Sound Bar or Home Cinema: we help you to choose

Posted on 30 March 2022 

After spending 44 hours comparing 78 devices when writing our comparisons, here are our tips for choosing between a sound bar and a home cinema.


The sound bar, affordable in every way

Barre de son

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Small footprint
  • Needs a bass box to stand out
  • Tighter soundstage
  • Less efficient sound management

The sound bar is the most interesting solution for everyone thanks to its ease of access, both in terms of price and installation. All you need is a cable… and here we go!

However, it may be necessary to add a subwoofer to improve the low frequencies, which are often affected by the small size of the system. Some models even offer Dolby Atmos compatibility, which adds dedicated speakers to improve immersion. This last solution is closer to traditional home cinema.

Despite its many advantages, this system is less effective than a home cinema because of its narrower soundstage and voices that tend to blend in when the soundstage is more crowded.


The home cinema, powerful but demanding

Home cinema

  • Sound immersion
  • Sound fidelity
  • Polyvalent
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to update
  • Calibration method

People who are more sophisticated about sound will spend a little more money to get a home cinema. Whether in 5.1 or 7.1 surround or even Dolby Atmos, this system is the most immersive on the market thanks to its wide variety and number of loudspeakers.

This allows for a clear soundstage and a true cinema experience. As an added bonus, every element of the soundtrack is fully respected, allowing you to enjoy the dialogue without sacrificing other elements.

Unfortunately, getting the best possible system involves some sacrifices. For example, the budget required is higher than that of a “simple” soundbar. In addition, the installation is more complicated because it requires a more sophisticated installation and calibration of the loudspeakers.


In conclusion

As you can see, the differences between a sound bar and a home cinema are mainly due to the difference in investment. In a way, the sound bar is the affordable solution and the home cinema the high-end one.

In short, soundbars are suitable for low budgets but still provide good immersion, especially in combination with a subwoofer. Nevertheless, they are still much less effective than a complete home cinema system, which offers greater immersion thanks to the large number of loudspeakers. However, it is still necessary to have a minimum of knowledge for the installation and to have a higher budget.

In the end, your choice should be determined by your knowledge and your budget. Note, however, that the majority of users will be satisfied with a sound bar coupled with a subwoofer.

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