Soundbase vs Soundbar – Which One is Better for You? 

Updated on by Brett Clur | There may be affiliate links on this page.

As TVs get slimmer and slimmer, their internal sound systems have started to get weaker. The TVs aren’t able to house powerful speakers in their thin cases. So, you may find yourself wanting better sound when watching TV.

The typical solution would be to get a large receiver to connect external speakers to. However, you may want something a little more compact. This is where soundbases and soundbars come in.

While the two speaker systems are fairly similar, there are some distinct differences to take note of. One option may be better for you than the other. Let’s find out why.

Soundbase

A soundbase is a small enclosure that has a few speakers inside. It’s designed to be placed under the TV for the TV to rest on. The key element of a soundbase is that it’s very simple to use.

You simply need to connect it to the TV and the speakers inside will provide much better audio than the TV’s onboard speakers. Soundbases have a lot of room inside which allows for more speakers to fit. Typically, a soundbase will have a subwoofer inside along with all the speakers.

This means that you’ll be able to have fantastic audio with only the soundbase connected to the TV. If you want to add more speakers, most soundbases allow you to do that.

The soundbase becomes an integral part of the TV, meaning the placement of the TV may affect the placement of the soundbase.

They’re not as popular as soundbars, so they aren’t as easily found, but a fantastic soundbase that I’d recommend would be the Sonos Playbase. It’s quite pricey, but it offers so many fantastic features that other soundbases don’t, such as Apple AirPlay and speech enhancement.

Soundbar

Soundbars come in the form of thin strips that you can mount to walls. They look very sleek and modern and tend to add a smart aesthetic appearance to your living room. Soundbars are designed to be almost the same length as your TV, further adding to the sleek appearance.

Although they’re thin, they provide fantastic surround sound audio thanks to the speakers inside. The thin structure means they typically can’t fit a subwoofer in. So, most soundbars come with a separate subwoofer to connect to them.

Soundbars have many modern integration features that make using them incredibly easy and convenient. As they are very popular, there are a lot of high-quality soundbars to choose from. This TCL Alto soundbar is a particularly good one that even has a wireless subwoofer. It’s very reliable and produces fantastic audio.

In addition to connecting to a TV, you can also use soundbars to play music from devices such as phones and laptops. You just need to connect them via Bluetooth.

Differences Between Soundbars and Soundbases

Design

The most notable difference between soundbars and soundbases is in their physical designs. Soundbars are slim and long while soundbases are chunkier. The soundbase is designed to have a TV sit on it. The soundbar is intended to either be mounted beneath a TV or somewhere where it isn’t blocking the screen.

Soundbases either come in rectangle or oval shapes. Although they’re still fairly small, they’re bigger than soundbars in terms of depth. Soundbars are longer, though.

As soundbases are thicker and sturdier to hold a TV, they tend to be more resilient and last longer with careful use. However, soundbars look a lot more stylish when mounted beneath a TV.

If you’re going for a modern look, a soundbar would be the better choice. It’s also the better choice if your TV is mounted to the wall. The soundbase would cater better to a free-standing TV. It’s also great for people wanting a very solid speaker system.

Soundbars are also easier to move around than soundbases thanks to their sleek design.

Speakers

Soundbars typically have up to 5 internal speakers. As said previously, most don’t have space for a subwoofer. So, that gets connected separately. Some of the latest soundbars that are more expensive have more speakers and can easily compete with surround sound setups.

Most soundbases have left and right speakers along with a subwoofer. Some soundbases have a center channel speaker as well.

Sound

While the speaker configurations are very different, both soundbases and soundbars provide incredible sound when connected to your TV. However, the sound quality that comes from each system is slightly different as well.

Soundbars provide better surround sound as the design of them is longer and allows the sound to cover a wider area. This is why they’re a great alternative to your typical surround sound setup.

If the soundbar you get doesn’t come with a subwoofer, the bass will be lacking. This is the downside when it comes to the audio quality of soundbars. So, make sure you have an external subwoofer with your soundbar.

The audio from a soundbase won’t cover as much area in the room, but the sound quality will be a lot more powerful, thanks to the larger internal speakers. The subwoofer inside also means the bass will be very powerful as well.

Placement

Soundbars are more versatile in their placement options than soundbases. Soundbases have one option, the base of the TV. Soundbases can only be placed on top of TV stands or tables. They can’t be mounted to walls as the structure is too bulky.

Soundbars can be placed beneath or above TVs. They can even be placed away from the TV. However, you’ll want to place them near to get the best sound perception when watching the TV.

Price

Soundbases have the potential to be extremely powerful speaker systems, meaning the highest-quality soundbase is going to be a lot more expensive than the highest-quality soundbar.

As soundbars are so slim, there’s only so much you can put into them. A really good soundbase can cost up to $1000 while a good soundbar will only cost as much as $500.

Since soundbars are so popular, there are a lot of companies that make great ones at affordable prices. They’re more accessible to the majority of people looking to buy them. You could get a decent soundbar for less than $100. It just won’t have all the integration features that a more expensive soundbar would have.

Final Verdict

It’s important to note that both options will allow you to add speakers as you wish. This means both soundbases and soundbars will most probably work very well for you. The decision on which one would suit you better should be based on how they’ll benefit you after the initial purchase.

A key factor in deciding which one to get should be determined by where your TV is currently placed. If it’s mounted to the wall, you may need to get a soundbar and mount it underneath the TV. It will look incredibly sleek and modern!

If your TV is standing on legs, a soundbase could potentially work very well for you. You won’t need to get an extra subwoofer and the soundbase will even raise the TV higher for you.

Both options are good alternatives to the classic home audio speaker setup. They’ll both take less effort to set up than connecting speakers to a receiver.

About Brett Clur

Brett has been playing drums for 18+ years. He's a huge drumming gear enthusiast and also teaches drumming to his students. He's most active on Instagram (@brettclurdrums), where he regularly uploads drumming videos.

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