Soundbar vs. Surround Sound: Weighing Your Options

December 2, 2016 1:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Surround sound has always been the premiere way to experience music and movies. The multiple speakers allow you to immerse yourself in a full-circle listening experience. Internal speakers or two-piece speaker systems have never been comparable to the 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems. However, surround sound systems do have their drawbacks. Installing multiple speakers isn’t always easy, and exposed wires aren’t pretty to look at. Enter the soundbar.

The soundbar made its debut in home audio stores in Chicago in the early 2000s, but to audio enthusiasts who appreciate quality sound, the soundbar didn’t even come close to high end surround systems. However, the soundbar has grown up since then and, with new technology, can now be found in home audio stores in Chicago advertised as a comparable alternative to a surround sound system. We have to admit that the soundbars of today offer a quality listening experience, so how do you decide which option is best for you? Here are a few points to consider.

Sound quality

Soundbars have come a long way since the early 2000s in regards to sound quality. A soundbar brings together five channels of sound (such as a 5.1 surround system uses) into one speaker. Although newer models use this technology effectively, they still have not been able to recreate the encircling sound of a surround sound system. In addition, soundbars typically can only reproduce sounds on the higher end of the spectrum, so you will most likely have to invest in a subwoofer anyway.


When comparing the cost of a surround system and a soundbar of equal quality, the surround system will always be more expensive. Bottom line, the surround sound system will cost more because there are more speakers and equipment that need to be purchased. If you are looking for a surround sound system experience, but aren’t ready to invest in a quality surround sound system, settling for a soundbar may be the best middle-of-the-road option for you.


Another point to consider when comparing a soundbar to a surround sound system is installation. Again, a surround sound system has more speakers that not only need to be wired to your TV, but also need to be strategically installed around your room. A soundbar, on the other hand, requires minimal effort to install.


When checking out home audio stores in Chicago, you’ll find that one question store associates will always ask is what type of TV you have. Surround sound systems do have some restrictions when it comes to compatibility with certain devices. Although this is easy to work around, it is one more thing to consider. Soundbars, however, are compatible with a wide range of devices compared to certain surround sound systems.

For the best advice in creating the perfect home audio experience, stop in to Quintessence Audio LTD. Our friendly and knowledgeable associates will be able to walk you through the many home audio options available to you and help you customize an audio solution to meet your needs.

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