So you know someone who totally needs a new sound system. He might still be using that system he bought 10 or 20 years ago and he puts up with his sound quality growing weak over time. It might be having performance issues where the sound cuts out unless you tweak the volume, and that can get rather loud. You might even be the one with the old sound system and it’s time for an upgrade. Where should you start? Well, your best bet is to find out what’s currently available in the world of sound, set a budget and do some shopping around. Sound quality has really gone up because any good manufacturer knows that modern savvy consumers want the same kind of sound they can get in a concert hall without blowing the bank for it. So be sure to read the reviews and find something that works for you.
The Philips HTS3541/F7 5.1-Channel Blu-ray Home Theater System can pump out 300 watts of RMS power to deliver top-quality sound for movies and music. It’s equipped with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD for high-fidelity sound and also has Wi-Fi compatibility for hooking up to your similarly equipped entertainment devices. It can also handle Blu-Ray and 3D formats. It’s not overly loud, but then, people who bought this one weren’t looking for something that can shatter windows. Dialogue and music sounds clear without being muffled.
The Panasonic 3.1-Channel Soundbar System with 6-1/2″ Wireless Subwoofer features 300 watts of sound output, 3.1 channels, a stainless steel mesh speaker design, and Clear Mode Dialog/Auto Gain Control. Its compact size and easy assembly are major positives for people who want to maximize the designated space for their home entertainment system. It has a voice booster which helps keep dialogue sharp and clear when other sounds might be overwhelming. It also features compatibility with 3D formats, a Bluetooth connection and a deep bass sound for people who like a beat.
The Denon DHT-1513BA Boston Acoustics Premium Speaker System features 5 channels, discreet power amplifiers, 3D pass-through technology, and multiple HDMI ports including a front HDMI port for easy hookup for an extra HDMI device. Reviewers like this as an improvement over the speakers they saw at their big-box stores. It’s cheaper and can pump out the quality sound. It works with your TV, satellite, Blu-Ray and iPod. It’s an intro version for Denon but don’t let that fool you. Denon knows how to produce quality sound systems and this one will not disappoint.
While not an especially flashy or showy sound system, this selection from Boston Acoustics works well with entertainment centers that don’t have much room by sliding snugly under most modest TVs. It can connect to your Bluetooth-enabled audio devices and stream CD-like sound through four speakers. It’s an improvement over many TV sound systems without standing out like a sore thumb and the setup is an easy one.
The Bose CineMate Series II Digital Home Theater Speaker System features 2.1 channels, 4-button remote operation, and a simplified system for setting up. It’s a Bose, so it’s best at handling music and turns out some really good bass. Setup takes about 10 minutes. There were a couple of complaints about having to turn it up to hear dialogue, though one did suggest double-checking the settings on your TV too. Both the speakers and the sensor are compact enough to save space. It works almost as good as the Bose GS II and is about $200 cheaper.
The Onkyo HT-S3500 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker features 4 HDMI inputs and an output with support for 3D movie formats and Audio Return Channel. It can also connect to your iPod with a front USB port and is protected by a 2-year warranty. The sound is good though you might want to do some tweaking with the channels at lower volumes. The subwoofer can put out a decent amount of bass. The multiple HDMI inputs are nice for when you want to hook up more than just your TV. It’s pretty cheap and a good entry-level system for people who want some good sound with their entertainment system without having to spend a lot of money.
The Yamaha YAS-101BL Front Surround System features 7.1 channels, UniVolume for keeping the show and channels at the same volume, and auto adjustment for discrepancies between audio and visual. You can adjust the subwoofer level to your liking. It’s one of the more compact and space-efficient options for sound systems and it looks nice on your home theater shelf. Setup is easy; just take it out of the box and plug it into your TV and power strip. It syncs up with the TV so that it can be turned on and off when you hit the power button for your television.
The Samsung AudioBar 2.1-Channel Soundbar System features 60 watts of sound-producing power on the bar and a 60-watt subwoofer along with Bluetooth support and 6 DSP settings for games, movies, music and more. It’s easy to set up and the price is decent for a soundbar that also includes a subwoofer. It works pretty well with a PS3. Some buyers did recommend adding an optical cable to the order for best results but otherwise liked the quality they got for the price.
The Eton Rukus Solar Portable Bluetooth Sound System is a rare solar-powered sound system that can fully charge on just sunlight in six hours and connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device. It’s easy to carry and, while one customer did wonder why Best Buy doesn’t carry this in its brick-and-mortar stores, he liked the simplicity and portability. It’s not exactly for TVs, but you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a sound system that can go green like this.
This is 160 watts of sound producing power in a compact unit and two wireless subwoofers, making it a good pick for people who don’t want their TV sound system to take up a lot of space or mess with a lot of wires. It’s Bluetooth-enabled and easy to set up with a solidly constructed 23 pounds of sound-producing gear.
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