Soundbar vs. Speakers, Comparison and Contrast Guide

Back in the day, the option for your audio setup was simple, go with the speakers. But now it's not that easy anymore. You have to go through this whole process of debating between soundbar vs. speakers for your audio.

If you are struggling with the same thing, then get a sigh of relief. Because here, I will go through a bit of overview of both soundbar and speakers. You will get all the information you need to make the perfect choice for your preferences.

I will go through this based on the usability of both soundbar and speakers in different scenarios. This will give you an insight into where the speakers shine and where the soundbars shine. Without wasting any more time, let's jump right into the real thing.

Related: Can I Add Speakers to My Soundbar


Soundbar vs. speakers for Music 

The first scenario I am going through is Music. And to be honest, the choice between a soundbar and speaker based solely on Music is pretty simple. You go with speakers, hundred percent of the time if you want the best experience in Music. Why?

Well, to start, the prime reason is the volume control. Speakers will have a much fuller volume that can fill a room quite quickly. If you have good placement of the speakers, you can get the best possible experience in Music. There are a lot of things that a speaker will allow you when it comes to Music.

For starters, with a surround sound setup like a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system, you get the best music experience without any questions. Even if you don't have a surround system, you still get the best music experience with speakers. I mean, bookshelf speakers are the king of Music when placing speakers in a small space.

Now, let's get to the fact of why you shouldn't pick a soundbar for your music needs. They won't be as loud as regular speakers. No matter how good the soundbar is, you won't get as much volume as you would get in a speaker. So, it can't fill a room with music you wouldn't want at a party, right?

There is no option for a surround sound facility when it comes to a soundbar. You don't get to enjoy that immersive experience of surround sound speakers. You don't have that freedom to place your speakers all around you and enjoy those sounds coming from all sides.

It's not something essentially wrong with the soundbars; it's just speakers that will give you a better experience. However, you can still pair up your soundbar with speakers to get the best sound. But then again, you can get the same experience without a soundbar and just speakers anyways.

So, summing it all up, for Music, the winner is the speakers. For the best music experience, a soundbar isn't enough.

Related: Sound bar without a subwoofer

Soundbar vs speakers for PC

The previous choice was easy, wasn't it? Now get ready to make some tough decisions. Because choosing between a speaker or a soundbar for your PC setup won't be that easy. There are several things you need to consider here.

So, to make things easy and sorted for you, I will go through some factors. You can decide between a speaker and a soundbar, considering those factors. Let's get started.

  • Purpose and usage

The first thing to consider is what's your purpose and usage for your PC audio system. If you want it for Music or work with Music, speakers are the best options for you. As I already discussed above, speakers are a better option for Music than soundbars.

If you consider other purposes like watching videos, movies, or gaming, there is not much difference. You get pretty much the same experience from a soundbar and a speaker. So, in those cases, you can still go for a soundbar and not worry too much. That's when you have to consider the other factors I am about to go through.

  • Spacing

Spacing is a severe concern for choosing speakers or soundbar for your PC setup. With speakers, you get a lot of options on the sizes. There are pretty compact bookshelf speakers. There are also pretty huge speakers out there. Which one you get is up to you.

As for soundbars, they almost come at a similar dimension. Here, what you have to worry about is that they will take a lot of width on your desk. So, if you have that kind of space, you can go for a soundbar.

Whereas with speakers, you can place them in different places, one left and one right. Or you can even keep them off your desk as well. So, it all comes down to how much space you have in your setup.

  • Sound quality

In terms of sound quality, I must say, soundbars will beat most of the speakers out there. They tend to have a better sound quality than regular speakers. But if you are thinking of surround sound, then I would say go for speaker setup.

Soundbars lack volume, which you can get a lot from speakers. So, it's up to you whether you want a louder volume or better clarity in the sounds. Keep in mind that, surround sound system is an entirely different thing here.

As you can see, it's going to be pretty challenging to choose one when it's about choosing a speaker or a soundbar. My suggestion is to aim for the purpose and usage first. Unless you want to work with Music or listen to a lot of Music, you can choose either a speaker or a soundbar.

But if you have to work with Music or don't have a separate setup for Music, I highly suggest getting speakers.

Related: 3D audio vs. surround sound

Soundbar vs. speakers for TV 

Well, the primary use and purpose of a soundbar are with your TV, after all. So, there is no way to say that you can't use your soundbar for TV. But when you throw in the possibility of having speakers in the mix, the decision gets complicated.

Like the PC setup, you have to consider some factors to choose a speaker or a soundbar. However, the factors to consider here won't be as simple as choosing one for your PC setup. Let's get going with the factors and see how both audio systems stand out.

Related: Connect Yamaha Soundbar to TV

  • Use of the speakers

I mean, when it comes to audio for tv, the apparent use is to watch movies. The real question is which setup is better for watching movies. To answer that, I will have to get into a bit of depth for both.

Let's talk about the soundbar first. With a soundbar, you get excellent vocals and mid ranges. This works the best when you are watching dialogue-heavy movies. The experience you get is just incomparable to anything else. However, this will lack the bass, which takes away a bit of the immersive element from action movies.

Now, coming to speakers, you have to go through some things. The first thing is whether it's a surround system or not. If you are going for a surround system, you don't need to worry too much because there is nothing better than a surround system for your tv.

Although if you are planning for a home theater system or a music system, then going for any speaker, surround or not, will work. For any music purposes, the soundbar isn't the way to go.

  • Price

Here's something that can sway your decision pretty quickly, even if your purpose is watching movies. The reason I am saying this is because you have to cut regular speakers out of the equation. The decision will come between surround speakers and soundbar.

Generally, surround sound systems are expensive. But for that expense, they surely bring you that quality. You will never regret buying this. A surround sound system can give you the most immersive experience in watching movies of all genres.

You get excellent sound quality from soundbars, but they aren't as expensive as the surround system. Yes, they don't give you that kind of immersive feeling. Still, they are worth a shot when you are on a limited budget.

So, it comes down to whether you have a budget for a surround system or not. If you have, then the surround system should be your go-to option. But if you want to upgrade the audio system from your tv speakers or regular speakers, then the soundbar is an excellent choice.

  • Look at the setup

Even though this might not impact the PC setup, it does affect the TV setup. You have to consider how your speakers go along with your tv setup since your tv is probably in your living room; how the setup looks will matter a lot.

Here come all the considerations of size, design, and build. In most scenarios, you would go with a soundbar. The advantage of soundbars is that they are just one unit. And they look very sleek and stylish at the same time. So, in terms of looks, you can't go wrong with a soundbar regardless of your setup.

Whereas, with the speaker setup, you have to consider they match the look of your setup. Finding a stylish speaker setup is quite difficult as well. Also, a speaker setup will most of the time have a pretty bulky subwoofer.

Now, how do you choose one? It's simple, space. If you have a spacious living room, you go with a surround system. When you have smaller space, soundbars are the way to go.

I bet you are still confused about choosing one. Here's what I think. Personally, going for a soundbar for your tv setup is the better option. It suits well for any tv show or movie because of clear vocals. Unless you have the budget and need for a surround sound system, a soundbar is probably the best thing you can get for your tv setup.

Pros and cons of soundbars and speaker 

Now, it's not about going through a particular scenario or need. Here, I will go through some of the pros and cons of a soundbar and a speaker. This will help you get an overview of both the audio systems. Let's check them out quickly.

Pros of soundbars 

  • Soundbars come in a pretty compact size.
  • It's a single unit, so you don't need too much space to set this up
  • Soundbars come with easy connectivity options
  • The sound quality you get from these are pretty accurate
  • They are an affordable option for surround sound systems
  • Soundbars are great for watching movies and tv shows

Cons of soundbars

  • Soundbars aren't the best option for bass or Music
  • They don't give you the immersive experience
  • You don't get that much freedom in choosing the whole audio setup

Pros of speakers 

  • You get the freedom to place them wherever you want and get a good audio setup.
  • They offer great bass and excellent music listening experience
  • Speakers work well for action movies
  • With speakers, you can go for a surround system for the most immersive experience.
  • There are plenty of choices when it comes to speakers
  • They usually come with the better build quality

Cons of speakers 

  • A surround sound speaker can be costly
  • Low-quality speakers aren't that good for watching movies and tv shows
  • They tend to take more space than soundbars 

Now, these were the advantages and disadvantages of having soundbars and speakers. You can surely see that none of them are genuinely superior. Both kinds of systems have their ups and downs.


All in all, choosing the audio system between soundbar vs. speakers come down to your personal preferences. Whether you want an audio system for music, movies, or tv shows will determine what you should get.

To recap the quick decision, you should avoid soundbars if Music is your primary purpose. Other than that, it all comes down to those little details. Considering everything else, if you are within a budget, there is nothing better than soundbars, especially for your tv setup.

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