Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems – General Guide

Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

There is always a reason why someone would want to purchase either of these two, soundbars vs surround sound systems. This may be for an upgrade, replacing a damaged system or just purchasing for the first time. Whatever reason may be, there are always things that should come in mind, space, purpose, price, current trends, and budget.

The reason for looking up soundbars vs surround sound systems may be to compare which is ideal for your working or living space, and maybe for just the cinematic experience. The downside is these speakers can be pricy, and some need quite enough space and once you can’t meet up with these, that’s when compromising starts.

This is why we have taken time to explains the ups and downs between surround sound systems speakers vs soundbars speakers. This article will show, list and explain in detail some of the differences between soundbars and surround sound speakers.


Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

The common explanation about a soundbar is that a soundbar is a type of loudspeaker that projects audio sound from a wide enclosure, producing and delivering good quality sound experience. Soundbars are much taller than they are wide so that they can be placed below or above a display device like under a television or home theatre screen or just above a computer monitor. Check out our Best Budget Sound Bar Under 100.

Characteristics and benefits of a soundbar


Soundbars are usually affordable, but this doesn’t mean that all soundbars are cheap, that’s far from it, but you can usually buy a decent soundbar at a low price. The brand is the first thing to look at when it comes to pricing, then followed by the soundbar features, and finally the soundbar materials. You can find soundbars under 100 with good features, and you will also find soundbars above 1000 like the Sony ST5000 7.1.2ch 800W, now comparing this two soundbars, you will realize there are loads of differences. Unlike surround sound speaker systems, these ones come with hefty prices with a quality performance that differs in comparison with soundbars. Check out our Top 10 Best Soundbars Under 200.

Easy to set up

Soundbars are easy to set up and this is because soundbars don’t have complicated accessories and components. Unlike surround sound systems, soundbars can be set up in any space either in the room or office space, and the placement doesn’t need precision. A soundbar can be mounted on a wall, can be placed on the shelf, below your or above the TV. Sound bases can also be used as a TV stand or TV platform, and soundbars also come differently, as a stand-alone or with other channels mostly with subwoofers and surround sound speakers.

There is different ways to place soundbars that come with surround sound speakers and subwoofers, the bar can be placed either in front, top or bottom of the display device, while the subwoofer and surround speakers can be placed on the sides. These are some of the reasons why soundbars are easy to set up, you don’t need manuals if you have just a little knowledge about technology if after the setup and you feel the sound is not quite right, move it around by changing the positions. Check out our Top 10 Best Soundbars Under 300.

Best for any space

Soundbars can fit any space, either office space, apartment/house spaces. These portable sound systems are much easier to handle than surround sound speakers systems. All the mentioned points above make soundbars the ideal choice if you want something that fits any space and produces good sound quality and lower to medium price.

In a simpler term, soundbars are practical and this is because they are affordable, easy to install and can accommodate any space. Most soundbars come as a single bar, or a bar and a subwoofer, or a bar, a subwoofer, and a surround sound speaker. The easier way to recognize how many elements or channels is by the number, either 2.1 or 3.1, while some of these channels come as inbuilt, either built-in channels in the subwoofer or the bar.

Soundbars cover a smaller space, just the space around the TV, but surround sound speaker systems need to be spread around a bigger space and some of them come as a 7.1 channel. Check out our Best Soundbar Under 500.

Serves as a Tv speaker

You can use soundbar as a replacement for Tv speakers, just as a boost to the Tv sound. Soundbars are good especially if you want something just to give your television a boost of sound. Let’s be honest, you can’t compare the sound from soundbars to surround sound speaker systems, this two are far apart, but also come into play depending on individual choices. If you just want to increase your Tv sound in a small to medium space, like apartments and office spaces, then soundbars can do the job. If you want over the roof sound, a cinematic feel, the goosebump feel, then surround sound speaker systems will be your ideal choice.

The best part of soundbars

  • Soundbars are suitable for apartments, rooms, and office spaces.
  • Soundbars are easy to install
  • Soundbars have fewer channels or elements
  • Most soundbars are wireless
  • Soundbars save spaces for other things
  • Soundbars useless cables
  • The cheaper the soundbar, the lower the quality, the more pricy the soundbar the more quality and sound it produces

Surround sound systems

Soundbars vs Surround Sound Systems

What more can be said about surround sound systems than to shed light on the popularity of the speakers? They have become very popular in recent time because of their performance, surround sound systems gives you this convenience of having a cinema-like sound experience right in their living room.

Characteristics and benefits of surround sound systems

Surround sound systems has a crystal clear sound and reading out every single detail from sound details to vocal details with perfection. If you have one of these 7.1 channels, you don’t need the actual cinema to get the feeling, and that’s exactly what surround sound systems do for you. Check out our 10 Best Wireless Surround Sound Speakers For Tv.

Produce and deliver top-quality sound

Surround sound systems are ideal for large space especially if you live in big houses. Unlike soundbars which are compact, surround sound system are built with each channel performing a certain task. The sound from these speakers is top of the roof, with deep, rich, crisp, clear, and highs.

The features of a surround sound system are more compared to soundbars and the accessories are more compared to soundbars. The sounds from surround sound systems can be attributed to the bulkiness, the subs are bigger, larger twitters and some have amplifiers/receivers for more deep bass. The speakers can be spread around the house making the sound fill the whole houses, on a high volume, the vibration can easily be felt on the sofa where you are seating, and even pictures on the wall can be seen vibrating.

Ideal for bigger houses

If you have a big house or rooms of about 15x20ft, surround sound systems are built to produce punchy sounds and need space because the speakers must be spread to all corners of the house or room. Surround sound systems are the ideal house party speakers with larger crowd. If you want the best party speakers with bass to fill the whole house, then consider a surround sound system, they are highly recommended. These speakers come with a heavy price, and if you can afford them, then it is worth every single penny, it will make you want to always listen to music or watch movies.

Best movie experience

If you are the cinema type and want to save that pricy cinema ticket and save yourself going out just to watch a movie, then get one of these surround sound systems and replace your cinema habit. These speakers put you in the center of the action, you will hear clear bird sounds, each guitar strings, and even clear whispering. Because the speakers are spread around the room, the echo sound resonates with the entire room just like in the cinema. Check out our Best Home Theater Speakers Under 300.

The best part of surround sound systems

  • Surround sound systems are just like in the cinema
  • Surround sound systems are loud quality sound
  • Surround sound systems produce clear detail and balanced sound
  • Surround sound systems have the perfect movie experience
  • Surround sound systems are ideal for larger houses
  • Surround sound systems are pricy and have more channels/elements

Compare soundbars vs surround sound speaker systems

The compare in more details between soundbars and surround sound systems, we will look at some technical sides.


1. Soundbars have a lower frequency response
2. The combination of all soundbar speakers produces less power compared to surround sound systems. But some soundbars have a massive power of up to 1000 watts, enough to give you that cinema feel.
3. Soundbars produce high sensitivity, but cannot be compared to surround sound systems with 7.1 channels
4. Soundbars do have a low impedance which is measured in Ohms, this show how the speakers handle electric currents/signal going through it. And because soundbars require less power, they use low impedance Ohms.

Surround sound systems

1. Surround sound systems have a high-frequency response Wikipedia
2. The combination of all surround sound speakers system produces more power in watts
3. Surround sound systems have high sensitivity which is measured in dB which determines how loud the speaker can get.
4. While surround sound systems require more power and use high impedance Ohms.


Having described, listed and show the difference between soundbars and surround sound systems, been tempted to go for either more expensive, more larger or more complicated speakers without first defining what it will be used for can cost you a lot.

Know your space, know what it is intended for before going for one, don’t go for surround sound system if you just want to replace or boost your tv speakers. Always read through manufacturer descriptions, instructions and guides before buying one. Check out our other related reviews on soundbars and surround sound systems.


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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