Can You Use a Soundbar as Rear Speakers?

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Soundbars are designed to be used in the front of a system as all-around speakers.

They mostly don’t have separate drivers for each channel like many surround systems do. Also, they may not give you the full range that rear speakers would provide. That means if your primary goal is to add more depth or bass response from those back channels, then a soundbar may not be the best way to go.

Why Using a Soundbar as a Rear Speaker isn’t the best idea

Rear speakers are an essential part of any sound system. The speakers are comprised of the surround left and surround right speakers. They help give the feeling that a song is coming from all around you, rather than two or four corners in your room.

A soundbar is not powerful enough for rear surround speakers. The power coming from the system you use to power your front two speakers will be too low to feed both your front and back stereo speakers. This results in either a weak sound or crosstalk.

Poor Audio Quality

If you’re looking for an immersive sound experience, it’s not recommended to use your soundbar as rear speakers. The audio will be unbalanced and create less of a surround effect. Soundbars also tend to be slim. This makes them incapable of handling wide pitches from the rear speakers.

The sound bars on the market are either passive or built-in with amps. Passive Soundbars do not have a problem connecting with additional speakers. But for those equipped with a built-in amp, you may experience difficulty connecting to additional speakers. It can be hard to match crossover points between the two; in some cases, you might need an external amplifier.

“You could, but here is the problem

Rear speakers are designed to be directional, meaning they project sound better in one direction than the other. Ceiling or floor mounting behind the listener is advised for rear speaker placement. Rear speaker enclosures should have mounting points for wall-mounting as well as feet to allow them to stand upright on the floor.

Can I pair my soundbar with other speakers in a surround sound system?

It is fair bit of work to pair a soundbar with other speakers in a surround system but it is possible. Since soundbars are not designed with speaker outs, you will need to use RCA cables, a receiver, and a stereo mixer to pair your soundbar with the speakers. There are also a few modern soundbar options that come with a Bluetooth kit that allows you to create a surround system.

The Samsung Harman Kardon soundbar, for example, can be paired with a set of wireless Bluetooth rear speakers.

Best Soundbars With A Rear Speaker Setup.

Here are five of the best soundbars that work well with rear speakers.

Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Home Surround Soundbar

The Polk Audio Sound Bar is a powerful home theater system with 7 drivers and tweeters for superior sound. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and speakers, SDA audio technology for an expansive surround stage, and Voice Adjust Technology. Other features include HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, and internet connectivity. You can easily stream music wirelessly with Google Chromecast. Upgrade your home entertainment experience.

Sony HT-A7000 Dolby Atmos Surround Soundbar Kit

The Sony HT-A7000 is a 7.1.2ch 500W Dolby Atmos Surround Soundbar that provides an immersive and adaptable audio experience. Its Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology, Vertical Surround Engine, S-Force Pro Front Surround, and 360 Spatial Sound Mapping create a wider sweet spot that lets everyone have the best seat in the house. The Sony SA-RS5 Wireless Rear Speaker kit adds depth to the audio experience, while the SW5 wireless subwoofer provides powerful, booming sound.

JBL Bar 9.1 – Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos

The JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar is a powerful and versatile home theater system that delivers an immersive 3D surround sound experience with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding. With 820 watts of output power, it includes detachable wireless surround speakers, a 300W subwoofer, and built-in calibration to ensure the best sound no matter the room. Enjoy high-quality audio for all your movies, music, and streaming content with Chromecast and AirPlay support. Experience the thrill of a movie theater in your own home with the JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar.


If you decide that using soundbar rear speakers is your best option, make sure to put them in an open area. This sees to it that they receive their optimal speaker placement. Also, the wiring connection for the back channels will be flawless without interference from other components in the room.

On the other hand, because of their limited capacity as rear speakers, Soundbars are best used as front left, right, and center channels. The disadvantages of this method outweigh any possible advantages. We do not recommend the use of a soundbar as rear speakers.

About the author

Jack Weisman

With a background in audio engineering, Jack has always had an interest in the audio industry and has been writing professionally since he graduated college. He has written for many different publications and websites, focusing on topics such as soundbars, surround sound systems, speaker systems, and audio accessories giving readers an in-depth look at the various products.

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