2.1 vs. 5.1 soundbar

2.1 vs. 5.1 Soundbar: Which is better for 2023?

Welcome to the battle of the Soundbars!
In this guide, we’re spotlighting the awesome soundbars 2.1 and 5.1.

This is totally a GAME-CHANGER when it comes to enhancing your audio experience.

After reading this short guide, you will now have a CLEARER understanding of whether to get a 2.1 soundbar or a 5.1 soundbar.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Definition of Soundbars 2.1 and 5.1

Before diving in, let’s first understand the meaning of the numbers in the soundbars as this will prove of great importance when deciding what channel setup you will choose.

I know you might have heard it before so let’s align and refresh a little bit, just so we are on the same page.

The left numbers 2 and 5 before the dot (.) in 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars means the number of speakers.

The right number 1 after the dot (.)  tells about the number of subwoofers.

So in the case of a 2.1 soundbar, there are 2 speakers and 1 subwoofer while for a 5.1 soundbar, there are 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer.

Now you know the meaning of the numbers in the 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars,  let’s also define the speakers and subwoofers so we can understand them better.

Speakers also called “channels” produce most of the sounds like the dialogues and music  ( mid-frequency and high-frequency sounds), while the subwoofers produce the bass (low-frequency sounds).

Now that it’s clear, let’s now proceed with…

2.1 Soundbar: Sleek like James Bond

Picture this: a slim and sleek soundbar sitting elegantly below your TV, accompanied by a separate subwoofer for that extra bass. That’s the MAGIC of a soundbar 2.1 system! It’s all about simplicity and power-packed performance.

So, what makes this setup so special? Well, for starters, it’s a space-saving marvel. You can say goodbye to those cluttered shelves filled with multiple speakers beside your tv.

With a soundbar 2.1 system, you get that IMPRESSIVE audio without sacrificing precious real estate in your living room.

Here’s another one…

The dedicated subwoofer brings the bass to life in ways you won’t believe.

Explosions in your favorite action movies? They’ll rumble more through your chest.

That bass drop in your favorite tunes? Get ready to FEEL it in your bones.

It’s all about that deep, resonant bass that adds a whole new dimension to your audio encounters.

VIZIO M-Series All-in-One 2.1 Immersive Soundbar

VIZIO M-Series 2.1 Soundbar + Wireless Subwoofer

As an example, let’s talk about the VIZIO M-Series All-in-One 2.1 Immersive Soundbar. This is in a way, one of the MOST Popular 2.1 Soundbars in the Market.

And it’s not just a pretty face. This sleek and stylish soundbar effortlessly blends with your TV setup, while the Bluetooth wireless subwoofer takes care of the bass.

Together, they create a more balanced and dynamic soundstage that will leave you all smiles.

Now, we should mention that a soundbar 2.1 system at home may not provide the same surround sound technology as a full-fledged setup channel speaker.

Sometimes, it’s not about filling your room with sound from all angles. Instead, it FOCUSES on delivering crystal-clear audio and that satisfying bass punch we all crave.

Effect of 2.1 Soundbar

Now that you understand the technology behind the 2.1 soundbars, let’s discover more by learning the magic of… 

5.1 Soundbar: The Number 1 Sound of the King

After reading about 2.1 Soundbar and you realized you still want something more powerful, then it’s time to know that…

There’s an OVERWHELMING presence of this low-profile 5.1 soundbar that is ideal for ANY living space.

It fits perfectly in front of your TV, houses 3 front speakers, and is paired with a subwoofer for that extra bass kick.

And in this 5.1 soundbar setup, you also get the magic of rear speakers to create fantastic audio that will blow your socks off.

The best part? You don’t need to worry about cluttering your space with multiple speakers and cables.

Everything you need for that EPIC surround sound experience and more is neatly packed into this single package. It’s like having a magical audio genie granting your every wish.

VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Soundbar

VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Soundbar

To give you an idea about this brand, let’s talk about the mind-blowing VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Soundbar, a True King in the audio realm.

This majestic equipment combines a powerful soundbar that houses 3 speakers (left, front, and right), a thumping subwoofer, and 2 back speakers that bring the surround sound action right into your living room. 

It’s like having your own royal and personal entertainment center at home, minus the sticky floors.

Now picture yourself watching your favorite movie. At the peak of the action, the VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Soundbar delivers CRISP dialogue and breathtaking frontal speakers audio.

Then the subwoofer takes charge of those EXPLOSIVE moments, making you feel every reverberation and explosion deep in your chest.

And the back speakers? They bring the ambiance and surround sound effects to life, immersing you in a whole new level of audio awesomeness.

It can also make you cry…

Tears of Joy while watching using a soundbar

Difference between 2.1 and 5.1 Types of Soundbar

The Main Difference between these 2 soundbars is their number of speakers. Generally, when you have more speakers, the better.

Here is a summary. There might be more added features based on the brand and model.

Choosing the Right Soundbar: 2.1 versus 5.1

Features2. 1 Soundbar5.1 Soundbar
No. of Speakers25
No. of built-in speakers23
No. of the rear speaker02
Surround SoundSimulatedTrue
Audio QualityHigh-QualityHigh-Quality
Speaker PlacementSingle SoundbarSingle Soundbar+ 2 Rear Speaker 
CompatibilityCompatible with most TVs and DevicesCompatible with most TVs and Devices

Now you’re kinda familiar with these 2 awesome soundbars, it’s time to help you decide which one suits you better by considering the following criteria.

Checklist on what soundbar to consider

1. Room Size and Layout

First things first, take a good look at your room. Is it cozy and compact, or spacious and open?

Remember, the size, types, and sound of the sound bars are almost relative to the size of your rooms.

For smaller to medium-sized rooms, a 2.1 sound bar might do the trick, providing a fantastic sound upgrade without overwhelming the space.

On the other hand, if you have a larger room or an open-concept setup, those 5.1-type soundbar systems with rear satellite speakers can truly bring that magical surround effect to life.

2. Desired Sound Immersion

How deep do you want to dive into the sound of your favorite movies and music? More volume and more depth?

Well, a 2.1 soundbar system can deliver SOLID audio performance and a satisfying bass experience. It’s like upgrading from a regular car to a turbocharged one – you’ll feel the difference.

But if you’re yearning for that all-encompassing, “wow, I’m in-the-middle-of-the-action” feeling, the newer models of 5.1 soundbars with true surround sound capabilities will blow your mind.

So get ready to surround yourself with additional speakers using this setup!

3. Budget Consideration

Generally, 2.1 soundbar systems are MORE  affordable compared to the 5.1 soundbars.

So if you’re just starting out or don’t have much money but you want to improve your tv’s sound quality, then a 2.1 system can still deliver a SIGNIFICANT audio upgrade without breaking the bank.

But if you’re willing to splurge a bit more for that ultimate surround sound experience, a 5.1-channel system might be worth the investment.

4. More Aesthetic Appeal

Are you a fan of clean and minimalistic designs? Or do you prefer a visually striking setup?

A 2.1 soundbar offers a sleek and streamlined look, with fewer visible speakers and wires, blending seamlessly with your TV. It’s all about that sleek and modern home vibe, with a touch of the digital age.

On the other hand, a 5.1 system with rear external speakers adds a touch of style to your space, with those surround channels adding up to its cool vibe.

It’s like having little audio warriors stationed around your room, ready to create a surround sound spectacle using a strategic speaker positioning.

So don’t worry, both of these systems are just fine.

Good choice on the soundbars

Installation Process

Both 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars are designed with sound convenience in mind. Setting them up is quite easy versus traditional multi-speaker setups.

Here’s how to install the 2 soundbar systems at home…

Installing a 2.1 Soundbar:

  1. Unbox it. Open up the box and take out your new soundbar system and subwoofer (if included). Exciting stuff!

  2. Find a spot: Decide where you want to put the soundbar system. It could be on a shelf or mounted on the wall in front of your TV. Choose a spot that looks good to you.

  3. Connect it: Grab the cables that came with the soundbar and connect it to your TV. Most soundbars have an ARC port, so plug one end of an HDMI cable into your TV’s ARC port and the other end into the soundbar’s ARC port. If your TV doesn’t have ARC, you can use an optical cable or a 3.5mm audio cable. And for other models, you can also connect using Bluetooth. Use what works best for you.

  4. Connect the subwoofer: If your soundbar came with a subwoofer, don’t worry about running any separate external wires. It usually connects wirelessly to the soundbar via bluetooth. Just follow the instructions that came with the soundbar to pair them together. It’s like magic!
  5. Power on and test: Plug in the power cables for the soundbar and subwoofer (if you have one). Now, turn on your TV and soundbar, and play some of your favorite music or a movie to check if the soundbar is working. Get ready to enjoy the amazing sound!
Installing a 5.1 Soundbar:

  1. Unbox it: Open up the box and get excited about your new soundbar, subwoofer, and satellite speakers (wow, you’ve got the whole setup)!

  2. Find a spot: Think about where you want to place each component. The soundbar goes in front of your TV, the subwoofer can be placed near a wall or in a corner, and the satellite speakers should be positioned around the room for that immersive surround sound experience.

  3. Connect it: Just like with the 2.1 soundbars, use the provided cables to connect the soundbar to your TV. Remember, if your TV has an ARC port, that’s usually the best option. For some models, you can also connect using Bluetooth.

  4. Connect the subwoofer: Connect the subwoofer to the soundbar either wirelessly (follow the instructions provided) or with a cable if needed. Don’t worry, it’s easy!

  5. Connect the satellite speakers: Depending on your soundbar model, the satellite speakers may connect via Bluetooth or with cables. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect and position the speakers around the room. It’s like creating your own personal cinema!
  6. Power on and test: Plug in all the power cables for the soundbar, subwoofer, and satellite speakers. Turn on your TV and soundbar, and play some audio or video content with surround sound. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible sound you’ve set up!

Remember, if you have any specific instructions from the manufacturers especially in the setting up of the speakers, be sure to refer to those as well.

Also, review the user’s manual and keep it. We just don’t know it may come in handy if ever we need some technical support later on.

Enjoy your new soundbars and have a fantastic audio experience!

Good Job Installing the Soundbar and Speakers

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are the soundbars Dolby and DTS:X certified?

Answer: Most of the 5.1 soundbars are Dolby and DTS:X ready since it gets to have the back speakers positioned, just like setting up a 5.1 Multi-Channel Home Theater, but just easier to setup.

2. Will the soundbar improve my gaming experience?

Answer: Definitely! Soundbars have gaming mode in them, so whenever you want to play PS4 and you want to improve the quality of the sound, just hook it up to the system and you’re good to go!

3. Which is better, soundbars or smart speakers?

Answer: Both systems have their own function. Smart speakers are also loudspeakers with awesome AI voice assistants capable of telling what’s on the internet and playing music. Examples of popular smart speakers are Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.


Remember, the journey to audio nirvana is all about enjoying the ride. Whether you go with a sleek 2.1 system or opt for the all-encompassing surround sound of a 5.1 setup, you’re on your way to creating a captivating home theater experience that will have you grinning from ear to ear (not the Joker smile, but something normal like Bruce Wayne).

At the end of the day, the choice between a 2.1 and a 5.1 soundbar boils down to your preferences…room size, budget, and desired audio sound experience. Considering all of these factors will make it easier for you to buy your preferred soundbar speakers.

It’s like picking between a cool sports car and a luxurious SUV – both have their unique charms. So take a moment to consider an offer that matters most to you and let your ears guide you toward the perfect soundbar setup.

And last but not least, don’t forget to research the product’s support either via their website or an external support group. This is important in times of technical issues.

So that’s it. You did a smart move by sticking through the end.

Stay tuned for more audio insights, tips, and product recommendations!

You can also check out our other articles below.

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