Best Home Theater Systems - Outeraudio

The 10 Best Home Theater Systems of 2018

It’s almost the end of 2018 and we’ve seen some exciting new home theater systems and technologies released during the past year. Wireless technology is improving by the month and compact home theater systems seem to be becoming more powerful and better sounding with every release. In this article, we explore the best home theater systems of 2018 featuring some of the most exciting home theater systems on the market.

For those on a budget, not to worry, we have a couple of recommendations that won’t break the bank while still delivering a great sound experience. We have home theater systems suitable for small, medium and large living areas so you’ll find something to suit your needs.

Your Room Size

Throughout this article, we refer to small, medium and large living areas. As this can be vague and subjective, here are the references we have used to determine these room sizes:

  • Small living space – up to 130 square ft
  • Medium living space – 130 – 270 square ft
  • Large living space – 270+ square ft

Keep in mind that these are rough estimates and the actual sound will be affected by many factors including; whether the living area is closed or open plan to the rest of the house, wooden or carpeted floors, surrounding surfaces (glass/wood/curtains/etc).

Another thing to keep in mind is that while a home theater system may very well have enough power to fill any room, the correct speaker placement is important to acquire a quality surround sound experience. Compact speakers need to be closer together whereas large speakers can be further apart.

1. Klipsch Reference Theater Pack

Klipsch Reference Theater Pack

Nominal Impedance:
8 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
110Hz – 23kHz (satellites)
38Hz – 120Hz (subwoofer)
Sensitivity:
91dB (satellites)
94dB (center)
108dB (subwoofer)
Power Handling:
50W / 200W peak (satellites)
75W / 300W peak (center)
50W / 150W peak (subwoofer)

 

The Home Theater System

If you’re a consumer who likes quality, then Klipsch is the brand for you. Klipsch is one of the industry leaders when it comes to home audio equipment. Their products are made from high-quality parts, sound incredible and come with great aftersales service and support.

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is the most compact home theater system Klipsch has on offer. The system was designed for consumers with smaller TV rooms who still want high-end audio quality.

The Reference Theater Pack is a 5.1 surround sound system made up of four identical satellite speakers (left, right, rear left & right), center speaker and subwoofer. The satellites and center speakers are connected using standard speaker cable while with the subwoofer, you have the option of RCA or wireless connection which I’ll explain in a bit.

The satellite speakers are 7.75” high, 4.38” wide and weigh only 3 Ibs each. When I said this system is compact, I wasn’t exaggerating! Each satellite consists of a 3.5” low-frequency driver with a ¾” tweeter. Each speaker is capable of producing 50W with a 200W peak at 8 ohms. The center speaker features dual 3.5” drivers with a single ¾” tweeter capable of producing 75W with a 200W peak at 8 ohms.

Both the satellites and center speakers can either be placed on a shelf or they can be mounted. You have the option of mounting using a keyhole or ¼” threaded insert. Each of the satellites has single mounting positions for the keyhole or threaded insert while the center has dual mounting points for both options.

The subwoofer is roughly a foot squared – offering a minimal footprint with some hefty bottom end. You also have the option of a normal RCA connection from your receiver or a wireless connection using the supplied Klipsch transmitter. The transmitter works on 2.4GHz high-quality digital audio connectivity, which is pre-programmed, so it’s ready to plug-and-play.

The subwoofer features a down-firing 8” woofer with a bass port. Usually, subwoofers have a bass port on the rear. The idea is to place the speaker around 4 inches from the wall which aids in amplifying the bass frequencies. The down-firing works much the same way except that Klipsch has designed the subwoofer and bass port to work optimally by firing down. With wireless connectivity, you have the freedom to place the subwoofer wherever you choose (obviously you still need power from an outlet).

The Sound

As to be expected from Klipsch, the Reference Theater Pack sounds exceptional. The system is built from the same high-quality parts and components as the larger, more expensive Klipsch speakers – just in a more compact size. The result is excellent detail in the mids and highs to make any viewing experience crystal clear and sonically exciting. The subwoofer is really effective, especially in small and medium living rooms.

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack will be great for all applications from movies to the news and even playing games. Even though it’s compact, the Reference Theater Pack delivers a surprisingly loud sound with the subwoofer producing more than enough bass to match.

Even though this system is designed for medium living spaces, you won’t have any issues installing the Reference Theater Pack in medium to larger rooms. In fact, the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack will easily do a far better job than a budget home theater system twice the size!

Cabling & Receiver

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack comes as a speaker-only package. You will need to purchase a receiver and cabling if you don’t already have.

We recommend the Denon AVR-S530BT 5.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver. At 140W per channel, this high-end but affordable receiver will drive the four satellites and the center speaker efficiently by delivering enough power to get the best out of this home theater system. The receiver features 5 HDMI inputs delivering 4K Ultra HD quality. The AVR-S530BT is also Bluetooth enabled so you can stream audio from your mobile devices.

Alternatively, make sure your receiver produces a minimum of 50W per channel at 8 ohms. To get the most out of this system, aim for a receiver between 100W to 200W per channel at 8 ohms.

To connect your speakers, Klipsch recommends using a 14 – 18 gauge speaker cable. Use the 18 for short runs up to 30 foot and 14 for anything longer.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack:

  • 4 x Klipsch satellite speakers plus removable speaker grilles
  • 1 x Klipsch center speaker plus removable speaker grilles
  • 1 x subwoofer
  • 1 x wireless transmitter for subwoofer
  • 1 x power cable for subwoofer

Klipsch Reference Theater Pack Conclusion

If you’re looking for a compact home theater system with a minimal footprint, the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is an excellent choice. The wireless subwoofer means you can place the speaker in the best position without worrying about RCA cables. The speakers are ultra lightweight which means they’re easy to mount on just about any wall or surface.

If you do purchase the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack, make sure you pair this with a quality receiver, to match the power handling of the speakers. You don’t want to purchase a high-end system like this and then have poor amplification. Go with the recommendations above and consult the user manual.

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is going to work best in small rooms, however, will work fine in medium to larger rooms. TV, movies, games, and music will all sound great on this home theater system.

2. Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System

Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System

Nominal Impedance:
8 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 / 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
Unspecified
Sensitivity:
Unspecified
Power Handling:
270W (system total)

 

The Home Theater System

Bose is another well-respected consumer audio brand with the Acoustimass Series being one of their more popular home theater systems. The Bose Acoustimass Series 10 V is the “larger”, version of the Acoustimass Series 6. I put larger in quotation marks because, even though the Series 10 speakers are double the size of the Series 6, the system is still considered ultra-compact.

The Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V is a 5.1 home theater speaker system featuring 4 x Series II cube satellite speakers, 1 x center speaker and a large tower shaped powered Acoustimass module/subwoofer.

The Acoustimass module acts as a processor between the receiver and speakers. So, the receiver connects to the Acoustimass module which then distributes the audio to each speaker. The Acoustimass module ensures the right audio signal and processing is delivered, ensuring you get the best out of each speaker.

The satellite or Series II cube speakers stand 7.4″ high by 3.2″ wide and weigh only 2.2 lbs. The center speaker is of similar dimensions (width and height obviously opposite to the cubes) and weighs exactly the same. The Series II cube and center each feature a dual 2.5” Twiddler™ speakers. With little information to go on, I can only assume this is a special full-range driver Bose have developed for this home theater system.

Bose does not specify the power handling of any of the five speakers, however, it is recommended the system is powered by a receiver or amplifier with 10-200W per channel at 4-8 ohms. It’s important to note that the speakers must only be connected through the Acoustimass module and not directly to any receiver or amplifier. All the cables (fully labeled) are provided for these connections.

The Series II cubes and center speakers can be placed or mounted. The Bose UB-20 Series II mounting brackets can be purchased separately.

The Acoustimass module also doubles as the subwoofer which features dual 5.25″ downward facing drivers. Be warned, this module is a monster weighing in at 35 lb! The extra weight is due to the housing of a subwoofer, subwoofer amplifier, and speaker processing module.

The Sound

The Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V delivers exceptional sound quality with excellent detail and clarity. The Series II cubes do a great job of delivering clear intelligibility which makes watching movies or even watching TV a pleasurable listening experience. The subwoofer produces more than sufficient bass which makes movies, games, and music that much more fun and enjoyable.

The Acoustimass 10 Series V is a compact system and so will perform best in smaller to rooms, however, you will still get a great audio experience in larger sized living areas.

Cabling & Receiver

The Acoustimass 10 Series V comes as a speaker only system with the Acoustimass only acting as a processor, not an amplifier. You will need to purchase a receiver and cabling if you don’t already have.

We recommend the Sony STR-DH590 5.2 Receiver. The STR-DH590 features 4 HDMI inputs with 1 HDMI output and produces 145W per channel with 4K HDR picture quality. The receiver can also be paired with Bluetooth devices.

Alternatively, make sure your receiver produces a minimum of 10W per channel at 8 ohms. To get the most out of this system, aim for a receiver between 100W to 200W per channel at 8 ohms

All the cabling for the Acoustimass 10 Series V is supplied with the system including the cable connecting the receiver to the Acoustimass module.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System:

  • 4 x Bose Series II cube speakers
  • 1 x center speaker
  • 1 x Acoustimass 10 Series module/subwoofer + power cable
  • 1 system input cable – 20 ft (receiver to Acoustimass module)
  • 2 x rear speaker cables – 50 ft
  • 3 x front speaker cables – 20 ft
  • Rubber feet for front center speaker

Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System Conclusion

While the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V is an exceptional home theater system, it does have one major downside. The number of cables. With this home theater system, you will have cables going from the receiver to the module and then to each speaker. These cables can, of course, be hidden but it is something to keep in mind. I’m not sure why Bose didn’t just add an amplifier to the Acoustimass module which could have connected via a single HDMI or optical cable directly to your TV. While this is a sticking point, I don’t feel it’s a reason not to purchase the Acoustimass home theater system. The sound quality is excellent and the compact design means your speakers take up very little room.

The Acoustimass 10 Series V will be great for general TV, movies, games, and music.

3. Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel Home Theater System

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel Home Theater System

Nominal Impedance:
6 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
50Hz–25kHz (satellites)
70Hz–25kHz (center)
30Hz–200Hz (subwoofer)
Sensitivity:
83dB (satellites)
84dB (center)
Power Handling:
30W / 100W peak (satellites)
30W / 100W peak (center)
50W / 100W peak (subwoofer)

 

Receiver Specifications
Wireless
Bluetooth
HDMI Ports:
4 x inputs / 1 x output
Receiver Power Output:
100W per channel
Audio Processing:
Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio
Video Processing:
4K Ultra HD Pass-through and upscaling, HDMI 3D

The Home Theater System

The Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel is referred to as a home theater system in a box. Which basically means you have everything you need including speakers and receiver. For a little extra, you can also purchase the YHT-4930UBL with cables.

The benefit of purchasing a home theater system in a box, especially from a brand like Yamaha, is there is no guesswork on which receiver is going to be best for the speakers. Yamaha has matched a Yamaha receiver with Yamaha speakers calibrated to produce the best sound and get the most out of your home theater system. If you consider yourself “technically challenged” then this might be YHT-4930UBL home theater system is exactly what you’re looking for.

The compact satellite speakers (Yamaha NS-B40) stand 6⅞” high by 4⅜” wide and weigh a mere 1.3lbs. The center speaker (Yamaha NS-C40) is 10⅞” wide and stands only 4⅜” weighing only slightly more than the satellites at 1.61lbs. Both NS-B40 and NS-C40 feature 2¾” drivers capable of producing a nominal power output of 30W with a 100W peak at 6 ohms. The speakers can be placed or mounted. Each speaker has a screw mount on the rear so no additional brackets required.

The system comes with a powered subwoofer featuring a 6½” driver capable of delivering up to 100W of power. The subwoofer is easy to install and operate with a single RCA input and rotary fader to adjust the volume. Additional instructions on how to get your preferred bass sound are noted in the user manual.

The Sound

The Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel home theater system comes with the Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO). Once your system is set up and the speakers have been placed where you want them, you place the YPAO in the center of the room and it automatically calibrates the system for you. The YPAO will set up all the delays and processing inside the YHT-4930UBL to ensure your speakers deliver optimal audio quality.

The result of the YPAO calibration is exceptional. Just having the correct time alignment between all the speakers gives the system a tighter, more clear sound. The satellites and center speaker have good intelligibility in the mids and highs delivering crystal vocal clarity. The subwoofer is defined with a good amount of weight and power in the sub frequencies.

While this system sounds exceptional, in larger rooms you may feel it lacks a little bit of power. The YHT-4930UBL home theater system will perform best in small to medium living areas.

Cabling & Receiver

As mentioned in the intro, this system comes with the Yamaha YHT-4930UBL taking the guesswork out of choosing the right receiver. The YHT-4930UBL features 4K Ultra HD picture quality compatible with many audio HD audio formats including Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus.

The receiver has multiple audio inputs and outputs, most importantly, 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. Additionally, there is 2 x analog and 1 x digital AV inputs, coaxial and optical inputs as well as Bluetooth. There is also a built-in AM/FM tuner with antenna connections on the rear.

There is a 100W @ 8ohm speaker output for each of the five Yamaha speakers and an RCA pre-out for the subwoofer.

The YHT-4930UBL comes with a remote control to manage the system and adjust all the usual home theater adjustments.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel Home Theater System:

  • 4 x satellite speakers (NS-B40)
  • 1 x center speaker (NS-C40)
  • 1 x powered subwoofer (NS-SW40)
  • 1 x YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel receiver
  • Remote control with 2 x AAA batteries
  • 1 x YPAO system calibration
  • AM and FM antennas

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel Home Theater System Conclusion

If you want an affordable, high-quality home theater system that’s easy to set up, the YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel home theater system is an excellent choice. Keep in mind this is a compact system which might not be powerful enough for large living areas.

One of the most impressive features is Yamaha’s YPAO system calibration ensuring your home theater system is set up correctly. A feature, usually only reserved for the high-end systems, adds a massive amount of value to this complete home theater package.

4. Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package

Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package

Nominal Impedance:
8 ohms
Number of Speakers:
7 x full-range 7.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
50Hz – 45kHz (satellites)
20Hz – 100Hz (subwoofer)
Sensitivity:
81dB (satellites)
83dB (center)
Power Handling:
130W peak (satellites)
130W peak peak (center)
125W peak (subwoofer)

 

Receiver Specifications
Wireless:
Bluetooth and WiFi (LAN port also included)
HDMI Ports:
7 x inputs (6 rear, one front) / 2 x outputs
Receiver Power Output:
95W per channel at 8 ohms
Audio Processing:
Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, HD-High Resolution Audio, NEO:6
Video Processing:
4K Video Upscaling with Qdeo™ Technology

The Home Theater System

If 5.1 isn’t enough for your surround sound needs then the Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package offers big sound and value. The system features a total of seven Onkyo speakers (front left/right, center, rear surround left/right, middle surround left/right) and one subwoofer. Also included is the Onkyo HT-S9700THX receiver. The speakers in this home theater system as fairly large, better suited for medium to large living areas.

For the front left/right, you have two Onkyo SKF-980 which feature dual 5” drivers with a 1” tweeter. At 6.25″ wide and 17 inches high and each weighing 11.7 lbs, the SKF-980 are by no means considered compact. The center speaker is the same weight and dimensions but horizontally long rather than tall. Both the left/right and center are capable of producing 130W.

The middle and rear surrounds are made up of the Onkyo SKR-980 and SKB-980. Both identical speakers consisting of a single 5.13” driver with 1” tweeter in each. As with the front speakers, the surrounds are capable of producing an impressive 130W. The surrounds are slightly wider than the front speakers standing at 10.81” and weighing 7.7lbs.

Both the front and surrounds are full-range speakers with a response of 50Hz to 45kHz.

The most impressive of the lot is the 12” powered subwoofer delivering a chunky 125W. This beast weighs 34.2 lbs and stands at 17 inches, the same height as the front left/right speakers. This subwoofer will make the floor shake no matter the size of the room!

The Sound

If you want some serious volume, you’ll certainly get it with the Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package. The front speakers on their own are more powerful than most compact home theater systems. Even without the subwoofer, the system delivers a decent amount of bass. Where most subwoofers give you a decent amount of bass, with the Onkyo system, it’s bass you can hear and feel.

The clarity and detail that you hear from the front speakers, is extremely impressive. When watching movies and TV with 7.1 surround sound, having both middle and rear surrounds gives you an engaging cinematic experience. You will be truly immersed in whatever you are watching.

The Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package is great for everything from watching the news to playing games. Watching sports is especially exciting as the system is able to articulate all the sound effect microphones as well as regular commentary.

Cabling & Receiver

The Onkyo HT-S9700THX is an impressive receiver featuring a total of 7 HDMI inputs (6 rear, one front) and 2 x HDMI outputs. There are also several analog RCA inputs with coaxial and optical digital inputs. Component video input and output is also included. The HT-S9700THX has a built-in AM/FM tuner with antenna inputs on the rear.

The amplifier on the HT-S9700THX has a 95W at 8 ohms for each of the seven speakers. There are an additional two channels for a second zone or room. So if you wanted to run speakers into your bar or out onto a patio, you have an extra two channels available. You can also use the RCA zone 2 output to run audio to another receiver or sound system.

The HT-S9700THX has both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. With WiFi, you can stream your favorite music subscription and internet radio services like Spotify, Pandora or SiriusXM.

The system comes with 22 gauge speaker cable, however, you may want to invest in some extra cables as the supplied cable might not be long enough for some medium and larger sized rooms. I would recommend 18 or 16 gauge cable for making longer cable runs with this system.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package:

  • 2 x front left/right speakers (Onkyo SKF-980)
  • 1 x center speaker (Onkyo SKC-980) + rubber feet
  • 4 x surrounds (Onkyo SKR-980/SKB-980)
  • 1 x powered subwoofer (Onkyo SKW-98) plus power cable & RCA single cable
  • 7 x lengths of speaker cable
  • 1 x Onkyo HT-S9700THX receiver
  • Remote control with batteries
  • AM & FM antennas

Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package Conclusion

If you have a large living area, then a 7.1 home theater system is certainly the way to go. The Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package you get large, powerful speakers delivering a lot of sound with excellent clarity. The 12” subwoofer is an absolute beast adding excitement to anything you watch.

For gamers, the Onkyo HT-S9700THX package will be especially exciting. If you play games with loads of effects, the surrounds will create a truly engaging gaming experience.

For general TV, music, and most importantly, movies the Onkyo HT-S9700THX 7.1-Channel Home Theater Package is going to make your viewing so much more enjoyable.

5. Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

Nominal Impedance:
N/A
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
35Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity:
110dB
Power Handling:
500W RMS total with a 100W peak
67W (satellites)
165W (subwoofer)

 

Receiver Specifications
Wireless:
None
HDMI Ports:
None
Receiver Power Output:
Unspecified
Audio Processing:
Dolby Digital & DTS
Video Processing:
Dolby Digital & DTS

The Home Theater System

When it comes to PC audio, Logitech is known as one of the industry leaders. The Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System bridges the gap between PC and ultra-compact home theater systems. This 5.1 system includes four identical satellite speakers, a center speaker, and subwoofer.

The satellite speakers stand at 6.5” high and weigh a mere 2 lbs. The center speaker stands at only 3.9” and weighs the same as the satellites. Essentially, the center speaker is a horizontal version of the satellites. All five speakers feature a 3” full range driver producing 67W RMS of power. These speakers are ultra-compact making them easy to install in a small living area or, where they’re best suited, on the desk around your PC.

The powered 8” subwoofer delivers an impressive 165W of power to complete the low-end on this home theater system. As the satellites are so small, you definitely need the extra bass.

The subwoofer also doubles as the receiver with audio input panel and an amplifier with speaker output terminals to power the four satellites and center speaker. Inputs include a stereo RCA, 2 x optical and 1 x coaxial. As the system is built to be compatible with PCs, there is also a 3 channel PC input which Logitech supply a cable for connection.

A separate controller (receiver/processor) connects to the subwoofer via a DB-15 pin cable. This makes sense as the subwoofer is on the floor and you need to control things on your desk or in front of the TV. There is also a remote so you can adjust the controller from the sofa.

Although easy to use, the controller allows you to access and adjust some complex elements of the home theater system. The volume for each speaker can be independently selected and adjusted. You can also change from 2.1 to 4.1 or full 5.1 surround sound, depending on what you’re watching or playing on the TV or PC.

While the receiver doesn’t have Bluetooth, there is an AUX input on the side of the controller allowing you to plug in a phone or MP3 device to play music.

The system comes with five pieces of 18-gauge speaker cable. Two 25 foot lengths for your rear surrounds and three 15 foot lengths for the left/right and center speakers. If you need extra cabling for your surrounds, make sure you get 18-gauge as anything thicker won’t fit in the terminals.

The Sound

For its size, the Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System is surprisingly loud and powerful. The satellite speakers are good on the mids and lower treble but without dedicated tweeters, the speakers lack brilliance in the highs. The result is vocals come out a little dull. The clarity is however still there.

I wouldn’t install this system in a medium to large size room as the sound might get a little lost. The Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System is best for small rooms or at your PC in the office.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System:

  • 4 x Satellite speakers
  • 1 x Center speaker
  • 1 x Subwoofer
  • 1 x Controller
  • 1 x Remote control plus 3 x AAA batteries
  • 5 x Lengths of standard 18-gauge speaker wire
  • 6-channel direct input cable for PC

Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System Conclusion

The Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System does an exceptional job for the application it was designed for. A home theater system for your home office PC. If you have a small living room apartment, the Z906 will be great here too. Any room bigger than that, you might find yourself pushing the speakers to their limit.

Having said that, the Logitech Z906 is a loud surround sound system capable of delivering a significant amount of power. In an apartment, your neighbors will definitely hear your system! If you enjoy watching movies or gaming, the Z906 will enhance your listening experience to another level.

6. Enclave Audio CineHome HD

Enclave Audio CineHome HD

Nominal Impedance:
N/A – all speakers are powered
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
Unspecified
Sensitivity:
Unspecified
Power Handling:
Unspecified

 

Receiver Specifications
(Receiver built into the center speaker)
Wireless:
Bluetooth
HDMI Ports:
3 x inputs / 1 x outputs
Receiver Power Output:
N/A
Audio Processing:
LPCM, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Digital Surround
Video Processing:
4K 2.2 HDCP, 3D Bluray

The Home Theater System

If you hate cables then you’ll love the Enclave Audio CineHome HD 5.1 home theater system. Each speaker in this (almost) fully wireless home theater system connects via a 5.2-5.8GHz band with dynamic frequency switching. Operating in this range, paired with Enclave Audio’s advanced wireless technology, enables the system to deliver high-quality, uncompressed, crystal clear audio.

The CineHome HD 5.1 system includes 2 x left/right, 1 x center, 2 x surrounds and 1 x subwoofer. The center speaker also doubles as the receiver reducing the amount of equipment, keeping your TV space less cluttered. To receive their audio signal, all the other speakers connect to the center speaker wirelessly. Each speaker features its own built-in amplifier which means you need to connect each speaker to a socket. Hence, the system is almost fully wireless.

Enclave Audio provides limited specs on the CineHome HD so, I’ll describe the system as best as I can with what I have available. The two left/right speakers feature dual 3.1” drivers with a single ¾”  tweeter producing a frequency response of 100Hz-20kHz. Each speaker stands 12.4” high. The center speaker shares identical specs except it stands 5” high and 12.4” wide. The power output of the speakers is not specified however, these front speakers produce a significant amount of power. So no worries with volume in medium and even larger living spaces.

The center speaker houses all the inputs and processing. There are 3 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output. Other audio inputs include a ⅛ inch AUX, digital optical and Bluetooth. The rear input panel is neatly laid out and easy to connect up. The system can be operated via the control panel on top of the center speaker or via the remote. What’s nice is that both the button layout on the remote and center console is identical so you’re never confused about where to find the right control.

The rear surrounds feature dual 2” full range drivers in a bipole configuration. A bipole configuration means the speaker drivers are positioned and fire on opposing sides of the speaker cabinet. This is great for rear speakers in a home theater system as the sound appears to come from 180° behind you rather than a single pinpoint speaker.

The final element of the CineHome HD 5.1 is the 8” subwoofer standing 17.4” high, producing the sub-frequencies from 28Hz to 100Hz.

The Sound

The Enclave Audio CineHome HD is designed and manufactured to conform with the WiSA standard. WiSA transmits a digital wireless signal 24bits at 48kHz/96kHz. To give you an idea of what this means, a CD only produces 16bits at 44.1kHz. WiSA products also have almost zero latency (CineHome HD latency is 5ms. One-tenth Bluetooth latency) and therefore you don’t experience any lip-sync issues.

The result is the CineHome HD produces exceptional quality sound, competing with many high-end wired home theater systems in the same price range. When watching dialog heavy movies and TV, the CineHome HD produces exceptional intelligibility and vocal clarity. The sub produces a solid bass frequency response which is clear with a decent amount of definition. Great for games, movies, and music.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Enclave Audio CineHome HD:

  • Smart center speaker/receiver
  • 2 x Front speakers (left/right)
  • 2 x Rear surrounds (left/right)
  • 1 x Subwoofer
  • 6 x AC power supplies with cords for all speakers
  • 1 x HDMI cable
  • 1 x Remote control

Enclave Audio CineHome HD Conclusion

If you want a wireless system that’s easy to set up and install, is affordable and sounds good, then the Enclave Audio CineHome HD is the way to go. The system produces a significant amount of sound with good intelligibility so, you shouldn’t have issues installing the CineHome HD in larger living spaces.

For under $1000, there aren’t many systems, wired or wireless, which compete with the CineHome HD. The system wins on sound quality, ease of set up/use and, most importantly, reduced cables and equipment.

The CineHome HD will be good for all applications including general TV, movies, gaming, and music.

7. Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package

Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package

Nominal Impedance:
6 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
28Hz – 20kHz system total
Sensitivity:
83dB
Power Handling:
50W peak (satellites)
100W peak (subwoofer)

 

Receiver Specifications
Wireless:
Bluetooth
HDMI Ports:
4 x inputs / 1 output
Receiver Power Output:
60W per channel at 8 ohms (front left/right), other speakers 120W at 6 ohms
Audio Processing:
Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio
Video Processing:
4K UHD

The Home Theater System

The Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package is the junior version of the Onkyo HT-S9700THX we also feature in this article. The HT-S3900 includes 5 satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The system is an affordable home theater system in a box with everything you need to get up and running for under $300. Even though this is considered a cheap home theater system, with a trusted brand like Onkyo, you know you’re getting good quality.

The front left/right, center and surround speakers feature a 3” full range driver each capable of producing 50W of power. Each left/right weighs 1.3 lbs while the center weighs 1.5 lbs making these speakers easy to place or mount anywhere. There are no mounting points so you’ll need to install a small floating shelf or stand to mount these speakers.

Like the satellite speakers, the subwoofer is passive receiving power and signal via the receiver speaker outputs. The 6.4” subwoofer stands 16.5” high and is capable of producing 100W of power.

Cabling & Receiver

The HT-S3900 is one of Onkyo’s cheapest receivers, however, will outperform many competitors in a similar price range. The receiver is compatible with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats adding to the value of the HT-S3900. The HT-S3900 features 4 x HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output, each labeled for easy setup and use. There are also 2 x analog RCA video inputs and an RCA audio input. Coaxial and optical digital inputs are also included. There are an AM and FM antenna inputs also located in the rear input panel.

The speaker outputs are clearly labeled with color-coded wires so there is no guesswork in choosing which output to connect to which speaker. All the cables for each speaker are included in the package.

The Sound

The Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package is a great sounding home theater system but does lack a little bit of intelligibility. Besides that, the system delivers clear vocals with a good midrange sound quality. The subwoofer produces a nice round bass response sufficient for movies and gaming.

I would highly recommend this home theater system for small rooms but lacks power for larger rooms. For movies, general TV viewing, and even gaming – the Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package performs well. Certainly better sounding than most soundbars.

For a compact home theater system, it doesn’t have the same power or sound quality when compared to the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack or Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V but then it is one-quarter the price!

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package:

  • Onkyo HT-S3900 receiver
  • 4 x Satellite speakers
  • 1 x Center speaker
  • 1 x Subwoofer
  • Remote control
  • 2 x AAA size
  • AM loop antenna
  • FM wire antenna
  • 4 x 10ft Speaker cables
  • 2 x 26ft Speaker cables
  • 20 x Non-skid pads (rubber feet for speakers)

Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cheap home theater system that’s compact but still sounds good, then the Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package is an excellent choice. If you’re choosing between a compact home theater package or soundbar, I’d choose this system every time. The sound quality is better and you’ll have the advantage of true surround sound.

8. Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System

Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System

Nominal Impedance:
8 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
Unspecified
Sensitivity:
89dB
Power Handling:
20/100W peak (satellites)
100W peak (subwoofer)

 

The Home Theater System

Polk Audio is known for producing quality budget consumer audio products. The Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System includes 4 x satellites, 1 x center, and a powered subwoofer. With the RM705 home theater system, you have two options when connecting.

Option 1, no receiver is required as the subwoofer includes an analog RCA input and speaker outputs to drive the four satellite and center speakers.

Option 2, you can use a receiver of your choice to drive the speakers and the sub out to drive the subwoofer.

Each of the four satellites and center speaker feature dual 2.5” drivers with a ½” tweeter capable of delivering up to 100W peak. The satellites stand 6.1” high and weigh just 3 lbs making them easy to install by placing or mounting. The system comes with mounting brackets for each of the five speakers.

The powered subwoofer features an 8” downward firing driver with delivering 100W peak power output. As mentioned, the subwoofer also has speaker outputs for each of the speakers eliminating the need for a receiver. There is a volume and low pass filter to adjust the subwoofer to your requirements.

Cabling & Receiver

If you choose to drive the four satellites and center speaker via a receiver, then we recommend going with the Onkyo TX-SR373. This quality Onkyo receiver has 5 x speaker outputs and two pre-outs for subwoofers. The amplifier delivers 80W per channel at 8 ohms. Perfect for the RM705 satellites and center speaker. The TX-SR373 is a Bluetooth receiver with 4 x HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output as well as several other digital and analog inputs.

Polk has specific guidelines for the gauge in relation to the length of speaker cable. So make sure you purchase your speaker cable based on these specifications.

  • Lengths up to 25′ – 18 or 16 gauge
  • Lengths 25′ to 50′ – 16 or 14 gauge
  • Lengths 50′ to 75’ – 14 or 12 gauge
  • Lengths greater than 75′ – 12 gauge

The Sound

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned the two options you have to connect your RM705 5.1 system. While option 1 is convenient and cost-effective, rather choose to go with a quality receiver to ensure you get better sound quality and true surround sound. With option 1, you’re not going to enjoy the benefit of surround sound. All the speakers will operate at the same volume playing the same audio. No special effects.

When plugged directly into the subwoofer, the satellite speakers sound slightly muddy and lack clarity. As mentioned, you also lose any surround effect so watching movies or playing games is no different sound wise to using your TV speakers. The sound is just louder.

When plugged into a quality receiver, the satellites come alive with much better clarity and intelligibility. The quality is good but doesn’t quite get to the level of other compact systems we feature in this article from brands like Klipsch or Bose. It is, however, more powerful than the Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package.

The subwoofer delivers a good bass sound however, it’s not as defined as the Onkyo. Still, you get a sufficient amount of bass with lots of headroom to play with.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System:

  • 4 x RM7 satellite speakers
  • 1 x RM7 center channel speaker
  • 1 x RM7 subwoofer
  • 5 x Wall mounting brackets
  • 1 x Center channel cradle

Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System Conclusion

The Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System is great for all applications including general TV, movies, and gaming. If you choose to purchase this system, don’t run the satellites off the subwoofer, you’ll be disappointed in the sound quality and without surround sound, you may as well purchase a soundbar. Rather go with a quality receiver (like the affordable Onkyo TX-SR373 we recommend above) running the subwoofer off the pre-sub output.

9. Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System

Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System

Nominal Impedance:
N/A
Number of Speakers:
3 x full-range 3.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
Unspecified
Sensitivity:
Unspecified
Power Handling:
135W system total

 

Receiver Specifications
Wireless:
Bluetooth
HDMI Ports:
2 x inputs / 1 output
Receiver Power Output:
60W per channel at 8 ohms (front left/right), other speakers 120W at 6 ohms
Audio Processing:
Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, DTS
Video Processing:
Dolby Vision & HDR10 and 4K UHD

The Home Theater System

The Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System with Dolby Atmos started out as a crowdfunding campaign which resulted in the successful launch of the final product. The result is an ultra-compact contemporary wireless home theater system. The complete system includes a soundbar, 2 x fully wireless satellite speakers and a subwoofer. Only the subwoofer and soundbar require power from a socket to work.

The left/right/center is delivered by one of the most compact soundbars on the market. Damson don’t provide the exact specs but the soundbar measures a few inches longer than the average adult male’s hand. The soundbar is paired with a Dolby Atmos speaker which fits neatly over the soundbar to deliver a full 3D sound experience including sound from overhead!

The two satellite speakers (S-Cube) are completely wireless each with a built-in 8-hour rechargeable battery. This means no cables at all to the rear speakers. The S-Cube is extremely compact and can easily sit in the palm of your hand. This minimal footprint and, with no cables, you can put the satellites away when not in use. These speakers are not mountable so you will need a stand or small floating shelf.

The S-Cube can be used as a rear surround speaker in the home theater system or, can be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. Additionally, the S-Cube has a ⅛ inch AUX input making this a versatile speaker capable of more than just adding effects to your home theater system.

The subwoofer doubles as the receiver with 2 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output, and a ⅛ inch AUX input. A simple easy layout anyone can install. The system comes with a remote control which is wireless and no IR. This means you don’t have to have line-of-sight to adjust settings making it easier to operate the system from where ever you are in the room.

The Sound

For a system this size, the Damson S Series is surprisingly loud. The complete system delivers 135W which is about 3 times the average soundbar. The front soundbar delivers incredible sound quality with exceptional clarity. The rear surrounds do a good job with effects and on their own make a decent sounding cube Bluetooth speaker. The Dolby Atmos speaker also adds to the experience with cool overhead sound effects to immerse you in movies compatible with this format.

The only downside to this system is the subwoofer. While the design looks cool, the unit feels underpowered and doesn’t deliver a strong bass response you want when watching movies or playing games. The subwoofer offers more bass than a soundbar but not enough to compete with a “normal” home theater subwoofer. Damson is continually working on system improvements so I feel they may get this right in time.

For small living areas the Damson S Series sounds exceptional (minus some bass of course), however, in larger rooms the bass is completely lost and the effects from the Dolby Atmos is not as effective.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System:

  • 1 x Damson soundbar plus power cable
  • 1 x Dolby Atmos speaker
  • 2 x S-Cube surround speakers plus charging cables
  • 1 x Subwoofer/input module plus power cable
  • 1 x remote control
  • 2 x AAA batteries

Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System Conclusion

If you’re into the latest gadgets or technology, then the Damson S Series Wireless Home Theater System is certainly one to look at. The contemporary minimalist design will look good with most modern decor styles, especially in a stylish bachelor pad or apartment.

While the system does lack some bass, in a small living space you will still have enough of a bass sound for whatever you’re watching to sound exciting. Paired with the Dolby Atmos and surrounds, you’ll have an incredible 360°, 3D listening experience.

Another great bonus of the Damson S Series is the ability to add more S-Cube speakers to expand your system to a bigger surround sound set up with up to 16 speakers.

10. Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System

Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System

Nominal Impedance:
8 ohms
Number of Speakers:
5 x full-range 5.1 + 1 x subwoofer
Frequency Response:
110Hz – 20kHz (satellites)
40Hz – 150Hz (subwoofer)
Sensitivity:
88dB
Power Handling:
20/100W satellites
200W subwoofer (powered)

 

The Home Theater System

The Monoprice 5.1 is a neat, compact and affordable home theater system offering no frills on style but surprisingly good on sound. The system includes 4 x identical satellite speakers, a center speaker, and powered subwoofer. Monoprice 10565 5.1 system has been around for the last five years and continues to sell well for a compact home theater system which retails a few dollars over $200.

The satellite speakers feature a 3” driver with ¾” tweeter capable of delivering up to 100W of power output at 8ohms. Each speaker stands 6.9” high weighing only 2.9lbs. The satellites can’t be mounted so you’ll need to purchase a speaker stand or place on a TV cabinet.

The center speaker has an identical 3” driver with ¾” tweeter. The speaker stands 4.3” high and sits horizontally at 10.2” weighing 3lbs. Like the satellites, the center speaker is capable of producing up to 100W at 8ohms.

The powered subwoofer produces an impressive 200W. The subwoofer features an 8” downwards firing driver with a large bass port on the front for improved bass intelligibility.

Cabling & Receiver

This system doesn’t come with a receiver so we recommend the Yamaha RX-V485BL 5.1 Channel Receiver. The RX-V485BL features 4K Ultra HD with 4 x HDMI inputs and 1 x HDMI output. There are also various analog and digital inputs including Bluetooth and WiFi. The amplifier on the RX-V485BL delivers 80W of power at 8 ohms, perfect for the Monoprice 100W speakers.

Alternatively, you will require a receiver capable of producing 20W to 100W at 8 ohms. To get the most out of your Monoprice, try aim for a receiver with 80W to 100W at 8ohm speaker outputs.

For best results, a 16 gauge speaker cable is recommended for the Monoprice speakers.

The Sound

For its price, the Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System sounds really good. The satellite and center speakers deliver excellent intelligibility with a good balance between the mids and highs. The 200W subwoofer delivers a solid bass sound which is clear with good definition. The system is also surprisingly loud and won’t have any issues filling small to medium living areas.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System:

  • 4 x Satellite speaker
  • 1 x Center speaker
  • 1 x Powered subwoofer with power cable

Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System Conclusion

Often when you come across a budget, unknown brand of home theater system you expect a less than satisfactory audio experience. With the Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System you get a great sound at an equally great price. While the audio quality is by no means spectacular, there isn’t much you can fault. It’s a good sound with no glaring audio inadequacies.

Best Home Theater Systems Buyers Guide

Do you still need some help deciding which home theater system is right for you? Here is a quick buyers guide to help you out:

The Cheapest Home Theater System

The cheapest home theater system we feature in this article is the Monoprice 5.1 Home Theater System at a little over $200, however, this is without a receiver. The cheapest option with a receiver is the Onkyo HT-S3900 at just under $250.

Best Sounding Home Theater System

Here we have two options, large and compact. The best sounding compact home theater system is the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack while for larger rooms the Onkyo HT-S9700THX is going to take first prize. This is only slightly better sounding than the Enclave Audio CineHome HD which is cheaper and wireless.

The Easiest Set Up

When it comes to ease of set up and installation, the Damson S Series wins hands down. This is a great option for small rooms but for larger rooms, the Enclave Audio CineHome HD is a better option. It’s also very easy to set install and operate. Both of these systems are wireless which probably lends to the reason they’re so quick and easy to install.

 

Matt Hallowes

Matt Hallowes

Matt has worked as a sound engineer and tour manager since 2003. His work as a sound engineer includes both live production and venue installations. With a passion for the industry, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us.

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