Before we can look at the consideration factors for a home theater system, let’s first understand what this type of system really is to avoid any confusion. Simply put, a “home theater in a box” contains all you need for the surround sound audio part of your home theater system. Minimally, it will come with the following components:
- Satellite speakers for around the room placer, usually at least 5,
- A subwoofer, and
- An A/V receiver.
Some home theater systems also come equipped with blue ray players, so you won’t even have to purchase that separately.
In today’s film industry, you will find that movies come with interesting soft-to-loud dynamic range. Dialog seems to be mixed right at the center of the channel while the sound effects may be point-sourced or ambient. Sometimes the deep-bass demands can go to extremes. On the other hand, you will find that a lot of music recordings have deep bass, while in others it is none existence. To get an outstanding sound experience -- one that offers room-shaking effects and a pitch-accurate, tightly-controlled bass -- whether listening to your favorite music or watching a good movie, you must invest in a good home theater system. Now this is where we come in. We know that finding a great home theater system is not a walk in the park, especially considering that most models do not live to their promises. We are offering you a detailed review of top 5 best home theater systems that are worth your investment
Our review covers a wide range of home theater systems so that you can find a perfect fit. From affordable surround sound theater systems to high end brands, you will certainly get what you want. Remember that if you are looking to invest your dollars on a serious sound experience, you can check out our review on best high end surround systems that come with better features.
By the way, while we were doing research on “home theater in a box systems,” we also looked at other types of sound systems that provide both excellent music and home theater sound. If you don’t find what you want in this review, check out our reviews for the top 5 high end surround sound systems
for the ultimate in ultimate immersive sound experience. Or if you have a tighter budget (or less space), then our reviews for the top 5 entry level surround sound systems
or the top 5 surround sound bar systems
might be the place for you to look.
Now that we understand what comes in the box, let’s take a look at the things you need to consider when choosing the best home theater system for your needs.
So, how much should you spend on your home theater system? Well, good question. There’s no doubt that home theater surround systems come with different price tags, with some going for a few hundred dollars and other costing as much as your car. While it is true that the highly priced ones may guarantee better sound experience, this does not, however, imply that you cannot enjoy good sound if you are on a tight budget. There are good models out there that have proven to be as valuable as their expensive counterparts, delivering high quality deep bass and balanced treble.
The models that we are featuring in this review are priced from about $200 to $800, an affordable price range for most people who are looking for good quality surround sound. We did come across ones that cost less, but our research showed that cheap home theater systems tend to not provide as good of an immersive experience, and are not constructed as well – so for the most part, not worth the money you are paying.
The home theater systems you find on the market today come from various brands and obviously, they all have something that makes the completely unique. For example, some home theater systems come with a receiver while others are taken a notch higher, incorporating a Blu Ray DVD player -- but not all receivers and created equal. For example, among Blu Ray players, there are ones that offer Dolby Sound technology and/or 3D capabilities. Systems that come with a designated receiver, tend to give you more control over the sound output, and of course can have an external DVD player connected to them.
In terms of added convenience and functionality (not to mention ease of set up), wireless options also play a big role. If you want your home to remain as neat as it is, you don’t have to settle for a home theater system with cords running all over to connect the speakers- you can choose the wireless options and still enjoy matchless sound quality. Better yet, there are systems that incorporate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities into the receiver so to make your listening experience seamless from multiple devices.
Construction and Design
To get a clear picture of the construction of a typical audio system that has been put together by the manufacturer, here’s a breakdown of the parts you should expect with standard home theater in a box package.
- Front Speakers -- These are the classic right and left speakers. In most cases they go on either the side of your projector screen or TV. Their work is to play special effects audio.
- Center Speaker -- The center speaker happens to be the workhorse of the home theater system. Whether you get a 5.1 surround system or larger one, this center speaker will play the dialogue part.
- Rear Speakers -- Typically smaller and lighter than the front speakers, the rear speakers play that ambient sound you here in film soundtracks. And yes, they are responsible for placing the sound to the side and back of your theater setting. They make every spot in your home a perfect seat when watching movies.
- Subwoofer -- The sub makes the sound much more interesting. It makes the bass go boom. It basically adds rich tones to your music or movies, making you feel what you are listening deep in to your bones.
- AV Receiver / DVD Player / Blu Ray Player -- Whether you choose a system with just an AV receiver or one that is equipped with a blu ray or DVD player, this piece of equipment works as the center control of your home theater system. This is where the sound is inputted, and sent out to the speakers. They are made to amplify sound signals as well, decoding them for the surround system.
Standard surround speakers of a home theater system typically come in three types – floor standing towers, bookshelf style and wall mounted. There are also ones that come with a sound bar, but for the purpose of this review, we did not include any of that type – they are in a review of their own because they have features that are unique, as compared to a system that typically has 5 individual speakers. In terms of flexibility, there are some models that have speakers that can either be mounted on the wall or placed on a shelf, next to your TV, or wherever want to sit them.
When it comes to the actual look of your system, there are simple, basic style speakers and ones that have a modern feel to them. There are different color options as well, but the standard ones are typically either black (both flat and glossy) or wood finishes. And like with any product, you want to choose a system that is made with a study construction as well to guarantee good longevity.
Performance and Ease of Use
Before you go ahead and select good home theater systems, it is only wise that you first take a look at your space so that you pick one that will give you the optimum immersive sound experience. If it is big -- say about 700 square feet -- and you yearn to have an intuitive sound experience, you should certainly invest a few more dollars on a sound surround home theater system with a powerful amplifier. On the other hand, if your space is small -- say about 12 x18 feet, you will get to feel the shake by just getting a less expensive option with a receiver. In addition, the size of the speakers will also be impacted by the size of your room. The good news is that there are many compact home theater speakers that put out awesome sound in tiny packages. All in all, what we are trying to say is that the room size is an indispensable factor when it comes to the performance of your home theater system.
Another factor that impacts performance is HOW you will use your sound system most often, because one system might be great for one person, but not so much for another. Let’s say maybe you love watching movies more than you do listening to music. If this is the case, then you should consider investing your money in a home theater system that has a better center-channel, a blue ray player and of course the best possible subwoofer. For music enthusiasts, you might want to choose an option that has good right and left speakers and a subwoofer with a deep output.
Ultimately it’s a matter of preference but one thing we know is that one of the major benefits of choosing a “home theater in a box” is that whatever one you purchase, your system will include exactly what you need, and most are really easy to install and set up.
Home theater systems come in all shapes and sizes. Before you go shopping for such products, make sure that you set your budget right from the start and note down your preferences/needs. Afterwards, take a look at our five excellent contenders. The following home theater systems come from reputable brands and they have different price tags.
For Onkyo, the quality of its audio products is something that cannot be compromised for any reason. It has always strived to deliver products that are of excellent quality and outstanding in performance. This will explain why these products have won a number of awards and also received commendation from top audio publications for their quality and functionality. With innovative technology that includes its Wide Range Amplifier Technology, AccuEq Speaker Calibration, Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry and more, Onkyo's products continue to push the limits of current technology, reaching for new heights. Enjoy pristine, immersive audio with any of Onkyo's audio products.
We all know that a critical part of entertainment is the audio. Onkyo knows this too which is why it has offered the Onkyo 7.1-Ch Home Theater System to help you enjoy the best of audio entertainment. Let's take a look at this system. First, every component is made of top quality material and it delivers 115 watts of power at 6 Ohms or 95 watts of power at 8 Ohms. The 7.1 speaker configuration is made up of one two-way center speaker, two two-way front speakers, two two-way surround speakers, two two-way back surround speakers and one earth rocking subwoofer. Now look at this speaker configuration and tell us how on earth this sound won't literally swallow you up?
There's more though. This home theater system can comfortably handle most audio formats including the Dolby Atmos format which delivers 3D audio that will leave goose bumps all over you. You can connect wirelessly thanks to the A/V receiver with its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support. This also allows you enjoy audio streaming from your Android or IOS devices via the app. That's not all, the receiver also comes ready to stream from your favorite streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify, Slacker and more. To ensure you get the best possible audio delivery, this system includes a calibration microphone that allows you configure it to suit your space perfectly. This is done automatically. All you need to do is plug in the calibration microphone and it takes the necessary measurements and adjusts appropriately. Surely, you couldn't ask for more but surprisingly, there is more.
It’s not just all about the audio. With the Marvel's Qdeo™ technology used by this system, you enjoy high resolution pictures. This technology will deliver full 1080p to your high definition television and 3840 x 2160p to your ultra-high definition television. When you get a combination of the best of audio and pictures, you simply have the best of entertainment.
People who achieve great things usually set out to solve just one problem. This is exactly how Klipsch was born. Its founder Paul W. Klipsch just wanted to listen to recordings of orchestra performances in his home and feel the same excitement and ambience that was felt live in the performance hall. Fast-forward to over seven decades later and you get a brand that has remained committed to delivering the best of audio to audio lovers everywhere. Its range of products include earphones, home theater systems, sound bars, and more. If you want quality audio, consider products from Klipsch.
When you look at a lot of home theater systems available today, you could easily get confused with all the bells and whistles they offer. Wonderful technologies that many find very confusing, and end up using very few or none of. With the Klipsch HDT-600 Home Theater System, you get a simple 5.1 surround system that does the job without bells and whistles. This is just pure, quality sound delivered with great simplicity.
If you know this brand, then you will know that it is popular for its Klipsch MicroTractrix horns. These speakers feature these extraordinary horns that give you the clearest of highs. For your mid-range frequencies, the 2.5 IMG woofers with impressive throw deliver expanded mid-range sounds that make your sound fuller and richer. Finally, add the 8-inch subwoofer and you get lows that are both tighter and deeper. Now, you can really enjoy that theater sound in your own space.
Did we mention that this system delivers 100 watts of power? Well it does deliver up to 100 watts per channel. There's one interesting thing about this system that we should bring up. Each of the speakers can be positioned in any of two ways—horizontally or vertically. In addition to this, the center speaker's placement is adjustable along a 45-degree range. You can also mount the speakers on the wall with the included wall bracket, which allows the speakers to be adjusted along a 40-degree range. Once again, if you need a home theater system that is easy to use while delivering quality audio, this is a choice you should really consider.
Bose is the Boss of all things audio. From simple but highly powerful headphones to high-end and amazing audio systems, this brand does not skimp on quality. Constantly looking for ways to improve its products, it is consistently delivering audio solutions that leave its customers wowed! It has a passion driven by excellence and the desire to deliver the best-quality products to everyone who uses Bose gear. If what you want is pro-level audio at home or on-the-go, take a look at a Bose product. From its array of top-quality products, you are sure to find one that will fit your needs perfectly.
When Bose presented the SoundTouch 300 Sound Bar, people thought sound had peaked here. It was simply amazing that something so simple-looking could deliver such quality. Bose, however, pointed out that contrary to what people thought, they could still improve that sound—which they did through the addition of the Acoustimass 300, a powerful 180-watt subwoofer which was specifically designed for the SoundTouch 300.
Now the already-awesome sound of the sound bar had amazing low ends that actually allowed you to feel the thumping of the bass rather than just hearing it. You know real bass should be felt and not necessarily heard, right? Anyway, just when we thought this could not be topped, Bose added the Virtually Invisible 300 which completed the trinity now presented in this bundle.
The Virtually Invisible 300 adds amazing surround sound that will have you totally immersed in the sound. This is a combination of 3 products that on their own are amazing. With the coming together of these three in this bundle, you now have amazing, raised to the power of 3. Let’s look at a bit of what this setup offers.
These speakers can be effortless connected wirelessly. If for some reason you prefer wired connection, it also offers that option. This setup comes with Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi, which increases your connectivity options, and the SoundTouch App which allows you to stream audio from sites such as Spotify, internet radio, or the music library on your smartphone. You can’t beat this offering from Bose. You just feel the sound without the clutter that many systems add. Enjoy the best of entertainment with this Bose bundle.
When Polk Audio began, it had one major driving force: to offer to home listeners speakers that delivered the sound and feel of live events right there in the comfort of the home. Armed with their friendship and determination, Matt Polk and his friends set out to change the face of audio. What started almost 50 years ago as a dream has blossomed into a brand from which many patented technologies that are seriously impacting the audio space are emerging. Polk Audio has not stepped down on its pace; if anything, it has stepped it up, carrying out more intensive research all in a bid to find innovative audio solutions and to always deliver the best of audio. Polk Audio is proud to call itself the Great American Sound.
Almost everyone loves having the theater sound right there in their homes. Whether for watching movies, listening to music, or playing games, having audio that totally surrounds you improves the quality of the entertainment. The Polk Audio 6-piece Home Theater System offers you this big and full theater sound without taking up the space that big speakers will. Compact and stylish, the satellite speakers will conveniently fit into your hand, deceiving you into underrating it. However, when these speakers combine with the center speaker and powered subwoofer, what you get is about 50 watts of pure audio power that will fill your small to medium audio space with delightfully immersive sound.
Every detail of these speakers is designed to enhance their audio output. The speaker enclosure is uniquely designed to add as little coloration as possible to the sound, delivering audio that is transparent and clear. Polk Audio's patented Dynamic Balance® technology comes into play here, allowing the mid-range drivers to achieve volumes you won't expect from speakers that size, while delivering clean and transparent audio. Simply hide them anywhere you want—on your shelf, a stand, the wall, etc., and let your guests wonder where the great sound is coming from.
Are you ready for a home theater system that is compact, powerful, and very easy to set up? If so, go get your Polk Audio 6-piece Home Theater System.
Nozomu Matsumoto, the founder of Pioneer, had a passion that could only be appreciated by others with the same passion. This passion was for music and he found a way of sharing it with others by first fixing equipment and then building speakers. Almost 80 years later, we can say "the rest is history" because this brand has now grown into a massive international company. With all its growth, one thing has remained the same and that is that passion for music and audio generally. Every effort at Pioneer, starting from the research team to the manufacturing team and the customer support, is geared towards delivering to the customer an unforgettable experience. With Pioneer, you will hear and see more.
The Pioneer 5.1-Channel Home Theater Package shows clearly that you do not need to break the bank to enjoy high-definition video and audio. In this affordable package, you get all that and more. This 5.1 setup includes a subwoofer and five compact speakers that deliver 100 watts per channel through the included AV receiver. It is easy to connect your DVD or Blu-ray player to begin to enjoy world-class entertainment.
This system is all about offering more—see more, hear more. With the Ultra HD pass-through, you get to enjoy 4k video resolution if you have a device that supports it. Currently, this is the best video resolution commercially available. While most are still amazed at HD quality video, this elevates you to Ultra HD. Now that's not all. Elevating your video quality without doing the same for the audio is at best a half-measure approach. This setup does not do halves. With the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, every detail is brought to you as is. This is the best of the best audio quality. When you combine the best video quality with the best audio quality, you get an amazing entertainment experience right there in your home.
There's more... connectivity is no issue here as you can connect to other devices via Bluetooth so you can play from your smartphone, tablet, or any other device. It also has a simple USB input which allows you to play music files straight from a USB drive.
Get this, most of us have compressed audio files on our smartphones and thumb drives, which means the quality has been somewhat reduced. However, when played on this system, it restores it to its full quality, improving on the sound you gave to it. Now that's something. All of this is offered in this simple and affordable package which also includes an energy-saving feature—Eco Mode. This is the one time you get more for less.
We hope that this information has helped you find a great home theater system for your needs. We know that all of our recommendations are guaranteed to offer you an impeccable sound experience—one that makes you feel like you are part and person of what you’re listening to.