Sonos 5.1 Surround Home Theater Set
Last updated date: February 12, 2020
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The Sonos 5.1 Surround Home Theater Set is the ultimate kit for building out your home theater. It comes with a soundbar, subwoofer and two rear speakers to create an intense surround-sound experience. The speakers wirelessly work together to make setup a breeze. Amazon Alexa is also built in, which makes it handy for playing music or getting information. In our analysis of 112 expert reviews, the Sonos Sonos 5.1 Surround Home Theater Set placed 1st when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note February 12, 2020:
Checkout The Best In-Home Sound System for a detailed review of all the top in-home sound systems.
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An Overview On In-Home Sound Systems
Whether you’re sitting down for movie night or spending an afternoon gaming, a good surround sound system makes all the difference. But unless you’re an audiophile, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all the talk about wattage and subwoofers and bass response.
“The sound systems of today are not the sound systems your parents had,” says technology and parenting blogger Molly Thornberg. “From watching a movie with theatre-quality surround sound to creating a unique atmosphere in your home by playing music in every room, choosing an in-home sound system requires considering many things.”
As you start shopping, you’ll probably notice right away that some speaker systems are larger than others. It can be all too easy to assume that this larger size provides more powerful audio than smaller speakers can offer, but that isn’t always the case. Today’s speaker manufacturers can pack a lot of punch into a small form factor, giving you great sound without taking up too much space. The smaller size can also come in handy if you need to pack up your home to move, or you just like to rearrange your furniture on a fairly regular basis.
Measuring a surround sound system’s sound can be complicated. Look for a surround system that mentions Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital Plus, both of which can be counted on for top-quality performance. You’re looking for a system that not only provides impressive, true-to-life sound, but also can hold its quality even at the highest volumes.
The sound output can also be quantified by a speaker’s wattage. Look not only at a speaker’s advertised maximum wattage, but also continuous wattage. It’s also important to make sure you don’t hook a lower-wattage up to one that pushes a much higher level of power, as it can be easy to damage the lower-powered speaker without realizing you’re doing it.
DWYM Fun Fact
You’ve probably seen Dolby’s name plastered on equipment, on the screen in movies and even on awards shows. But the company’s first project was one involving noise reduction. Ray Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 with the goal of developing a system that could reduce the noise found in many tape recordings of the time. Soon consumers were seeing the Dolby name on home recording and playback equipment, as well as the tapes they bought to record music and other audio. Dolby’s noise reduction technology was first used in a movie with 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange,” and its stereo technology debuted in 1977’s “Star Wars.” In 1982, Dolby innovated home theater technology by developing surround sound that could be used with home entertainment equipment.
The In-Home Sound System Buying Guide
- Before you start shopping, determine where you’ll be placing the speakers. If you’re dealing with a small, closed-off living room or family room, you may find a larger system will overwhelm the area. However, a system designed for smaller rooms won’t be sufficient for a large home theater or a room with high ceilings in an open-concept home.
- True surround sound requires multiple speakers, placed around the room so that it surrounds its occupants. Consider what comes in the set you purchase. You should at least get a subwoofer, a center channel and smaller satellite speakers that you can place strategically around where you’ll be sitting.
“Something else to consider when buying an in-home sound system is the system’s capabilities for expanding its speakers or zones in the future,” Thornberg advises.
- If you plan to move in the future, the size of your speakers will also come into play. Some large speakers are heavier and therefore difficult to move around.
- Good sound is about more than the size and number of speakers. Some speakers are simply better than others at delivering rich bass lows and sharp, realistic highs. You can usually count on known technology like Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby True HD or DTS-HD Master Audio.
- It’s also important to consider the power of your speakers. Some speakers will begin to distort audio as you reach higher volumes, so if this is an issue, it may help to test out the sound before you purchase.
- You’ll want a speaker that can hold up not only after years of use, but also one that includes a physical casing that’s durable. If you’re moving and someone drops a speaker, will the build hold up? Look for a warranty and always use care while moving your speakers around, preferably packing them in a box with padding if you need to move them from one home to another.
- Speakers come in a variety of sizes and designs. Many are solid black to easily blend with any décor, but bulky speakers can become a problem. If you’re sliding some of your speakers into a cabinet or behind a piece of furniture, measure to make sure there will be enough space before you buy.
- Some consumers prefer to mount their speakers. If that’s the case, make sure a mount is included with the system you buy. You’ll also need to check to ensure you have the tools and hardware necessary to install your wall-mount speakers once you have them.
- Although getting your speakers going is merely a matter of setting them up and plugging them in, there will be a little setup involved if you want everything to work together. Some systems come with an installation manual, while others use labels to tell you where to put each item, and in what order. You probably won’t need to pay extra for professional installation, although it is sometimes offered as an add-on option.
- A remote can come in handy for controlling volume and setting up your system. Check to see that your surround system offers a remote that will work the way you want it.