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The best surround sound speakers are the best way to create an utterly immersive home theater experience. While the overall sound quality is obviously important, there are other considerations when picking out surround sound speakers. Depending on your particular home theater arrangement you may want to consider a wireless vs. wired setup. Wireless speakers are generally more expensive but cut down on the amount of necessary cable management.
Connectivity can be a huge issue when trying to connect up to seven speakers to a single source, so make sure your chosen setup comes equipped with a receiver or features other connectivity options. If not, make sure to take a look at our top picks for the best stereo receivers to round out your setup.
Read on to see our list of best surround sound speakers.
Bose has a well-earned reputation for turning out some of the most refined, high-quality audio products on the market, and the Acoustimass 10 Series V is another sterling example. This system produces gorgeous sound capable of filling even the largest rooms, despite being built around their slim profile, proprietary Direct/Redirect speaker technology. With its twin drivers, the eponymous Acoustimass module delivers killer bass across the low end of the spectrum to match the crystal clarity of its mids and high tones.
The system is also a breeze to install—it comes with conveniently labeled cables for plug-and-play setup and the speakers can mount flush to the wall. They're unobtrusive enough to not interfere with your room's aesthetic and the master-crafted angled drivers deliver some of the most immersive audio of any home system ever manufactured.
If you're looking to get a home theater audio system but don't want to break the bank, check out the Vizio 5.1.2 system. This home theater system includes a 36-inch soundbar, two rear speakers, and a wireless 6-inch subwoofer. The soundbar features two upward firing drivers so your music and movie audio doesn't get lost in furniture or muddled by bouncing off the walls. With the Vizio Smartcast app, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control for the speakers and stream your favorite songs, shows, and movie audio to different rooms when used with compatible Vizio components.
With Chromecast built-in, you can stream directly from your phone or tablet to share videos, pictures, and music with friends and family. You can also connect your Google Assistant device for hands-free voice controls and smart home integration. With both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, you can listen to your favorite songs from your phone or tablet without interruptions from calls or app notifications. Each speaker features a compact design for better placement options and to fit almost any modern decor. They also use DTS Virtual X technology to produce the cleanest audio possible. Vizio has also partnered with Apple to give you four months of Apple Music for free with the purchase of this speaker system.
Combining outstanding value and wireless setup, the Enclave Audio CineHome 5.1 is an excellent option that eliminates the need for cables connecting each separate speaker. The other six independent speakers work together for a total of 14 speaker drivers, delivering 360 degrees of HD wireless audio. The Enclave’s two Bipole surround speakers include two full-range drivers on opposite sides of the enclosed speaker, perfectly designed to spread sound throughout an entire room.
While wireless audio may be the highlight of the Enclave system, there’s a bevy of additional features to maximize value. Three HDMI inputs enable owners to connect a gaming console, Blu-ray player and a streaming device (Apple TV, Roku, etc.). Just download the Enclave Audio app onto your phone and stream music from any of your favorite services. Bluetooth connectivity is built in along with Googlecast, which connects to Google’s Chromecast hardware for an additional audio streaming option.
At less than $1,000, there’s undoubtedly more expensive surround sound speaker options, all of which would be deemed a “splurge”. If money is no object, there’s no shortage of options that can range into the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. However, for the sake of practicality, we’re focusing on “splurge” options for the everyman. Our top choice, the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 800, is a top performer that punches well above its pay grade.
The design catches your eye right off the bat, even if at first glance it appears to be just another speaker set available in black. Both movie dialogue and the respective soundtracks produced a deep bass that was definitively better than other options around the $1,000 price point. Unfortunately, the Definitive subwoofer won’t rattle your bones like some higher-end Bose or Klipsch models, but the experience is still immersive and wildly enjoyable. On a similar note, Definitive’s speakers won’t take you to full volume without distortion kicking in but there’s a handful of cinematic moments we just want to hear as loud as possible.
Definitive’s best described as detail-rich, preserving the fidelity of a soundtrack while allowing for all the simultaneous effects to be heard and enjoyed. The 300-watt subwoofer paired with the center speaker and satellites are all well regarded on their own but together they create an incredible value in high-performance audio. There’s little question you’ll end up feeling like the ProCinema 800 offers both value and a high-end experience that belies its price tag.
If you need a surround sound system that won't take up a ton of space, take a look at the Monoprice HT-35. This system features four satellite speakers, a center driver, and an eight-inch subwoofer. Each satellite speaker stands just 7.5-inches tall and weighs less than three pounds. The center speaker measures 10.2-inches long and stands 4.3-inches high, weighing just three pounds. The subwoofer is a 12.2-inch cube and weighs less than 20 pounds. Having such lightweight and small speakers means that you can quickly and easily set them up or change the configuration without a fuss.
The backs of each speaker feature universal mounting holes for wall placement options when floor space is at a premium. While this system is small, it delivers big sound. The subwoofer gives you up to 200 watts of power for deep, punchy low ranges. The whole system supports 5.1 channel audio so you can adjust each speaker individually for the best listening experience.
The Klipsch brand is well known for its premium audio hardware, and their Reference Theater Pack delivers a pre-matched 5.1 surround sound experience that’s truly stunning, both visually and acoustically. The pieces are compact, with a minimal footprint that fits nicely in a small- or medium-sized room. But while the set can blend in size-wise, especially with the grills on, you can also opt to leave them off and let Klipsch’s signature spun-copper woofers catch the eye. The center channel and four satellite speakers all feature this unique construction, which, along with the horn-loaded tweeters, minimizes distortion and produces clean, detailed sound.
Delivering the low end is a down-firing eight-inch subwoofer with surprisingly powerful bass output for its size. Its frequency response ranges from 38 to 120 Hz and the amplifier is rated for 50-watt RMS (continuous power) and 150-watt peak power. The best part is that it’s wireless, giving you the flexibility to place it wherever it fits and sounds best in your room.
Room size - Before you look at the power output of a set of speakers, consider the size of your room. If it’s on the small side, you might not need too much power and you can save a bit of money by buying a compact system. If, however, you have an expansive room to fill, don’t hold back. Go for a full-size, full-range system with an amplifier instead of a receiver.
5.1 vs 7.1 - A 5.1 channel setup consists of five small speakers and a subwoofer, while a 7.1 channel setup includes two additional speakers -- obviously. The additional speakers provide richer sound, but can get pricier. In most cases, a 5.1 channel setup is more than enough, but if you’re looking to splurge, a 7.1 channel setup can be very impressive.
Wired vs. wireless - A wired setup will have an edge when it comes to sound quality, but if you don’t mind sacrificing sound in the name of design, go for a wireless setup. (For tips on hiding those unsightly wires, read this.)