Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

By Dennis Shelly

A traditional home cinema setup includes a 5.1 or 7.1 system with an Audio/Video (A/V) receiver. The A/V receiver supplies electricity to the speakers, decodes the soundtrack, and links devices such as DVD and Blu-ray players. Thanks to built-in electronics, many speakers can now power and decode themselves. Today’s televisions also serve as a multimedia interface, so audio from any source device (Apple TV, Blu-ray player, or gaming console) attached to your television is routed to any active audio system that is connected to it. Soundbars are active single-speaker devices that significantly improve TV audio. Simply connect the soundbar to the TV via HDMI cable to enjoy a clearer sound and more realistic effects right away. Many have subwoofers for the same kind of powerful bass you can feel. Virtual surround sound technology, which simulates rear effects speakers, is a common feature.

Soundbars vs A/V Receiver Systems

Soundbars have been increasingly popular over the last decade, and they are occasionally included with the purchase of a new television. But which is better, more convenient, and less expensive? What is a soundbar? or a full-fledged surround-sound system? Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each choice for getting the best audio experience for your movies and TV shows.

A/V receivers

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If you buy a higher-end sound system, no doubt the sound will be much better. Plus, with an A/V receiver, you can buy and modify everything individually, including mixing speaker brands and upgrading the system according to your needs. However, most packages can cost several hundred dollars and are less convenient since they require a lot of space to set your speakers and a great deal of patience to execute good cable management. To put it another way, surround sound systems are everything but minimalist. If you opt to build your system with a receiver, the A/V receiver alone can cost several hundred dollars, and you’ll need at least a set of speakers and a subwoofer to get started. Later on, you may expand the setup to a 5.1, 7.1, or even 7.2 system, and the brand of the speakers doesn’t matter as long as they’re compatible with your A/V receiver. As a result, many surround installations can cost thousands of dollars, but you can be confident that you’ll receive the highest quality audio experience.

Pros and Cons

To put it another way, a complete surround sound system is useful for:

  • People who are willing to pay money for the highest sound quality. Audiophiles will love it.
  • People who would like to be able to upgrade or modify each speaker without any limits.
  • People, that want to get the ultimate movie experience without going to the theater.
  • Users can choose which speakers they want, the size, and where they will be placed.
  • Other entertainment systems can be connected through additional connections.

However, here are some drawbacks to ponder:

  • One, receivers are generally more expensive, they usually start at several hundred dollars and may go up to thousands of dollars.
  • Difficult to set up and properly configure, considering you may need to be tech-savvy to link everything and understand the basics.
  • It takes up additional room, and you’ll need a larger space to set up the unit.
  • There are more cables and wire management to deal with.

Soundbars

Soundbars are a good way to enhance your audio experience by replacing your TV’s built-in speakers without breaking the budget, plus you can set it up without being an expert. Due to their smaller size, and most come with a wireless subwoofer, you will not need to run additional cables to remote speakers. Without having to run those extra cables there’s no need to change your viewing space or rearrange your furniture to make it fit in because a soundbar is meant to be positioned just below your TV. Soundbars are ideal for small spaces since they are powerful enough to fill the space with sound while remaining quiet and minimalist. Many soundbars also have Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Play integration, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, so you can instantly connect your phone to the system.

Pros and Cons

Soundbars provide a lot of advantages, and they’re the best option for most people:

  • The sound quality is still far superior to that of integrated speakers.
  • At $150 – $700, you can purchase a nice soundbar.
  • Depending on the model, it may come with a wireless subwoofer.
  • It’s simple to set up and doesn’t take up a lot of room. Modern and minimalistic design.
  • Everything is controlled by a single wire (HDMI or Optical Toslink)
  • To work, you don’t need an A/V receiver or any other additional components.
  • Ideal for compact areas or rooms with restricted space.
  • Wireless connections and smart gadgets are supported.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Except for a subwoofer, it cannot be upgraded (depends on your model)
  • Cannot be customized or mixed with other brands.
  • It doesn’t sound as good or as clear as if the channels were separated.
  • For a comprehensive theater experience, simulated surround sound is not as excellent as actual surround sound.
  • Not powerful enough to fill a large bedroom/living room
  • In some versions, there is a lack of connectivity without the use of other devices, except for smart devices.

When it comes to setting up a home theater, one of the most difficult aspects is the audio components. There are several options available. Finally, if you’re not an audiophile or don’t want to set up a complicated, tech-savvy audio setup and your budget is between $150 and $700, consider a soundbar with a wireless subwoofer. It will sound far superior to your built-in speakers. However, you can get the complete surround setup with A/V receivers if you’re an audiophile who enjoys routing wires and hearing each sound originating from a different location and don’t mind paying several hundred or thousands of dollars.

If you still have questions on how to proceed or need help with your audio/video design please call us first. Our friendly Home Automation Eggsperts are here and available to help and for advice. Get started by calling (760) 205-0105 or emailing us at tech@eggheadit.com with your questions, service requests, or technology upgrade advice.

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