Soundbar vs Speaker: Which One Should You Buy? Experts Answer

Bought a new LED TV? So would you prefer watching a movie on the inbuilt speaker or opt for a separate audio device for a mesmerizing sound experience? Obviously, you will opt for an external audio device because the audio quality they have on offer is far more superior than the quality of the inbuilt speaker. But are you confused between soundbar and speaker? Well, it is an age-old crossroad that confuses every user. We can say, the choice is entirely subjective, and it entirely depends upon the need, budget, space, and audio requirement of the user.

So to make things easier, our team has provided a separate argument for both the audio devices that will help you to decide which will be suitable for you.

So let’s start with soundbar;

Why Should You Choose a Soundbar?

A soundbar is basically a  slim case that houses different type of drivers and a separate subwoofer driver in some cases. It is an audio device for the user who wants a decent audio quality from a compact device. Although the sound quality is no match to the speaker but it still puts up good audio output. It even offers virtual surround sound effect so that the user can have a good movie experience. It is suitable for users who are not very particular about music quality and looking for little audio up-gradation for their TV. So let’s look at perks you will get if you choose a soundbar;

Excellent Sound Quality- The sound quality delivered by a soundbar is quite useful, especially for movie and music although they lack the depth. It won’t even disappoint in the clarity department and maintains a clear output. Many soundbars utilize separate subwoofer so that it can deliver a punchy bass wherever required. The frequency response range is quite extensive, and most of them offer a range between 50Hz and 20KHz, which allows them to reproduce all the mid, lows and highs. They even excel in the sensitivity department as most of them come with good sensitivity rating although they are lower than of the speaker’s. Although they aren’t good as a speaker but far more superior when compared with TV’s audio.

Adequate Dialogue Clarity – Almost all the soundbars come with curated dialogue or speech features that allow it to render all the dialogues and lyrics with proper quality. So you will hardly miss out any dialogue in movies or lyrics in songs.

Virtual Surround Sound – Although you won’t get a real surround sound, but the virtual output will offer you a mesmerizing audio experience. Many soundbars come with 3D or surround mode along with exclusive surround technology, and the combination enables them to provide faux surround sound experience. Although the result may vary from model to model, but the audio experience you will have will be satisfying.

Carries Right Amount of Modern Technologies – They might look small, but they are package they come with a lot of modern audio technologies that you won’t even find in standard speakers. Many models come with the legendary DTS, and Dolby features like Atmos, Digital, Virtual:X, etc. and these features are known to reproduce studio-like audio quality. Moreover, they come with exclusive surround sound, clarity, and dialogue technology so that you can get the best audio output.

Compact Size – The compact size with a slim design is probably the single most factor that drivers user towards soundbar rather than the speaker. Not only they easily fit near your thin LED TV, but they also save a lot of space in your house. Even though, some of the soundbars carry separate subwoofer system but they are constructed in such a way that you can easily fit them anywhere. Most important, the placement is quite easy as they come with wireless capability and are quite low in weight.

Straightforward Installation – Connecting a soundbar to your TV or other device is like hooking an earphone to your smartphone. You just have to connect the soundbar with a 3.5mm audio c, optical or HDMI cable just to make it play. Although some soundbars also offer various other connection facilities so that it can be connected with multiple different devices apart from TV. To make things easier, they even offer wireless connectivity through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which gives you the option to opt for a neat setup.

Affordable Price Structure – Another crucial behind soundbar’s massive popularity in the entertainment room is its affordable price tag. It is one device that can be owned by anyone despite their budget limitation. Unlike speakers which are generally pricey, soundbars are available in every price range, and it starts somewhere near $200 and goes all the way above $1500.

Now it is time that we should start discussing about the speaker;

Why Should You Choose a Speaker?

You should use speaker over soundbar only if your top priority is immersive audio experience with exceptional sound quality. However, it doesn’t mean soundbar can’t offer you an immersive experience or good sound quality, but it can’t be matched with that of the speaker’s. It is directed towards the user who wants real surround sound and won’t mind mounting or placing large speakers in different parts of the room. Speaker serves as a massive upgrade from TV’s speaker as it turns your bedroom into a mini theater.

Mind-boggling Sound Quality – The sound quality offered by the speaker compared to soundbar is exceptional, and most of them provide good depth in the sound. As they get significant speaker drivers, wide spaces, and wide frequency coverage, so they can produce accurate mids, lows, and highs. Whether you are using 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system, each driver is designed in such way along with receivers so that they able to reproduce every detail and sound across the frequency array.

Powerful and Punchy Bass – Speakers come with significant subwoofer drivers with specialized roomy boxes that allow them to produce a deep bass output with punchy effect. You can feel the bass produced by the subwoofer as they capable of providing all the deep low frequencies. Not only deep bass, they also offer excellent accuracy and speed, which is required for a cinema-grade audio output.

Real Surround Sound – Unlike soundbar’s virtual surround effect, 5.1, 7.1 or home theater system treats you real surround sound with optimum clarity and accuracy. As the speaker arranged in the surround setup, so you get a better surround effect than what you get from a soundbar. Moreover, they are assisted by various formats like Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos, which notch up the home theater experience to a new height.

High Sound Stage Accuracy –  When it comes to sound-stage accuracy, speakers take the driver seat, especially the 5.1 or home theater speaker systems. The center and front speakers are engineered to direct the sound towards the user rather than scattering it in the room. An accurate sound-stage with a lot of spaciousness notches up the audio experience by a large margin when you are watching movie, TV series, or listening to music.

A Lot of Speaker Types – With speakers, you get a lot of option when it is about the type, and it ranges from a standalone mono speaker to 7.1 surround home theater system. For proper stereo, you get the option for a 2.1 speaker system while for standard surround sound output, you get to utilize a 5.1 surround sound system. Whereas home theater system with AV receivers gives you theater-like audio output although the quality will differ according to the price.

Customization Options – A great advantage of owning a bookshelf speaker under $200 is the customization you get with them. If you are building a surround sound system, then you can pick items one by one depending upon your budget. You won’t have to buy the whole set in a single instead you take your time to purchase speaker part by part to create the system. It even gives you the flexibility to acquire speakers of different manufacturers.

Varied Type of Connection Facilities – You have seen soundbars only come with a limited amount of ports, but this is not the case with speakers. As the speaker comes with large spaces and receivers, so they get the option to house a large number of ports. Not only that, they even get to boast the varied type of ports so that you can connect a different kind of devices at a time. Apart from ports, they also come with Bluetooth and wireless streaming facilities, which act as an added advantage to users who want to avoid the wires.

Like every audio device, speakers also have some disadvantages, and the main drawback of them is the amount of space they occupy. Until you opt for a high-end wireless system, you will attach a lot of wires to complete a speaker setup. Moreover, the installation is quite complicated, especially for surround sound systems, and if you don’t set them correctly, they won’t offer the expected surround effect. It even lacks an affordable price factor when compared with soundbar as speakers cost quite more than the latter.