Best surround-sound systems for your home entertainment center
Forget the movie theater.
Yes, an immense screen goes a long way toward creating a great home-theater experience, but if you want the full immersion you’re going to need a quality surround-sound system that delivers the highs and lows, explosions and whispers at the right level, in the right space relative to your prone ear drums. When choosing the right surround-sound system for your home, you’ll want to consider the dimensions of your room, how loud you think the speakers will need to be to fill it, how much bass you think your family (and neighbors) can tolerate, and what kind of connection is right for your setup. Here, we offer four of our favorite systems that will absolutely blow your mind.
This 5.1 Dolby- and THX-certified speaker package is hard to beat, thanks to its one-size-fits all design and potent sound power. Featuring five dynamic satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and a compact control console—as well as a wireless remote—this set should bring big sounds into small and average-size rooms without much fuss. Its multiple inputs, including a basic headphone jack and digital optical and digital coaxial connections, mean it can pump out tunes from your television as easily as it can handle your cell phone or desktop computer. This package also comes with all the wiring you should need.
The Bose Soundbar 500 serves as the anchor for this setup, which means you get a control system that not only responds to your TV output but is also already primed for music services like Spotify and Prime Music. And it can easily pair with your phone or tablet over Bluetooth. Alexa voice control comes standard. Then you have the Bass Module 500 subwoofer with room-quaking bass sounds. Finally, the two Bose Surround speakers are the smallest the company designs, so they won’t take up space or clash with the rest of your home theater.
Samsung and Harman Kardon team up to bring you a soundbar system that supports the latest technology in surround-sound Dolby Atmos. The soundbar and wireless subwoofer collaborate to provide deeply immersive soundscapes, thanks to adaptive sound tech that detects the environment of your home theater to deliver the ideal audio experience. The system also allows for 4K passthrough with HDR, which maintains the integrity of the signal sent from your high-end TV. Game Mode Pro pairs with modern consoles like Xbox and PS4 to enhance game sounds, making them more immersive and prominent.
Polk Audio’s MagniFi Mini Soundbar is perfect for apartments and dorm rooms. It’s got the Bluetooth functionality that lets you use it both as a surround system (thanks to its 5.1 compatibility) and as a hub for streaming all your favorite music services. Polk’s voice-adjust technology means you’ll be able to turn off the subtitles for even your most stubborn TV readers, and a night-mode option means you’ll avoid having angry neighbors banging on the door during Netflix binges that drag on into the wee hours of the morning.