Trying to decide between using a sound bar or a home theater system for your home? We’ve listened to your requests and put together this overview to ease your mind and open your ears to the difference in set up and sound quality.
As you know, sound bars are all the rage with their sleek design, easy installation process, wireless set up, and ability to produce a form of surround sound. Does this mean you’ve found a replacement for a separate-piece surround sound system with front, rear, and center speakers? No, of course not. Nothing can replace a full-blown Klipsch home theater setup...BUT a sound bar can be the ideal solution for those seeking an upgrade to their wimpy TV speakers.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of each so you can decide what’s best for you.
Sound Bar Overview
- Easy installation and connectivity
- Minimal wires
- Modern design
- Great for small-medium living spaces
- Excellent virtual sound, which simulates the surround sound experience
- May need to buy separate subwoofer (although many Klipsch systems include a sub, such as our HD Theater SB 3, R-10B Sound Bar and R-20B Sound Bar)
- The placement of the sound bar creates specific “sweet spots” in your listening experience
- Does not produce complete surround sound, especially in larger living environments
Surround Sound System Overview
- Full range surround sound
- Able to place speakers in multiple stations for optimal acoustics
- Maximum bass
- Audiophile theater system presentation
- Most quality systems require running wires from the receiver to each individual speaker
- Takes up more space
- More involved installation process
- More expensive
Q: Does Bigger = Better?
Big speakers may provide the look of a major sound producing machine, but remember, looks can be deceiving. While it is true large speakers have the ability to produce eardrum pounding sound and are an excellent choice for a large room, sound bars and smaller speaker systems are more than capable of producing quality sound. Make an informed decision and learn how to ensure a quality set up by reviewing the following section.
How Do I Compare a Sound Bar to a Surround Sound System?
As with any audio product, there are varying levels of quality and associated performance depending on the device. The best sound bars will overpower and outperform the run-of-the-mill surround sound system. So, the question is, what performance standards do you look for? We’ll make this part easy on you. Just refer to the below list on how to understand the specs to find the quality speaker system you desire.
The speakers’ effectiveness of converting power (watts) into volume (decibels). The higher the sensitivity, the less power the speaker needs to deliver the effective sound. To put it quite simply – a higher sensitivity rating = loud, clear, high quality sound.
Power Needed To Produce High Volume
*less power to produce higher volume is key for speaker longevity
- Frequency Response
The range of frequencies that are audible to humans lies between 20 and 20,000 Hert (Hz). Some of the lowest frequencies (below 35 Hz) are more felt than heard (like an earthquake in an action movie), and are produced by the subwoofer. Review the frequency response range to understand what kind of listening experience you will gain with the associated highs and lows that the speaker produces.
- Power Handling
How much power, in watts, a speaker can handle before it is damaged. Simply put, the higher the power handling, the more likely you are to piss off the neighbors.
How much electrical resistance is presented against the current flowing from your outputs. Impedance will fluctuate since the speaker will produce sounds at varying frequencies, but all manufacturers will publish a nominal impedance figure. 8 ohms is the norm, though some speakers can handle a 4ohm load (just make sure your receiver matches this load).
Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions on how to choose the right speaker system. Remember, much of it comes down to personal preference, but be sure to do your homework when it comes to reviewing the specs and associated performance standards of each sound system. We’re sure that either choice will amplify your current set up and make PWK proud.
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