2.1 Vs 3.1 Soundbar: Which Is Better And Why?

2.1 Vs 3.1 Soundbar Which Is Better And Why

As a consumer, you have a decision to make. Do you want the best sound from your TV? In this article, we will be comparing two of the most popular soundbars, the 2. 1 and 3.1.

Both devices have their pros and cons. However, which one is right for you: 2.1 vs 3.1 soundbar?  As a consumer, you have a decision to make.

Differences Between 2.1 and 3.1 Soundbars


Soundbars are compact speaker systems that pack features in a small and elegant body. This might not be enough space for a subwoofer, so 3.1 and 2.1 soundbars include a more prominent external speaker.

Due to the addition of a center channel, soundbars with 3.1 are usually larger than 2.1. It may not be possible for everyone. If you do have the space to fit a larger soundbar, a 2.1 soundbar might suffice.

They are all designed to fit flush onto a flat surface or be mounted on the wall. Both 2.1 and 3.1 soundbars are flexible in their placement.

If you are looking up a way to mount a soundbar to wall https://hookeaudio.com/how-to-connect-soundbar-to-tv/


Although both soundbars have left and proper channels, respectively, the price of a 3.1 soundbar is higher due to the center speakers’ addition, which enhances dialogue. A 3.1 soundbar will cost you 1 to 1.5 times as much as a 2.1 one.

Differences Between 2.1 and 3.1 Soundbars

The price difference can be made up by adding additional voice control, audio technology, and sound modes.

Sound Quality

We concluded that 3.1 soundbars have significantly better vocal quality than 2.1 soundbars after conducting comparison tests. There are two points of sound emission, similar to the Polk Audio Signa S2 2.1 Soundbar.

It made a significant difference in the overall sound effects for the 3.1.

The primary goal of the center channel is to improve dialogue. The absence of the center channel in a 2.1 soundbar means that you will need to use the right and left speakers to get each side’s speech and audio effects.

The 3.1 has a dedicated. This means that the soundbar does not have to strain the side channels to drive the vocals. It can be separated to give audiences clearer audio.

A soundbar with 2.1 channels will have more difficulty simulating surround sound than one with 3.1 channels. Advanced technology like Dolby Digital or DTS can make it sound even better than a 5.1 channel soundbar. For example, the LG LAS551H has both of these technologies.

Also, it is essential to keep in mind that embedded audio decoders are crucial for sound quality. The number of channels cannot determine performance.


Both soundbars offer the same connectivity, regardless of how many channels or subwoofers they have.

Because of their ability to support high-quality audio formats, optical and HDMI inputs should be preferred. TCL Alto 6+ is an example of a 2.1 soundbar that includes HDMI ARC or optical stereo.

These two connections are not difficult to set up and use because they only require one cable plug-ins.


Bluetooth can be integrated into soundbars with 2.1 or 3.1 versions. Wi-Fi, another wireless connection, can also be found in soundbars. However, they are more expensive.

Bluetooth allows users to seamlessly stream content from their mobile devices directly to the soundbar. This allows them to decode audio formats. A Bluetooth-enabled device can do wonders for reducing cable clutter.


External subwoofers can also use Bluetooth with a soundbar compatible with 2.1 or 3.1. A soundbar that has external subs, such as the Sony HT CT180, will be Bluetooth-capable.

Wi-Fi is not available for setup. It can be used more for voice control and home theater system setup. However, wireless connections are required to integrate a smart soundbar with voice commands into your intelligent home systems.

Voice Control

Voice control can be added to the soundbar regardless of the number of channels they have. Although it does not impact the soundbar’s design, it dramatically enhances the user experience.

Vizio M21DH8R soundbar with voices control, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, provide users with great ease in input settings and can be used to access them without the need to touch the device. You can quickly check the weather and manage your soundbar hands-free.


Subwoofer is the 1 in 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar. Each system comes with one subwoofer, regardless of whether it is built-in or externe.

Because of its size, an external sub is more potent than an internal. Wireless options are portable and allow users to choose the best place for the subwoofer with a soundbar.

A subwoofer integrated into the soundbar will not be able to produce multi-layered sound and an external sub.


Control methods will not be affected by the number of channels that a soundbar offers. Many soundbars come with a remote or at least an app or control panel compatible with the device. You can configure soundbars to work with your TV remote.

With the options mentioned above, you can adjust the volume, connection, and even audio equalizers.


A 2.1 setup, which is the most basic soundbar setup, is the best. The soundbar has a left channel and a right channel, along with an external subwoofer. A soundbar with a stereo 2.1 system will be an upgrade to your TV’s audio.

Although you will have clear left and right speakers, it won’t offer the same dynamic surround sound experience as a more sophisticated setup. A 2.1 soundbar can be a significant upgrade to your TV’s built-in speakers.

A soundbar with a 3.1 is a bit more dynamic than a soundbar with a 2.1, and they are usually a bit more expensive. It will have a more dynamic sound because you add the speaker(s) to the center channel.

Although you won’t be adding rear speakers to create surround sound, the additional channel will add more dimension and room-filling sound. This will bring you closer to surround sound.

A 3.1 channel soundbar will provide better clarity for dialogue, as it is primarily heard from the center channel speaker. A 2.1 channel will mix dialogue with sound effects and music. This results in dialogue being slightly less crisp and clear than a system with 3.1 channels.

Advantages of the 2.1 soundbar

  • They are usually less expensive than the 3.1.
  • The 2.1 has a smaller size and can be easily moved to accommodate different setups.
  • One soundbar enables HDMI connectivity for better hearing.
  • They may offer Bluetooth connectivity.
  • One channel soundbar can be paired with external or built-in subwoofers.

Advantages of the 3.1 soundbar

  • These are the benefits of a 3.1 channel soundbar:
  • The 3.1 soundbar has a center channel that improves dialogue clarity.
  • The overall audio performance of the 3.1 is better than the 2.1 channel soundbar.
  • For better bass response, one channel soundbar can have an external or built-in subwoofer.
  • They support HDMI for better audio quality.
  • One channel soundbars can provide Bluetooth connectivity

Soundbar Channels Explained: 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, etc.

  • 2.1 Soundbar – Left and proper channels in a soundbar with an external subwoofer. The 2.1 represent the base and, most often, the lower-end units available on the market.
  • 3.1 Soundbar – Left, right, and center channels of the soundbar with an external subwoofer. The 3.1 represents a step above the 2.1 soundbars. They have the center channel for better dialogue and background audio effects.
  • 5.1 Soundbar – left, right and center. Surround left and surround proper channels with an external subwoofer. They can replace traditional surround sound systems completely, making them a market leader. These surround channels provide a traditional surround sound experience. They are usually more expensive than the 2.1 and 3.1 due to the addition of 2 speakers that must be placed behind your seating area. 5.1 can be very different from 2.1 or 3.1 soundbars.

Benefits Soundbar Systems

They can be a great way to boost the sound from your TV. These sound amazing and have become very popular in recent years. They are easy to set up and use. They are small and stylish and are affordable.

High-Quality Sound

You want to be sure that the speakers you buy are well-made. Because industry experts trust them, you will likely choose speakers made by top manufacturers.

Soundbar work in the same way. The industry-leading brands make some fantastic soundbars that provide a great audio experience.

Although it is difficult to get the same multi-dimensional and room-filling sound as traditional audio systems, the soundbar is very similar.

It’s becoming difficult for people to build a complex surround sound system. Why spend more to buy a complicated system when you don’t need it?

Simple and Easy to Use for Almost Anyone

A soundbar is a better choice than other systems because it is simple to set up and use. It is easy to set up and use. Soundbars are not complicated – they’re just sound systems that can help you get better sound for your TV.

Benefits Soundbar Systems

They can be integrated with your TV or other devices, and many of them automatically update to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology. They are easy to use, but they can be used for a long time. They will make you wish for something more.

They Are Extremely Compact

The sound system was traditionally considered bulky. To achieve the best surround sound experience, they require many components. You may have to navigate through a lot of hoops to conceal their extensive, unruly wiring.

The soundbar is a way to get great sound without making a mess. Because they contain many speakers, soundbars can keep your room tidy. Soundbars’ external components are usually small and wireless so that you can keep your room clean even after you add them.

Stylish and Modern Designs

You will want to maintain a particular style and look if you have a soundbar installed in one of the main rooms, such as your living room. Soundbars are beautiful to look at and provide a sound system.

It’s easy to mount your soundbar near your TV or place it on top of your entertainment center. People won’t be intimidated by its appearance, especially if it’s been adequately mounted using our guide.

They are beautiful to look at and will make any room feel better. You’ll probably get compliments.

Soundbars Are Typically Budget-Friendly

A soundbar will give you the best value for money, even if you are trying to keep your budget within reach. You can find soundbars and packages to suit every budget and need. And they weren’t cheap, but you won’t be disappointed in the quality.

Start with a 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar, and then add components later if you can. Make sure you do your research before making your first purchase.

Some soundbars will allow you to add wireless surround speakers. However, most won’t. A soundbar doesn’t require you to invest a lot upfront to create your fantastic sound system.

Choosing the Right Soundbar for You

A 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar can help you decide which soundbar is best for you. It all depends on your budget, your preferences, and your needs.

Recommended 2.1 Soundbars

  • A 2.1 soundbar can be a great option if you want to improve the sound of your TV without spending a lot. A solid 2.1 soundbar can be purchased for as low as $100 or even $200. These are some options:
  • VIZIO SB3821 (on Amazon). The VIZIO SB3821 has 100 dB sound to fill your home with music with less than 1 percent harmonic distortion. The subwoofer ranges up to 60 feet, and Bluetooth technology is integrated for easy control. It has Dolby Digital decoding and DTS TruVolume audio post-processing.
  • Wohome 2.1 channel soundbar S28 (on Amazon). The Wohome Soundbar S28 is packed with impressive features. Six drivers are included, including two built-in subwoofers, two full-range speakers, and two tweeter speakers. The soundbar can produce 105 dB to fill the room. The DSP chip is integrated and supports wireless Bluetooth. It can also be used with your favorite devices.
  • BYL (on Amazon). The BYL2.1 Channel Soundbar delivers 140W and 110dB sound to fill your home’s entertainment area. The soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer 6.5 inches in diameter that can travel up to 60 feet. The device supports three modes of music, movies, or dialogue. It is also equipped with Bluetooth technology and DSP technology.

Choosing the Right Soundbar for You

Recommended 3.1 Soundbars

  • A 3.1 channel soundbar with a center channel will cost you between $200 and $500. This gives you better sound quality and more transparent sound. These top-rated soundbar systems are sure to please.
  • LG SL6Y 3.1 (on Amazon). The LG SL6Y 3.1 soundbar has a wireless subwoofer, three channels , and a subwoofer. DTS Virtual:X allows for three-dimensional surround sound with no additional speakers. Wireless rear speakers can be added to the SPK8S wireless speaker kit. It is highly rated and provides excellent bass.
  • Samsung MM55 (on Amazon). The Samsung MM55 has three built-in speakers and an active wireless speaker. Bluetooth technology allows you to connect wirelessly with your soundbar to play all music, movies, and other home entertainment. However, music can only be played through Bluetooth and AUX simultaneously, as we explained in our tutorial. The HDMI cable connects to the media and creates a beautiful surround sound experience.
  • JBL Bar 3.0 (on Amazon). The JBL Bar 3.00 is the more expensive option for a soundbar with 3.1 features. It has 450W power and an explosion of bass from an 11-inch wireless subwoofer. Bluetooth technology allows you to stream wirelessly and connect to 4KTVs via 3 HDMI in/1 HDMI ARC out.


Both soundbars are excellent for anyone looking to achieve the perfect home theater experience without the need for a large, dedicated TV.

However, the most significant difference between the two soundbars is their design. If you are looking for an elegant soundbar with style, the 3.1 is the clear winner. This soundbar is also a much better value, costing less than the 2.1. The soundbars are roughly similar in terms of sound quality, but there are some notable differences in the bass quality.

We’ve highlighted some of the advantages and disadvantages of each product. Hooke Audio hope you find this information helpful in making your final decision.

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