10 Best 5.1 Speakers | April 2017

You have just about finished building your awesome new home theater. The TV is hanging on the wall and the 5.1 receiver is ready to deliver truly immersive movie theater-like entertainment. All you need now is a set of these 5.1 speakers. They will blow you away with booming bass, crisp highs and clear midrange sound for all your TV shows, sports, movies, music, and gaming. Skip to the best 5.1 speaker on Amazon.
10 Best 5.1 Speakers | April 2017
Overall Rank: 3
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
The Creative Inspire T6300 uses a traditionally designed tube inside a tightly sealed casing that greatly improves the system's performance by delivering louder playback with more centered bass. Although this is a wired unit, those are easily hidden away.
  • concealable rear speakers
  • satellites increase acoustics
  • no mounting capability
Brand Creative
Model 51MF4115AA002
Weight 10.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The Monoprice 108247 has five speakers including convenient, spring-loaded signal connectors and a sub that can accommodate line or speaker-level inputs. This allows it to be used with any amplifier, even older one's absent dedicated subwoofer connections.
  • max 125 watts of power at 8 ohms
  • no sound distortion at high volumes
  • poorly constructed subwoofer
Brand Monoprice
Model 108247
Weight 30.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
The Klipsch HD Theater 300 offers great benefits for the energy-conscious shopper. A specialized horn-like design creates a vividly rich and immersive sound, all while reducing power consumption. The included compact 8-inch subwoofer provides a rich atmosphere.
  • max power is 300 watts
  • comes with level and phase controls
  • has some static at higher volumes
Brand Klipsch HD Theater 300
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
High-quality and immersive sound technology coalesce with the JBL CS6100BG. This system utilizes special titanium-housed tweeters, producing unique frequencies, resulting in 300-watts of incredible cinema-quality resonance.
  • massive 10-inch subwoofer included
  • gorgeous glossy finish
  • may be a little expensive
Brand JBL CS6100BG
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Polk Audio RM705 provides a powerful movie-like experience from the speakers housed in sturdy enclosures. It has a unique trilateral composite material creating less of a visual repercussion on shelving and walls, all while you're enjoying your favorite programs.
  • beautifully designed speaker boxes
  • magnetic shield for safe placement
  • not suitable for larger spaces
Brand Polk Audio RM705
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL offers restored harmonics, crisp highs, and accurate bass through wide-range system frequency response, while the center speaker delivers excellent midrange dialogue. The removable grill cloth keeps dust out and prevents damage.
  • mountable 8-inch 100w sub woofer
  • speakers do not interfere with tv
  • requires an additional amplifier
Brand Yamaha
Model NS-SP1800BL
Weight 34.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Logitech Z906, with its advanced, THX certified features, delivers optimum theatre-quality sound. You can connect up to six devices at once as well as operate the unit from one of two controls, a wired and wireless port come with the set.
  • compact control console
  • 1000 watts of max power
  • no wall mounting hardware
Brand Logitech
Model Z906
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Vizio SB3851-C0 comes with a stylish 38-inch sound bar and a thumping subwoofer that completely immerses you in a deep, enriching atmosphere. It also has an intuitive LCD remote that makes it easy to adjust frequencies and volume.
  • crystal clear sound up to 100db
  • wireless rear speakers and subwoofer
  • the sound bar has built-in bluetooth
Model SB3851-C0
Weight 23.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
For the cost-conscious, yet demanding audio consumer, the Logitech Z506 can stack up to the higher-priced options. It delivers clean, crisp surround sound from many sources, using multiple inputs, you may plug in almost any device.
  • 75-watts of calibrated power
  • on-speaker bass control
  • 2-year warranty included
Brand Logitech Z506
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The Bose Acoustimass 6 has almost invisible speakers that can mount flush to a wall and weigh very little, so you can easily place them around the room for an incredible surround sound experience. The two bass woofers hide away as well, streamlining your home theater.
  • colored cables for easy connection
  • compatible with most receivers
  • has an optional wireless connection
Brand Bose
Model 720960-1100
Weight 46.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Why Are They Called 5.1 Speakers?

The numbers in home theater systems are often regarded with confusion among customers. From 2.1 to 11.2, it is easy to think that the number denotes a ratings system of some sort. The truth is easier to understand, yet does require some explaining.

The number to the left of the decimal represents the number of full channels the theater receiver can provide. Each of these channels has the ability to produce the normal range of audio frequencies the human ear can hear; from the high ringing of some action effects to even some normal bass notes in music. It is curious to note that our interpretation of this psychoacoustic range of sounds actually shapes our reality, which may shine some light into why surround sound speakers sound more real than normal speakers.

The number varies from two all the way to eleven, meaning there are between two and eleven channels available. It is important to get a receiver that matches with the number of speakers the user would like. If a 2.1 receiver is purchased, yet the user is hoping to use 5 full channel speakers, they will be quite disappointed as there will be 3 extra speakers that cannot be used. They would have had to purchase a 5.1 receiver to utilize all of them.

The number to the right of the decimal represents a different channel called the low frequency effects channel. This channel only produces extremely low frequencies ranging from 3 to 120 Hz, and is for a designated subwoofer. Because there is usually only one subwoofer, most speaker systems end in .1.

There are a few uncommon cases of speaker systems which have two low frequency effects channel outputs. This could be for left and right subwoofers, or for large areas like auditoriums which need more than one subwoofer to fully fill the space. In these cases, the speaker system would be marked 5.2, for example. It is not a requirement to use both of the channels, but can be beneficial if one subwoofer does not provide enough output. To simplify the concept, the 5.1 can be read as five full channels, one low channel.

Things To Look For In 5.1 Speakers

The most important aspect to consider when shopping for 5.1 speakers is the build quality. After spending a few hours setting up, installing, and programming the surround sound system as you want it, it would be a waste if the speakers blew within the first few uses. This is why it is so important to check for good cabinets like wood or high quality plastics, and to inquire about the diaphragms used in the speakers.

The price will also be a factor for some. Speakers are finely tuned acoustic instruments, and the highest quality items will obviously cost more. However, it is possible to do some research and come away with quality speakers that do not break the bank.

Another thing to consider is the subwoofer cabinet. The quality of the cabinet design is important to keep from hearing rattling noises or distorted sounds over time. To be sure of this, the enclosure should be capable of withstanding the air pressure the speaker will provide while resisting deformation over time. This usually involves creating cabinets made of various types of wood which are the most sturdy and affect the sound less than other options.

The cabinets will also have some sort of vent to allow pressurized air to exhaust in order to prevent damage to the cabinet. There is a lot of pressure created by speakers, and woofers especially, so be wary of any cabinet that does not have some sort of vent.

Understanding The 5.1 Speaker Setup

There is a reason that the 5.1 speaker setup has been the industry standard for over twenty years now, and that is because it works very well. Having five full range channels provides enough of a spread for most rooms, and allows the sound to both fill the space while providing enough dynamic sources to make people feel as though they are part of the event.

When a 5.1 speaker system is first opened up, it may look confusing and intimidating. There are a few different components which need to be understood before installing any home theater system. Once they are fully comprehended, the speaker system will provide endless hours of entertainment.

Advancements in television technology have brought us closer than ever to feeling as though we are in the action. While much of this has to do with the empathetic nature of humans when watching movies, that nature is definitely influenced by the realistic experience provided by well-produced movies on a life-sized screen. This visual experience is accented perfectly by the depth provided by a 5.1 channel speaker system.

It is key to understand how each of these channels works together to deliver that experience though. The center channel of the speaker system will provide an anchor point for the sound. This channel is usually where the spoken dialogue or musical lyrics will come out, and helps to keep most of the attention towards the television. The left and right front channels are the immediate accents to this channel, and provide the soundtrack information, backing tracks, or left and right audio for any stereo tracks. The rear left and right channels or the surround channels are where much of the immersive feeling is felt from.

When designing sound production for 5.1 surround sound, sound technicians have the unique opportunity to pan sound from one end of the room to the other by having it start in one channel and move to another. This can create the sound of a car passing by or fill the room with different ambient sounds from the crowd at a live event taping. Capping it all off is the subwoofer, which provides the extremely low frequencies. Rumbling motors, explosions, and the bass notes of an amazing concert can all be felt with ease. Together, the six speakers work in harmony to make heartfelt songs more moving, and horror movies even more scary. This makes some researchers question if it leads people to be desensitized to violence or not. One thing is for certain, the experience is immersive.

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Last updated on April 22 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.