Why are Soundbars so Long?

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Soundbars are frequently purchased by beginners in Home Theater due to their good audio quality and small compact design.

However, some complain that soundbars are not the most aesthetically pleasing due to their long horizontal frame.

Although much less of an eye sore than speakers it is always important that you like the look of your sound equipment after all.

So what gives, why are soundbars so long? Soundbars tend to be long because they need room to fit high-quality audio equipment in a small space.

Higher-quality soundbars tend to be longer because of this. The smaller the soundbar you get the less amount of speakers it will have in it.

To fit under a TV stand soundbars store most of their components horizontally.

In this blog post, I will explain why Soundbars are so long as well as how that usually correlates with superior audio quality.

I will also explain why the length of the soundbar should not really matter to you but will also give examples of good quality soundbars that are more slim and compact in design.

Soundbars are Getting Longer in Order to Fit More Drivers/Speakers in Them


Usually the smaller the soundbar the less impressive the audio quality.

This is because the engineers working on the soundbar have less space to fit all drivers and sound components.

I provided an example above for you to check out, you can see from the bottom the Sonos ray, Beam, and Arc.

The Ray is by far the smallest soundbar but the least impressive in terms of audio quality, meanwhile, the extra-long Sonos arc is the best of the Sonos soundbars.

For more information on some of these Sonos Products, I recommend reading the following article.

There is usually always a direct correlation between the size of the soundbar and how good the audio quality will be.

Ever wonder why TV speakers suck? It’s because of this problem, the sound is coming out of a very small device and therefore it’s not good audio.

How long are most soundbars?


The ideal size for a soundbar is about 3 inches vertical and 30-40 inches wide.

If your TV isn’t wall mounted then 3 inches is the amount of space you will need if the TV is on a stand.

30-40 inches should be plenty of space to fit most soundbars on top of a cabinet, however, I would encourage you to wall mount the soundbar if feasible.

I wrote an article discussing why wall mounting a soundbar gives you better audio quality.

Soundbars are also getting longer because companies want to incorporate Dolby Atmos technology in them.

Soundbars are getting of higher and higher quality so more audio engineering is going into them and they are getting bigger.

It’s really hard to get high-quality audio from such a small device, the design of these soundbars getting longer is just something people will have to adapt to if they care about audio quality.

Usually, a soundbar with more channels will be longer, for example, a 9.1 soundbar will be much larger than a 5.1.

If you don’t know what soundbar channels are I encourage you to read my article “what do soundbar channels mean?”

Does it matter how long a sound bar is?

It matters if you are going to put it on top of a cabinet below the TV.

Make sure to measure the length of the cabinet and verify that the soundbar you will be buying will fit on top of it.

You don’t want a soundbar that has both ends dangling off the cabinet.

Should the soundbar be the same size as my TV?

Having your soundbar be the same size as your TV is not a requirement.

Some people like the look of a soundbar matching the size of a TV but you should be focused on audio quality instead of something this trivial.

However, I can understand if you have a small tv and don’t want a soundbar that is longer horizontally than your television.

Make sure to pick the best soundbar for your room size as well as the type of content you will be watching.

For example, if you are in a small bedroom I’d recommend getting a 5.1 or 7.1 soundbar as you don’t want to go too overboard with a bar with a lot of speakers as it won’t play well in a small room.

Forget the look and buy a soundbar

For those looking for a better audio experience at home, a soundbar is the next logical choice over TV speakers or headphones.

Modern televisions are becoming more and more thin and have less space for adequate speakers. They are often placed behind the TV now which causes issues such as audio distortion.

TV speakers are very small and do not pack the proper punch you will need especially if you want any semblance of surround sound.

I actually wrote a separate article on this site explaining why TV speakers are so bad if you want to check that out.

Often times you will have to constantly change the volume during dialogue and big action scenes because you can’t hear what the actors are saying and the large explosions are way too loud.

This is why you need to get over the look of a soundbar and how long it is and just buy one.

You will have a much better experience watching movies when you have a dedicated audio device that is engineered to enhance your experience.

TV speakers are usually given the bare minimum in effort from TV manufacturers.

In the next section, I will discuss some sleek-looking soundbars you can purchase that are not too long in size.

What are the slimmest/smallest soundbars you can buy?

  • The LG Eclair QP5 (affiliate link) is the smallest Dolby Atmos Soundbar on the market measuring at just under twelve inches in width. If you want the best audio quality out of the smallest soundbar, this is your pick.
  • One of the best slim soundbars is the Polk MagniFi Mini AX (paid link). This is a Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbar that packs a big punch at such a small length of 16 inches. This is probably the best option if you are trying to go super minimalist and have a small soundbar

  • The Sonos Beam Gen 2 (paid link) is probably the most popular compact soundbar on the market. It is equipped with 5 drivers in the bar as well as an option to buy rear speakers and a subwoofer. The soundbar is only 26 inches in length, making for a small and minimalist audio product.
  • Another good option is the JBL Bar Multi Beam 5.0 (paid link). This is an all-in-one soundbar, with no need for external rear speakers, it also has Chromecast built-in. The JBL Bar measures at 28 inches in length.

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