. A soundbar system is more reliable and steady and has more power and higher sound. Yet, there are top quality Bluetooth speakers like the JBL Charge 3 VS Flip 4 that can produce a more balanced surround sound. 

Do soundbars replace TV speakers?

Yes, soundbars replace your built-in speakers for your TV and produce excellent sound for your content to create an impressive viewing experience. 

Overall Winner: Speakers

Our experts agree that speaker system are the superior choice in the battle between soundbars VS speakers as you can get more impressive and expansive sound like from the Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack. If a soundbar is more up your alley, the Polk Audio Signa S2 is an affordable option with its own subwoofer for deep bass.

Speakers are the overall superior choice because of their higher power output, more precise audio relays, and support of quality sound.

You don’t have to break the bank to build your dream system. Check out the best home theater systems you can get for under 500.

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

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