Should I use a soundbar or surround sound system?

July 9, 2021

Many people overlook their sound setup, but investing in either a soundbar or a surround sound system will greatly improve your watching experience. However, which one is right for you depends on several factors.

The most obvious factor is your budget. Are you looking to spend big to achieve a true home cinema experience? Another factor is space; what size is the room you’ll be watching in? You’ll then want to narrow your list down and look at the merits of individual brands and setups. First, let’s look at soundbars.


A soundbar is a slim device containing several speakers. Most soundbars are placed in front of a TV or mounted on the wall underneath. Soundbars are capable of excellent sound and will be a massive upgrade on your TV or projector speakers.

A big advantage of soundbars is that whatever budget or setup you have, there will be a soundbar that fits. Soundbars range in price from affordable to very expensive, meaning you’ll be able to improve on your current sound straight away at a price that suits you. However, your choice will likely boil down to more than just “is it the cheap option?”.

Soundbars are also very easy to install and can fit the smallest of rooms. Because of this, they are often a good choice if your media room is on the small side. Soundbars can also be a good option if you will be installing everything on your own and want a simpler job.

If budget and ease of install aren’t your primary concerns, then it may be worth moving past soundbars and looking into a full surround sound setup.

Surround sound

True surround sound can help turn your media room into a home cinema. Comprising speakers placed around your room, full surround sound will allow you to hear movies just as the director intended. If you are looking for the full experience, surround sound is a great choice.

When it comes to surround sound, your options are almost endless. The number of speakers is customisable, so you can start with a smaller collection and build up in the future. This may be a sensible way to start for those with a tighter budget.

Surround sound is also a great option for those with a bigger room. You’ll be able to decide the optimal placement for each individual speaker, allowing great sound throughout your space. This will also ensure that you are fully immersed in your sound, instead of straining to hear.

Which is best?

When upgrading your sound system, there is no wrong answer. Either a soundbar or surround sound really will be a huge upgrade over your current inbuilt speakers. However, if you are on a budget or have a smaller room, a soundbar should be high on your list. If space and price aren’t your first concern and you are looking for the full experience, look into surround sound.

It’s also possible to look into mixing the two. Soundbars can be paired with subwoofers to add that extra kick. Some brands, such as Sonos and Artcoustic, are even able to pair their soundbars with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. If extra speakers aren’t an option now but may be in the near future, then starting with a soundbar and expanding from there may be a good option.

Get your perfect sound

Upgrading your sound system can be one of the biggest wins you can achieve for your viewing experience. If you’re interested in upgrading your sound setup, speak to the experts at SONA today.