Surround Sound Reviews

At my goal is to help you weigh the pros and cons when comparing great brands of home theater audio equipment from Onkyo, Sony, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer and others. Here you'll find detailed side-by-side comparisons between both models and brands along with information about setting up your home theater surround sound system.

Surround Sound Explained

Surround sound encompasses techniques for enriching the sound reproduction quality of an audio source with five or more audio channels. The components that make up your ideal audio system include source components like Blu-ray disc players, CD players, portable music players, DVD players, and turntables.

An audio/visual receiver (AVR) forms the heart of most systems, with higher-end systems perhaps employing separate controller and amplifier components. Read my article on How to Choose a Home Theater Receiver for more information.

For a sample of how I compare across brands, check out my article 2012 Entry-Level Surround Sound Receivers Under $300

Finishing out the system are the speakers. Many people already own at least a 2-channel stereo system with a left and right speaker. Surround sound builds on this by adding a center channel speaker, and at least two surround speakers, plus a subwoofer (read  subwoofer reviews).

surround sound system in living room

7.1-channel systems have become mainstream and really enhance the sensation of being in the middle of the action when used in a home theater.

Investing in a surround sound system is not inexpensive and aims to help. I save you time by bringing the research and choices together in one place and making recommendations as well as the opinions of other equipment owners.

Detailed reviews

You have so many choices when it comes to buying a surround sound system for your home theater. First there are the different manufacturers: Sony, Onkyo, Denon, Bose, Yamaha, JVC, Pioneer are some of the mainstream ones, plus many others. And the sky's the limit on price if you decide to go high-end, although this site doesn't cover high-end gear.

Then you'll have to decide how many speakers to use, what type and size. Speaker placement is important, and you might consider in-wall speakers if floor or shelf space is limited.

If you decide to choose and assemble your own components you'll need to learn the basics of connecting them all together with cables. There are wireless options but most connections still use cabling. Do pricey cables really make a differenc?

Another decision is whether to go with a do-it-yourself installation or to hire a professional installer.

Price is always an object of consideration and the most expensive equipment isn't always necessarily the best in every respect. We'll point out when paying more is worth the price. provides you with researched information on everything related to surround sound to help you through the maze of choices and technical jargon.

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