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Forum Topic: Soundbar or Surround Speakers?

Does convenience necessitate compromise?

by Mark Hodgkinson Aug 2, 2017 at 11:10 PM

  • This is a question often asked on the forums but this time it’s courtesy of our member, SH4D0WM4NZ – who’s hoping that someone can help out with some decision making.
    They’ve just got themselves a new Samsung TV and were looking to either partner it up to a Panasonic soundbar or use an old 5.1 system that has previously provided them with a solid performance. So what are the pros and cons of either approach?

    We’d still advocate the use of a 5.1/7.1/immersive audio system, where possible, but we also know it can be a challenge, both in accommodating multiple speakers and/or gaining the approval to do so in the living room environment from significant others. That said, there is nothing like a proper separates package, especially when it comes to the likes of Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio systems. Sure, there are soundbars with upfiring speakers and even optional satellite rears but it just isn’t quite the same.

    A major benefit of the soundbar is that it presents a swift and virtually effortless upgrade to your TV's audio, requiring virtually no specialist knowledge.

    The reasons for opting for a soundbar are fairly obvious; first and foremost, they will make the speakers fitted into your flat panel TV sound sub-standard which, for the most part, they are. We have recently seen more effort from the manufacturers to improve the audio on their TVs but a soundbar with only a very modest price will still outperform almost all of the speakers built in to a television. Having said that, we still think that if you can accommodate a multi speaker package, that is the way to go.

    So what do you think, what are your preferences and what are your experiences when it comes to soundbars a sub/sat surround packages?

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