2.1 vs 5.1 vs 7.1 Soundbar




Most of the audio stuff that has been listed here on this blog, is usually related to some amateur to expert audiophiles. Due to their past experience, & a caliber of understanding the technical stuff they don’t longer need to spend a lot of time.

But if you are a casual to amateur listener somethings are still strange to you, which made you come here on this page.

After Purchasing a quality TV for your Movies & streaming, the next possible challenge is to get a quality Surround Sound system or the best Home theatre system for this need.

There are some types of soundbars for home theatres but you would have to understand your need & each out of those soundbar systems, to ensure whether or not that particular soundbar will make you happy. Are they powerful enough to reproduce a piece of quality music, or they are exceeding your requirement?

Well, there are three main players in the market named as 2.1, 5.1 & 7.1 which are widely used all across the world. Each out of it is best in a specific thing & maybe the worst in another thing, which we will talk about later in 2.1 vs 5.1 vs 7.1 SoundBar comparison down here.

To let you help in making a proper decision in order to buy your next speakers, we want you to understand each & every aspect of it. We have tried our best to make things simple as much as possible.

So stay tuned & hold your beer!

2.1 vs 5.1 vs 7.1 SoundBar | Best Home Theater Sound Bar

Before diving into it deeper, let’s have a cup of tea with some terminologies in these names. If you notice, there’s a “.1” term in each of the systems in the soundbar name, this is a representative of the subwoofer in that system. This represents the total number of subwoofers a system has.

Next, you will see terms 2,5, & 7 before the subwoofer’s numbers. This shows the total number of speakers that the system is using. If this is 2.1, there are only two speakers, if 5.1 there are 5 speakers & 7 speakers for the 7.1 system. You may also hear the term channel, which is nothing special but a technical name of speakers.

Now, some of you will think that the higher the number of speakers, the best the performance. But, hold my beer! Because this is not always the case for speakers. Sometimes, a soundbar with a 2.1 system, may sound better than a 7.1. This is also possible that a 7.1 could perform better as compared to a 5.1 system.

To give you a better context, let’s dive into it by comparing & explaining each out of it, so you will kill your confusion.

2.1 Sound System

A 2.1 soundbar or speaker system is not very different from your built-in speakers inside your TV. You have just added a subwoofer into it, which is going to do every sound workout of the TV box. But sometimes, this single addition of a subwoofer can enhance or degrade the entire performance.

Because you are still listening to stereo sound instead of surround sounding. If you are just an ordinary listener, who is now planning to upgrade his home theatre, a 2.1 system is a good start.

The good thing is even if you don’t have a surround mechanism, it does offer a better bass reproduction through its Subwoofer, taking your listening experience to something next step.

The 2.1 channel system only consists of a right & left channel (speaker of course) along with a subwoofer in the center. For a “2.1 soundbar” you mainly have two components i.e, a dedicated subwoofer & a soundbar which consists of both of the channels (left & right speakers are embedded).

Most of the time, new enthusiasts prefer these guys due to their affordability, ease of installation & some decent compatibility of bass emission for music. If you are a gamer, this is a good start to your journey. Even without surround sounds, you still have a clear listening to gunshots, rocket launchers, & stepping.

Economically, this is a great start as you can find a soundbar for as little as $50. A decent 2.1 soundbar, you can find under a budget of $100-$200, which is a good start to enhance your music & some streaming experience. Plus, they are easier to use along with Bookshelf speakers.

  • Most budget-friendly option Easy to install & space-saving Some extra bass reproduction Better than Standard TV audio
  • Not recommended for audiophiles Lack of Surround Sound system

5.1 Sound System

Here comes the first fleet of surround sound systems. This is an entry-level channel system, which is also upgradable to many other modifications. These could be front-firing, top firing, or down-firing, which makes an immense effect on the listening experience.

In a front-firing speaker, the sound emission is coming directly on your face due to front soundwaves. While in the top & down-firing case, sound touches your ears in the top & bottom of your ear, making a cool effect. All of these sound accurate, & attractive.

This is slightly complex & takes some effort in installation, however, it’s better to follow the instruction manual. A 5.1 system includes a set of 05 different speakers for different spots to install which are also known as satellite speakers often.

In this case, you have each speaker at the front left & right along with a center speaker, another speaker at the rear left & right along with a dedicated subwoofer. So, basically, you have six house members, a subwoofer & five multiple channels.

For 5.1 soundbars, you have four physical persons to save you some space. While all of the other surrounding channels (both left & right) are separate along with a subwoofer.

Here, all of the front speakers which are non-surround (front left, right & center speaker) are embedded in a soundbar itself, which you can place very next to your TV. This also makes them budget-friendly due to material savings.

Except for the 5.1 soundbars, the complete 5.1 channel system consists of different speakers, which is widely accepted in studios & audiophiles, where they want to fill the entire room with music.

Usually, these 5.1 systems are slightly expensive due to the additional use of material to build those dedicated speakers, But we have also linked to some Budget 5.1 speakers, which you would like to see.

Overall, a 5.1 soundbar system offers a diverse streaming experience as compared to a 2.1 channel system. They can also create a Dolby environment by adding front-firing or any other sort of firing directly into it. This also helps create an immersive surround sound system, which is a great drawback of a 2.1 channel.

  • Wide selection of audio formats A wide range is available in market Optimized surround sounds Best choice for home theaters Bluetooth & some easy to use
  • Needs a spacious area to install Not a good choice for music

7.1 Sound System

Here comes the boss of the list & all of the channel systems listed here on this list. This is the most advanced & widely used home theatre system all across the United States & Europe as well. Although this is expensive, in the end, it’s definitely worth every single penny.

The 7.1 system consists of two additional speakers as compared to a 5.1 system, which doesn’t require any specific location to help it perform better. You can always select your own preferred location. Be it a ceiling, a floor, or any other position.

These two speakers (right & left) make this system even more complex than a 5.1 system, due to a bunch of wires & a lot more space to get them installed with perfection. You are required to take a professional installation service because a single mistake can ruin your setup.

Obviously, this sound system gives a more detailed & immersive listening experience while streaming movies & TV shows. If you have some of the best 7.1 home theatre systems installed in your home, you would not need anything else for streaming.

These systems are best if you want to install them in a big rectangular/square room such as a TV lounge, this would be a great decision to get the most out of it. For a small room, you will be listening to a distorted sound due to a limited area.

  • Detailed & massive soundstage Best for large & wide rooms Smooth Ultra-HD audio files Supports Stereo & 5.1 files Gives the Best sound experience
  • Most expensive soundbar category A Complex & spacious installation

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