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Best Home Theater Speaker for Your Home-Watching Experience

Building a custom home theater system can be a daunting task for those without extensive experience with audio equipment; indeed, even with hours upon hours of research, sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge in an industry filled with buzzwords, confusing terminology, and sheets filled with graphs and numbers that seem like they would take a college degree to understand. Luckily, some of the best names in the industry, well-known or not, offer easy solutions for those without the experience or time to research a system piece by piece.

Ranging from 5.1 to full 11.4 setups and everywhere in between, manufacturers everywhere between the lauded Bowers & Wilkins and JBL, to little-known audiophile favorites like KEF, and budget-wonder brands like Monoprice offer full surround-sound systems that are built and tuned specifically to sound great as a single, cohesive system. This not only makes things easy for you, the buyer, it also ensures that the whole system will sound great together. However, not all who try succeed, of course, and those listed here have been chosen for offering superior value for the dollar and the ability to blend well as systems; no one component takes the stage over others, the subwoofers integrate well, and everything just works.

Not all systems are built equal, and you do usually get what you pay for, but when researching please keep in mind that audio products are highly susceptible to the phenomenon of diminishing returns: the higher you climb in the audio stratosphere, the smaller improvements you get with every jump up. The difference between the Monoprice 5.1 system and an entry-level offering from MartinLogan will be noticeable to anyone with ears, but going from Klipsch's Reference Series up to the Palladium probably won't be worth spending 10x the price unless you are a very discerning listener (or if you have money to spare and really like the look of the Palladiums; they are gorgeous). It's also very important to consider the size of your space; larger home theaters won't be served well by a system with satellites instead of floor speakers, and putting the JBL Synthesis Everest in a master bedroom is going to yield incredibly disappointing results, unless you just want to blow your windows out!

Be sure to consider all of these elements when making your purchase to ensure that you are satisfied with the money you spend, but above all, remember to enjoy your new system!

For more information on what to look at in selecting the best home theater speakers in 2021, We have listed below the best home theater speaker available for you to help you decide what product is best to buy.

Here are the best home theater speakers of 2021

Pioneer SP-PK52FS 5.1 Home Theater Speaker - Best Home Theater Speakers Overall

Pioneer has established a new standard for affordable home theater with their new 5.1 system. Matching, and in many cased beating, the overall sound quality of numerous setups in the $1,000-$3000 range, Pioneer's latest system stands head and shoulders above the rest of its similarly priced peers, introducing a new level of soundstage performance, detail, and timbral accuracy to the sub-$1,000 segment. That doesn't make it the best choice for everyone, though. Some will doubtless prefer Klipsch's more typical, exciting take on movie theater-esque sound, but it can't be denied that the PK-52 plays on an entirely different level in terms of accuracy, refinement, tonal realism, and just plain overall quality. While its bass is not as strong, nor its treble as bright, as the Klipsch setup, Andrew Jones has utilized every last inch of this system to produce realistic sound, rather than "enhanced" sound. Bass never overshadows the midrange or sounds out of place, and its highs are prominent but never harsh. Rooms over 4,000 cubic feet might want a bit more bass power, but this system is still an incredible value even if you plan on spending another $200-$300 on a better subwoofer. Overall the PK-52 showcases undeniably fabulous sound quality for the money, and is an easy system to recommend for anyone who isn't a real bass head.

Energy Take Classic Home Theater Speaker - Runner Up

Many more popular companies have released compact satellite systems in recent years, and while more popular brand names like Bose and Boston Acoustics command a premium price, the Take Classic has become incredibly affordable and sounds better than many more expensive systems of similar form factor. It’s not widely known, but Energy is actually Klipsch’s off-brand label, and when you hear the Take Classic’s sound, you’ll see why it’s one of the best-kept secrets in affordable home audio, and why Energy has been manufacturing the same system, with few or no modifications, for the better part of a decade. The Takes have a punchy, full sound, partly thanks to the rear bass ports on each satellite, which make for an incredibly rich sound given the speakers’ tiny size. They integrate seamlessly with the subwoofer, and a crossover between 100-150hz is recommended. This is noticeably lower than what might be optimal for other small systems, and its thanks to those rear bass ports that the itty bitty satellites can handle upper bass so well as to allow the woofer to handle only the lowest of lows. This keeps the deep bass performance tight and punchy, never sounding bloated or overwhelming the beautiful midrange put out by the satellites. Vocal clarity is also occasionally a problem for such compact systems, and while the Takes do not feature a dedicated center channel, dialogue still comes through loud and clear, and without forcing the midrange on the listener. There’s really very little to dislike about the Take Classics, and while they won’t do full justice in a room bigger than about 3,500 ft3, they make for a perfect system in a master bedroom or medium sized den, and considering the whole system will cost you under $500, it’s an absolute steal.

Monoprice 5.1-Channel System Home Theater Speaker - Honorable Mention

Since its creation in 2002, Monoprice has become a brand well-known across the internet shopping community for offering incredible bargains on very reasonable quality products, ranging from cheap but very usable and durable HDMI cables ($2-$5 vs. the $40-$60 you can easily spend at retail outlets) all the way up to security systems, projectors, and, you guessed it, home theater. The Monoprice 8247 is a well-built, decent sounding full 5.1 surround sound system than costs under $100, something that would have been thought impossible just a few years ago. They even include wall mounts, for crying out loud! And the sound, while not approaching in the same league as the other systems listed here, is really nothing to complain about. It’s noticeably superior to similarly priced, and even more expensive, 2.1 systems; there really aren’t any 5.1s in the price range to compare it to. The 8-inch woofer is not exceptionally powerful, and you shouldn’t expect it to fill rooms bigger than 3,000 cubic feet with any real oomph. Really it's not the best quality; if you've never heard a subwoofer before, I'm sure it will be a welcome improvement, but anyone familiar with better units will likely be disappointed.
That said, the 8247 delivers a relatively balanced sound that leans towards warmth, and manages to avoid the typical cheap speaker sound of over-emphasized highs and a sucked-out midrange; on the contrary it is rather natural. Its soundstage is not incredibly impressive for a 5.1, and is beaten pretty soundly by the Take Classic 5.1 and Onkyo 7.1 systems, but still much better than anything even close to its price range. Overall, if you’ve got the extra $100 to spend, and you care about quality, go with the Onkyo 7.1, but if you're really not picky about sound and just want a cheap set of speakers that don’t sound bad, the 8247 will deliver many times its price in value and is by far the easiest, cheapest way to get full 5.1 surround sound.

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JBL Bar 2.1 Home Theater Speaker - Consider

Project Everest was initiated in an attempt to produce nothing short of the world’s finest home theater system, and many would say that JBL has succeeded. The most recent iteration of the Everest speakers, the DD67000, reach even deeper levels of ultimate bass performance, and continue to offer the exciting, effortless, and peerlessly coherent sound that Project Everest has become famous for in the world of high-end home theater.

The full $260,000 package includes eight SK2-3300 surround speakers, four S1S-EX subwoofers, and three DD67000 loudspeakers. Each of the DD67000 Project Everest speakers integrate two 1501AL-2 cast aluminum woofers, which deliver neutral bass down to 32 hz, an incredible feat considering that most standard subwoofers can’t even reproduce this frequency, to say nothing of the accuracy of even most high end woofers at this depth. The S1S-EX woofers respond flat down to 30hz, and the system together has been rumored to simulate frequencies as low as 5hz, easily capable of simulating earthquake-like physical reverberations at high volumes. There is a bit of overemphasis in the 100-200hz range, which helps give Project Everest its notoriously explosive, dynamic sound, but for those who don’t want quite so much bass, proper positioning can mitigate some of the extra LF; keep in mind that these speakers were designed for spaces between 30,000-100,000 ft3, and using them in a smaller space could easily damage your ears, on top of simply not sounding as they should.

The Everest produces positively soaring high frequencies, remaining totally free of distortion that would be audible to the human ear, even at the limit of our hearing, 20,000hz, the highest of high frequencies. This contributes to Project Everest’s absolutely stunning realism, revealing the most minute of details in the finest recordings of any kind and remaining absolutely transparent and grain-free no matter what volume they are pushed too.

Overall, Project Everest gives what is perhaps the closest home theater experience to really being there: they are known by audiophiles to have, more than any other high-end system, that certain “je ne se quoi” that just makes you feel like you are right there with the sound, whether it be clashing swords at Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings, or right there in the front row at that live Van Halen performance. There is quite simply no peer for the Project Everest in terms of achieving the true-to-life realism that so many home audio enthusiasts crave, and for that reason, it receives my highest recommendation as the ultimate home theater speaker system.

Yamaha 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speakers - Best High End Home Theater Speakers

With the advent of their thunderous Sub2 subwoofers and Signature8 loudspeakers, Paradigm stands poised to challenge the likes of JBL and Klipsch for their respective crowns as masters of the explosive and involving listening experience with a sound that defies traditional conceptions of high-end systems. Paradigm’s top-of-the-line range 7.2 includes the C5 center channel, two Signature8 floorstanders, four ADP1 sattelites, and two Sub2 subwoofers. This system produces sound that is both well-balanced and extremely powerful, with the Signature8 avoiding the occasionally over-exciting highs produced by the Everest and Palladium speakers, and remaining smooth at all times, while the Sub2s deliver absolutely mind-boggling bass depth and power while remaining totally free of distortion or midbass bloom.

A single Sub2 can rattle walls, but two of them can be electronically tuned to remain lower in volume while putting out astonishing levels of the lowest frequencies, delivering a tactile response that makes the S1S-EX woofers sound like oversized chest-thumping gorillas in comparison. While the system as a whole can’t quite match the incredible realism and effortlessness of the Synthesis Everest, and true audiophiles will likely opt for the JBL’s true-to-life feel, the Paradigm Signature Collection offers a new signature for HiFi sound, and anyone more concerned with a system’s performance in creating incredibly tactile bass while maintaining an incredible tonal balance should look to Paradigm for a smoother alternative to the industry’s bigger names.

Vizio Elevate Sound Bar Home Theater Speakers - Best High End Home Theater Speakers

For about $70,000, you can have a 7.2 version of the exact speakers used in Abbey Road studios, the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond; throw down an extra 20 grand and you get to swap the 800 series loudspeakers for B&W's world-renowned, handcrafted Nautilus speakers, a treat for the eyes and ears alike. These prices include the Nautilus HTM2 Diamond Center Channel, four 805 Diamond Satelites, two DB1 subwoofers, and two of either the 800 Series Diamond or Nautilus custom crafted loudspeakers.

Either way, you will be treated to some of the finest sound money can buy: B&W's breathtakingly detailed, exciting house sound will make you believe you've walked into a live studio recording session. The Nautilus speakers offer an ever-so-slightly brighter sound that is famous for being measured as pitch perfect, but the 800D is a bit more truly neutral to the ear, integrating its proprietary Diamond tweeter slightly better than the “snails,” and giving it the smallest edge in coherence; the Nautilus sounds a bit artificially transparent in comparison. The 800D also has slightly enhanced bass performance that is just as deep and tight as the Nautilus, but offering just smidge extra punch. The Nautilus speakers are notoriously difficult to drive and match properly with a source, and due to the extra bit of brightness, they can be harsh on less-than-perfect recordings.

Overall, the 800D are a better deal, sound slightly more natural, and are less picky about source and amplification, so they will be the safer choice for most buyers...but those Nautili sure are pretty. In the end, whichever speakers you choose, the 800 series is an incredible deal compared to some other summit-fi system; I don’t honestly think anyone could ask for much more in terms of sound, especially considering the DB1’s fantastically accurate bass response and state-of-the-art room correction tech, and those looking for a musical yet accurate home theater system truly couldn’t do much better. The sound is incredibly rich and spacious, offering one of the most three-dimensional sounds available without over-emphasizing dynamic elements o the sound the way some bassier systems tend to.

Accordingly, it’s not the explosive, ultra-dynamic sound that many people will doubtless want from a home theater; that’s what the JBL Synthesis Everest or, for those not quite so heinously deep of wallet, Paradigm Signature Collection are for. But for those wanting a neutral, accurate, and yet peerlessly musical system of the highest order, the 800 Series Diamond is nigh on impossible to beat.

Monoprice Channel 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker - Best High End Home Theater Speakers

The Ultima 2 range is known throughout the audiophile community to produce one of the most natural, effortless sounds in the industry. While not as bassy and dynamic as the JBL Synthesis Everest, nor offering the pristine highs and bell-like clarity of the B&W 800D Series, Revel’s top-of-the-line 7.2 produces smooth, clean sound that is equally impressive with both music and movies. The 7.2 system includes a Voice2 center channel, four Gem2 sattelites, two Salon2 floorstanding speakers, and two Rhythm2 subwoofers. The Salon2 loudspeakers produce extremely rich audio with very impressive bass performance for floorstanding speakers, reaching below 20hz and having noteworthy punch on their own. In concert with the Gem2s, they produce an extremely spacious soundstage with a relaxed sound that is intimate but never overly powerful, shouty, or forward, offering a slightly laid back presentation.

The whole system together yields a smooth, powerful sound that is better suited for a combination of movies and music than the other systems in this review, and while it will never match the sheer power of Project Everest, it is quite simply a very different flavor, and a much more refined and versatile one at that. It is the kind of system that simply disappears into your theater; while Project Everest will draw attention to itself with its enormous speakers and explosive bass performance, and the B&W 800 series will repeatedly excite your ears and leave you in wonderment of the beauty of high-end audio, the Ultima 2 7.2 system will simply become a piece of your home theater that can be taken for granted, a quality that is, paradoxically, easily understated but impossible to overrate. Quite simply, it does absolutely everything a high end home theater system should do, without questioning or highlighting itself. If you really can’t pick which sound signature you think you’d like best, the Ultima 2 is the ultimate safe bet, and a purchase I doubt any audio enthusiast would ever regret.

Klipsch Black Reference Home Theater Speaker - Best High End Home Theater Speakers

Klipsch has made their name with their theater-like house sound, and the Palladium exemplifies this signature in a compact 5.1 system that is perfect for those seeking theater-like audio in a slightly smaller space. Running a cool $31,500 for the whole system, the Palladium brings a lively, exciting sound, in many ways analogous to a scaled-down version of the JBL Synthesis Everest system, to spaces (or budgets) that cant accomodate JBL’s extravagance. For the cash price of a new car, you get two of Klipsch’s P-39F loudspeakers, a P27-C center channel, two P27-S surrounds, and the P312-W subwoofer.

The P-39s deliver very natural, well-balanced sound that is a bit forward in nature, in accordance with Klipsch’s house sound, but strays away from the over-emphasis on the upper midrange that some of Klipsch’s lower model horn-loaded speakers are prone to, instead delivering a more smooth and powerful sound. Incorporating the full system yields a forward but very spacious sound for a 5.1 system, and its masterful balance enables it to remain very natural and well-controlled at the limits of reproduction, while still offering that exciting, explosive edge of emphasized bass and treble that Klipsch has become famous for. If you’ve heard Klipsch’s lower-end offerings, and want to experience the best they have to offer, or are lusting over Project Everest but don’t have a bottomless savings account to dip into, the Palladium series will bring you very close to the peak of HiFi, and looks even better than the JBLs to boot.

MartinLogan Motion Surround Home Theater Speaker - Best Mid Range Home Theater Speakers

MartinLogan is best known for their electrostatic speakers, and for good reason: they produce some of the finest ultra high-end floorstanding speakers in the industry. The Motion series is not quite so close to sonic perfection as their much more expensive electrostatic offerings, but they are an entirely different product and are equally impressive for their intended purpose. Whether you opt for the more compact, budget-friendly bookshelf system or the full-on tower-based option, the Motion series of speakers delivers quality sound at a reasonable price with a very compact footprint; even the towers are considerably slimmer than most of the competition, and can work well in a smaller space like a bedroom or den. Both bookshelf and tower options feature impressively tight and impactful bass response for front speakers in their price range, but lower bass is, admittedly, better handled by their Dynamo subwoofers, which produce rich, full, and yet extremely tight bass, and each of which is a solid value for the asking price. Obviously the 1000W rules the coop, but the 700W handles bass very well and is a great deal at around $600.

The Motion’s overall sound is characterized by a rich tonality and smooth, sweet treble response, the kind of sound that is love-at-first-listen for those who love to use their system for both movies and music. Bass response from their dynamo subs might not be quite as thunderous as some prefer for larger rooms, in which case I definitely recommend the towers and a second sub for a fuller sound, but ML’s woofers tend to err on the side of favoring quality over quantity, so if you want real wall-rattling bass, you may want to look at Klipsch’s Reference series instead. But if you prefer a slightly more mature bass presentation, and want a smooth, clear sound, the Motion series will not disappoint, and you can always add an extra subwoofer if you’re looking to achieve room lock vibrations without opting for the more brash sound of the Klipsch Reference line. All in all, the Motion series is my top recommendation for a full-on home theater system within a reasonable budget, and comes very close to a full-on ultra high-end sound system for a fraction of the cost.

Klipsch RF-82II Bundle with Klipsch Home Theater Speaker - Best Mid Range Home Theater Speakers

Between powerful subwoofers and the horn-loaded midrange speakers, Klipsch’s house sound is known for being bold and brassy, with forward mids and powerful bass response. The RF-82-II exemplifies this perhaps better than any Klipsch system, delivering a punchy, aggressive sound that delivers exactly the kind of presentation that will immediately impress anyone who is new to high end audio. Some people will prefer the more laid-back sound of MartinLogan’s systems, and those with smaller spaces (say, below 5,000 ft3) to fill may even prefer the compact offerings from B&W, KEF, or Paradigm. But for recreating that real movie theater experience at home, there is no substitute for Klipsch.

The horn-loaded mids produce strikingly clear, forward vocals that make any and all movie or TV dialogue up-front and extremely easy to hear, a notorious shortcoming of lower-end home theater systems. The RF-82-II floorstanders are the star of the show, combining with the RC-62-II to push vocals forward and create an incredibly punchy, immersive experience. The SW-115 subwoofer is the real show stealer here, though: it is one of my picks for Best Subwoofer on its own merits, and it is one of the most important elements in making the RF-82-II the monster of a sound system that it is. Digging deep into the 20hz range, and even below when fed enough power, the SW-115 is capable of rattling walls and windows in a medium sized room, and throwing in an extra one will fill even large dedicated home theaters with chest-thumping bass, producing positively seismic SPLs. The Klipsch Reference Series has always been one for lovers of the splashy, forward and exciting Klipsch house sound, and the top-of-the-line RF-82-II is no exception; anyone looking for that true movie theater sound at home, look no further, because that is exactly what Klipsch’s Reference line was designed to do.

Buyer's Guide

Are you tired of listening to your favorite music and those action sequences through thin-sounding, inbuilt speakers of your TV?
If so, it’s time to upgrade your sound and purchase home theater speakers. It can be a difficult decision because there are a plethora of options available at different prices. Besides, what sounds pleasing to one ear might not sound sweet to another. In this guide, we are going through all the aspects you should consider to choose the best home theater speakers.

What are the Types of Speakers?

Deciding the type of speakers depends on many things like personal preference and how you want them to look and sound. What’s more, different sizes of rooms need different types of speakers. In bigger rooms, bigger speakers can be used. However, if you have a smaller room, then it’s not a good idea to grab your hands on large speakers that take up a lot of space.

Now let’s have a look at different types of speakers used in home theater setups.

Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf speakers tend to be compact and have a driver that is not bigger than 6-6.5 inches. They are ideal for smaller spaces and usually set on an entertainment center. However, you can also mount them to the wall. These home theater speakers can produce impressive sounds or be disappointing depending on the brand and quality.

Tower Speakers

Tower or floor-standing speakers are significantly large and usually sit right on the ground. They have multiple drivers that range from 1-10 inches to cover a wide frequency range. These speakers are available in an array of size. Some comprise small-sized drivers and are thin, while others include large drivers and are quite wide.

Wall-Mounted Speakers

Wall-mounted speakers are slightly smaller than bookshelf speakers and designed to be mounted on a wall. Since they are not too large, the size of their drivers will also be smaller. To mount these speakers, you will have to run some cables through the wall unless you don’t mind cables hanging down the wall.

Center Channel Speakers

Center channel speakers are equipped to provide some balance to your home theater sound system. They typically contain a variety of different-sized drivers to cover a wide frequency range. The volume level of these speakers can be adjusted independently of the other speakers in your system, allowing you to balance the overall sound with more flexibility. On top of that, center channel speakers are the spot where almost all of the dialogues and voices will emanate, so placing them below your TV will create a natural balance between the audio and the video.

Subwoofer

Whether it is a staccato gunfight scene or a rumbling volcano sound in a 4K nature show, the subwoofer produces the deep, resonant sound. They have various drivers of 8,10,12, or 15 inches and are dedicated to handling low-pitched frequencies in a home theater sound system. If you have a large space, you might need more than one subwoofer. Placing one more sub can improve the overall bass quality and spread the sound more evenly in the room.

In-Wall or In-Ceiling Speakers

As the name implies, these speakers are mounted inside a ceiling or a wall. They are an excellent choice for home theatre usage if you are comfortable cutting the holes and running cables inside the wall or ceiling. Thus, they will take no space in your room, unlike bookshelf or tower speakers.

In-wall or in-ceiling speakers have various drivers in different sizes, but no driver is larger than 8 inches. If you want to hide the speakers, you can set them up behind an acoustically transparent project screen. It will also make you feel that the sound is coming from the screen itself.

What are the Technical Specifications to Consider When Choosing Speakers?

High-Resolution Audio

Home theater speakers designed to deliver high-resolution audio have the best sound quality. This refers to sound or audio with more than 44.1 kHz sample rate and/or over 16-bit linear bit depth.

Impedance

Impedance is measured in ohms and determines the power handled by speakers. Most home theater speakers are rated 6 or 8 ohms. Since you will need a balance of power, ensure the impedance of speakers you purchase matches the impedance of your receiver or amplifier. For instance, if you have a receiver of 8 ohms, consider a speaker of 8 ohms too. It will prevent overheating and distortion, which can damage your equipment.

Frequency Response

The frequency response is usually between 20 Hz to 20 kHz and responsible for the range of audible frequencies the speaker can reproduce. Choose speakers that cover a good range.

Power Handling

The power of speakers is measured in watts and determines how much power a speaker can receive from a receiver before it begins to distort. While purchasing one, make sure to check the watts/channel your receiver can put out.

Final Words

Bad speakers will always let you down if you are fond of watching movies, listening to music, or playing games. Don’t settle for poor home audio when there are a host of solutions out there. Armed with all this information, you can make the best decision while choosing home theater speakers.

Home Theater Speaker FAQ

Q: What type of speakers is suitable for my small room?

A: For smaller rooms, bookshelf speakers are the best choice. They can be placed on a TV stand or media shelf. But make sure not to put them behind the furniture as it will deteriorate the sound quality.

Q: How can I improve the sound of my center channel speaker?

A: A center channel speaker handles the 50% soundtrack of a movie and carries most of the dialogue. Setting it up at ear level when seated, around 30 to 50 inches off the ground, can help you get the best sound results.

Q: Is it necessary to choose speakers of the same brand?

A: Since each speaker brand has its own sound qualities or voice, we recommend using speakers of the same brand for each location. It will give your evenly balanced sound in your room.

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