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Tower Speakers vs Soundbars: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to home theater speakers, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with the wide variety of speakers available both online and in stores. If you’re a beginner, you may be finding it hard to decide between a tower speaker and a soundbar.

Tower Speakers vs Soundbars

Tower Speakers vs Soundbars

Tower speakers are tall, powerful, vertical speakers best suited for large rooms and for movie buffs who want high-quality, immersive audio. Soundbars on the other hand are smaller, compact, cost-effective all-in-one units designed to enhance your TV’s audio while fitting unobtrusively in any space.

Of course, your individual needs will finally decide which type of speaker is right for you. So let’s compare the two in order to help you make a more informed decision.

FeatureTower SpeakersSoundbars
SizeLargeCompact
Sound QualityExcellentGood
Soundstage (spatiality)ExcellentLimited
Bass ResponseExcellentGood
Surround Sound CapabilityExcellentLimited
PriceHigherLower
Set-up DifficultyMore complexSimple

What is a Tower Speaker?

A tower speaker also known as a floor-standing speaker, is a tall (usually 3 feet high or more), narrow longish speaker that can directly be placed on the floor.

Tower speakers are large and powerful. They have a multi-driver design, consisting of tweeters (for high frequency sounds), woofers (for the bass) and mid-range drivers (vocals). This gives you a full-range, high-quality sound with great dynamics and clarity.

What is a Soundbar?

A soundbar is a standalone device primarily meant to augment the audio from your TV. Soundbars usually come in oblong, sleek, attractive designs. Some can sit neatly under or in front of the TV while others can be wall-mounted.

Soundbars are designed to function as all-in-one units. They usually house two or more speakers which are meant for the left, right and center channels. Some also include separate subwoofers.

However, being much smaller, they are not as powerful as tower speakers.

Also read: How To Make a Soundbar Turn On With the TV

Tower Speakers or Soundbar: How to Decide?

It can be tough deciding which type of speaker to go for, so we’ve compiled a short checklist to help you evaluate which is the better option for you.

Sound quality

Which type of speaker will give you a superior quality of sound?

Tower speakers tend to have the edge over soundbars in terms of performance since the speaker drivers are much smaller in a soundbar. The rich, fuller quality of the sound from a tower speaker and it’s power and clarity are hard to match.

The large size of tower speakers with their multi-driver design and the fact that they physically surround the audience helps create a greater impact and makes for a more immersive and thrilling audio experience.

However, not everyone has the space and budget to opt for a tower speaker. And soundbars are no longer just mere improvements on the TV’s sound. There are some high quality soundbars out there, even offering surround sound and Atmos technology.

Usage

How will you use the speakers? Are you a casual user or is audio quality your top priority?

Very often, the choice of speaker will be linked to your requirements.

For instance, if you’re a casual viewer and just want better sound than your TV’s built in speakers can provide, soundbars offer a convenient, cost-effective solution. You can also stream music to the soundbar from your mobile or tablet very easily.

But if you’re a die-hard movie fan and don’t want to compromise on quality, if an enveloping experience is what you’re looking for, tower speakers are the way to go. A soundbar can’t match the power, accuracy, refinement, and clarity of a tower speaker.

Budget

How much are you willing to shell out?

If you’re on a tight budget, soundbars are more cost-efficient. They are designed to function as standalone units, so you will not have to invest in an additional amplifier or speakers.

Tower speakers, on the other hand, are more expensive and it isn’t sufficient just to buy one tower speaker.

You will need to buy at least two to enjoy the benefits these speakers have to offer. What’s more, most of these speakers tend to be passive, so you’ll need to purchase an amplifier if you don’t already have one.

Space

How big is your home theater/ living room space?

Large rooms require more powerful speakers. For such spaces, tower speakers are the better choice, thanks to their fuller bass and higher volume capabilities.

But if you live in an apartment or your home theater room is small, you’ll find that a soundbar will better suit your needs. They are sleek and unobtrusive requiring minimal wiring. They have enough power to provide quality sound for small spaces.

Tower speakers would take up a lot of your space as they need to be at least 12-16 inches away from a wall to sound their best. The wires used to connect them can also end up becoming a tripping hazard.

Convenience/ ease of use

How easy are the speakers to set up and use?

If you’re looking for a simple, hassle-free setup, soundbars are the more user-friendly option. They’re usually just plug and play with one wire you need to connect to the TV and the power source. They also come with bluetooth and WiFi connectivity which reduces the wire clutter.

Setting up tower speakers, however, is more complicated. Wires need to go to each individual speaker and you’ll also need to connect them to an amplifier. They need to be placed around the audience, and can often get in the way. It is also not so convenient to move them around.

Flexibility and customization

Which speaker allows greater flexibility in adding components?

If you’re looking to upgrade or add to your speaker system, tower speakers will give you more flexibility. You can always add more speakers or upgrade your receiver or swap a component as and when you require or wish to.

A soundbar in contrast is designed to work independently. Adding other speakers (if at all possible) is not recommended. If you want to upgrade, you will have to replace your soundbar.

Aesthetics

Do you want your speakers to blend in with your decor or are you okay with them standing out?

Tower speakers are hard to miss and tend to dominate the room. If you have a separate home theater room or your living room is a large one, you may not mind it that much.

But if your TV is in your living room, you might prefer the soundbar instead. When it comes to style, soundbars definitely have a cleaner, sleeker look. They are designed to fit modern lifestyles and match the TV.

Conclusion

Should you go with tower speakers or a soundbar? Well, that ultimately depends on your individual requirements and preferences.

If you’re looking for a balance of quality and style to suit a compact, modern space- then a soundbar would be right for you. But if it’s a powerful, immersive experience that you want, and you have the budget and space for it, then tower speakers would be the way to go.

References

Guide to Floorstanding speakers

Soundbar vs Speakers: what’s best for your home

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