Best surround sound system 2020: our top 6 audio buys | Real Homes

Best surround sound system 2020: our top 6 audio buys for your home cinema

Compare our top picks of the best surround sound system to instantly upgrade your home cinema set-up

best surround sound system
(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

Give your home cinema a boost with the best surround sound system to feature alongside your best TV. It'll mean that you achieve an epic picture and big sound which is brilliant for making the on-screen drama come to life, especially since we're now on summer holiday so captivating entertainment is key (we get it).

While surround sound speakers aren't necessarily cheap, they're worth the investment if you're a film buff, box-set-binger, or avid gamer who takes their TV set-up seriously. Seriously, this is one buy you won't regret. And, in particular if you opt for a wireless surround sound system, you'll be able to create the home cinema of your dreams.

To help you navigate your way through all the tech spec, we've featured six of our picks in this guide which are stylish, wireless and – in some instances – even boast an impressive array of smart features. Plus, we have taken aesthetic appeal into account when rounding up the best surround sound speakers, which is handy if you're concerned with trailing wires and boxy speakers ruining the aesthetic appeal of your space.

Our pick of the best surround sound systems for 2020

Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack

(Image credit: Q Acoustics))

1. Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack

Best surround sound system for value for money: it doesn't skimp on audio quality either

Specifications
Best for: Value for money
Contents: 2 Q 3050i floor standing speakers, 2 Q 3010i bookshelf speakers, 1 Q 3060 Subwoofer and 1 Q 3090i Centre
Connection method: AirPlay, DLNA or Bluetooth, built-in access to Spotify and Deezer and internet radio Tunein
Reasons to buy
+Great value for money+Comes in a range of finishes 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most aesthetically pleasing, for some

If you're looking for a professional quality home surround system, look no further than this wireless cinema pack. Although it is not the cheapest of our top picks, it offers A LOT of bang for your buck so it gets our vote for the best surround sound you can buy.

Impressive value for money

As we've said from the outset, surround sound systems aren't cheap. But, this system offers some seriously impressive value for money. After all, you're getting a comprehensive set-up comprised of two floor standing speakers; two book shelf speakers; a subwoofer and a central speaker.

Designed with precision

This passive speakers have been designed, specifically, to offer large sound and a deep bass, which is just what you'd expect from Q Acoustics. And, although they'll need to be wired to a source via an AV amplifier, are really easy to set up. Plus, dialogue is crisp and clear, meaning you'll experience your favourite films in a newly enhanced manner.

Stylish design

While we're not convinced that everyone will want such a large speaker system in their home, for those that do, this surround sound system is pretty stylish. Available in four different finishes – Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey and English Walnut – you're sure to find something that suits your space.

  • Buy the Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack

best bluetooth speaker: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 (4th Gen) Wireless Speakers

Best surround sound system for style and substance: it looks beautiful and sounds incredible

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Contents: One speaker
Connection method: AirPlay, DLNA or Bluetooth, built-in access to Spotify and Deezer and internet radio Tunein
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Comes in a range of colours and leg finishes+Connects to devices wirelessly+Just one speaker
Reasons to avoid
-The price tag

This would claim our top spot but, because of the price tag, it's our number two.

Completely customisable to your space and taste, this surround sound speakers not only makes a dramatic design statement, but it features built-in room adaptation to adjust the sound perfectly to its surroundings, so you experience honest, clean sound in any room.

Stylish design

Choose from displaying your surround sound speaker on wooden legs (as above) or wall-mounting, depending on your preference and the set-up of your space.

Its also worth noting that this model is available in white, black, smoked oak or bronze tones, thanks to interchangeable covers, so you really can choose a finish that complements your interiors style.

Only requires one speaker

Unlike other wireless surround sound systems, the Beoplay A9 is so powerful that only one speaker is needed to fill the room with sound, ideal for those who are going for a minimalist look or don't like clutter. 

Smart capabilities

You can connect this wireless surround speaker to your phone via Bluetooth, Airplay or Spotify, use the Bang & Olufsen app on your smartphone to control it remotely, or swipe and tap the Intuitive Touch Interface along the top of the system. 

Build a wider sound system

Bang & Olufsen fans will be pleased to know the speaker features BeoLink Multiroom technology, allowing you to unite all your Beoplay products to play the same music in every room.

A stellar product featuring a ground-breaking design, this is our pick of the very best surround sound speakers for your home.

  • Buy the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 Wireless Speakers

best surround sound system: sonos playbar

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

3. Sonos Playbar Home Cinema Sound Bar

Best surround sound system for small home cinemas: if you don't have a lot of space then this soundbar is just the ticket

Specifications
Best for: Small and medium-sized lounges
Contents: Soundbar
Connection method: Wi-fi
Reasons to buy
+Stylish and compact surround sound speaker+Amazing sound+Provides the quality you would expect from Sonos
Reasons to avoid
-Does not support older hardware (some pre 2015)-Expensive model considering you're only getting a soundbar

Another of our top picks, is this wireless surround speaker, or soundbar, from Sonos which gets our vote for the best surround sound system for small home cinemas. It offers impressive sound quality for an immersive cinematic experience, from the comfort of your own home. 

Compact design

If you require a wireless surround sound system that blends style with superior sound quality, this Sonos playbar may be the one for your lounge.

It has a compact design, and one that is adaptable too. You can place it on a flat surface or wall-mounted (mount available separately at extra cost), and the Playbar will automatically detect and adjust its output for consistent Sonos quality in any situation. 

Build on the sound

If the nine speaker design is not enough for you, you can enhance the experience even more by build on the system. Simply add a Sonos SUB or rear speakers (two Play 1s or two Sonos Ones) to the mix (additional speakers sold separately) to create  a sound which totally surrounds you, and the home.

Connect to your smart home system

Connect up to your home Wi_Fi and take full control of your new home surround system with the Sonos Controller app. It's available to download for free, and will give you the wireless freedom to adjust volume, switch settings and more.

  • Buy the Sonos Playbar Home Cinema Sound Bar

best surround sound system: Bose Soundbar 700 with Alexa Built In

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Bose Soundbar 700 with Alexa Built In

Best surround sound system with smart capabilities: it's mega easy to set up, too

Specifications
Best for: Easy set up
Contents: Subwoofer, soundbar, 2 speakers
Connection method: Wi-fi and Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Small and compact+Deliver big sound
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in one colour 

This Bose home cinema gets our vote for the best surround sound system for smart features, and it comes so reasonably priced, too.

Superior sound quality

This set of wireless surround sound speakers has earned its position in our top rated products thanks to its low profile design and promise of superior sound quality. So, if you're uncompromising when it comes to audio quality, you certainly won't be let down by this home sound system.

Compact design

This surround sound speaker is among the smallest designs currently available on the market, making it a practical option for those who want a home cinema experience in a smaller space.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

With built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, this soundbar can be used on its own or as part of the larger system to play everything from your favourite Spotify playlist to a 60-piece orchestral work.

Easy set-up

In our opinion, these are the best wireless surround sound speakers for those who are looking for something easy to set up and use. And if you hate the sight of wires, this system is certainly just the ticket for you.

  • Buy the Bose Soundbar with Alexa Built In 

Best surround sound system: Yamaha YSP2700 7.1 Wireless Sound Bar

5. Yamaha YSP2700 7.1 Wireless Sound Bar

Best surround sound system for building on: it may be compact but it packs a mighty audio punch

Specifications
Best for: Smaller scale system
Contents: Soundbar, Subwoofer
Connection method: Wi-fi and Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Only includes two elements+Connect the speaker to your phone
Reasons to avoid
-May lack the depth of sound others can offer 

If you’re looking for basic home surround sound system that you can build on, this sound bar from Yamaha could fit the bill. 

Enhanced dialogue

Complete with 17 internal speakers, this stylish, wireless surround sound speaker offers enhanced dialogue, while the subwoofer is there to provide the depth of sound. Whether you're looking to enjoy audio, or sound effects in near perfect quality, you certainly won't be disappointed with this model.

Wireless connectivity

Because the subwoofer is wireless, you won’t have to worry about where you place it. This is certainly a perk if you're particular about the aesthetics of your home and don't want a giant sound bar interfering with your interiors.

Build an extensive sound system

You can build on your home surround system over time with other MusicCast products and eventually, create a multi-room, wireless surround sound system where you can either play the same track or a different one through each speaker. 

  • Buy the Yamaha YSP2700 7.1 Wireless Sound Bar

best surround sound: Samsung HW-Q60R 5.1 Wireless Sound Bar

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

6. Samsung HW-Q60R 5.1 Wireless Sound Bar

Best multi-room surround sound system for Samsung TVs: it has everything you need to complete your viewing experience

Specifications
Best for: Multi-room functionality
Contents: Subwoofer, soundbar
Connection method: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Cinematic experience+Acoustic Beam Technology+Tuned by harman/kardon
Reasons to avoid
-Need to pair up to Bluetooth each time you use it-Compatible with Samsung TVs only

If you're looking to build a multi-room audio surround sound system for your Samsung TV, then this sound bar and sub combo could just be what you've been looking for.

Immersive audio

This impressive, wireless surround sound system promises immersive audio and  superior quality sound. It's been specially tuned by audio experts, harman/kardon, for an surround sound experience so you'll get to truly experience 5.1 channel audio through eight (yep, eight( custom-tuned speakers.

Build a multi-room audio system

Not only can you connect to the TV for a home studio experience but you can also pair your smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth for wireless streaming of your favourite tracks.

Factors worth considering

This sound bar and sub woofer have been designed to pair up with the Samsung Q60R QLED TV, but it can be linked wirelessly to other Samsung TVs so it's best to check before buying.

  • Buy the Samsung HW-Q60R 5.1 Wireless Sound Bar 

How to buy the best surround sound system

When buying the best surround sound system for your home, there are a number of factors and features you'll want to consider. After all, wireless surround sound speakers tend to be something of an investment, so you'll want to ensure you're getting the most for your money. Here's what to look out for:

Design

If, like us, you're something of an interiors fanatic, you may be slightly concerned about the aesthetic impact of installing a surround sound system. Fortunately, there are a number of smart – and even stylish – designs on offer. Alternatively, check out those that are small enough to be tucked out of the way. 

Consider what's included in your system

Typically, home surround sound sysmtems are purchased as a 5.1 set – that’s five speakers to one woofer, although there is the option to invest in more speakers if you require. You'll typically receive two front speakers, two rear speakers and a centre speaker as part of a typical kit, in which case the following set-up is advisable:

  • The two front speakers may sit in two corners of the room as they typically carry the bulk of the track.
  • The two rear speakers should sit behind your sofa, as their purpose is to provide an immersive sound experience.
  • The centre speaker usually sits underneath the television as it amplifies the dialogue in the track, separating speech out from the rest of the sound, making it clearer and easier to hear.
  • The woofer can usually be placed anywhere within the space and provides bass and depth – it’s the speaker that makes the room vibrate if you turn the volume right up, so use with caution.

However this is not always the case. For example, our first pick, the Beoplay A9, has all of these features piled into just one speaker, ideal for those who don't want several speakers dotted around the room but still want good quality sound.

Size

Surround sound speakers exist in three levels of size. We'd recommend bearing the following factors in mind when choosing the option that's right for you.

  • Small living rooms will benefit from a compact surround sound system. The speakers are small enough to put on a shelf or on top of a cabinet, allowing to you maximise the space that you have.
  • The next size up are bookshelf speakers – these typically require a mount or a stand and deliver a better sound quality than a compact surround sound set without being too obtrusive.
  • Finally, there’s floor standing surround sound speakers, which are a feature in their own right and are best placed in large lounges where there’s plenty of space. 

Can you build your surround sound system over time?

As we mentioned previously, home surround sound systems tend to be expensive and are something of an investment for the vast majority of people. If you can't afford an entire surround sound system in one go, it may be worth opting for a make that can be built over time. 

If that sounds like you, our pick of the best soundbars may be your best starting point.

Smart capabilities

Some of the latest surround sound systems are smart enabled, meaning you can sync them with your chosen smart assistant – perhaps Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This capability makes it super easy to control your surround sounds system using your voice, as well as enabling you to control your entire home cinema set-up using the same software. 

What is the best surround sound system?

Let's recap..if you want to buy the best surround sound system, we recommend you buy the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9. In addition to offering clean and seriously quality sound – which should be your top priority when investing in a surround sound speaker – it also makes a dramatic design statement, too. 

Its looks are customisable, and the speaker can be connected to your smart phone for remote control. We'll admit that it's somewhat pricey, but you're looking for uncompromising quality, it doesn't get much better than this. 

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