Speaker Vs Soundbar – Similarities and Differentiation

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: February 6, 2023

speaker vs soundbar
Speaker vs Soundbar comparison image

Setting up a home theatre with better speaker options has never been easier and more affordable than it is today. There has been a common misconception among many people that soundbars can’t compete with traditional speaker systems. Over the last decade, the soundbar category has become a viable alternative to box speakers among many audiophiles and home theatre enthusiasts. Many entry-level soundbars come with amplifiers and DSP (Digital Signal Processors), which greatly improve the sound over the internal TV speakers and are often a more cost-effective alternative to the traditional 5.1 surround sound systems.

With a passive soundbar, consumers can purchase a long vertical enclosure that is custom-built to fit the dimensions of their TV screen and loaded with many high-quality components which were normally reserved for box speakers. This also allows you to use the internal amplification of your AV receiver or separate power amp instead of the often limited power amps squeezed into a small enclosure, also housing the speaker drivers. This article will explore the soundbar category and how it can compare to traditional box speaker equivalents.

1 Soundbars: what exactly are they?

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A black and white image of a soundbar

A soundbar is a bar-shaped elongated audio output device that can be mounted on a wall or placed in front of a TV set. Soundbars can provide a more immersive audio experience than the built-in speakers on TV and is a simpler and more compact alternative to a full-fledged home theatre system. Soundbars are designed to enhance the sound quality of a TV without the need for a separate set of speakers. They typically contain multiple drivers and can either be placed on a shelf below the TV or mounted on a wall. Some models also include a subwoofer for added bass.

Compared to standard speakers, soundbars provide high-quality audio at an affordable price, which makes them increasingly popular alternatives.

2 Speaker VS Soundbar: Pricing

When buying a soundbar or a speaker, the foremost thing to consider is your budget. Speaker and soundbar prices vary greatly depending on the brand, model, and features.

Generally, speakers are more expensive than a soundbar. If you are looking to purchase a new audio system for your home, you can buy an entry-level 2.0 speaker system which will be cheaper than the normal soundbars available right now, whereas if you are fond of high bass and 360° sound experience, you can purchase a 7.1 channel speaker system.

Some soundbars can cost as low as 1100/- INR, while high-end models can cost over 2,50,000/- INR.

Speakers typically range from 699/- INR to 2,35,000/- INR or more.

Mid-range speakers and soundbars, which offer good sound quality and a variety of features, typically cost between 10,000/- INR and 50,000/- INR.

If we look at the replacement cost of a soundbar vs a speaker system, speakers are cheaper. If a speaker in your system stops working, you can easily replace it or upgrade your surround-sound system. Therefore, a speaker system can save you a good amount of money in the long run rather than completely replacing your soundbar.

3 Speaker VS Soundbar: Installation

Installing a soundbar and installing speakers are two different approaches for enhancing the sound quality of your home entertainment system, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a detailed comparison:

Soundbars are more compact and easier to install than surround sound speaker systems. One of the flexible features of soundbars is that they are free from any confusing wires wrapped around your TV console. Just install the soundbar below your TV unit, plug it in, and connect it to an HDMI ARC port or AUX cable. You can have a clean setup with no tangled wires wrapped around your TV console.

On the other hand, a surround speaker system can make your setup look messy and confusing. If you are looking to install a speaker system, you might need a little knowledge and experience to connect the wirings properly. Also, you will need an AV receiver connected to each speaker unit. A separate speaker system requires more space, as each speaker must be placed in a specific location to optimize sound quality.

4 Speaker VS Soundbar: Aesthetics and Portability

In terms of design and aesthetics, a soundbar might be a sleek and compact option for your home theatre audio system. On the other hand, a surround speaker system occupies a lot of space in the room, which can often look unpleasing and messy.

However, we can still help you achieve a clean and attractive setup with your speaker set. All you need to do is make sure to place the same speaker set with the same design and color from the same model and manufacturer. You can also try to arrange the speakers in different patterns according to the design of your room.

You can place the soundbar anywhere around your TV if you choose a wireless model, but if you place it too close, it might block other HDMI ports or make some remotes difficult to use. Most speaker sets come with subwoofers, which usually mount underneath furniture, making them aesthetically unappealing. It’s best to hide those away in cabinets or somewhere behind the scenes so they don’t grab the attention easily.

5 Speaker VS Soundbar: Audio Quality

It’s no secret that the latest TV models are becoming thinner and slim with the enhancement in entertainment technology. As televisions are getting slimmer and bigger, the area allocated for audio drivers is also getting shrunk and diminished.

There is a good chance that you would get better audio quality from a soundbar than from the speakers on your TV. Soundbars, however, is restricted by a single source audio channel, which limits their audio output.

Contrary to soundbars, the audio output coming from surround speakers gives you the illusion of a 360° sound coming out from your surroundings, which is something you can’t achieve with a standard soundbar. You should definitely invest in a speaker set if you are a fan of action movies or shows with a lot of dialogue. We would like to recommend you buy a decent speaker set with a 2.0 or 2.1 stereo system, where .1 represents a subwoofer set.

Some soundbars claim they can offer a surround audio system, but the reality is if you want that “true” surround sound effect, you might have to purchase a set of additional speakers.

6 Advantages of a soundbar

Space-saving design: The compact size and minimal wiring concept of soundbars make them perfect for living rooms and apartments that are smaller.

Improved sound quality: Many televisions have built-in speakers that do not produce good sound quality. Soundbars provide significantly better sound quality than the pre-existing in-built speakers of a television.

Simplicity: There is no learning curve with soundbars since most models are plug-and-play and have simple controls.

Cost-effective: Compared to full-fledged surround sound systems, soundbars are more affordable and offer a good price-to-quality ratio.

Versatility: Many soundbars can be paired with other devices, such as smartphones or laptops, to provide better audio for music and movies.

Wireless connectivity: Some soundbars come with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream music from other input devices easily.

7 Disadvantages of a soundbar

Limited surround sound: Although soundbars offer better sound quality than TV speakers, they still cannot rival a full surround sound system’s immersive experience.

Lack of upgradability: Once you purchase a soundbar, you cannot upgrade or expand it easily.
Once a soundbar is purchased, it can’t be easily upgraded or expanded with additional speakers.

Limited bass response: While some soundbars include a built-in subwoofer, the bass response can still be limited compared to a separate subwoofer.

Compatibility issues: Not all soundbars are compatible with all TV models, and some may require additional hardware or software to work correctly.

Limited placement options: Depending on the size and design of the soundbar, it may only be able to be placed in a limited number of locations in a room, such as on a shelf or mounted on a wall.

Higher cost for high-end models: High-end soundbars with advanced features and better sound quality can be quite expensive, making them less accessible to some consumers.

8 Wrapping Up

When deciding between a speaker and a soundbar, you must consider your budget, the size of your room, and the type of audio experience you’re looking for. A speaker system may be a better choice if you have a large room and want a surround-sound experience. A soundbar may be perfect if you have a smaller space and want a more compact setup.

FAQ's about Speaker VS Soundbar

Is a soundbar just a speaker?

A soundbar is not just a speaker. It is a type of speaker system. Soundbars are popular for their slim, compact, and sleek design with which you get enhanced audio quality than the speakers of your TV. Some soundbars come packed with features like virtual surround sound system, built in subwoofers and wireless connectivity options.

The answer to this question depends upon the individual audio preference of a person. If you want a theatre like experience at home, or if you are a fan of action movies, we recommend you to use a soundbar that has an additional subwoofer. If you’re listening to bass-heavy content, a subwoofer can deliver a deeper, more powerful bass than a standalone bar.

In the context of audio quality, a fully fledged home theater system always delivers the best audio experience as compared to a soundbar. A home theater system includes a receiver, set of speakers and also a subwoofer which provides a more powerful and immersive audio experience. If you are looking for a full surround sound environment with more control over the audio output, we would recommend to install a home theater system.

If you are looking to purchase a new audio system for your home, we would like to suggest you the Zebronics Zeb-Juke Bar 7400 Pro soundbar. This soundbar is equipped with 3 massive audio drivers for an immersive audio experience. Also it comes with powerful set of subwoofers and different connectivity options allowing you to connect it with any device whether it is a television, laptop, or a smartphone.

As a part of our research and discussion, we can conclude that a full system speaker system also famous as a home theater system is the best sound system. It can deliver the best quality audio for a theater like experience at the comfort of your home. You can purchase a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system for your home where .1 denotes a subwoofer.

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About This Article

Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: February 6, 2023
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