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. The Monolith by Monoprice THX speakers are designed for serious home theater enthusiasts who like to play movies at or near the volume they would hear in a well-calibrated commercial cinema. The low-profile S35 center speaker has keyhole-type mounts that allow you to mount it directly to a wall, underneath a wall-hung TV. The THX-365C adds a midrange driver that lower-priced center channels usually lack, so dialogue sounds clear in every seat of a home theater. We advise you to study our buying guide before you spend any money on Rear Surround Speakers… 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. The system Polk sent us included two S15 bookshelf speakers for the front left and right channels, two S10 mini bookshelf speakers for the surround channels, and an S35 center speaker. The S15’s bass seemed subtly pumped up, which gave kick-drum notes and explosions in action movies a little more power and made it easier to get a good blend between the S15 speakers and the subwoofer—we didn’t feel like there was a hole in the lower-midrange/upper-bass region where the speakers ended and the subwoofer began. SVS Ultra Bookshelf and Ultra Center: This system came close to our upgrade pick, the Monoprice THX system, in performance, but it sounded a little brighter and didn’t come across quite as clean when we played it loud. 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. Paradigm Monitor SE Atom and SE 2000C: This system sounded somewhat pumped up in the bass and treble, which made voices sound less natural than on our top picks. However, unlike the Polk and ELAC systems, the Monoprice THX system has a rated average impedance of 4 ohms; our measurements confirm this, showing a minimum impedance of 3.2 ohms and 3.3 ohms for the THX-265B and THX-365C, respectively. Photo: Brent Butterworth, I was able to work the Monoprice system into our last round of listening-panel tests (which included our main picks), and it was the favorite of the panelists; we didn’t include it in our previous update to this guide because we didn’t have enough systems in its price range to compare it with. How clear and undistorted did the system sound when playing loud movie soundtracks? Thanks to the S35’s low-profile design, you can fit it easily in front of a TV or mount it on the wall. Most DVDs and Blu … You could also install two or four ceiling speakers for Atmos, which would deliver much more realistic overhead surround effects but would require much more effort and expertise to install. *At the time of publishing, the price was $300. The system we tested used two Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers for the surround channels. Your speakers will sit within the … Each time I changed systems, I used the Sony receiver’s internal test tones to calibrate the channel balance and listening level so that we would experience every speaker system under the same conditions. ", "An excellent option that eliminates the need for cables connecting each separate speaker. Klipsch’s The One II Bluetooth speaker is a great way to get full, satisfying sound in the home with no need for complicated setup or special apps. This speaker is 27% smaller than the B6.2 and usually a little less costly, so it’s an appropriate choice for surround channels. You can also add speakers in the ceiling or use upward-firing speaker modules that sit atop your front and rear speakers and bounce sound effects off the ceiling to produce the overhead surround effects that Dolby Atmos and DTS:X movie soundtracks provide (you also need an AV receiver that supports those formats, and a flat ceiling for it to work correctly). Each satellite speaker stands just 7.5-inches tall and weighs less than three pounds. Other than the aesthetic appeal of having your entire system come from a single brand, there’s no reason your subwoofer needs to be of the same brand as your speakers. Although it’s a relatively high-end model that’s more expensive than the receivers that people would likely use with these speaker systems, I wanted to make sure that any flaws we heard during testing were the fault of the speakers, not the receiver. Still, it’s one of the better choices in the compact 5.1 speaker system category. Often this is the difference between a 5.1 and 7.1 setup, more on this later. For my longer listening sessions, I played the systems both louder and softer to see how they’d sound at a range of levels. Of course, you can just turn up the volume, but that 2 dB volume increase will require a whopping 60% more power from your amp. Those results are typical for speakers of this sort, and they indicate that the Signature Series models will easily break 100 dB with any AV receiver; that’s about the volume of a gas lawn mower or a garbage truck at close range. This guide walks you through how to build a well-matched home theater system. Enclave Audio CineHome 5.1 Wireless Home Theater System, Best Splurge: The ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers are larger and have a more robust sound than the Polk Signature Series speakers, which might make this system a better choice for someone who has a large room or likes to listen at higher volume levels. This system produces gorgeous sound capable of filling even the largest rooms, despite being built around their slim profile, proprietary Direct/Redirect speaker technology. This home theater system includes a 36-inch soundbar, two rear speakers, and a wireless 6-inch subwoofer. Delivering the low end is a down-firing eight-inch subwoofer with surprisingly powerful bass output for its size. Back speakers get placed behind the side surround speakers and the listening area. The difficulty in putting together a test of this sort is that many companies offer several different sizes of bookshelf and center speakers at varying prices. ELAC also offers the option to add matching A4.2 Dolby Atmos–enabled speakers, which makes it easy for you to create an even more immersive surround-sound experience if you own an Atmos-equipped AV receiver. Geoff also thought the C5.2 center speaker sounded a bit bloated. The resulting line in the chart should look fairly flat, with no significant peaks or dips. Having such lightweight and small speakers means that you can quickly and easily set them up or change the configuration without a fuss.Â. For one thing, the speakers in the Debut 2.0 line are generally larger and more robust sounding than those in the Signature Series; the B6.2 bookshelf speaker we used for the front left and right channels is 57% larger than the Polk S15, and the C5.2 center channel is 150% larger than the Polk S35. The speakers are only 1½ inches thick, so you can easily wall-mount them. If stereo music is your main thing and movies and TV are just an occasional indulgence, you might prefer the ELAC Debut 2.0 system or the Q Acoustics 3020i system (the top pick in our best bookshelf speakers guide). At less than $1,000, there’s undoubtedly more expensive surround sound speaker options, all of which would be deemed a “splurge”. Since 1989, he has served as an editor or writer on audio-focused websites and magazines such as Home Theater, Sound & Vision, SoundStage, and JazzTimes. He regularly gigs on double bass (and occasionally ukulele) with Los Angeles–area jazz groups. If you can, and if the price is significantly lower than that of the new system, it’s a great choice. Sensitivity was 85.2 dB for the THX-265B and 88.4 dB for the THX-365C, so on average, you’d get roughly as much volume from this system as you would with the Polk system, given the same amount of power; the difference is within the range of accuracy of the measurement. Just like the speakers on the back, the side speakers are not necessary. Neither showed any major deviations from generally accepted standards of speaker performance, and the THX-365C’s off-axis response was much smoother than that of almost all conventional two-way center speakers. The Yamaha YSP-5600 Dolby Atmos Digital Sound Projector, Home Theater Receivers and the Multi-Zone Feature, The 7 Best Speakers for Record Players of 2020, Auro 3D Audio Surround Sound Format Basics. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 99 This means that if you try to power this system with an inexpensive receiver, the receiver may shut itself off if you try to play the system loud. Greatest Wireless Surround Stereo – Best Speakers Surround Sound. Thus, most of them delivered very good sound reproduction in our tests; for the most part, we determined our picks by small margins and after much deliberation. The center speaker measures 10.2-inches long and stands 4.3-inches high, weighing just three pounds. While prices fluctuate, you could typically get an ELAC Debut 2.0 system plus a good subwoofer for the price of the Monoprice THX system without a subwoofer. This means that, given the same amount of power, the Polk main speakers will give you almost 2 dB more volume than their ELAC counterparts, and the Polk center speaker will give you 4 dB more volume than the ELAC center speaker. For powerful, precise bass in stereo and home theater systems, we think the best subwoofer is the affordable and compact Rogersound Labs Speedwoofer 10S. How natural did the system (especially the center speaker) sound when playing movie dialogue? We tested the following systems for previous versions of this guide (we have removed systems that are no longer available): Aperion Audio Intimus Speaker System 5.1 Bundle: This previous Wirecutter pick is still worthy of recommendation, but the company has struggled to maintain stock, and the price has risen substantially since we initially tested it. Definitive Technology SR-9040 10” Bipolar Surround Speaker | High Performance | Premium Sound … In our tests, the combination of the S15, S10, and S35 delivered a robust, full sound with both stereo and surround sources. We also measured sensitivity, which lets you know how much power a speaker needs to play at a certain volume. Following the listening tests, I ran frequency-response measurements of all the speakers. The Google Home wireless speaker (powered by Google Assistant, a cousin to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa) offers decent sound and promising smart-home control for Google users. ", "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. Although the Monoprice THX speakers don’t require significantly more wattage from a receiver or amp than the Polk Signature system does, they do have a lower impedance than the Polk and ELAC systems, and thus they require a higher-quality receiver or amp that’s designed to work with lower-impedance speakers. David Beren is a tech writer with 10+ years' experience. Micca MB42X-C Center Channel Speaker with Dual 4-Inch Carbon … Although you could use the S15 for the surround channels as well, you don’t really need to, and the smaller S10 may prove much easier for you to install at the side or back of your room. Best Rear Surround Speakers reviews and buying guides: The list with the top Rear Surround Speakers in 2021. System but thought it too pricey for the B6.2 bookshelf speaker pair sounds great, with a flat that! Geoff also thought the C5.2 of many TVs without blocking the picture measured sensitivity, lets! 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