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Best 7.1 Home Theater Systems Of 2023

The 5.1-channel surround audio system has been around for two ages now, and has become the complete standard for home theaters. But if you go up to the luckier-sounding 7.1 surround system, the cinematic audio experience is delivered through seven people and a subwoofer. What this bigger set does towards the audio ambience is substantial, and the improvements to the directionality and continuity of the tone are immediately noticeable. Realize that these are complete systems, as an alternative to mixed-and-matched speakers. To complete your setup, check out our report of the Best AV Receivers.

Best 7.1 Home Theater Systems

1. Klipsch Research Premiere 7.1.2 ($4,394) associated with the Denon AVR-X4500H ($1,599)

Receiver Wattage: 125/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surrounds Tech: Dolby (Various), DTS (Various)

Expandable To: 11.4

What We Like: One of the greatest Klipsch systems on offer.

Whatever We Don’t: Perhaps not as revealing as we’d like.

With its solid power coping with, excellent dynamics, and stellar looks, the Klipsch Research Premiere 7.1.2 is easily the most exciting loudspeaker package here-as well as in our opinion, the very best you can purchase. With the package, you get a fantastic set of speakers, including the outstanding RP-8060FA floorstanding speakers and the SPL-100 subwoofer. This is a whole Dolby Atmos system, meaning you’ve got access to possibly the best surround sound method available. It features great audio quality: , and interesting, although we did discover that some soundtrack elements once in a while sounded a little artificial.dynamic and rich Trying to navigate through the labyrinth of product collections and types the company offers can be daunting, nevertheless the Reference Premiere 7.1.2 is one to no in on. So to speak.

After on this list the Klipsch Reference Premiere 7.1.2 works especially well with the Denon AVR-X4500H – a model you’ll see appearing more than. When you truly want to experience Klipsch, this is an excellent place to start. It brings the best out of the speakers without imposing itself too much. Other receivers, like the NAD T 778, also perform well on this page, but we think the AVR-X4500H is the best pairing.

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A Close Second

2. Fluance Signature Series ($1,490) paired with the Yamaha RX-A880 Aventage ($900)

Recipient Wattage: 100/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Technical: Dolby Atmos, DTS: By

Expandable To: 7.2

What We Like: Yamaha and Fluance work really well together.

What We Should Don’t: No included subwoofer, which means there’s an extra factor to buy.

The Fluance Reference point Series is technically a 7. system, rather than a 7.1. But at this selling price, you could quite happily spend another grand on a good subwoofer and still be ahead of the game. The Signature Series is an upgrade to the aged Reference Series, and it’s a real jump in quality. Keep in mind it costs roughly $460 more than the previous model, meaning this combo isn’t as budget-welcoming as we’d like. The Sony STR-DN1080 7.2, below, is often a more complete package. It’s still excellent in terms of audio tracks quality, even though the lack of a subwoofer means that the Fluance does lose out to the Klipsch system, above.

Yamaha’s RX-A880 Aventage receiver matches well on this speaker system – on this below – generating sound that delivers bell-like clarity with a serious low-end and terrific dynamics. It’s amongst Yamaha’s newest receivers, and although it’s not in particular brilliant receiver on its own, the strength output and circuitry definitely make the Fluance speakers sing. We also love the modern options, like the inclusion of Apple company AirPlay 2. The price senses right, too – at $900 for the recipient, it means you’re able to get an excellent system for under $2,500.

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Best Budget 7.1 Home Entertainment System System

3. Sony STR-DN1080 7.2 ($1,498 – Package)

Receiver Wattage: Mysterious

Surround Tech: Dolby (Many), DTS (Various)

Expandable To: 7.2

What We Like: A superb speaker package designed around a terrific receiver.

Everything You Don’t: Lack of specs, tough to upgrade later.

The Sony STR-DN1080 7.2 package is quite out of the ordinary. In most cases, the speakers are available first and the receiver is actually an afterthought. But in cases like this, Sony have built a package around their superb STR-DN1080 AV receiver. While the speakers are not particularly special in their own appropriate, they pair exceptionally perfectly with this receiver. This is a one-purchase package that provides you everything you need for a 7.1 setup. It’s highly affordable, sounds excellent, because of the speaker/receiver coupling, and will fit in just about any living area.

A less expensive one than other models – you shouldn’t expect dramatically brilliant seem, as the STR-DN1080 package is a budget featuring – or at least. That’s exclusively true when compared with slightly more costly offerings like the Klipsch RP-250F 7.1 / Onkyo TX-RZ820 pairing below. You might like to invest in a different receiver out of this list if you plan to upgrade with additional speakers later. The STR-DN1080 package is a simple pick for best budget 7.1, and we think it’s going to be on this list for a while.

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Most effective High-End 7.1 Home Theater System

4. Aperion Audio Verus III Grand Tower Surround 10D ($5,794) combined with the NAD T 778 ($2,999)

Receiver Wattage: 110/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Computer: Dolby Atmos, DTS Master Audio

Expandable To: 9.2

What We Like: Outstanding audio combination – Aperion and NAD together are a serious win.

What We Don’t: Absence of specs makes pairing tough.

Aperion Audio makes totally tremendous home theater gear. The newest speakers in the Verus III range have redesigned tweeters and tweaked crossovers, providing them even more crisp detail. That’s not anymore offered as a package, even though this spot on the list was previously organised by the KEF R Series. The Verus III could go head to head with more high priced speaker systems from Klipsch and Martin Logan, under, and although it’s high priced, the Verus package crushes it. While we’ve featured the 10D version on this page, which we think is the best, in addition, it happens to be the most expensive model they feature. However, there are plenty of variations, if you wish to spend slightly less.

When you pair these speakers with NAD’s T 778, magic happens. The T 778, while on occasion a little tricky to find – it’s still new in the course of writing – is a superb AV receiver. It goes beyond basically being a big black package with cable connections, showing a user interface on a excellent color touchscreen. We also believe it pairs beautifully while using Aperion system and, provided you can score yourself these loudspeakers along with the T 778, you’ll have a system you can genuinely be proud of. It’s a great one, and worthy of a place on this listing, though you will definitely pay for this combination. We do, however, desire that Aperion had considered to release more specs. We’d like to know the wattage array of the speakers and their frequencies.

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A Fully Wireless Option

5. Axiim 7.1 WM Series ($4,599)

Receiver Wattage: N/A

Surround Computer: None

Expandable To: N/A

What We Like: The ultimate in convenient tone, easy to setup and use.

What We Should Don’t: Wired systems have better audio, the pricetag is hefty, no Atmos or DTS: X.

Funds doesn’t always buy advantage. Ask anybody who has to setup a five-determine system, and you’ll be bored to tears seeing and hearing them talk about power materials, dedicated DACs, and how they personally keep speaker wire companies afloat. Axiim did away with all that, using their new 7.1 WM Series release. It’s a mostly wireless home theater strategy that both sounds and looks wonderful, and deserves its crown here.

The drawback is that you have to plug each speaker into the mains, meaning you’ll need eight power cords – seven for the speaker systems, plus one for the sub, and eight outlets to get in touch them up to. Because they’re likely to be at opposite sides of the room, you’ll need a large space, or lots of extension cords. In addition, you won’t be able to upgrade after with speakers from other companies, and you’ll have to pay a sizeable amount for the privilege. The sound also doesn’t touch the Aperion combo, at the top of this list, which beats it on details and energy. But what you’re investing in here is a home theater room without the need of wires, and we’ve seldom seen such a system – even by folks like Sonos – done with this much panache. Flawed, however brilliant.

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A Soundbar That Can Do 7.1 Audio

6. Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 ($1,000)

Recipient Wattage: N/A

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: N/A

Everything We Like: Unreal sound quality, convenience.

What We Don’t: Clunky settings and remote.

It’s very rare to find a soundbar system that pushes 7.1 channels or more. The 6. Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 ($1,000) is one of the only packages we’ve seen do it. The Shockwafe Elite is a stupendous method: a massive five-station soundbar, two rear encompasses, and two wireless subwoofers, created to create spectacular surround sound with full Dolby Atmos and DTS: X compatibility. Trust us, though a soundbar system may not be the natural choice for a home theater build: the Nakamichi Shockwafe High level 7.2.4 unquestionably belongs on this list. It’s better than the similarly-priced JBL Bar 9.1, and we think that in audio terms, it even beats the Sonos Encircle Set, which is nearly 2 times the price.

There are two notable disadvantages in consider when choosing the Shockwafe Elite. The first issue is that it’s very difficult to add additional speakers, if you decide to upgrade – this is very much a closed ecosystem. The second issue is that the controls – particularly the remote – feel clunky and unintuitive. However, if you can look past those flaws, you’ll find an exceptional soundbar system. Although, if we are being honest, that name is getting to us. Each time we write the word Shockwafe, we twitch.

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A Super-Very simple Home-Theater-In-A-Box

7. Polk Audio Signature 7.1 Process ($1,954 – Package)

Receiver Wattage: 80/8O, 2Ch Operated

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: N/A

What We Like: One of the simplest tips to get full surround sound.

What We Don’t: Bass could be a considerable amount better.

Because two grand continues to be a sizeable amount of money if you’ve only got several thousand dollars…we can’t are convinced we just wrote that. However, when that’s your budget for a home theater, then the Polk Signature 7.1 system is worth considering. It’s a complete HTIB (Your home-Theater-In-A-Carton) with absolutely everything you need to provide your home for surround tone.

The system combines several people from the company’s excellent S range, all of which offer reasonable sound – although it absolutely won’t compete with things like the Infinity Reference 7.1, which we think offers much better sound quality. Better bass, far too: Polk’s DSW PRO 550 subwoofer is a bit mediocre, to always be perfectly honest, although there’s nothing stopping you from swapping in a subwoofer of your choice – and the same goes for all the other speakers. Which really brings out the best in this speaker set, although followed by this system is a gorgeous Denon receiver that offers basic capabilities. It certainly isn’t about to punch its way right onto the top of this list, but it’s very good for the charge.

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Best of the Rest

8. Fluance Elite Line ($815) paired with the Pioneer VSX-LX303 ($400)

Receiver Wattage: 100/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: 9.2

What We Like: Crisp, realistic quality of sound for under $1,300.

What We Don’t: Speaker style is very old-classes.

Fluance are one of the few companies who still devote a chance to dedicated 7.1 presenter systems, so it’s hardly surprising that they have more than one admittance on this list. The Exclusive Series isn’t quite as nice as the top-ranked Special Series, but it’s also significantly cheaper, and doesn’t compromise on sound quality. The audio is realistic and fresh, and excels at offering great detail. If you can excuse that, you’ll find that the Professional Series is among the best speaker systems you can buy for under $1,000, although you’ll have to endure the fact that the speakers appear like they come straight out of the 70s.

We’ve always found that Pioneer and Fluance play properly together, and the VSX-LX303 really does seem to draw out the best in the Fluance people. On its own, it’s not an primarily brilliant receiver, but it is useful here. Additionally you get a great range of capabilities, including the ability to upgrade to the 9.2 system at a later time.

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9. Sonos Surround Set ($1,856)

Receiver Wattage: N/A

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos

Expandable To: N/A

What We Like: Amazingly easy to use, with reliable sound quality.

What We Don’t: Not possible to upgrade later.

This entry is technically cheating. The Sonos Surround Arranged is marketed as a 5.1 system, rather than a conventional 7.1. But it is, in reality, hiding a 7.1 system inside its sleek housing. It can handle complete Dolby Atmos, and added Arc soundbar contains two upward firing speakers, interpretation we can add it here. We want to anyway, because it’s terrific. It offers solid if occasionally unspectacular sound quality, and is amazingly user friendly. Pound for pound, we don’t imagine you’ll find an easier system to set up than the Sonos Encompass Set.

There are some downsides to the Surround Set. Which is nonetheless vexing, although it’s unattainable to upgrade later with the help of additional speakers- something which it has in common with other sandbar systems. And finally, it is beaten by other less expensive soundbar packages on sound quality. The Nakamichi Shockwafe, For example, clocks in at under $1000 and sounds much better. It can’t match the Sonos for ease of use though…

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10. JBL Bar 9.1 ($1,000)

Receiver Wattage: N/A

Surround Technical: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: N/A

What We Like: Good bass and detail on offer.

What We Don’t: Arguably the least-effective Atmos bar with the options here.

JBL are something of a dark horse in the world of surround noise systems, but their Bar 9.1 is a way to resolve that. It offers a full nine channels of audio, contained in a soundbar plus two satellite speakers and a subwoofer. We appreciated just how much impact the audio had, particularly download, and the way the speaker systems translated detail was outstanding. Unlike the more expensive Sonos Surround Set, there’s full access to DTS: X along with Dolby Atmos. The Pub 9.1 is a strong option if you happen to be part to the former.

The problem is, it doesn’t quite do sufficient to put itself in front out from its competitors. Does a much better job of Dolby Atmos, and surround audio in general, though the Nakamichi Shockwafe is identically priced. In fact, among the sound bar choices on this list, we learned that the Bar 9.1 is arguably the least effective when it comes to positioning and realism. That’s a shame, but it doesn’t stop the Bar 9.1 from being a good next option.

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11. MartinLogan Movements 7.1 Ultimate ($7,095) paired with the Anthem MRX 1120 ($3,599)

Receiver Wattage: 140/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: 11.2

What We Like: Two companies employed in perfect synergy.

What We Don’t: Not too much for this selling price!

One of the things we set out to undertake when writing this piece was to see if we could include all the big speaker-producers-surprisingly tricky, as not all of them offer complete packages (SVS, for example, only offer a 5.1 deal). That’s not a problem for sister companies MartinLogan and Anthem. MartinLogan offer a dedicated startup they call the Ultimate, and even though we don’t think it beats the Klipsch and Aperion options, it’s still awesome. The audio is incredibly in-depth and textured, particularly the striped bass, which is served by the company’s top-of-the-line Dynamo 1500X subwoofer.

To go with it, we’d recommend a recipient from Anthem. As part of the dependable of companies, the technicians will work closely together, these two elements absolutely sing. What it does supply is Anthem’s famed Bedroom Correction, expertly tuning the speaker system to your home, although the MRX1120 may have slightly limited codec support. If you ever opt to go really big, and furthermore, this goes up to 11.2 channels. Go on: you know you should.

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12. Paradigm Premier Series ($5,500) paired with the Marantz SR8012 ($2,999)

Receiver Wattage: 140/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Auro3D

Expandable To: 11.2

What We Like: One of the few packages Paradigm offers-and it’s a beast.

What We Don’t: Value-for-money isn’t quite there.

Paradigm really shine once you begin mixing and matching separates – they have a huge catalogue, and also for home theater fans, it can be a number of fun constructing a dream strategy. The relatively new Premier Series is a chance to build just one from matched components. Don’t be fooled by the mix-and-match up interface on their website; it’s easy to build a system as massive or as small as you want, and it’ll sound amazing – although, you’ll need to add a subwoofer. Paradigm are known for their wide, powerful bass, and this system really delivers on that.

Speakers this weighty need a beast of a receiver, and then we think the epic Marantz SR8012 is the one to pick. Yes, it’s expensive – arguably more than it needs to be – but it pairs well along with the Paradigm system, and offers a smorgasbord of surround seem codecs and features. Plus, you could choose a slightly less expensive receiver – the NAD T 778, perhaps – and save a bit of cash. If can not bost quite the same music detail, this system matches up well against the MartinLogan audio speakers, above, even.

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13. Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 ($3,663) combined with the Marantz SR6014 ($1,499)

Receiver Wattage: 110/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Tech: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Auro3D

Expandable To: 9.2

What We Like: Solid quality of sound with a wireless subwoofer, which only a few other options have.

We Don’t: Other systems provide better overall sound.

Along with the sheer range of speakers that Klipsch produce, it’s minimal wonder that they feature many times on this list. We in particular like the package they are now offering in the 7.1 RP-250. It combines several speakers out of the RP-250 selection (obviously) with one significant wrinkle. The included R-110SW sub, which is certainly no slouch, comes with a independent wireless kit. That means you don’t need to connect it on to the receiver, making this bundle far more versatile and just about every other wired system on this list. Given that only deals from the likes of Sonos and Axiim offer wireless subwoofers, that’s quite something.

Do you know the downsides? Ultimately, we think other systems offer better sound quality overall. The less-expensive Fluance Signature Collection 7.1 Does a more satisfactory job, in our opinion. But that doesn’t mean the Klipsch is it worth considering, and should you do, we recommend you go for your Marantz SR6014 receiver. It does an excellent job of boosting the Klipsch technique, and at a relatively affordable price tag too.

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14. Aperion Verus III Fantastic Bookshelf Harmony 12D ($4,145) paired with the Denon AVR-X4500H ($1,599)

Receiver Wattage: 75/8O, 2Ch Driven

Surround Technical: Dolby Atmos, DTS: X

Expandable To: N/A

What We Like: A terrific way to experience Aperion at a fairly decent price.

What We Don’t: Beaten out by other systems.

We hemmed and hawed about whether or not to set a second Aperion system about this list. But their speakers perform so well that we wanted to focus on another package. Even if it isn’t quite as good as the more affordable Fluance / Onkyo combo above, and doesn’t even come close to their wonderful Verus II system, the Grand Bookshelf Harmony 12D system is superb. Despite the Bookshelf in its name, this isn’t a hi-fi system; it comes in 5.1 and 7.1 modifications, and is clearly designed for scaled-down rooms where bookshelf audio system would be better than floorstanders. The sound is outstanding, with great detail and imaging.

We were also quite surprised at how well the system paired with the Denon AVR-X4500H. In our experience, Denon solutions don’t always pair very well with bookshelf speakers, for whatever reason, but this was a clear exception to this rule. They are a good pairing, and worth your time.

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A Process For When You Win the Lottery

15. Bowers & Wilkins CT800 ($90,000)

Receiver Wattage: N/A

Surround Tech: N/A

Extensible To: N/A

What We Like: Arguably the strongest home theater package on the planet.

We Don’t: Only millionaires need to have apply.

Well, what do you expect? This is such an expensive package (custom installs only, if you please) that it’s really only to be considered an increased-end option. But oh man, does it noise good. We’ve only ever before heard it at audio tracks shows, and then only once, but…damn.

It’s actually designed to become 7.3 channel system, which is crazy rare, and needs all sorts of additional components (switchers, power supplies, bespoke cables) to get the best out of it. You’ll recognize how we haven’t actually advisable a receiver for this one particular. We’re not sure we’re capable of doing that choice, which is one thing best left up to whichever B&W engineer comes to visit your man cave to setup this thing, and secondly, because we’re not sure a single-box receiver exists which may handle it, that’s purposeful – firstly! At a propel, we’d pair this with a bit of Krell separates, but it’s a big push.

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New 7.1 Home Theater Devices Coming Soon

While new 7.1 home theater plans tend to be few and far between, there are some exciting enhancements on the horizon. The biggest an individual comes from French manufacturer Central, who have recently announced the Chora 826-D – their first group of Dolby Atmos floorstanding audio speakers. If you aren’t familiar with Major, you should know that they make impeccable loudspeakers and headphones. Watch out when they can pull everything together to a full package. We hope to include them on this list soon, once they measure up, even though there’s no word on pricing still.

7.1 Home Theater Technique Comparison Tables

In this case, we’ve obtained one for speakers and the other for receivers, though commonly, we’d just have one dinner table.

Speakers are up 1st. Note that the values for Freq refer to the highest and lowest frequencies all loudspeakers in a system can arrive at, and RAP refers to Highly recommended Amp Power.

Klipsch Ref. Premiere 7.1.275-600W/8Ω35Hz25kHz
Fluance Signature Series30-200W/8ΩUnavailableUnavailable
Sony STR-DN1080 7.2N/A20Hz20kHz
Aperion Verus III 10DUnavailableUnavailableUnavailable
Axiim 7.1 WM SeriesN/A20Hz20Hz
Nakamichi ShockwafeN/A35Hz22kHz
Polk Audio Signature 7.120-200W/8Ω30Hz40kHz
Fluance Elite Series30-160W/8Ω49Hz20kHz
Sonos Surround SetN/AUnavailableUnavailable
JBL Bar 9.1N/A34Hz20kHz
MartinLogan Motion 7.120-440W/4Ω20Hz25kHz
Paradigm Premier Series15-180W/8Ω53Hz22kHz
Klipsch 7.1 RP-250Unavailable20Hz20kHz
Aperion Verus III GBUnavailableUnavailableUnavailable
Klipsch RP-250F 7.1100-400W/8Ω35Hz25kHz
Bowers & Wilkins CT800UnavailableUnavailableUnavailable

And then the receivers. ‘Inc’ under the Price section means it’s included in the speaker package above. Exp. refers to the number of channels a receiver can be expanded to; Conn. refers to its connectivity.

Denon AVR-X4500H 125W/8Ω - 2Ch Dolby (Various), DTS (Various) 11.4 Blue./Wi-Fi
Yamaha RX-A880 Aventage100W/8Ω - 2Ch Dolby (Various), DTS (Various) 7.2 Blue./Wi-Fi
Sony STRDN1080Unknown Dolby Atmos, DTS:X N/A Blue./Wi-Fi
NAD T 778110W/8Ω - 2ch Dolby Atmos, DTS Master Audio 9.2 Blue./Wi-Fi
Denon AVR-X1300W80W/8Ω - 2ch Dolby Atmos, DTS:X N/A Blue./Wi-Fi
Pioneer VSX-LX303100W/8Ω - 2Ch Dolby (Various), DTS (Various) 9.2 Blue./Wi-Fi
Anthem MRX 1120140W/8Ω - 2ch Dolby Atmos, DTS:X 11.2 Wi-Fi
Marantz SR8012140W/8Ω - 2ch Dolby / DTS (Various), Auro3D 11.2 Blue./Wi-Fi
Marantz SR6014110W/8Ω - 2ch Dolby (Various), DTS (Various) 9.2 Blue./Wi-Fi

7.1 Home Theater System Purchasing Advice

What Is A 7.1 System?

A 7.1 surround system is a home entertainment package consisting of seven speaker systems and one subwoofer, connected to an AV receiver with the correct credentials – namely, plenty of separate speaker connections and wattage to power anything.

The receiver acts as the main hub where all vision and audio sources such as Blu-ray/DVD players, game consoles, computers and wireless internet streaming are being connected into, and also the speakers…well, they make noise. Out of the front, back, and aspects, as well as shaking your stomach area with bass. (If you want a self-help guide to the big differences between 5.7 and 1.1, look at this.)

The receiver is linked with your TV screen (or two or three, depending on the receiver’s features) as well as decoding (or converting) audio data into encompass sound playback, where looks can freely ‘hover’ relating to the surround speakers.

On more rare occasions you may find the same installation but with a separate power receiver and amp, which is the kind of issue that only dedicated audio tracks fiends get into. It’s somewhat much for our purposes right here though!

The grade of 7.1 system can differ depending on cost, as with any other technology.

You can find 7.1 systems from as little as a number of hundred bucks these days. Many have very limited connection, even though cheaper setups will still let you experience encompass sound motion.

And such basic level sound quality is quite comparable to a glorified ghetto blaster, genuinely. If the idea of several-plus speakers causes you to break out in hives, don’t worry, oh, and. We’ve got a full guide to every one of the connections you’ll need to get factors up and running.

How We Chose our Number of 7.1 Systems

Among the best ways to put together a 7.1 system is to mix and match individual components from distinct companies: satellites from one, sub from another, floorstanding loudspeakers from a third. We can’t really list those in this article; each room and hearing situation is different, and listing individual components would make this roundup unwieldy as hell.

What we’ve done as a substitute is focus on companies that supply 7.1 ‘packages’ – sets of matched speakers, good to go. Where indicated, we’ve paired these packages with a good receiver.

If it does mean that exceptional companies like Phase, Harman Kardon or SVS don’t make list, in our mind, this is by far the simplest method of accomplishing this, even.

If you go the component route, individuals companies, unfortunately, don’t deliver dedicated 7.1 deals for purchase – though their individual components feature on plenty of other product roundups on this site, and we’d absolutely recommend them.

Our approach does mean that some companies do dominate. To create things easier, we’ve separated our picks into invaluable categories – no matter what your financial budget, we’ve got something for you personally.

7.1 vs. 9.1 vs 11.2

Let’s say you’ve previously installed your 7.1 surround system. That’s your starting setup. What if you desired to go bigger? What, you thought we’d just prevent at seven? Nah, man. You can add a second subwoofer if you really want monster bass, which makes it into a 7.2 program setup (where the number following the ‘point’ represents the subwoofer).

This is easy enough – almost all receivers will be able to give audio to two subs, and all you need to do is connect them into the mains. Larger-format surround devices can also be split into zones (distinct rooms). If you had your kitchen next to the movie room, you could basically kit it out with a couple of stereo speakers and subwoofer (2.1) while abandoning the remaining 5 speakers and the second subwoofer to act as a regular 5.1 within your main room – either zones would be powered with the same 7.2 recipient.

In that way you can ‘keep up’ with the movie, while making dinner or having a chat on the phone. That is a thing you could possibly do.

But let’s say you want to go bigger. It is worth investigating 9.1 and up.

To do this, you need to use what are known as matrix sound channels.

If that sounds complicated, all you need to know is that the original 7 channels (and one sub station) from the back of your recipient are all discrete channels that carry an independent signal, in contrast to a matrix channel in fact blends some of this sound, helped along by the encompass sound codec to convert it for a height loudspeaker.

Because that’s what 9.11 and 1.1 (or 9.2 and 11.2, should you have two subwoofers apiece) are. They involve height speakers.

If you only have two, making the system to 9.1, you would place these often above you and on each side of your listening position, or above your front speakers. Should you have had an 11.1 system, you would have speakers in most four positions, or as an alternative, in the corners of the area.

If you wanted to get this results, then look at the Paradigm Highest regarded Series system paired with the Marantz SR8012 receiver, which will take you all the way up to 11.2 channels for a very little over $9,000, plus change for some added speakers (the Paradigm web-site lets you buy as many or as few speakers since you need, allowing you to customize your system).

You need customized equipment to do so, not to mention an absolutely massive room, although you can, by the way, keep raising the channels.

We’ll talk about that a little more in the next section.


Dolby Atmos vs. DTS: By vs. Auro3D

Auro3D, DTS and Dolby are the three big surround sound businesses you need to know about. They make what are known as surround sound codecs: complicated software programs which get the sound source and use special sets of rules to create a lifelike surround noise experience. While each of the providers has quite a few different codecs on offer, there are only a few you really need to worry about. We are going to bring each one of them in turn.

Dolby Atmos

This is probably the most frequent. If you’ve been in a movie theatre in the past five years, you’ve read this one, chances are. It’s an exceptionally big dog it functions what is known as object-established surround sound: It uses, located development tricks to blend the sounds together, placing each one of them indistinct, predetermined positions across the room by mixing them between the speakers, instead of mailing a sound to a certain route just because that’s what it’s mixed as.

To get your Dolby Atmos system doing work, you need one of several things.

You want a set of height speakers (if at all possible, four) along with rear styles, a set of speakers that are angled upwards to fire their audio off the ceiling, or a set of modules that you area on top of existing speakers. In any event .,

if you want to take full advantage of this, you need quite a bit more speakers compared to a basic 7.1 process. The good news: even if you never have the space or budget for this, your 7.1 system can still take advantage of a good amount of other Dolby codecs.

Dolby often identifies their systems as 7.1.4, or 9.2.4, by the way. These include functionally the same as 11.1 or 13.2 programs – a bunch of ear-level speakers with several added height speakers. Never let the numbers get you lower.


The thing about Dolby Atmos is that it completely requires height speakers to the office. One thing about DTS: X is that it doesn’t. It’s a software codec that works with just about any lecturer setup you can imagine. While it doesn’t have quite the position capabilities of a full Dolby Atmos system, it still seems to eke some terrific imaging out of even a basic 5.1 system.

You also don’t need special hardware: many times, the DTS codec could be downloaded to a receiver being a software update, which is very handy. Having height audio system definitely improves things significantly.

But all the same, this is a useful codec to have.

It should be pointed out that almost all receivers these days include both Dolby DTS and Atmos: X built in, so you shouldn’t even have to choose. Interestingly, a lot of the setups in our list of the highest quality 5.1 speaker solutions use DTS: X, and are perfect for smaller rooms.


This is variety of a strange one – and although it’s been out for some time, it hasn’t really was able to make significant inroads in to the market held by Atmos and DTS: X. Unlike Dolby’s codec, which banks on object-based appear, Auro-3D is about the channels.

If you have not simply the space for multiple elevation speakers, but also a loudspeaker known as the Voice Of Lord – how cool, it what you go for? – which is certainly installed in the ceiling right over your listening position.

You don’t absolutely will need to have this to use Auro-3D, but you do have to have at the very least a 9.1 system. There’s no denying that Auro-three dimensional is amazing.

We think it is on par with Dolby’s codec, and perhaps, goes beyond it. But it is still very much a dark horse in this particular race. Should you want to check it more, out and even more receivers are as well as option for it, often in the form of an upgrade (which you will pay for).

The Marantz SR8012 is a perfect example.

7.1 Speaker Placement Explained

An easy refresher: speaker sets for 7.1. surround systems include a center channel left, right and speaker front channel people, a subwoofer, left and right surrounds speakers and left and right rear surround speakers. We’ll keep away from 9.11 and 1.1 systems here.

The rear surround speakers help to fill much larger rooms more completely and add more depth to the experience by spreading the seem across four speakers as opposed to two (as found in 5.1 surround), resulting in far more directed, immersive sound.

The concept is to surround your tuning in position with speakers, positioning the center channel, entrance channel and subwoofer in front of you, the left and right speakers on…well, your left and right, and the rear speakers behind you.

That isn’t always attainable, so let’s break down position of a basic system, even though generally, you’re supposed to increase these. You got some idea of where to input it all, because you have a neurological chances are. But that isn’t really the point, is it? The idea is to put it not just on the appropriate place, but in the best place. And discovering that takes a little doing.

Let’s assume for the moment that you may have all three types of speakers knocking around. Let’s start with the easy bits: the floorstanding people. These go, as your probably shocked to hear, on the floor, generally on either side of the Tv set.

You want them within a rough triangle with the place you’re going to be sitting, even though the exact placement of these is essentially dependent on the shape of your area. They should be roughly equidistant, and shouldn’t be too close to walls or corners, which can lead to their bass frequencies acquiring a little muddled.

Next up, the subwoofer. The acquired wisdom is to put the thing underneath or next to the TV, but there’s actually just a little trick you can use to find the best location to put it.

Wire up the subwoofer and we’ll talk about wires in the section below) then put it in the place where you’ll be sitting. Find anything bass heavy. A monitor by Skrillex or Diplo would be ideal. Start participating in, then crawl around the home at floor level. There is a purpose for this, we promise, though yes, we know you look ridiculous.

Find a spot in the room where the largemouth bass sounds the best, where it may sound as it’s meant to.

That’s where you want to put your sub. This trick isn’t completely full proof, and again, largely depends on how big your room, but it’s continue to very useful tool to have as part of your arsenal.

The easiest one of these to set is the center speaker, which ought to be labelled as such. Use it in front of or just underneath your TV. Job done. Next, check out the front left and right which, speaker systems and again should be branded clearly.

These are quite complex to place. You need them at ear level when you’re sitting in your listening situation, and you also don’t want them very far apart or too special together.

Doing either of those things will mess together with your sound. Start with the audio system around three feet from the Television set on either side, and perform from there. You’ll need to test a little bit to get it right.

Accepting you’ve got a 7.1 system, you will have four more speakers to place. A pair of them should go directly to the edges of your listening position, again at eye level. The main mistake we see is persons mounting them in the ceiling or in the corners in the room. Don’t do that. Don’t be a corner-mounter. Get two on each side, and two at the rear.

Through rear, we mean an excellent three or four feet behind your listening position.

You may be thinking right now: what if I have a small area? What is my listening posture (usually the couch) is facing the wall?

How do I position rear speakers then?

Reply to: you don’t. If you have a tiny room, a 7.1 system is going to be wasted. You’re far better off investing in a 5.1 system, or better yet, ditching surround appear just and entirely going for a good kind of floorstanding speakers. It will save youmoney and time, and irritation. We realize. We’ve been there.

7.1 Speaker Connections

We will just go over the basics in this article. If you want a much more in-depth look at wiring issues up, here’s a guide we put together explaining just that.

Looking in the back of your AV receiver, you’d be forgiven for believing that you’ll need a dozen types of cables that aren’t included in your purchase.

This can send you operating in a panic to Amazon online, trying to decipher just what a coaxial audio D/Si200 cable is, and whether you need it to catch your sub up accurately.

That’s until one glorious matter came along and rendered the majority of them irrelevant, although it’s correct that we used to need all sorts of different connections to get our system working: HDMI. HDMI cables are instantly recognisable, and beautifully simple.

They are thin rectangles with a single edge cut at a little diagonal, and they will take care of 90% of your home theater wants. Your TV? HDMI. Your console? HDMI. Because they may be incredibly useful for a whole bunch of items, they certainly aren’t crucial, while it’s certainly smart to have additional HDMI cables knocking around.

Okay, so there are a couple of other cables you may need to know about. Surround seem systems sometimes use a computerized coaxial cable, a cylindrical orange or black connect with a little golden nubbin photographing out of it.

You may also see a cord with two plugs around the end of it, also cylindrical, and also with the same gold nubbin. That’s a stereo sound cable, and you plug both bits in to activate the channels in your speakers.

They do nevertheless pop-up occasionally, even though you won’t find these in surround sound methods. You may (and this is unusual) come across things like component video cables and composite video cables and optical wires. We don’t think it is worth going into what they do listed here, as there is becoming increasingly uncommon.

And by the way, ignore the thing which says S Video on it. None of us in the history of home theater has ever used an S Video cable. Nobody even knows what they are.

As soon as you’ve got your cable television type sorted, hooking things up should be relatively easy.

Every system is different, and we all can’t give you a completely all-encompassing way to do it here, the good thing to consider is signal flow. T

he output HDMI from your Television programs and Blu-ray player/console must go into the HDMI inputs around the receiver, and the speakers really should connect up to their relative spots as well.

Wattage and Impedance Defined

When purchasing separate receiver and separate speaker system you need to make sure they match every single other’s power. It’s a tad like weight scales – whatever power your loudspeakers require, the amp must be able to deliver, and without battle: they should be equally matched. It’s OK if the amp has a bit more wattage than the lecturer, but try to avoid the other way round, which may potentially problems your amp!

If you go with our recommendations above, you won’t actually have to worry about any of this, the good news is. The amps as well as speakers are reasonably nicely-matched already, so there’s no guesswork associated. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s do a practical illustration. This example is going to use two concepts: wattage (study, the amount of power something sets out) and impedance (a measure of electrical resistance)

Let us take the $1,599 Denon AVR-X4500H receiver. It’s RMS wattage (the amount of power it positions out over a period of time, compared to peak wattage, which is maximum it can put out all at once – think a run, versus a sprint) is 125 watts, which is what it’s capable of producing if it meets a set of speakers with eight ohms of electronic resistance.

Matching speakers to this is actually very simple.

Every number of speakers will have a highly recommended amplifier power, which shows the range of power that they can perfectly take. For example, the Fluance Reference Series (which we’ve paired the 838 with in our list) can take amp power of between 80 and 200 watts, while giving eight ohms (8O) of electrical resistance.

You will notice that in such cases, the ohm levels are matched. In general, this is what you wish. Try to avoid matching a set of speaker systems with a lower nominal impedance to an amplifier that does not offer ratings of that impedance.

If you ever do encounter audio system with a higher impedance ranking than the amplifier, then go right ahead. You can read a little more about this in our highly in-depth guide to matching speakers and amps.

In-Wall Loudspeakers vs. External Speakers

The most common questions we get comes from people who want to install ceiling and in-wall people in their listening rooms, and wish to know the best way to go about it. You’ll notice that all the speaker methods on this list are outside. That’s because we solidly believe that in-wall structure systems are largely an anachronism. Feel free to debate us on this in the comments, but for the most part, we think you’re superior off with separate, individual audio speakers.

The many benefits of in-wall and ceiling speakers, on the one hand, is that they start looking discrete. You are able to hide them away, and give your room a sleek, minimalist truly feel. Problem is, that’s about the only advantage. You’re essentially giving up any advantages a tuned speaker cabinet might supply you with for the echoing, cavernous place in your walls and ceilings. Even some in-wall speakers which appear in small, self-included cabinets won’t sound almost as good as individual speakers. You should also try to actually cut holes to set up them (obviously) – which suggests zero margin for mistake in placement. And finally, executing it this way means it can be difficult to upgrade later. Our take? Stick to individual speakers. They make so much more sense.

Rate Ratings Explained

We do not put a lot of emphasis on regularity ratings here at TMS. For almost all people, we simply do not think they are that useful, although you’re more than introducing fight us in the feedback if you disagree. When it comes to home entertainment speakers, we find they can provide a general idea of the range the speakers occupy. A quick primer, if you don’t know what we are talking about. A frequency measurement can be a measurement of the pitch of the sound: how high or how low it is. It is measured in Hertz (Hz). Humans can hear from approximately 20Hz (a super-small bass note) to 17kHz (a really, really high-pitched finger-on-a-cup-type note. kHz, by the way, means kilohertz, or possibly a thousand hertz – as with, 17,000 Hz).

What we’ve done in our table above is give the most competitive frequency of sound that given 7.1 loudspeaker system can offer (usually via its subwoofer) and the best it can offer via its other speakers. You should not read too much into this, mostly because these speakers could generate higher notes that we can actually hear, and it is annoying when manufacturers highlight this. But it’s good to be aware of, and in some cases, it can be useful when looking for speakers.

Room Acoustics Revealed

The most expensive speakers in the world will not mean a damn issue if you don’t treat your room. And a ceiling, on the floor, and…actually, make that all rooms, that is because most rooms have surfaces. If you don’t do anything to these people, what those services will work is reflect sound back into the room, absorbing very little. That resembled sound will get together and obtain dirty, and generally mess up your beautiful surround sound photo. To rectify this, you will need to add in some acoustic proofing. As a general rule, they take the shape of thick foam panels that hang on the ceiling and surfaces at key points, as well as even thicker bass traps which are in the corners of the bedroom, even though there are hundreds of remedies out there, and we don’t actually have the space to go into them at this time. Check out this ATS Traditional acoustic Panel, although there are many different variants of this particular piece of equipment, if you need to see an example.

We are at the same time of putting together a full secrets for treating a home theater space. In the meantime, here’s one of the superior guides we found, which provides some very neat tricks for getting this done. Stick to it, and thank us after.


Using 7.1 Home Theatre Systems for Music

One of the more common questions we get expected is how to use a surround sound system for music.

They aren’t necessarily well suited, because on the surface. Almost all audio are mixed for two routes – left and right.

Playing a normal piece of music in a multichannel system isn’t always easy, and its next to impossible with a stereo blend. Even if you get all 8 or nine speakers performing, they’ll most likely just be playing multiple versions of the same stations.

If they exist, that is, You will have to go out of your way to find the five.7 and 1.1 combines of your favorite albums -.

This could be changing, however. Recently, PMC did something interesting while using classic album Kind of Blue colored, by Miles Davis. Together with the blessing of the Davis real estate,

who provided the original learn tapes, PMC’s engineers resulted in a Dolby Atmos surround tone mix of the album, which they debuted at the Munich Substantial-End audio clearly show.

We’ve observed that it was ridiculously decent, though sadly, we weren’t there to witness it.

Unfortunately, right now this kind of play around is likely to remain just that: an experiment.

While the music sector has messed around with four-channel integrates before, back in the 1970s, there exists virtually no demand for multichannel genuine recordings right now. It’s exceedingly exceptional, even though some film soundtracks are released in 5.1 or 7.1, and occasionally an artist will have a stab at it.

It is perfectly possible to play standard music on a surround technique, and will almost certainly sound wonderful. In the event you played it out of a common two-channel hello-fi setup, but the truth is won’t be getting any more info than you would.

We suggest setting your receiver to stereo mode if you want to use your surround program for music.

That way, it should devote all of its strength and processing to the leading left and front correct speakers, giving you the best feasible experience.

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