5 Reasons to Buy New Surround Sound Speakers Today and Which Are Best

Hey there! Have you considered upgrading from basic TV speakers to a dedicated surround sound system? If not, this guide is for you! I‘m going to clearly walk through what surround sound is, reasons why now is a great time to take the plunge, top speakers to consider, helpful buying advice and commonly asked questions. My goal is make this technology less intimidating so you can confidently create an awesome home theater. Let‘s dive in!

Surround Sound 101: The Next Evolution in Immersive Audio

You‘re likely familiar with stereo sound – audio from just left and right channels. Surround sound builds on this by adding many more speakers strategically placed around the room‘s walls and ceiling. Discrete audio tracks are played through each, making sounds emanate from all directions, even above you!

This mimics natural sound and gives your brain precise spatial cues about where noises are occurring. You feel transported right into the action as things happen all around you. No longer a passive viewer, you become an active participant immersed in realistic worlds. It‘s incredibly engaging!

From quiet background chatter to thundering helicopter flybys, you experience content as the creators intended – with thrilling multi-dimensional life and clarity. It‘s no overstatement to say surround sound alongside 4K Ultra HD video takes in-home entertainment to whole new levels.

Brief Timeline of Surround Sound Evolution

Experiments with multi-channel audio started back in the 1930s, as engineers looked to move past mono and stereo sound. In the 1950s and 60s, stereo music and movies got traction. The 1970s brought early quadraphonic and matrixed surround technologies to enhance realism.

Dolby first made surround systems affordable for homes in 1982. Through the 80s and 90s, new movie-theater quality surround standards like Dolby Digital 5.1 emerged. Today‘s systems use advanced formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X plus wireless streaming. Expect many more innovations in years ahead!

5 Benefits of Adding Surround Speakers

Let‘s explore key perks of upgrading to a dedicated surround system!

1. Captivating, Realistic Audio Experience

Well-implemented surround puts you right inside movies, shows and games. Sounds come at you from everywhere – even above – based on what‘s happening. Much more engrossing than plain old stereo. It feels scarily real at times!

2. Pinpoint Directional Sounds

Our hearing leverages subtle timing and volume differences between ears to identify sounds‘ origin. Surround speakers positioned properly around the room simulate this natural acoustic experience.

You accurately perceive things occurring in front, behind, left, right, even overhead. This enhanced realism is extremely beneficial for gaming too.

3. Clear, Easy-to-Follow Dialog

Don‘t you hate constantly rewinding shows because you can‘t understand what characters said? Surround sound prevents this.

Multiple channels mean no congested, messy audio. Plus many systems have dialogue boost modes ensuring you never miss critical lines again. I love this feature!

4. Compatibility with 3D Sound Formats

Surround speaker systems unlock immersive Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Sony 360 Reality Audio formats used in today‘s streaming and disc media. Even stereo content gets converted to pseudo-surround.

Without proper decoders and surround speakers, you miss much of the 3D audio experience entertainment creators intended.

5. Wireless Streaming from Apps & Devices

Another big benefit of newer surround equipment is integrated streaming platforms. Many models feature Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Alexa and more.

Wirelessly play Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and tons of audio sources directly through your speakers. Voice assistants even enable handy hands-free control.

Still Listening Through TV Speakers? 5 Reasons to Upgrade Today

If I haven‘t convinced you yet, here are five more arguments for buying a surround system this year.

1. Surround Speaker Prices Keep Dropping

Surround gear has gotten much cheaper over the years thanks to market competition and better production efficiencies. Now is definitely the time to upgrade before prices plateau! Even premium surround systems now come equipped with great budget-friendly options.

2. Easy Wireless Setup

I know wiring up surround speakers seems daunting. But many modern options use wireless transmission, freeing you to place speakers anywhere without cable length constraints or tripping hazards!

Streaming abilities also let you directly play music from smartphones and tablets. Voice assistants provide handy hands-free control too.

3. Tap Your TV‘s Full Potential

Spent big bucks on a cutting-edge 4K smart TV with gorgeous picture quality but lackluster audio from teeny built-in speakers? Surround sound unlocks your fancy new TV‘s full entertainment potential for jaw-dropping movie nights.

Most surround systems conveniently connect to TVs via one single HDMI cable as well. Makes upgrade simple!

4. Boost Gaming Immersion

You need surround sound to fully experience elaborate gaming worlds. Pinpoint enemies sneaking up behind you, feel transported racing through photorealistic environments, and soak in every sensory detail developers crafted.

It often provides a tactical gameplay advantage too – but most importantly, it‘s more fun!

5. Hear Streaming Content As Intended

Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+ invest heavily in premium movies and shows with intense theater-quality surround sound. Tap into the incredible immersive mixes with capable speakers, or you miss half the creative experience!

Compare Top Surround Systems

Here I‘ll compare top-rated surround systems across three budget tiers based on performance, features and value.

Overall Best: Sony HT-A9

Sony HT-A9

If you want the absolute best surround experience, Sony‘s HT-A9 is it. Sony‘s renowned audio engineering expertise is on full display here. The minimalist rectangle design houses seven speakers plus two subwoofers, along with class-leading spatial sound processing powering 360 degree audio tuned precisely for your room‘s acoustics.

You can even optimize audio scene by scene thanks to built-in microphones and phantom center speaker tech. Gorgeous sound aside, streaming capabilities are equally impressive. Bluetooth and Chromecast make wireless music playback a breeze. Voice control via Alexa and Google Assistant removes any need for a remote as well.

While expensive, hear this system just once and you realize where all the money goes – into sublime, immersive sound that fully transports you into scenes. If that‘s important for your home theater, make the investment!

Runner Up: Samsung HW-Q950A


If the Sony system is out of your budget, seriously consider Samsung‘s 11.1.4 channel HW-Q950A instead. It delivers nearly as impressive surround capabilities at hundreds less. Proprietary Q-Symphony and SpaceFit Sound technologies analyze room layout and tweak audio output to fill the space optimally.

I‘m continually amazed how Samsung squeezes cinema-quality sound from streamlined soundbar and satellite speaker combos. An Acoustic Beam subwoofer also ensures you feel the deepest rumbles and action scenes. Like all Samsung home theater products, it plays extremely nicely with their TVs.

One HDMI cable connection instantly syncs power, volume and input control. But Bluetooth, WiFi and built-in Alexa also make it flexible for music streaming and smart home voice control needs. Overall an awesome runner up pick!

Budget Pick: Vizio SB46514-F6

VIZIO SB46514-F6

If maxing budget takes priority, you can still enjoy surround sound without completely breaking bank. The Vizio SB46514-F6 46-inch soundbar plus wireless surround speaker combo does the trick wonderfully.

Four full-range drivers embedded in the front soundbar, plus two compact surround speakers and a booming sub, flood rooms with quality 5.1 channel audio. DTS:X and Dolby Audio decoding means full support for latest surround formats too.

While streaming features are lighter compared to premium picks, Bluetooth connectivity provides basic wireless music integration. Five HDMI ports allow ample device connections as well. For the price, you‘ll struggle to find a better immersive audio option.

More Surround Sound Shopping Tips

Here is extra advice for picking the right system:

Sound Quality Above All

Listen to demos in store playing movie scenes and music. Assess directional effects, bass impact, loudness and dialogue clarity. Trusted brands renowned for audio quality engineering tend to perform better.

Room Size Match

Factor in room dimensions, layout and seating. Larger spaces need more powerful surround components. Dolby Atmos add-on speakers can help immerse bigger areas.

Expansion Capability

Many receivers and processors support adding more speakers down the road. Start with an affordable 5.1 system, then augment with rear surround or height channels.

Voice Assistant Compatibility

Native integration with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri allows handy hands-free control. Check models for onboard support versus needing an external device.

Wall Mounting Options

Install slim profile surround speakers on walls or ceilings to save space. Many cubes and soundbars come mount-ready too. Ensure components fit before buying!

Your Surround Sound Questions Answered

Let‘s wrap up by getting to the bottom of common surround sound FAQs:

Are surround sound speakers worth getting?

Absolutely! Discrete surround channels make movies/games way more engrossing through realistic immersive audio. Proper setup correctly simulates directional sounds occurring around and even above you. Miles better than plain old stereo from a soundbar.

What makes for good surround sound equipment?

Key factors are decoding support for leading Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats, wireless connectivity for streaming/flexible setup, integrated voice assistant control, modes to boost dialogue audibility, solid bass reproduction and obviously great directional sound.

How should I position surround speakers?

Ideal configurations have 3 front speakers left, center and right, 2 side surrounds, 2 rear surrounds, and 1-2 subwoofers. Overhead Dolby Atmos speakers go in front and above the sitting position. Place side speakers 90-120 degrees off center and level with ears. Angle rear speakers straight back or slightly inward.

What should I look for on a budget?

Stick with well-known brands like Sony, LG, Vizio rather than off-brands with sketchy quality. Compare channels, codecs supported, streaming abilities, voice assistant integration and bass capabilities. Fewer channels can work almost as well with smart positioning – start with 5.1.

Can I use wireless rear speakers for surround sound?

Absolutely! Newer surround receivers integrate wireless HDMI, Bluetooth and WiSA tech allowing flexibility placing rear surround speakers without wiring hassles. Just ensure components are compatible. Wireless satellites with wall mounts are very popular.

I hope these surround sound buying tips help explain the technology and why upgrading makes sense! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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