The 4 Best Home Audio Systems of 2023

Find the best sound system for large rooms, small rooms and more

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The best home audio sound system can transform watching movies, TV, and sports at home into a powerful, immersive experience. They range from single soundbars to tiny stereo systems and complete surround speaker setups.

Factors like room size play a huge role in deciding the necessary power and wattage for your speaker arrangement, and other details should help you pick your perfect device.

Most Popular

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1 DTS:X Soundbar

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1 DTS:X Soundbar


What We Like
  • Negates the need for a separate receiver unit

  • Solid sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Less known brand

  • Sound quality pales to higher end systems

This massive 7.1-channel 600 Watt soundbar from Nakamichi delivers a powerful home audio experience for those who do not want to commit to the hassle and space of a complete receiver system. While it might not rival a proper system in terms of power and sound quality, it gives a rich and immersive surround audio experience perfect for people living in apartments or other small spaces.

The bar has five sealed speaker chambers and a quad-core DSP chipset, creating an acoustic wideness that brings your media to life with DSP EQ modes. The system is complete with 13 tuned speaker drivers and an included eight-inch downward-firing subwoofer for deep rich bass. The satellite speakers are also wireless, while the HDMI-connected bar has a 4K passthrough and plays Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital plus content.  

Channels: 7.1 | Wireless: Yes | Inputs: 3in/1 out (ARC) | Digital Assistant: None | Number of Speakers: 2

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro

Lifewire / Bill Loguidice 

Best Intro

Logitech Z506 Surround Speakers

Logitech Z506


What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Solid sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Not wireless

  • Satellite speakers are a bit small

Our most affordable recommendation, the Logitech Surround Speakers Z506, is a wired two-channel sourced 5.1 and 3D stereo surround sound system that includes six black speakers and a ported down-firing subwoofer for clean, booming bass. Though the system lacks Bluetooth connectivity like our other recommended audio systems, the Z506 has 75 watts of balanced power, enough to fill a room with sound and even rattle a few windows. The speaker bass has a control dial that lets you easily adjust bass levels.

You’re not limited to only hooking the system up to your computer. The package induces a 3.5 mm or RCA audio out, allowing an easy connection to your video game consoles, iPods, or any external source. While the speakers may work with game consoles and TVs, the audio produces only 2.1 audio quality without surround sound when connected.

Channels: 5.1 | Wireless: No | Inputs: 3,5mm, RCA | Digital Assistant: None | Number of Speakers: 4

Best for Large Rooms

Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth System

Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Inexpensive 5.1 sound

  • Tons of connectivity options

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't offer the assurances of larger brands

  • Sound quality suffers at higher volumes

You might think that robust multimedia audio sound systems would cost you an arm and a leg. Still, the Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System 700W with Powered Sub represents a sweet middle ground of booming power and affordable price. The system has six speakers, providing excellent coverage of any room you put it in.

At an excellent price, the system includes an amplified subwoofer; five discrete independent channel input/output speakers suited for surround sound; Bluetooth connectivity for mobile streaming, an SD card input, a flash drive MP3 player for assorted music playlists, an FM tuner to play your favorite radio stations, and 3.5 aux to RCA wires so you can start listening immediately.

The Acoustic AA5170 Home Theater uses only 700 Watts with a power frequency of 20Hz to 20KHz, packing a compact yet powerful speaker package suitable for any home theater system (although static can occur if played too high). The AA5170 works fluidly with your computer or laptop, gaming system, digital media player, or any other audio/video device equipped with Bluetooth, RCA, or 3.5mm auxiliary interfaces.

Channels: 5.1 | Wireless: Bluetooth | Inputs: 3.5mm, RCA | Digital Assistant: None | Number of Speakers: 5

Best Budget Surround Sound

Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System

Rockville HTS56


What We Like
  • Built in receiver

  • Independent volume control

  • Plug and play

What We Don't Like
  • No HDMI input

  • Reports of failing speakers

  • Reports of audio/video syncing issues

When you need a great surround sound system on a small budget, the Rockville HTS56 is the one for you. This home audio system comes with five speakers and an eight-inch subwoofer. The subwoofer features a built-in AV receiver and an FM radio antenna, so you won't have to spend extra cash on a separate unit. 

Each speaker and subwoofer have an independent volume control for superior sound customization, no matter how big your media room is. This system utilizes Bluetooth, USB, and RCA connections to hook up your TV, DVD or Blu-Ray player, and game consoles without frustration. The Rockville HTS56 home audio system has four LED lighting modes with seven colors to help customize your media or game room's look. 

Sony CMTSBT100 Micro Music System

Lifewire / Bill Loguidice

What to Look For in a Home Audio System

Sound Quality

Sound quality can be a personal feature—some people enjoy deeper bass, while others prefer a more balanced sound. Different speaker systems have different sound profiles (which can also be tweaked slightly by repositioning speakers in your room). Most home audio systems will have primary or center channel speakers, left and right channel speakers, and a subwoofer. This combination represents a good starting point for most home theaters, but a soundbar and subwoofer combo can also cut it for apartment dwellers.

Room Size

Power isn’t everything, and wattage is often overrated. If your speakers are intended for a smaller space, you likely don’t need a full 7.1 channel setup; a soundbar or single speaker might do the trick. To fill a larger room with sound spring for something more powerful. Look at our overview of 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 channel systems to get a good idea of your options.

Wired vs. Wireless

As with headphones, wired systems often deliver better sound, but their setup tends to be more complicated. A wireless system is a good bet if you’re willing to trade some sound quality in favor of convenience. Standard wireless connectivity is offered over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Some sound systems also come with NFC for pairing. Most separate subwoofers are also wireless, meaning they pair automatically with the rest of your sound system when you plug it in.

Polk T15 Bookshelf Speakers
  • What do you need to build a complete home audio system?

    The core prerequisites for a home audio system are fairly simple: you really just need a receiver, a set of speakers, and some device to output sound (generally speaking a cable box, streaming device, or computer). Additional gear, like extra speakers or a subwoofer, are the next step towards perfecting your home theater audio.

  • Is a home theater audio set up good for music?

    The home audio systems on our list are universally great choices for listening to music as well as watching films or playing games. Broadly speaking, the best choices for music will include at least 5.1 surround sound and in some cases may also feature a sound bar.

  • How much wattage do my speakers need?

    Wattage output is generally only an issue in very large spaces, and for most people 50W should be more than sufficient to drive the volume they desire for their home theater system. As a rule of thumb, the more sensitive your speakers (how well they convert amplifier power into acoustics, measured in decibels per watt/distance), the fewer watts you'll need to drive them.

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