Buying surround sound speakers can be a little intimidating if you have never bought any before, which is why you will want to rely on the help of a great surround sound speaker buying guide. By working step by step through the buying process, you can make sure that you know the features that you want and need in your new speakers and that you aren’t going to accidentally go over your budget.
There are many different types and brands of surround sound speakers available but with a little work, you can find the perfect ones for your home.
Surround Sound Speaker Buying Guide For Home Theater Lovers
Questions First-Time Surround Sound Speaker Buyers Should Ask Themselves
How Much Space Do I Have?
Surround sound speakers come in a number of different sizes so before you even go shopping, you will need to think about how much space you have in the room where you are going to be putting them. If you have plenty of room, then you may be able to opt for larger speakers while people with smaller rooms will need to get a little more creative about where and how they install their new speakers.
By taking into consideration your space before you go shopping, you’re much less likely to make a purchase that won’t work for your home and your space.
What’s My Budget?
You have to think about what your budget is before you even start looking at surround sound speakers as they can get quite expensive rather quickly. By setting out a budget for yourself ahead of time, you can make sure that you don’t accidentally overspend on something that you can’t afford. In addition, a budget will give you the freedom to spend money on great surround sound speakers that will last for a long time.
Do I Want Wired or Wireless?
It’s important to remember that even wireless speakers have to be plugged in so they will need to be located near an outlet; however, they are a great way to be able to place your speakers around the room without having to worry about any wires connecting them to the amplifier.
Newer wireless systems will work much better than older, outdated ones will but you will have to install a control center that will interact with all of your speakers. On the other hand, while some people prefer wired speakers for their reliability, it’s difficult to keep the lines and wires from being a trip hazard or an eyesore in the room.
What’s the Room Like?
Your new speakers will be greatly affected by the room that they are in so take a look around the room and see how it is set up. If the room is full of hard surfaces such as uncovered windows and hard floors, then the sound can actually reverberate in the space, making it difficult to get audio that isn’t distorted.
On the other hand, soft surfaces such as carpet and curtains can absorb the sound so you will need to compensate for that when making your purchase. Even irregular surfaces such as bookcases will cause the sound to spread out and make it difficult to focus the sound.
Can I Try it Out?
Everyone will experience sound differently and the best way to make sure that you enjoy the sound produced by specific speakers is to try them out. Some stores have speakers set up so that you can better understand what you appreciate from speakers. This may include heavy bass, a smooth sound, or bright tones and knowing what you are looking for will help you find the best speakers for your home.
Types of Surround Sound Speakers
There are a few different types of surround sound speakers available and while you can buy them individually, one of the most common ways to buy them is to purchase them in a complete system. This makes it easy to get everything that you need all at once. That being said, many people will upgrade their systems over time by buying new and stronger speakers and replacing ones that they don’t like as much.
If you don’t want to make the commitment of a full speaker package, then a soundbar is a wonderful place to start. This bar sits either below or on top of your TV, doesn’t take up much space, and does a wonderful job at amplifying the sound from the TV. While they can simulate surround sound, they don’t match the actual experience of a full surround sound system so you will likely want to use a sound bar in conjunction with other speakers.
These large speakers generally come in a pair and make it very easy to get balanced sound from your TV when you use them with a subwoofer. You will need to consider your space and where you are going to install your bookshelf speakers before buying them as some can be installed with brackets on the wall while others work much better on the floor but will take up precious floor space.
Center Channel Speakers:
Very similar to a sound bar, these speakers are larger and heavier and do a much better job at reproducing effects, music, and dialogue.
Also known as tower speakers, these are necessary if you want to be able to fully enjoy any music that you are listening to. They have a very solid base and usually consist of a number of different speakers that all play different frequencies. This ensures that you get the best possible listening experience.
Great for really low noises and rumbles, subwoofers are important to capture the full range of audio in your music or TV. They aren’t generally used by themselves but ensure that you really enjoy what you are listening to by enhancing the lower frequencies.
If you want the feeling of full surround sound without the look of heavy speakers all around your home, then you may want to choose architectural speakers that will blend into the wall and surrounds of your home. While they don’t offer the power that other surround sound speakers do, especially subwoofers, they don’t interfere with the appearance of your room. They do need to be professionally installed but you won’t ever have to worry about the appearance of wires.
While these speakers won’t produce the same effect as traditional surround sound speakers will, they do have a place in some people’s homes. If you are an avid gamer and want to ensure that you are able to enjoy your games to the fullest, then you’ll want to invest in quality surround sound speakers and ditch the built-in ones in your computer. One speaker on each side of your monitor will produce a wonderful effect that will allow you to immerse yourself in the game.
Top Surround Sound Speakers Manufacturers
Buying surround sound speakers is a big commitment and it’s best to make sure that you are buying from a reputable company. If you don’t know anything about any of the current surround sound speaker manufacturers, then this list will help.
Bose, Vizio, Sony, Yamaha, and Samsung have all proven themselves time and time again to produce quality speakers that work well. In addition, these companies will generally stand behind their speakers, ensuring that any issues are taken care of.
Factors to Consider When Buying Surround Sound Speakers
While you are excited to begin shopping, you need to consider a few different factors. Taking time to really look at different surround sound speakers will ensure that you are happy with your final purchase.
- Location: You may need to place some of your speakers inside a cabinet or a bookshelf. If you do, then you will need to stay away from speakers that have a lot of bass as it will only resonate inside your furniture.
- Speaker Placement: Complete systems will come with all of the speakers that you need for the best possible experience but you will need to think about where you will place them around your room and walls.
- Price: More expensive speakers won’t always work the best for you, depending on your unique situation and the way that your home is set up. While some people look for the most expensive options on the market, it’s best to consider speakers at a number of different price points to make sure that you’re not overspending.
- Wired vs. Wireless: One of the major decisions that you’ll have to make is if you want wired or wireless speakers. By weighing the pros and cons of these two types of speakers, you can be sure that you get the right ones for your needs.
- Speaker Size: Everyone has seen surround sound systems where the speakers are as large as a person. While this will generally look very impressive, it’s not always the best setup for most people. Unless your living room is huge and you have plenty of open space, these giant speakers won’t work for you. In addition, large speakers such as this can actually become the focal point of the room.
Features to Look for in Surround Sound Speakers
Different features will matter more to you than others will so being aware of what you want your speakers to be able to do will make it more likely that you love your speakers after you buy them and get your system connected.
- THX-Certified Standards: This ensures that you will be hearing all of the sound that the movie maker wants you to hear. If your system is unable to process and handle all of the different noises in a movie, then you won’t hear the smaller, yet important, details such as a bullet ricocheting around the room.
- Bluetooth: This is the easiest way for you to stream any kind of music from your phone or tablet and allows you to bypass the TV altogether. No matter what kind of phone you have, if you have Bluetooth on it, you should be able to easily connect to your speakers so that you can play music at any time. You can add Bluetooth later with an adapter but it’s best to buy speakers that already have this feature and save yourself the time, money, and frustration in the future.
- Theater in a Box: Unless you know exactly what kind of speakers you want to buy and how to hook them all up, then you are most likely going to benefit from buying a complete speaker kit. This makes it very easy to get the sound that you want with minimal hassle and frustration. In addition, manufacturers will package together speakers that will complement each other so you won’t ever have to worry about getting subpar sound when you buy a complete system.
- Wall Brackets: Not all speakers can be mounted on the wall but if you are short of floor space, then you will definitely want to look for speakers that can. This is a great way to free up room in your home but only if the speakers you choose can be easily mounted without affecting their performance. Mounting speakers on the wall if they are not designed for this purpose will result in subpar sounds and can be very frustrating.
Putting it All Together
After reading this buying guide, you should be much better prepared to get the right surround sound speakers for your home. Before going shopping, you will need to sit down and come up with a budget that you are comfortable with as it will guide you in making your purchase.
You can easily buy speakers that are very expensive or ones that don’t cost a lot so knowing what you can spend will make this a lot easier. Your next step is to consider the various manufacturers and decide if there is one in particular that you want to buy from. If you do not have strong feelings about any of them, then you will have a lot more options to choose from.
Now you can begin prioritizing the features that are available on various speakers so you can be sure that you get speakers that will work for you and for your home. Remember that while you can always swap out speakers in the future, this will end up costing you more money. Sometimes it’s best to spend a little extra now so that you can be absolutely sure that you are getting the right speakers for your need.
Think about how you are going to set up your new speakers in your home, if there are any problems such as hard surfaces or not enough floor space that you may run into, and how you want them all connected. By weighing all of the pros and cons of different speakers and considering how they will incorporate into your space, you can make sure that you choose the right ones for your needs.
It’s important that you rely on this surround sound speaker buying guide when shopping for your speakers so you can be sure that the ones you buy are the right ones for your home. Doing all of your research ensures that you won’t be disappointed and that you’ll be able to enjoy the ideal listening experience when enjoying TV or music.
Now that you have done your research and learned what you needed to know about buying surround sound speakers, you might want to take a look at our list of the best surround sound speaker systems or read our informative surround sound speaker reviews below.