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The soundbar was created to make the audio experience of TV better. But now it has evolved from just a lift to TV audio to Dolby Atmos and surrounds sound capabilities. That’s why you might get confused as to how much you should spend on a soundbar.
At A Glance: As a general rule of thumb, you should not spend more than $300-$700. Because after $700 the soundbar isn’t worth it, and you should focus on the alternatives instead. And below $150 the sound of the soundbar will not be worth enough.
Keep reading as we will be discussing many more aspects of this query. I will also talk about the alternatives to soundbars and related questions to this query.
When This $300 Budget Applies?
The TV built-in speakers nowadays don’t sound as good as in the old days. In the old days, TVs were equipped with good speakers. Now there are flat TVs which don’t have enough space to accommodate good speakers.
That’s why I chose this $300 budget. This budget applies when you need better audio with your TV-watching experience.
You can buy a decent soundbar for under $300 that can give clear dialogues and better sound than TV speakers.
You will start enjoying the music, TV shows, movies, and sports better than before.
But consider buying those soundbars that provide a subwoofer. Because the subwoofer can spice up things even more.
The subwoofer will make the punches, bullet firings, and many impact actions feel realistic.
Many decent soundbars are providing subwoofers for this budget.
Read my this guide about optimizing home theater audio in 5 steps. These are very easy steps to follow.
When This $700 Budget Applies?
If you want more than just a lift to the TV audio and want to surround sound with a soundbar, then you come under this category.
Few brands are making good soundbars with surround sound under $700. These brands are Polk, Vizio, etc.
I am not talking about virtual surround sound. The virtual surround sound is just a simulation of surround sound and not a real surround sound.
A real surround sound has physical speakers at each position of the theater. A virtual surround sound produces a surround sound from just front speakers.
This virtual machine can never beat a real surround sound. That’s why I always try to buy a soundbar that provides separate wireless speakers for the rear position.
You can place these speakers at your back to create a real surround sound around you. There are three speakers for the front already in the soundbar and with a subwoofer. This creates a real surround sound.
This seems too good to be true. But it is. Fortunately, you can read my review guide about the best soundbars for under $300. One soundbar in this list is providing real 5.1 surround sound. Shocking. Right?
What Can You Use Instead Of A Soundbar? (Alternatives)
There are many more gimmicks to the soundbar apart from surround sound. Many companies are claiming that they are providing Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or robust surround sound in their soundbars.
And many consumers fall into this trap. They love to pay more than $700 for these soundbars. But these soundbars don’t provide real Dolby Atmos or surround sound.
This is just a simulation of Dolby Atmos, and it can’t match the quality of real Dolby Atmos with physical speakers at every position.
That’s why spending more than $700 for the Dolby Atmos simulation is not worth it. You can easily arrange an above-average Dolby Atmos speaker set for under $700.
This above-average set with actual speakers for each position will beat these Hi-fi soundbars. Because you can feel real Dolby Atmos or surround sound with above-average speakers set.
The speakers have better drivers than the soundbar and can sound better than them in every aspect of the sound.
Read my guide about the best speaker sets for under $1000. I have reviewed the most capable speakers.
LCR Speakers Set (Alternative #1)
You can arrange center, left, and right speakers for under $300 from Amazon. These speakers will sound better than a $1000 soundbar with just 3 channels.
You can add a subwoofer to these speakers as well. These speakers will beat the soundbar in the sound, but it will come with a little hustle.
You will need to power them with an amplifier or receiver. You will need to wire them up and also calibrate them.
While on the other hand, you don’t need this hustle with a soundbar. The soundbar can be set up and played after minutes of unboxing them.
Read my this guide to know more differences between LCR speakers and soundbars. Don’t forget to read the table at the beginning of this article.
Complete 5.1 Speaker System (Alternative #2)
You can buy a complete set of speakers. There is arranging a set by yourself, and there are speaker sets arranged by the brands themselves.
These speaker sets can be acquired for under $700. They can provide better sound than a soundbar that costs more than $1500 that claims to be delivering surround sound.
These speakers can beat the soundbar, but their sound will be average to audiophiles that are used to robust theater systems.
However, they can be the best alternative to a soundbar because they can provide real surround sound with all the speakers in the system and not just a simulation.
Read my this review guide about the best speaker system sets under $500. A few sets’ features might shock you.
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Can I use a Bluetooth speaker instead of a soundbar?
You can’t use Bluetooth speakers instead of a soundbar because a typical soundbar has three channels while a speaker has only one channel.
One speaker can’t beat a soundbar. But a complete set of 5.1 speakers can always overpower a soundbar.
Do you really need a soundbar?
You need a soundbar if you want better audio than a TV and don’t want to deal with the hustle that the speaker system brings.
Hustle means; setting the speakers, calibrating them, and positioning them correctly.
Are soundbars louder than TV speakers?
Soundbars are louder and provide clearer dialogues than TV speakers. The driver in a flat TV speaker is smaller than an inch. While a typical soundbar has three speakers with at least a 2-inch driver each.
Can you connect other speakers to a soundbar?
Few soundbars do come with speakers that can be connected to them wirelessly. Many soundbars by Bose and a few soundbars from Vizio provide this feature that you can connect their speaker to their soundbar.
Can I connect my soundbar to my TV wirelessly?
You can connect a soundbar to a TV wirelessly, but this connection is not recommended. You might face lip-syncing issues with this connectivity.
HDMI eARC connectivity doesn’t have this lip-sync issue at all.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- This was my opinion, read more about it from this Reddit discussion. (Resource for the first answer)