Some soundbars are made to include extra speakers for surround sound. However, you are limited to very specific additional speakers. There is usually only one option available. You have to do it from one of these companies: Sonos, Bose, and Nakamichi. These companies all make surround sound-ready soundbars.
You are a sound lover; you want a surround sound system in your room. Though you have a soundbar, it doesn’t meet your requirements. So, what should you do? How can you get a surround sound system in your room?
You may be thinking of hooking up a few speakers to the Soundbar. Few soundbars come with wired or wireless surround sound speakers, but soundbars rarely connect to outer speakers included in the system. But there are ways to add surround sound speakers to a soundbar. But it will be a complex setup.
Here we will describe why using a soundbar with surround sound speakers may not be the best idea to increase the sound system in your room. So, keep reading.
Why Shouldn’t You Add Surround Sound Speakers to Just Any Soundbar?
We have suggested to you earlier that hooking up with additional surround sound speakers to your Soundbar will not be the best idea. You may want to know why it won’t be the best idea. So, let’s make you clear.
Not all the soundbars are built to include additional surround, sound speakers. Some soundbars include additional surround sound speakers that are limited to very specific additional speakers. These limited specific additional speakers may not provide you the sound that you want. Bose, Nakamichi, and Sonos provide surround sound-ready soundbars.
The 5 Best soundbars we recommend & they are capable of adding surround sound speakers:
How Most Soundbars Work
If you don’t have the instructions about how you will hook up surround sound speakers to the Soundbar, you should never supplement the Soundbar with outer speakers. First, you have to know how the Soundbar works.
Soundbars do simulate surround sound with some tricky audio tricks. For example, if you angled the speakers toward the outside of the Soundbar, the sound would bounce off the walls in the room and into your ears. However, if you do that, you will hear sounds coming from the sides of the room instead of hearing in front of you.
If you add surround sound speakers to a soundbar, you add speakers to amplify sound. However, as sound travels in waves, adding surround sound speakers may cause interference with the normal Soundbar.
This is why you are highly recommended that unless the surround speakers are already included with the Soundbar, or it is capable of surround sound, you should not follow this setup. If you don’t follow this rule, you may mess up with your sound system.
When Can You Add Surround Sound Speakers Directly to a Soundbar?
Many of you may not agree with us. You guys may not agree that hooking up surround sound speakers to a soundbar is not the best idea. Well, just because you shouldn’t hook up surround sound speakers to a soundbar doesn’t mean you can’t. You can, but you need to follow our instructions to hook up your speakers with the Soundbar without creating any mess.
Most soundbars don’t have a speaker out. If you are able to hook up surround sound speakers to a soundbar somehow, you won’t get the audio; it would have audio out. If you try to plug your speakers into the Soundbar’s audio-in channels, you won’t be able to get the audio because they aren’t able to deliver any sound.
You may also be thinking of using the subwoofer channel. Unfortunately, if you use this channel, you won’t be able to meet your requirements because it doesn’t provide a stereo signal.
As we discussed a lot of negative sides of using surround sound speakers with a soundbar, you may think it will be a terrible idea to use it. But, if you don’t agree with us, there are some solutions to use external speakers with any type of Soundbar.
How to Add Surround Sound Speakers to Almost Any Soundbar
Now, we are going to discuss the processes of hooking up surround sound speakers to a soundbar. You need to abide by these steps very carefully. Otherwise, you may fall into trouble. Here is the step by step guide to connecting external speakers to any soundbar:
- A 5.1 channel video/audio receiver that has pre-outs for the front right, front left, and center channels.
- Soundbar with an RCA, Digital Optical, or AUX input
- External speakers that accept normal speaker cable inputs or connect them to the Receiver wirelessly.
- You will need a stereo mixer with at least three inputs and one output. You can go with the Rolls MX42 4-Channel Passive Mini Stereo Mixer (on Amazon).
1. Connect the RCA Cables to the Pre-Outs on the Receiver
At first, you will need to connect the RCA cable to pre-out. You will surely need a receiver with pre-outs. So, what are pre-outs? Pre-outs are one kind of output from the Receiver that only outputs the audio signal for every channel. They don’t comprise the power for each channel. If you try to connect a soundbar to normal speaker output, it will damage the internal components because it would send power directly into the Soundbar. So, be careful.
2. Connect Other Ends of the RCA Cables to A Mini Stereo Mixer
This is an easy step. You will need to connect the other ends of the RCA cables to a mini stereo mixer. You can buy the Rolls MX42 4-Channel Passive Mini Stereo Mixer (on Amazon). It will be the best option for you.
You will need a soundbar with an AUX, Digital Optical, or RCA input in this step.
- Soundbar with AUX input – If your Soundbar only contains an AUX input, then buy an RCA to AUX cable (on Amazon). After that, connect the AUX end to the Soundbar and the RCA ends to the mini-stereo mixer.
- Soundbar with Digital Optical input- If your Soundbar has a Digital Optical input, you will need an analog to the digital optical converter (on Amazon). Then connect a set of RCA cables to the stereo mixer’s RCA output and the other ends into the analog to the digital optical converter (on Amazon). After that, connect a digital optical cable from the digital optical converter to the Soundbar.
- Soundbar with RCA input- If you have RCA input, then connect another set of RCA cables to the output of the stereo mixer and connect the other ends to the Soundbar’s RCA input.
And finally, by using normal speaker wires, hook up your surround sound speakers to your Receiver. How many surround speakers can you use? It completely depends on the capability of your Receiver. If your Receiver allows, then you can make a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, etc. sound system by using this process.
Why You Shouldn’t Add Surround Sound Speakers to a Soundbar
You probably don’t want to ruin your sound by mismatching speakers. Though there are ways to connect external speakers to your Soundbar, it will be a difficult setup. By using external speakers and a soundbar, you won’t get high-definition audio.
In the case of adding two surround sound speakers, a 2.1 soundbar will provide a 4.1 sound. On the contrary, a 3.1 soundbar will provide a 5.1 sound.
Your Soundbar doesn’t need any support. It alone provides better sound than hooking it up with external sound speakers. If you add extra speakers, it will interface with the usual sound of the Soundbar.
If you are not satisfied with your soundbar audio system, you should purchase a soundbar that includes wireless surround sound speakers.
-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.
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Last update on 2023-12-07