What Are The Best 5.1 Home Theater Systems To Buy? 5.1-channel surround audio has become the industry standard for home theater sound, providing a far more immersive audio experience than standard two-channel stereo. The format’s popularity has grown, and outfitting your home entertainment with a 5.1 setup is now simple.
If you’re looking to get on the 5.1 o’clock bandwagon, take a look at our list of the most exciting home theater systems for this year. See our list of the best AV receivers to round out your system.
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TOP 10 BEST 5.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEMS TO BUY
1. ELAC Debut 2.0 5.1 with Denon AVR-S750H
Elac Debut 2.0-5.1 System with 2 F6.2 Floorstanding Speakers, 1 C6.2 Center Speaker, 2 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers, 1 Elac Sub3010 Subwoofer
- UNPRECEDENTED REALISM AND NEW FEATURES – eARC and heightened sound effects with Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology. Be it the sound of a helicopter or torrential rains, it’ll sound so real, you'll think it's happening right above you
- MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR NEW 4K ULTRA HD TV with this 7.2 Ch stereo receiver. Featuring HLG, HDR10, BT.2020, Wide Color Gamut & 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, it DELIVERS EXCEPTIONAL BRIGHTNESS, CONTRAST and COLOR enriching your movie and gaming experience
- EXTEND THE REACH OF YOUR MUSIC to any room in the house via Wi-Fi, Airplay or Bluetooth with HEOS MULTI-ROOM WIRELESS SPEAKERS. No Command Center or extra hardware required. Get Hi-Fi sound around your home with Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Deezer and more
- FULL VOICE CONTROL COMPATIBILITY WITH AMAZON ALEXA lets you sit back and enjoy music without having to reach out for the remote. Adjust the volume, change the track or switch the inputs absolutely hands-free
- AWARD-WINNING ON-SCREEN SETUP ASSISTANT walks you through clear simple instructions to connect your TV, specific EQ settings and helps you optimize your surround sound. Denon's legacy and Japanese precision technology makes it a must-have for your home
There’s no doubt in our minds that ELAC’s new Debut 2.0 system meets the needs of nearly everyone looking for a good 5.1 setup. It’s the sound that draws us in. The audio quality is excellent for the size of the speakers, with a wide dynamic range and powerful bass that makes you feel every kick, punch, and explosion.
You’ll need to purchase a separate receiver, as with most 5.1 packages. In this case, we recommend the Denon AVR-S750H, which not only includes all of the great features of its predecessor, the 740H, but also includes Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and HDMI eARC functionality.
The speaker package and receiver complement each other beautifully, with the amplifiers providing enough power to let the amazing F6.2 floorstanding speakers do their thing.
2. Monoprice HT-35 with Denon AVR-S540BT
Monoprice HT-35 Premium 5.1-Channel Home Theater System – Charcoal, with Powered Subwoofer, Low Profile Speaker Grilles, Secure Mounting Option, Black
- Modern design: Featuring compact, stylish curved cabinets and low profile speaker grilles, the HT-35 will seamlessly blend into any living space.
- Secure mounting option: The satellite and center speakers feature a universal 1/4inx20 threaded mounting hole on the rear panel, allowing you to mount them securely to a wall mount or floor stand, while the satellites have an additional mounting hole on the bottom.
- Compact size: The satellite speakers measure only 7.5in x 4.3in and weigh 2.9 pounds each, while the center channel speaker measures about 10.2in x 4.3in x 6.3in and weighs 3.0 pounds. The compact 200-watt subwoofer is a 12.2in cube and weighs less than 20 pounds.
- Four satellite speakers, a center channel speaker, and a 200 watt, 8in subwoofer.
- Easy to setup.
- MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR 4K UHD TV – At 140W per channel, the Denon AVR-S540BT receiver delivers exceptional brightness and contrast, and supports HLG, HDR, BT.2020, Wide Color Gamut and 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling for realistic display and immersive sound
- YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC AT YOUR FINGERTIPS - With built-in Bluetooth, play music from eight different devices, and create an integrated multi-room audio system with Denon HEOS LINK. Allows wireless music streaming from Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora and more
- OUR EASY ON-SCREEN SETUP ASSISTANT walks you through clear simple instructions to connect your TV, specific EQ settings and helps you optimize your surround sound
- FOUR QUICK SELECT BUTTONS ON THE FRONT PANEL help you store your preferred audio settings for television, Blu-Ray, and more, and allows you to switch between them quickly
- With its 100-year legacy and Japanese precision technology, Denon AV Receiver S540BT DELIVERS MULTI-DIMENSIONAL SURROUND SOUND with 5.2 channel compatibility and SUPPORTS 4K ULTRA HD PICTURE QUALITY, perfect for your home theater and entertainment system
The Monoprice HT-35 is a complete redesign of their previous 33309 system, which was ranked first on our list. One of our major complaints about that system was its unappealing appearance, so we were delighted to see that the HT-35 speakers addressed this issue head on.
Because the Monoprice HT-35 speaker set is quite basic, you won’t need to spend much money to power it. Despite the absence of Dolby and DTS:X, the Denon AVR-S540BT receiver packs a powerful audio punch. This model appears to bring out the best in the Monoprice speakers, and it comes with an impressive range of features for under $400.
3. KEF T305 with YAMAHA RX-V6A
- The KEF T305 Home Theater System comes with two pairs of T301 sattelite speakers to be used as front left and right channels, a T301c center channel speaker, and a powerful T2 subwoofer.
- Each T301, and the T301c, includes two 4.5 inch double-layered mid-frequency drivers and a 1 inch aluminum tweeter, while the T2 subwoofer uses one 10 inch bass driver powered by a 250 watt built-in Class-D amplifier.
- The T305 5.1 home theater system is perfect for those looking for a true surround sound experience without having to dig deep into their walls.
- The system's deepest speaker is only 1.25 inches, thanks to our successful redesigned our drivers.
- This redesign includes an advanced 1 inch vented tweeter, which allows for exceptionally accurate audio reproduction, no matter where you’re sitting in the room.
- HDMI with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (7 in / 1 out)
- 4K60, 4K120AB and 8K60B HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (Three 8k + 4 (7) in/1 out)
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Voice Control and MusicCast multi-room
- Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant devices or Siri via AirPlay 2
- Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD
It’s one of the more expensive combinations on this list, but it’s a home run if you’re looking for an ideal combination that will give you near-perfect 5.1 sound. KEF has a strong presence in the site’s home theater product roundups, and for good reason: their speakers are absolutely fantastic.
Here at The Master Switch, we’re all about pairing. It’s not just a matter of selecting the best receiver; it’s also a matter of selecting the best receiver for the speaker system. Keeping this in mind, we believe the Yamaha RX-V685 is an excellent foil for the T305 system’s detail and clarity. It has a good selection of features and a good sound quality.
4. SVS Prime 5.1 Speaker System ($1,400) with Denon AVR-S750H ($819)
- 5.1 home theater surround sound speaker system includes five compact, massive sounding Prime Satellite speakers and the deep, room-shaking SB-1000 Pro Subwoofer.
- Prime Satellite speakers feature high-performance 1” aluminum dome tweeters for crystal clear highs with lifelike realism even at reference volume. Light, efficient and impervious to distortion, the tweeter’s airy’ presentation reveals every sonic detail with pristine clarity.
- SoundMatch Crossover tuned for an expansive soundstage with accurate frequency response and precise imaging for largest “sweet spot” possible.
- Sonically Inert Cabinet features tapered edges on the speaker’s front baffle, known as chamfers, to minimize edge diffraction for a clear and precise soundstage while features like a rear port, shorting rings and tweeter diffusers provide acoustic enhancements with modern, high-end visual appeal. Also include keyhole bracket for easy mounting on the wall or ceiling.
- SB-1000 Pro Subwoofer delivers breathtaking bass and stunning musicality from a compact 13-inch enclosure. Features a 325 watts RMS, 820+ watts peak power Sledge amplifier and sophisticated 50 MHz DSP for pristine, room-energizing bass. A reimagined 12-inch high-excursion driver takes control of a room with heart-pounding, tonally accurate low end for more immersive listening experiences. Also includes SVS subwoofer DSP smartphone app for convenient tuning and control.
How can we be certain that this is the best system for small rooms? Because we have a small living space. As much as we wish The Master Swit,ch bunker was a massive, cavernous Bond lair, it’s actually a compact office, so we get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t in a small space.
We’ve already mentioned the Denon AVR-S750H, which is paired with the ELAC Debut 2.0 system in our top pick, and while we prefer that one to this, the 750H’s forgiving nature means that it pairs very well with a wide range of systems.
5. Logitech Z506
If you want surround sound while gaming, you’ll need a system that can produce high-quality audio at close range. The Logitech Z506 is ideal. It provides fun and funky sound quality with a focus on bass at an absolutely unbeatable price.
It is the most affordable package on this list, and while it isn’t quite as reliable as the Onkyo HT-S3910, it still performs admirably.
Despite the Logitech Z506’s allure, we must admit that the sound isn’t flawless. These speakers have a lot of trouble with dialogue, which is muddy and indistinct. If you watch a lot of movies, this could be a deal breaker.
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6. Sonos 5.1 Surround Set
Sonos has made significant inroads into the world of home theater, which should worry other companies. They already have a monopoly on the wireless home theater market.
The most obvious disadvantage of the Sonos 5.1 Surround Set is that it is a closed ecosystem, which means it will not work with other brands’ speakers or receivers. This can be an issue if you want to upgrade later, but you can always add more Sonos One satellite speakers. Other wireless options include the systems from Enclave and Axiim, which are detailed below.
7. Jamo S-809 HCS with Pioneer VSX-934
Jamo is a relatively unknown brand outside of the home theater market. However, they produce some fantastic products, including their flagship S-809 HCS system. It has exceptional audio quality, comparable to the top-rated ELAC Debut 2.0 5.1.
To get the most out of this system, choose a workhorse audio receiver that values power and energy over flashy features. We can’t think of a better option than the Pioneer VSX-934, which has 135 watts of power and seems to bring out the best in the Jamo speakers.
8. Monitor Audio MASS with Sony STR-DH590
Monitor Audio went back to the drawing board with a complete redesign of their MASS system, including new drivers, crossovers, and smaller cabinets. The end result is fantastic and a clear improvement over the original.
They’ve even slashed the price by a few hundred dollars. The MASS system, like the previous generation, is among the most musical here, with excellent tone and clarity.
This model is forgiving enough to work with a wide range of receivers, but we believe the Sony STR-DH590 is the best match. It’s a little out of date now, as Sony has released several newer models, but it’s still the best we’ve heard.
9. Dali Oberon 5 5.1 with Sony STR-DN1080
Dali, a company with a much stronger presence in Europe than in the United States, has finally begun to make inroads into North America. Their Oberon 5 5.1 Speaker Package is one of the few complete systems they produce, and it’s a beast.
The individual speakers complement each other extremely well, and we adore the eye-catching design with prominent rivets.
The only issue that keeps this package from being a top contender is its scarcity. The Oberon 5 5.1 Speaker Package is theoretically available in the United States, but there is limited stock, and we’ve had a few readers tell us that they’ve had difficulty finding it.
10. Focal SIB EVO ATMOS 5.1.2 with Denon AVR-X4700H
With their initial release in 2002, the original Focal Sib Evo speakers quickly rose to the forefront of home theater audio. The Sib EVO Atmos is their most recent update, and Focal has significantly improved the overall soundstage and bass response of the speakers.
The new Sib Evos have been designed with Dolby Atmos specifications in mind, as the name suggests. Denon and Focal have always worked well together, and we believe the newer AVR-X4700H receiver is one of the best pairings for the system.
It’s insanely powerful, with circuitry and features (including Dolby Atmos) that bring out the best in the SIB EVO.
Serious home theater enthusiasts frequently built their systems from individual components, such as an AV receiver paired with a pair of floorstanding speakers, individual satellite speakers, and a carefully selected subwoofer.
The problem is that doing so in the 5.1 range – which is generally considered to be the minimum number of speakers required for surround sound – is pointless.
FAQs About Best 5.1 Home Theater Systems
Is 5.1 surround sound the best?
A 5.1 channel setup is the most common, as it provides most listeners with a good surround sound experience. A 5.1 channel setup can be configured in a variety of ways. WiSA-enabled or another type of Wireless Home Theater System is required.
Is Dolby Atmos the best sounding technology?
Dolby Atmos’ ability to create a near-real-life listening experience from a movie, video game, or film recording makes it well worth the investment. This object-based audio system elevates surround sound to new heights by forming a ‘bubble’ in which sound emanates from all directions.
Can I use a 5.2 receiver with 5.1 speakers?
You can enjoy the full effect of surround sound with a proper 5.1 or 5.2 receiver. Many people believe that having a 5.1 or 5.2 system is interchangeable because they both refer to a 5-speaker setup.
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