A soundbar is an easy and quick solution to bring good quality audio to your home. It can be bought for $100 to $1000. But is a soundbar enough for home theater?
The soundbar is enough only when you have no spare room to dedicate it to a home theater and just want to upgrade the audio quality of the projector or TV, but if you can afford a dedicated room then the soundbar can’t come closer to what the home theater provides.
Keep reading to know more in detail about it with the evidence that I will provide. I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to this topic at the end of this article.
But to know this topic in depth, we must first understand the home theater and soundbar separately. After that, I will place my final argument in front of you to know what is better and what can be replaced or not.
What is a home theater, and what is it used for?
The home theater consists of a surround sound system with a display device that is used for video content.
The surround sound system consists of speakers and an AV receiver or separates. The surround sound has many layouts of speakers.
The basic and most used one is the 5.1. In this, you have 5 speakers that are placed all around you and one subwoofer that is dedicated to producing bass in the system. This layout has 5 channels of sound.
But my favorite speaker layout is 7.2.4. In this, you have 7 speakers that surround you on the ground and 2 subwoofers are used to fill the room with bass and 4 ceiling speakers are used for the overhead sound effects.
In this layout, the visual action happening on the screen is brought to life by these speakers. These speakers depict that action in the form of audio all around you. This layout creates a virtual sound bubble around.
The home theater was created to feel the movies in your home. This layout 7.2.4 creates a 3D sound field around you. When gladiators fight in the arena, you should feel like you are in the arena. This happens due to the speakers all around you.
The receiver or separates (preamp/process and amplifier) have enough power to play the speakers in a way that they fill your room with sound.
Your questions about some of the terminologies like AV receiver or separates will be answered here. Everything you need for a home theater equipment list. You will know more about it.
Now that you understand what a home theater is. Let’s move on to the soundbar.
What is a Soundbar, and what is it used for?
A soundbar is a cabinet in which three speakers are installed, which represents the number of sound channels. This sound can be noted with just 3, no digits after the point because there is no subwoofer here.
We use this soundbar to just upgrade the sound of the TV. Almost all modern TVs and projectors don’t have enough space to accumulate good speakers in them. All TVs have just 2 channels of sound and their speakers are smaller than an inch in some cases.
You can read a detailed comparison here. Soundbar vs TV built-in speakers. That’s why brands invented soundbars that will upgrade the sound quality of the TV.
The soundbar can only make the dialogues sound clearer and will enlarge the sound stereo transitioning, but it can’t immerse you in the movies. Along with that, it can’t provide a bass-like home theater because home theater has a dedicated one subwoofer or dual subwoofer for bass. The bass makes the action feel realistic.
While home theaters bring the visual action to life in the form of audio. You feel like the action is happening in your room.
While the soundbar just enhances the dialogues and sound stereo transitioning. Along with these qualities, the sound will feel better than the TV speakers, but the soundbar has no power to immerse in the movies or games.
Now, that you have understood them both. Let’s proceed to the final verdict.
Final Verdict: Can soundbar replace home theater?
A soundbar can only enhance the sound of the TV or projector and can never match the immersiveness quality of the home theater.
Then when is a soundbar a better option? The soundbar is better only when these two rules are satisfied. The first is when your budget doesn’t allow you to specially dedicate a room to a home theater setup and calibrate and set up the speakers in the surround sound.
The second is when you just want to upgrade the sound quality of the TV and listen to clearer dialogues. Other than these, a soundbar is never enough.
In short: Home theater is created to immerse you in the action, while a soundbar is created to just upgrade the audio quality of a TV or projector.
Know if a soundbar is worth it for TV, games, music, and karaoke. You will learn new things in my this guide.
Do I need a soundbar if I have a surround sound system?
You don’t need a soundbar when you have a surround sound system in your home. The soundbar will feel like a joke once you have listened to a good-quality surround sound system.
The speakers in the surround sound are placed all around you and the soundbar is just placed in front of you. That’s why the soundbar and surround sound can never be compared, and the surround sound will always be a winner when it comes to quality of sound.
Is a soundbar really necessary?
The soundbar is necessary when you can afford it, and the dialogues are hard for you to understand from the TV speakers.
To listen to the dialogues clearer and understand them better than the soundbar is necessary. Many people when their first language is not English will find it difficult to understand the dialogues from the TV speakers. For them, it is necessary to get a soundbar.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- This was my opinion, know more about it from this Abt post. (Resource for the first answer)
- Know more from this youtube video. (Resource for the second answer)