Soundbar vs Home Theater: Which to Choose?

Soundbar or Home Theater? Which device to choose to improve the television sound? In this article, we will talk about soundbars and home theatres, and then compare them and decide together which is the perfect device based on each individual need.

When you decide to make an investment to switch from the use of television to enjoy an engaging and very high definition environment, you are promptly faced with two big alternatives, that is to choose the soundbar or a home theater system.

In general, they cannot be considered interchangeable accessories, even if there are models that are very close in terms of characteristics and performance, both on one side and the other. To understand how to orient yourself, however, it is important to know the characteristics of the products and their possibilities.

What are the differences between a soundbar and a home theater?

Soundbar and home theater are devices that belong to different bands. The first, in fact, is suitable for more ordinary use of contents, because it is little different from an integrated television speaker as regards the functions, even if it is a product of much higher quality.

  • The soundbar is sized to fit under the television frame or in any case be positioned frontally. At the limit, it can improve its performance with the sound reinforcement guaranteed by the subwoofer, usually not large.
  • The home theater, on the other hand, is meant for real surround sound. The effect of sound involvement in fact that in a soundbar is only simulated, because hardware spatializers are used that simulate the distribution of speakers, while in systems with satellites, the sound actually surrounds the listener.

This is why these are higher-end products, with characteristics that are suitable for cinephiles and audiophiles, but also for the gamer who can literally find themselves immersed in the atmosphere of the game, a bit like what would happen with headphones, but without the stress. weight on the head.

A soundbar may be compatible with the 5.1 or 7.1 standard, but it is only a simulation that has a number of limitations, while if you opt for a home theater, the hardware is indeed suitable for these standards and the experience clearly.soundbar vs home theater

Advantages and disadvantages

When compared directly, it is difficult to choose between a soundbar and a home theater, because the performance ranges are very different, even if they are always devices for entertainment. Let’s try to clarify what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems.

Advantages of the soundbar

  • Compact. It is usually a few centimeters wide and up to about 1 meter long bar, easy to place a piece of furniture.
  • Versatile. Allows you to listen to soundtracks, music and audio from video games.
  • Economic. The best soundbars are affordable.
  • Expandable. There are models with Bluetooth connection and subwoofer.
  • Light. Thanks to the new generation amplifiers and switching power supply, it weighs very little and is easy to hang.

Disadvantages of the soundbar

  • Limited. As versatile in sound as it is, it is geared towards audio for movies, so it is not suitable for high-fidelity music.
  • Not very powerful. Small speakers and limited dimensions block the power of the soundbars at a few tens of W.

Advantages of the Home Theater

  • Full. Whether it’s standard 5.1 or 7.1 products, you can be sure of optimal surround sound with the kit.
  • Expandable. For large rooms or for a better feeling it can be expanded by adding new satellites.
  • Optimizable. If the sound quality of home theaters is high on average, you can replace the satellites with higher quality ones.
  • Realistic. The surround effect is physically implemented and managed by DSP.

Disadvantages of Home Theater

  • Costly. Compared to a soundbar, a home theater is more expensive.
  • Bulky. It requires laying cables for the satellites and installing the subwoofer, with a cabinet for the amplifier.
  • Not very portable. Home theaters are intended for fixed installation.benefits of a soundbar

Soundbar or home theater: which one to choose

When you decide to choose, you have to deal with the physical characteristics of these two types of devices, but also with the cost ranges that can be decisive.

For a not very large living room, the best solution usually turns out to be a soundbar. It can easily offer a good audio experience, with an overall limited cost.

It is versatile enough to adapt to use with video games, music and streaming channels, even in low definition, without putting too much weight on the problems.

If, on the other hand, the room is large and you decide to give extra gear to the quality of the audio, you will almost certainly opt for a home theater system. This offers the best possible performance. If the audio is not good or in mp3, you could hear all the artefacts present.

To transform the living room into a home cinema, however, the choice is almost obligatory, because the soundbar is not the best solution. With a home theater, it may be necessary to do some work to install the various satellites.

Consider your needs and home to choose the best option.

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