What’s the Difference Between 2.1 and 3.1 Soundbar?

When you buy a new TV, you get excited. You become busy setting it up. But when you find the built-in audio system is low grade and unsatisfied, you don’t feel good. Even it can happen with a person who has the best TV in his home. So, what should you do at this moment?

If your built-in audio system is low grade, then a soundbar will be the best option to replace it and solve your problem. Nowadays, a soundbar has become quite popular. It is the easiest way to fix your audio system, and you can also purchase it at a reasonable price. There are many soundbars on the market. So, which one will be the perfect one for you or which one will be the best option for your sound system?

A 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar can be the best starter option for your sound system. So, what is the difference between a 2.1 and 3.1 soundbar?

A 2.1 soundbar comes with two channels which are a left and a right channel. A 3.1 soundbar comes with three channels; left, right and center. Both of the soundbars contain a subwoofer. A 3.1 will perform better than a 2.1 soundbar as it has a center channel.

Keep reading to have a clear conception of the differences between these two soundbars.

Differences Between 2.1 and 3.1 Soundbars

2.1 Soundbar Setup

A few moments ago, we told you a 2.1 soundbar contains a left and a right channel and a subwoofer. The two different channels are built into the soundbar, and the subwoofer is external. External subwoofers are made to produce low-frequency sounds that soundbars aren’t able to produce. You will get a clear right and left speaker sound.

But if you want to hear a high dynamic sound, then a 2.1 soundbar won’t be able to provide it because it doesn’t have a central speaker. But if you are looking for a small upgrade to your TV’s built-in sound system, a 2.1 will be a perfect choice.  

3.1 Soundbar Setup

A 3.1 soundbar has three different channels. It is a little different than a 2.1 soundbar which has two channels. A 3.1 soundbar has an extra center channel.

 This extra center channel gives you dialogues and dynamic sounds. This central speaker gets you a surround sound feel.

A 3.1 soundbar also comes with an external subwoofer. It doesn’t give rear speakers as a 5.1 soundbar. But it provides much better sound quality than a 2.1 soundbar.

Soundbar Channels Explained: 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, etc.

  • A 2.1 Soundbar – two different channels, left and right, an external subwoofer. A 2.1 soundbar can be purchased at a reasonable price.
  • A 3.1 Soundbar – three different channels, left, right, and central. It also has an external subwoofer. They give a better sound quality and dynamic sound and protect dialogues from mixing with the music and sounds.
  • A 5.1 Soundbar – five different channels, left, right, center, surround right, and surround left with subwoofer. The left and right surround channels give the system a traditional surround sound experience. As they contain two additional channels, you need to consume more money than a 2.1 or 3.1 soundbar. 5.1 soundbars are generally much different from both 2.1 and 3.1 soundbars

Benefits of Soundbar Systems

The Soundbar systems are the best option to solve your TV’s low-grade audio system. It has become quite popular recently. With the soundbars, you can have a dynamic sound. You can simply use them and set them up. They are also budget-friendly.

High-Quality Sound

Whenever you buy something, you always probably look for a trusted brand or product. In the case of speakers, you look for top manufacturers, cause the industry experts to trust them. It is the same case for soundbars.

 Trusted industry-leading brands are providing amazing soundbars which give a dynamic sound experience. The lesser-known brands aren’t lagging behind in the market. It isn’t easy to gain room-filling sound, the multi-dimensional sound that conventional surround audio systems provide. In that case, soundbars are becoming very close and comparable. They are making it difficult to solve the problem of custom building a costly and complicated surround sound system.

Simple and Easy to Use for Almost Anyone

The easy and simple setup and the simple utilization make a soundbar perfect. Soundbars don’t make things difficult. They help you to give a great sound quality for your TV. The best thing about soundbars is they easily implement with your TV and other instruments, and many of them update automatically to make sure that your device is up-to-date with the latest technology. Though they are simple, they ensure a long-time warranty.

They Are Extremely Compact

Conventional sound systems are considered as huge. They need a lot of components in order to gain a proper surround sound feel. But sometimes, those components can make a big mess. Another problem is they have large and unruly wiring that you won’t like.

If you want to get rid of this traditional sound system, then switch to soundbars. They save you from this big mess. They easily adjust with your room and keep your room tidy and clean.

Stylish and Modern Designs

The soundbars provide a solid sound system and a stylish looking. If you want to set up your soundbar in your main room, then it will be a great choice. If you want the attraction of the people, you need to set up your soundbar next to your TV by following our guide. If you do so, you will probably get people’s compliments, and you will feel better.

Soundbars Are Typically Budget-Friendly

So, it might be best if you had a soundbar to get rid of the low-grade audio system of your TV. You always want the best product at a reasonable or budget-friendly price. You will find the perfect soundbar according to your audio problem and budget.

You may find many soundbars on the market. Each of them has different qualities and uses; you need to find the perfect one for your TV’s audio problem.

Suppose, if you don’t want to get dynamic sound with your soundbar, then you can purchase a 2.1 soundbar at a very low price. But if you want dynamic sound or surround sound system, you have to consume much more money. You can buy a 3.1 or 5.1 soundbar for your sound system.

Choosing the Right Soundbar for You

Which soundbar would you buy or which soundbar would be the best one for your sound system? These all depend on your budget and your preferences. Whether you want to buy a 2.1 soundbar or a 3.1 soundbar, first, you have to decide your budget and give priority to your preferences.

Recommended 2.1 Soundbars

If your intention is to spend money around $100-$200 and you don’t want to have any dynamic or surround sound system, then a 2.1 soundbar will be a great choice for your TV’s audio system. You can purchase a 2.1 soundbar at a price of $100-$200. Check out these three options you may like:

VIZIO Sound Bar for TV with Wireless Subwoofer, 2.1 Home Audio Sound Bar with Bluetooth 38'...
7,685 Reviews
VIZIO Sound Bar for TV with Wireless Subwoofer, 2.1 Home Audio Sound Bar with Bluetooth 38"...
  • Enjoy 100 dB of room filling, crystal clear sound with less than 1 percent total harmonic distortion
  • Wireless subwoofer adds rich bass from anywhere in the room
  • Built in Bluetooth lets you lose the wires and listen to your music with a tap of a finger with built in Bluetooth. Sound pressure level - 100 dB. Sound bar frequency - 50 hertz - 19 hertz
  • Premium audio with Dolby digital decoding, plus DTS TruVolume and DTS audio post processing
  • Wireless remote for convenient volume, input and audio controls; Wireless subwoofer range approximately 60 feet – line of sight from sound bar

VIZIO SB3821 (on Amazon) -The VIZIO SB3821 contains 100 dB of sound. It has a wireless subwoofer, and the range of the subwoofer is 60 feet. Bluetooth technology is also inserted into it so that you can easily control it. Dolby Digital decoding, DTS audio post-processing, and DTS TruVolume are also found in it.

Soundbar, Wohome TV Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer and Bluetooth (38-Inch, 80W, 105dB, Deep Bass,...
  • Deep Bass: built-in 2x 3-inch subwoofers, produce powerful bass to all movies, music, and TV Shows, enjoy great bass in your home
  • Powerful 80W 38-inch Soundbar: except dual subwoofers, also built-in 2x 3-inch full-range speaker, output up to 105 dB loud sound,upgrade your TV audio experience, a great fit for 40" above Class smart and traditional TVs
  • Clear voice: 2.1 channel soundbar designed with DSP technology for amazing clarity and precision for enhanced dialogue, support movie/news/music/default sound modes, what's more, bass and treble adjustable under default mode
  • Multiple Inputs: enjoy wireless streaming music through Bluetooth 5.0, also you can choose the wired connection including digital Optical, RCA, AUX, ARC, and USB, compatible with TVs, projectors, computers, smartphones, tablet, PCs, PS4, DVDs, and other devices.
  • More Features: ARC connection support TV remote and universal remote to on/off soundbar and adjust the volume; remote controller supplied; wall mountable, mount kit provided; optical cable and RCA cable supplied, exclude ARC cable; 100% satisfaction service

Wohome 2.1 Channel Soundbar S28 (on Amazon) -The Wohome 2.1 Channel Soundbar S28 comes with exquisite features. It contains six drivers, two built-in subwoofers, two tweeter speakers, and two full-range speakers. It provides 105 dB of sound in order to fill the room. It also has Bluetooth technology to facilitate your control system, a built-in DSP chip.

Sound Bar, Bestisan Sound Bar for TV, Soundbar with Dual Bulit-in Subwoofer,Wired & Wireless...
  • ELEGANT & IMMERSIVE HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE - With upgraded 32 inches in length, under 3.9 inches high, matte black finished design, the TV sound bar delivers your elegant home cinema experience. Two 3-inch Full range driver, Dual Built-in Subwoofer and exclusive Power Bass technology contribute to intense low frequencies and 105dB of clear sound. It is also engineered to dual side symmetrical bass reflex ports, with deeper bass and more power. Hear the sound, feel the difference!
  • BLUETOOTH 5.0 & DSP THE MOST STABLE TRANSMISSION - Our latest sound bar adopts Bluetooth 5.0 & DSP technology to ensure the fastest transmission speeds, and stable connectivity up to 30 ft with low consumption. With the newest Bluetooth 5.0 feature, you can play your favorite music anywhere.
  • OPTIMIZE ENTERTAINMENT WITH DIFFERENT SOUND MODE - Music, Movie, Dialogue adjusting by using the included remote. In Movie mode, turn an ordinary movie into the extraordinary home theater experience. Add additional clarity and melodious to your playlist in Music mode. In Dialogue modes, Bestisan engineers to emphasize the sound of the human voice so you can always follow the story. The additional volume and power are conveniently located at the center of the sound bar.
  • VARIOUS INPUT CONNECTIONS AND EASY SET UP - Our 2.0 TV sound bar support multiple wired option including Optical, AUX input, Coaxial and USB (Flash drive only) compatible with TV, projector, computer, Blu-ray player, tablet, XBOX, PS5, Amplifier, and more. Simply make sure your TV audio setting to PCM for optical mode before use. Now, a premium 5 ft Optical cable and 5 ft RCA cable are included in the package.
  • WALL MOUNTABLE & YOUR INVESTMENT IS FULLY GUARANTEED - The ultra-slim design of the sound bar fits comfortably under any size TV or can be easily mounted on the wall with the mounting bracket included. LIFETIME SUPPORT WARRANTY. Every Bestisan sound bar will go through a strict quality test process before sending out. For any problem, you can contact us via Amazon; then, we will solve all of your problems in 24 hours!

BYL Channel Soundbar (on Amazon) -The BYL 2.1 Channel Soundbar has a 6.5″ subwoofer, which is wireless, and the range of the subwoofer is up to 60 feet. It provides 110 dB of sound in order to fill your home entertainment room. It also has Bluetooth technology. DSP technology is also found in it to support music, dialogue, and movies.

Recommended 3.1 Soundbars

If you are searching for a dynamic sound and you are going to spend around $200-$500, then you can purchase a 3.1 soundbar. A 3.1 soundbar comes with an extra center channel that gives you a much better sound experience than a 2.1 soundbar. When you are going to buy a 3.1 soundbar, then you should buy one of these three:

LG SL6Y 3.1 Channel High Resolution Audio Sound Bar w/ DTS Virtual:X,Black
  • 3. 1 Channel with 420W total power
  • Dts virtual: x sound
  • High Resolution Audio (24bit/96kHz)
  • Wireless rear speaker Ready (available separately)
  • Wattage: 420.0 W

LG SL6Y 3.1 (on Amazon) -The LG SL6Y 3.1 soundbar system has three channels: the left, right, and center. It has a wireless subwoofer and DTS Virtual:X that gives you three-dimensional surround sound without the help of any extra speaker. The external subwoofer creates a great bass. The LG SL6Y 3.1 soundbar is one of the most high rated soundbars.

Samsung MM55 Series 3.1 Channel Wireless Sound Bar
  • 3.1 Channel with center channel - enjoy a dynamic home audio experience with 3.1 Channel surround sound
  • Wireless active subwoofer - feel The action of your favorite movies, shows, and sports with dynamic, powerful bass
  • Bluetooth connectivity - connect wireless for one-touch control of your soundbar from Bluetooth compatible devices. Simply select the sound bar for pairing and power It on automatically to play all your favorite music services and more
  • Hdmi - enjoy your favorite movies, shows, and sports with higher quality audio. The HDMI connection transmits digital video and audio over a single cable, delivering a superior entertainment experience
  • Surround sound expansion - experience the full power and depth of your favorite movies and TV shows with a wholly optimized audio experience. Frequency Response (amp):40Hz~20KHz

Samsung MM55 (on Amazon) -The Samsung MM55 has three built-in speakers and a subwoofer. It also has Bluetooth technology. By using this technology, you can easily play many kinds of music, movies, etc. But you won’t be able to play music through AUX and Bluetooth at the same time. It connects your media with the help of one HDMI cord. It provides a great sound experience.

Sale
JBL Bar 3.1 - Channel 4K Ultra HD Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
  • JBL Surround sound makes movies come alive
  • JBL Surround sound with 450W of power. Max SPL - 103db. Frequency Response - 35Hz to 20KHz
  • Thrilling bass from a 10" (250mm) wireless subwoofer
  • Wireless music streaming with Bluetooth
  • True 4K connectivity with 3 HDMI in/1 HDMI out (ARC)

JBL Bar 3.1 (on Amazon) -The JBL Bar 3.1 comes with 450 watts of sound and an 11″ wireless subwoofer. It has three built-in front speakers. Through Bluetooth technology, you can play music, videos, etc. You can get a true connection to 4KTVs with the help of 3 HDMI in/ 1 HDMI ARC out.

If you want our full list of recommended soundbars, then check here. We wish you a happy shopping!

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List Of Sound Bars:

Bestseller No. 1
Soundbar, TaoTronics Three Equalizer Mode Audio Speaker for TV, 32-Inch Wired & Wireless Bluetooth...
  • Room-filling sound: powerful speakers deliver a round, high-end audio experience
  • Multiple wireless and wired connections: easily connect to the sound bar via Bluetooth 5.0 or standard audio cable Connection, RCA, and optical input
  • 3 different equalizer modes: fine tune your sound bar with 3 distinct equalizer modes (games mode, music mode, movie mode) via the remote control to match your favorite sound
  • Control your sound bar Remotely: handle your sound bar from the comfort of your couch or directly on the device; a repeat click of the power button switches through the functions, the LED screen will show the current function
  • Slim to save space: slick 32-Inch design pleases the eye and slim Dimensions save valuable space
SaleBestseller No. 2
Samsung HW-A450/ZA 2.1ch Soundbar with Dolby Audio (2021) , Black
  • SUBWOOFER INCLUDED - Wireless subwoofer is included so you can enjoy deep bass right out of the box All-in-one
  • BASS BOOST - Give your bass an instant boost with the push of a button on the soundbar
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE - Enhanced audio tracking for your content in real time, with technology that equalizes background music and consistent volume control
  • BLUETOOTH TV CONNECTION - Set up is a breeze. Easily connect your soundbar to your TV by connecting wirelessly
  • GAME MODE - Boost your gaming experience with perfectly synced directional audio that moves with the action on-screen and crosstalk cancellation that minimizes distractions
Bestseller No. 3
TOPVISION 50W Soundbar, 16-Inch Small Sound Bars for TV, 3 Equalizer Modes, Wireless Bluetooth 5.0,...
  • 🔊[50W Power & 2 Full-range drivers]This small soundbar is equipped with 50W output power. Paired with your TV, the sound bar creates a louder, more immersive listening experience than through your TV speakers alone. Dual powerful full-range speakers provide hifi audio, making comfortable bedrooms and compact spaces full of extensive stereo effects.
  • 🔊[Built-in DSP & 3 EQ modes]Soundbar built-in DSP technology ensured sound output is more stable and accurate. 3 Equalizer modes (Music, Movie, News) to match your favorite voice. Movie Mode: You’ll hear every rip and rumble from your favorite action film, with deeper bass and loud, room-filling sound; Music mode Add clarity and pleasant sound; while it’s News mode pulls out every word and expression from movies or commentary, to ensure that conversations sound crisp and clean.
  • 🔊[Wireless Bluetooth 5.0]Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 can realize fast connection between mobile phone and sound bar, efficient and stable transmission, and strong anti-interference. Pair the sound bar to your phone via Bluetooth to soundtrack your next party, or to set the mood for when you want to relax with a good album in rich, audiophile quality.
  • 🔊[EASY TO SET UP]The Soundbar supports 3.5mm (AUX&RCA) and optical wired audio input, support for use with mobile phones, tablets, TVs, computers, projectors, set-top boxes, etc. Please make sure your TV audio setting to PCM for ARC/optical input before use.
  • 🔊[Stylish appearance & service]This 16-Inch mini soundbar is stylish and compact, and their more compact form makes them easier to travel with or set up wherever you'd like.At the same time we provide lifetime technical support. If you have any problems with your tv soundbar, you can contact us via Amazon, We will offer you a replacement or refund.
SaleBestseller No. 4
VIZIO Sound Bar for TV, 29” Surround Sound System for TV, Home Audio Sound Bar, 2.0 Channel Home...
8,222 Reviews
VIZIO Sound Bar for TV, 29” Surround Sound System for TV, Home Audio Sound Bar, 2.0 Channel Home...
  • 2.0 Premium Audio The VIZIO 2.0 Sound Bar is an easy way to enhance your audio experience when watching your favorite content on the TV. The full-range stereo speakers boost your audio, while DTS technologies simulate incredible surround sound
  • Bluetooth Streaming Lose the wires and listen to your music with a tap of a finger from anywhere in the room. (Performance and compatibility among Bluetooth devices may vary.)
  • Easy Setup With everything you need for a quick and easy setup, upgrading to a powerful audio experience has never been easier. Connect the Sound Bar to your TV using one of the included cables, sit back and enjoy
  • Features DTS Studio Sound, DTS TruVolume and DTS TruSurround
  • Ergonomic Remote for convenient access to volume, input and audio controls
SaleBestseller No. 5
Majority Bowfell Small Sound Bar for TV with Bluetooth, RCA, USB, Opt, AUX Connection, Mini...
  • Compact, slim design, enhanced HD sound quality: With new and improved sound drivers, the Bowfell sound bar has a slim design and thin profile with a built-in subwoofer and a 50 watt output providing high quality, cinematic sound. The Bowfell is a small but mighty addition to the Majority range.
  • Connect to your TV or phone: The Bowfell can be connected to most types of TVs and monitors including Smart TVs using the Optical connection (Optical cable included), RCA connection (RCA cable included), or Bluetooth connection. The Bowfell also features Bluetooth so you can also connect wireless Bluetooth devices to the sound bar. The Bowfell can also be connected to your laptop, desktop, or computer monitor.
  • USB and AUX connection & large remote control: Use an AUX cable (3.5mm jack cable included) to connect to older style devices with an AUX port. The Bowfell also includes a USB input, allowing you to insert a USB stick to play audio from. With the easy to use remote, you can select a music mode that heightens music, movies or dialogue to be played at their best.
  • Slim profile ** AUX ** USB ** Optical ** Bluetooth ** RCA & Optical cables included ** Remote control ** adjustable treble & bass settings ** Measurements 15.28 x 2.13 x 2.83 inches ** Built-in subwoofer ** 50 watt output ** weighs 53oz ** New & improved sound drivers **
  • In the Box: Majority Bowfell Soundbar, Remote control, Power adaptor, 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio cable, 3.5mm to RCA Audio cable, Optical cable, Instructions manual
Bestseller No. 6
TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel Dolby Audio Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth – TS6110, 240W,...
  • DOLBY DIGITAL: Dolby Digital decoding maximizes sound clarity and creates incredible room-filling virtual surround sound.
  • DEEP BASS WITH WIRELESS SUBWOOFER: Experience deep, rich bass to make movies and music truly come to life.
  • STREAM MUSIC WIRELESSLY: You can use your Bluetooth-enabled device to wirelessly stream music on your sound bar.
  • SPECIALIZED SOUND MODES: Specialized sound modes bring Movies, Music, and News to life.
  • QUICK AND HASSLE-FREE SETUP: With HDMI, optical, or Bluetooth connections, you can go from unboxing to listening in minutes.
SaleBestseller No. 7
JBL Bar 2.1 - Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
  • Designed with a slimmer profile, the full–featured, easy–to–use JBL bar 2. 1 features Dolby digital, JBL Surround sound, 300W system power and a wireless 6. 5” subwoofer to provide balanced sound and deep bass for your movies, music and even video games
  • Full featured in every sense of the word, it has an HDMI input as well as aux and USB wired connections that enable you to round out your home entertainment options even more
  • You can Moreover control the soundbar with your existing TV remote control, The JBL bar 2. 1 clearly raises the bar for Soundbars
  • The 300W of power output ensures great audio performance for your movies and music
  • Enjoy rich, Deep bass from the 6. 5" (165mm) wireless subwoofer, as well as the convenience of flexible placement without the hassle of wires
Bestseller No. 8
Vizio V51-H6 36" 5.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar System (Renewed)
  • Low-Profile Design and Brilliant Clarity with 6 Full-range Speakers
  • Powerful 5" Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth Music Streaming
  • Complete Immersion with Discreet Volume Adjustable Surround Speakers
  • Optimized for 4K TVs with Dolby Audio 5.1 and HDMI (Cable Included)
  • Control with TV Remote using HDMI, Audio Cables Included for Easy Setup
Bestseller No. 9
Bose TV Speaker- Small Soundbar with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote...
  • Hear your TV better: Designed with simplicity in mind, the Bose TV Speaker is a small soundbar that clarifies speech and is a simple fix for better TV sound.
  • Wide, natural sound: 2 angled full-range drivers deliver a more realistic, spatial audio experience for overall better TV sound from a small soundbar.
  • Enhanced dialogue: This TV speaker is designed to specifically focus on clarifying and elevating vocals and pronunciation.
  • Bluetooth TV speaker: Pair your device to this Bluetooth soundbar to wirelessly stream your favorite music and podcasts.
  • Simple setup: A single connection from this compact soundbar to the TV via an optical audio cable (included) or an HDMI cable (sold separately) has you up and running in minutes.
Bestseller No. 10

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Last update on 2021-06-11

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