SOUND BARS VS HEADPHONES [Gaming Sound System Comparison Guide]


Surround sound gaming setups using soundbars are overwhelmingly gaining momentum in recent years compared to headphones, and there are insane benefits for using either of them, however, the recent rise in popularity for portable and easy to set up gaming sound comparing soundbars vs headphones systems is one of the factors we are today.

After comparing soundbars vs. headphones, Soundbars stood out as the best sounding system setup with more noticeable clarity and superiority compared to the sound you get from headphones. 

Though headphones are widely preferred for their portability and wireless sound system setups when compared to the surround sound quality and clarity you get from soundbars like the Sonos and bose gaming soundbar are impossible to ignore.

Soundbars are widely becoming more affordable today, with most household headphone brands costing almost the same as a stereo soundbar, there’s no surprise that soundbar’s listening setup offers the best sound quality.

Before we deep-dive into the soundbar and headphones comparison, let’s address one frequently asked questions about combining soundbars and surround speakers together… 

With such a trending rise of the new and old technology, the dilemma is always marrying the two to work together… and many of you have been tempted to use a soundbar along with other speakers for your gaming surround sound experience.

So, if you probably have found yourself wondering whether you can use a soundbar and surround sound together? A quick answer is no! You can not use a soundbar together with the surround sound system as both of them have amps, pairing them will cause interference. 

The only gaming soundbar with surround sound setup capability is the Sonos surround sound tv soundbars as these soundbars often come with Bluetooth enabled surround speakers you can set up around your room to create the surround sound ambiance you need.

Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black

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  • Beam - The smart, compact soundbar for TV, music, and more.
  • High definition sound - Experience rich, detailed sound for your TV that fills the entire room.
  • TV, music and more - Play music, TV, movies, podcasts, radio, audiobooks and video games.
  • Easy control - Control Beam with your voice, remote, the Sonos app, and more.
  • Class 10 for Full HD video recording and playback (Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon host device, file attributes, and other factors)

 I will break this gaming sound system set up down further in the next post as my focus in this post was to compare soundbars and headphones to find out which one is the best gaming sound system accessory to have.

When it comes to choosing what is better between soundbars or headphones, the choice isn’t exactly the easy one. some will choose headphones and others will choose speakers depending on preference and many other reasons. Most brands that manufacture headphones also manufacture soundbars. For example, JBL, Sennheiser, Sony all manufacture soundbars as well as headphones. 

When choosing between soundbars or headphones there are certain things that you need to keep in mind for example the audio quality, the drivers used, the smart technology that they support and the portability. This article will help you understand what soundbars are and what headphones are as well as the main advantages and disadvantages of these.

What are soundbars

Soundbars are generally speakers that are thin and wide in shape and are mostly put in from of a television. They are also known as speaker bars. Sometimes they can also be put below the television.

 You can connect the soundbars that can help in enhancing the sound of your television sets since the television sound is not as good as compared to the sound that the soundbars offer. TVs keep getting thinner and this makes them to have less space to keep the drivers that produce sound. 

Therefore, making the sound that TVs produce to be very low hence soundbars help in improving your TV sound.  The sound quality they offer is high quality. But this also highly depends on what kind of soundbar that you get.  Soundbars include a lot of drivers in them to ensure good sound quality.  They can be bought at a price ranging from 100 to around 2000 dollars. 

There are many soundbars that exist. Some soundbars use active technology whereas others use passive technology.  

Active soundbars have built-in amplifies in them. these soundbars require you to plug them to the television in order for them to produce sound.  Active soundbars are also more expensive as compared to passive soundbars. 

 The passive soundbars require you to have a receiver in order to produce sound. Therefore, if you do not have a receiver it may require you to buy one which may lead to higher costs. There are also soundbars that combine both visual and audio technology. 

What are the pros and cons of soundbars?


Drivers: Soundbars include many drivers and the direction that these drivers point to where the listener is hence producing clear and detailed sounds.

There are also other soundbars that include tweeters and subwoofers these help in amplifying the sound produced. For instance, woofers can handle low sounds whereas tweeters are capable of handling high sounds.


Sound quality: This depends on the soundbar that you get. There are other soundbars that have good high quality but other soundbars do not produce very good sound.

Size: The other disadvantage and also the main is the size of the soundbar. The soundbar requires you to have quiet a good amount of space that you can place it on. 

Costly: they require some additional parts that you need to have. For example, for the passive soundbar you require a receiver and for the active soundbar, you require an amplifier.



There are many various types of headphones. we have passive headphones, active headphones, they can also be classified into on-ear headphones, in ear headphones, wireless and wired.

Headphones produce a sound that allows you to completely immerse yourself into the sound. When it comes to headphones, they allow you to hear the sound that is coming from the right ear cup using the right earcup and the sound coming through the left earcup using the left ear. The headphones also allow you to hear the sound more directly.

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  • Immersive 3D gaming sound & exhilarating gameplay: muffled sound will cause bad gaming experience. It's important for gamer to hear footsteps and distant gunshots from different direction in Fortnight, PUBG or CS: go etc. With high precision magnetic neodymium driver, Beexcellent headsets offer a 360-degree soundscape, add a sense of realism to your gaming session and reproduce crystal clear sound.
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Most headphones are also designed to provide comfortability. Some even come with sets of ear tips that you can choose the most comfortable fit for your ear. With active noise canceling technology you can easily block out all sounds from the background. 

Some headphones use passive noise canceling to block out all sounds and they do this without requiring any battery power.  With sweat and water-resistant headphones, you can be able to work out with them without worrying about water damaging them.

In-ear headphones: These headphones can be very good for daily use. Too much use may end up damaging your ears.  On-ear headphones, these headphones provide very accurate sounds.  They are big in size and are not very comfortable when used for longer hours. They can be very tight. The padding of this headphones is a very good fit. 

Over-ear headphones provide a very comfortable fit and hence you can listen for very long periods without feeling uncomfortable.  They have padding that is very comfortable for your ears.  They are also very large in size making room for a driver that is larger in size. Due to their large size, they make take up a lot of space when you want to use them for traveling.

Headphones may use wired technology while some may use wireless technology. With wireless headphones, you do not need to worry about cords or cables. They are also very easily portable. Some have rechargeable batteries while others have removable batteries. With wired headphones, you connect them using a cable or wire to a device in order to listen to the sound.

Pros and cons of headphones 


Active noise cancellation: There are some headphones that allow you to cut off all background noises and concentrate at the task at hand. 

Portability: headphones are very portable you can easily use them when travelling and when in public places without disturbing other people and they also give you good privacy.

Comfortability: most headphones are designed to give the user comfortability especially when they are used for a very long time. Some of them also include controls that you can easily use to control your device.


Isolation: When using headphones, you are easily isolated from the rest of the world. 

Loss of sound: With headphones that are wireless you may face some sound distortion when you move around too much from the device that the headphones are connected to. 

Sound Bars Vs Headphones

The main difference between a soundbar and headphones is in how the sound is delivered. Soundbars deliver sound to the whole room while with headphones the sound is only delivered to your ears. Therefore, if you like privacy and want to listen to sound alone headphones will be of great help.  With headphones that have active noise canceling features, you can block out all unwanted noises to avoid any disturbances from the background.  

The sound that is produced by headphones is also very accurate as compared to that the soundbars can produce.  The quality of sound depends on which kind of headphone you choose. But the drivers in the headphones are situated close to the ear making it to produce detailed sounds. The soundbars also include many drivers that allow you to hear the sound more accurately since the drivers point towards the person but they can’t quite compete with the accuracy in headphones.

HyperX Cloud Stinger - Gaming Headset – Comfortable HyperX Signature Memory Foam, Swivel to Mute Noise-Cancellation Microphone, Compatible with PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile Devices

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  • Lightweight headset (275 gram) with 90-degree rotating ear cups provide a snug fit that conforms to your head
  • 50 millimeter directional drivers for audio precision — enjoy the full audioscape of your favorite games
  • HyperX signature memory foam provides maximum comfort during extended use
  • Adjustable steel slider for a solid and long lasting sturdy feel
  • Intuitive volume control on headset ear cup

With headphones, you can listen to music anywhere you want without disturbing the people around you. But you cannot use your soundbar to listen to music in public places like restaurants or when using public transport.  When it comes to the portability headphones quite take the first place. This is because with headphones you can easily wear them and use the around the house more especially when they are wireless headphones

When using a soundbar, you can easily do other things around your house while listening to the sound whereas when using headphones, you worry about the sound distorting when you get far away from the device they are connected to especially when using wireless headphones.

Soundbars are also very good for audio listening when you have people around in the room and they all want to hear the sounds as the sounds can easily reach everyone and you can talk to people or do other things freely while hearing the sound. 

when it comes to headphones or soundbars is that most people listen to sound very loudly on headphones and they keep they sound low on the soundbar. Be sure to monitor how you raise your volume on the headphones as loud volumes can easily case damage to your ears.



To conclude, gaming headsets are the best option over the soundbars for the best gaming experience. However, the decision on which one is better between the soundbar and headphones mostly depends on the person’s preference and what they are looking for. For instance, we can see that for privacy listening headphones are recommended since with headphones the sound is only delivered to your ears and not o the rest of the surrounding you are in. 

We can also see that headphones produce more accurate sounds that the soundbars since the drivers are very close to the ears. When it comes to the cost it depends on the kind of soundbars or headphones that you buy and also the brands. We can also see that headphones are more suited for portability and traveling.


Eddie Mcfarren

Eddie Mcfarren is an avid blogger and audio enthusiast who enjoys a relatively long list of hobbies from Listening to music, backyard gardening to creating small scale businesses in varying niche markets. When he is not writing about the best gaming guides, he is probably researching best pet care tips for his pet dog (Tess the Staffordshire Terrier). Or he is busy researching what skincare products work best for his daughter, who, as a mixed-race, has combination skin type. He is crazy about retirement money saving using alternative revenue streams. You can link up with him via twitter or LinkedIn. In his, on words, he says, "I know that not all retirement goals are equal, so, regardless of your goals being a lifestyle change, money-saving or emergency preparedness, now is time to find tools and ways that work best for your retirement-saving and go to work!". He is an SEO expert and publisher who runs an independently owned and operated publishing business from the northwest Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom. His business model is primarily supported through affiliate programs and digital product creation.

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