Top 5 Best 5.1 Surround Sound Systems

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Best 5.1 Surround Sound Systems

A surround sound system is the best for immersive audio on a home-theater setup. By using a 5.1 system over a standard two-channel stereo found in most setups, your movies will sound much better, and you’ll experience the movie better. This article will review the top 5 best 5.1 surround sound systems in 2022.

5.1 sound, as the name implies, uses five full-range channels and one low-frequency channel (the subwoofer). The most common configuration for this type of setup is to have three speakers in the front, two speakers in the back, and a sub in the middle for a more powerful low-end, as we will explain in detail below.

How to Choose the Right 5.1 Surround Sound System

Room Size

It is important to keep your room size in mind when planning your 5.1 surround sound system. As a rule of thumb, 5.1 systems are good for most small to medium-sized rooms. You must also place your sofa or seat at least 3 feet away from the back wall to make room for the rear speakers.

You will find 5.1 systems of different sizes in the market. Larger, more expensive ones will give you the best experience if you have a moderate-size home theater or living room but can be overpowering in smaller environments. In this case, there’s no need to spend extra for a larger kit. More affordable, smaller systems will get the job done well.

Speaker Placement

The most common type of speaker placement for a 5.1 surround system is three speakers in the front, 2 in the back, and a sub, as depicted in the image below:

Speaker Placement

While this is the most optimal layout for the type of system in context, the best distance between each speaker will depend on their size, power, and, of course, the size of your room. That’s why we included speaker placement as a factor when reviewing each particular system.

5.1 systems can also be arranged with a different layout from the image. For example, smaller kits may allow you to place all of the speakers in the front, but the configuration will impact the surround capabilities of the setup. It is also worth noting that some speakers are compatible with wall mounts and floor stands, while some are not.

Connectivity

Most 5.1 surround sound systems are connected to your home theater device via RCA cables. Before you shop for a sound system, you must ensure that your receiver is compatible with this setup. If you look at the back of the device, it should have at least six labeled connections: one for each speaker.

Some 5.1 surround sound systems in the market are connected via Bluetooth. This is an excellent option because it will keep you from dealing with all the wires that may be apparent in your system. Another benefit is that you can control these wireless speakers via your smartphone.

Frequency Response and Audio Quality

Audio quality is one of the most important factors when buying any kind of speaker, without a doubt. While it is difficult to judge audio quality if you’re shopping on the internet or aren’t able to hear the sound system yourself before buying, there are a few specifications that may help us determine whether the system has excellent audio quality or not.

The most important one is its frequency response. The frequency response of each speaker in a 5.1 surround sound system is usually shown as a graph. The specification shows how the particular speaker behaves in certain given spectrum frequencies. For example, some subwoofers may be more prominent in the 200Hz area (low-mids), while others can have more presence in the 100Hz (sub-bass).

Experience Expected

Last, consider what kind of experience you expect from your 5.1 system. Consider, for example, whether you’re looking for a setup to only watch movies with or want to listen to music. The experience you get from your kit will largely depend on the other factors combined.

Best 5.1 Surround Sound Systems

Best 5.1 Surround Sound SystemsRatingPriceReview
Yamaha YHT-5960U4.1Check Amazon
Check B&H
Read Review
Monoprice HT-354.5Check Amazon
Check MonoPrice
Read Review
Bobtot Surround Sound Speakers4.0Check AmazonRead Review
Klipsch Reference R-26FA4.8Check AmazonRead Review
iLive 5.1 Home Theater System3.2Check Amazon
Check WalMart
Read Review

1. Yamaha YHT-5960U: Best For Medium to Large-Sized Home Theaters

Yamaha YHT-5960U

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This kit from Yamaha comes complete with six speakers and a receiver. While the system is one of the most expensive on the list, it offers several exciting features that justify its prices, such as the YPAO automatic room calibration technology and compatibility with Dolby Vision.

Features

  • 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • Includes Receiver
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Main Speakers Input Power: 80 Watts
  • Subwoofer Power: 50 Watts
  • Frequency Range: 28Hz-25kHz
  • Sensitivity: 83dB

Review

1. Room Size

The YHT-5960U will be an excellent fit for rooms of any size, as these speakers are powerful. However, we feel like they could be a little too overpowering for smaller environments and average-sized living rooms, so we better recommend them for medium to large-sized home theaters.

2. Speaker Placement

One interesting feature of the YHT-596OU is the YPAO room calibration technology. A small sensor is connected to the receiver and constantly analyzes the room acoustics to adjust the audio to provide you with the best listening experience. With that feature available, speaker placement becomes less of an issue.

3. Connectivity

While the speakers feature RCA inputs only, the receiver with the kit has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2 connectivity. You can use the MusicCast app to control your sound more easily and even stream content directly from your smartphone, making it an all-in-one solution.

4. Frequency Response and Audio Quality

With the low-frequency response going as low as 28Hz, this kit can expect a very good bass response. The mid and high-range drivers are also surprisingly effective, topping at 25kHz, significantly enhancing dialogue when watching movies. The kit is also good for listening to music.

5. Experience Expected

You can expect a greater than average experience with the YHT-5960U. Having features such as Bluetooth connectivity and YPAO automatic room calibration, you can’t really go wrong. We find it particularly interesting that the kit already comes with a receiver, so you won’t need to spend extra money if you don’t have one already. 

2. Monoprice HT-35: Best For Small Home Theaters and Gaming Setups

Monoprice HT-35

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This 5.1 surround sound system from Monoprice is small but quite powerful. The kit features main speakers and a subwoofer with 100 and 200 watts of power, respectively. These numbers are impressive considering the small size of this setup, and the HT-35 may be an excellent option for smaller rooms.

Features-

  • 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • 3/4″ Aluminum Dome Tweeters
  • 3″ Polypropylene Woofers
  • Main Speakers Input Power: 100 Watts
  • Subwoofer Power: 200 Watts
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 88dB

Review- 

1. Room Size

These speakers will be a better fit for small to medium-sized rooms. The main front speakers are smaller than other options on the list. It can benefit those who wouldn’t like to clutter their setup with a larger system since it will fit most racks perfectly.

2. Speaker Placement

These speakers are small, so you can get away with placing them near each other. For example, if your TV furniture is only 6ft wide, this setup will be a great fit since you can put them in the rack rather than needing a wall mount or floor stand, which could take more space and add to the cost.

3. Connectivity

These speakers utilize the traditional RCA connection to wire to your home theater device. Unlike more expensive models, it doesn’t feature Bluetooth connectivity or a dedicated remote control. Still, it is understandable considering the low price of this kit: $219, by the time I wrote this article.

4. Frequency Response and Audio Quality

The frequency response of this particular kit is quite impressive, considering the sub can hit as low as 25Hz. On the main speakers’ side, it can reproduce up to 20kHz, which is standard in most 5.1 systems.

5. Experience Expected

Overall, these speakers are great, and as an affordable set, it delivers excellent audio quality. We recommend it for those looking for an easy kit to watch movies and videos; it is especially good at reproducing dialogue. If your main objective is to listen to music, it can work, but the small tweeters will have difficulty reproducing the mid frequencies.

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3. Bobtot Surround Sound Speakers Home Theater System: Best For Small Home Theaters and Gaming Setups

Bobtot Surround Sound Speakers Home Theater System

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The 5.1 surround sound system from Bobtot is affordable and features Bluetooth connectivity. Priced at only $144 by the time I wrote this article, it is one of the cheapest 5.1 systems we could find, but it still delivers decent quality and features that are usually only found in more expensive options.

Features- 

  • 5.1 / 2.1 Surround Sound System
  • Main Speakers Input Power: 800 Watts
  • Subwoofer Power: 200 Watts
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: Not Specified

Review-

1. Room Size

Featuring 6.5 drivers on the main speakers, these are pretty versatile and can be used in small and medium-sized rooms. Considering it has Bluetooth connectivity and a neutral, good-looking design, these would fit a gaming PC setup very well without causing much clutter on your desk.

2. Speaker Placement

The Bobtot 5.1 system is very versatile when it comes to speaker placement. The manufacturer suggests many different ways to set up the speakers. For example, if you’re short on space in your living room, you could still arrange all four mid-range speakers on the front of your setup instead of having a pair on the back. 

One drawback with this system is that the speakers aren’t compatible with wall mounts and floor stands. This may limit the placement options you have.

3. Connectivity

This kit has more connectivity options than other models on the list, as it features multiple RCA connections plus an optical and coaxial audio input. It also features a USB port to easily hook it up to your computer or laptop and Bluetooth connectivity for a clutterless experience.

4. Frequency Response and Audio Quality

The Bobtot 5.1 system performs exceptionally well on the lower frequencies as its frequency range goes down to 20Hz. The mid and high-range speakers are within the expected response. With 800 watts of peak power, this kit is also quite powerful and will sound exceptional for watching movies and listening to music.

5. Experience Expected

At a price so affordable, you can still expect a great experience from this 5.1 kit. We like the fact that the system can work in either 5.1 surround sound or standard 2.1 stereos: the first will work better for watching movies while the latter option can be best for listening to music, so the Bobtot is very versatile.

We recommend these if you’re short on space or looking for a 5.1 surround sound system, particularly for your gaming PC setup.

4. Klipsch Reference R-26FA: Best For Medium to Large-Sized Home Theaters

Klipsch Reference R-26FA

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Moving on a bit from smaller kits, the Klipsch Reference R-26FA is a good match for medium to large-sized rooms. The front speakers are tower-designed and feature a built-in elevation channel for Dolby Atmos. These speakers’ design also looks unique and will fit most environments.

Features-

  • 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • 1″ Aluminum Diaphragm Compression Tweeter
  • 6.5″ Copper Spun IMG Woofers
  • Main Speakers Input Power: 400 Watts
  • Subwoofer Power: 400 Watts
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz-24kHz
  • Sensitivity: 97dB

Review- 

1. Room Size

These speakers are more suitable for medium to large-sized rooms and may sound overpowering if your environment is too small. As the back speakers are quite powerful, at 400W, they also need to be placed at a larger distance from your seat/sofa than smaller 5.1 systems.

2. Speaker Placement

As the size of these speakers suggests, they must be placed at a considerable distance from each other for the best sound experience. A benefit of the R-26FA is that the front speakers have a tower design with the Dolby Atmos channel standing over it, so placement is a lot easier, and you won’t have to spend extra money on wall mounts and floor stands.

3. Connectivity

The connectivity of the Klipsch Reference R-26FA is standard, with RCA connections that can be wired to your primary home theater device. As these speakers are pretty expensive, we were expecting the kit to have Bluetooth connectivity (which they don’t have), but this may or not be a problem depending on your particular use case.

4. Frequency Response and Audio Quality

Regarding audio quality, these speakers perform quite well and are surprisingly loud, thanks to the 97dB sensitivity of the front speakers. When it comes to frequency response, they stay on average, with a range going from 40Hz to 24kHz. Some cheaper models have a better bass response, but the R-26FA is exceptional at reproducing mid to high frequencies and dialogue.

5. Experience Expected

These speakers are as versatile as most other options on the list, and you can expect a great experience when watching movies with them, particularly those with a lot of dialogue. The moderate low-response and the extended mid and high-frequency range also make it suitable for listening to music.

5. iLive 5.1 Home Theater System: Best For Small Home Theaters

iLive 5.1 Home Theater System

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At a surprisingly affordable price of $79.99, the iLive Home Theather System is an excellent option for those on a budget. The kit has great features usually only found on more expensive models, such as Bluetooth and compatibility with wall mounts. The design also looks especially clean. 

Features- 

  • 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Main Speakers Input Power: Not Specified
  • Subwoofer Power: Not Specified
  • Frequency Range: 70Hz-15kHz
  • Sensitivity: 83dB

Review-

1. Room Size

The speakers on this kit are relatively small, so it is only suitable for small-sized rooms. For most home theater setups, though, it will perform just fine.

2. Speaker Placement

The speakers in this kit can be placed in different layouts. You can either have the back speakers on the back of your seat/sofa or place them at the front when short on space. The speakers are also wall mountable and have a wireless range of 60 feet, so it most likely won’t be a problem finding the right speaker placement for this kit.

3. Connectivity

Apart from the RCA inputs, these speakers also feature Bluetooth connectivity. This is especially great and surprising for the product, particularly at a low price. Setting up your surround system wirelessly will avoid any cluttering problems you would have with wired kits.

4. Frequency Response and Audio Quality

The frequency range on these speakers is not as wide as some other options on the list, only 70Hz-15kHz. While it is understandable given the price and the small size of this kit, you might feel that the iLive lacks a bit in the sub-bass and the super-high frequencies, making it not the best system for listening to music but doable for watching movies.

5. Experience Expected

You should expect a decent experience if your main goal is to improve the sound of your movies. For music, though, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. These speakers are the most affordable ones on the list and are very compact, so consider your expectations and room size before buying them.

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Conclusion

As you can see, the offers for 5.1 surround sound systems in the market are quite remarkable. You have a whole range of setups with different features; these include more expensive options such as the Klipsch Reference R26-FA and affordable ones such as the iLive 5.1.

We highly recommend the Yamaha YHT-5960U because it has an excellent value for the price and comes with a receiver. These speakers are highly versatile and perform well in small and large rooms. 

Whichever the 5.1 system you have your eyes on, keep in mind the main factors you should consider when shopping: your budget, room size, the audio quality of the set, the connectivity options, and what experience you expect from the particular model.

You can find the link to each product on their particular titles on the list. We hope this article helped you find the best 5.1 surround sound system for your setup. Keep in mind all the factors mentioned in the article when shopping for your new set of speakers, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

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