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Soundbar VS Speakers — Which One Is The Better System For Your TV Setup in 2020?

Soundbar VS Speakers

If you’re thinking about amplifying the sound in your home theater system, do you know if you should go for a soundbar or a speaker? To answer your question, our experts have compared both in this speakers VS soundbar article to help you find the most suitable for your 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 theater 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 theater 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 theater speaker system. But soundbars can also come with external components such as a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers to match regular residential theater speakers. 

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 bookshelf 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. Soundbars also take up less space, and are often equipped with controls for convenience.

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 for a sounding bar or speaker would require less space than an option with 5, and a soundbar with 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.

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 high 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 sounding bars. (Here are the best soundbars with Dolby Atmos.)

Brand-specific features and audio decoding formats can simulate a surround sound system even without 5 channels.The best sound is achieved with the center speaker and rear speakers working together. Speakers are larger and can produce louder and more 3D sound.

Integrations: Speakers vs Soundbar

For the integrations of the soundbar VS speakers, both devices can be used with TVs, computers if necessary, and other external devices via wireless streaming.

Soundbar & Speaker Connections

Both sound bars 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 from your sounding 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 soundbars 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.

FAQ

Is a soundbar better than speakers?

Yes, a soundbar is better than speakers in terms of price and size. 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. Soundbars are more reliable and steady and have more power and higher 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 speakers 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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