Soundbar or Stereo setup with the tv?

In my living-room I have a Bose Soundbar 300 which is great for tv but sounds rather “underwhelming” when listening to music. It’s ok, but I don’t really like the music surround sound.

I’m thinking of getting a decent pair of active streaming speakers like the PSB Alpha IQ, which have a HDMI eARC output and are ROON ready, but I’m not sure, if in this case the TV sound will suffer. Won’t miss the film surround sound.

Has anyone made the switch from soundbar to stereo and can give some advice? Thanks in advance.

This year I ditched surround sound and don’t miss it. I had a dedicated avr and used a two channel amp fed by its preouts to power the front stereo speakers, avr did centre and surrounds. Music only went into the two channel amp.

I had enough of too much kit, two amps etc so just scaled back. I initially got a Roon Ready AVR from NAD but it was so unreliable I got my money back after a number of failed units. Decided to go back to two channel only and feed tv via its HDMi arc in. Much happier and I don’t miss surround at all. A good stereo setup sounds great for TV and beats any sound bar I have heard. I have a Sonos ARC in my man cave setup and it’s just ok. Wouldn’t get another.


I would do it completely differently.
Soundbars are really bad for music.
But when watching TV with a stereo setup, you don’t have a center channel for speech intelligibility.
So I would go for a 3.0 or 3.1 setup with a simple 5.1 AV amplifier. You could always upgrade this to a 5.1 system later.

Thanks for your answer but I’m aiming for WAF conformity :wink: and a 3.1 setup with an AV amplifier is simply too much. I’d like to keep it nice and simple and don’t want more cables and devices than necessary.

Hello @Simon_Arnold3,
thanks for your answer. That’s exactly what I was hoping for. The PSB Alpha IQ seem to tick all the boxes for me. Will see if I can audition them at a local dealer.

2 channel stereo all the way.
Never understood the appeal of soundbars or x.1 setups.

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I have a Bose Soundtouch 300 5.1 system with my TV. For the longest time, I wanted to add some speakers but SWMBO did not want speakers in our family room.

Fortunately for me, my neighbor gave me a Denon AVR-2805 receiver, so that was my excuse to buy a pair of Pioneer HPM-60 speakers. I set up a listening room upstairs in a spare bedroom.

I think a dedicated listening room is the best way to go.


Hello @ogdens_sliced,

If you like action movies, where explosions and helicopters fly around the room, the different surround solutions make sense. But I’m past that. I like my movies quiet :wink:

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That surely is a luxury one can dream of :star_struck:

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It makes for a good movie and gaming experience. I’ve moved from 5.1 to 5.1.2 (added 2 front Atmos speakers) recently. Next step is 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 - when I upgrade my receiver.

For music listening two channel stereo is the way to go. However for TV, movies, concert videos and sports a surround sound system is the way to go. A discreet 5.1 channel surround system (meaning five speakers and a subwoofer) is better than a sound bar (with or without a subwoofer).

I do like the suggestion by @Eclipse of adding just a center channel speaker to a stereo system since so many movies, videos and sports broadcasts are mixed so that the main dialog comes from the center channel. Please be aware that getting a subwoofer to work properly with an AV receiver when listening in stereo can sometimes be a bit tricky.

Why don’t you keep the soundbar for the TV and just add the PSB speakers for music?

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I have 2 setups in my Lounge

HT is a full 7.1.6 atmos with 65” plasma tv (swmbo wont let it go) and as 96 projector screen and 4K pj for movies that seldom gets used these days.

Stereo is fully active linkwitz lx521.4mg setup -

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I might do that, although I’m looking for a minimalistic solution.

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TV with a stereo system works fine for me. The lack of a centre channel is not really an issue. The stereo system creates a good central image (enough to fool me, anyway).

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Exactly what @Jazzfan_NJ suggests.

I have a Sonos Beam 2nd gen under the TV, mounted on a wall (but can be done with a stand). Good enough for TV and films. Terrible for music and forget about Dolby Atmos or spatial music. Not worth the experience IMHO.

Currently for music I have a pair of Sonos Fives but not for long. Choices, choices.

PSBs just came back on my radar earlier. :+1:

WAF for SWMBO is key here I see.

Mine excepts the minimal approach also.

Separate systems would be more ideal. I have used stereo setups for TV watching before and missed the clearer dialogue from the centre.