Soundbars are worth it if you are a lover of convenience and want a better option than the TV’s built-in speakers.
Then personally, I don’t recommend spending more than $300-$700 on a soundbar and I have a reason behind this saying.
But here the debate is on another point. Here we will compare the expensive ones with the cheap ones and will see if it is worth it to spend more.
Don’t forget to check the poll in the Final verdict section of this article. I have conducted this poll in a Facebook group and real soundbar users have voted in it.
Keep reading as I am going deep dive into the comparison.
Note: According to me the soundbars under $300 are cheap and above $1000 are expensive and in between is the mid range.
Here the cheap soundbar is the winner. Because most of the expensive soundbars have huge sizes. Caring for them around is not an easy task to do. In most cases, you will need another person to help you out.
Another point is that the expensive soundbars are usually had more height than the cheap ones. This height can’t be accommodated easily under the TV. In some cases, they might block some pixels of the TV picture or block the infrared rays receiver.
You will find it difficult to make the TV remote work properly because the infrared ray receiver is blocked by the soundbar’s huge height.
These expensive soundbars also need sound calibration while the cheap ones are good to go once you have powered them and connected them to the TV.
Many expensive soundbars do come with rear speakers or subwoofers. You will be required to set them up too. There is no absolute area for a subwoofer to be placed and it will sound good. You have to find a sweet spot for it.
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|Cheap Ones||HDMI CEC. HDMI, Optical, Bluetooth, and Aux Connectivity. Stereo with 3 to 3.1 channels. Above-average remote controller||5/10|
|Expensive Ones||Same connectivity and CEC + eARC, More than 4 channels with a subwoofer. Streaming services for music and extra pass-throughs||10/10|
In the expensive category, virtual surround sound and Dolby Atmos is a normal things. Along with that, you will get an extra pass-through from the soundbar.
If you are having many input devices to connect at once then you can connect a few to the soundbar and the soundbar will pass their signals to the TV.
You can stream your favorite music from streaming services wirelessly to the soundbar directly. However, many cheap soundbars do come with this feature. The newer ones are enhanced.
But the expensive soundbars come with extra channels for surround sound and Dolby Atmos. We will discuss this in the sound section of this article.
The expensive soundbar has an eARC that transfers the audio signals without any loss in it. You get an original form of the signals while in cheap ones there is still ARC.
Read about these 17 mistakes everyone is making that are ruining the home theater experience for you. They are common and can be avoided easily.
|Cheap Ones||Stereo or stereo with subwoofer||5/10|
|Expensive Ones||Virtual or real surround sound with Dolby Atmos & DTS:X||10/10|
Expensive soundbars have many more channels than just stereo that cheap ones provide. There will be the front three channels along with the Dolby Atmos and surround sound speakers at the sides.
The Dolby Atmos speakers will fire the sound to the ceiling and the side speakers will fire the sound to the sidewalls and they will reflect at you and will give you surround sound.
These reflections from above and the sides will give you a virtual surround sound. However, few soundbars in the expensive category do provide real speakers to place at the rear.
Always remember this. No matter how good these soundbars are. The virtual surround sound can’t beat real rear speakers at the back. Read my this cheap soundbars review guide there is a soundbar by Vizio that provides two speakers at the rear.
A cheap soundbar with real speakers at the back can beat an expensive soundbar with virtual surround sound.
|Cheap ones||20-25 Inches||7/10|
|Expensive ones||25-50 Inches||10/10|
The expensive soundbars are usually very large and have heavyweight. Adjusting the expensive ones with the TV is a difficult task to do. Also, they are a bit hustle in handling or moving them from one room to another in the house.
Unboxing them is a hustle too. You will probably need another person to do the expensive soundbar unboxings.
The size is a plus point if you want a bigger size but if you are not ready for the hustle that their size brings then it is a negative point for you.
The cheap soundbars are small enough that they can be unboxed easily and adjusted easily below the TV.
Dialogues Clarity Comparison
These 6 points are more than enough for a native language speaker. If you need a better option for dialogues clarity than the TV speakers then the cheap option is a better option for you.
But for example, if you are not a native English speaker and the content is in English then you will need an expensive option to go with. If there is a person in the audience who has hearing problems then the expensive option will be the better choice for them.
Otherwise, the 6 points are more than enough for you. There is a Bose soundbar that cost less than $100 but the dialogue clarity is superb. Read my soundbars for under $300 and you will get to read about this soundbar.
|Cheap ones||Without or With a mediocre Subwoofer||4/10|
|Expensive ones||Drivers with bass along with above the average or high-end subwoofer||10/10|
The cheap soundbars most of them don’t have a subwoofer but if they provide then it will be a mediocre level of a subwoofer.
These types of subwoofers are good if you are leaving in an apartment and you don’t want to disturb the neighbors or your room is very small.
Otherwise, they will not be able to fill a medium size of the room.
On the other hand, the expensive ones have speakers with huge drivers that can produce some level of bass and also have an above-average subwoofer that can fill medium rooms quite well.
Know how to increase the home theater bass in 9 simple steps. They are proven.
Quality Vs Brand: Which One Worth Your Money?
Few brands will charge you more for their brand value and will not deliver what they are meant for.
But Vizio is a brand that provides more value for money. I have tested one soundbar of them. The Vizio V-series provide real 5.1 surround sound for under $300. Can you imagine that?
Watch the below video this guy has compared the same soundbar with a more expensive Samsung soundbar.
Small Room Size Vs Large: Which Size Or Price Of Soundbar To Choose?
|Large||Midrange to Expensive Soundbar|
If you have a small room then a cheap soundbar under $300 will do its work. You don’t need to go for an expensive soundbar.
But if your room is large then again you don’t need to buy expensive ones for it. A mid-range can do their work but if you need more pass-through or Dolby Atmos effects then you can go with expensive ones.
Poll: Which Matters The Most For You In A Soundbar?
|Sound (Including Surround Sound effects)||26.53%|
- Dialogue Clarity Winner = For me this category winner is a cheap soundbar. Because if you are a native speaker and also don’t have hearing problems then you are good to go with a cheap option. It will save you money that you can invest in many more things like buying Blu-ray DVDs.
- Bass, Sound, and Features Winner = Here the winner is an expensive soundbar. Because these soundbars have a lot of speaker drivers with a nice subwoofer and support for surround sound and Dolby Atmos. Also, the expensive ones have a lot of features and support many modern technologies.
- Convenience Winner = The convenience winner is a cheap soundbar. Because cheap ones are small to handle and can be set up in a few minutes and don’t require sound calibration.
Are soundbars a waste of money?
They are not if you need more clear dialogues and a little better sound than the TV speakers but if you are a fan of huge bass and real surround sound then yes they are a waste of money if you buy a soundbar worth more than $1500 because with these budgets you can have a real surround sound with all the complete speakers in the set.
Read my this guide about the best speakers under $1000, and you will get an idea.
Are high-end soundbars worth it?
They are not worth it because these high-end soundbars are worth more than $2000. They are expensive because they provide Dolby Atmos. Whereas, you can have real speakers for real Dolby Atmos for under $200.
How much should you spend on a soundbar?
You should not spend more than $300 if you want a better sound than the TV speakers but if you need modern features too like streaming music wirelessly then don’t spend more than $500. Because you can buy a good set of LCR speakers for under $500. Read my comparison guide on Soundbar Vs LCR speaker.
Is a soundbar worth it for a small room?
For a small room, the soundbar is worth it. Because a soundbar can easily fill a small room. But speakers and subwoofers will overfill the room and that will hurt your ears and the subwoofer will generate unpleasant boomy bass.
This was my opinion, read more about it from this Reddit discussion
Do soundbars make speech clearer?
The soundbars are created for this purpose to give you better speech clarity. A cheap soundbar can beat TV speakers in speech clarity.
Is the soundbar better than the home Theater?
The soundbar has small speakers and provides virtual sound effects like surround sound. These small drivers, speakers, and virtual sound effects can never match the magic of a complete home theater with real speakers.
But soundbar can beat home theater in a convenience category. They can be set up in a few minutes without calibrating their sound.
Are soundbars better than TV speakers?
The TV speakers have drivers that are ⅓ of the size of a regular inch. While the soundbar speakers have drivers of 2-3 inches. This is the reason a cheap soundbar will always sound better than TV speakers.
This was my opinion, read more about it on CNET Blog
How long should a soundbar last?
It should last more than 5 years but in reality, if it lasted just for a year then it is a great thing. Because the soundbar technologies are changing so rapidly that you will need a new soundbar after a year and a half to support new technologies that are on the market.