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"...
  • 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.

140Watt 2.1 Sound Bar, BYL TV SoundBar with Wired Subwoofer, Wired & Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Speaker...
  • 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:

LG SL6Y 3.1 Channel High Resolution Audio Sound Bar w/ DTS Virtual:X,Black
  • Wattage: 420.0 W
  • Included Components: Sound Bar; Sub Woofer; Remote Control; 2 Aaa Batteries; Optical Cable
  • Power Source Type: Corded Electric

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.

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:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar | Works with 4K & HD TVs | Wireless Subwoofer | Includes...
14,405 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
  • 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
Bestseller No. 2
Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote...
4,215 Reviews
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. 3
VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Includes Remote Control - SB3620n-H6
315 Reviews
VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Includes Remote Control - SB3620n-H6
  • Low-Profile 36” Design - Provides a wider soundstage and fills the space beneath larger screen sizes.
  • Room-Filling Performance - Experience rich, clear sound with up to 91dB of total SPL output for performance that is beyond 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.
  • Full-Range Speakers - 2 full-range speakers in the sound bar provide rich, clear sound.
Bestseller No. 4
Samsung HW-A450/ZA 2.1ch Soundbar with Dolby Audio (2021) , Black
2,923 Reviews
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. 5
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black
16,813 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. 6
Majority Bowfell Small Sound Bar for TV with Bluetooth, RCA, USB, Opt, AUX Connection, Mini...
  • COMPATIBLE WITH TV, PHONE AND PC: Using the assortment of connectivity options, the Bowfell can be connected to your phone, computer and most TVs using Bluetooth, Optical Input or RCA input. The Bowfell comes with an easy-to-use remote control.
  • MULTI-CONNECTION: The Bowfell boasts a wide range of connectivity options including Bluetooth, USB input, Optical input (optical cable not included), RCA and an AUX port. The Bowfell comes with an RCA cable and 3.5mm AUX cable. Designed for the eager audiophile, you can select which mode you want to listen to: Music, Movies or Dialogue.
  • COMPACT DESIGN: The Bowfell’s slim design is ideal for any desktop space especially student dorm rooms.
  • BUILT-IN SUBWOOFER: Small but mighty, the Bowfell is equipped with a built-in subwoofer delivering outstanding cinematic sound.
  • DIMENSIONS: 38.8cm x5.4cm x7.2cm; 1.5kg
SaleBestseller No. 7
TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel Dolby Audio Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth – TS6110, 240W,...
5,394 Reviews
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. 8
Computer Speakers, Dynamic RGB Computer Sound Bar, HiFi Stereo Bluetooth 5.0 & 3.5mm Aux-in...
  • ✅【Hi-Fi Sound Quality】Dual drivers & Dual diaphragms provide perfect performance of high-pitch and deep bass. By using anti-magnetic technology to suppressing static and other noise, Make the sound more vivid. Bring a fantastic dynamic audio experience
  • ✅【Dynamic RGB Lighting】The colorful RGB lighting enhances the music experience and game dynamics experience. Plus a fashionable design style, you will feel that is fantastic!
  • ✅【Dual Connection】Adapted with AUX & Bluetooth 5.0, you will have a wider choice of audio source and you will feel free to choose the desired audio sources. Devices with Bluetooth can be connected via Bluetooth. And most devices equipped with 3.5mm jack can be connected through AUX
  • ✅【USB Powered】Plug & Use, the computer sound bar turns on automatically after plugging in the USB port (such as a laptop, PC host, power bank, adapter). No drivers or software need to be installed, just Plug in and enjoy
  • ✅【What You Get】Bluedee soundbar, quick start guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty, and lifetime friendly customer service. Bluedee has focused on speakers for 15 years and is committed to providing the professional sound solution
Bestseller No. 9
SAMSUNG HW-Q60T 5.1ch Soundbar with 3D Surround Sound and Acoustic Beam (2020) , Black
  • 3D SURROUND SOUND - The powerful 3D surround sound of DTS Virtual: X turns your living room into a theater.
  • SAMSUNG ACOUSTIC BEAM - Acoustic Beam technology delivers sound that seems to come from precisely where the action is happening
  • Q-SYMPHONY - Syncs your Q-Series Soundbar speakers with your Samsung QLED TV speakers for the most immersive sound
  • MULTI-CONNECTION - Bluetooth multi connectionConveniently switch between two different connected smart devices
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND - Adaptive sound technology optimizes sound for every scene, allowing you to hear voices clearly even at the lowest volumes
SaleBestseller No. 10
YAMAHA SR-B20A Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofers and Bluetooth
  • Built-in subwoofers for deep bass in one slim sound bar
  • Clear Voice for enhanced dialogue clarity
  • DTS Virtual: X virtual 3D surround sound
  • Bluetooth streaming that allows easy switching between two devices
  • Simple setup with HDMI or optical

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Last update on 2022-01-26

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