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What is the Best 7.1 Home Theater System? Bring Surround Sound to Your Home Theater

best 7.1 home theater systems

A 7.1 home theater system is the embodiment of audio perfection. It’s the perfect setup you need to enjoy true surround sound. Wouldn’t it be disappointing though if one of a lower price and fewer channels outperformed your new 7.1 system? 

To be sure you are only considering systems that are worth your money, our team has reviewed the best 7.1 home theater systems.

Best for Space
Acoustic Audio 7.1 Speaker System Flush Mount 7 Speaker Set
Best Overall
Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1
Best Premium Choice
Klipsch 7.1 RP-260 Reference Premiere Surround Sound Speaker Package
Acoustic Audio 7.1 Speaker System Flush Mount 7 Speaker Set
Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1
Klipsch 7.1 RP-260 Reference Premiere Surround Sound Speaker Package
If you want to save space because a 7.1 home theater system can require a lot of room, then the Acoustic Audio 7.1 custom installation sound system is for you. Each speaker is mounted into your ceiling to give a flush and inconspicuous look.
The Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound System is an expertly matched full home theater system complete with a powerful subwoofer and center speaker to bring you a true enveloping audio experience.
For lovers of expertly tuned sound and a true surround sound experience, the Klipsch 7.1 Reference Premiere 260 has everything you need. In the package are all the speakers for a 7.1 home theater sound system and a free wireless kit!
Best for Space
Acoustic Audio 7.1 Speaker System Flush Mount 7 Speaker Set
Acoustic Audio 7.1 Speaker System Flush Mount 7 Speaker Set
If you want to save space because a 7.1 home theater system can require a lot of room, then the Acoustic Audio 7.1 custom installation sound system is for you. Each speaker is mounted into your ceiling to give a flush and inconspicuous look.
Best Overall
Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1
Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1
The Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound System is an expertly matched full home theater system complete with a powerful subwoofer and center speaker to bring you a true enveloping audio experience.
Best Premium Choice
Klipsch 7.1 RP-260 Reference Premiere Surround Sound Speaker Package
Klipsch 7.1 RP-260 Reference Premiere Surround Sound Speaker Package
For lovers of expertly tuned sound and a true surround sound experience, the Klipsch 7.1 Reference Premiere 260 has everything you need. In the package are all the speakers for a 7.1 home theater sound system and a free wireless kit!

Reviews of the Best 7.1 Home Theater Systems

1. Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound Home Theater 7.1 Channel Speaker System

This Fluance 7.1 home theater system is professionally tuned and matched so each component can bring something to the audio soundstage. You can enjoy a blend of perfectly paired sound that will completely surround you.

The floorstanding tower speakers have a 3-way design, meaning there are drivers dedicated for each part of the spectrum. You get high-frequency tweeters for the high pitched notes, dynamic mid-range drivers for the mids, and powerful woofers for the low bass.

The system comes complete with a 10-inch subwoofer to punctuate the low tones and give the woofers extra support. The Elite Series are home theater systems that pride themselves in reproducing distortionless and accurate sound.

Pros

Cons

2. Acoustic Audio 7.1 Speaker System Flush Mount 7 Speaker Set

With residences becoming smaller in today’s real estate climate, having a 7.1 channel surround sound speaker set that fits is very important. The best home theater setup won’t take up much space, and the Sony HD Digital Cinematic Sound ceiling speakers are a great alternative. You can even set this up with the best available home theater seating for a true and comfortable theater experience. 

They don’t come with floor-standing speakers, but just small and compact speakers that go right into your ceiling and on your wall for a flush and flat setup and a subwoofer. The subwoofer is a downward-firing design, which delivers low and thundering bass you can feel radiating through the floors.

The Acoustic Audio 7.1 home theater speakers are compatible with most systems with multiple options for connections.

Pros

Cons

3. Klipsch 7.1 RP-260 Reference Premiere Surround Sound Speaker Package

The Klipsch 7.1 Reference Premiere RP-260 surround sound package comes with spun copper cerametallic cone woofers for high quality bass relays. For the high end of the sonic spectrum, the RP-260 has a linear travel suspension titanium tweeter that will bring realism to the high notes.

The Reference Premiere 260 features tractrix horn technology. Tractrix horn is a type of design that will improve frequency response and bass extension. It does wonders for imaging and delivers a dynamic sound stage.

It comes with a free wireless kit, which can be used to create a wireless system. Converting wired into wireless gives more flexibility to the placement of surround sound speakers. 

Pros

Cons

4. Yamaha 7.2 Channel Wireless Bluetooth Home Surround Sound System

If you really want to complete your home theater setup, why not go further with a 7.2 system? As you will learn later on in our review, the 7.2 has an advantage over the 7.1. The 7.2 has an extra woofer, to bring even more thunderous bass to your soundscape. 

Other than the components needed to make up a 7.2 channel, the Yamaha sound system also features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity so you can stream your favorite content right through your new setup.

The build of the Yamaha 7.2 channels system is also impeccable with a magnetically shielded subwoofer if you choose to place it closer to the TV. 

Pros

Cons

5. Sony 7.2 Channel Wireless Bluetooth Surround Sound Home Theater System

The Sony 7.2 channel surround sound system is another example of a home theater setup at its best. The entire speaker package comes with easy auto calibration and Dolby and DTS:X audio format decoding. 

To hook it up easily to your TV or other media device, the surround sound system features multiple connections both wired and wireless. You can choose from HDMI, digital coaxial and optical, USB and analog connections.

For a wireless setup, the Sony 7.2 system has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. There are even parts of this system that can be wall-mountable so even people who are limited in space can still enjoy its perks.

Pros

Cons

7.1 Home Theater System Buyer’s Guide

In our buyer’s guide, our experts will go into further detail about the ins and outs of the best 7.1 home theater system. Our team has highlighted what to look for and what these features can do for your home theater experience.

Design and Components

A 7.1 channel surround sound system has more components than a system with fewer channels. You need to make sure you have all the parts you need and decide if you want an in-wall, in-ceiling system or external speakers. Our experts have carefully selected options for all three just to provide you with more variety. 

There are advantages to all, and the biggest one for embedded speakers is the space-saving feature. They are discreet and inconspicuous, mounted in your walls to subtly produce high quality audio without taking up room. However, external speakers, which include a powered subwoofer, rear speakers, and sometimes an AV receiver, can bring you better sound.

Because external speakers have cabinets that are specially created to compliment the driver’s abilities, they can bring more echoing, thunderous and accurate sonic precision. Since sound quality is the primary consideration for 7.1 channel surround sound speakers, our experts prefer external options. 

Only external options can feature better sound enhancing technologies such as tractrix horn. Your home theater experience can also be significantly hindered if you need to exhaust a lot of effort into installing the embedded speakers. You need to cut holes into your ceilings and walls to get them fitted, and one wrong move can send you back to square one.

If you want to upgrade or build upon your system in the future, our experts express the importance of purchasing a system with a powered subwoofer and rear speakers. In-wall or in-ceiling designs are virtually non-upgradable. 

If you opt for external speakers for your 7.1 surround sound system, you also have flexible placement options to find the best location for each component. Now let’s dive in deeper to discuss the hardware.

A 7.1 channel home theater speaker system is a true surround sound system. 5.1 is where the industry starts with true surround sound. The first figure before the decimal refers to how many channels of audio output the system has, and the figure after the decimal is how many subwoofers the home theater speaker system comes with. 

The 7.1 system has more speakers than the 5.1, which also means the former is much better suited for large venues and large rooms. 

Although the appearance may have the least to do with the performance of your 7.1 home theater speaker system, it is an important factor that sways consumers. Our experts have found that most customers not only prefer more compact yet powerful designs, but also ones that have a sleek finish. 

Hard lines, symmetry and durable construction are prioritized by many. Some examples of very well-designed 7.1 home theater speaker systems include the SKS HT870 home theater speaker, the Polk Audio Signature 7, the Samsung HT H7730 7.1 system, Acoustic Audio HT-87, the Nakamichi Shockwafe 7.1, and the Pyle PT798sba 7.1 channel system. 

Also, be sure the materials used to create your best 7.1 channel system is top quality. For example, spun copper cerametallic cone woofers can give the perfect amount of rigidity for vibrations. Silk dome tweeters are the coveted models to produce the high notes. The cabinet and housing can be made out of high quality and luxurious wood, but the grille should be aluminum.

Speaking of the grille, it should also be removable if possible. This gives listeners the ability to rid the drivers of any obstructions. 

Our experts will also add that a larger system including tower speakers, a powered subwoofer, rear speakers and a center channel is the best home theater system option. A larger size will typically house larger components, which in turn have a higher power output and more impressive sound. 

Smaller floor standing speakers are more likely only two-way rather than three-way. A two-way means there is only a tweeter and a woofer and they would share the responsibility of reproducing the mids. Three-way floor standing speakers are much more accurate in terms of sound production because there are three drivers, one for highs, one for mids and woofers for lows.

The components you want for superior performance in a 7.1 channel surround sound system would ideally include an AV receiver built-in, which would make the surround sound system an active design. Passive home theater systems do not have one built-in and would require you to purchase a separate one for your speaker package.

You would also want a center speaker, left and right floor standing or tower speakers, and rear speakers for the best sound quality. If possible, you want an easy plug and play design for your surround speakers that only require a cable connection.

Sound Quality

There are a lot of factors that impact the sound quality, which is what our experts will explore in this section. Some of what we will cover include the digital audio technologies in surround speakers and the placement and how it impacts audio quality.

You want your surround sound experience to be the best it can be. Other than purchasing the best surround sound system including the ones on our list and the Onkyo SKS HT870 home system, the Polk Audio Signature 7, the Samsung HT H7730 7.1 system, Acoustic Audio HT-87, the Nakamichi Shockwafe 7.1, and the Pyle PT798sba 7.1 channel system, you need the help of advanced technologies.

A home theater speaker system can feature Dolby technology with Dolby Atmos, DTS and Auro-3D, which we will talk about in more detail in a bit. Let’s start by diving into Dolby, one of the most coveted advanced technologies we see in our content today.

You need your home theater speaker system to support Dolby Atmos, which is also the most common and most recommended by our experts. Dolby Atmos focuses its attention on object-based surround sound, which means it helps your home theater speaker system produce the best surround sound experience with auto-detection to create a true enveloping experience.

We talked a little bit about placement for Dolby Atmos technology to deliver peak performance, but our experts will now go into more detail about general placement advice.

For one thing, you need a lot of space for a full 7.1 channel home theater system. The components you get include a center channel speaker, left and right surround speakers, left and right front speakers, two back speakers and subwoofer. Knowing what each component is used for will help you understand how to get better sound quality with placement.

In general, you should place the speakers according to their role in the setup. For example, the center channel speaker should be in the center of your entertainment system. Similar to a soundbar, the center channel speaker should be placed under or in front of your TV. Some people ask if it can be wall-mounted and our experts say that is an option, but because the center channel speaker isn’t an elongated design, it could be difficult to do so.

The left and right speakers are the next ones on the list. These surround speakers should be next to you, at ear level. Our team suggests placing them slightly in front of you at a 30 to 45-degree angled at your sitting spot. They don’t need to be directly next to you.

Next up are the right and left front speakers, which should be next to the center channel placed at the front of the room. The rear speakers speak for themselves and take a backseat in your living room. It should mirror the left and right surround speakers and front speakers except they are located at the back of the room.

Lastly, you have the subwoofer. Our team has seen a lot of living room setups with the sub at the front of the room. You can have maximum flexibility with the subwoofer as long as the cable will allow it, but the best placement for it in your home is close to your listening spot. You can place it next to you, under the couch if it fits, or behind it. 

Feel free to play some bass-heavy content while you try to find the best position for subwoofer sound quality. If you have a wireless kit or a Wi-Fi connected system then you’re in luck. Wireless connectivity such as Wi-Fi will give you even more flexibility for subwoofer placement.

Next up for sound quality are the minute details that make a big difference. We are talking about speaker impedance, power, and frequency range.

Let’s start off with speaker impedance. The impedance is the term used to describe the amount of electrical resistance your home theater system has, and it is measured in ohms. 4, 6, and 8 ohms are the most common, so be sure your home theater speakers fall within that range.

We then have the power rating for every home theater system and speaker. There are two different power ratings that are important to differentiate. You have the peak power rating and the RMS (root mean square). The RMS is the one that’s more important. The RMS refers to the amount of power your home theater system is capable of over a long period. This is basically the steady wattage capability of your home speakers.

You can see the peak power and RMS listed in most audio devices so always be sure you consider the RMS over the peak power. As you may have guessed, the peak power references the max audio output power in short bursts. 

The peak power is usually louder and more powerful than the RMS, but it isn’t sustainable at high volumes over a long time. If you mistake peak power rating for RMS, you could damage your system by playing it too loudly over time.

Then you have the frequency rating. The frequency response or rating is what part of the sound spectrum your home theater system can produce. From low to high, the frequency response tells you how low and how high your system can go. 

Our top choices and the Onkyo SKS HT870 home theater speaker, the Polk Audio Signature 7, the Samsung HT H7730 7.1 system, Acoustic Audio HT-87, the Nakamichi Shockwafe 7.1, and the Pyle PT798sba 7.1 channel system have impressive frequency ratings.

Surround Sound

The sections about design, sound quality and placement all contribute to the surround sound produced by your system, so our experts will just sum up the points in a condensed list. Decide on the type of home surround sound speaker package and the components it includes. A center speaker, 7 surrounding speakers and a subwoofer are imperative to your surround sound experience.

The placement of the surround sound speaker parts will also greatly affect the sonic output. To get the best effect, place them according to their names. If you know the tower speakers are meant to be front speakers, then place them at the front of the room. There isn’t much you need to do to tweak the system to deliver surround sound, because a 7.1 channel home theater system is designed to bring true 3D surround sound.

Audio Technology

Other than audio technology, it would be great if your system could also support 3D Blu Ray content. To do this, you need the proper connections, but more on that later. Audio technologies are important for a 7.1 home theater system.

Dolby Atmos is only one of the Dolby formats, you can also find Dolby Digital 5.1, which is also quite a common audio format seen in movie content. The best placement for your 7.1 channel home theater system and surround speakers is towards the front of the room. The subwoofer included with your surround speakers has more flexibility of placement. The sub can work nicely behind the couch, under it or beside your listening spot.

Upward firing speakers are suggested by our experts for rear speakers and your floor standing speakers as well. This will project the sound upwards towards your ceiling and bounce the signals around the room to create a better surround sound experience. Dolby Atmos support is the best for your home theater speaker system, but other than Dolby Atmos, there is also DTS.

Dolby Atmos works best with upward firing speakers, because the height gives it the advantage when it utilizes its object-based surround sound techniques. DTS on the other hand, or DTS:X to be specific, has software that can calibrate the best settings even without the height.

With DTS:X, you won’t need to consider the placement, height or hardware too much, because it has been calibrated to work with most setups. If updates are available with your theater system, a simple upgrade can do amazing things for the sonic effects with DTS:X. Just like with soundbars, a lot of surround sound theater system components come with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X outfitted, which makes the system an even better choice.

Lastly, our team mentioned Auro-3D, which is much less common. It has been out for a while but it hasn’t made a splash in the industry the way Dolby and DTS technologies have. Auro-3D is less common not because it has worse performance, but it’s because it relies too heavily on the number of channels.

As mentioned, 5.1 and above are considered true surround sound home theater systems. While a 5.1 such as the Onkyo HT-S3900 may be enough for the average household setup, Auro-3D demands a 9.1 system to work well. Because the majority of people are not hardcore cinephiles or audiophiles, 5.1 systems or less are often seen in most households, which is why Auro-3D is impractical.

Room Acoustics

What are room acoustics? It’s basically the blueprint of your room or how it’s designed. Take into account the ceilings, flooring, walls and even your furniture when considering room acoustics. Tons of people think a home theater system quality is the only thing you need to think about to get the best sound and this is just not true.

Our experts are here to help by explaining what room acoustics are and how they can impact your acoustic audio experience. The reason why placement is so important is because most rooms are created with straight lines and sharp edges, so general placement of speaker component parts around the room should work well.

A center speaker won’t do much for your home theater surround sound, so just place it wherever you feel is most convenient. A lot of acoustic technologies will sense and detect the layout of your room to automatically tune the settings for optimal delivery. However, if falls, ceilings and floors are left as is, they can actually muddy the sound in your home theater. 

What the Onkyo SKS HT870 home system, the Polk Audio Signature 7, the Samsung HT H7730 7.1 system, Acoustic Audio HT-87, the Nakamichi Shockwafe 7.1, and the Pyle PT798sba 7.1 channel system can do is work with a treated room.

Think about padding parts of your room that may sound hollow. You want the sound to be absorbed or reflected back to you in such a way to create the perfect sound bubble. Larger rooms can benefit more from acoustic treatment as there is more space for the sound signals to get lost in. 

Don’t get discouraged if you lack the expertise to outfit a room for surround sound. There are more factors at play that will elevate your experience, like the frequency response of your home theater system. To be honest, only more highly trained ears will be able to tell the difference in a regular home theater system setup.

Connections

You need compatible connections to ensure a smooth setup. Don’t be taken aback when you look behind your center channel and AV receiver. You will most likely be met with different inputs and outputs color coded with every color and maybe even cables upon cables included in your package.

It is with large setups like these that our experts stress more than ever the importance of HDMI connection. If you have read some of our other reviews, you will know our team prefers HDMI and recommend products that have this form of connection.

There is a very simple reason for this, and it’s the simplicity of the HDMI cable and what it can do. First of all, it’s easy to decipher if your device supports HDMI. The cable is easy to recognize and is a one-cable plug in. With an HDMI cable, your home theater system speakers become a plug and play design. If your device has HDMI, all you need is to identify the inputs and outputs, plug it in and go.

However, if your system does not support HDMI, then there are a few other connections you need to know about. There are analog and digital cables that will crop up. One of the most common digital options other than HDMI are digital coaxial cables. Analog connections are important for connecting each component together if your home theater system is wired. 

If you have a wireless speaker kit, then you can transform your wired system into a wireless one and forgo all the cables altogether. Although you will still need power cables, a wireless setup really cleans up the appearance of your living room.

Some systems even feature built-in wireless connections and don’t require an external wireless kit. Some systems have Bluetooth, some have Wi-Fi and some possess both. Ask yourself if you need these services. If wireless is not necessary, then our experts suggest settling for a wireless kit because ones with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth built-in could cost more.

Our team will sum up this section by saying the most important thing when looking for the best 7.1 home theater system is the correct connections. No matter how good the system is, if it isn’t compatible with your devices, then it’s just money down the drain.

Receiver

Whether or not your system has a receiver depends on the model you choose. A home theater system is split into two main categories: passive and active (powered) speakers. What’s the difference? Essentially, passive speakers are ones that do not have an amplifier or receiver built in and active speakers are ones that do.

Active speakers are the better choice for individuals who want minimal hassle to support high quality sound and visuals such as 3D Blu Ray. However, these speakers will be much heavier since the receiver is already built in. 

If you go for passive speakers, that’s just another cost you need to account for. Not only that, but you will also need to be sure the power rating and connections are compatible. 

It may sound like passive speakers don’t have an advantage but they do. They are highly customizable, can have more power and deliver better results than default ready assembled systems.

If you don’t get a receiver with excellent build quality, the sound you experience won’t be as heightened.

The receiver is the control hub and nerve center of your entire system, this fact alone should illustrate why it’s considered the most important part of the package. The receiver is what controls all your adjustments, sound customizations, decoding audio formats, providing power to each driver, etc. If you desire high quality and high definition audio, you need to invest in a well-built receiver. 

If your system comes with a receiver, don’t worry about switching it out or customizing it. The manufacturers will have most likely designed the receiver to work the best with its surrounding components. 

Setup

How simple it is to set up your home theater system depends on the one you chose. The connections can be the downfall for a lot of home theater speakers, but if you pick HDMI, it’s as easy as plugging in the cable and switching on the device.

Placement, which we have talked about in detail, will take some time. Whether you have chosen to go for external or internal speakers, be ready to spend an hour or two figuring out the placement, adjusting and cutting out the cabinet holes. 

What can really help shorten the setup time is what’s included in the package. Ideally, everything you need including the remote where applicable, user manual, warranty outline and necessary cables are all in the box. 

Moreover, to ensure that your home theater setup are protected from sudden power fluctuations, we recommend using the best home theater surge protectors to your system setup.

Price

As you can imagine, a 7.1 full home theater surround sound speaker system will be a lot pricier than a lesser 5.1 system or regular tower or bookshelf speakers. Be prepared to spend more than a few hundred dollars with our premium option exceeding a couple thousand. To get a good sound, you have to be prepared to pay the right amount.

As with most products, the better the build quality, sound quality, system features and capabilities the speakers offer, the more money they will be. Some factors that will impact the price of the speakers include wireless connectivity, advanced audio technology format support, and build quality.

The build quality won’t only impact the sound from the speakers, but it will also prolong the lifespan of your system. You get what you pay for when you purchase expensive surround speakers just as you would with most things.

Warranty

For expensive devices, a guarantee and warranty are crucial. Not only will having these promises protect you as a consumer, but it will also protect your device should anything go wrong or if it arrives damaged.

Look at the terms outlined in the warranty in great detail. The longer the warranty covers your product, the better. Some of the options we offered on our list feature lifetime warranties, which are the ones you should go for. 

Having a warranty is similar to trusting a renowned brand. The length of the warranty reflects the dependability of the product. One that is very well constructed with premium materials will most likely have a longer warranty. Brand name products are often more reliable, but our experts say there are plenty of lesser known brands that have amazing products. 

Look for a return guarantee if possible. In a specific time-frame, the manufacturer should promise a return should any issues arise or send a replacement if there is damage. As a consumer, we all want the best protection, but it’s important to be reasonable. All you can do is look into the warranty and guarantee provided by the manufacturer and decide if it’s good enough for you.

FAQ

What is the best 7.1 home theater system?

The best 7.1 home theater system is the Fluance Elite Series Surround Sound System. The beautifully designed system was expertly put together so all components work together to deliver the best experience. The tower speakers are three-way, meaning there is a dedicated driver to relay highs, mids and lows. To enhance your bass experience, there is also a subwoofer included to match the woofers.

What is better 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound?

7.1 is the better surround sound compared to a 5.1. Even though a 5.1 system is the industry standard for true surround, the 7.1 system features 2 more channels, which also means more powerful, more dynamic and more expansive sound. However, a 5.1 system will take up less space than the larger counterpart, which makes the 5.1 system a more advantageous choice for smaller rooms.

Does 7.1 surround sound make a difference?

Yes, a 7.1 surround sound does make a difference. A 7.1 system is made of a center channel, surround speakers, front speakers, rear speakers and a subwoofer. In a large room where sound is easily lost, these separate components can focus the audio and channel it to fill the room and outperform a 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1 system.

What's a 7.1 surround sound system?

A 7.1 surround sound system is a home theater speaker system that has a center channel, AV receiver if needed, a subwoofer, two surround speakers, two front speakers and two rear speakers. All of these components come together to create a 7.1 system designed to deliver impeccable and accurate audios.

Our Top Pick For a 7.1 Home Theater System: Fluance Elite Series 7.1

Our experts have awarded the Fluance Elite Series 7.1 with the title of best 7.1 home theater system. It’s a true surround sound home theater system that supports advanced audio and visual technologies such as Blu Ray, Dolby Atmos [1] and DTS:X. 

The tower speakers in this 7.1 system are three-way, with one highly precise tweeter, a dynamic midrange driver, and powerful woofer in each. With an added external downward-firing subwoofer, you will be able to feel the low rumbles of every bass note in your content.

This 7.1 system is very well-built with precision cabinets that allow the drivers to perform at their very best, giving flexibility while still protecting the integrity of the sound.

Having a problem controlling your home theater system using a lot of remotes? Start setting up your system  using the Harmony Hub device and get rid all of the remotes by put them in one place. 

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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