Having a great sound setup can enhance your movie experience and make the music feel more immersive. Since TVs, computers, laptops, and tablets don’t tend to have good output speakers, many people like to invest in an additional speaker set to get good quality audio.
The difficulty is choosing the correct setup and ensuring you invest in something that will make the most of your audio. With so many options on the market, understanding the differences and choosing between them can be overwhelming.
Two popular options are the soundbar and surround sound. Both offer fabulous quality sound, but they look and feel very different from one another.
What is a Sound Bar?
A soundbar is a long speaker unit. Typically only a few inches tall, its length allows for a wider scope of audio output. The sleek design also allows you to mount it discreetly above or below a TV.
Since it’s only one unit, it’s an ideal solution for smaller living spaces or people looking for a more portable option.
The Advantages of a Sound Bar
- Sleek, modern design and compact.
- Better for smaller spaces.
- Typically connected via Bluetooth or Wifi, removing the inconvenience and unattractiveness of connective wires.
- Despite its small size, it offers fantastic sound quality that mimics surround sound.
The Disadvantages of a Sound Bar
- Minimal bass capacity. You may need to purchase a separate sub-woofer unit to enhance the sound.
- It does not achieve full surround sound, especially in larger rooms. You may need to position yourself in a specific way to experience the best audio quality.
What is Surround Sound?
Surround sound is a more complex setup involving a series of speakers that surrounds and immerses the listener. Used initially in movie theatres, smaller, more compact versions have been designed for use in the home.
Since the setup is not portable, it requires a permanent space in the home and is, therefore, more suited to larger rooms and areas.
The Advantages of Surround Sound
- Best-quality, “movie theatre style” and fully immersive surround sound.
- Full bass capabilities.
- You can place the speakers in locations that maximize the sound experience.
- You will experience full surround sound no matter where you are in the room.
The Disadvantages of Surround Sound
- Not portable or easily moved.
- Surround sound systems tend to be wired and take up more space.
- More complex to install and set up.
- Most expensive option.
Which is Better for Sound Quality?
While soundbars continue to improve significantly and the higher-end models offer amazing sound quality, they still don’t compare to the rich audio experience that you get with surround sound.
Because surround sound involves a series of fully adjustable speakers, you can tweak the audio output until it “fits” the room perfectly. Nothing else can offer a sound experience that mimics theatre quality quite like surround sound.
With that said, this doesn’t mean you have to pay for an expensive setup for good sound. Soundbars are still a great, affordable option, especially for smaller spaces. Because of their shape, they project the sound wider than a standard speaker. Although you won’t get the same quality audio as you would with surround sound, a soundbar is a great compromise.
Buy a Sound Bar If:
- Your budget is limited.
- You have a small to medium-sized space.
- You want a simple and easy solution to improve your audio output.
Not only are soundbars relatively inexpensive, but you can also save money by looking out for a great deal. If you know where to look, you can find some great deals on a good variety of sound bars for sale.
Buy Surround Sound if:
- Money is no object.
- You have a large space.
- You want a permanent (non-portable) solution.
Surround sound systems offer the best sound experience, especially for large areas. For the best offers on surround sound systems, see what we have here.
If you’ve got your heart set on a high-end setup for your home, it’s worth waiting until the sales hit, especially large sales events like Black Friday. Typically, something that was out of budget previously can become affordable if you catch a good deal.
It’s also worth noting that the quality of small speakers will keep improving over time. Therefore, it may not be long until the technology exists to make a soundbar as good as surround sound. It’s worth keeping your finger on the pulse to see what innovations are being made in the audio market.
Whichever you choose, whether a soundbar or a surround sound system, we can expect bigger and better things to come from these speaker setups.