7-1 Surround Sound System: Best Home Theatre Systems

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7-1 Surround Sound System: Best Home Theatre Systems

The 7-1 surround sound system has rapidly replaced older setups such as the 5-1 surround sound system and established itself as the minimum requirement for the serious audiophile looking for cinematic sound in his or her home theatre.

But there’s a lot to think about when choosing a 7.1 surround sound system including:

  • Do you want Dolby Atmos? Or DTX:S? Or both?
  • Do you have the room to set up a 7.1 system effectively? If not, is a soundbar a good alternative?
  • What’s your budget? 7.1 systems can be pricey.

In this complete guide to 7.1 surround sound systems, I’ll answer all those questions and more as well as recommend the best 7.1 surround sound setup available whether you’re looking for a budget system or a top-of-the-range home theatre.

What is a 7.1 surround sound system?

A 7.1 surround sound system is a home theatre system consisting of 8 channels. The speakers are placed to the listener’s side and behind to give an immersive experience.

NOTE: A ‘true’ 7.1 surround sound setup will consist of 8 speakers, one for each channel. However, some systems, particularly those featuring soundbars ‘emulate’ 7.1 setups with fewer speakers.

5.1 or 7.1: What’s the difference?

A 5.1 surround sound system consists of 6 channels and 6 speakers, as opposed to the  7.1 surround sound system’s 8 channels and 8 speakers. The extra 2 speakers in the 7.1 setups are positioned behind the listener.

Soundproof Home Theater

What is better 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound?

Theoretically, the more channels, and speakers, the more ‘surrounded’ by sound you are, so a 7.1 setup would seem automatically better. However, there are pros and cons to a 7.1 system compared to a 5.1 system:

  • They are usually more expensive. Even if you have an existing 5.1 system, unless the receiver is 7.1 compatible, you’ll need a new one as well as new speakers, all of which tend to be more pricey than their 5.1 counterparts.

NOTE: 7.1 receivers can be used on 5.1 systems, but not normally the other way around.

  • They usually have more speakers, so more room is needed.
  • As they have more speakers, you need more wiring and cabling (unless the extra speakers are wireless, but even then you may need to plug them in). 
  • The setup can be more complicated.
  • The difference in sound may not be that noticeable. Or possibly may even be worse.

The reason for the last point is that all surround systems only work if each channel’s sound has enough ‘room’. If the space available for the setup is too small, then the speakers can be crowded together giving a ‘muddier’ and less immersive overall sound than with fewer channels and speakers. Or the shape of the room may be such that the optimum layout for the speakers cannot be achieved. In that instance, a 5.1 system may sound clearer.

What components does a typical 7.1 surround sound system include?

A typical 7.1 surround sound system consists of:

  • 1 X Left and right speakers.
  • 4 X Surround speakers.
  • 1 X Center channel speaker.
  • 1 X subwoofer. 
  • 1 X Receiver.

What is DTX:S and Atmos?

DTX:S and Atmos are surround sound formats. They both add overhead sound effects to give an impression of 3-D sound using a system of object-based codex. Whereas Dolby Atmos started life in the cinema and was adapted for home use, DTX:S was created for the home theatres and was then adapted for cinema.

The important difference for surround sound systems is that Atmos requires additional channels to be added to 5.1 and 7.1 setups, whereas DTX:S can function within your existing set up. With DTX:S you can also adjust the volume of a specific element, such as the voice track in a movie, to make it easier to hear.

How do I set up a 7.1 surround sound system? 

  • Left and right speakers: these are usually placed at roughly 23o in front of the listener.
  • Surround speakers: these are placed on either side of the listener at ear level and can be mounted on stands or fixed to the wall.
  • Center channel speaker: this is positioned in front of the listener, usually below the audio source, often the TV. It wants to be as dead center to the listener as possible.
  • Subwoofer: If the system comes with a subwoofer, this is normally placed on the floor at the front of the listener. As bass sound is universally Omni-directional below 80 Hz, one speaker is usually sufficient and the placement doesn’t have to be dead center.

NOTE: Whether you perceive bass as directional or not isn’t only down to the frequency but also a variety of other factors, including the size of the room. Some surround sound systems consist of 2 subwoofers which are set up in stereo.

How do I choose the best 7.1 surround sound system setup for me?

The best 7.1 surround sound home theatre setup for you will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The size of your room.
  • The size of your budget.
  • Whether you want a soundbar.
  • Whether you want a subwoofer. Or two.
  • Whether you want wireless speakers.
  • Whether you want free-standing or in-wall speakers. 7.1 surround sound systems in-wall can be elegant, space-saving, alternatives to freestanding speaker systems.
  • Whether you want Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Whether you want DTS: X or Atmos.
Contemporary home theater room – more your style?

To help you choose which 7.1 system is right for you, I’ve listed the best 10 home theatre systems  – and their alternatives – based on a variety of criteria including sound quality, price and components.

List of best 7.1 surround sound, home theatre systems:

1. Best 7.1 surround sound system overall for the price: Klipsch 7.1 RP-250

Klipsch 7.1 RP-250

The Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 is probably the best 7.1 home theater system on sale for the money. Which doesn’t mean it’s cheap, just that you get a lot for your money.

What do I like about the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250?

  • Wireless subwoofer.
  • Superb overall sound quality.

What don’t I like about the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250?

  • Not cheap.
  • Doesn’t include a receiver.

What do you get?

  • 2 X RP-250F Reference Premiere Floorstanding Speakers with Dual 5.25 inch Cerametallic Cone Woofers (Ebony). 
  • 1 X RP- 250C Reference Premiere Center Channel Speaker with Dual 5.25 inch Cerametallic Cone Woofers (Ebony).
  • 2 X RP-240S Reference Premiere Surround Speakers with Dual 4 inch Cerametallic Cone Woofers (Ebony).
  • 2 X RP-150M Reference Premiere Monitor Speakers with 5.25-inch Cerametallic Cone Woofer (Ebony).
  • 1 X R-110SW 10 inch 200 Watt Subwoofer (Black).
  • FREE WA-2 Wireless Subwoofer Kit.

How well is the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 built and designed?

Klipsch doesn’t only take the sound quality of their speakers seriously, but also the construction. The solidly built MDF cabinets are finished with a brushed polymer veneer which ensures it is durable and stylish. The overall color is ebony with copper speaker cones, which add a stylish touch.

Make no mistake, at 271 lbs, this is a solidly-built home theatre system you need space to arrange effectively.

What does the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 sound like?

The RP-250 incorporates 90×90 hybrid tractrix horns and ‘linear travel suspension’ titanium tweeters to give wonderfully rich and clear mid and highs. The bass is taken care of with a thunderous 200-watt subwoofer combining spun copper Cerametallic woofers with a tractrix port which gives a powerful bass you can feel as well as hear.

How do I connect the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250?

All the speakers included with the RP-250 home theatre system are wired. The only exception is the bass which is wireless. There’s a free wireless kit for it included with the package. 

Do I need a receiver for the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250?

Yes. The Marantz SR6014 is a good fit.

Is the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 good value for money?

While not cheap, the RP-250 scores in the quality of its components and in the wireless subwoofer, something very few other systems offer for this kind of money.

Buy the Klipsch 7.1 RP-250 on Amazon.

Also, consider Sony 7.2 Channel 3D 4K A/V Surround Sound Multimedia Home Theater System on Amazon.

2. Best 7.1 surround sound system for sound quality: Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F System

Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F

With Klipsch having established a reputation as one of the leading manufacturers of quality home theatre systems, it’s not surprising they feature several times on this list. The Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F is a step up from the RP-250 in terms of sound quality. And price.

What do I like about the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F?

  • Includes receiver.
  • Truly ‘immersive’ sound.

What don’t I like about the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F?

  • Pricey.

What do you get?

  • 2 X RP-8000F Floorstanding Speakers.
  • 1 X RP-504C Center Speaker.
  • 4 X RP-500M Surround, Bookshelf Speakers.
  • 1 X SPL-120 Subwoofer.
  • 1 X SR7012 A/V Receiver.

How well is the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F built and designed?

Like the RP-250 the 7.1 RP-8000F is superbly built. The same solid MDF construction is used in the cabinets as with the RP-250. The speaker components are of the highest grade as well.

This is a serious setup, in terms of outlay and size. 

What does the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F sound like?

The RP-8000F 7.1 system transforms any room into a true home cinema.  Each element is carefully matched to integrate into one truly awesome sonic experience:

  • The two Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-8000F floor standing speakers employ Klipsch’s Tractrix horn-loaded technology and dual 8-inch copper-spun Cerametallic woofers to provide cinema-quality sound. 
  • The Reference Premiere RP-504C center channel speaker delivers crystal clear movie dialogue and music lyrics through four 5.25-inch Cerametallic woofers and a hybrid Tractrix horn.
  • The four Klipsch RP-500M bookshelf speakers combine with the others to ensure the listener is surrounded by cinema-quality stereo sound.
  • And of course, there’s the massive Klipsch SPL-120 subwoofer. Incorporating a Class-D amplifier and spun copper Cerametallic 12-inch woofer, it delivers bass that you can feel as much as hear.
  • The whole setup is controlled by the SR7012 receiver which features 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network AVSurround Receiver with HEOS.

How do I connect the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F?

All the speakers are wired and connect to the receiver. Once connected up, the system can be operated via Alexa voice commands.

Do I need a receiver for the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F?

No. The SR7012 Receiver is included. 

Is the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F good value for money?

In some ways when you buy a premium end audio product, the cost is less important than the sound quality. You may be able to buy similar 7.1 home theatre systems for less, but if you want top-end sound and build quality with bottomless bass, the 7.1 RP-8000F is worth every penny.

Buy the Klipsch 7.1 RP-8000F System on Amazon

Also, consider Klipsch 7.2.2 Ebony Piano Black on Amazon. 

3. Best budget 7.1 surround sound system: Acoustic Audio HD726.

If you haven’t got the room for a free-standing home theatre system or you’ve got a large, boisterous family that is simply too dangerous to let loose on a high-end audio system, then a budget in-wall system makes sense. Aesthetically it can be more pleasing as well.

What do I like about the Acoustic Audio HD726?

  • The circular in-ceiling speakers and rectangular in-wall speakers have 3 size options.
  • Cut out templates included.
  • Speaker wire included.

What don’t I like about the Acoustic Audio HD726?

  • You need 2 X Ws1005 Amplifiers to power the subwoofers.

What do you get?

  • 4 X HD-650 Wall Speakers: 30hz-22 kHz, 98dB.
  • 2 X HD-6 Ceiling Speakers: 32hz-22 kHz, 98dB, 20-300w per speaker, 8ohm, 6.5-inch Woven fiber bulletproof woofers. Butyl rubber surrounds, pivoting titanium tweeters. 
    • Rectangular cut out 7.375 inch X 10.75 inch, overall 8.875 inch X 12.25 inch, depth 3 inch.
    • Round cut out 7.875 inch, overall 9 inch, depth 3.25 inch, low profile housings.
  • 1 X Hd-6c Wall Center Channel 3-way speaker: 20-350 watts, 33hz-22 kHz, two 6.5 inch Woofers, 12mm soft dome tweeter.
    • Cut out is 19.25 inch X 7.5 inch, overall is 20.5 inch X 8.75 inch, depth: 3.25 inch.
  • 2 X HDS10 Wall Passive Sub Speakers, 20-300w each, 26hz-200hz, 10 inch Woofers. 

How well is the Acoustic Audio HD726 built and designed?

The whole system is very well thought out. With numerous options, including different cut out sizes and supplied templates, it’s easy to work out the best layout for your room. Low profile housings and an integrated wall-lock mounting system also help with installation. They even include speaker wire. The whole system weighs 53lbs.

The circular in-ceiling speakers and rectangular in-wall speakers have 3 size options: 

  • 5 inch
  • 6.5 inch
  • 8 inch. 

The subwoofers and center channel sizes are the same. The durability of the speakers is enhanced with woven fiber bulletproof cones and butyl rubber surrounds. The speakers come with white frames and grills that can be painted to suit your room’s decor.

What does the Acoustic Audio HD726 sound like?

The speakers employ Kevlar cones and titanium tweeters to give rich, clear sound. And as the system can handle up to 2,750 watts, there’s plenty of sound!

One thing you need to be aware of with in-wall systems, however, is that the speaker cabinet plays a significant role, something that has to be allowed for with cabinet-less in-wall speakers.

This is particularly true with subwoofers where the cabinet is an integral part of the sound created. Acoustic Audio have compensated for this in the way they have balanced the sound, but also by supplying twin subwoofers. Unfortunately, neither are powered, so you’ll also need two amplifiers to power them.

How do I connect the Acoustic Audio HD726?

All the speakers are wired. The cable is supplied.

Do I need a receiver for the Acoustic Audio HD726?

Yes. Most 7.2 surround sound capable receivers such as the Denon AVR-S750H or the Yamaha TSR-7850R will power the system.

Is the Acoustic Audio HD726 good value for money?

If you don’t want to pay out big bucks but still want a big sound, the HD726 delivers.

Buy the Acoustic Audio HD276 on Amazon.

Also, consider Samsung HW-Q67CT on Amazon.

Modern home theater room without furniture

4. Best bass-driven 7.1 surround sound system for the price: Fluance Signature Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1

Fluance Signature

What do I like about the Fluance Signature?

  • 12-inch subwoofer. Okay, I’m shallow. And I like my bass.
  • Incorporates Dolby Atmos and DTX:S formats.

What don’t I like about the Fluance Signature?

  • Speakers are BIG! You need a lot of room for this setup.

What do you get?

  • 2 X Tower Speakers including dual 8-inch woofers.
  • 4 X Surround Speakers.
  • 1 X Center Channel Speaker.
  • 1 X 12 inch Subwoofer: 240 – 400 Watts.

How well is the Fluance Signature built and designed?

The Fluance Signature system comes in Black Ash with gold-colored speaker cones. The cabinets are constructed from sturdy MDF and well finished. This explains the 250lb overall weight. They’re big too, the tower speakers being 54 inches. 

Fluance has also constructed the tower speakers of individual internal enclosures to keep sound waves isolated and to minimize acoustic interference.

What does the Fluance Signature sound like?

For the money, unbelievably good. And, of course, we’ll get to that bass!

The tower speakers, rated at 400 watts are the foundation of the system with dual 8-inch woofers, which are the size of many home theatre systems subwoofers. For full-range sound, the tower speakers also contain woven-glass midrange drivers and Neodymium tweeters. 

The two tower speakers are complemented by the four surround speakers for a true surround sound experience, while the center channel speaker provides wonderfully clear and crisp dialogue and vocals.

The whole thing is underpinned by that huge 12-inch subwoofer that pushes out 240 to 400 watts (peak) of incredibly deep, resonant bass which can kick as well as rumble.

How do I connect the Fluance Signature?

The Fluance Signature is a wired system. The subwoofer is powered, so it doesn’t need a separate amplifier, only a socket.

Do I need a receiver with the Fluance Signature? 

Yes. Either the Integra DRX-3.3 or Denon AVR-X3600H is a good choice. 

Is the Fluance Signature good value for money?

For the sheer amount of foundation-shaking bass it can produce, it’s excellent value so long as you can afford the structural repairs.

Buy the Fluance Signature on Amazon

Also, consider Klipsch RP-600F on Amazon.

5. Loudest 7.1 surround sound system for the price: Fluance Elite.

Fluance Elite

Okay, as I’ve said several times in this article, most things audio are subjective. And that includes loudness. Yes, it is possible to measure how many decibels a surround sound system puts out, and manufacturers do quote such figures. 

The truth is there are many elements that will affect how loud you perceive the sound to be once the system is installed in your room. Another system with a lower rating might seem louder to you, or to another listener.

All that aside, it can’t be argued that for the money, it would be hard to find a surround sound system that pumps out more volume of sound than the Fluance Elite.

What do I like about the Fluance Elite?

  • The sheer volume of sound – sorry, neighbors!
  • The price – it’s a lot of system for the money.

What don’t I like about the Fluance Elite?

  • The system looks okay but could have done with a little more detailing like the colored cones in the Signature series.

What do you get?

  • 2 X Floorstanding Speakers.
  • 1 X Center Channel Speaker.
  • 4 X Rear Surround Speakers.
  • 1 X 10-inch Subwoofer.

How well is the Fluance Elite built and designed?

Like all the Fluance range, the cabinets are solid MDF, while the internal components are excellent quality for the price. The system comes in white or a black woodgrain finish and weighs 116lbs. 

What does the Fluance Elite sound like?

The two tower speakers both have dual 6.5-inch woofers and are rated 30-1000 watts, enough to fill any room on their own. They also incorporate a dynamic midrange woofer and high-frequency tweeter. The center-surround speakers do a great job of wrapping the listener in sound, while the center channel speaker brings out vocals and dialogue beautifully. 

Even though the bass supplied with the Elite package isn’t quite the 12-inch monster supplied with the Signature system, the 10-inch subwoofer manages to kick out a seriously impressive amount of low-frequency bass.

How do I connect the Fluance Elite?

The speakers are all wired. The cable has to be purchased separately. 

Do I need a receiver with the Fluance Elite? 

Yes. Both the Integra DRX-3.3 or Denon AVR-X3600H is a good choice. 

Is the Fluance Elite good value for money?

If you’re looking for sheer, undistorted loudness with plenty of bass in a home theatre system, for the money the Fluance Elite is a front runner.

Buy the Fluance Elite on Amazon

Also, consider Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra on Amazon.

Another take on a Modern Home Theater Room

6. Most compact 7.1 surround sound system: Sony HT-G700

Sony HT-G700

Sony has a reputation for producing electronics that can do the job of more complicated systems for less money. And with only 2 elements, the HT-G700 is no exception. 

What do I like about the Sony HT-G700?

  • The subwoofer is powered so you don’t need a separate amplifier.
  • The lifetime warranty.
  • The price.

What don’t I like about the Sony HT-G700?

  • If you’re being picky, it’s not truly a 7.1 surround sound system.

What do you get?

  • Sony HT-G700: 3.1CH Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar with Bluetooth Technology.
  • Wireless Subwoofer.

How well is the Sony HT-G700 built and designed?

Like most Sony products the HT-G700 is quality built with a lifetime guarantee. It’s certainly minimalist, consisting of only two elements, and only comes in black. The whole package measures 41.63 x 13.75 x 9.63 inches and weighs 27.8 lbs.

What does the Sony HT-G700 sound like?

The soundbar contains three front speakers which, when combined with the unique Sony signal processing system, and Dolby Atmos/DTX:S, allows for the equivalent of 7.1 surround sound. 

Once you combine this with the powered subwoofer, only the pickiest audiophile would argue that it doesn’t sound as good as many 7.1 surround sound systems. And it’s obviously a lot more compact.

There also three modes you can choose from:

  1. Cinema 
  2. Music
  3. Night – allows you to hear every detail even at low volume so you won’t disturb the neighbors!

How do I connect the Sony HT-G700?

You can connect a compatible TV wirelessly via Bluetooth or use the HDMI eARC or optical digital input. As the subwoofer is wireless, all you need to do is plug it in.

Do I need a receiver for the Sony HT-G700?

No. The soundbar takes care of everything.

Is the Sony HT-G700 good value for money?

Absolutely. If you’re looking for a sleek, compact home theatre solution, the HT-G700 is fantastic value.

Buy the Sony HT-G700 on Amazon.

Also, consider SAMSUNG HW-Q70T on Amazon.

The Soundbar Option

7. Best budget soundbar 7.1 surround sound system: Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro

The Sony HT-G700 would certainly make it on to any list of the top soundbar 7.1 systems. The Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro, however, has the advantage of two rear speakers as well as a subwoofer.

What do I like about the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro?

  • Wireless subwoofer.
  • Rear speakers.

What don’t I like about the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro?

  • Rear speakers aren’t wireless.

What do you get?

  • 1 X Shockwafe Pro Soundbar.
  • 2 X Rear Surround Speakers.
  • 1 X 8 inch Wireless Subwoofer.

How well is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro built and designed?

The Shockwafe Pro is a quality item with high-end componentry. It’s quite a lot heavier than the Sony HT-G700 at 46.5lbs, but much the same size at 48.2-inch x 14.8-inch x 17.8 inches.

What does the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro sound like?

Certainly, for the money, it sounds as good as many 7.1 surround sound setups with eight separate speakers. That’s because the soundbar itself contains eight speakers and uses Nakamichi’s exclusive SSE (Spatial Surround Elevation)Technology featuring 3 advanced audio processing engines.

Combine this with Dolby Atmos, two rear speakers, and an 8-inch subwoofer, and the sound quality of the 600 watt Shockwafe Pro is stunning.

How do I connect the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro?

Dolby Vision, 4K UHD pass-thru, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) come as standard. You can connect up to 6 devices via the following inputs:

  • 1 HDMI ARC.
  • 3 HDMI.
  • 1 Optical.
  • 1 Coaxial.

The remote allows control of sources, DSP modes, individual channel, and room size optimization.

Is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro good value for money?

The Shockwafe Pro provides the best solution for those wanting a proper 7.1 surround sound in a soundbar setup.

Buy the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro on Amazon.

Also, consider Sony ST5000 on Amazon.

8. Best soundbar 7.1 surround sound system overall: Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite.

Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite

What do I like about the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite?

  • Two subwoofers.

What don’t I like about the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite?

  • Rear speakers aren’t wireless.

What do you get?

1 X Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos Soundbar.

2  X Rear Surround Speakers.

2 X 8-inch Wireless subwoofers.

How well is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite built and designed?

Like its smaller brother, the Shockwafe Pro, the Elite is well made and finished in black with some discreet white detailing. The whole package at 48.2 x 14.8 x 17.8 inches and 63.5lbs is a little larger and heavier than the Shockwafe Pro, mostly down to those dual subwoofers.

What does the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite sound like?

At 800 watts, it has 200 watts more power than the Shockwafe Pro. It uses the same SSE (Spatial Surround Elevation) Technology featuring 3 advanced audio processing engines to produce superb surround sound in conjunction with Dolby Atmos/DTX:S.

The two rear speakers really help, as do the dual subwoofers. It might seem odd having two, but the idea is that two smaller units are better than one large unit. With two, you can position each one so that the sound waves overlap, giving much deeper, richer bass without gaps. It also allows for the use of smaller units. The subwoofers supplied with the Elite have 8-inch woofers.

How do I connect the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite?

Like the Shockwafe Pro, the Elite connects with Dolby Vision, 4K UHD pass-thru, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). You can connect up to 6 devices via the following inputs:

  • 1 HDMI ARC.
  • 3 HDMI.
  • 1 Optical.
  • 1 Coaxial.

The remote includes the ability to control audio sources, DSP modes, individual channels, and room size optimization.

Do I need a receiver for the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite?

No. The soundbar acts as the receiver.

Is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite good value for money?

Whether the Shockwafe Elite is worth the extra money compared to the Pro depends on your criteria. In my view, the shockwafe Elite is worth the money compared to any other similarly priced soundbar on the market.

Buy the Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite on Amazon.

Also, consider Samsung Harman Kardon 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos Soundbar on Amazon.

9. Best wireless 7.1 surround sound system: Sony Z9F

Sony Z9F

One of my only gripes about the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro is its rear speakers that need to be connected to the subwoofer. The Sony Z9F solves this niggle by being truly wireless.

What do I like about the Sony Z9F?

  • Wireless subwoofer.
  • Wireless rear speakers.

What don’t I like about the Sony Z9F?

  • Nothing!

What do you get?

  • 1 x HT-Z9F 3.1ch Dolby Atmos /DTS:X TV Soundbar. 
  • 2 X Z9R Wireless Rear Speakers.
  • 1 x Wireless Subwoofer.
  • 1 X Remote.
  • 1X HDMI Cable.
  • Mount Accessories.

How well is the Sony Z9F built and designed?

Sony has a reputation for build quality and the Z9F is no exception. It’s nicely made and finished in black. It’s not designed to look flashy, rather to discreetly blend in. It’s no goliath either, the rear speakers measuring a compact 4 x 4 x 6.12 inches, and the subwoofer 7.5 x 15.12 x 15.25 inches.

What does the Sony Z9F sound like?

The Z9F soundbar uses 3.1ch Dolby Atmos/DTS:X and Vertical Sound Engine to create an immersive 7.1 surround sound experience. The rear speaker and subwoofer really play their part too. The whole system can put out 400 watts, so may be better suited for small to medium rooms. 

There are five modes to choose from:

  • Movie
  • Music
  • Gaming
  • News
  • Sport

How do I connect the Sony Z9F?

The Z9F is truly wireless. You can stream hi-res audio with Chromecast or use the Sony Music Center app. The soundbar is also Bluetooth compatible, 4K HDR compatible with voice enhancement, and High-Resolution Audio capable. 

You can stream music, online radio, and podcasts from your Amazon connected device directly to your Z9F soundbar via Alexa voice commands.

Is the Sony Z9F good value for money?

If your main criteria for a 7.1 setup is that it’s as wireless as possible, the Z9F definitely should be top of your list. 

Buy the Sony Z9F on Amazon

Also, consider Yamaha Electronics YAS207 Front Surround Soundbar System with DTS Virtual X on Amazon.

10. Best 7.1 surround sound system in-wall: Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System.

Another entry in this list for Klipsch. As well as making some of the best free-standing home theatre systems on the market, they also make some of the best in-wall setups.

What do I like about the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System?

  • Space-saving.
  • Stylish.

What don’t I like about the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System?

  • Pricey.
  • Can’t paint it to match the decor.

What do you get?

2 X R-3800-W II In-Wall Speakers.

1 X R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker.

4 X CDT-3800-C II in-Ceiling Speakers.

1 X Premier Acoustic PA-150 Subwoofer.

How well is the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System built and designed?

All the Klipsch home theatre systems are well thought out and built with quality components. The 7.1 in-wall system follows the color scheme of its free-standing counterparts being ebony with copper speaker cones.

What does the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System sound like?

The R-3800-W II, R-5502-W II, and CDT-3800-C II in-wall and in-ceiling speakers use Klipsch’s Tractrix horn-loaded technology and copper-spun Cerametallic woofers to provide cinema-quality sound at home. 

The Premier Acoustic PA-150 1000 Watt Powered Subwoofer has an impressive 15-inch polygraphite woofer, rear port design, and a built-in 1000 watt peak amplifier that puts out powerful, but clear, bass.

How do I connect the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System?

All the speakers are wired.

Do I need a receiver for the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System?

Yes. The Marantz SR6014 is a good fit.

Is the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System good value for money?

The Klipsch 7.1 in-wall system certainly isn’t the cheapest. However, if you really want an in-wall system that can rival the equivalent freestanding setup, then it’s worth the money.

Buy the Klipsch 7.1 In-Wall System on Amazon.

Also, consider Yamaha High definition Digital Cinematic Sound on Amazon.

Home Theater System – Audio Surround

FAQs

Does 7.1 surround sound make a difference?

That depends on several factors, including what system you currently have. If you have a standard 2 speaker stereo system, the change to surround sound, whether it’s 5.1 or 7.1 will be noticeable. If you change up from a 5.1 system to a 7.1 system how noticeable it is, depends on the quality of the system and how much room you have to space the extra speakers correctly.

Is 7.1 surround sound the best?

Most things are subjective when it comes to audio and surround sound systems are no different. Theoretically, 7.1 is better than 5.1 because, having more channels and more speakers, the sound is more like a true home theatre with the sound coming from 360o around the listener.

Is 7.1 better than Atmos?

Like all things audio, this is mostly down to personal preference. Dolby Atmos adds overhead sound and other enhancements to traditional 7.1 surround sound systems, but this doesn’t mean it is necessarily ‘better’. Some people prefer one, some the other.

What is the best 7.1 surround sound system layout?

Basically, you want to position the 8 speakers in this way:

  • Left and right speakers: 23o in front of the listener.
  • Surround speakers: place either side of the listener at ear level 
  • Center channel speaker: position in front of the listener.
  • Subwoofer: place on the floor, the exact position isn’t crucial.

If you have a soundbar setup, then usually this goes in roughly the same position as the center channel speaker. Additional speakers are positioned as above depending on what sort of speakers they are.

Does Netflix have 7.1 surround sound?

Yes, and no. Some content is available in surround sound format, usually 5.1. Unfortunately as of the time of writing this article, there seems to be no available list so you can find out which content is enabled. At the moment all you can do is open the content and then switch audio formats to surround sound if it is there. 

However, Netflix also streams some content in Dolby Atmos.

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