The Best Wireless Surround Sound Systems for an At-Home Theater Experience

best surround systems 2024
The 3 Best Wireless Surround Sound SystemsAmazon

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Those built-in speakers your TV came with, they sound like shit. Just because you spent over a grand on that award-winning 98-inch TV doesn't mean the speaker stack up. In fact, maybe they're why you can never understand your favorite movie's dialogue. Ironically, it's our fault. Since the 2000s plasma TV boom, all we ever asked for were thinner TVs with better displays, and we got them. But that came at the cost of tiny speakers that produce poor sound.

The easiest way to upgrade your TV's audio is with a soundbar. They're easy to install and use, have a small footprint, and don't look half bad on a media stand. However, for a truly immersive home theater experience, you need a quality wireless surround sound system. (Unless this is an outdoor speaker setup, ditch the wires.) We're talking speakers with bass so heavy you feel it in your gut, highs so crisp you hear every little sss and thh of dialogue without subtitles. Because we all know the only way to properly enjoy John Wick 4 is to hear every leg break, car crash, and shotgun blast in crisp, clear Dolby Atmos.

That said, getting started with a wireless surround sound system can be intimidating. There are multiple satellite speakers to arrange, something called a subwoofer, and people from all corners of the internet claiming they have the best sound tech. Take it from us, though, upgrading is worth it, and we know how to upgrade. Imagine jumping from your chunky old tube TV straight to 4K OLED. Getting one of these surround sound systems is like that, only for audio.

Whether you're watching Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer or Greta Gerwig's Barbie, these are the three best surround sound systems for a theater-like audio experience.

Bar 1000

The JBL Bar 1000 offers impressive 7.1.4-channel sound through a sleek bar that features multiple speakers, including up-firing drivers for overhead effects. Meanwhile, the 10-inch wireless subwoofer produces hard-hitting bass, bringing the on-screen action to life. With Dolby Atmos support, the system delivers a spectacular movie night, but what makes the Bar 1000 our top pick is its true wireless surround speakers.

It has surround speakers that are detachable and rechargeable. The clever design allows you to play around with the placement of the speakers in your living room. No messy wires or power cables—place them wherever works best for immersive surround sound effects. The speakers work on battery power for up to 10 hours, so you can do a Killers of the Flower Moon and Oppenheimer six-and-a-half hour double feature with battery to spare. When you're done, you can reattach the speakers to charge before the next movie night.

When you're not watching a movie or playing video games, you can stream music to the Bar 1000 through Bluetooth, AirPlay, or built-in Chromecast. JBL's system is simple yet effective, and cuts down on the mess of wires that can come with competing alternatives.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Bar 1000</p><p></p><p>$1199.95</p>

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Bar 1000


Sonos Arc - Soundbar with Dolby Atmos

Sonos is synonymous with the upscale audio market, offering a range of sleek, smart home and portable speakers. The Sonos Arc is the brand's top-of-the-line soundbar, featuring 11 speakers—including two that are upward firing—and Dolby Atmos support. It's an excellent foundation for creating a surround sound system of Sonos devices.

The beauty of Sonos products is how easily they all connect, making it possible to create a surround sound, or even multi-room, system. For example, the Arc can connect with a Sonos Sub (Gen 3) and two Era 100 (or Era 300) smart speakers for a powerful home theater experience. Sonos offers a few pre-configured home theater kits, but you can build out your dream setup by choosing the speakers that best fit your space. The Arc even works with the Sonos shelf and lamp speakers made by IKEA.

The Arc also has a four far-field microphone array for picking up voice commands—from Alexa and Google Assistant—and support for AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. All of which makes it a great wireless speaker for music.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Sonos Arc - Soundbar with Dolby Atmos</p><p></p><p>$824.88</p>

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Sonos Arc - Soundbar with Dolby Atmos


M-Series Elevate Soundbar and Subwoofer

The Vizio M-Series Elevate offers an excellent balance of hardware, design, and features at an affordable price. The surround sound system delivers a dynamic and immersive audio experience that will rumble your seat during action sequences and produce crisp dialogue in quieter moments. And thanks to its sleek charcoal fabric exterior, it blends pretty seamlessly into any interior space.

The 5.1.2 channel system includes a soundbar with two height channels, a subwoofer, and two speakers. In what is a unique spin on the typical soundbar design, the two height channels can automatically rotate up or down for optimal sound. Conveniently, the subwoofer connects to the soundbar wirelessly, giving you the freedom to place it anywhere in your space.

The Vizio M-Series Elevate supports Bluetooth and has one HDMI eARC and an extra standard HDMI input for connecting a Blu-ray player or gaming console. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer Wi-Fi capabilities, meaning there's no built-in support for Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Alexa. But for a down market model, we prefer it that way. Better to skimp on smart features instead of cutting sound tech.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>M-Series Elevate Soundbar and Subwoofer</p><p></p><p>$499.99</p>

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M-Series Elevate Soundbar and Subwoofer


Terms You Need to Know When Buying Surround Systems

We use a few bits of tech lingo that the average consumer—that's you, reader—might not know the meaning of. If you're asking What is HDMI eARC? or What do soundbar channels mean? or even What the hell is Dolby Atmos?

Well, here's a little glossary for you.

HDMI eARC - This is the grandchild of your classic coaxial cable. It stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel, and it works within its specific type of HDMI connection. It's HDMI with better speeds, which makes the whole process of audio transfer from streaming, to TV, to your sound system go a lot more smoothly.

Soundbar Channels - Here, we've got 5.1.2, 5.0.2, and 7.1.4. Each follows a formula, left to right. First number means how many speakers the soundbar has. Second number is the number of internal subwoofers. (Not as big a deal here, they all have external subs.) Third number is how many upward facing drivers you have. (Upward facing drivers are better for surround sound.)

Dolby Atmos - The standard bearer for surround sound tech in 2024. You can find it in just about every TV speaker made these days. It's just a lot of tech stuff that gives you top of the line spatial audio—meaning sound that feels real.

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