Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music

Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music

To all the music lovers out there, those seriously searching for the best music experience from one of these speakers, this article is for you. We all know the importance of having the right sound system for music, a speaker that brings out clear details, with both highs and lows. I can assure you that ‘you are not alone in this’. I wouldn’t fault anyone comparing a soundbar and bookshelf speakers, the two, and great speakers with an amazing sound for any kind of music. The soundbars and bookshelf speakers are two of the most common options for many music lovers. So, to make comparing and searching easy, I have done a good job writing a comparison for soundbar vs bookshelf speakers for music. Which one of these are the best speakers for music? Here is my recent review Sonos Playbar vs Bookshelf speakers Comparison.

The Over-all summary for Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music, bookshelf speakers are the best speakers for music, mainly because they have more output power, they have a well-balanced sound profile and they produce an enhanced stereo listening experience. Besides that, they are a great value for money. So, two bookshelf speakers (plus a booming subwoofer) is probably all you will need.

Depending on the circumstances, a soundbar might make it a suitable choice, and there is also so much to get from a soundbar if only one is not fussy about the detail. Nevertheless, bookshelf speakers have been around since the beginning, while the soundbar is still somewhat new concept. 

Read Also: Sonos Playbar vs Bookshelf speakers Comparison

There is also a chance to likely get more value with the traditional bookshelf speakers, this is because there are a lot of them on the market. This means there is high competition within this sector. Since more soundbars are being produced every day, the future of bookshelf speakers might change. 

Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music

What is a soundbar?

A soundbar is a loudspeaker that gives out audio from a wide and long enclosure. Soundbars are slim and long with different individual speakers which are installed side by side to produce the best sounds. A soundbar has twitters and deep bass woofers like the Bose soundbar 700.

Soundbar design and shape

For the most part, soundbars have a large width with a diminutive height. A soundbar has multiple speakers placed in one cabinet side by side. This acoustic design of the soundbar allows you to place it below or above your TV or home theater. They can also go below your laptop and other audio devices. 

The best part about soundbars is that they have a very slim, simple, and less cluttered shape than the bookshelf or tower speakers.

Soundbar Sound

Most soundbars have a so-called “virtual sound” functionality. What this means is that you can enjoy surround sound without actually needing to have a whole surround system of many speakers. However, the virtual surround sound does not provide the highest quality surround sound, especially when compared to the surround sound from home theaters. Most soundbars come as a single system, while other come with a subwoofer.

Soundbar Cost

Typically, a soundbar’s cost can range from 30, for the most decent sound the prices can start from 200, but for a few thousand, you can get a more exclusive soundbar.

Read Also: Best Soundbar Under 500

Soundbar Set up

One characteristic that makes soundbars special is that it is very easy to set up, mostly since it’s essentially just a plug-and-play operation. For a reasonably sized living space, anywhere from 10’-15’ in width and 25’-30’ in length, then a great and economical option for great sound would be a combination of a soundbar and booming subwoofer. Here is a list of best soundbar under 500.

Soundbars are also perfect for watching tv, because of the size, and easy to blend in blend in, it is a good addition to improving the tv sound like this best wireless surround sound speakers for Tv

How do you choose a soundbar?

Both looking for how to choose a soundbar for tv or for music, the guide is also the same. Remember, there are countless soundbars out there that are made by different companies, the secret is not the brand, but the purpose of the soundbar. Here is a short guide on how to choose a soundbar system. Check out Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems – General Guide

Buy an active soundbar. 

When selecting a soundbar, go for an active soundbar. The passive soundbars can be a little complicated, mostly because they require external amplification (from most likely an AV receiver) which adds an extra layer of difficulty. Active soundbars, on the other hand, are easier to install, plus don’t require a separate receiver or amplifier to work, it easily plugs into a TV. 

Buy at least a three-channel (3.0) soundbar. 

Buying a three-channel soundbar is essential, so to enjoy the virtual surround sound that we spoke of earlier. This type of soundbar has three separate drivers in it, for left, right, and center, and they work better with TV and music. Most of these types of soundbars can be purchased with a wireless subwoofer, making it a 3.1-channel system. Find also the recommended 10 Best Wireless Surround Sound Speakers For Tv

Buy a soundbar that supports HDMI ARC. 

Soundbars that support HDMI ARC can be plugged directly into the TV through the HDMI ARC port, which allows changing the volume of the soundbar and the TV with one remote. Here is my Best Budget Sound Bar Under 100.

Consider the Brand.

Since it can be very difficult to build out a system in the futture, consider buying soundbars that are made by the same brand. Let’s say, if buying a soundbar by Sony, when adding more surrounds later on, it should be same brand.

Read Also: Best Wireless TV Speakers For Hard Of Hearing


  • Easy installation
  • Affordable 
  • They can look nice
  • Can fit them horizontally above or below a TV
  • Many of them include a subwoofer


  • Less flexibility to in building out your system
  • They have a limited power and performance, since most of them just aren’t big enough to house standard sized drivers.
Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music

What are bookshelf speakers

Bookshelf speakers are loudspeakers that come in a smaller design that allows them to fit into shelves. Bookshelf speakers are speaker design to maximize sounds that cover small to medium spaces. Bookshelf speakers are also made not to be placed on floors but on shelves, tables, or any elevated places like a wall. 

Read Also: Sony SSCS5 Vs Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf design and shape

Bookshelf speakers typically have smaller shapes. Their design features an inbuilt bass (subwoofer) and tweeter.

Bookshelf sound

Compared to the soundbar, the bookshelf loudspeakers produce a better audio listening experience. They also work well with movies if they are set up as surround speakers. The best part about these speakers is that they are very flexible to add more speakers down the road. As a plus, it can be mix and match future speakers by different brands together. Here are my complete Top 10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500.

Bookshelf cost

Typically, it is possible to buy a great pair of bookshelf for an average cost of $300. Companies that make loudspeakers within this price range are ELAC, Q Acoustics, Fluance, Kanto, Wharfedale, and a few others. 

It sometimes also require an AV receiver, most of these receivers cost around the same as the bookshelf speakers. It is a more expensive option to buy bookshelf speakers with its accompanying components as compared to buying a soundbar. Find also Mordaunt Short M10 Vs Wharfedale Diamond 9

Bookshelf Set up

For smaller spaces, such as lounge in a small apartment or bedroom, bookshelf speakers are simply the best. Just like most floorstanding speaker models in the same series, bookshelf speakers will often include the same tweeter and mid/bass driver.

Not familiar with tweeters? It is a dome or horn-shaped speaker designed to produce high audio frequencies, and also called a treble speaker. Besides music times, a great pair of passive bookshelf speakers can also make great TV speakers. However, an AV receiver may be required to hook them up. Here are my Top 10 Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers UK.

How to choose a bookshelf speaker?

As most of us know, there are many out there that are made by a lot of audio companies. Here’s how to choose the best bookshelf speakers.


The biggy the brand does not mean big quality, the biggy the size does not mean bigger cost. Cost is measured by quality, driver, and volume like these best bookshelf speakers under 100. It is not just buying a bookshelf speaker, it may require also a multi-channel receiver and cables, that is why it is important to buy affordable bookshelf speakers that similar price or less. 

Read Also: Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 300


  • More flexibility, with an option to add more speakers that will support other surround sound technologies, such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, so long it supports AV receiver.  
  • Better audio quality, the bookshelf speakers produced a well-balanced sound and a have great bass.
  • Great stereo positioning 


  • Requires more room, especially when compared to the soundbar speakers
  • More expensive for some especially with AV receiver and cable 
  • Much more complicated to install


Here is the summary for soundbar vs bookshelf speakers for music. Considering all the factors already discussed above, the conclusion is the same, the bookshelf loudspeakers are better for listening to music than the competing soundbars. Besides the audio quality, a set of powered stereo bookshelf speakers will definitely cost a lot less than a traditional soundbar.

Read Also: Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 400

The other factor is in the living space like a small apartment, a bookshelf speaker is most likely to fill the whole space with sound. For an audio device that will be easy to set up, it is best to go for a soundbar because of the virtual surround experience. But sacrificing the ability to upgrade or add new audio systems, except a separate subwoofer for bass. 

Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers For Music


Charles is passionate about blogging and technology, he studied Marketing and Computer Science, worked with other companies like Data Race Hero. Charles also manages few websites including He likes Working with Gadgets, Music, and Football.

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