Surround Sound System vs. Home Theatre System vs. Soundbar: Which is Better?

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Surround Sound System vs. Home Theatre System vs. Soundbar: Which is Better?

Whether it is a date night, a family night, or hanging out with friends, you can always bond over watching a fun movie or enjoying a football game. Your house can become the hotspot for all the parties if you make a few tweaks to your sound system. A lot of the latest flat-screen TVs have excellent sound quality. You can get Dolby Atmos or stereo speakers from many flat-screen TVs from reputed brands.

But a built-in TV speaker can offer so much. You can amplify your TV or gaming experience by installing a new sound system. You should choose wisely so you will not have to invest in a sound system again for a long time. When it comes to picking a sound system for home, you need to get options such as a surround sound system, a home theatre system, and a soundbar.

Unless you are an audiophile or a music enthusiast, it is understandable to find yourself in a pickle while looking at these potential options for sound systems. Let us ease your confusion a little by providing some information about these sound systems. Then you can make a decision.

Surround Sound System

Surround Sound System

The functionality of this particular sound system lies in its name. A surround sound system is when the sound surrounds you from all corners. Surround sound system was designed by keeping movie theaters in mind. Just like the audio in a movie theater, the sound surrounds you from all angles so you can feel the audio.

By installing a surround sound system in the house, you can get a movie theatre experience. While browsing the surround sound systems, you will notice that it comes with multiple speakers. Along with the main sound system, there are smaller speakers that provide that surrounding sound impression. You will hear the terms 5.1 and 7.1 when looking at different types of surround sound systems.

The 5 and 7 indicate the number of loudspeakers there are with the sound system. A 5.1 surround system consists of 6 loudspeakers in total, whereas a 7.1 comes with 8 loudspeakers. A 7.1 surround sound system is best-suited for a large living room or a hall room. The two additional speakers are called back or rear speakers. They are placed a little behind the usual setup and add to the atmospheric sound system.

If your living room is not that large, then there is no need for a 7.1 surround sound system. You need a lot of space to set up 8 speakers strategically.

Home Theatre System

Home Theatre System

Let us focus on the name of the system again while taking a look at the home theatre system. It is just what the name implies: having a theatre experience right at home. A home theatre system is when you bring the movie theatre system to the comfort of your home. A set of components, both audio and video, accompany the home theatre system to ensure quality home entertainment.

What makes the experience of watching a movie in a theatre so different from watching one at home? The bigger screen and surrounding sound are probably what you are thinking of. You need a big screen to get the full experience of a home theatre system. If you already have a large flat-screen TV at home, then you are good to go. Otherwise, you should consider getting a screen projector.

Then, you should focus on the speakers. A good home theatre setup will have a couple of speakers, a subwoofer (or two to four subwoofers), and maybe a soundbar. The point of a home theatre is to create a movie theatre atmosphere at your home. You can customize your setup according to the size of your room and what kind of sound system you need. The setup will cost depending on the components you pick.


A soundbar is a compact sound system. It offers a good portion of what you would get from a surround sound system or a home theatre setup. Since it is a single piece of component, a soundbar costs less and takes up much less space.

A soundbar often comes with a sleek cabinet that contains two or more speakers. All the speakers provide a surround or a stereo sound to help amplify your movie watching or gaming experience. A soundbar is enough to create a 5.1 sound setup with dynamic audio quality. The sound bouncing off the walls of the room makes for a great atmosphere. A soundbar is clearly not as good as a home theatre, but it does its job quite well.

Sound bar

Which One Should You Pick?

Now that you know all three setups of a surround sound system, it should be easier to pick one. The ultimate option you pick is based on your personal preference. The size of your room, the kind of audio quality you want, your budget- all of that comes into play when you are trying to pick a new sound system.

If you have a good budget, then consider getting a surround sound system or a home theatre setup. You can include as many speakers and subwoofers as you need. But if you are looking for a more compact setup on a tight budget, then a good soundbar should suit you just fine.

Bottom Line

Instead of focusing on acquiring a fancy sound system, think about what you need. If you want a surround sound system in your bedroom or a small gameroom, then getting a soundbar or a 5.1 surround sound setup should be more than enough. When you are a casual music listener or movie watcher, it does not make much sense to look for a premium sound system.

If you are a hardcore gamer, a music enthusiast, or a movie buff, you will find the motivation to invest in a good surround sound system. Instead of compromising on the quality, save up some money. Then you can get your dream setup and enjoy listening to audio the way you want.

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