Soundbar or Surround Sound System? Buying tips from Ooberpad

August 18, 2017
Soundbar or Surround Sound System? Buying tips from Ooberpad
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Soundbar or Surround Sound System? Buying tips from Ooberpad

Choosing the perfect speaker for your home theatre system can be daunting, both for first-time buyers as well as audiophiles. To add to this, the speaker selection process becomes even more challenging due to the acoustics of the room and individual perception of sound.

Many of our buyers have often been confused between opting for a soundbar or a multi-channel surround sound system for their home. Soundbars are particularly preferred thanks their sleek design, easy installation process, space saving, minimized wire clutter, and their ability to produce a form of virtual surround sound. On the other hand, multi-channel surround sound systems woo you with their immersive movie and music listening experience.

In this buying-guide-cum-blog, Ooberpad puts together a quick overview about the difference between the two along with tips to choose one for your home theatre system.

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Soundbars: Pros and Cons

Soundbars: Pros and Cons

A soundbar is a specially designed loudspeaker enclosure that creates a stereo effect from a single cabinet. They are much wider than they are tall. A single soundbar replaces multiple speakers. Here are pros and cons of soundbars. 

Pros of Soundbars

Cons of Soundbars

  • Easy installation and connectivity
  • Modern and sleek design
  • Minimal wire clutter
  • Great replacement for weak TV speakers
  • Great for small-medium living spaces
  • Simulates virtual surround sound experience
  • Separate subwoofer may be required
  • Limited “sweet spots” in your listening area
  • Limited stereo field and bass punch
  • Not ideal for larger spaces
  • Does not produce complete surround sound, especially in larger spaces

Multi-Channel Surround Sound System: Pros and Cons

Multi-Channel Surround Sound System: Pros and Cons

A multi-channel surround sound system may incorporate three speakers in the front (Left, Center, & Right), 2 or 4 speakers in the back and sides for surround effects, Dolby Atmos speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. Here are pros and cons of surround sound systems.

Pros of Surround Sound Systems

Cons of Surround Sound Systems

  • Immersive, full range surround sound
  • Better speaker placement for optimal acoustics
  • Superior sound and bass
  • Audiophile-grade theatre system presentation
  • System can be designed based on space and budget
  • Higher wire-clutter
  • More space requirement
  • Higher installation process
  • More expensive than soundbars

Important aspect and tips to consider

Surround sound systems have the ability to produce eardrum pounding sound and are a  great choice for a large room, soundbars are more than capable of producing a similar quality sound. So, what performance standards and aspects do you look for when choosing between the two. Here are a few tips to remember.

  • Frequency Response
    The range of frequencies audible to humans is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The low-end frequencies such as rumbles and earthquakes in a movie are produced by the subwoofer. Have a look the frequency response to get a fair idea about what to expect from the speakers.
  • Speaker Sensitivity
    It is the speaker's ability to convert power (watts) into volume (decibels). The higher the sensitivity, the less power the speaker needs to deliver effective sound. In simpler words, a higher sensitivity rating is associated with loud, clear, and high-quality sound. It is important to remember that less power to produce higher volume is key for speaker’s long life.
  • Power Handling
    It is the power, measured in watts, that a speaker can handle before it distorts or is damaged. Higher power handling is associated with a louder volume.
  • Impedance Matching
    It is electrical resistance is presented against the current flowing from your amplifier or AV receivers outputs. Impedance fluctuates since the speakers produce sounds at varying frequencies. Almost all manufacturers will publish a nominal impedance in either 8 or 6 ohms. Always make sure that your receiver or amplifier matches the mentioned load.

We hope this guide helped you some of your questions on how to choose the right speaker system. Finally, remember much of it comes down to personal preference. For any more information on this, you can get in touch with Ooberpad!



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