2.1 Vs 5.1 Soundbar: Which Is Better And Why?

2.1 Vs 5.1 Soundbar Which Is Better And Why

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to boost the sound for your TV, a soundbar may be a perfect option. You can save money by going for a less expensive soundbar and eliminating the need for a separate subwoofer by selecting a product with a built-in subwoofer. Soundbars are a cost-effective way to improve your television’s sound.

If you’re looking to invest in your audio system, one of these could be the ideal solution. 2.1 Vs 5.1 Soundbar: Which System Is Best For You?

2.1 Channel Soundbar

It has at least two speakers, sometimes more, divided into two channels left and right. It also includes a subwoofer. The purpose of having more speakers is not to increase volume. More speakers create a more immersive surround experience.

Two or more speakers can deliver clear audio from the left and proper channels with a 2.1 soundbar. This is a great way to build your sound system, but it doesn’t do much for the listening experience.

Clear left and proper channels will be available, but nothing more. While soundbars can have stereo and surround sound settings, a 2.1 soundbar system will allow you to hear the difference.

5.1 Channel Soundbar

With three additional speakers or channels, a 5.1 system will deliver a richer listening experience. It usually includes a front left and front right, surround (back), right, surround, left, and a separate Subwoofer.

The soundbar usually has three channels or speakers and two surround speakers. Sometimes, however, the soundbar may have five channels. These additional channels act as surround channels even though they are not in the soundbar.

This is what you would consider a traditional surround sound system. There are three surround channels and two surround channels. The subwoofer is also included.

The additional speakers are located in the room to the rear left and right. A 5.1 system gives you a clear sense of left and right and adds depth.

This depth makes you feel immersed in the entertainment experience. It will be hard to believe that the action movie’s explosion took place right in front of your couch. By listening to their footsteps, you can pinpoint your video game foes.

Features Comparison: 2.1 VS 5.1 Soundbars

How different can a soundbar with 5.1 and 2.1 speakers be? Let’s look at the differences to understand them better.

You can also read our review of LG NB4543, which sits between 4.1 channels.


A 2.1 has only two channels—one on each side. A 5.1 features two channels on each side, plus a center channel and two rear speakers. You can choose to have the rear speakers built-in or external.

One would expect that the soundbars would get more significant the more channels one has. If you are looking for a significant upgrade to your standard TV speakers but do not necessarily want total surround sound, the 2.1 system is a great choice.

Because of their smaller profile, 2.1 soundbars make a better choice for small spaces. They are lighter than other soundbars and can be wall-mounted more easily. Subwoofers[1] with 2.1 soundbars can be mounted on walls very easily.

Features Comparison 2.1 Soundbars VS. 5.1 Soundbars

The 2.1 option’s small size and lightweight allow for more mobility and placement options.

A 5.1 soundbar may have many parts. This requires a larger surface. A 5.1 soundbar works best in larger rooms with large TVs. 5.1 soundbars might be more appealing for those with higher sound requirements.

You can customize your home theater system with a 5.1 soundbar that includes an external subwoofer or rear satellite speaker. You can play with the layout to determine the best setting for your room.

For a better understanding of your input settings, soundbars might have an LCD screen or control panel integrated into their exterior design. Although it may not be required, we found it to be beneficial in facilitating setup.


A 5.1 soundbar usually costs more than a standard 2.1 because it offers better surround sound quality and clarity. They can sometimes be priced at a little less than a thousand dollars, but soundbars are worth more.

However, if you’re not an audiophile, a system with advanced audio technology or a system with basic sound capabilities might make a difference to your viewing experience. You can also save money.

Sound Quality

One soundbar may not be enough to bring a satisfactory surround sound experience. You can bring a theater to your home by adding a subwoofer, multiple channels, and advanced technology.

A 5.1 soundbar will offer more value than a 2.0. With or without technology, the 5.1 soundbars can offer a richer listening experience thanks to its additional center channel that allows for more explicit dialogue and two rear speakers.

A 5.1 system can create depth by adding three external speakers (2 satellites, a subwoofer) and playing around with their placement within the room.

Sound Quality of 2.1 Soundbars VS. 5.1 Soundbars

If that’s all the soundbar system can offer, then there might not be much stopping a 2.1 soundbar equipped with Dolby technology from surpassing it.

Dolby Audio is known for being the industry’s leader in sound quality. Soundbars can be equipped with Dolby Atmos or other forms of DTS technology and software specific to specific brands. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, as demonstrated by the Dolby Atmos soundbars with the lowest price tags.

These technologies can instantly improve the audio quality, regardless of how many channels are used.

Apart from hardware and software, both 2.1 soundbars and 5.1 soundbars may come with sound modes. These sound modes are preset settings that can be used to enhance specific content. You can find standard sound modes such as movies, news, and music.


An HDMI connection can be used to support high-quality content and high-tech audio coders. HDMI supports a 4K passthrough and can handle a more significant load than other cables.

Digital optical connections are your next choice if your soundbar does not have HDMI, such as the Sony HTCT180. Digital optical can also pass through 4K. This is more common in soundbars than HDMI.


All soundbars offer Bluetooth as the most popular wireless connection. It is even available in high-performing 2.1 wireless speakers. Bluetooth allows users to stream content directly from their smartphones to access previously unheard frequencies.

Make sure your TV and soundbars are compatible with each other.

Voice Assistant

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are two fancy features that won’t impact the soundbar’s performance. These features allow for hands-free control over the soundbar and provide quick information like weather reports and current news.

Voice Assistant


The 2.1 and the 5.1 soundbars come with their remote controls. However, some remotes can also be used with universal remotes. A control panel is built into the interface of soundbars and allows you to perform essential functions.

Your TV remote can be used to control the soundbar.


Because they are less complicated to set up, the top 2.1 wireless speakers and even 2.1 soundbars can be more accessible. You only need to connect the two additional components of a 5.1 soundbar and rear satellite speakers.

The plug-and-play nature of both HDMI and digital optical cables connections makes them easy to use. Everything you need, including the remote, cables and manual, should be included in the box. Sometimes, soundbars purchased with wall mount kits will come with them.

Do you have an LG soundbar? Here’s a detailed guide to setting up your LG soundbar with TV: https://hookeaudio.com/how-to-connect-lg-soundbar-to-tv/

Related Questions

What does the 3.1 signify on a soundbar?

Three means that the soundbar has three channels. The soundbar includes a center, left, and right channel. One sub-woofer is connected to the soundbar system.

The soundbar and subwoofer are usually connected wirelessly. However, this is not always the case. We have other guides for Echo Dot.

Are standard TV speakers that bad for you?

While the short answer is yes, a more important question might be, Does the speaker’s sound quality matter to me? Most casual TV viewers won’t notice any distortions or excessive bass at high volumes. Experts will recommend an external sound system if you need reliable sound at all volumes.

Are standard TV speakers that bad for you

Are soundbars the only option for standard TV speakers, or are they better?

Not at all! There are many options for speakers, so the person who prefers a particular setup will be just that: a personal preference.

Musicians may prefer vintage analog speakers to match their vinyl collection. Smart speakers are an excellent option for tech lovers.

They communicate with smart homes and offer excellent audio quality and voice-activated software such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Soundbars can be an excellent choice for those who want high-quality sound and a simple, affordable installation.


​ While a 5. 1 system provides a richer sound experience, a 2. 1 system can provide a more effective mix for those with modest budgets.

No matter which system you choose, you’ll be satisfied with your new home theater experience.

It’s all about the sound! Which 2. 1 or 5. 1 soundbar do you prefer? Or both? Comment below and let Hooke Audio know your thoughts.


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