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

2.1 Channel Soundbar

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

3.1 Soundbar

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.

Soundbar 1
  • 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:

Sale
8,432 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.

2,022 Reviews
Wohome TV Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofers 38-Inch 120W Support HDMI-ARC, Bluetooth 5.0, AUX USB...
  • Ultra Slim TV Soundbar: with fashionable and classic design, 3.2 inches high could fit easily under your TV and desktop monitor, great 38inches suit for 40 inch-75 inch traditional TV or smart TVs, mount kit supplied
  • 2.1 CH with Powerful Bass: with built-in 2 subwoofers, 1 bass reflex tubes and 4 full range speakers, could produces deep bass and crystal clear sound for all your movies, music, gaming and TV shows, enhance your hearing experience, enjoy 110dB room fulling sound, suit for big space such as living room
  • Clear Voice: designed with DSP Technology for amazing clarity and precision, support 4 equalizer modes including movie, news, music and 3D sound mode, bass and treble adjustable
  • Bluetooth 5.0; wired connection support Aux, HDMI-ARC, USB and optical input, what's more, ARC connection support the TV remote and cable remote
  • APP Control: except traditional remote and buttons control, Wohome S9930 support smart App control, very simple to use and operate

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.

593 Reviews
Soundbar Bestisan Bluetooth TV Sound Bar 60W 24-Inch with 3 Equalizer Modes, Remote Control,...
  • Premium Audio Equipment: 110 dB and 140 Watts 2 .1 channel Powerful Stereo Audio Sound Bar brings you a fantastic home theater surround sound experience.
  • POWERFUL BASS: 6.5-inch wired subwoofer, bring rich, powerful bass, let you enjoy the explosive experience from your movie, TV shows, music and gaming, in addition, the bass is adjustable.
  • Bluetooth 5.0, The Superb Sound Quality: Our newest sound bar adopts Bluetooth 5.0 & DSP technology to ensure faster transmission speeds, stable connectivity, and smooth transmission in long distance with low consumption.
  • Three EQ Audio Modes: Transforms movies, TV shows or music into immersive audio that envelops the listener with crystal-clear dialogue, louder sound and high power
  • Great Customer Service: we offer 100% satisfaction service and lifetime technical support, any questions, please feel free to contact us via Amazon message or contact info on the service card.

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:

116 Reviews
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.

194 Reviews
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.

503 Reviews
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 Soundbars:

SaleBestseller No. 1
2,833 Reviews
Sony S100F 2.0ch Soundbar with Bass Reflex Speaker, Integrated Tweeter and Bluetooth, (HTS100F),...
  • Straight from the theater to your home: easy set-up, built-in tweeter, 2-ch speaker with simple Bluetooth connection
  • Deep sound with Bass Reflex speaker
  • High power with a slim design that matches any room and is perfect for small living spaces
  • Voice enhancement feature is great for TV content with hushed dialogue, or to make conference call participants easier to hear
  • Easy TV set up with HDMI ARC
SaleBestseller No. 2
186 Reviews
SAMSUNG HW-S50B/ZA 3.0ch All-in-One Soundbar w/Dolby 5.1, DTS Virtual:X, Q Symphony, Built in Center...
  • ALL-IN-ONE: Everything you need in a single soundbar with two woofers and tweeters built in, so you can enjoy rich sound that will fill your room
  • DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 / DTS VIRTUAL:X: Dolby Digital 5.1 capable creates realistic surround sound by projecting it from all around you, while DTS Virtual: X expands your listening experience without having to add extra speakers
  • Q-SYMPHONY: Perfectly synchronized, fully immersive audio floods your room all at once, using every speaker in compatible Samsung TV and soundbars*
  • BUILT-IN CENTER SPEAKER: The built-in center speaker is dedicated to delivering enhanced dialogue, so you won't miss a word, no matter how faint the conversation or how intense the background music or action is
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE: Enjoy dynamically optimized audio with enhanced voice clarity so you can follow along with action-packed games and blockbuster films
SaleBestseller No. 3
1,103 Reviews
VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Voice Assistant Compatible, Includes...
  • America's #1 Sound Bar* - VIZIO has been filling homes with truly immersive audio for over 10 years, and our sound bars just keep getting better. We are proud to provide our customers with top-tier audio products that bring movies, shows, podcasts, music, and more to life like never before. (*#1 Sound Bar Brand in 1H 2022 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., based on units, Jan. - June 2022 combined.).Mounting Type:Sound Bar.Speakers maximum output power:10 watts.Total hdmi ports:1
  • Ultra-Compact 2.0 Design - Experience the performance of larger, more complex home theater systems in a simple, ultra-compact solution designed fit anywhere and blend seamlessly into any environment.
  • Bold Performance - Experience rich, clear sound with up to 91dB of total SPL output for performance that belies its size.
  • Essential Connectivity & Control - Get setup and listening in seconds with the included cables plus Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming of your favorite music and podcasts.
  • 2.0-Channel Sound - Experience a powerful room-filling, true stereo experience ideal for movies, music, and gaming.
SaleBestseller No. 4
1,960 Reviews
Sonos Playbar - The Mountable Sound Bar for TV, Movies, Music, and More - Black
  • The mountable soundbar for TV, movies, music, and more
  • Enjoy crisp dialogue and impressive bass from wall to wall with Playbar. Control it with the Sonos app, your remote, and more
  • Whether you mount it on the wall or place it below your TV on a stand or console, Playbar automatically tunes itself for the best possible sound
  • Playbar was specially tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers to emphasize the sound of the human voice so you can always follow the story
  • Easily connect Sonos speakers in different rooms over WiFi to create a home sound system that brings every room and everyone together
Bestseller No. 5
129 Reviews
Larksound Sound Bar for TV, 35 Inch TV Speaker, Surround Sound System, TV Soundbar with...
  • Exclusively Soundbar for TV - 70W maximum output power. Powerful drivers deliver high-end acoustic sound effect with built-in reflex tubes for left and right channels, which greatly enhances the bass effect to bring sound to life for a fantastically dynamic audio experience
  • Multi Connection - Supports optical fiber, HDMI(ARC), AUX, and USB, compatible with TV, projector, computer, blu-ray player, tablet, XBOX, PS5, MP3 player, etc. (The package contains high-quality HDMI(ARC) cable, Optical cable, and AUX cable) Multiple connections to play music freely
  • Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Connection - Bluetooth 5.0, more stable and faster transmission, and the latest technology greatly increases the transmission range up to 33 feet. Easily connect with most devices, such as iPhone, iPad, tablet, computer, TV, laptop, etc. Powerful anti-interference lossless transmission technology ensures perfect sound quality, enjoy music anytime, anywhere
  • Home Theater System - The exclusive left and right channel independent cavity design improves the separation of the left and right channels compared with the ordinary design, and sound field positioning is more excellent. Spacious and dynamic sound effects give you an immersive 3D surround experience
  • Easy to set Up - Soundbar: 35.4*2.36* 3.54 inch. The slim form factor of this soundbar allows it to subtly tuck under your TV. No matter it is placed flat on the table or mounted on any wall; it will not take up your precious space
SaleBestseller No. 6
Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV 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.
SaleBestseller No. 7
10,621 Reviews
BESTISAN Soundbar, TV Sound Bar with Dual Bass Ports Wired HDMI and Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Home...
  • Room-filling sound: powerful speakers deliver a round, high-end audio experience for bed room and apartment.
  • Enhanced bass: 3 inches full range drivers and dual bass ports that bring the richer and deeper bass, boost A loud sound that fills the room without distortion.
  • Multiple wireless and wired connections: easily connect to the sound bar via Bluetooth 5. 0 or standard audio cable Connection, RCA, HDMI(ARC) and optical input.
  • 3 different equalizer modes: fine tune your sound bar with 3 distinct equalizer modes (movie, music, dialogue) via the remote control to match your favorite sound.
  • Multiple Setups, multiple options: sits flat below the TV screen or securely mounts on the wall for a sleek, elegant home theater setup
SaleBestseller No. 8
516 Reviews
SAMSUNG HW-B450 2.1ch Soundbar w/Dolby Audio, Subwoofer Included, Bass Boosted, Wireless Bluetooth...
  • SUBWOOFER INCLUDED: Experience the intensity of action movies or the excitement of sports with the rich, powerful bass coming from the included subwoofer*.Speakers maximum output power:2 watts.Total usb ports:1
  • BASS BOOST: Feel the rumble of distant thunder as your listening experience is taken to another level; Give your bass an instant boost with the push of a button
  • BLUETOOTH TV CONNECTION: Set up is a breeze; Easily connect your soundbar to your TV wirelessly**
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE: Enjoy dynamically optimized audio with enhanced voice clarity so you can follow along with action-packed games and blockbuster films
  • GAME MODE: Game Mode optimizes your gaming experience with synced, directional audio that moves with the onscreen action***
SaleBestseller No. 9
17,558 Reviews
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black
  • Single sound bar provides better sound quality compared to your TV.The Solo 5 TV sound system is an easy solution, with advanced technologies that deliver the clear audio your TV can’t.
  • Dialogue mode to make every word and detail stand out
  • Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly stream music from any of your devices
  • One connection to your TV. Optical audio input (digital); Coaxial audio input (digital); 3.5 mm aux input (analog)
  • Universal remote controls TV, bass, Bluetooth connections and more
SaleBestseller No. 10
20,534 Reviews
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar | Works with 4K & HD TVs | Wireless Subwoofer | Includes...
  • A PREMIUM ULTRA-SLIM SOUND BAR WITH INCLUDED WIRELESS SUBWOOFER – 5 powerful full-range drivers deliver BEAUTFUL RICH SOUND WITH DEEP BASS. POLK’S EXCLUSIVE VOICE ADJUST TECHNOLOGY & Dolby Digital Decoding maximizes sound clarity & reduces voice delays.Mounting Type: Tv Sound Bar,Bar Mount
  • EXCELLENT SOUND AND VALUE on par with any mid- to high-range sound bars available in the market. At just over 2" tall, it fits most spaces — easily wall-mount it or place in front of your TV. It won’t block your TV’s bottom edge or IR remote sensor
  • UPGRADE YOUR HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE – Watch your favorite shows on your 4K HD Smart TV with exceptional picture quality & crystal clear sound. With numerous connection possibilities, plug in any audio source via HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX
  • WIRELESSLY STREAM MUSIC from your favorite streaming apps like Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and others directly from your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device through the built-in Bluetooth technology
  • SET UP YOUR SOUND BAR IN MINUTES — With the included subwoofer, HDMI and optical cables quickly connect your TV to the sound bar. Get set up and listening in minutes

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Last update on 2022-11-17

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