The concept of home theater is to provide you with a movie theater-like experience at home. Setting up a home theater system in the house is considered hard work. Ask anyone who has done it successfully. They’ll have a list of dos and don’ts to share. From selecting the right television model to deciding on the perfect speaker system, you have to launch a full-scale search on the market. Finding the best multi-channel home theater system is not an easy task.
You need a multi-channel surround sound system to complete the setup. Do you want to assemble the home theater system or do you want to buy a popular HTiB (Home Theater in a Box) and simply connect the speakers?
Not everyone wants to build a home theater system from scratch by mixing up speakers and trying different combinations. It’s something audiophiles love to do. Thankfully, the market has enough HTiB systems with a range of features and offerings. Rather, you can find a suitable surround sound multi-channel system at budget-friendly prices
But which one should you choose?
Don’t worry! We’ve got answers to all your concerns and more. We also tested various models on the market and have come up with a list of the top eight multi-channel home theater systems for varying requirements. Let’s get started!
Roundup of the Best Multi-Channel Home Theaters
|Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Small Rooms||Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System|
|Best Budget Multi-Channel Home Theater System||Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System|
|Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Punchy Bass||Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System|
|Best Upgradeable Multi-Channel Home Theater System||Polk Audio 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Powered Subwoofer|
|Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System with Soundbar||Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4|
|Best Stylish Multi-Channel Home Theater System||VIZIO SB36514-G6 36″ 5.1.4 Premium Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos and Wireless Subwoofer|
|Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Sound Quality||Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker|
|Best Wireless Multi-Channel Home Theater System||Enclave CineHome II 5.1 Wireless Home Theater Surround Sound System|
Components of a Multi-Channel Home Theater System
The idea behind using a multi-channel speaker system is to create the surround sound effect at home and convert the ordinary living room into a mini-theater. We’ll first look at the components of a multi-channel home theater system and understand its purpose.
The receiver is the central unit of the multi-channel system. It is connected to the input source (TV) and the output device (speakers). It is also known as an AV receiver (audio-video receiver). Some receivers come with a built-in amplifier to enhance the input audio and deliver powerful output through the speakers.
The display device doesn’t have to be the television. A projector is also considered one as it projects the video onto the wall or screen, depending on its placement. Connecting the multichannel speaker set to an older TV model may not provide the same effect as connecting it to a high-end LED TV or a 4K TV.
However, if the room is small or has limited space to set up the home theater, you’ll have to choose the TV and the number of speakers carefully to create the right impact.
Well, what’s a surround sound system without speakers? But how many is enough? Why is a soundbar not considered a complete surround sound system in itself? A soundbar doesn’t have enough power to create the same effect as a multi-channel system.
The 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems are a preferred choice by many users. A multi-channel speaker set includes multiple satellite speakers (central, front, and rear speakers) and a subwoofer. The positioning of the speakers plays a vital role in how well they deliver the sound output.
The room where you set up the home theater is just as important. You need to arrange the furniture and remove the clutter so that the speakers are not obstructed by other items, especially if you are setting up a surround sound system. The sound waves from the speakers should not be blocked by furniture or décor in the room.
Place the subwoofer on the ground to experience better bass. The center channel should be close to the TV. The front speakers should be beside the TV, and the back speakers should be on the opposite side of the room, preferably behind the couch and diagonally placed to face the front speakers.
Types of Multi-Channel Home Theater Systems
The following are the main types of multi-channel home theater systems:
The stereo system is one of the most established speaker sets in the market. It has two sound channels, one on each side of the TV. The stereo system can be connected to a subwoofer to create a better sound system. This setup works for small rooms and older versions of TV sets.
Surround Sound Systems
The best surround sound systems deliver quality sound performance through sound imaging. These are again divided into true surround sound and virtual surround sound systems, where the former has a dedicated speaker for each channel and is usually wired. Virtual surround sound systems are mostly wireless units where each channel doesn’t have a speaker of its own. Even a subwoofer and a soundbar can be connected to create a virtual surround audio system.
Home Theater Systems
A typical home theater system has more speakers and a compact setup. It consists of five (or seven) satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The subwoofer plays low frequencies and delivers bass notes. The center speaker plays the voice notes and dialogues. The left and right speakers play the remaining sound effects and give you a sense of direction.
How to Find the Best Multi-Channel Home Theater Systems on the Market?
It’s now time to understand the factors that help us choose the best multi-channel home theater system in the market.
1. Speaker Count
We’ve already discussed the role of speakers in a multi-channel sound system. In most conditions, a five-speaker set is a worthy choice for a home theater setup. If the room is quite large and has a lot of open space, you can go with a seven-speaker system. The ten-speaker system is suitable for extra-large rooms.
2. Weight of the Speakers
Speakers can be lightweight or heavy. They can be small, medium, or huge. You’ll have to consider the size and weight of the speakers when setting up the multi-channel home theater system.
Floorstanding speakers are bigger and heavier. They have a wider frequency range and deliver powerful sound output.
Bookshelf speakers are smaller and can be lightweight. They sit on the shelves (as the name suggests) and are suitable for small to medium-sized rooms. Bookshelf speakers are a better choice if the room is cluttered. Placing them at a height will prevent the sound waves from being obstructed by the future.
3. Size and Layout of the Room
Take the dimensions of your room before you decide on the multi-channel speaker system for your home. If you are planning renovations or want a built-in sound system, you can opt for speakers that can be hidden in the walls and ceiling. This will make the room appear clutter-free, prevent tangled wires, and deliver the sound in the entire room.
4. Ease of Set Up and Use
How easy is it to configure the speaker system at home? Even when you buy the HTiB units, they need to be installed in the room. The user manual should help, but anything too complicated can be annoying and frustrating. Given that you might have to rearrange the speakers a few times before you are happy with the results, go for something easy to handle.
There’s no point in contacting customer support each time you need to unplug and replug a speaker, isn’t it?
5. Television Type
Even though a high-end television has everything to offer, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a home theater sound system to elevate the effect. Be doubly sure that the sound system is compatible with your TV.
If you have a smartTV, you can try the 4K HDR systems. Since the sound systems have multiple input options, you can connect the system to the TV using different cables.
6. Surround Sound Formats
The multi-channel home theater systems come in different surround sound formats. For example:
- Dolby Surround comes with a decoder to deliver four-channel stereo audio.
- Dolby Digital delivers authentic sound reproduction and is used in 5.1 channel speaker systems. It goes well with DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, and play stations.
- Dolby Digital Surround EX delivers a realistic sound experience and goes with 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 channel systems. It works with the same devices as Dolby Digital.
- Dolby ProLogic 11X offers a rich and deeper sound experience and is used to extend a 5.1 system into a 7.1 or 10.2 sound system. It goes great with HDTVs.
7. Budget and Price
The advantage of a competitive market is the availability of multi-channel speaker systems in all price ranges. You can get a decent desktop system for an affordable price, just as you can buy the high-end model for a premium price. Decide your budget limitations before you choose the multi-channel surround sound system.
8 Best Multi-Channel Home Theater Systems for Home Use, Parties, Mobile Device, and More
The following are some of the top multi-channel home theater systems available on the market:
1. Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System
Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Small Rooms
- Comes with Tractrix Horn technology
- Easy to install
- Small, compact, and stylish
- A great choice for small to mid-sized rooms
- Slightly expensive
Klipsch Theater Pack 5.1 surround sound system is the best multi-channel system for small rooms. The speakers are small and pack a punch to provide a wonderful audio experience.
Firstly, the speakers come with a Tractrix Horn technology and aluminum tweeters that deliver clear and crisp high frequencies. The sound is quite natural and clean, even if it feels a little flat when compared to bigger speakers. The size does matter, after all.
Secondly, the speakers can be left on the floor, on a shelf, or hooked to the wall. We tried all three methods and found that it is just as easy to mount them. Since the speakers are fairly small, we found that they work better when on a shelf or at an elevated position. Placing on the floor can be risky as it’s easy to knock them down.
To conclude, Klipsch Multi-channel Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System has an impressive sound range, even if the subwoofer isn’t great with the bass. What we loved the most is the lack of distortion or strain lines when we turned up the volume. The audio clarity is good. The 5.1 multi-channel system delivers quality audio in a small room. It is somewhat expensive for the size, but if you want a reliable home theater system that’s easy to use and great to listen to, go for it.
2. Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System
Best Budget Multi-Channel Home Theater System
- Multiple input options
- Independent volume control
- Displays 7 colors in 4 different light modes
- Comes with mounting gear
- Needs regular sound adjustments
- No HDMI connectivity
Rockville HTS56 is the best budget-friendly multi-channel home theater system with five satellite speakers and a subwoofer with a built-in AV receiver. There’s also a built-in FM receiver if you want to listen to the radio.
Firstly, the 5.1 channel system delivers powerful audio with thumping bass. We were rather surprised by how good the bass was. It even overpowered the dialogues until we tweaked the settings to balance the audio. Each speaker has a separate volume control that made it easy. Still, we had to adjust the settings based on the movie/show we were watching.
Secondly, the speaker cabinets are made of MDF wood and have plastic mesh on the front. Despite the small size, the speakers have a full range that we enjoyed in our living room. Our kids are fascinated with the LED light patterns on the speakers. They like to play music with the LED lights on and pretend to be rockstars.
Finally, the Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System can be placed on the floor, shelves, or mounted on the wall. This one comes with the mounting kit too. We placed the subwoofer on the floor beside the TV, and it delivers every time. We did have some issues positioning the rear speakers. At last, we had them up on a shelf behind the couch. The lack of HDMI connectivity was a problem, but given the price, we were willing to overlook this.
View on Amazon: Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System
3. Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System
Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Punchy Bass
- Punchy and powerful bass
- Multiple input options
- Comes with a remote control
- Dolby digital sound and THX certified
- No HDMI connectivity
Logitech Z906 is the best multi-channel home theater system with powerful bass and Dolby Digital sound. The speaker set is THX certified and delivers a clean, crisp sound.
Firstly, the 5.1 channel system has a receiver, subwoofer, five satellite speakers, and remote control. There are just enough controls on the remote to adjust the volume and tone. That works for us. We had to lower the subwoofer’s volume a few times, but even otherwise, it doesn’t drown the output from other speakers.
Secondly, the home theater system worked well in a mid-sized room. It might pull off even a large one, though we think the effect wouldn’t be as good. Despite the multiple input options, there is no HDMI connectivity for this set too.
To sum up, the Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System delivers great bass and deeper sound. It has a strong build quality. However, we wished the cables for the rear speakers were longer. We used our cables and wall-mounted them, so it worked fine. The speakers aren’t anything to look at. Z906 won’t win the beauty contest for sure. Luckily, the set up didn’t take much time, and there wasn’t any need to tinker constantly. You can enjoy some of the best surround sound movies with this speaker system.
View on Amazon: Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System
4. Polk Audio 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Powered Subwoofer
Best Upgradeable Multi-Channel Home Theater System
- Good quality build construction
- Can be upgraded
- Comprises a combination of speakers
- Great compatibility with input devices
- Not enough bass
- The speakers have passive radiators
Polk Audio 5.1 Channel is the best upgradable home theater speaker set in the market. It has two floor-standing speakers, two bookshelf speakers, one central speaker, and a subwoofer.
Firstly, the speakers have good clarity and impressive highs. The edges can sound a little sharp at a high volume. The subwoofer is decent, though we’d have loved it more if the bass was punchy. It’s there but just enough for us to say that we can hear low notes.
Secondly, the speakers have front ports, making it super easy to install them. The entire setup took us less time than it normally would. Even though this is a 5.1 channel, it can be upgraded to 6.1 or 7.1 by adding more speakers. That’s exactly what we did after a couple of weeks.
In conclusion, the Polk Audio 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Powered Subwoofer is worth the money, given how compatible it is with various input sources. The speakers look decent, though not stylish, and much better than a few other models. The bookshelf speakers pleasantly surprised us with the depth in the sound output. Of course, it took us more time to break them, but the result was satisfying.
5. Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4
Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System with Soundbar
- Has dual wireless subwoofers
- Solid build design
- Easy to set up and use
- Has a total of 18 drivers
- Doesn’t work that well with stereo sound
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 is the best multi-channel home theater system with a soundbar. This is a complete package with a soundbar, two wireless subwoofers, four satellite speakers, and remote control. No wonder it’s that good!
Firstly, the home theater system has been designed to deliver full surround sound, and it sure does the job. The entire set has eighteen drivers to cover the high, mids, and lows effectively. What’s more, the soundbar is lightweight. We mounted it right under the TV.
Secondly, the subwoofers are solid, and we mean, really solid. The build is sturdy, and we can see that the subwoofers will last for a long time. They are nice and heavy to deliver thumping bass all through the room. We set up the speakers in a large room and that helped distribute the bass evenly throughout.
To conclude, Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 has a lot of positives to talk about. The four satellite speakers are lightweight and sit snugly on the shelves. We are more than impressed with the sound quality. Of course, turning the volume to max made us wince and wasn’t even necessary. The best part is that the soundbar is compatible with a 4K TV and Dolby Vision. It has HDMI and Bluetooth connectivity, along with a few more options.
View on Amazon: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4
6. VIZIO SB36514-G6 36″ 5.1.4 Premium Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos and Wireless Subwoofer
Best Stylish Multi-Channel Home Theater System
- Soundbar system with Dolby Atmos
- Works with Chromecast
- Allows multi-room streaming
- Sleek and good looking
- We did not experience any issues with this system
VIZIO SB36514-G6 is a stylish home theater speaker system with a soundbar, wireless subwoofer, and two satellite speakers. The set is classy and elegant in an understated manner.
Firstly, the speaker set was easy to install. The package had all the necessary cables to set up the unit. We finished the connections in no time. The Bluetooth connectivity slipped once before steadying. Not bad at all!
Secondly, the sound system has Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital X support. The audio quality is amazing with cinematic sound. It truly feels like sitting in a movie theater. The input options range from HDMI to USB-Type A with a few more thrown in. We usually use Chromecast, though, and use the Wi-Fi connection.
Finally, VIZIO SB36514-G6 is a smart and stylish multi-channel speaker system with a five-channel soundbar. Connecting to the app can be a pain initially. The QuickStart guide doesn’t help as it should. You can get the full manual from the company website instead. The satellite speakers look sleek but deliver the expected output. Position them on a shelf or mount them up the wall. It won’t take much time.
7. Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker
Best Multi-Channel Home Theater System for Sound Quality
- Smooth and clear sound quality
- Can be upgraded to 7.1 channel
- Good value for money
- Suits almost every décor
- We did not experience any issues with this system
Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ has excellent sound quality and is one of the best home theater systems for exceptional audio output. The sounds are smooth, clear, and seamless.
Firstly, all the speakers are video-shielded and come with dual drivers. The tonal quality is a treat. The voice matches perfectly. At one stage, we felt that surround sound couldn’t get better than this. Since we already have one of the latest television sets, we didn’t focus on video shielding. It wasn’t necessary.
Secondly, the subwoofer is intense. The bass goes downwards and bounces back at us with more power. It’s like sitting in a theater where even the tiniest sounds can make us jump. We also like that the speaker set can be upgraded to 7.1 by adding two more speakers. That’ll make it a perfect choice for a large room.
To conclude, Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ has more positives than negatives. The speakers have the advantage of blending in with any kind of décor. The mounting gear comes with the package, but you’ll have to buy the stands separately.
View on Amazon: Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker
8. Enclave CineHome II 5.1 Wireless Home Theater Surround Sound System
Best Wireless Multi-Channel Home Theater System
- Quick and easy installation
- Easy to upgrade
- Use with TV or universal remote
- Can be controlled through the CineHub app
- Each speaker needs a power source
Enclave CineHome II 5.1 is the best feature-rich wireless speakers system that supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Digital Sound, and PCM. The CineHub, a wireless transmitter, is the highlight of this system.
Firstly, the multi-channel speaker system is stylish and delivers realistic sound. It has two tall speakers and two bookshelf speakers, one subwoofer, and CineHub to keep them connected without any speaker wires. However, we had to plug the speakers individually into power outlets to keep them playing. Yep, that can be annoying.
Secondly, there are several input options available, including HDMI-ARC and eARC. Moreover, installation and setup took less than five minutes. We could sit and watch a movie immediately. We also used the TV remote to control the speakers, and it worked. Of course, there’s an app too.
In conclusion, Enclave CineHome II is a mid-range multi-channel speaker system with clean and crisp audio suitable for a good-sized living room. The best part is that we could add another subwoofer to the set. It’ll accept speakers also. But we chose a subwoofer because the lower bass notes weren’t that powerful in the original setup. Apart from the minor glitches, the home theater system is a worthy package and can enhance the living room.
Frequently Asked Questions About Multi-Channel Home Theater Systems
Multi-channel surround sound is where the audio output is delivered in multiple audio channels, with the speakers at the front and back of the listener. The speakers play high-fidelity sound, and the sounds are separately played by the right and left speakers for realistic sound effects. Moreover, the multi-channel sound system has a wide frequency range.
The multi-channel home theater delivers sounds through independent audio channels and speakers. The speakers work together to create an authentic and realistic sound experience at home by delivering audio all around the listener. This, certainly, depends on the positioning of the speakers. The placement of the speakers is crucial for a multi-channel home theater.
A multi-channel home theater should have two or more audio channels. The 2.1 setup is a budget-friendly option and has two speakers with a subwoofer. Other popular multi-channel home theaters are 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, and 10.2 channel sound systems.
Multi-channel speakers are the satellite speakers connected to the subwoofer and a receiver (if required) to deliver a multi-channel audio output. The satellite speakers have specific roles and should be positioned as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
– The center channel should be aligned with the TV and the audience.
– The front speakers should be on either side of the TV, facing the audience.
– The rear speakers must be behind the audience but facing the front speakers.
– The left and right speakers should not be interchanged.
A multi-channel receiver is an AV receiver unit that can send signals of more than one source to the audio channels or speakers connected to it. A multi-channel receiver is different from a multi-zone receiver, where the speakers can be in different locations. A multi-channel receiver is different from a multi-room audio setup created through wireless connectivity.
We, thus, come to the end of our article and hope you have enough information to buy the best multi-channel home theater sound system that suits your requirements. We recommend Logitech Z906 for bass lovers, Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 if you prefer a soundbar speaker system, and Rockville HTS56 for a budget-friendly home theater speaker set.
However, take your time to analyze and compare various models and make the right decision to turn your place into a home theater and enjoy movie nights with your loved ones.
If you want to look for other brand options apart from the ones mentioned on our list, you may check out Sony, Denon, EXOFIELD, Anthem, OSD or Marantz as some popular alternatives.