Surround Sound Without Receiver — Do I Need a Receiver for Amazing Audio?

surround sound without receiver

Want to install a surround sound system, but don’t want to deal with all the wires and cables that come with a traditional sound system? Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can install surround sound without receiver. Find out how, here in our guide.

What is a Receiver?

A home theater receiver, also known as the AV receiver, connects your audio sources to your TV. 

Put simply, a receiver collects all the audio data and plays it on your audio devices. It works like a router, only that it routes data from audio and video sources to other displays and speakers. If you have a set of multiple speakers at home, a receiver can easily connect them.

How to Use Surround Sound Without a Receiver

You can’t have a traditional sound system without a receiver, but you can have a sound bar surround sound system. Here is how you can go about using a soundbar, and what to look out for when you choose one.

Using a Soundbar

A soundbar is a bar that holds multiple speakers. It’s usually placed below your wall mounted flat screen. But other than its stylish facade, there are many other components to a soundbar. 

Up close shot of Samsung Electronics HW-K360 soundbar

The speakers on a soundbar are powered through built-in amplifiers, which helps to deliver high-quality sound without using a receiver. 

Most soundbars in the market are “active” which includes the built-in amplifier. However, if you get a “passive” soundbar, it still requires an external amplifier or receiver. This kind of defeats the purpose, so be sure to get the former if you don’t want to use a receiver.

How to Use a Soundbar for Surround Sound

Some soundbars come with additional speakers that connect wirelessly so you can place it in different parts of your room for a complete surround sound experience. There are two ways in which you can actually connect your soundbar to your TV. 

The easy method is to connect the components to your TV and then connect your soundbar to the TV. However, if you want to get the absolute best sound quality, you can connect the components directly to your soundbar instead.

 After connecting your components, you can connect your soundbar to a subwoofer or other speakers.

Is a Receiver Still Needed?

It depends on your preference and situation. If you want to create a huge home theater, consider a traditional sound setup because it has better sound quality, and mimics a traditional theater better. 

Denon AVR-S750H Receiver displayed in a living room table

However, if you want a mini theater with a regular sized flat screen TV. A soundbar system should be a fantastic choice.

Soundbar vs Traditional Surround Sound Speakers

There is a considerable difference between using a soundbar and traditional speakers. Here is a comparison in terms of difference criteria:

Sound Quality

While a soundbar is easier to set up than traditional speakers, they don’t offer as good of a sound quality. 

If you’re an audiophile, our team suggests you spend a little more on a traditional speaker set up. Even if you buy a very expensive soundbar set up, it can’t compete with a traditional set up.

Price

Generally, a soundbar is the cheaper option. A good soundbar system should be around the $300-$600 range. A traditional surround sound system typically has to be bought in parts, which can rack up the price. 

Blackweb soundbar below a tv

But take note that a traditional surround sound system generally costs more, but it’s easy to find a second hand system at a cheaper price.

Appearance

A soundbar looks sleeker and slimmer than a traditional sound system. The soundbar is usually wireless as well, which makes your setup cleaner and more minimalistic.

The traditional sound system comes with many components, and takes up a lot of space in a room.

Upgrades

Once you have a soundbar system, that’s it. You cannot upgrade it anymore. 

But with a traditional sound system, it’s easy to upgrade components as you go along, making it easier to keep up with the growing sound system technology. In other words, if a component in a traditional system breaks, it’s easier to replace.

Family watching the tv with audio from Roku Smart Soundbar

Simplicity

If you’re not a sound pro, you should consider a soundbar system as a better option, unless you’re willing to deal with the learning curve the traditional system comes with.

(Looking for the best way to improve the sound quality of your PC speakers? Then, you can check our guide on how to get 5.1 sound from computer HDMI)

Conclusion

Our team hopes that the points in this surround sound without receiver guide have helped you. In sum, you don’t absolutely need a receiver to achieve a surround sound system. You can easily get a decent surround sound system with a soundbar. However, if you’re an audiophile, going for a traditional sound system would give you the best audio quality output.

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Writer

Willie Greer
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.