Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems: Which is better?

The location and flexibility of the front speakers is one major difference in sound quality between soundbars vs surround sound systems.
Soundbars are extremely simple. Soundbars are less bulky than traditional surround sound systems.

When we buy new devices, we try to get the best model for the least amount of money. Our choice, however, is not always solely ours. We frequently make purchasing decisions based on current trends, our current budget, where we intend to use a particular device, and so on.

Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems: Which is better?
Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

The same principle applies when purchasing speakers for our office or living space. We're sure that most of us would enjoy watching a movie with an expensive home theater system. We wouldn't need to go to the movies if we had that in our homes.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the money to invest in these systems or the space to house them. This is where the negotiating begins. In this article, we will attempt to list and explain all of the differences between soundbars and surround sound speaker systems, as well as tell you which option is best for you based on your budget, room size, and preferences.


Reasons for Buying a Soundbars

Soundbars are affordable

We don't want to say soundbars are cheap because they can be quite expensive depending on the brand, the number of features, the materials used, and so on, but it is far easier to find an affordable soundbar with many useful features than an affordable surround sound speaker system. A good soundbar can cost a few hundred dollars, but a good surround sound system will cost at least $1000.

Soundbars can be set up easily

When you buy a soundbar, you don't have to worry about whether you'll have enough space in your room or office. Soundbars can be installed in a variety of ways, with placement varying slightly depending on the type of soundbar.

A soundbar can be placed on a shelf beneath your television or mounted on a wall beneath or above the television. There are some types of soundbars that can be used as a TV platform (they are called sound bases). If it includes a subwoofer or surround sound speakers, place the bar in front of you, with the left and right speakers on the sides.

They make no fuss because they don't provide many placement options and you don't have to worry about these things. The soundbar and speakers can be placed in one of two ways: below or above the TV, with the rest of the equipment distributed on the sides.

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What's the Difference Between a 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbar?
Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems: Which is better? 5

Soundbars are practical

Soundbars are useful for a variety of reasons. They are not only less expensive than surround sound systems, but they are also easier to set up and install in most houses/apartments, and they save you space that you can fill with other useful gadgets, furniture, and so on.

Soundbars are perfect for small apartments (13x12ft rooms or smaller)

Regardless of how many elements they have, soundbars are smaller than surround sound speaker systems. Soundbars cannot have more than three elements but usually have only one or two, whereas surround sound systems typically have at least six different speakers (5 speakers + subwoofer).

As a result, a soundbar and a potential subwoofer will take up less space than surround sound systems. They typically take up the space around your television, whereas surround sound systems are intended to be distributed throughout the room.

All of these features make soundbars more appropriate for smaller rooms, apartments, and offices. They are simple to install in any small room, especially wireless ones.

There will be no mess, and you will save a significant amount of space. The cables will not be strewn about, attached to the ceiling/walls, and they will still be able to fill this type of room with powerful sound.

Soundbars are a great replacement for TV speakers

We will not lie to you and claim that soundbars produce the best sound in the world. They can't even create a surround sound effect, and the sound they deliver is certainly imperfect. They have at least two speakers and at least one small subwoofer (or one separate subwoofer), and nothing that small can produce large amounts of sound.

If you simply want something better than your TV speakers, a soundbar is always a good choice. They may be small and do not always produce crystal-clear sound (especially cheap soundbars), but you will be able to hear every word and the music will be much louder and more enjoyable.

Alternative Video: Soundbars Vs Sound System


Reasons for Buying a Surround Sound System

Surround sound systems deliver amazing sound

As previously stated, soundbars are small, and their manufacturers strive to fit as many speakers as possible into that small box. If you want a big sound with deep and rich bass, perfectly clear vocals, and sparkling highs, this is not the best option.

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Surround sound systems provide all of this and more. Separate subwoofers large enough to deliver full and punchy bass are included with surround sound systems. They are extremely precise and can deliver extremely low frequencies that you can not only hear but also feel.

Because your speakers will be placed all around you, you will be able to hear every sound as if you were present in every scene, song, and conversation. The sound will be coming at you from all sides. It will be in front of you, behind you, to the left and right of you. Watching movies or television will put you in the middle of the action.

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Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

Surround sound systems are perfect for big houses (15x20ft rooms or larger)

Large rooms necessitate large speakers and sound. Even if you don't want to admit it, a small soundbar cannot produce a sound powerful enough to fill a large room. It would sound quite poor and weak, and the quality of the mids, highs and lows would suffer as a result of the sound being lost in that large space.

This is why people with large, open-concept living rooms opt for surround sound systems. Believe us when we say that surround sound systems are always worth the money in these situations.

Surround sound systems can replace going to the cinema

If you enjoy watching movies but dislike watching them with a large group of strangers, a surround sound system can be extremely beneficial. As previously stated, it consists of at least 5 or 6 elements arranged around the “sweet spot” (the place where you are sitting, usually some couch or sofa).

This way, the sound comes from all directions, and you can feel every moment and scene as if you were watching a movie. It's loud, detailed, well-balanced, and clear. It transforms watching movies into an entirely new experience. It can even be better than going to the movies because the home theater speakers can be adjusted to your preferences.

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Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems: Which is better? 6

The Best Way to Compare Soundbars to Surround Sound Systems

If you're still undecided about whether to buy a soundbar or a surround sound system, and if all of the previously mentioned pros and cons aren't enough, you can always compare technical specs, explore and compare the following characteristics, and see which ones suit you better.

Frequency response

The frequency range is the range of frequencies that our ears can detect. According to, the human ear can hear frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Tones lower than 30 or 35 Hz are barely audible, and you can feel them rather than hear them.

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The subwoofer is the component of the surround sound speaker system that produces low-frequency tones. The highest frequencies indicate the maximum range of your speakers (what are the highest frequencies they can deliver). In general, the greater the response, the better the sound.


Speaker power is measured in watts and indicates how powerful and loud our speakers are. More power would be useful if you lived in a large house.


Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB) and indicates how loud our speakers can be. The louder the speakers, the higher the sensitivity. However, sensitivity is affected by power, so in order to achieve the loudest sound, you would need to purchase a powerful speaker with a high sensitivity.


Impedance is measured in Ohms and indicates how well a speaker resists an electrical signal passing through it. High-impedance speakers require more power than low-impedance speakers.

We'll conclude this article with a simple piece of advice. It makes no difference whether something is more expensive, trendy, or provides better sound quality. The most important thing is that your speakers look great in your home or office.

After all, even if you buy the most complex surround sound system in the world, it will be useless if you don't have enough space for it.

FAQs About Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

Is a soundbar better than a surround sound system?

Having a 2.1, 5.1, or Atmos 5.1 system. A soundbar at any price cannot compete with the audio experience provided by the 4-channel setup. The sound is larger and more enthralling, which is especially important in large rooms.

What is the difference between a soundbar and a home theater system?

Don't get us wrong: a soundbar provides excellent audio for movies as well, but it lacks depth when compared to home theater speakers. What exactly is this? Soundbars, on the other hand, are the best option if you prefer sound coming at you from the front.

Do soundbars make a difference?

Because a soundbar is a dedicated speaker, it can handle both ends of the volume spectrum much better. You're less likely to miss out on softly spoken dialogue, and you're more likely to hear the full range of the more dynamic soundscapes found in modern blockbusters.

Trina Oralde

I'm a tech writer and contributor who covers the latest in gadgets and technology. I keep my finger on the pulse of the tech world, so you don't have to. Stay up-to-date on the latest with me!


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