Top 10 Best 5.1 Home Theater Systems (Surround)
These seemingly small and streamlined systems can produce exceptional sound a hundred times better than their more simple cousins, the stereos.
Finding the best 5.1 home theater system can be easier said than done.
To help you with that, we have selected and reviewed some of the best 5.1 home theaters for the money in this list article.
We have also included a section with FAQs towards the end, so be sure to check that out as well.
Best 5.1 Home Theatre Systems
Harman Kardon Premium High-Performance Newest 5.1
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Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel
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Yamaha YHT-4950U 4K Ultra HD
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Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack
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Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound System
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Table of Contents
Harman Kardon Premium High-Performance Newest 5.1 – Best Bass Unit
The Premium High Performance Newest 5.1 from Harman Kardon is a relatively new addition to the 5.1 channel theater systems.
It is remarkably similar to the Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 and HKTS 9 Channel in terms of design and performance. In fact, you will not know these are different systems unless you observe them very closely.
It comes with a standard of five speakers and a subwoofer with powerful bass. The speakers are 120W with 3-inch drivers that are in the mid-range. The subwoofer is a down-firing speaker with 200W, which is quite impressive.
The center channel, as well as the front and rear satellites, can be wall-mounted for convenience. The Newest 5.1 channel system from Harman Kardon is entirely black, much like all the systems in this range.
You can expect to feel your heart thumping as you watch movies with this home theater system. Feel like you are sitting beside a fresh spring as you listen to the trickle of the water with crystal clear precision.
The 200W subwoofer, along with the 8-inch driver, picks up low frequency sounds quite impressively. Harman Kardon also incorporated high-frequency tweeters so you can enjoy your music with the clearest sound. Drowning yourself in realistic, immersive sound within the comfort of your home is now achievable.
The brackets for mounting the satellite speakers are included with the package on delivery. Color-coded cables are also included, which are 40 ft for the rear satellites and 20 ftA bfor the center as well as the front satellite speakers.
- Exceptional bass quality with the 200W subwoofer
- Immersive sound is also great
- Can be upgraded to 7.1 channels
- Very easy to set up
- A bit pricey
- Vertically mounting the satellites requires some effort
Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel – Best Upgradable to 7.1 System
The HKTS 16BQ comes with a subwoofer, four speakers, and a soundbar. The subwoofer is a powerful down-firing 200W. The subwoofer works in tandem with all the speakers very seamlessly.
The 120W satellite speakers are voice-matched along with 3-inch midrange drivers. The soundbar also doubles as the two-way center channel for the system.
Another feature which you will love about the HKTS 16BQ speakers is that they are built with magnetic shielding components. This means you can place the speakers close to the TV without the fear of experiencing interference.
The front speakers, as well as the back, can be mounted on the walls.
The entire unit is black in color with gray metal edges. Harman Kardon is known to incorporate some extraordinarily stylish and sleek designs in their products, and this unit is no different.
The HKTS 16BQ delivers impressive sound, whether you are playing music, watching a movie, or playing games. The down-firing subwoofer couples with the 8-inch driver to pick up low frequency sounds brilliantly.
Relishing in an authentic, immersive sound is possible when you use this speaker system.
This home theater system also has other impressive features, including energy-saving features, and low frequency effects (LFE) input connector.
Another great feature that we loved is that this 5.1 home system can be upgraded to 7.1 channels.
- Has a sleek and modern design
- Great audio quality
- Phase switch and bass boost for the subwoofer
- Can be upgraded to 7.1 channels
- Energy-saving features
- Mounting the speakers on the wall can be tricky
YAMAHA YHT-5950U – Clear and Powerful Surround Sound
In keeping with its credibility, the YHT-5950U 5.1 channel system is the complete package. It comes with a subwoofer, five speakers, and a MusicCast AV receiver.
Each of the speakers is equipped with 2-3/4 inches of full-range cone drivers while the subwoofer is equipped with an inch cone driver. On the other hand, the receiver has Dolby Vision as well as HDR10, which combines to produce crystal clear sound.
The YHT-5950U has a black matte look and a straightforward design.
The YHT-5950U is equipped with everything that you would expect from a robust system. The receiver has Dolby Vision and HDR10 and transmission of 4K.
Another feature that we loved is the YPAO or Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer. It analyzes the acoustics of the room, so you know exactly where to place each speaker in the room.
You can experience a true cinematic experience and place the woofer as well as the speakers in the desired location for the best experience.
Other notable features
The YHT-5950U has several features that set it apart from others. It has a wide range of connectivity options ranging from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth as well as Alexa.
You can transform your music world by syncing all the services, including Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, Sirius XM, and Napster, among others. Stream your music effortlessly from any source using this home theater.
Another convenient feature is MusicCast. Installing a couple of wireless speakers with MusicCast allows you to enjoy music irrespective of whichever room you may be in at the time. To use this feature, you need to download the MusicCast controller.
Another advantage of using wireless speakers is that it eliminates the wires that run rampantly all around the room. But of course, these wireless speakers need to be bought separately.
- Equipped with Dolby Vision for excellent quality sound
- YPAO room optimization allows effortless customization
- Wide range of connectivity
- Streams music from multiple sources
- Getting the YPAO right is a bit tricky
- The subwoofer gets a little distorted on very high volume
Yamaha YHT-4950U 4K Ultra HD – Same System Without MusicCast
The YHT-4950U comes with five speakers, a subwoofer, a central receiver, and remote control, which is pretty standard for a home theater system.
The speakers are made of four surround speakers and a central receiver. The receiver is equipped with Dolby Vision HDCP 2.2, which complies with the latest copyright protection.
Another excellent feature, along with Dolby Vision, is the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), which allows you to watch videos in HD with surreal quality.
The subwoofer is a 100W with a 6.5-inch driver. The configuration of the subwoofer maybe not impressive, but it is also featured with an Extra Bass option, which enhances the bass output of the system. It also features YST II technology, which produces the Yamaha signature bass.
The YHT-4950U is finished off in glossy black, much like the grand pianos from the brand.
The Yamaha YHT-4950U will give you a good sound quality as long as you don’t turn up the volume very high. The subwoofer is not really equipped to handle very high volume without distorting the sound output.
But of course, it produces excellent sound quality when the volume is kept reasonable. You will not experience floor shattering bass with this system, but you will not be disappointed either.
You can also use the YPAO sound optimization to get the best experience from the system.
The YHT-4950U from Yamaha is also Bluetooth compatible, which allows you to play music from any Bluetooth device.
Another feature that you will love is the Virtual Cinema Front.
Using this feature, you can choose to place all the speakers facing the front. This audio feature is particularly helpful when you don’t have the option to mount the rear speakers in the desired place.
- YPOA sound optimization
- Virtual Cinema Front
- Watch 4K Ultra HD video with ease
- Stream music with any Bluetooth device
- Bass quality gets distorted with high volume
- The cable that comes with the system is insufficient in length
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack – Best Compact System for Limited Space Rooms
The Black Reference from Klipsch comes with a standard five speakers and a subwoofer. Out of the speakers, four function as satellite speakers while another as the center receiver.
The speakers of the Black Reference are considerably much smaller than traditional 5.1 channel systems. They are just 7.75 inches, which are tiny when it comes to a traditional home theater system speaker.
Encased within these rather small, black cabinets are 0.75-inch horn-loaded tweeters as well as 3.5-inch drivers. The center channel also has the same audio driver but is much larger than the other four satellites.
The subwoofer is roughly square in shape. It is a down-firing sub with a built-in amplifier and is also wireless.
The sound delivered by the Klipsch Black Reference set is crisp and clear. The horn technology from the brand, along with the aluminum tweeters, produces an immersive sound which you will love.
The signature IMG woofer allows high connectivity and efficiency in delivering the most natural sound. The bass quality is definitely not enough to thump the floors, but it is enough to fill a small to a medium living room with a surround sound.
The center channel speaker and other speakers are a champ when you consider their size. They do deliver impressive sound quality and volume.
Other features of the Klipsch Black Reference
This 5.1 channel set is designed to take up minimal floor space, which is a great feature if you are short on space. Another feature worth mentioning is the flexibility you have in placing the speakers using the dual keyhole.
You can mount the dolby atmos speakers wherever you feel you will have the best acoustics.
Our tip is to aim all the speakers in the primary sitting position to get the best experience. This is important as the speakers are almost totally directional.
- Good quality sound
- Has minimal footprint
- Excellent build quality
- Flexible placement options
- A bit expensive for such a small set
- The bass quality is not great
Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound System – Great for Music and Games
The Z906 from Logitech is widely touted to be the successor of the widely popular Z5500. It comes with an entourage of accompaniments, which makes it look very impressive.
The Z906 comes with five satellites including a center speaker sound bar, a subwoofer, a receiver, and a remote. The five audio satellites are about 6.5 inches tall. The front and the rear satellites look almost the same, but the middle one looks a little bit smaller.
The front satellite, as well as the rear set, can be wall-mounted, which is a great option.
On the other hand, the subwoofer is a square measuring 11.5 inches on all sides. The capacity of the subwoofer is 165 watts.
The receiver bears the most changes in terms of design and aesthetics from its predecessor. Instead of the LCD screen, several orange-colored buttons are in place to indicate the speakers as well as the inputs currently in use. The audio volume dial sits in the middle, surrounded by LEDs.
The remote control looks pretty basic, but it gets the job done, which is what matters.
The entire Z906 set bears a dark grey look with the standard mesh grill in the front with the center channel speaker. Overall, the unit is nicely built and looks good in quality for a lower budget.
Irrespective of how impressive a sound system looks, if speaker systems do not produce top-notch sound, then it is a fail.
This is not the case with Z906. It delivers a powerful sound up to 1000 watts, which is more than enough to fill a good-sized living room. The bass is deep and high to mid-range tones ring crisp and clear. This sound system is best enjoyed with music and playing a game.
We say this because; the surround sound speaker unit has no HDMI support. So, watching movies will not deliver the sound that you would expect from a 5.1 channel system.
It is not all bad, but it still falls a bit short of what we are used to getting from the best 5.1 home theater systems.
But of course, you can adjust the settings and try turning down the volume of the woofer or the channels.
Hooking up your devices is effortless. You can connect up to six devices, which makes it very flexible. It also supports multiple formats, which are RCA, digital coaxial input or optical outputs, six-channel direct, as well as a headphone jack that is 3.5 mm.
The quality of the wires is substandard, although they are of considerable length.
- Great sound quality with music
- Good compatibility
- Sleek and robust design
- Does not have HDMI support
- Substandard quality of the wiring
Onkyo SKS-HT690 – With Least Interference Feedback
This budget home theater system includes a subwoofer, a center channel, two speakers, and two dedicated surround speakers.
The subwoofer is a 10-inch down-firing model with 120W. The speakers of the SKS-HT690 from Onkyo are magnetically shielded, which is a great feature.
It is one of the few home theaters with a dedicated surround speaker. The surround speakers do not have the dome tweeters, unlike the two main audio speakers.
The entire set has a glossy look, which makes it look sophisticated and expensive. However, the high gloss is very unforgiving to dust and fingerprints, which can be annoying at times.
The bass in this home theater system is pretty decent, but it definitely won’t rumble your chest. This is mostly due to the subwoofer, which is a mere 120W.
But the speakers more than make up for the quality of the sound, especially the surround speakers. You will enjoy being able to indulge in immersive sound, almost like you are in a movie theater on a budget.
The speakers of the SKS-HT690 can be wall-mounted, which is great. Another component that we loved is the incorporation of the high-density resin, which makes the unit very rigid and resistant to vibration. This home theater is unmatched in terms of durability.
- Comes with a pair of dedicated surround speakers
- The speakers are magnetically shielded
- Very affordable
- Bass quality can be improved
- High gloss look makes it very prone to dust and prints
Frequently Asked Questions
We answer all the common questions related to the best 5.1 home theater systems in this section. These are not only answers to the frequently asked questions.
They also function as a buying guide so you can get the right home theater system with confidence.
What does the 5.1 stand for?
This is a pretty basic but common question that many people ask. 5.1 basically means that the home theater system has five audio channels or the satellite speakers with one subwoofer.
It typically includes two rear, two front speakers, a center channel, which is also called a receiver, and a subwoofer.
5.1 channel is commonly used in home theater systems to deliver the best surround sound.
What are the components included in a home theater system?
A home theater system is typically made up of the following components:
· Speakers – Also known as satellite speakers, there are usually five in number. They include a pair of front speakers, a pair of rear speakers and a center channel that may or may not function as the receiver.
· A subwoofer – A subwoofer with capacity ranging from 120W to 200W is a mandatory part of a home theater system. It can have a capacity for 5.1 channels and go up all the way to 11.2 channels. It can be a wireless subwoofer or wired. Choosing a wireless subwoofer doesn’t make much difference in bass signal quality.
· A central receiver such as an AV receiver
· A DVD or a Blu-ray player to play the media
· A TV such as an LCD screen or a plasma TV. Some home theater systems come with a projector screen.
· A remote control
What does surround sound mean?
This is a system in acoustics and stereophony where you experience sound from all angles for the most realistic experience. The 360-degree surround sound speaker effect is achieved by the combination of multiple speakers placed on all sides delivering the surround sound.
With the surround sound system, you can take your movie viewing or music playing experience to the next level and immerse yourself in realistic audio euphoria.
Can I set up the home theater system by myself?
Unless you have absolutely no experience with wires and electronics, home theater systems are not complicated to set up.
If you are not confident to set up on your own, it’s best to enlist the help of someone such as a friend or family member. The last thing you want is to roast or blow up an expensive sound bar or system because of improper setup.
How do I get the best surround sound from a home theater system?
Regardless of the number of channels, getting the best surround sound involves getting a number of factors aligned. This includes the structure of the room and setting up the speakers correctly.
Here are our top tips to get the best surround sound.
Before you begin anything, read the owner’s manual that comes with the sound system. This is an invaluable source of information.
· Positioning the front speakers, as well as the screen or the media source along a narrow wall, delivers the best sound quality. This allows the sound waves to travel along the elongated walls of the room or space.
· The best position for the rear speakers is on the sidewall just behind the primary listening or sitting position. It should be preferably six feet off the floor. The ideal distance between the two speakers is two feet.
· To get the best sound, hook up the speakers in phases. This means the red terminal at the receiver must go to the red terminal at the speaker and vice versa. This applies to all the speakers, whether front, back, or center.
· It is best to keep the cables runs at the shortest length without compromising on safety.
· A square room is not ideal for setting up a home theater system.
What is the difference between a subwoofer and a tweeter?
Subwoofers pick up sound frequencies in the range of 16 Hz to 80 Hz. These are some of the lowest ranges of sounds produced by such an instrument as the organ. A subwoofer in a home theater system delivers true movie watching dolby atmos experience as you can hear the most authentic sounds as you would in a movie theater.
Companies and brands understand this very well, so there is a woofer in every home theater system.
On the other hand, tweeters are capable of reproducing high-frequency sounds ranging from 1 kHz to 20 kHz. Most of the speakers in home theater systems have built-in tweeters. These produce excellent sound, especially when you are listening to music.
Both the subwoofer and the tweeter in isolation cannot produce the best sound quality. The best sound is delivered when a subwoofer is part of the home theater system, and the speakers have built-in tweeters.
How much does a 5.1 channel home theater system cost?
The cost of a home theater system varies greatly.
At the lower end, you can get a 5.1 channel system for under $500. But some higher-end dolby atmos home theater systems can easily cost thousands of dollars.
Of course, the functionality, as well as the features and the brand name, influence the pricing to a substantial degree.
This is not to say that only the premium-priced home theater systems perform the best or that the affordable ones are not good.
In fact, you can get a great home theater system without breaking the bank.
A practical tip we can offer you is to buy the best home theater system that you can comfortably afford. Of course, you need to consider a few factors, but the entire audio experience from a good and reliable system can be priceless.
What are the factors to consider while buying a home theater system?
Before you purchase a home theater system, the most important things that you need to consider are:
· Space – Space plays a major role in acoustics, and every sound engineer will attest to that. Generally, those home theaters with 5.1 surround sound speaker channels and a proper sound bar are best suited for small to medium space, while larger rooms work well with those home theater systems with 7.1 channels.
· Power output – The power output in most home theater systems is determined by the manufacturer. Ideally, you should look for a receiver that can give an output of 100W for every channel on the system. You should also look for a system that has 6 to 8 ohms of impedance for the best sound quality.
· Connectivity – Most home theater systems have options for multiple connectivity. You should be able to connect other electronic devices, including laptops, smartphones, and gaming console, among others. This is important so that you don’t have to spend extra money on purchasing a separate docking station.
· TV – You cannot have a complete home theater experience without a proper HDR TV. If you don’t have one, it is advisable to consider getting one. It might seem like a big burden to buy a fancy TV along with the home theater system, but it will be totally worth it.
Besides, most of the connectivity options come built-in for most home theaters, so your new home theater system might not work with an old TV.
With the best TV and a home theater system, you will experience enhanced and realistic sound. You will also be able to stream music online from all your favorite apps.