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Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: Which Is Better in 2024?

Soundbar vs. speakers for PC

Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: Which Is Better in 2024?

Key Points

  • External speakers are the best option for improving audio on a PC.
  • Soundbars usually just simulate surround sound, while speakers offer more options for surround sound, Dolby, and increased bass.
  • Speakers are typically cheaper than soundbars of comparable sound quality.
  • One of the first soundbars was produced by TeleSound in the early 80s.
  • Placement has a major impact on the audio quality of speakers and soundbars.

External speakers are the best option when you want to improve the audio on a PC. You can find speakers for a PC in all shapes and sizes, including systems with multiple components. A soundbar is also an option for PCs and it’s an interesting alternative depending on your system. To help you make that decision, we’re going to compare a soundbar vs. speakers for a PC.

Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: Side-by-Side Comparison

SoundbarsSpeakers
Popular BrandsSamsung, Sonos, BoseKlipsch, Logitech, Creative
ConnectivityTypically HDMI ports and sometimes BluetoothTypically standard audio jacks and Bluetooth
Form FactorUsually a long, narrow bar designed to fit under a TVWide range of form factors from desk speakers to floor-standing, wall-mounted, and others
Audio QualitySoundbars usually just simulate surround soundSpeakers offer more options if you want surround sound, Dolby, increased bass, and more
PricingMore expensive than speakers of comparable sound qualityBudget-friendly speakers are cheaper than a soundbar with the same audio quality
All-in-One
SAMSUNG HW-S50B/ZA 3.0ch All-in-One Soundbar (2022)
$197.99
  • 3.0 channel
  • Dolby 5.1 and DTS Virtual:X
  • Q Symphony
  • Built-in center speaker
  • Adaptive Sound Lite
  • Bluetooth multi-connection
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 04:30 pm GMT

Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: What’s the Difference?

Both soundbars and speakers can vastly enhance the audio on a PC, but there are distinct differences between these types of audio products. While audio quality is important, compatibility is the first area to consider between a soundbar vs. speakers for a PC. 

Compatibility

What type of PC do you have? While “most” computers make it easy to connect external components, there’s a big difference between how speakers and soundbars can connect to a PC.

HDMI ports are the most popular option on soundbars, followed by Bluetooth and a slot for an optical audio cable. That’s fantastic if you own a TV, but not so much for desktop PCs. Bluetooth on these types of systems is hit or miss, depending on the age. 

You can use a Bluetooth adapter to sync systems, but they are far from reliable. Connectivity options vary depending on the type of soundbar. Just keep in mind, that soundbars are designed specifically for TVs, not computers. 

Connectors And Ports Standart Detail Ethernet or Internet RJ45 cable connector and USB 3 near Audio Sound Output and Input microphone mini jack on Motherboard panel pc computer
Always check the inputs and jacks on your PC beforehand.

Speakers also provide users with different ways to connect to a PC, including Bluetooth and standard audio jacks. Like soundbars, the types of connections depend on the speaker. PC speakers are geared for that purpose, but other styles are harder to connect. 

This area is a toss-up as it all boils down to the type of PC you have. Make sure the speaker or soundbar has matching audio jacks; otherwise, you could have major headaches hooking them up. 

Form Factor

The design and form factor is one of the biggest differences between soundbars and traditional speakers. As the name implies, a soundbar resembles a bar. Most of these speakers are vertically challenged but the perfect height to slide under things. By design, they are longer than they are tall.

Soundbars will fit under TVs with ease, but the length can cause issues with a PC desk. There are countless compact soundbars, although they can still interfere with desktop space unless you mount them.

The same problem can arise when using PC speakers with a desktop PC. We still feel they provide an advantage, however. That’s due to the range of form factors, which include floor-standing speakers, bookshelf speakers, wall speakers, and PC speakers. 

This gives you more options on placement regardless of the type of PC you have. It also gives this type of speaker a serious edge over soundbars when used with a PC. 

soundbar
Soundbars have a distinct design.

Audio Quality

Speakers provide more options than soundbars if audio quality is important to you. Whether you want surround sound, Dolby, or just more bass. Soundbars just simulate surround sound unless the system has multiple speakers.

While they do a great job, they can’t replicate a true multi-speaker system or high-end floor-standing speakers. This is also where volume and power come into play. Active soundbars have built-in amplifiers, which evens out the playing field compared to a classic set of passive PC speakers. 

You can also find active bookshelf speakers to use on a desktop. Some of the best soundbars have audio quality comparable to powered speakers used with PCs, but your options are limited. 

Pricing

If you want to add studio-quality sound to a desktop PC, it won’t be cheap. The cost of speakers and soundbars is tied to the type of audio tech used and their size. Larger speakers and multi-component systems cost more. The same is true for soundbars with subs and satellite speakers. 

While that may seem like pricing is a tie when deciding between a soundbar vs. speakers for a PC, speakers are typically cheaper, in my experience. A budget-friendly set of PC speakers is a fraction of the cost of a soundbar with the same audio quality. You may get more features on the soundbar, but are they useful on a PC?

Overall, you’ll get more bang for your buck when using speakers with a PC instead of a soundbar. There are exceptions, but you can pick up active speakers that sound fantastic for the same price as a mid-range soundbar. 

Rich Sound
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Computer Speaker System
$139.95
  • Speakers provide a rich, full sound
  • 200-watt digital hybrid amplifier
  • Subwoofer included
  • Frequency response 35Hz-20kHz
  • Compatible with most devices
  • 3.5mm input
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 04:15 pm GMT

Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • One of the first soundbars was produced by TeleSound in the early 80s. 
  • A variety of speakers work with a PC as long as you have the right type of connection.
  • Soundbars contain between two to eight speakers or more, depending on the design.
  • Placement has a major impact on the audio quality of speakers and soundbars.
  • Algorithms and upward-firing speakers can simulate height with soundbars. 

Soundbar vs. Speakers for a PC: Which One Is Better?

Whether a soundbar or speakers are right for your system depends on your needs and budget. Both of these audio devices are easy to use and don’t require a professional to install or set up. Wiring and cables can sometimes be an issue, but many of these devices are plug-and-play.

Speakers provide more versatility through placement. When properly set up with the right components, you can experience true surround sound while gaming or consuming content — not just simulate it. You also don’t have to deal with awkward positioning with monitors and keyboards; something that can be a problem with soundbars. 

While you won’t have a problem finding a soundbar suitable for your space, the selection is sparse compared to speakers. That’s partly due to the variety of types, which includes speakers designed for PCs, along with a half dozen other styles.

  1. SAMSUNG HW-S50B/ZA 3.0ch All-in-One Soundbar (2022)
    $197.99
    • 3.0 channel
    • Dolby 5.1 and DTS Virtual:X
    • Q Symphony
    • Built-in center speaker
    • Adaptive Sound Lite
    • Bluetooth multi-connection
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 04:30 pm GMT
  2. Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Computer Speaker System
    $139.95
    • Speakers provide a rich, full sound
    • 200-watt digital hybrid amplifier
    • Subwoofer included
    • Frequency response 35Hz-20kHz
    • Compatible with most devices
    • 3.5mm input
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 04:15 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you plug PC speakers into the PC or monitor?

It’s best to plug speakers into the aux port on your PC, not the monitor, although both will work.

Are PC speakers worth it?

If you want to increase the quality and volume level on your computer, speakers or a soundbar is a worthwhile addition.

Do all soundbars have Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a common option, but not something included with every soundbar.

Do soundbars have good bass?

The size of the soundbar limits bass unless it comes with an external subwoofer.

Will a soundbar work with any type of computer?

A soundbar will only work with a PC if you have the right type of connection.

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