There are many differences between 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars. In this article, we have explained 13 main differences between these two soundbars. Both devices will provide you benefits but in different directions.
What is the Difference Between a 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbar? A 2.1 soundbar is less expensive and features only two speakers that are placed left and right and one main subwoofer. A 5.1 soundbar is expensive and features 5 speakers that include front left, front right, rear left, rear right, center channel speaker, and main subwoofer.
Both soundbars are producing good quality of the music effects in your home theater. You have to opt for one option by considering your precise demands and needs. You should have complete knowledge about the merits and demerits of both devices.
Both of these combinations will provide different effects of the volume and bass in the home theater. The setting of the speakers and subwoofers also change the sense of the output music. These small properties of the sound system will give you many benefits if you have their complete understanding.
- 1 What is the Difference Between a 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbar?
What is the Difference Between a 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbar?
There are a lot of differences between these two types of soundbars. You can decide their purchase option while noting all these properties that are discussed here. If you add more speakers in the system, then you will get the more surrounding the sound. You can purchase the soundbar that gives your home theater complete volume and vibration of the bass effect.
Comparison chart for 2.1 vs 5.1 soundbar
Number of channels
Around two Kg
Around four Kg
Power At output
There are different types of soundbars; some of them will provide you the option to adjust the speakers and subwoofers as you want while some soundbar companies have pre-fixed the whole system. You will only need to adjust the placement of the soundbar into the exact position.
Number of channels
The basic difference in the manufacturing of these two soundbars is the number of channels they have. The name of both soundbars implies the number of channels on which they are working. You can also note the channels while looking at the shape of the soundbars before paying its price in the market.
The sound quality will not improve by seeing the number of channels you are having in your system. It depends on the adjustment of the speakers and the material used in its manufacturing.
The channels just show the number of the speakers and the subwoofer attached to the system. There is one basic difference between them that the 5.1 channel has the option of the wireless surround, but 2.1 does not provide this option to your system. A subwoofer is a necessary option in the manufacturing of both soundbars. The number of connections of the input and output is the same for both types of soundbars.
There is a major difference between the prices of both types of soundbars. The difference in the cost of the soundbars depicts that there are major differences in the qualities of these soundbars. You will see the difference between the prices of the top brands of the sound items. You must try to note that this difference is because of the vast difference in the musical qualities of both soundbars.
The price of the 5.1 soundbars will vary from the one hundred and seventy-five dollars to the two hundred twenty-five dollars. This difference in the price of the same channel soundbar is due to the difference in the quality of the products that the different brands are producing in the market.
This is the average price of the 5.1 soundbar system; this price can increase if you are willing to purchase the top brand products. The average price of the 2.1 soundbars is varying from the seventy-five dollars to the one hundred and twenty-five dollars. This price is much lower than the price of the 5.1 soundbar system.
There are also major changes in the design of the soundbars. The design of the 2.1 soundbars is slim as compared to the 5.1 soundbar system. The size of the 2.1 soundbars is small because it contains less number of speakers and subwoofers in the system as compared to other types of the soundbars. The design of the soundbars depends on the manufacturer how it is making its products.
The design of the soundbars will depend on the number of speakers and their size in the different types of brands. Some brands use small speakers in the making of the soundbar; they can make the shape of the soundbar slimmer and small. Some companies do not rely on small speakers because they think that small speakers cannot produce the best quality of the sound in the soundbar. You can use it in a small room to get surround sound experience.
These companies will make shapes larger and wider. These designs of the soundbar will require more space in the room. You have to look for the proper design that is easily fixed. You should go for the purchase of the soundbar after noting these small details of its design. The soundbar will give you a directional audio feature that is much beneficial in the production of good quality sound.
Both have good features, but they are maybe or may not be according to your requirements. You should check the quality of the audio signals before purchasing any particular soundbar. The problem in the audio signals can be rectified by replacing any certain part of the product or repairing it.
The option of the virtual sound is only present in the 2.1 soundbars; we cannot create this effect in the 5.1 soundbars. You may try to note that the specifications of the audio will be varying from brand to brand. Soundbars will give you the dialogue enhancement opportunity in which you will get better quality of the sound while making conference calls or online meetings.
These soundbars provide you the multiple input options in which you can connect the different types of cables for the inputs. The optical cable offers the universal connection of the audio that can be connected to any kind of smart device. The good quality of the cable will provide you the interruption-free connection of the input.
Both types of cable do not have the option of the coaxial cable as the input of the soundbar. If you want a connection of the coaxial cable for the soundbar, then you must choose another type of the soundbar. The proper checking of all the features requires your complete focus and attention. You must try to use the user manual of the product for this purpose as it will give you complete instructions on all the features.
The connections of these soundbars are almost the same, but 2.1 soundbars will give you more connections to provide input or get output out of it. You have made a particular connection of the soundbar; then, you must choose the soundbar of that connection. Both of the soundbars provide the input connection of the HDMI cable that is the most reliable cable used for the transmission of the data.
The USB connection is also available at the ports of both soundbars. This connection will allow you to play your favorite songs and video streaming without any type of delay or buffering. There are no major differences in the connections of these soundbars. They do not give the output for the subwoofer of the system. You can place the soundbar above the TV for better results.
Size of subwoofer
There is a huge difference between the sizes of both subwoofers. The subwoofer of a smaller soundbar is much smaller as compared to other soundbars. The height of the subwoofer attached in the 2.1 soundbars is less than the 16-inches while the length of the subwoofer in the 5.1 soundbars is near to the 21-inches.
This is a vast difference in their size that makes the 2.1 soundbars slimmer and 5.1 soundbars larger. Passive soundbars deliver powerful bass and have 5.1 channels.
The width of the subwoofer has a difference between the four to five inches from each other. If you are looking for a slimmer soundbar, then you can purchase a 2.1 soundbar system. It will give you many benefits as it occupies less space in the home theater and offers the same sound quality. Some users require the large size of the soundbar, and some require small sizes.
The decision of the size of the subwoofer is based on the dimensions of the room in which you want to fix this soundbar. The depth of both soundbars is almost the same and does not have a huge difference in it.
Size of room
The room size will depend on the soundbar type you are using. The 5.1 soundbars can be used for the larger rooms because it can produce good quality of the sound. In the room of size twenty by twenty feet, the sound of this soundbar will be easily audible for the proper sitting at the last corner of the room.
The portability of the soundbars also comes with its size. The smaller size of the soundbar will provide you the space to place it in different directions and change the place whenever you want it. You may try to note that the size of the soundbar will be decided according to the size of the room because the issue of the sound will be resolved quickly.
If you are using the 2.1 soundbars, then you can place it in the room of the ten feet by ten feet. It is the average size of the room in which you can use this soundbar without any problem of the sound.
Weight of the soundbar
The 5.1 soundbar is too heavy as compared to the 2.1 soundbars. The weight of 5.1 soundbars is heavy because of multiple reasons such as the heavy size of the subwoofer and the higher number of speakers present in this soundbar.
The average weight of the 5.1 soundbar lies between the three and a half kilograms to the four and a half kilograms. This weight may vary brand to brand depending on the type of the speakers and subwoofers they are using in the manufacturing of soundbar.
The average weight of the 2.1 soundbars is too low as compared to the 5.1 soundbars because of less number of channels in it. You can find all the types of weight as you required from different brands. The average weight of the 2.1 soundbars is not more than two kilograms. The maximum weight of this soundbar will not exceed the two and a half kilograms rather than using the heaviest speaker in its manufacturing.
The weight of these two types of a soundbar is not too much for that; we may face any kind of difficulty in it. You will feel no problem to change the placement of these soundbars regularly. It is the main feature of these soundbars that you can use them at any place because of their small size and lesser weight.
There are different mounting methods of the soundbar that you can apply in your home theater room. The mounting on the wall is the most common method that is widely used, you can mount the soundbar under the television screen. The mounting of the soundbar will look good if you are using the slim soundbar. The size of the soundbar should not exceed the size of the television.
If you want to purchase the high speakers, then you can opt for the option of placing the soundbar beside the television. The 5.1 soundbars will look good by placing it on both sides of the TV. The 2.1 soundbar is lesser in weight, and size can be mounted under the television screen. You may try to note that the look of the home theater before placing it permanently.
If the company does not fix the adjustment of the speakers and subwoofers, then you have to do it properly to save it from multiple problems.
You will get the remote controller by the brand from which you are purchasing your soundbars. It is the most reliable way to control the soundbars and change the different effects of the sound. You can use various other methods to manage these soundbars. These methods include a mobile application, Bluetooth, internet, and other methods like these.
It is simple to use these things after using the user manual of the product. It will have a complete description of the products that how they should be used in controlling the soundbar. The compatibility of the soundbar will also be mentioned there.
Both brands do not include the option of the wireless fidelity in its connection. You can create the connection of the Wi-Fi by amending the setting of the soundbar. You just need to place one internet kit on the motherboard of the soundbar. You will start getting the connection of the Wi-Fi on the setting of the soundbar. It is an essential feature of any smart device for making its connection to other devices.
The controlling options in 2.1 soundbars are too less as compared to the 5.1 soundbars. The major controlling options that include remote and Bluetooth are the same in these soundbars. The 2.1 soundbar does not include any type of special thing for the connection, but some brands provide additional features in 5.1 soundbar that makes it stand out from the 2.1 soundbars.
The video specifications of these soundbars include the input and output connection of the HDMI ports. There is a difference between the number of the input ports in these soundbars, and the manufacturers can also create a varying number of the inputs in it. If you are using the soundbar at the place near the HDMI cable connections, then you can go for this wire for video signals.
There are three input ports of the HDMI present in the 5.1 soundbars as compared to just one port of the HDMI present in the 2.1 soundbars. This is one of the major differences in the video specification of these two soundbars. The output ports of these soundbars are almost of some types and the same number. You may try to find the proper place for the soundbar to get better results out of it. You can add a pico projector with this system.
The video quality also affects the transmission of the signal. The video quality of the 2.1 soundbars will not exceed the one thousand and eighty pixels. This number is too low in the video quality of the soundbar. If you want to get better video quality of ultra-high-definition, then you must use 5.1 soundbars as it provides you the 4k video quality. It is easy to find out the proper soundbar by looking at the requirement of the video quality.
The power of these soundbars is different from each other. 5.1 soundbar usually takes more power from the system as compared to other types of the soundbar. The lower channel soundbar will consume less power and produce less power at the output signal. The power of that soundbar will be near to the fifty roots mean square value that is not high as compared to other soundbars.
The power of the higher channel soundbar will be seventy-five RMS to the eighty RMS. It is the average value of the power that almost all the soundbars consume in their system. You may try to identify the particular type of the soundbar as you want to get the power from it. You may try to identify the problem in the sound quality because the quality of the sound has a direct relation with the power it is consuming.
The power of the subwoofer of the higher channel soundbar is greater than the other soundbar. You may try to note these effects of the soundbars to understand its problem and identify its proper solution. The subwoofer will take more power as compared to the whole set of speakers because it has produced the effect of the surround sound in the theater.