A soundbar is a go-to option for newbie movies at-home enthusiasts. Because of its convenience and cool aesthetics. But do soundbars really make a difference?
At A Glance: The soundbar does make a difference if you want to replace the TV’s built-in speakers with it, but if you want to replace a complete physical surround sound with it then it will terribly fail. Yes, Terribly.
Keep reading as we will be discussing many more aspects of this topic. You will get complete knowledge about this topic and will finally know whether to go for the soundbar or not.
Does a soundbar improve sound quality?
I will explain this matter with the help of my experience with soundbars. To look into my experience, I will categorize sound quality improvement into two classes. Let’s start discussing each class in little detail to understand the reasoning well.
#1 Is it worth getting a soundbar for TV?
In-Short: It is worth getting a soundbar for your TV. Because the driver of the TV speaker is not capable of giving a wide range of sound canvas.
In-Depth: The driver of the TV’s built-in speakers is usually less than an inch. This size of the driver can produce a complete range of sounds. There are different frequencies, but widely they are put into three ranges. The three ranges are the high, mid, and lower end.
To produce a top-notch mid and lower end. You need a speaker driver that is at least 4 inches. This type of driver can move well back and forth and can create deep mid and lower-end frequencies. But the TV speaker’s driver is usually less than an inch. Now, think about why your TV’s speakers are lagging and why the soundbar can improve it.
For high frequencies to produce it well, an inch driver can do well. These types of frequencies are necessary to give clarity to dialogues. But the built-in TV speaker’s driver is less than an inch.
The less than an inch driver is ok for these frequencies, but not good. After good, there is better and best.
That’s why when we install a soundbar for a TV we improve its sound, and we get deeper music and dialogue clarity.
Read this guide, Does Soundbar Size Matter? You will know to choose which size of the soundbar for which room size and which channels soundbar. I have included small details too.
#2 Is a soundbar better than speakers?
In-Short: The soundbar can never be better than speakers of the same budget and from a reputable brand because the drivers for soundbar built-in speakers can’t match the range of these speakers.
In-Depth: The soundbar can win from TV speakers, but it can’t win from normal speakers. There are two reasons for it. One, the drivers are small, and second, the placement flexibility.
The driver part you already know, that’s why I will explain it briefly. The soundbar speakers’ drivers are at least 2 inches, whereas a normal speaker’s driver starts from 4 inches.
Another reason is that. The speakers can be placed all around you. This placement will give you a better movie, music, and gaming experience. Many modern soundbars come with virtual surround sound.
But that virtual surround sound can’t come close to what real surround sound provides. In reality, you place physical speakers around you. The sound of those speakers comes from all around you and hits you.
This surround sound produces realism in movies and gaming scenes. You will feel like you are in the real situation of movies or gaming. You can arrange the speakers in any layout you want, while the soundbar is kept right there in front of the TV.
These were the basic differences that are keeping the soundbar away from winning position. I have written another guide where I have compared the speakers and soundbar in 9 different areas. I don’t want to repeat the same thing here. Check this guide on speakers Vs soundbar. You don’t need to read the whole article, just read the rating table at the beginning of it. You will know where the speakers are winning and where the soundbar is winning.
What are the advantages of a soundbar?
Let’s discuss the advantages of the soundbar briefly in bullet points. So you can understand it better.
- The soundbar is a very convenient sound option. You can set it up within minutes after unboxing it.
- You don’t need knowledge of wire connectivity to connect each speaker of the soundbar. Because all the built-in speakers in the soundbar are connected to the power supply of the soundbar. You connect a soundbar to power, and all the built-in speakers are connected by default.
- You don’t need knowledge of wire management. With a lot of wire comes wire management, but you don’t need more than two wires for the soundbar. The power cable and HDMI connectivity cable. That’s it.
- The soundbar comes with many cool features like music and video content streaming services. Not all soundbar comes with video content streaming, but the high end. But almost every soundbar does provide you with an option to connect your soundbar to mobile and stream music.
- It drastically improves the canvas of sound frequency range, which TV speakers can’t provide. The high-end, mid, and lower-end will feel more robust and wide. By wide, I mean you will instantly start feeling newer tunes in the same content you were listening to on TV speakers.
- Dialogue clarity is very important for us. The soundbar speaker’s drivers are very capable of delivering dialogue clarity, and you know why because we have discussed the reason behind it in the above sections.
Read this guide, Do You Need eARC Soundbar? I have included values in a simple table. Picking is easy.
What are the disadvantages of a soundbar?
Here are the disadvantages that I come up with.
- The soundbar can’t provide bass or bass management. The drivers are so small that they can’t produce bass. For good bass, you need at least 6 or 8+ inches of drivers. Also, a lot of soundbars can’t provide bass management. You can’t connect a separate subwoofer with all of them, however, but fewer high-end ones do provide it.
- It can’t provide realism with video content. One, it can’t provide bass. The bass is necessary for a realistic movie experience. Another reason is you can’t scatter the speakers of the soundbar all around you. They all are built into the soundbar and kept in front of you. But newer high-end soundbars do provide separate speakers with them to place at the rear or the sides of you, but they come with a price.
- They can’t provide real or clean Dolby Atmos. For Dolby Atmos, you need physically installed speakers in the ceiling. Where the soundbar is doing it wrong in two ways. It has Dolby speakers in front and another problem is that it shoots the sound to the ceiling. The sound texture then depended on the build quality of the ceiling. The ceiling build quality will add its own flavor to the sound.
Read this guide, cheap vs expensive soundbar? Which is better? I have included poll stats, a comprehensive guide, and testing of both to know the difference.
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Are 5.1 soundbars worth it?
They are worth it if their price is under $500 and provide separate speakers for the rear position.
Why did I say under $500? Because you can get a complete set of speakers for above $500 and those speakers will always be better than an expensive soundbar.
Why did I talk about separate speakers? Because you need physical speakers in the 5.1 to go at your back, and few brands are providing separate speakers with 5.1 soundbars.
Do soundbars have amplifiers in them?
Their built-in circuitry is built in a way that all the power for soundbar speakers is provided by it. Does the circuitry have an amplifier? Maybe or maybe not, but it doesn’t need an amplifier.
The soundbar is a complete package. The power for the soundbar’s speaker is available for them within the soundbar. That’s why you don’t need to worry about the amplifier for the soundbar.
Which connection is best for the soundbar?
HDMI connectivity is the best of the best for any soundbar. The HDMI provides high-quality sound with CEC capabilities.
The HDMI when the soundbar is eARC enabled can provide the highest quality of sound possible in the soundbar and also provide CEC. With CEC you can control both the TV and soundbar with just one remote and this feature is not provided by other connectivity options.
Which brand of a soundbar is the best?
Vizio is the best brand for soundbars because they are budget-friendly and provide physical surround sound with separate speakers.
Along with this, they provide wires for almost every connectivity and provide everything in the box that is needed for soundbar functionality.
Do soundbars give you surround sound?
They do provide, but that is virtual. Virtual surround sound means that all speakers are at the front, and you don’t get separate speakers for the surround sound to create real magic of it.
Newer soundbars do provide separate speakers, but they are very expensive. With less than that budget, you can buy above-average or in some cases high-end speakers. An above-average speaker set can beat these soundbars.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- Like, read this guide: best soundbars under $300. I have reviewed a soundbar in this guide that does provide separate speakers. (Resource for the first answer)
- This was my opinion, know more from this post on the CNET blog. (Resource for the third answer)
- This was my opinion, read more from this Klipsch blog. (Resource for the fifth answer)