How To Choose Your Surround Sound System

A good surround sound system is a game changer when it comes to your entertainment audio at home. The trouble is surround sound systems aren’t all created equal. There are some tips for how to choose the best one, which we’re sharing right here.


Choosing The Best Surround Sound

So, how do you choose the best surround sound system? First, you consider the size of the room you’re putting the surround speakers in. You need ample power to push the audio through the room. You also need the right speakers to match the amount of power they’ll receive. Decide how many speakers you want to include, too. Make sure to consider how you’re going to run wires to all of them. Look for enough inputs and outputs for any future plans you have.

Most of us aren’t technological geniuses. This article will help you break things down, so you know what to look for and why. Keep reading for all the tips you need to find the surround sound system that is best for your home.

Room Size Determines Power Needed

You must choose an appropriately powered system for the size of the room where it’s used. If you place a weak sound system in a large room, you won’t experience the surround sound in its intended manner. 

Small rooms only need about 50 watts of power per channel. The channel referred to here is a speaker. So, if you have a 5-channel system, you have five speakers that each need 50 watts of power. Thus, you need at least 250 watts.

Large rooms need about 150 watts of power per channel. Speakers that don’t get enough power don’t deliver sound the way they should. Also, note that not all speakers can handle high levels of power.


Is 5.1 Or 7.1 Surround Better?

These numbers indicate the number of surround speakers that are part of the system. 5.1 indicates there are five speakers around the room and one subwoofer. 7.1 is the same but with two additional speakers.

With the proper setup, the 7.1 system should provide more detail in your audio. Each channel is responsible for providing you with different sound ranges and directions. More channels result in more sounds. You should get a more complete audio picture.

Those who are looking for surround sound during movies shouldn’t choose anything lower than 5.1. Most techies will tell you it’s best to have a minimum of five speakers. 

Should I Get 2.1 Or 5.1 Speakers?

Home theater setups need at least the 5.1 system. If you’re choosing surround speakers for listening to music, you could go with a 2.1 system. It’s a preference in that situation.

Surround Sound Logistics

You should have a plan for how you’re going to position speakers in the room. You could end up with a lot of unsightly wires strung everywhere if you don’t. 

One thing that can help cut down on the wire problem is going with wireless speakers. But, wireless, in this case, doesn’t mean truly wireless because speakers have power cords. It does mean you don’t have to run wires from the receiver out to the speakers, though. 

If running wires all over doesn’t seem fun, there is an alternative. Enter the sound bar.

Are Soundbars As Good As Surround Sound?

Let’s start with what a sound bar is. It’s a bar you place with your TV or in front of it that has all-in-one capability. It plays all the sounds through the bar. Sound bars eliminate the need for speakers that must be set up around the room. They’re typically cheaper than traditional surround sound systems and easier to set up. 

Audio enthusiasts generally say the surround sound system does sound better. You can distinguish voices better and hear some things more clearly. However, they do say there’s enough good quality sound coming from a sound bar that for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of wiring their homes for surround sound, the sound bar is a good alternative.


The Best Surround Sound

The best of surround sound systems include advanced technology from Dolby. Dolby Atmos gives listeners the highest level of quality sound you can get today. It immerses the listener into the audio rather than just playing sounds. 

The best Dolby Atmos surround systems make you feel like you’re part of the action. Your music will have more highs and lows. Your movies will come alive. 

The Dolby Atmos technology takes every different sound and creates space around it. You hear more of what artists and film makers want you to hear. 

You can get Dolby Atmos technology in surround sound systems, as well as in a sound bar. 

How Many Speakers Do You Need for Dolby Atmos?

You can have a Dolby Atmos system with just two speakers but it’s not optimal. The best Dolby Atmos systems have at least five speakers but get truly immersive at nine speakers.

You can also opt for a sound bar that includes Dolby Atmos technology. A sound bar won’t give you the same degree of sound separation. It does give you other benefits like easy setup and a space-saving design, though.

Best Surround Sound Options


Sound Bar, TV Sound Bar with Subwoofer, 120W 2.1 Soundbar ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


This is a sound bar system that includes a subwoofer. The bar has two speakers inside. It has 120 watts of power and is enabled for wireless and wired setups. You can use a Bluetooth connection for wireless setups. The bar is 34 inches long. It has ports for HDMI, Optical, Aux, and USB. You can mount it on the wall, also. You can pick from four sound modes. Set up is quick and easy.


  • Highly affordable
  • No need for difficult wiring
  • 1-year warranty
  • Sleek design
  • Good sound quality


  • Bass is a little heavy
  • Basic remote


Acoustic Audio by Goldwood 5.1 Speaker System 5.1-Channel with LED Lights and Bluetooth Home Speaker System ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


This speaker system is eye-catching. It’s easy to set up, too. It has LED lights that put on an impressive multi-color display when you’re playing your favorite songs. The receiver has seven inputs for the true surround sound experience. It’s enabled with Bluetooth 5.1 so you can stream all your playlists, too. There are five speakers and one larger subwoofer. The system also comes with a remote and three cables. 


  • Budget-friendly
  • 600 watts of power
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Fun LED light display
  • Independent controls for bass and treble


  • Smart TV set up is tricky
  • Bass is heavy
  • Wires could be longer


VIZIO Sound Bar for TV, 36-inch 5.1 Surround Sound System with Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


This Channel Home Theater Home Audio Sound Bar features wireless subwoofer for a room-shaking bass experience. It includes 3 channel sound bars to boost your television audio with a very clear dialogue.


  • High wifi streaming without interruptions
  • Chromecast built-in
  • Works with Google Assistant
  • Best price for its great sound


  • Does not support 4K HDR pass through
  • Still requires a plug to be powered

VIZIO SB3651-F6 36” 5.1 Channel Home Theater Surround Sound Bar with Bluetooth– Dolby Audio, DTS Virtual:X,Wireless Subwoofer,Chromecast built-in,Works with Google Assistant,Wi-Fi, HDMI ARC.


  • True 5.1 listening: enjoy True 5.1 surround sound with the included rear Surround sound speakers and a wireless subwoofer. 3 channel sound bar: A 3 channel sound bar boosts your TV audio and delivers crystal clear dialogue
  • Note: Please refer Troubleshooting steps at pg. 36 in user manual
  • Wireless subwoofer: experience room-shaking bass with the wireless subwoofer. Sound Pressure Level – 101dB
  • DTS virtual: X – Delivers virtual overhead sound For an immersive sound experience
  • Wi-Fi Streaming: experience higher quality audio streaming over your home’s Wi-Fi network, without interruptions from phone calls or texts compared to Bluetooth

This is a high-end system with a wireless transmitter. It comes with five speakers. All the speakers included were individually tuned by THX, so you get high-quality sound. Voices are clear and details are easy to hear. The set-up process is easy. Simply plug in all components to outlets. Connect the transmitter to your smart TV and the system does the rest. You can control the system with your TV remote or through the app.


  • Small speakers are easy to place
  • Wireless connections
  • Lots of power
  • High-quality sound
  • Easy to set up


  • Pricey
  • Bass isn’t strong enough in large rooms
  • Some quirks with Samsung TVs


Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System, THX, Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Certified ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)


This system has five speakers and a powerful 165-watt subwoofer. The system has 500 watts of power for continuous use. It can push up to 1,000 watts. There are inputs for up to six different devices. It’s compatible with Dolby Digital sound and DTS. The speakers can sit on shelves, stands, or be mounted on the wall. The console control is easy to read, and the system is easy to use.


  • Affordable
  • Speakers are small and easy to place
  • Can hear details in the audio
  • Enabled for connecting up to six devices
  • Includes speaker wires


  • Speaker cables are not durable
  • Bass is weak at low levels
  • System can overheat

Best Surround Sound Final Thoughts

A good surround sound speaker system boosts your entertainment experiences to other levels. Watch movies with cinematic sound. Listen to music like you’re at a concert. Choosing your surround sound consists of assessing your room, deciding how many speakers you’d like, how much power you need, and where you’re going to position the speakers. Look for a system within your budget and start hearing things different than you did before.


Which brand is best for a home theater system?

The Polk T Series is impressive. If you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, check out Vizio.

How do I choose a surround sound speaker?

Many of us buy an entire system that’s sold together, including the speakers. If you want to build your own, you’ll have to make sure the speakers you get are compatible with the receiver. You also don’t want to mix and match speaker brands. All the speakers should be the same brand so the sound works well together.


Which is better, Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is the better of these two. It is more advanced in its object-based audio. Every sound gets its own space so you can hear the details more clearly.

Is 7.1 better than Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is better because it’s better at immersing the listener. It even produces overhead sound.

Is Harman better than Bose?

Harman Kardon systems are better for certain situations, such as dance parties and hip-hop music. Bose is the better choice for home stereo and theater systems.




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Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Kathleen Hingan

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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