Are Sound Bars Better Than Surround Speakers? [ Which Is Better? ]

The love for quality sound when listening to music or simply watching tv has made speakers and soundbars popular in recent years. So, there’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to their most trusted confidant (Google)to find out what’s better between soundbars and speakers.But, what is better between soundbars and surround speakers?

Surround speaker system setup is far better than soundbars. Surround speakers offer far superior music and TV sound experience than you possibly have ever imagined. No wonder surround speakers are such a big deal today. 

So in this post, I am going to focus on helping you find out why surround speakers are better than soundbars.

I know that the topic about surround speakers or sound bars being better than the other is subjective! But I think I have a case to make for Surround speakers over soundbars.

Are sound bars better than speakers?

Soundbars do deliver exceptional sound for both music and movies but it lacks that little very important thing called depth and it does not provide surround sound and for these reasons alone speakers are way better especially when considering speakers of a home theater system.

After reading this article you will get a clear picture as to why i came to the conclusion that speakers are way better than sound bars,i will compare the two, and highlight what makes them different. But I will also share with you what makes the speakers stand out. 

What Is A Sound Bar, Do You Really Need It?

A soundbar also known as a media bar is an essential portable sound speaker to have where you need a balanced compact loudspeaker that improves the audio of you TV or home theater using the wide enclosure where speakers are housed. Its appearance is very different from the loudspeakers as it is wider than it is tall.

And the reasons for this being for acoustics above all, soundbars are slim and compact in size,so they can be perfectly mounted below or above a display device such as a computer monitor, a home theater system or a television set.

In a sound bar enclosure you will most likely find multiple speakers that are varried in size and watts placed in one cabinet,this in fact helps to create and impeccable sound that is surround (though coming from one direction) as well as stereo effect.

Usually you will also find that a separate subwoofer is also included within or may just be used to supplement the sound bar.

What About Surround Speaker, Do You Really Need Them?

Surround speaker systems are carefully selected pairs of electroacoustic transducers, with a primary goal of strategically optimizing speaker positioning to enhance audio signal delivery for a better audio listening experience. Over the years we have seen many different types of surround speakers being introduced on to the market but the widely used speaker is the dynamic speaker. The sound source is mostly amplified or made stronger by connecting the speaker to the audio power amplifier before the signal is sent to the speaker.

What Is The Difference Between A Speaker And A Sound Bar

The major difference between speakers and a sound bar is that a sound bar is small and the speakers vary in sizes.A sound bar is like having multiple speakers in one cabinet meanwhile when looking at a home theater the speakers 3 to 7 in number come individually.

The other difference is the shape,speakers come in different sizes as well as shapes,some tall and some short but they are never really that wide meanwhile a sound bar is always wider than it is tall.

Unlike sound bars speakers have been there for over 90 years as the first speaker was first invented in the late 1920s by a man named Edward W Kellog and his friend Chester W.Rice,on the other hand soundbars have not been around that long,they have been there for over 20 years as the first sound bar was first introduced in 1998 by a man called Altec Lansing.

Pros And Cons

The following is the side by side comparison of pros and cons of a sound bar and speaker.

 Speaker Pros And Cons


  • Speakers offer great surround sound
  • They offer different surround options based on the room size such as 5,1,7,1,9,1
  • Speakers offer a customizable setup
  • With speakers you are not bound by the manufacturer meaning you can mix and match as you like
  • Speakers are uniquely placed to be very flexible than soundbars as you can upgrade at any time you want,either the receiver or the speakers at a later date
  • Adding the surrounds or the height does not really mean you have to buy the whole new system.


  • On the downside of speakers there is lots of components that could lead to clutter
  • The speakers require a lot of wiring which may be daunting.
  • The setup is a lot more complex and may not be done just by anyone but by someone who knows what they are doing unless of course you go for wireless speakers.
  • The speakers of a home theater are a bit costly so not everyone can afford to purchase a good home theater system
  • Speakers require much of your living space so if you are going to purchase speakers you best be prepared to give up a bit more of your living space

Pros And Cons Of A Sound bar


  • A sound bar is very easy to setup
  • There is a little wiring to be done and can be done just by anyone
  • It is compact
  • The sound bar is a little less costly compared to the speakers
  • Sound bars require a lot less space in the house
  • Compared to tv speakers a soundbar offers better sound quality
  • Sound bars are self contained,so dont need a separate box to make it work


  • The sound bar does not give the best surround sound like that of speakers of a home theater system or on a gaming PC.
  • Sound bars are not as loud as speakers
  • A sound bar does not provide sound that has got depth
  • Sound bars usually cannot upgrade individual components or even add new surround formats
  • sound bars have got some limited features compared to a receiver
  • Spending some more money will not necessarily improve the sound quality thus soundbars can only be so big without having to block the tv

Argument For Speakers Over The Sound Bars

Some might argue that soundbars are better because its like having multiple speakers in one bar and so makes it easy to place over there under the tv and its true but the thing is with sound bars you do not get the best surround sound out there.Speakers do not only provide the best sound but they also provide a little bit of freedom depending on the type of surround sound,you can get 2,5,7 and 9 speaker set, in short speakers can give you a complete theater style setup if you arrange them properly and you can be surrounded by sound.

Though the size of the speaker does not determine how loud a speaker is ,with speakers you can find speakers of any size that you want but with the sound bar its like that decision is already made for you as the speakers are already fitted into that bar.

What Makes Speakers Better Than A Sound Bar

The idea of a sound bar is great until you have to host a party or any gathering that requires loud surround sound,as i mentioned above the speakers will give you the freedom of positioning,one at the front,one at the back one in the middle etc so it is surround sound at every corner of the room,sound with depth.

Basically a sound bar is good too do not get me wrong but only if you are looking for audio enhancement in your everyday life,like tv viewing,gaming etc.It will deliver good sound from one direction from the front or wherever you place it.

Individual speakers are very easy to predict for instance: 


The sensitivity of the speakers is the one that determines how much power it needs to produce the sound.It is highly advised to pay attention to the sensitivity as it also determines how long the speakers will last.It is said that the higher the sensitivity a speaker has got the less power it will need to deliver great quality sound.

If you want loud,crisp as well as clear sound then you need to have some speakers with high sensitivity,at least sensitivity rating of about 92d will do for quality sound.

The other reason why speakers are so much better is because there are other alternatives to them such as powered speakers that are designed to fill the gap between sound bars and surround systems.

These can also be straightforward systems such as the klipsch rp 15m or the more specialised ones like the roku wireless speakers.You can also use headphones that come in many different types.

At the end of the day both speakers and sound bars are very good but to answer if sound bars are better than speakers absolutely not.If you need sound for a large room or if you want to host a big event then by all means speakers are what you should go for every time while on the other hand sound bars can be used in small rooms to enhance the sound or when a few people are having a small gathering or party and need some music.

Large speakers have got the ability to produce eardrum pounding sound which is something soundbars cannot do, that is not to say soundbars are not loud,they are loud too but they can never take the place of the speakers.

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