Sound bar vs. speakers: Which TV audio system sounds best in 2019?

CNET | 3/2/2019 | Staff
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The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is a set of ultra-compact 5.1 surround speakers with a wireless subwoofer.

If you want to upgrade your TV sound, the big choice is between the convenience and affordability of a sound bar and the sound quality and extra expense of a dedicated multispeaker system.

Type - Pros - Cons - Better-quality - Sound

Each type has its pros and cons, but each will enable you to experience better-quality sound in your movies and TV shows. They can also stream music from your phone or voice assistant, like Alexa or Google Assistant.

Where do you start? First, you'll need to decide how much you want to spend, and how much of your living space you're willing to give up. Sound bars require less money and space, while multispeaker surround setups take more of both.


Here are the things you need to know.

How much do you want to spend?

Advantages - Sound - Bar - System - Cash

One of the main advantages of a sound bar system is that you don't need to lay out as much cash. Excellent sound bars can be had for around $100, and spending $200 or more will get you something pretty great.

It takes more money to assemble a separate speaker system. You'll need at least two speakers and an AV receiver, which will cost at least $300. From there you'll have a platform that you can build and grow as your finances allow.

Speaker - Surround - Sound - Rear - Speakers

Buying a complete 5.1 speaker set is even more expensive up front, but will give you full surround sound (with rear speakers, a center speaker for dialogue and a subwoofer for bass) and the results will be that much better.

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