Choosing between a soundbar vs speakers for PC is confusing due to several factors and minute differences between the two.
Yes, they both sound great, if you know the right model to pick. However, there are advantages and disadvantages of one over the other.
If you do not know which one to get yet, do not worry. I am here to guide you about the differences between a soundbar and a speaker. By the end of this article, you will know which one should you get.
Why should you use a speaker for a PC?
There are multiple reasons why should go for a speaker set for your PC setup. Here are some of them.
Better sound quality
Sound quality, in general, is subjective. But technically, speakers have better sound quality than soundbars due to their size. Speakers can fit large drivers and at the same time, proper speaker placement will give you a better listening experience.
Moreover, if you want to have an immersive movie or game time, speakers are your best bet as long as the satellite speakers are at their ideal location.
Speakers have an upgrade path
Building a speaker system is not cheap. However, you may start slow and start off with a receiver and two satellite speakers.
Once your budget gets going, you may then add a subwoofer and more satellite speakers to complete a surround sound system.
Speakers are easy to customize to your liking. You may add more speakers if it feels weak or better yet, you may even change the whole component.
Mixing and matching speakers are also possible as long as you know what to look for.
There are affordable speakers under $50 that sound good. You cannot expect a full surround experience with them, but they are good enough to do the job – to fill the room with good audio.
The higher your budget, the better set of speakers you can buy, and for the price, it is a better deal compared to just a soundbar.
Lastly, price is somehow a disadvantage too.
A good entry-level speaker system will cost you at least $100 and that is just for a basic setup. If you want top-tier sound quality, prepare your wallet because it will bleed greatly.
Why you should not use a speaker for a PC?
Let us move on to the disadvantages of using a speaker on your PC. They are not much, but they might convince you to go with a soundbar instead.
The first disadvantage is size. There are small speakers available in the market today but they do not sound good.
If sound quality is your priority, you will need a speaker with large drivers. These speakers are bulky and would not fit in a small desk space. Subwoofers will also take some space underneath your desk.
Another problem with speakers is you have to deal with wires. This becomes more challenging if you are using a 5.1-speaker system.
Each speaker has a wire that you need to route and connect to a control pad, then connect to your PC. This might not be a problem for you, but if you are picky when it comes to cable management, then it is a headache.
Convenience is another issue with speakers. You need to dedicate a special stand or location for your speakers. This is a potential disaster if you have kids or pets at home that may knock them out.
Why should you use a soundbar for your PC?
It’s time to move on to the other side of the coin. Here are some of the advantages of using a soundbar for your PC.
Soundbars are smaller and more compact compared to a speaker. You may easily put it under your monitor and you are good to go.
There are large soundbars out there, but most of them are for a home theater setup. For a PC, a compact soundbar is more than enough.
Due to the size advantage of soundbars, the Huawei Mateview GT34 monitor even has a built-in one. It is a slick design that integrates a compact soundbar into the monitor’s stand.
Soundbars only use one wire to connect to your computer – either through the headphone jack or USB-C. You may also use HDMI to play audio through your soundbar.
Some soundbars also include wireless connectivity, which is a plus if you want to play audio from a different device.
On the other hand, there are a few speakers that have wireless capabilities but, these models are on the pricier side.
Good sound quality
The sound quality of soundbars has gone up over the past few years. There are several models to choose from ranging from under $50 to a couple hundred that are surely perfect for your needs.
However, speakers take the spot when it comes to sound quality due to their driver size and versatility. It does not mean that soundbars sound awful. Soundbars are perfectly fine to use.
Soundbars are more affordable compared to speakers. Like the example above, a $100 speaker is considered entry-level.
On the soundbar side, a $100 such as the Sony HT-S100F will give you great sound quality for its cost. It is not the best, but it provides a balanced sound quality relative to its price.
Why you should not buy a soundbar for your PC?
It is time to talk about why soundbars for your PC might not be the best option right now.
First, soundbars (as the name suggest) have a horizontal layout that houses the drivers. There is no problem with this one since most of the time it will just stay in front of your computer.
However, it will never provide the surround sound experience because of this. You will never feel that the audio is coming from different sides of the room.
There are soundbars with this feature but they are significantly more expensive. If you are going that route, then a speaker might be the better option.
The second issue is the limitation of the audio channels. You are stuck with 3 front channels with the addition of a subwoofer if your soundbar has one.
If you do not have a subwoofer, then your soundbar will never fully produce lower frequencies. This is possibly a deal-breaker if you love listening to EDMs or party music since you will never feel the heart-thumping bass lines of the songs.
Moreover, the soundbars are stuck with small drivers. Most soundbars today only have a 2-inch driver. Higher-end models have a 3-inch one.
Either way, both models will experience the same problem. It will provide adequate treble and mids, but the bass will be sub-par.
Lastly, you are stuck with the configuration that your soundbar comes in. Customizability and expansion are very limited due to the number of accessories and extra items that you may connect to it.
Soundbar vs Speakers for PC Gaming
Audio is crucial to gaming. There are different auditory cues that you need to hear or else you will end up losing a gunfight. Having immersive audio also adds to a great playing experience when it comes to single-player titles such as God Of War.
This is the reason why headphones or earbuds are the preferred audio output of choice by a lot of gamers. However, it does not mean that you cannot use a soundbar or speaker while playing.
You may use either a soundbar or a speaker whenever you play. It is just not ideal due to several factors like sound direction, volume, and clarity.
If you are already set on purchasing a soundbar, make sure that you are getting one with a subwoofer if possible. The sub will provide you with the right amount of bass while maintaining clear treble.
On the other hand, if you are going with the speaker route, you have to set the speakers at the right angle. Ensure that the audio is in the direction of your ears for the best experience especially if you play FPS titles where footsteps are important.
Either way, you have to tune your speakers or soundbar and find out the best settings through your equalizer. Not every model is the same so you have to fine-tune your audio to hear your game clearly.
Ultimately, none of the two options is the best for gaming. Sorry soundbar and speaker fans but, headphones or earbuds triumph this time. The latter options are just better when it comes to an immersive gaming experience.
Soundbar vs Speakers for PC: Which one should you get?
|On some models
|Wired and Wireless
|Wired and Wireless (on some models)
|Value for Money
Now that we have laid out the pros and cons of using a soundbar vs speakers for a PC, it is time to determine the clear winner.
You are probably guessing, “the answer depends on you,” like other comparison articles. However, the speaker is the best choice for a PC between two.
The only advantage that a soundbar can provide is its size and probably, the ease of setting it up. Besides that, a speaker can do everything that a soundbar can do – sometimes even better.
Using speakers for your PC is a well-rounded option with an upgrade path. You may also use it as an alternative for gaming in case your headphones get busted. It is an all-in-one solution for entertainment, video conferencing, and gaming.
It is understandable that a good speaker set would cost a lot yet, these speakers may be considered a “buy it, forget it” scenario since they will last a long time. They may even outlast your whole computer.
That’s it! I hope that everything is clear now when it comes to the two audio output devices. Speakers are the winner but, in the end, the final decision is on you.
Do not forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Aim is a tech and gaming content writer who loves playing Apex Legends, Valorant, and Dota 2. He also plays casual games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokemon titles on his Nintendo Switch too. He also builds gaming computers and does tech troubleshooting on the side.