2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar

The difference between 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar is mainly in the number of channels. Both 2.0 and 2.1 soundbars are a minimalist setup that you can have. So, comparing 2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar, it is best to go for 2.1 soundbars to get the low-end of the music correctly.

However, if you want the most basic and minimum upgrade to your TV speaker, then a 2.0 soundbar will also suit you, specially for cozy spaces. Although these soundbars only have a left and right channel, some comes with dialogue enhancement feature which makes vocals clearer and louder.

There are soundbars that focus on producing virtual surround sound as well. In case you prefer surround sound, you can easily choose the LG SL5Y or Sony HT-X9000F.The soundbar of 2.0 or 2.1 systems are mostly budget-friendly. You can get a decent bar under $100 to $150 easily.

Most of the soundbars have wall mounting options making it even easier to save some space. If you don’t want the hassle of using multiple remotes to control the bar and TV, look for HDMI-CEC feature.

2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar: Top 7 product

2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar, which is best for you? Let’s have a look on the best 7 soundbars.

Best plug-and-play soundbar: JBL Bar 2.0 – All-in-One Soundbar (2019 Model)

Features:

  • Drivers: 2 x racetrack drivers
  • Frequency response: 70Hz – 20KHz
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Total speaker power output: 80W
  • Dimension: 24.17”x2.28”x3.54”

Performance:

Just as the name suggests, the JBL 2.0 soundbar gives you an all-in-one solution. The thin and sleek profile makes it easier to place it underneath the TV or on small tables. You can also wall mount it.  The build quality is very good. On the front side, there is an LED indicator which change color for different functions.

With Bluetooth you can stream content from your smartphone and tab but it doesn’t support Wi-Fi.

The simplistic setup and control along with impressive upgrade of TV audio makes it the best 2.0 soundbar under $200. It has 2 front-firing drivers secured inside perforated grille. The racetrack drivers are best for compact soundbars which gives the best performance despite its small size.

Although JBL doesn’t have subwoofer in it, the bass is decent. The soundbar can get louder and sounds bigger than its size.

However, it is best to listen at moderate volume levels. The wireless Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity make it one of the best versatile 2.0 soundbar. You also get optical and USB ports. Controlling the Bar 2.0 is easier with a remote control. The remote has a total of 5 buttons which gives it a clean look. With HDMI-CED feature, you can control the TV and bar with same remote control.

Although this soundbar doesn’t have DTS, it supports Dolby Digital. It has Smart Mode which will enhance the sound quality of TV. The JBL surround sound improves the sound further ensuring clarity. the JBL 2.0 is best for users who want a simplistic setup and the basic features of a soundbar.

Compared to TV sound, the audio coming from soundbar will have broad soundstage and decent stereo separation. The dialogues are also clearer. Since there is no dedicated subwoofer, the low-end sounds like explosions will not be so powerful.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Decent sound quality
  • Clear dialogues
  • Very easy to setup
  • Easy to control

Cons

  • Short cables

Best Bluetooth soundbar: Bose TV Speaker

Features:

  • Dimension: 2.2:x23.4”x4”
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • HDMI ARC and CEC
  • Output for subwoofer
  • Wall mountable

Performance:

Bose 2.0 speaker has low-profile design with a plastic rectangular shape and perforated metal grille. It easily blends in with the surrounding. The bar will fit easily if placed at the TV feet. There are two full-range drivers placed at an angle.

It has Dialogue mode which improves vocals, makes them clearer and more prominent. Press the Bass Button on the remote to activate it. You can use either HDMI or optical connection for your TC. A 1/8” Aux input is available to connect with other sources and you can go wireless with Bluetooth.

The subwoofer output is a thoughtful addition. You can connect by choosing one from Bose Module 500 vs 700. This is a Roku TV ready soundbar so if you have Roku TV, you can use the Roku TV’s remote and control the soundbar.

Although the cost is slightly higher when compared to its competitors, Bose ensures optimum audio quality without any distortion. The bar sounds bigger and produces room-filling audio. The bass is impressive even though there is no subwoofer. You can use it for music by streaming files from Tidal, Spotify, etc.

The mids are smooth with average stereo separation and good THD performance. As a result, you will get cleaner and richer audio from it. There are no controls on the soundbar. It comes with remote control that has few buttons but there is no app.

Overall, it has a neutral sound profile and although it costs more, you can rely on Bose. Based on dialogue clarity, it is one of the best 2.0 soundbar for movies.

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Loud and clear sound
  • Straightforward setup
  • Excellent dialogue clarity
  • Versatile connections

Cons

  • No Dolby Digital, DTS or Atmos

Best affordable Roku TV speaker: TCL Alto 6 2.0 Channel Home Theater Sound Bar

Features:

  • Drivers: 1.75”x3.94”
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Dimension: 31.5”x2.4”x4.2”
  • Supports Dolby Digital Audio

Performance:

The smaller footprint of TCL Alto 6 makes it sit under 40” TVs easily. The build quality is quite robust. TCL Alto 6 has another model known as TCL Alto 6+. Comparing TCL Alto 6 vs TCL Alto 6+, the difference is mainly a dedicated subwoofer with Alto 6+.

The soundbar has 5 tough buttons on top of it: volume up, down, Bluetooth, input and power. Unlike other soundbars, the TCL Alto 6 has several sound modes: Music, Movies and TV. These will improve the audio as per content.

With different modes, the audio become clearer and crispier. It has well-balanced audio profile which is an upgrade over TV speaker. It is the best Roku TV soundbar due to easier setup and it works with Roku TV remote as well.

The Dolby Audio focuses on details and produces a powerful virtual surround sound. It is best for you if you want a cheaper soundbar with decent sound quality. The remote control only has 9 buttons and is easy to use. It is best to put it in small rooms or you should sit close for listening. The soundbar is quite loud so is the dialogues. Setting up is easy as breeze that require less than 5 minutes.

Connections include: HDMI ARC, 3.5mm Aux, optical and USB. Bluetooth makes it easier to stream contents from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, etc. Connecting the TCL soundbar to TC is the easiest. This is because, even if your TV doesn’t have HDMI ports, you can use the optical or Aux ports to connect it.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Sleek design
  • Simple setup
  • Remote control
  • Rich and detailed audio

Cons

  • Bass and surround sound is average.

Best 2.1 soundbar under $150: VIZIO 36” 2.1 Sound Bar

Features:

  • Dimension: 36”x2.1”x5.24”
  • Driver: 2×2.67”
  • Subwoofer driver: 2×3”
  • Frequency response: 50Hz-20kHz
  • SPL:97dB

Performance:

If you want to enjoy a 2.1 sound system but don’t have space for a subwoofer, then the Vizio 2.1 soundbar is best for you. The two sides of the bar have a ‘slope-like’ design and the grille has clothe wrapping.

The soundbar has wall mounting slots, so you only need to secure screws into the wall and attack the soundbar. The side panel of the bar has multiple control options: power, input, Bluetooth and volume. Instead of having a sub, the soundbar packs dual 3” woofer drivers to deal with the low-end frequencies.

The soundbar has 3.5mm Analog, USB and optical ports.  You can insert USB thumb drive into USB port. It supports MP3 and WMA files. Laptop, Tab or MP3 player can be inserted into 3.5mm port. Since the soundbar doesn’t support HDMI, it is best to use optical connection and keep the 3.5mm port as the last option.

Unlike most other 2.0 soundbars, this supports Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual: X. These enhances sound quality by creating powerful and immersive soundstage and overhead effects. It can get quite loud despite its sleek profile. The VRT:X makes the sound more realistic which makes you feel where the sound is coming from.

While the 2.1 is an improvement over 2.0, it still can’t create room-filling immersive sound because that’s not what soundbars are for. Overall, the sound is crisp and detailed with tighter bass. Driving the bar with bass-heavy songs might not five you the cleanest and undistorted audio.

It is actually best for casual music listening and for most cases you should set the volume to moderate level. The soundbar gives you plenty of options to adjust the EQ, bass and treble to set the best sound profile for your taste. Lastly, with no volume wiggle the sound is either too loud or too quit which might be an issue for some.

Pros

  • Reasonable cost
  • Punchier bass
  • Loud and rich sound
  • Includes cables
  • Several EQ and audio modes

Cons

  •  No HDMI

Best overall 2.1 soundbar: Sony HT-X9000F Soundbar

Features:

  • S-Master amplifier
  • Total power output: 300W
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Supports HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision,
  • Drivers: 2x 1.625″ x 4″ Cone

Performance:

The subwoofer connects to the speaker wirelessly. Since this 2.1 system will need some space of your room, you will be happy with clean cables. The subwoofer has an MDF body. It has front-firing 160mm driver. The bass produced, is clean and tight.

The top panel has several touch sensitive buttons. You can also use the remote control as well. In case you have Sony TV, the Bravia Sync allows to control both bar and TV like the Sony X900F TV with single remote. The soundbar has 4k HDMI input, HDMI ARC output, optical digital input, analog mini-jack input, USB and Bluetooth.

You can connect CD, DVD player, MSC driver and TV with the bar.  TV can be connected wirelessly with the soundbar as well. You can choose from 5 sound modes: Auto Sound, Cinema, Music, Game Studio, News, Sports, Standard, and 2 sound modes: Night mode and Voice mode.

In case you are using compressed audio files from your CD, then the DSEE will help to ensure sound quality. So, the music will sound more natural and similar to original file. If you are watching movies at night, the Advanced Auto Volume will help to keep the volume level same for all programs.

Sony has Vertical Surround Engine that allows the bar to produce height effect. The bar uses Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to create 3-D sound. The digital processing makes you feel that sound is coming from different direction. It focuses to create 7.1.2 surround sound.

The video features of this soundbar is excellent. With HDR support, the image on screen will be vivid. The pictures will have greater contrast and brightness. It has Truluminous Color option that focuses on subtle color reproduction and, displays accurate and natural colors.

Pros

  •  3D-ready feature
  • HDMI port support latest formats
  •  Loud audio with broad soundstage
  • Tight bass, accurate mids
  •  Support Dolby Atmos and DTS files

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Wi-Fi

Best 2.1 wireless soundbar: LG SL5Y 2.1 Channel High Resolution Sound Bar

Features:

  • 4 discrete amps
  • Soundbar amp output: 45W
  • Dimension: 35”x2.2×3.3”
  • Channel output power RMS: 220, 90
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Performance:

The LG SL5Y soundbar is made of plastic and has standard looks with curved corners. The front panel has LED display that shows you different information. This makes it easier for you to understand volume, input and others easily. The side area includes some controls: volume, F (input selection), Bluetooth, USB and power.

The bar has 2 40x100mm oval woofers and dual 20mm silk dome tweeters. The oval shaped low-frequency driver is best for compact soundbars like this. In the bass-reflex sub, there is a 6” driver. The SPL of bar and sub are [email protected] ohms and [email protected] 3 ohms.

Connections include Digital optical input, HDMI 1.4 input and output with ARC, and USB. The 2.1 soundbar can be controlled with mobile app but is only available to Android users. You should get the app to access to some options like Dynamic Range control and Auto Volume Leveler.

It has a Bass Blast feature which you can use for low-frequency enhancement. The HDMI-CEC allows a single remote for TV and bar. It also supports LPCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS Virtual: X. The last feature creates a virtual acoustic effect that allows sound to come from different position.

Latest audio processing helps to improve the CD files so that you can hear hi-res 24-bit/96kHz sound. Unlike Sony that doesn’t support inclusion of other speakers, you can connect wireless rear speakers, SPK8-S  with it. It can adjust audio when you move from one content to another.

Overall, the sound quality has excellent separation, bass with depth and a balanced profile. Adding the surround sound will give you true immersive sound. the vocals are well-pronounced and clear as well. The LG Sound Sync will allow to connect the bar to TV with Bluetooth. It has a detailed and elaborately explained user manual.

Pros

  • Remote and mobile app
  • Wireless sub
  • Wireless connection with TV
  • ASC analyze sound based on input

Cons

  • No eARC

Best budget-friendly 2.1 soundbar: Creative Stage 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar

Features:

  • Total peak power: 160W
  • Frequency response: 55-22000Hz
  • SNR≥ 72dB
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Dimension: 2.75×2.16×3”

Performance:

It is a small sized soundbar with LED on the front panel. You can choose 4 sound modes from the remote: Movies, Music, Concert and Sports. If you want to adjust settings, then you need to use the remote. Because, the bar only has volume and power control.

The remote helps you to adjust EQ, bass and treble settings. You can also switch from one input to another. You can connect gaming PCs to it to enjoy rich and decent gaming effects. Since the bar is too small in size, the sound will not be as powerful to fill the room.

If you sit close, the soundbar will deliver optimum performance. This soundbar is ideal to use with PC or TV. It is best for small rooms. The bass has HDMI input, Bluetooth, optical input, USB and Aux in. it is best to use the HDMI or optical for TV connection and Aux for PC, Laptop, tab or mobile.

For Bluetooth pairing, press the Bluetooth button on the remote for 2s, then search for the device name on your smartphone. The soundbar supports 32GB, FAT32 features. This plug-and-play under monitor soundbar is one of the best 2.1 soundbar under $100.

It has a 40W wired subwoofer which excels in producing punchier and thumpy bass. The soundbar is a good upgrade from TV and computer built-in speakers. Games, music or even movies can be played through the bar.

It can get pretty loud as well. While you will not get powerful and room-filling audio, if you sit close, the sound has clarity with good treble and mids.

Pros

  • Decent build
  • Wide range of connections
  • Impressive audio
  • Best for PC

Cons

  • Poor power saving design

2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar: How are they different

What is the difference between 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar? The following table shows the comparison in details.

 2.0 soundbar2.1 soundbar
No. of channels23
SubwooferNoYes
SoundGoodBetter
CostAffordableAffordable

Definition:

2.0, 2.1 or 5.1.2, these numbers are often used in home theater applications. The first number denotes the number of speakers or channels, the second number denote the number of subwoofers and the third number indicates number of height speakers. In a 2.0 or 2.1 soundbar system, there is no height effect speakers.

Drivers:

A 2.0 soundbar simply consists of left and right channel. It has only two drivers without any additional subwoofer. Comparing 2.0 vs 2.1 channel soundbar, the 2.1 soundbars have 2 channels and a subwoofer. The subwoofer can be built-in into the soundbar, or it can be a dedicated one. Dedicated subwoofers will produce more powerful sound than built-in drivers.

Audio quality:

How does a 2.0 or 2.1 affect a sound quality? Going from 2.0 to 2.1 will not be a dramatic improvement because you are not upgrading from 2.0 to 7.2.6 systems. The improvement lies in the low-frequency range. An inclusion of tight and punchier bass enhances the music or movie effects even more.

Cost:

A 2.0 or 2.1 soundbar is available at different price range. Comparing 2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar price, there isn’t much of a difference between the cost of these two systems. Most of the brands offer these soundbars at reasonable price but you can also seek feature-full soundbars at high price.

Parting words

2.0 vs 2.1 soundbar, which one should you buy? The reason why users often seek such minimalist soundbar systems is room space. In case you don’t have room for an additional subwoofer, a 2.0 soundbar will be best. If you still want a subwoofer, then you can go for a 2.1 soundbar with built-in subwoofer.

A 2.1 soundbar is best for users who love bass in their music or movies. Should you upgrade to 2.1 from 2.0? The low-end improvement dramatically improves the sound quality both for movies and music. A 2.1 upgrade is definitely worth it. If you want to upgrade your speakers in future, make sure it supports additional speaker or has subwoofer output port.

There are several reasons to go for a 2.0 or 2.1 soundbar, along with easily placing them in small spaces, you can get clean cables. If the bar can connect to the TV wirelessly like the LG SL5Y 2.1 soundbar, then the number of cables will be fewer. The Creative Stage 2.1 can connect to the TV wirelessly.

FAQ

This FAQ is parting gift from us. with this section we are still trying to solve more of your problems.

Can I use 2 soundbars together?

Check whether the first soundbar has output ports like ‘Output’ or ‘Headphone’. Then find the input jack of the second soundbar, check for ‘Input’ or ‘Mic’. Connect the cable to the output port for the first one and then insert the other end to the input of another bar.

Can 2.1 soundbar create surround sound?

2.1 soundbars systems can produce average and quite decent surround sound. in most cases, it tries to create an illusion that sound is coming from all around you.  Check whether your selected soundbar can perform this. However, it will not be as powerful as 5.1 or 7.1 home theater systems.