When watching a TV series, music videos, or gaming, you definitely want the best sound experience. However, TV screens have poor sound quality. Thus, you’d need adding external speakers for better sound quality. You can choose between home theater speakers and soundbars. But which is better between the two options? Let’s discuss these two options to assist you in making an informed decision.
Home Theater Speakers Explained
Home theater speakers are a set of several speakers and a subwoofer that are designed to work together seamlessly. The speakers are set up in such a way that they deliver surround sound in the room. They can be arranged as a 5.1 channel or a 7.1 channel. The most common set up is a 5.1 channel. A 5.1 channel set up involves five speakers and a single subwoofer while a 7.1 channel includes seven separate speakers and a single subwoofer.
Home theater speakers are purchased as a single set of speakers or as component speakers. You basically buy them all together from a single manufacturer or buy separate speakers from different manufacturers. Buying them as a single set from one manufacturer makes it easy to match them in terms of power ratings. In a home theater speaker set up, there’s a center speaker whose role is reproducing surround sound. There’re also right and left front speakers that reproduce highs and lows and right and left surround speakers that reproduce surround sound. The subwoofer reproduces low frequencies for the best bass.
A soundbar is a rectangular-shaped speaker and is long in terms of length. It looks like a bar and that’s why it’s known as a soundbar. A single soundbar is filled with several speakers along it for full range stereo/surround sound. The inbuilt speakers are designed to deliver crisp sound. Most soundbars available today come with a separate wireless powered subwoofer to add bass.
Why You Should Choose Home Theater Speakers
One of the reasons why you should choose home theater speakers is that they offer rich, deep sound. Since speakers are separate, they divide sound much better for the best surround sound experience. Moreover, they’re large and tend to be extremely loud. They’re capable of delivering room shaking sound and bass.
Home theater speakers allow for customization. You can place them throughout the room for a wider sound experience. You can even add more separate speakers if you like, especially if you’re setting up component speakers. Thus, you can have a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1 or even 9.1 channel set up. You can as well include more than one subwoofer.
Shortcomings of Home Theater Speakers
Home theater speakers make a room look cluttered. This is because they’re placed all over the room. Also, if you fail to hide the speaker cables neatly, the room will look unkempt. Thus, they bring about challenges of hiding speaker cables. They demand a lot of wiring, making it complex to set them up. While you can choose wireless speakers, that will mean spending a lot more.
Generally, home theater speakers tend to be expensive. A full home theater speaker set up will cost you quite a lot, especially when you’re investing in high-quality, powerful speakers. Moreover, home theater speakers take up a lot of space in a room. Thus, you really need a spacious room to set them up without making the room look cluttered.
Why You Should Choose Soundbars
One of the main advantages of soundbars is that they allow for easy installation. They’re as easy as plug and play to install. You only need to attach them via HDMI or a 3.5mm cable. Some even support Bluetooth pairing for wireless connection.
Another area where subwoofers are a great choice is their space saving nature. They’re compact such that you can easily place them anywhere. They’re almost unnoticeable. As such, they offer an extremely neat set up. You can also rearrange them easily whenever you want. Moreover, you can find affordable soundbars to suit your budget. While some may be costly, their average price is quite affordable.
Shortcomings of Soundbars
Soundbars are not effective in offering virtual surround sound. Although they deliver crisp sound, you won’t enjoy the best surround sound experience. Moreover, soundbars don’t offer room shaking sound on their own, unless you add a powerful subwoofer.
So which is better between home theater speakers and soundbars?
If you’re planning to set up a sound system in your home, you’ll have to choose between home theater speakers and soundbars. Both options have their own unique benefits. They also come with an equal share of shortcomings. Thus, there’s no option which is better than the other when all factors are considered. But which one should you choose? Your choice should be based on your personal preferences.
If you need a sound system that will deliver full surround sound with a true cinema-like experience, then you should invest in home theater speakers. Also, if need more customization, you should consider home theater speakers.
On the contrary, if you don’t have enough space in your entertainment room, then invest in soundbars. Also, if you’re working with a tight budget, soundbars will be your best bet. Similarly, if you want the simplest option to set up, soundbars will suffice.
As you can see, home theater speakers and soundbars are both ideal sound systems. None can be said to be totally better than the other. Your ultimate choice should depend on what you really want. With this information in mind, we hope you’ll be able to make a better choice.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.