DO SURROUND SOUND-BARS REALLY WORK ?
The basis is surround sound is simple: The physical speakers surround the listener and so does the sound, but in recent times these all-in-one, built-in sound bars with surround capabilities try to defy this basic existing ideology as the sound-bar sits right in front of the listener.
Most low-budget sound-bars which are labelled as surround just produce exaggerated stereo sound with 2 or more drivers which may sound good to some untrained ears. Whereas some high-end sound-bars with “Dolby Atmos” capabilities are built with multiple drivers and simulate a surround sound effect by reflecting sound off walls and ceilings of a room. These sound-bars can be classified as surround sound systems as they can perform similar characteristics as a surround sound setup. Yet, True surround sound can only be achieved with separate, physically placed speakers.
Budget sound-bars can outperform stock / traditional television speakers.
Most of these sound-bars will have at least 100 watts of power or so and can produce much clearer, richer sound than the small, back- or down-firing speakers embedded in today’s thin LCD televisions. Some of these sets also include a subwoofer for 2.1 stereo, but even so, the individual drivers are still restricted to, at most, two clusters of sound for standard stereo playback.
Now, some of these bars can include a “surround” mode or profile in the software. And that profile might create some extra “space” between the left and right channels of sound, thanks to subtle manipulations of frequency and timing—simulated surround sound headsets do something similar. But you’re still fundamentally listening to only two sound channels, both of them more or less in front of you.
Should you get a surround sound-bar?
It depends. The plain fact of the matter is that multi-speaker surround setups are now much cheaper than the super-premium sound bars that can create a surround sound effect.
Surround setups are complicated, though, and aren’t always as aesthetically pleasing. So if there’s no practical way for you to run wiring for surround sound speakers all the way around a room, or if your home’s decor is so important that you just can’t stand to see those extra speakers, then a surround sound bar might be the best option.