Five Best 5.1 Surround Speaker Sets
A great set of
Earlier in the week
we asked you to tell us
Energy's Take Classic 5.1 speaker system are well loved all over the web.
Sound and Vision loves them
The Wirecutter's current pick for a good surround system
that hits all of the best sweet spots-space saving size, amazing sound, and budget friendliness. It doesn't hurt that Energy is a subsidiary of Klipsch, generally aimed at making consumer-friendly, quality
One of the best things about the series is that it's relatively affordable. It's currently
$365 at Amazon
, although it's been known to dip below $350 if you catch a sale or shop around. Almost every reviewer that's had their hands on the system has noted that it's probably as close to no-compromises-for-your-money as you'll ever get, and they sound as good as sets much more expensive. Those of you who nominated it praised that fact, pointed to Energy's connections with Klipsch (although they're not Klipsch speakers), and noted their impressive sound. Check out
the nominations thread
Part of the reason everyone loves this particular system is because it's so affordable. The whole system will set you back $220 at Monoprice right now . Those of you who nominated it (including me) marvelled at the sound for the price, and while they only pack a one year warranty (a little anemic compared to some of their competition), it's hard to beat the sound and quality for the price. They'd be a bargain at twice the price-but then, if they were, they wouldn't be quite as popular. If you're on a budget, Monoprice has a sub-$100 5.1 channel speaker set here that's also the nominations thread for more .
Let's get this out of the way up front. The Z-5500 is discontinued, and it has been for a long time. Technically it's been replaced by the
Logitech Speaker System Z906
, but there's a reason that's not the one you're voting on here. The Z-550 have long been regarded as a kind of white whale of affordable 5.1 speaker systems. They sound incredible, are THX-certified, pack great power to sound out a room, and could be connected to all sorts of devices, not just a computer or home theater setup. The system packed a 10", 188-watt subwoofer, audio inputs for up to six connected devices, and wall-mountable or free-standing satellite speakers that featured
The problem is that with the Z-5500s being discontinued (and every subsequent model being a bit of a disappointment by comparison), they're extremely hard to find.
there are a few sellers sporting them at Amazon
, but you'll have to look to find a set. They range between $3-400 and $6-700 depending on who you get them from and how new they promise to be-but if you go on some of your nominations, they're worth the money. Just
check out the nominations thread to read more
Pioneer's Andrew Jones series earned quite a bit of praise in our call for contenders thread, and for good reason. The SP-PK22BS
One thing those of you who nominated the Pioneer Andrew Jones series speakers noted, beyond their great sound, was the fact that these speakers are frequently on sale, especially around the holidays. If you can grab them at a significant dip to MSRP, you're looking at a set that can approach the price of some other, more budget models, and give you a more customizable, flexible option that can push just as good (if not better) sound into your living room. Seriously, a couple of Google searches for the model numbers here reveal tons of deals, many old, but definitely frequent enough to make this set worth considering. Head over
to the nominations thread
Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 may be the priciest 5.1 channel set in the roundup, but it reviews are to believed, they're some of the best sounding as well. Sound and Vision Magazine absolutely loved them, while CNET was a touch more conservative about them , but both gave them high marks for incredible sound at their price point, and being an incredible bang for the buck if you're willing to spend the buck in question. Each of the satellite speakers is glossy and beautifully designed, with rounded backs and custom driver designs to optimize sound quality from both the bookshelf and center channel speakers. The 250-watt 8" subwoofer is thunderous. All in all, there's a reason a number of you said that once you hear Definitive's speakers, you won't settle for less.
The flip side of all of that praise is the price point. The ProCinema 600 retails for $799, although they're
available at Amazon for $750
. Those of you who nominated it pointed out that not only is it one of the best speaker sets in its price range, the next steps up, the ProCinema 800 and 1000, are worth considering too if you have the cash. Make sure to
check out the nominations thread for more
Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to a vote to decide the community favorite:
The honorable mention this week goes out to an always Lifehacker-friendly alternative: Build Your Own System . A number of you suggested (and agreed with the suggestion) that you can do better than buying an out of the box system by assembling your own speakers and subwoofer on your own to meet your space and sound needs. Similarly, building your own offers you the flexibility to go used, where you can get some incredible discount on really high-end components. Don't be afraid to scour Craigslist or eBay for great prices on used high-end living room or other systems
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list?
Remember, the top five are based on
your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week