If you've got a modern big-screen TV or projector setup, chances are you're interested in getting the highest quality, most immersive cinema experience possible. Where many systems stumble, though, is with sound quality. A bundled 'home theatre in a box' (as all-in-one systems are disparagingly called) won’t always provide the best quality sound — often missing all manner of high, low and middle frequencies. If you want the best quality sound for movies, your best bet is a surround sound system with a dedicated home theatre amplifier/receiver and a matched set of quality home theatre speakers. We've taken a look at some the options you have.
JBL ES900 Cinepack — Best for Movie Enthusiasts
There are some times when you just want to sit back and crank the volume. When it comes to floor-shaking, eardrum-bursting power, the ES900 Cinepack stands up with the best.
The system has a moderate-sounding 715 Watts RMS, but don’t be fooled by the numbers. The powerful subwoofer — with 300 Watts RMS to play with — is able to provide more than enough oomph to fill a large room with low frequency effects, and the lively sound that the other speakers possess is great for blockbuster movies. It’s also quite an adjustable system, with in-depth subwoofer controls to tweak the sound.
What's hot: Incredible sound quality, ability to adjust subwoofer.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the JBL ES900 Cinepack click here.
AAD M Series — Best for Budget Buyers
So maybe you’ve blown your entire budget on the latest 60-inch television and accompanying furniture, and can only scrape together a few measly cents for a sound system. Don’t stress: AAD’s M Series home theatre package offers a measured and detailed sound at a price that even the most miserly can afford.
It’s not a gargantuan system, but a respectable 670 Watts RMS can be pumped out making it more than suitable for a medium room. The styling is unobtrusive and traditional — some might say boring — but there’s nothing boring about the quality of the sound that the M Series produces. It’s not a ‘lively’ system, and errs more on the side of accurate audio reproduction.
What's hot: Detailed highs, incredibly smooth mid-range, tight bass.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the AAD M Series click here.
Yamaha Soavo 2 — Best Two-Channel Setup
In some situations a full 5.1 system is unfeasible, whether due to space or power needs. A subwoofer is often an annoyance in tight quarters — especially for downstairs neighbours — so you’ll need to find another option for high quality sound. Salvation comes in the form of Yamaha’s ‘bookshelf’-sized Soavo 2 speakers. When combined with some appropriate speaker stands to raise them to ear level the Soavo 2 speakers are able to produce a very detailed and immersive sound without resorting to messy, complicated surround sound.
The fact that they’re a two-channel system also makes them arguably better for music (with no surround sound processing taking place) so if you need a versatile system in a small space, this is it.
What's hot: Exacting build quality, polite and measured sound
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Yamaha Soavo 2 click here.
B&W VM6 — Best All-Rounder
As much as you might not want to, sometimes you have to make compromises when selecting a home theatre system. Size, power, looks: all of these factors contribute to the suitability of any audio setup. If you need to make these compromises you’d do well to consider the B&W VM6. Small, thin speakers still create an immersive and well-rounded sound, while the PV1 subwoofer’s unique styling doesn’t prevent it from pumping out low frequencies at high volumes.
What's hot: Slim design suits the latest TV sets, great sound for such a small speaker cabinet
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the B&W VM6 click here.
Bose LIFESTYLE 48 — Best for the Trend-Setter
If you’ve got a modern, minimalist living room but don’t want to go all out with an integrated in-wall sound system — which makes upgrading difficult — there are a few companies with surround sound home theatre packages designed to take up as little space as possible.
One frontrunner is Bose’s Lifestyle 48 system, with miniature cube-shaped speakers that can be easily placed around a room unobtrusively. Of course, the sound quality won’t be on par with proper speaker cabinets, but for their diminutive size the Lifestyle 48 speakers put out a crisp, surrounding field of sound.
What's hot: Easy set up, crisp sound quality
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Bose Lifestyle 48 click here.