Soundbar with built-in subwoofer Vs Separate (Which Sounds Better?)

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A soundbar is very convenient and swift to install sound solutions. That’s why a lot of entertainment in-home lovers are coming to it or searching about it. But there are two types of soundbars now. Soundbar with built-in subwoofer and separate. Which sounds good?

At A Glance: The soundbar with a built-in subwoofer sounds good, but for the best sound and bass management, the soundbar with a separate subwoofer will sound the best.

Keep reading as we will be discussing many more aspects of this. Don’t forget to read the stats of the poll at the bottom of the article to know what others are choosing.

Builtin Subwoofer Vs Separate Subwoofer Soundbar

Let’s compare both of these soundbars with each other and see which one stands out. After reading this, you will be able to choose a type of it that will better suit you.

Built-in Subwoofer Soundbar

soundbar with built-in subwoofer

Here, the subwoofer is fitted on one side of the soundbar. This arrangement gives you good sound but keeps you in limitations. What are those limitations? Well, read the pros and cons to know more.

Pros

  1. It can be installed quicker
  2. It doesn’t require a large space to be kept in
  3. It doesn’t require thinking about bass optimization
  4. It uses less power as compared to a separate subwoofer soundbar
  5. Fewer wires and less wire management
  6. Cool aesthetics that level up the TV and room design

Cons

  1. No bass management and optimization. Why one thing in both pros & cons? Cause here the angle is different. I said no bass optimization is pro because for those who are lazy and don’t want to keep up with the bass optimization hustle. Here it is a con because bass lovers want better bass all the time. If you can’t provide bass optimization for them, then it is a con. 
  2. The bass is not robust and deeper here. Cause the built-in subwoofer is always small, and a small subwoofer can’t provide you with deeper bass

Read this review guide, for the best soundbar under $300. I have reviewed the top 7 both built-in and with a separate subwoofer.

Recommendation

I will recommend this built-in subwoofer soundbar below. It is the best in this category and it is sometimes tagged as Amazon’s choice. I have reviewed it in the above under $300 review article.

Separate Subwoofer Soundbar

soundbar with a seperate subwoofer

Here you get a subwoofer with your soundbar. You get all the required speaker drivers built-in in the soundbar and a separate bigger subwoofer. Let’s know what are its pros and cons.

Pros

  1. You get bass management and optimization here. You can move the subwoofer around, and it is very important. The subwoofer should be mobile to hunt down the best point for it.
  2. The bass is deeper and more robust. Because the bigger the driver the deeper will be the bass.
  3. Better punch to boost video content realism. Bass gives a realistic touch to video content. That’s why a better bass punch gives a better realism punch.
  4. You get tighter & deeper dialogues that feel real.

Cons

  1. A separate subwoofer comes with wires. You need to take care of those extra wires too.
  2. The separate subwoofer needs space and should not make the room design worse.
  3. The bass doesn’t hit well in all places of the room. You have to keep moving it to get the place for it. So, it is a hustle to look for.
  4. The separate bass soundbar will use more power than a soundbar with a built-in subwoofer.

Read this guide to know how much should spend on the soundbar. I have presented the best options and alternatives in this guide.

Recommendation

I will recommend this subwoofer with a separate subwoofer below. It has two separate speakers as well that you can place behind you to give you entry level 5.1 surround sound feel. It is tagged as Amazon’s choice from time to time.

Final Verdict & FB Poll

Poll Options (Which Sounds Good?)Stats
Soundbar with separate subwoofer87%
Soundbar with builtin subwoofer13%
There were 73 participants in this poll

I conducted this poll in a Facebook group.

I was shocked that 13% voted for the built-in subwoofer soundbar. That’s why I reach out to them to know their opinion. The final verdict is crafter after my experience with the soundbars and taking interviews from this poll participants.

  • If you want better dialogue clarity and better overall sound than the TV speakers then the builtin-subwoofer soundbar will sound good for you
  • But if you want all of the above along with robust bass then a soundbar with a separate subwoofer will sound and work better for you.

I will recommend the below soundbar on Amazon by Vizio. It will boost your watching & listening experience.

Read this guide to know cheap vs expensive. Which soundbar is better? I have compared them with ratings.

Did you get something out of this soundbar guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

FAQs

What is the difference between a 2.1 and 5.1 soundbar?

In a 2.1 soundbar, you get two stereo channels with a subwoofer. In a 5.1 you get a center channel and four surround sound speakers with one subwoofer.

The surround sound speakers may be built into the soundbar or will have two separate speakers for the rear surround sound.

Can you add a second sub to a soundbar?

Not every soundbar brand provides the flexibility of adding a second sub, however, very few brands are keen to provide this flexibility. One brand is Sonos. They have created a nice ecosystem around their products.

How far should the subwoofer be from the soundbar?

The subwoofer should not be more than a foot away from the soundbar. This will give a nice blend of bass frequencies and upper-end frequencies. You don’t want to feel the bass frequencies separate from the rest of the sound.

Can I use any subwoofer with my soundbar?

When it comes to using another subwoofer with a soundbar, it is difficult. Because almost all the brands don’t want you to use a subwoofer outside their ecosystems. That’s why you will find rear soundbars that will allow you to do so.

Is a subwoofer necessary for TV?

It is not necessary, but it is important. The TV can throw audio without a subwoofer as TVs have internal speakers, but they are not capable of giving you better bass sound. To have the best bass sound possible, you need to have a separate subwoofer. 

Because the subwoofer can provide deeper and better bass. However, it sounds childish to compare the bass of the TV speakers with a separate subwoofer. Because the TV speakers are not made for bass and their engineering can’t provide bass. If there is no bass in the first place then why waste time comparing its bass with a subwoofer?

Are separate speakers better than soundbars?

Separate speakers will always be better than a soundbar. Because they can be placed all around you to surround you with sound.

Is it better to have a separate subwoofer with a soundbar?

It is always better to have a separate subwoofer. Because a separate subwoofer has a bigger driver that can go deeper in the bass, and you can move it around the room to hunt the best point for the bass hitting.

What is the difference between a soundbar and a soundbar with a subwoofer?

A simple soundbar has no subwoofer in it and has no deeper lower frequencies, while a soundbar with a subwoofer has deeper lower-end frequencies.

The bass is important to give a realistic touch to all the action going on the screen, and in a simple soundbar, you are missing this realism.

Do you really need a subwoofer with a soundbar?

You need a subwoofer if you are a fan of feeling the realism of video content in the form of audio in your room.

The subwoofer bass gives a realistic touch to the movies and TV shows background score and sound effects.

This bass creates a 3D sound-field image of the video content in the room. You feel like the action is really happening in front of you.

If you want this realism then you need a separate subwoofer with your soundbar.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. Read this guide to know which size of soundbar to get for your size of room. I have discussed the channels and the actual size of the soundbar vs the room. You will know which is the best size for you. (Resource for the first answer)
  2. This was my opinion, read more about it from the DefenitiveTechnology Forum. (Resource for the fourth answer)
  3. This was my opinion, read more about it from Crutchfield’s blog. (Resource for the fifth answer)
  4. Read this guide, speaker vs soundbar? I have given ratings and compared them both. (Resource for the sixth answer)

Watch To Learn Where To Place The Subwoofer With Your Soundbar

This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

2 Comments
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  1. Very helpful article, thanks

    • I am glad that you found it helpful. Keep coming back and read about what you want to know.

      Thanks for your feedback and comment.

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