What is the Best High End Home Theater Speakers — Surround Sound For Pros in 2021

Best High End Home Theater Speakers

High end is more than just the price. It also refers to the power output, the sound production, bass response, and overall sound experience. Our experts have tested and reviewed the best high end home stereo speakers to make sure you are spending your money on speakers that will provide high quality sound.

Best Overall
Polk Audio T15
Best Full System
Klipsch Black Reference
Best Budget
Acoustic Audio R191
Polk Audio T15
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack
Acoustic Audio R191
The Polk Audio T15 bookshelf speakers are high quality options that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but still provide immersive surround sound.
If you’re looking to outfit your living space with a full home theater system, the Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack is the best way to go for superior acoustic performance.
In-ceiling or in-wall speakers sit flush and are embedded directly into your home. This not only adds to the aesthetics but the speakers can also integrate easily with your existing home theater systems.
Best Overall
Polk Audio T15
Polk Audio T15
The Polk Audio T15 bookshelf speakers are high quality options that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but still provide immersive surround sound.
Best Full System
Klipsch Black Reference
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack
If you’re looking to outfit your living space with a full home theater system, the Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack is the best way to go for superior acoustic performance.
Best Budget
Acoustic Audio R191
Acoustic Audio R191
In-ceiling or in-wall speakers sit flush and are embedded directly into your home. This not only adds to the aesthetics but the speakers can also integrate easily with your existing home theater systems.

Reviews of the Best High End Home Theater Speakers

1. Polk Audio T15 Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

The Polk Audio T15 speakers are designed for heavy bass and well-rounded sound that floorstanding speakers can produce. The bookshelf speaker packages are smaller versions of the floor standing options but are still capable of big sound.

The is a home theater in a box speakers can emulate sound for any content with 1 tweeter for the highs and a dynamic driver for the mids and lows. The T15s seem to have a kind of midrange congestion that produces this cupped effect. This is done with minimal distortion regardless of the audio level or frequency.

These bookshelf-style speakers can be set up however you need to complement your system. They can be wall-mounted or even used as rear speakers to deliver high-resolution audio from your TV screen.




2. Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround System

The Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System is basically a home entertainment in a box. It outdoes the Klipsch RP and the Klipsch CDT. The Klipsch RP is only a bookshelf speaker while the CDT are in-ceiling. 

For a full-fledged home cinematic experience, the Black Reference Theater Pack is the best home theater option.

It includes Tractrix Horn Technology and aluminum tweeters, which work together to produce clean and natural sound delivered from the stereo speakers to your floor space. 

What you get in the package is a center channel, a wireless sub, and four satellite speakers for flexible placement depending on your setup.

Want to know which brand is better between Polk and Klipsch? Check out our Polk and Klipsch brand comparison here



3. Acoustic Audio R191 in Ceiling/in Wall 5 Speaker Set

For those who do not have much space to spare, an in-ceiling or in-wall speaker package may be the best, the most affordable, and best-looking option for you. The R191 speakers have dynamic sound dispersion that can be easily integrated into your existing home cinema sound system. You can easily experience impressive sound while seating on one of the top-rated home cinema chair lounges comfortably. 

Some people want ones with frames, but others may want the frameless version. The speakers are bi-directional with polypropylene cone woofers to power the low-end tones.

What may seem like a headache to set up is actually quite easy. Each speaker comes with a pressure lock mounting system that secures to your drywall.



4. Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System

The Bose Acoustimass is another great surround sound system that delivers enveloping sound suited for larger rooms. They are slimmer and feature an improved profile that allows them to sit flush against your walls.

The Acoustimass bass module pumps out the heavy deep tones while the four surrounding speakers and 1 center channel balance out the rest of the spectrum. You can adjust the volumes and frequency affects to suit your preference. It has excellent 5.1 system setup with superb clarity, loud and distortion free even at high volumes.

The smaller components can be wall-mounted to save on space and the installation and setup are easy, with the cables clearly marked.

One thing that our experts notice is that the midrange frequencies sound pretty good in the higher range, but lack realism in the lower range.



5. Harman Kardon Premium High Performance 5.1 Channel Home Theater Package

The satellite components of this Harman Kardon speaker combo are voice-matched to deliver seamless sound. The five voice-matched 120W satellite speakers with 3-inch midrange drivers and .5 inch high frequency tweeters come together to produce superior sonic performance.

The sub is downward-firing, which propels the low tones directly to you. You can feel the rumble beneath your feet and the sheer power of the sub depending on the content. The sleek 5.1 system speaker package will bring forth rich sound that you were missing before.

The placement is flexible, and you can choose to organize and set up each part to fit the design of your room for optimal experience.

For an improved surround sound, consider choosing between Bitsream and PCM as your audio setting here



High End Home Theater Speaker Buyer’s Guide

Our expert team has created a simple and easy-to-follow buying guide to help you install your home entertainment systems that won’t cost you much, or help you pick the best option on your own. Let’s take a look!

Home Theater Speaker Placement

Where you place your upscale home cinema speakers really matters. It is the difference between a surround sound system experience and a system that just supplements the screen. Depending on what type of speakers you decide to go for, there are different tips our team came up with.

A full home loudspeaker system will provide encompassing sound regardless of where you place the components, even when you are installing basic sound system such as Logitech Z313 or Z323there is a way to optimize the placement for the “sweet spot”.

A full home cinema system is often a 5.1 system or 7.1 channel system complete with a wireless or powered sub— a powered sub is a wired option. It also has satellite speakers, center speaker, or a sound bar. The 5.1 or 7.1 channel setup shouldn’t be too difficult, with the only difference being where you aim the satellite speakers.

For high performance sound enhancement, angle your speakers towards your listening spot at a 30-45-degree angle. 

Speaker set in a living room with yellow walls

For those of you that already have home entertainment systems, an in-ceiling or in-wall sound speaker system would be the best option. They do not have a sub, center speakers, or surround speakers as they are supplemental to your existing system. 

For the placement of in-ceiling or in-wall speaker, it’s best to surround your entertainment system and your listening spot from all angles.

Bookshelf can be supplemental or carry the full weight of your best top notch theater system at home. They are used to provide or enhance high quality surround sound from your original loudspeaker system. They also do not have a center channel or center speaker but some can be embedded with a subwoofer for heavy bass.

Bookshelf speakers can be wall-mounted, which gives them the advantage over floor-standing speakers which can’t be. Again, angling them at 30 to 45-degrees will help you find the home audio sweet spot.

(If you prefer speakers that do not require mounting or complicated setup, getting floor-standing speakers below 1000 is also a good option)

Build and Size

Our experts have purposefully chosen three different types, builds and sizes of top of the line cinematic speakers in our review to help you find the most suitable for your circumstance. They are also all in a different price range. 

To find the correct type and size, you must first consider the amount of space you have. You do not want to impede on the comfort of your living room by having a system that’s too large. Many people prefer an inconspicuous setup while others like a big system. 

In short, if you lack the space, go for embedded wall and ceiling speakers, especially if you already have a setup. If you have space to spare, the full systems and bookshelf and floor standing models can produce impressive and high quality sound.

Bookshelf loudspeakers are easy to set up without taking too much time, and can pretty much fit into any room shape. A full home cinema system will take up quite a bit of space, and the 5.1 like Logitech Z906 and Z5500 or 7 channel setup could take more time. However, the in-ceiling or in-wall speaker are the best space savers without taking much effort to install.

Polk Audio T15 tweeter and driver

The in-ceiling options can integrate with your av receivers, subwoofer and rear speakers for one all-inclusive home cinema experience. For better integration, the best AV receivers under 500 are available in the market that can work well with your in-ceiling speakers. 

After you have figured out which size is best for your living space, the next step is to look out for the build quality. Aluminum dome tweeters and rigid mid range drivers and subwoofers will deliver high performance and reverberating bass and high notes. 

Be sure the grille and housing of your premium home surround system is built robustly to prevent damaging the internal components if there are any bumps or scrapes.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is one of the most important categories in our review. This section will tell you how to optimize your best home cinema set, look for surrounding sound capabilities, get the most out of your center speakers, and fully utilize your surrounding sound system. 

Depending on if you have a passive or active speaker system, you may need an AV receiver,  brands like Yamaha or even Denon, can both fully optimize your  sound system. The best home entertainment system will be passive for more customization. 

The first thing to look for in your speaker package for high quality sound reproduction would be the frequency response. This refers to all the notes the center, left and right channel speakers can produce. A high frequency response will bring more realistic and 3D sound.

Most high to mid range products will come with dome tweeter, which is impeccable at mimicking the high notes. Also look at the channels a top of the line theater system offers. 5 or more channels are the industry standard for surround sound.

Other features that can boost your viewing experience would include larger drivers, with 5-inch ones being very impressive. You don’t need to go up to 5-inch speakers for high quality sound, and simple 1-inch drivers will do, but the larger 5-inch ones will bring more power and encompassing sound.

A midrange driver fits somewhere between a tweeter and a woofer. It is like a woofer in design, but is smaller in size. 


Bose Acoustimass Home Theater System

Then look at the advanced sounds technologies. Dolby and DTS are the industry-leading experts for a superior audio experience. Sonos, Bose, Klipsch and JBL are some examples of brands that utilize high quality and top sounding technologies for bass boosts and surround sound. You can also find these technologies in mid range systems that can cost less.

Certain speaker combos as seen in the Sonos full theater system can offer sound modes. Sound modes are optimized settings that are specially tuned to accommodate certain content. Common sound modes you will find on your surround system include movie, music, news, game, and sports.

Having a dedicated center channel speaker that is automated to enhance speech and optimize voice clarity will help you decipher all the hard to hear words on the screen. A center channel speaker may simply come in the form of a sound bar. 

The surround speakers in some product choices can be utilized to create true 3D surround audio. Surround speakers can also be used as rear speakers to boost the sound stage. 

The price of your home entertainment speaker system doesn’t need to come at a staggering price for premium sound. You can find ones for a reasonable price with all of the above add-ons. Our review presents a few good idea and selections that have unmatched sound.

Interested in other home entertainment systems that offer superb surround sound quality? Check our review of Bose Lifestyle 650 here.

Home Theater Speakers Power Rating

The power rating for your best speakers is how much power the center channel speaker along with the surrounding components can handle to deliver Hi-Fi audio.

If you have a passive speaker, the power rating is the power the floorstanding, bookshelf or ceiling speakers gets from the AV receiver. You have to ensure that your loudspeakers and receiver are compatible so you don’t blow out or damage anything.

The ratings are listed as either RMS or peak power. Many people get these two figures confused, but our experts are here to clarify things. The RMS, or root mean square, is the power handling the floorstanding, bookshelf or ceiling speakers is capable of consistently.

The peak power is the power it can handle in short bursts. It doesn’t matter if you have 1-inch or larger drivers, the speaker power handling is usually higher at the peak power. It’s important to not go over peak power speaker ratings for a prolonged period as it will damage your loudspeakers.

Speakers with a dome tweeter can be found in mid range or high systems. A dome tweeter can withstand the vibrations at higher volumes and is more durable. They can also produce top quality and high-resolution audio that will fill the space.

On another note, you might want to add 1 level more of protection to your section. See our list of the best home cinema power conditioners that are best for this purpose.

Speaker Sensitivity

The efficiency of the speaker is referred to as the speaker sensitivity. Basically, it means how efficient the speaker is at converting power into audio. 

One that is inefficient will need more power to reach the same volumes as one that is. The lost power of an inefficient speaker is converted into heat. So if your speaker overheats easily, and has a hard time reaching higher volumes, then you possibly have an inefficient speaker.

Sensitivity is measured in decibels and the best is within the range of 90-100 dB. Lower than 90 would be considered inefficient to slightly inefficient and anything over 100 is considered amazing. 

Speaker sensitivity is measured by impedance. You can only successfully compare two speakers that were measured with the same impedance.

(If you want to upgrade your listening experience, we also listed superior quality multi-channel home theater system here

Speaker Impedance Value

What is impedance for the top notch system? For such speakers, you can usually expect them to be measured with a figure between 4-8 ohms, but you can find numbers up to 16. 

The impedance is what the word means, which is how much it impedes signal transference through the device. Amplifiers need to be compatible with your speaker impedance value to work properly.


The installation of the speakers is also important. No one wants to spend more than 30 min to set up and install their new surround system and center channel speakers. Once you have gotten the lay of the room, you need to take a look at the positioning of the different parts.

Where can you hook up your subwoofers to produce the best bass aimed directly at your listening spot? The Sonos surround system is an example that’s incredibly easy to set up. The subwoofer for room-filling bass is wireless, and the rear surround speakers can be placed anywhere in the space thanks to their wireless connection.

Other than the Sonos surround system, you can also opt for floor-standing or bookshelf loudspeakers including the KEF Q100 or the Elac B6 to take up less space. While they may have a sub embedded for heavy bass, cinephiles that might want a full bass experience may need to purchase an external subwoofers. 



Close-up of ceiling speakers

Bookshelf and floor-standing loudspeakers with 1 inch or larger drivers are more difficult to place and install due to their bulkier size. They most likely need to be hooked up to a power source, which could restrict your placement options.

The smallest option we have for surround speakers are the ceiling models. These have small drivers of about 1 inch or a bit larger but they take up no space at all. You may need to cut out a piece of your drywall [1] or ceiling to fit them in, but they sit flush against your surroundings and can deliver top quality sound like full profile speakers.

One thing they may need extra help with is the bass. For these embedded speakers, our experts would advise hooking up an additional subwoofer.

Wondering which is the better brand between Samsung and Vizio when it comes to 4K TVs? Curb your curiosity now.

Our Top Pick For High End Home Theater Speakers: The Polk Audio T15

The Polk Audio T15 speakers earn our expert team’s stamp approval for the best high quality home cinema speaker. They are well-built with magnetically shielded closures and both speakers in the pair are sonically matched to work perfectly. They bring immersive surround audio to your home theater system.

The installation is simple, and you can choose to mount the smaller T15 components or place them around the room. With high-res deep notes and the help of Dolby and DTS surround, these bookshelf loudspeakers can deliver what a full system can at a very affordable price.

Our tips, together with our buyer’s guide details, should leave you prepared with everything you need to know before you purchase, but feel free to search our other products for additional reassurance.

Are you eyeing Bose sound bar to get for your home? Some models emerge over the others — check out which one wins between the Bose 500 and the 700 here.

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Willie Greer
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.