7.1 surround sound speakers are the big-daddies of home entertainment: expensive, powerful, and exceptionally clear. You will be hard pressed to find a set of 7.1 surround sound speakers that don’t cost a small fortune. But if you want the best performance, then there is nothing better to invest in.
A 7.1 surround sound speaker system typically includes one woofer, one central speaker, two side speakers, and four satellite speakers. Most models also include an amplifier. This setup creates an entire ‘wall of sound’, pulling you completely into the TV/movie watching experience. Combine a 7.1 surround sound speaker system with a large screen plasma/LCD/LED TV, and you will never want to spend money in a movie theater again!
Be careful though: to take full advantage of 7.1 surround sound speakers, you need to have the right hardware. Most typical DVD players do not support 8 channels of audio, so you won’t make the most out of your speakers. The Blu-Ray format, however, delivers 8 channels of high quality, lossless DTH-Master Audio/Dolby TrueHD audio. The 8 channels can thus be separated and distributed among the 7.1 setup. Consequently, you get the true HD experience: a wall of sound where each sound seems to come from a different direction.
Among 7.1 speaker manufacturers, Harman-Kardon, and Onkyo come highly recommended. Sony, Infinity and Samsung are other brands to consider if your budget is slightly lower. For cheaper alternatives, you can try Logitech. Bose’s speaker systems are typically of a very high quality. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t make any 7.1 systems (though you can definitely consider its 5.1 setups).
The Onkyo HT-S6300 7.1-Channel Home Theater System comes highly recommended. It is a slightly more expensive 7.1 system at $999, but delivers a great performance in a good looking package. It is designed to work with Blu-Ray players and has four of the latest 1.4a HDMI inputs. Delivering 1200W of total power – 7 speakers each delivering 130W and one subwoofer with 290W – the Onkyo HT-S6300 is more than adequate to handle the highs and the lows with aplomb. I especially like the bass on this system, made possible by the 290W subwoofer.
The best feature of the Onkyo HT-S6300 is its ability to automatically up-convert all video inputs to 1080P and output through HDMI. The best feature, though, has to be the Audyssey Audio Correction Technology, which automatically tailors the system for your home theater, correcting frequency response, volume, etc. for a smoother, clearer performance. The included setup mic makes setting up the speakers a breeze, and the compact design ensures that the system will blend in, not stand out in your home theater.
Among 7.1 surround sound speakers, the Onkyo HT-S6300 comes highly recommended. If you are on a budget, then you can discard the idea of a 7.1 system and opt for a 5.1 instead (which are typically priced much lower but do not differ much in performance).
If you want to use the speakers primarily with your computer, you should consider opting for 7.1 surround speakers for PC, which are specifically designed for use with computers. Logitech is the pioneer in this field and makes affordable, quality 7.1 speakers for PCs.
Another option to consider if you dislike wires (who doesn’t?) is to opt for wireless 7.1 surround sound speakers. These eliminate the clutter partially by getting rid of several wires, though you will never find a system that is completely wireless. Nevertheless, for a clutter-free experience, these wireless 7.1 speakers come highly recommended.