Now that you’ve done some research on what a 5.1 sound system is and how it works, you’ve decided to start looking at buying your setup! Where do you go first? Best Buy? Amazon? Craigslist? Your local pawn shop?
Pick your poison….just kidding. You can pretty much research and find useful information on any site out there but I’ve got some suggestions for you. Cnet and thewirecutter are good for more professional reviews and for consumer reviews, Best Buy and Amazon are good choices. Prices listed are MSRP; you can usually find deals on all of these at the right place.
If you’re wondering what the 5.1 means in the title read this article, then come back here.
(Instead of navigating forward and backward in your web browser when clicking on links, hold the command key for OS X or the control key for Windows and then click, to open the link in a new tab)!
Bose 5.1 Wired System (~$700)
+Bose always sounds good, great design
-Bose likes your wallet too much, lack of soundbar might impact overall surround experience, can be bass heavy at times
Samsung Mix and Match 5.1 (~$630)
+Versatility with sound when you mix and match
-Lack of unity could prove frustrating when troubleshooting/setting up
Vizio Semi-Wireless 5.1 (~$500)
+Fantastic budget-conscious option
-Lacks definition in the bass
Denon Completely Wireless 5.1 (~$1,300)
+Cheapest fully wireless hifi sound system, elegant design, supports wifi and bluetooth streaming
-Software controller can be frustrating to use, audio performance is not as crisp as Sonos
Sonos Completely Wireless 5.1 (~$1,800)
+Uncompressed high fidelity bliss, design fits anywhere and looks good, software controller is very easy to use and set up is a breeze
-Expensive, digital optical is only input, does not support lossless audio
*Will update with 2017 systems in separate post
Updated 11/30: Added Denon wireless speakers, edited pros and cons for each product