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The Best Surround Sound System

Last updated on February 29, 2024
Best Surround Sound System

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Our Picks For The Top Surround Sound Systems

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Also Great

Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System

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Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System

These speakers feature the same technology the manufacturer builds into its much larger speakers, all packed into a small design. A combination of Horn technology and aluminum tweeters give these speakers crisp, clear, powerful sound. If you choose to hang your speakers, each speaker has both a keyhole mount and a threaded insert to give you flexib...

Overall Take

Smaller Form FactorIf you're in a smaller space, or you just want a surround sound system that's less visible, this set is a great option.

 Best Overall

Logitech Z906 5.1 Speaker Surround Sound System


Z906 5.1 Speaker Surround Sound System

This 5.1 surround sound system has all the power you need to enjoy your favorite movies. You'll get a 165-watt subwoofer to turn any room of your home into a home theater. You'll get a wireless remote that lets you control or mute the volume from across the room.

Overall Take

Great SoundYou'll get a wireless remote that lets you control or mute the volume from across the room.

 Runner Up

Bose Acoustimass V Home Surround Sound Theater System


Acoustimass V Home Surround Sound System

This surround sound system comes from Bose, a respected name in audio. This set is from the Acoustimass system, which is designed to be set up in larger rooms. The slim design of the smaller speakers means you can mount them to a wall or discreetly set them up on an entertainment center or the floor.

Overall Take

Attractive DesignThe attractive design of this surround sound system will make the speakers a good fit for your home decor.

 We Also Like

Definitive Technology Pro Cinema Surround Sound System

Definitive Technology

Pro Cinema Surround Sound System

These speakers use pressure-coupled mid/bass radiators to deliver top-notch sound. You'll get six speakers with 5.1 surround-sound technology, including a 300-watt subwoofer for deep, rich bass sounds. The speakers have a dark finish to ensure they easily blend into the background.

Overall Take

Advanced Driver TechnologyThis surround-sound system uses BDSS technology drivers to deliver impressive audio.

Buying Guide

Going to the movies has gotten expensive. With the average ticket price above $9, it’s no wonder more households than ever are choosing to enjoy their movies at home. In fact, theater attendance has been steadily declining over the past decade as internet streaming technology has made it easier and far more affordable to watch movies at home.

But there’s another reason movie night has become a staple of many households: home theaters. Once considered a plaything of the wealthiest consumers, home theaters are now far more accessible to everyone. Large LCD screens are more affordable than ever, pushing them into the mainstream. You don’t even have to dedicate a room of your home to your theater. You can set it up in the living room or den where your family regularly watches TV.

One thing you may need to truly enjoy movie night is a good sound system. Like flat-screen TVs, surround sound systems have dropped in price over the years, making them accessible to more consumers. For best results, invest in a speaker set boasting 5.1 surround sound, which will give you everything you need to create the true movie theater experience at home.

A true surround sound system includes a center speaker, right and left front speakers, left and right rear speakers and at least one subwoofer. Dolby Atmos requires at least two extra speakers, as well as a receiver and content that support the newer technology.

Your home theater will also need a receiver that helps you manage everything. It’s best to purchase your surround sound speakers first, then choose a receiver that’s compatible with it all. You’ll need to buy a receiver that supports the speakers you have. If you purchase large speakers, you’ll need plenty of power to maximize the technology, while smaller speakers can do with a receiver that sends far less power.

The specific setup you’ll need relies heavily on the room where you’ll be installing your home theater. The term “5.1 surround sound” refers to the number of channels your audio delivers, but it isn’t the only option. The technology breaks down like this:

  • The traditional two-speaker system is 2.0, which is two channels, two speakers. A subwoofer bumps that up to 2.1.
  • A center channel speaker adds to those components to make it 3.1.
  • When you add the two speakers in the back, that’s 5.1.
  • For larger rooms, some prefer to add two additional speakers on the side, increasing it to 7.1 surround sound.
  • Dolby Atmos puts two speakers in the ceiling or high on a wall above you, which gives the sound a 3-D effect. This is known as 7.2.1 surround sound, which is considered the gold standard in home theater.

What to Look For

  • It may seem natural to invest in the largest speakers you can find, assuming they’ll put out the most powerful sound. That may have once been true, but innovations in technology have made it easier for manufacturers to pack plenty of punch into a small package.
  • The most important speakers in your system are the two in the front left and right. That’s where you’ll get the bulk of the audio from music and sound effects.
  • Soundbars have become a popular way to set up a front speaker without taking up an extreme amount of space. It has all three front speakers — left, center and right — in one small package. It’s also a more affordable way to get started on building a surround sound system, although some packages combine a soundbar with rear speakers.
  • For years, 5.1 surround sound was the standard. But larger theater rooms have called for something that creates the same immersive experience you get in smaller rooms, leading to 7.1.
  • To take your surround sound to the next level, consider Dolby Atmos, which upgrades your system to what’s known as 7.2.1 surround sound. You’ll need at least two Dolby Atmos speakers, as well as a receiver that provides support for Dolby Atmos. You’ll also find that not all content supports Dolby Atmos. You’ll find it on newer Blu-Ray discs and some streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
  • Before you start shopping for a system, plan the layout. You’ll need at least three front speakers and two back, along with a subwoofer, so it’s important to decide where you’ll set each item. Some speakers can be mounted, but plenty of people keep their speakers on the floor.
  • If you plan to mount your speaker, look closely at the back of each speaker to make sure the process will be easy. Some have keyhole mounts. You can also find speakers that you can set on floor stands.
  • Determining which speaker has the best sound output can be tricky. You’ll need to make sure the subwoofer has the wattage necessary to provide plenty of power, but many speakers now are built in a way that maximizes sound output.
  • The receiver you choose shares equal importance with the speakers you buy. Make sure you buy the right receiver for the system you’re setting up.
  • A wireless remote can come in handy for controlling audio volume from across the room. If you have a universal remote, though, you may want to research to make sure the system you’re buying can be controlled by that remote. Otherwise, you’ll be required to keep a separate remote on hand for your audio.

More to Explore

THX was founded by George Lucas in 1983 during the lead-up to the theatrical launch of “Return of the Jedi,” the third release in the “Star Wars” franchise. Lucas wanted to make sure audiences would get a fully-immersive experience, so he created a system so that the film sounded the way audio engineers intended. Although “THX-1138″ was Lucas’s first film, the name is short for “Tomlinson Holman’s eXperiment.” The creator of the system just happened to have first initials that coincided with Lucas’s first movie, a 1971 dystopian film starring Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence.

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