Different music genres, video games, and video content have unique sounds that benefit from an equalizer to maximize your listening experience.
Since soundbars are used for all times of content, you might be wondering if you can connect an equalizer to one.
You can connect an equalizer to many soundbars, but it isn’t advisable. These speakers are typically meant to be used as an all-in-one setup for those who want a simple solution for improving a television’s built-in speakers.
In this article, we will be going over why third party equalizers and soundbars generally do not mix and what you can do to get the most out of your TV listening experience. Read on if you’d like to learn more.
Also read: Can You Connect a Soundbar to an Amplifier?
Why You Should Not Connect an Equalizer to a Soundbar
Soundbars are meant to be all-in-one speaker solutions for getting much better sound out of the content coming from a TV.
It is widely known that televisions have poor speakers overall due to their thin bezels. Not allowing for powerful speakers and a soundbar is the easiest solution to solve this issue.
They are easy to set up, will fit in most entertainment centers, and are relatively affordable. Most people buy one for these 3 reasons.
Because they are meant to be used out of the box, many manufacturers do not think about allowing expandability, such as additional speakers or third-party subwoofers.
Furthermore, even if you can technically connect a third-party add-on to a soundbar, it doesn’t mean that it will work well with it.
Soundbars are made to work with the hardware already included or built-in. Thus, things such as amplifiers can mess with a soundbar’s sound channels.
The same applies to an equalizer.
Equalizers and Soundbars
It’s worth noting that many soundbars already include equalizer settings via a mobile app and often come with specific listening modes depending on the content you are listening to. Remember, these speakers are designed to have everything you need out of the box.
Dedicated equalizers are mainly made for higher-end or professional-grade equipment. You will see them used in recording studios, live concerts, and in the homes of many audiophiles.
They are generally connected to high-end speaker systems, and a soundbar falls under neither audiophile nor professional-grade usage. They are made specifically for a wide consumer audience.
With that in mind, you can connect an equalizer to a soundbar if you want to. If your soundbar has RCA audio ports, you can connect the equalizer directly to the speaker, but it won’t make much sense at the end of the day.
You will run into issues such as losing sound channels, which will harm the audio quality of a soundbar. This is counterproductive to what an equalizer is for in the first place.
Consider a Passive Soundbar
We’ve been referring to active soundbars, where everything is already built-in to function right out of the box. Another type of soundbar that is less popular is called a passive soundbar. These require an amplifier or receiver to function and are typically made for a higher-end market.
Passive soundbars are made for expandability. They are essentially just like any other passive speaker but in a soundbar form factor.
In this case, you can connect an equalizer. Connect it to the amplifier or receiver that is required to use the speaker.
In general, passive soundbars are a great compromise between the simplicity of an active soundbar and the size of traditional stereo speakers if you are trying to go for a minimalist aesthetic for a home theatre or want to save on space.
But they are a more niche product in general since people looking for a soundbar are generally looking for an all-in-one speaker that doesn’t require buying separate equipment for the soundbar to be usable.
And people who are willing to go through that process are generally audiophiles who wouldn’t use a soundbar for their listening needs.
Soundbars are perfectly serviceable, and they can output good sound. However, they can’t output the best sound due to their size limitations, which puts passive soundbars in a situation where they fit a specific market.
We recommend that if you are considering getting a passive soundbar, think about if you can find space for stereo speakers.
You will get better audio quality in general, and setting them up isn’t too much more of a hassle. We just want everyone to get the best option for their needs and budget.
If the idea of a passive speaker in general just isn’t for you, there are plenty of excellent active soundbars on the market that won’t break the bank! Here are a few of our recommendations that come with equalizer settings and great audio quality.
A Few Well-Equipped Active Soundbars
As we previously stated, active soundbars already come with lots of great features without you having to buy anything extra.
If you want the most out of your soundbar’s audio quality, ensure it is sitting directly in front of you and not off to the side, some soundbars are quite long, and so you will have to consider if your TV stand or wall above the TV can accommodate one.
Below are a few recommended soundbars that we think most people will appreciate. They aren’t too expensive and offer great sound with multiple sound settings.
If you would like additional suggestions, we recommend taking a look at this video:
If you want your soundbar to double as a smart speaker, then the Sonos Beam fills that role wonderfully. Along with Amazon Alexa functionality, this soundbar includes user-adjustable equalizer settings to best fit whatever is being played.
And it’s good that these settings are available because this can double as a music sneaker thanks to compatibility with popular streaming services.
Furthermore, the speaker encourages expandability within its own ecosystem. You can pair compatible wi-fi enabled Sonos speakers to get true surround sound or a Sonos Subwoofer for powerful low-frequency sounds.
Because of the extensive feature set of this soundbar, it’s an easy recommendation for most people due to the strong value proposition. Consider how much it would cost to buy an Amazon Echo and a decent soundbar separately.
This soundbar focuses on simplicity. While you won’t find a lot of features or customization, you will find a great sound for the price.
The built-in preset equalizer modes cover a range of different types of content such as movies and sport, and with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, it offers a great virtual surround sound experience.
With the built-in subwoofer, you will feel low-frequency sounds without the bulk of a separate subwoofer taking up space.
While it lacks fancy bells and whistles such as smart wi-fi connectivity, it punches above its weight when it comes to sound in a sub-$300 all-in-one soundbar.
There isn’t much in the way of expansion when it comes to most soundbars when it comes to third-party equipment, and it’s no different with an equalizer.
An equalizer is typically used for high-end audio equipment, and soundbars, in general, are marketed towards a wide audience who just want decent sound from the content on their TV.
You can buy a passive soundbar that will work with an equalizer nicely. However, those cater to a small market of people looking for better sound than an active soundbar but do not want to use dedicated stereo speakers. It can be an in-between option.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.