Soundbar vs Bookshelf Speakers: In Search of the Perfect Home Audio

Remember that time when bookshelf speakers were so highly regarded around the world? For the first time in life, people were enjoying studio-quality sound while sitting in their own house. However, if you want to increase the sound system of your television, bookshelf speakers, and soundbars, both are great options. And today we are going to discuss Soundbar vs Bookshelf Speakers.

Soundbars were made for the television system. So to get a rich and vibrant sound quality from your TV, soundbars are much needed. The soundbar with a sub-woofer can be the most perfect and affordable combination for your TV. Some people are also having a contrasting episode on Soundbar and speaker which is specialized by Bluetooth.

On the other hand, if you are a home theatre fan and want to enjoy the best quality sound for music and movies, bookshelf speakers are the ultimate choice. Bookshelf speakers or powered speakers are perfect for audiophiles. They are more convenient and give you a variety of options to choose which kind of sound you wish to hear.

In this article, we are going to help you to find out which sound system is best for your home use. And which one is a good soundbar vs bookshelf speakers for music experience.

Similarities: Soundbar vs Bookshelf

Bookshelf SpeakersSoundbars
Sensitivity Rating85 dB-92dB85dB-92dB
Input Impedance4ohm, 6ohm, 8ohm4ohm, 8ohm

Apparently, these two sound systems function in separate ways. That’s why they have a small number of similarities.

Difference: Bookshelf vs Soundbar

Bookshelf SpeakersSoundbars
Power Output
20-30% to 80-90% of power consumption
Frequency Response45-22kHz20-22kHz
Channel22, 3 or more
Drivers2 woofers, a tweeter, and a midrange driver. A subwoofer can also be included.Built-in tweeter and subwoofer
Inputs3.5mm Dual RCA, 3.5mm Dual AUX, Optical fiber, Dual RCA-RCAHDMI, 3.5mm Jack AUX, Optical wire,
PlacementNeed at least two Speaker StandsUnder the Display of TV or Computer monitor

There are lots of disparities between soundbars and bookshelf speakers, taking into account the specifications, size, and setup. It’s quite clear that both sound systems function in a very different way.

Bookshelf Speaker: Things You Should Know

Bookshelf speakers are not only for your bookshelf they are meant to keep on a shelf, table, or stands and obviously not on the floor. These are a bit bigger than PC speakers and can produce the sound for a broader range of spaces.

These speakers like two amazing series of Klipsch Icon and Reference are mainly created exclusively for middle or small-sized rooms. However, some customers are very fond of movies and TV series, when others consider themselves as a music lover. The market provides different kinds of bookshelf speakers for tv to satisfy different types of buyers.

And there are so many best budget bookshelf speakers to choose from on amazon.

Soundbars: Everything There is to Learn

Soundbars are pretty small and thin and allow you to position themselves under the display of your television or computer monitor; however, you like. It is entirely new as a sound system, and people around the world are buying it for its cheap rate.

There are new kinds of soundbars with Dolby Atmos surround sound system that enables them to bounce off the sound from the roof and create a spectacular effect. And best soundbar with subwoofer is common to produce the best music quality.

Soundbar vs Bookshelf Speakers:

In this section, we are going to draw a line to separate two different equipment which delivers sound i.e. music or sound from your Tv, gaming PS4/5, etc. You may have a hard time isolating sound when you can be boomed with a bookshelf speaker. However, you will be limited when it comes to upgrading the specifications. Let’s dive more into it!

Details Features Comparisons

Well, you are in the comparison zone, and to do that you need to consider some facts. As because we are going to draw a distinct line between these two types of speakers on real-life experiences. let’s take a deep look at those features.

Sensitivity Rating

A sensitivity rating gives you an idea about how much volume you’ll get from a sound system with a certain amount of power. It can affect all kinds of drivers and materials of the sound system you are using. The average sensitivity of the sound system is 88dB. 84dB is considered the lowest sensitivity rating, and going under that specific number can impact the sound quality.

Most of the bookshelf speakers have an average of 88dB to 92dB sensitivity rating. Over 92dB is commonly regarded as an outstanding rating. Likewise, the soundbars usually have almost the same kind of sensitivity rating. The higher the sensitivity rating, the greater the sound output.

Input Impedance

Input impedance is another critical specification that should be given importance. Your sound system should neither have high nor low impedance, a 6-8 ohms impedance rating is viewed as ideal. The sound system that has high impedance needs more current, and the sound becomes weaker when the required impedance is not found. On the contrary, low impedance damages the speaker by overheating.

Bookshelf speakers typically end up with 6 ohms or 8 ohms of impedance. The audiophiles do enjoy 4ohm speakers with complete and beautiful sound quality. Besides, the typical value of input impedance for soundbars is 8ohm. There are also 4ohm soundbars available on the market.

Power Output

When you’re looking to buy any sound system, its power rating can be an essential specification to consider. It helps you to understand how much power does a specific sound system requires to offer the best sound quality.

When you take a look at the speaker specifications, you’ll see the minimum and the maximum power ratings scribbled down there. Ideally, you should keep your power supply limited in this range.

However, if you want to hear loud, wall-shaking music genres like metal, rock, or pop without distortion, 200W will provide you with plenty of power supply. Similarly, if you love classical, jazz, blues, or hip-hop, 50W is more than enough.

The bookshelf speaker’s power can be divided into RMS power and Peak / Max power. The RMS refers to continuous power supplying in a standard condition. This is used to match amplifier ratings.

Peak power is the maximum amount of power the speaker can get for a limited amount of time. It does not match with the amplifier. RMS is usually lower than Peak Power. You should always consider comparing two or more RMS or Peak Power while choosing between two speakers.

The power output of soundbars refers to the total applied wattage. The power consumption is basically the wattage. Generally, the range is between 20-30% to 80-90% of power consumption.

Frequency Response

Frequency Response or frequency range tells you how low or high the speakers can play. The lower the number goes, the deeper and detailed the bass sounds. Any bookshelf speakers that reach 50Hz or lower are considered reasonable and usually don’t need any subwoofers.

Although, if you find yourself an audiophile and wish to listen to more detailed bass, the subwoofers are recommended. Subwoofers are capable of generating low-frequency audio between 35Hz-200Hz.

In comparison, the soundbars can deliver the lowest human sound frequency, 20Hz. 2000Hz-20000Hz range of frequency range can also be displayed by the tweeter of a soundbar.


Speakers usually have three main types of drivers: woofers, midrange, and tweeters. A subwoofer is sometimes added to get a better bass sound. However, when it comes to sound systems, the size really does matter. Large sound systems play music louder and create additional bass, which makes the sound more clear and bold.

Bookshelf speakers usually have 5”-6.25” woofers and .75”-1.4” tweeters to produce a big soundstage for paying music. However, the soundbars have different sizes of built-in tweeters in and most of the time, you find soundbar with subwoofer.


The ports and sockets are the primary inputs of the sound systems. Better connectors improve sound quality and cut down on electronic interference, although the impact is meager. AUX cable offers more versatility than RCA, and RCA AUX combined cable is generally better. There are also optical audio connections, which are the neatest way to transfer the audio between devices.

Bookshelf speakers offer all kinds of cables and connectors to have the best quality of sound. They have 3.5 mm RCA, 3.5mm jack AUX, dual RCA Aux cable, and sometimes optical inputs and so customers can decide which one to buy from lots of options.

And if we talk about the soundbars, they usually have 3.5 mm jack AUX cable connectors, HDML connectors, and optical wires. The most efficient method is to connect the soundbar and TV with HDMI cable via HDMI arc.


Where do you want your sound systems positioned? If you keep them by your side, it will sound in a way that won’t match the surrounding system’s audio quality. The positioning of your sound systems can play a vital role in the sound you’re expecting.

However, it is easier to create the right combination for positioning the soundbars than the bookshelf speakers for TV.

Position the speakers at the minimum distance from the wall to get the best sound. If the speakers have the same distance between both of the walls, move them. The distance of the sidewall and front wall should not be the same.

To allow sound waves to reach their potential, you should aim your speakers down the longest wall. Keep the speakers at the ear level to have the perfect sound. Create an ideal triangle between you and your speakers; the distance between you and your speakers should be equal.

Soundbars are comparatively small and thin; therefore, they can be kept below the display of TV or computer monitors and will deliver fantastic audio. If your LED television is wall-mounted, just try to keep the tv soundbar straight under it.

When Should You Go for Soundbars?

  • If you have a budget problem and still want to get the best audio quality from the TV
  • If your living room is decent but small sized
  • When you are not willing to give up so much space just to get a respectable performance from TV

Why You Will Just Love Soundbars

  • Simple to install and to connect
  • Fewer cables
  • Modified design
  • Well suited for small living spaces
  • Amazing virtual sound with a glimpse of surround system sound experience
  • Arguably the cheapest sound system in the market
  • Allows Bluetooth connection

The Best Soundbar You Just can’t miss

Sonos Arc


  • Amazing surround sound and music playback
  • TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus
  • Discrete all-in-one soundbar
  • Has the exceptional audio quality for the price
  • Can be expanded with a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers
  • Best-in-class multi-room audio features (plus support for AirPlay 2)
  • Your choice of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant


  • Relies too heavily on the capabilities of the TV it will be connected to.
  • Doesn’t suit every room

Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R


  • High performance
  • Bluetooth support
  • High-end setup
  • Multiple connectivities


  • No room correction
  • Small screen

Sony HTX8500


  • All-in-one 2.1 design
  • Good with movies and music
  • Plug ‘n’ Play installation
  • Dialogue enhancement and night mode feature available
  • EQ presets plus bass adjustment feature available.


  • No Wi-Fi support
  • No up-firing Dolby Atmos drivers

Bose Soundbar 700


  • Universal Remote included
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Phase Guide gives surround sound vibes
  • Compact Design
  • Upgradable
  • Built-in Alexa voice assistant
  • Supports HDMI ARC, eARC


  • No Dolby Atmos or DTSX Service;
  • Buggy Alexa Voice Control

JBL Bar 5.1


  • Outstanding wireless connectivity options.
  • Room correction available.
  • Powerful bass depth and crisp, clear highs
  • Adjustable bass EQ


  • Only two EQ presets.
  • No Atmos support.

The Other Side of Soundbar

  • Requires a separate subwoofer
  • Will not produce a complete surround sound system
  • Not appropriate for large or medium-sized general rooms
  • Usually cannot be upgraded
  • Limited Functionality
  • Updating won’t necessarily improve sound quality

When Should You Go for Bookshelf Speakers?

  • If you have an ordinary medium-sized room
  • Maybe you regularly get your sound system upgraded
  • If you love home theatre and do not compromise audio quality over anything

Why Bookshelf Speakers Are The Best

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Very much flexible
  • Most of the speakers have built-in amplifiers to enhance the performance
  • Delivers studio-quality accurate bass
  • Lightweight
  • Can be mixed and upgraded
  • Varieties of features
  • Allows Bluetooth connection

The Five Best Bookshelf Speakers You Should Look for:

 Sony SS-CS5 3-way bookshelf speaker


  • 3-way, 3-speaker bass-reflex system
  • 3 drivers for better sound quality
  • Sleek and sophisticated design
  • Optimized Crossover componentry
  • Dampened wood cabinet
  • Tapered faceplate edges
  • 3/4 inch Sony Super Tweeter


  • You would be needing a sub-woofer

ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers


  • Best speakers for the money in the price range
  • A perfect size for a book shelf.
  • Excellent sound re-production.
  • Enhanced bass response
  • Top end precision


  • Needs subwoofer and center channel Laminate separating on corner
  • No bumper pads provided

Klipsch R-14M


  • Provides a quality audio upgrade at an affordable price
  • Unobtrusive display and presentation
  • Ingenious inclusion of compelling features
  • Black cabinet wards off most scratches


  • Ideal for only small to medium rooms

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf


  • No amplifier required
  • The sound is warm, equilibrated, and powerful
  • Separate bass and treble checks
  • Excellent price point
  • Easy to connect
  • Includes remote


  • The highs are not clear
  • The depth of the bass is missing

Bowers & Wilkins 607

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  • Exceptional sound quality with outstanding midrange and bass.
  • Well-made and finished
  • Dynamic, spacious, and detailed sound.
  • Excellent performance overall


  • Treble sounds too crisp, with a very simple finish.

Why Bookshelf Speakers Still Are Avoided

  • Setup is complex
  • Needs too much space
  • Full of wires and connectors
  • Comparatively expensive

Product Differentiator

Setting up a bookshelf speaker is a little tough, and lots of wires can make you weary. But other than that, they are the best sound systems in the market. Soundbars cannot produce sound anywhere near the bookshelf speakers. And you can also choose bookshelf speakers Bluetooth version or small bookshelf speakers for comfortable use.

An audiophile will never buy a soundbar and do not recommend that. And nowadays a lot of speakers are as cheap as soundbars and yet, have the ability to produce better sound quality. Moreover, soundbars lack many essential features and can’t fill up the room.

If you read the whole article then you already know to choose a sound system for your use. You can use this knowledge and choose between soundbar vs speakers for pc and enjoy playing games and watch movies on PC.

But, then again, the choice solemnly depends on an individual because sometimes the customers don’t care about the quality of sound. However, bookshelf speakers are not really suitable for a house full of children. But you can consider between Soundbar and Bluetooth speakers if children are around or parting outdoor.\


The best of luck to you, our dearest reader! We hope that this FAQ section has been helpful in your quest for knowledge and understanding. We hope you enjoy our parting gift and well-wishes to all of your future endeavors.

Are bookshelf speakers superior to television speakers?

Bookshelf speakers will definitely generate better music than a Soundbar, but to deliver a full-range audio experience, they will need to be combined with a center channel speaker and a subwoofer. Soundbars with several channels and a subwoofer may deliver high-quality sound.

Is it possible to connect bookshelf speakers to a television?

A good pair of passive bookshelf speakers may also serve as excellent TV speakers, but you’ll need an AV receiver to connect them to. Because you’re buying both speakers and an AV receiver, this is typically the more expensive choice (compared to getting a soundbar), but it does offer some unique advantages.


Soundbar vs bookshelf speakers for tv: which one comparatively performs better? The answer might vary from person to person, but my ultimate preference goes to Bookshelf speakers. And there are lots of reasons to back up my recommendations.

There are other kinds of sound systems in the market that can presumably perform better than the aforementioned systems. But if you wish to purchase any of those two, I will suggest you go for Bookshelf speakers.

Athor’s Pick: Bookshelf speaker