Difference Between 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbars | What You Need To Know

Share on:

When you buy the TV of your dreams, you wish to have an excellent experience while enjoying it. But the TV’s built-in speakers can’t provide decent and vibrant sound. You can get that when you add a soundbar to your TV.

Now, if you’re wondering what’s the difference between the 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars as you may have heard both of them are popular among users, then you’ve come to the exact place.

The fundamental difference between these two soundbars is the 2.1 soundbar has two speakers, whereas the 5.1 soundbar has five speakers. They both have one subwoofer. 

In this post, you’ll get to know the relevant information about the 2.1 soundbars and the 5.1 soundbars including the differences. So, stick with it till the end.

Difference Between 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbars

A Complete Difference Showing Between 2.1 and 5.1 Soundbar

When you’re up to buying a soundbar, you must know the details about it. And when you’re confused between two soundbars, you must consider the differences between them. 

Therefore, we’re providing the differences between 2.1 and 5.1 according to design, quality, connectivity, price, etc. But before getting into detail, have a look at the quick difference table –

2.1 Soundbar5.1 Soundbar
Supports 2 speakers Supports 5 speakers
Overall lightweight and take up less space.Overall heavyweight and take up more space.
Provides mid-level sound (yet better than a TV speaker).Provides high-level sound.
Featured with Dolby Atmos.Featured with surround sound.
Less expensive.More expensive.

Now, it’s time to dive into details including these differences.

1. Design & Setup

The 2 in 2.1 soundbars indicate two channels or speakers and 1 indicates a subwoofer. The same goes for 5.1 soundbars. For 2.1, it’s basically one right, one left channel, and a subwoofer. On the other hand, for 5.1, one front right, front left, front center, surround right, surround left channel, and a subwoofer.

If you require just a minimal upgrade of their TV speakers, not a heart-throbbing sound, the 2.1 soundbars can be a great choice for you. Because of their compact profile, they take up less space, and even the subwoofers are pretty slim. That’s why it’s easier to place or move them and mount them on the wall. 

At the same time, the 5.1 soundbars are a pretty good option when you have larger rooms or are fond of loud and surround music. The fact is when a soundbar has more channels, it generally takes much space and 5.1 is no exception. 

You can easily customize your system with the satellite speakers and subwoofer on the 5.1 soundbars. Some of them come with an in-built control panel or LCD display that makes them more attractive. 

2. Audio Quality

As you can see, with more channels, the 5.1 provides so many facilities than the 2.1.

You can have a quality experience with its two rear surround speakers and the alternative center channel to ensure rich clarity. And if you want to enhance it further, add the satellite speakers and subwoofer and apply them as well.  

Even though the 2.1 is one step backward as it can’t offer as much as the 5.1, it surpasses 5.1 in terms of impressive Dolby Atmos sound technology. This technology helps 2.1 to enrich the sound quality no matter what is the number of speakers.

Although, both of the soundbars come with pre-tuned settings such as sound modes to refine particular contents. For example movies, music, gaming, news, sports, etc.

3. Connectivity

Both 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars have at least an HDMI connection to offer high-end audio decoders and content. HDMI is a perfect choice to deliver 4K signal and the other signals despite the heavy signal load. 

But if your soundbar is missing the HDMI connection then you can go for the digital optical connection. It’s quite common in most soundbars and also capable of transferring a 4K signal.

NOTE: Whatever the soundbar, ensure that both the TV and soundbar have appropriate input and output ports to get connected.

Now, concerning the wireless connection, the 2.1 and 5.1 equally offer Bluetooth connection. You can stream the content from your devices to access formerly indistinct frequencies.

4. Price

This far, you’ve known that the 5.1 soundbar is superior to the 2.1 in respect of dialogue clarity and surround sound quality. And this is the reason that the 5.1 is usually far more expensive. But it’s also undeniable that it is worth the money.

That’s all the noticeable differences!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to play a 5.1 movie in the 2.1 speakers?

Yes, it is. Although you can play a 5.1 movie on your 2.1 speakers, here’s a catch. You can’t enjoy the audible information and surround picture but only the stereo picture.

Is a 5.1 speaker better than a 2.1?

Basically, 5.1 is better in terms of getting a listening experience like the home theater, whereas 2.1 is better when you just want to upgrade your TV speakers or casually listen to music. But overall surely 5.1 speakers is better than 2.1 speakers.

What is 5.1 surround sound used for?

5.1 is prevalent for six-channel surround sound systems where five of them are full bandwidth channels and one is a low-frequency channel. It’s generally utilized in home theaters and sometimes commercial cinemas. 


As you’ve read this far, hopefully, you’ve got the differences between a 2.1 speaker and a 5.1 speaker. Even if you’re unsure then check the quick difference once more to decide quickly. Knock us for more queries in the comment section.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.