Soundbars vs. Soundbases

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Steve Scott

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When it comes to sprucing up your home theater experience, there are more ways to go about that than by getting a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system. And one of these ways is to get either a soundbar or a soundbase.

These are just some of the lesser-known home theater gizmos that can take your viewing to a whole different level. Now, there are several reasons why you might decide to go this route.

Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t want so many wires spread across your room. Perhaps you simply don’t like the look of so many speakers and wish to go with a more subtle approach. Or you lack the space to place the whole system. 

In the end, maybe you don’t want to spend too much money to get quality audio and wish to go with a more accessible option.

Whichever it is, in such a case, a soundbar or a soundbase might be perfect for you. Read on and find out what makes them so desirable.


Soundbars and Soundbases - The Differences

In order to get ahead with our guide, first, we need to set things straight. Just what exactly are soundbars, and what are soundbases? What are some of the main differences between them, aside from the apparent hints we get from their names?


Soundbars are long, stretchy speakers shaped like a bar that has several built-in speaker drivers inside of them. This number can be different depending on a model, but generally, it’s no less than three.

In many cases, soundbars come with a separate sub, to enhance its bass reproduction. Soundbars are meant to sit right in front of your TV, or just underneath it, as a replacement for your speakers.

They can find various purposes in any household, as you can use one with your TV, projector, or smartphone. Naturally, if you can connect it via Bluetooth. Lucky for you, most modern models offer this possibility, so you needn’t worry.

Soundbases, on the other hand, have slightly different looks and purposes. But, generally, they are somewhat similar.

With a robust, more rectangular shape, they tend to look bulkier than the soundbars. They are meant to serve as a base (hence the name) for your TV to sit on top of. In most cases, your soundbase will have a weight rating, which will tell you precisely just how much weight it can handle.

A soundbase will come with a set of front-firing drivers, just like a soundbar. However, soundbases usually come with an extra driver for bass. This means that you won’t have to obtain an additional subwoofer to embellish the low-end.

See related: Best 7.1 Home Theater Systems

Pros and Cons

Like with any other piece of technological equipment, they come with their sets of pros and cons. And we aim to shine some light on them, so you know what to expect.

soundbase 2

Soundbars have a couple of upsides. First of all, their sleek and modern design makes them extremely easy to incorporate into most interiors. They are so sophisticated and delicate that they can blend perfectly, while also adding a touch of class.

And since they are so subtle, soundbars are a perfect choice if you have limited space available

Unlike soundbases, they don’t need to serve as a base for your TV, but can instead be placed in front or underneath your TV, or you can even mount one on a wall. So, in terms of flexibility, it’s a definite yes.

When it comes to drawbacks, there just aren’t that many. But if we were to pick some, then it would be the driver size and their strength.

Smaller Drivers 

Since soundbars house several sound drivers, it’s only natural that they can’t be larger in size. And smaller drivers simply cannot manage to put out a strong and robust sound in a way that larger drivers can. 

So, in some instances, you might be compelled to get an additional subwoofer. However, there are models that come with a built-in sub.


Also, since those drivers are positioned in a line right next to each other, they simply can’t achieve the surround sound and sound stage that systems with more speakers can.

In some way, soundbases have somewhat similar upsides and downsides. They also house a number of narrowly positioned speakers, which prevents them from achieving a surround sound

Bear in mind, some manufacturers will claim that their soundbars or bases offer surround sound. In reality, it’s not the case. You simply need some distance between the drivers to get surround sound. Check out our list of best 5.1 surround sound systems.

Soundbases also don’t need and additional subwoofer, so you don’t need to make an extra purchase and spend more money. Some models offer a down-firing sub to add extra depth. 

Since they are self-contained, in a way, they can take up less space, despite the bulkier appearance.

Placement Options

Although somewhat similar in terms of design and sound quality, it’s the placement options that separate the soundbars from the soundbases.

Most soundbars are designed that way that their width matches the width of most modern TVs. We’re speaking broadly, and this doesn’t always have to be correct, but in most cases, soundbars will sit perfectly below or in front of a TV.

Sometimes you’ll be able to mount a soundbar on a wall above your TV.

Soundbases, as the name implies, serve as a base for your TV. You should place your base on a TV shelf or a desktop, and then put the TV on top of it.

In terms of width, they are often smaller than soundbars, since they also match the standard dimensions of TV stands. Before buying a base, make sure to check out what’s the max weight and size it can carry.

In Conclusion

So, we’ve laid out the basics, now it’s up to you to choose. Which one would suit you best?

And there’s no easy way to answer that, since they are similar in terms of sound quality, despite obvious differences in design and looks. 

They both can deliver strong, well-rounded, and nuanced sound, with powerful and deep bass. Then again, soundbases can be more persuasive in the low-end, but that can all be remedied with a simple addition of a subwoofer to a soundbar.

Therefore, in the end, it all boils down to what would fit your space the best and what’s most convenient for you. If you want a more minimalist look, then a soundbase that’s positioned right beneath your Tv might do the job. Then again, if you want more placement flexibility, then a soundbar could be the thing for you.

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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