Nothing beats that ultimate surround sound experience and even better when you can have it in the comfort of your own home.
Building a home theater system is easier these days because there are systems that have been specifically designed to work together and produce the sonic results you are looking for. Therefore, finding the Best 7.1 Home Theater System does not involve mix and matching different component parts unless you really want to. The real decision that needs to be made is, do you want a 5.1 or 7.1 system?
It goes without saying there are some differences. The main one being the number of speakers involved. A 5.1 system will have six speakers feeding into six channels; a 7.1 gives you eight. But there are other considerations as well, and we will look at those later.
For this review, we are going to concentrate on 7.1 systems and what they offer. So let’s go find that super sound just for you!
Top 10 Best 7.1 Home Theater System For The Money 2021 Reviews
1 Klipsch 7.1.2 System – 2 RP-8060FA Dolby Atmos Speakers
We will not spend time and space discussing the qualities of Klipsch speakers. These are already well-known. This Dolby Atmos system is a high-level home cinema setup with great performance and features. And is certainly, one to be considered as the Best 7.1 Home Theater System for Dolby Atmos.
It is designed to produce an outstanding sound performance but also to look the part. The trademark copper spun speakers, and the Tractrix Horn are very prominent in the styling. The overall design has been set up so that you have plenty of options for positioning the speakers.
The system includes two floor standing speakers. These feature a speaker that allows you to bounce sound off the ceiling. In the center channel speaker, there are four 5.25 woofers. These are powerful cerametallic designs. There is also the trademark Klipsch Tractrix horn positioned in the center. This is where a large percentage of the mids come from.
Dialogue and song lyrics are, therefore, very pronounced and impressively clear.
There are four bookshelf sized speakers with a driver and another Tractrix horn. These cover wide frequency ranges and boost the sound of the mids and high frequencies, as well as also boosting the higher bass frequencies. The deep frequency response is very prominent from the subwoofer.
This is where you really do get the 7.1 cinema experience. A 10-inch cerametallic woofer with the Klipsch spun copper design and a Class D amp pump those deep notes out.
It is a staggering system and one that is going to fill the room with sound. You have so many options for speaker placement, but wherever you put them, the sound is going to be big.
It might sound excellent, but it also looks the part. The Klipsch copper spun design, and Tractrix horns make it look like a serious sound system. And of course, it is. Therefore, it is also going to cost serious money as you might expect. But if you can afford it, you have got something very special.
- A great sounding system.
- Good dynamics.
- Impressive design.
- Very expensive.
2 Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel Home Theater
Let’s have a look at the Sony offering to 7.1 Home Cinema. This system, with its Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, delivers a powerful cinematic experience right in your own room. It feels like you are right in the middle of whatever you are watching, be it a movie or concert. The artists feel like they are right there in front of you. So many built-in features in this Sony system help to achieve this.
With some systems, the signal can deteriorate during use. This has a 4k pass-through ensuring there is no degradation of the signal from its source to the screen. The HDR pass-through gives stunning visuals, bringing the colors to life.
The level of surround sound is breathtaking at times. With the DTS:X giving you a multi-dimensional experience and the Dolby Atmos delivering 360-degree realism. You become swallowed up in the sound that is swirling around you.
It has plenty of flexible options available. Playback can be through USB, HDMI, or DLNA, and speaker positioning can reflect your own personal space and environment.
Included in this package are stereo Floor-standing speakers and two bookshelf speakers, each with three drivers. There are two Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers for positioning behind you to complete the surround experience. Also a 2-way 3-driver speaker for the center channel. Finally, a 10-inch subwoofer thunders out the bottom end, and it has a Dolby Atmos WiFi Home Theater Receiver.
The speaker system also has its own flexibility options in that if you want to connect an extra sub, you can. Further, the receiver has a Bluetooth option. The speakers are all wired, but unfortunately, no wires are included. Sound-wise we think you will find it plenty loud enough having a power output of 130 watts.
A great system in Sony Tradition. It is maybe not as appealing to the eye in its design as some systems. But it has a great immersive sound if that is what you are looking for.
- A great surround system.
- Multiple features.
- Built-in flexibility for set up.
- Dolby Atmos.
- Speaker wires not included.
3 Klipsch 7.1 System with Denon AVR-X4400H A/V Receiver
Back to Klipsch again, and this time they have joined forces with Denon to give us a bundle deal through AcousticSoundDesign.
This really is an outstanding system. Included with this home cinema package is Denon’s X4400H mid-range Receiver. This receiver is packed with every feature you can imagine. Just think of something. It will be in there. Also included is an enormous amount of power.
The design, of course, is very Klipsch with those seemingly ever-present copper spun speakers and the horns very visible. Included in the package are two-floor standing speakers. These have two cerametallic eight-inch woofers and the Tractrix horn. The center channel speaker has four 4-inch copper spun cerametallic drivers with a centrally-placed horn.
The surround speakers are a different design with a two-way sound spread. Each cabinet houses a copper spun driver, and a Tractrix horn positioned to spread the sound around you.
The sub is an 800 watt monster with a 15-inch long-throw cerametallic spun copper woofer. It has a front-firing port. There are RCA inputs and left and right line-level connections that are compatible with nearly all receivers.
This has got about all you need with a great surround sound arrangement, powerful speakers, and an excellent receiver. All that, and it looks just brilliant as well. It is flexible with its speaker positioning and is going to fit in most large rooms. Probably not suitable for small rooms as you do need somewhere to actually sit down.
As you might imagine, it isn’t cheap, but it is going to give you a brilliant cinema experience.
- Plenty of power.
- Many surround sound options.
- Great design.
- Very expensive.
4 Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4
Nakamichi has a respected name in the audio world. Founded in Tokyo in 1948, their real impact came in the 1970s with their high-quality cassette decks. Today they have offices and centers in various parts of the world as they continue to produce quality audio systems.
This home cinema system comprises of two speakers, a soundbar and two subwoofers. It is a powerful setup with an active amp that will generate 800 watts of peak output power, and it has an SPL 0f 106dB. It has built-in decoders, using DTS, DTS:X DTS Digital surround, and Dolby Digital, as well as Bluetooth aptX capability.
The configuration includes two wireless subwoofers, each with an eight-inch driver. Connected to them via RCA sockets are the two-way rear speakers. Each with a one-inch tweeter and three-inch driver.
Add to this the soundbar with its speaker configuration. The soundbar has five speakers, center, right, and left but also two up-firing Atmos speakers. This gives the basis for its great surround sound experience. The result is a full dynamic range and an impressive cinema sound. Having two woofers accents the bass and the low end and makes a major contribution.
The advantage of having two cabinets is obviously that you can spread the sound. The low frequencies will surround you effectively, rather than coming at you from one main area. But this superior bass presence is not at the expense of the mids. They still come predominantly through the soundbar and surround speakers and remain clear and bright.
Dialogue from the movie is then not lost in a wave of low frequencies as sometimes can happen.
Dolby Atmos adds the final touches to a complete surround sound experience. Please be aware that not all TVs have Atmos capability and you should check first. It has HDMI input and output, and coaxial and optical inputs. It also comes with a remote control, but that’s to be expected.
This is a system designed for average-sized rooms and might not work so well in a smaller room. By any standards, this is an impressive system and at a very competitive price.
- Different design of speaker configuration.
- Nicely rounded sound.
- Dolby Atmos.
- Competitive price.
- Some only need one larger subwoofer.
5 Onkyo SKS-HT870 Home Theater Speaker System
Over now to Onkyo to have a look at what they are bringing to the market. We like Onkyo, they are still a family-run business, and they produce some good audio. Not at the very high levels, we might add, but a good standard at very attractive prices. Its value for money makes it a contender for the Best Affordable 7.1 Home Theater System.
This is an eight-speaker system with an output of 290 watts peak power. Included is a powered subwoofer with a ten-inch driver and a center speaker. There are also two front and two rear speakers as well as two mid-surround speakers. Please note that with this system you will need a receiver which is not included as part of this package.
The front and center speakers have 3¼ inch dual woofers and one-inch balanced dome tweeters. These speakers deliver bright and clear highs and mids but also provide some extra lows. The highs are smooth and give the dialogue clarity. They have a power rating of 130 watts.
There are two large dual-drive floor standing speakers that certainly help to create a wide soundstage. They have a power rating of 130 watts and deliver a very detailed mid and high-frequency definition.
To produce the necessary low end, there is a ten-inch subwoofer. It doesn’t dominate the sound too much. In fact, some might think it is a little under-powered. But it is enough for most people. It certainly does not impinge on the other frequencies.
There is some flexibility with regard to the positioning of the speakers. The center and the surround speakers have built-in slots for wall-mounting. A good option as some people prefer a higher level of sound distribution. It has the cables and wires needed for installation and connections. The wires though, are a little flimsy.
As what could be described as an entry-level system, it works very well. The 3¼ inch and the one-inch tweeters ensure the highs and mids are bright. And the powerful subwoofer gives you just enough bass.
At the price, it represents great value. It is not the best sounding system there is, but it is still a very cost-effective purchase.
- Good sound dynamic.
- Cost-effective price.
- Flimsy wiring.
6 Polk Audio Signature 7.1 System
This is a system that combines Polk speaker systems and a Denon receiver, the AVR-X1300W. Polk has a reputation for providing speakers and audio for those who like things on the loud side. This isn’t as loud as some of their products, but it still carries quite a punch.
The system features two floor standing speakers and a center speaker. The center speaker has six quite small drivers and a tweeter to give a decent spread of sound. There are four Bookshelf style speakers that can be positioned in front or behind plus the subwoofer. All of these speakers plus, of course, as we mentioned, the Denon receiver.
The receiver has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It has HDMI sockets for in and out connections. The system has a frequency response of 67 Hz – 40 kHz.
The position of the speakers will not be an exact science with these speakers. They carry Polk’s PRO Room Optimizer technology. The idea is to achieve an optimum performance regardless of where the speakers are located.
The sound is generally quite good, and the system does project quite a lot of bottom end. We wouldn’t call it overpowering, but it is definitely there.
It is a decent system, but in our view, its appearance lets it down. It is not particularly pleasing to the eye in its design. Walking into a room with it set up, you are not going to be visually impressed, and it lacks a certain style. If you are a person that isn’t bothered about that, then it might suit. It is though a little expensive for what it is.
- Decent sound.
- Speaker positioning flexibility.
- Unattractive design.
7 Definitive Technology 7.1 System
If you are looking for a home cinema system that looks as good as it sounds, then maybe this is for you. It certainly gets our vote for appearance and design with a build quality to match.
In fact, everything about this design has been thought out, even down to the feet supporting the floor-standing tower speakers. Elegantly designed chrome outrider type supports. And it is certain to be considered as one the Most Stylish 7.1 Home Theater Systems around.
Some companies just exude a certain style in their design ideas. In the main, European design ideas, but this US company has got the idea as well. Ok, so they look good, you get the picture, but what do they sound like? Very good indeed.
There are two Tower speakers plus a center channel speaker and four dual directional surround speakers. Completing the sound is a Subwoofer.
The Floorstanding speakers each have a powered subwoofer that provides extra support for the bottom end whilst also delivering an all-round immersive sound. They define every detail of the sound, and they are the mainstay of what you are hearing.
Housed in the center channel are high-performance drivers and aluminum dome tweeters. Also, a supportive bass woofer adds a little more of the bottom end to the overall sound. And it does that, producing enormous quality and clarity in vocals and dialogue. Great for movies but also for music.
The surround speakers give you that total movie experience with sound that fills the room. The dispersion pattern, which is bipolar, gives dynamic range as well as a full surround experience.
All you need is something big at the bottom end, and you have it all. Definitive Technology provides it. The subwoofer contains a 12-inch long-throw front-firing sound with a BASH amp with 1000 watts peak power. It has adjustable volume control and crossovers.
A powerful system that produces the goods and looks a bit special into the bargain. Not cheap, but then quality rarely is.
- Great design and build quality.
- Powerful sound.
- Many good features.
8 Klipsch RP-250F 7.1-Ch Reference Premiere Home Theater Speaker System
Well, as the old saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.’ Often competitors in the audio market, Klipsch and Onkyo join forces to produce this home theater system.
The speakers, of course, are by Klipsch. Surprise surprise, the copper spun designs are there for all to admire, as is the Tractrix horn. Nothing wrong with that. They look good, they sound good and as they say ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’. There are a pair of floor-standing speakers with two drivers and a tweeter in the horn. They have made a nice design for the feet, which makes them very secure.
The center channel speaker has two drivers and a central tweeter inside the horn. The four dual directional surround speakers have similar designs with a tweeter in a horn and a driver-facing in each direction. This spreads the sound and creates a wider dynamic soundstage. Finally, the 12-inch powered woofer gives the sound some serious bottom end.
It is a very impressive sound system. It delivers a big sound across a wide frequency range with low levels of distortion. The highs and bottom end are pronounced but do not cut across the mids. They are solid, clear, and concise and have a very defined sound. The dialogue and vocal lines are clear and with plenty of clarity.
The receiver makes a significant contribution to the sound. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It is a neat, good looking compact system that works great in a medium-sized room.
- Great looking.
- Ideal for home cinema.
- Good sound.
- Onkyo receiver with Dolby Atmos.
- No published price point.
9 Klipsch R-5502-W II(7) In-Wall Speaker 7.1 SW-310 Onkyo TX-NR838 7.2
It seems that Klipsch and Onkyo are best friends as we look at another jointly produced home theater system. Once again, Klipsch produces the speakers, but this time with a difference.
Apart from the subwoofer, these speakers are all wall-mounted. In the package, there are seven speakers that all go IN the wall. There is a powered subwoofer and the receiver from Onkyo, which is the TX-NR838 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver.
The speakers themselves are all fitted with the same format. This is a 5.25-inch Cerametallic woofer that delivers a concise, accurate mid and high-frequency response. It also adds a little to the bottom end to provide a nice tight bass sound. Then there is a one-inch titanium tweeter to emphasize the highs. The tweeter delivers its sound through the Tractrix horns and gives accurate imaging and flat frequency response.
The subwoofer has a BASH amp and dampened fiberglass drivers. It is not a particularly large cabinet measuring 13 by 13 by 13 inches. Interestingly enough, it hasn’t got the familiar copper spun cones, and Klipsch has opted for plain black. The wall-mounted speakers have the copper-spun image so much a part of the Klipsch style and image.
The receiver is a large unit with plenty of connection possibilities on the rear and control switches on the front. It brings together analog power with high-resolution video and audio processing. It is a good system, and if you like the idea of speakers buried in your walls, it has to be worth a closer look. Not particularly cheap, though.
- Nice design.
- Plenty of power.
- Wall-mounted speakers save space.
- Provides a different sound.
- Some prefer floor speakers.
10 Acoustic Audio by Goldwood Acoustic In-Wall
Our final home theater system is a wall and ceiling-mounted system that will suit those on a budget. It is very much an entry-level system. But it might be of interest to people who have smaller rooms where eight speaker cabinets are just not practical.
This system goes one further than that and provides nine speakers. The extra speaker is an extra subwoofer. There are, therefore, two passive subwoofers with ten-inch speakers providing the low frequencies.
The two subwoofers both have those ten-inch drivers with woven fiber cones. The other inclusions are four rectangular shaped wall or ceiling speakers. Plus, there are two round wall or ceiling speakers. There is also a dual center channel speaker.
The circular speakers are available in three sizes with either 5.25, 6.5, or 8-inch drivers with woven fiber cones. They also have pivoting tweeters with titanium domes.
The four rectangular speakers offer the same driver options and the same construction for drivers and tweeters. The center channel has two 6.5-inch woofers and 12mm tweeters with a soft-dome design.
The speakers in all the cabinets have butyl rubber surrounds to provide vibration resistance. They all have white grilles and surrounds, which can be painted if you choose. For added security, they all have wall locking systems, and there are templates provided for cutting the holes. We couldn’t say that the sound quality is high.
At this price, you wouldn’t expect that. But for the price, if you want wall-mounted speakers, it worth having a closer look.
- Well-designed speakers.
- Wall and ceiling mounts.
- A decent sound.
- Two subwoofers.
- Affordable price.
- Not the best sound quality.
Best 7.1 Home Theater System Buyers Guide
Finding The Superior Home Cinema Experience
In our introduction, we talked briefly about the differences between 5.1 and 7.1 systems. The reality is that there are high-level systems in both disciplines, but where the features are the same or similar, the 7.1 is going to sound better. The depth and greater precision of the sound will be noticeable.
It is probably also going to be more expensive on a like for like basis with a 5.1 system.
One thing you must consider for your system is room size. The 7.1 systems take up more space unless you go for wall or ceiling mounted systems, and we did review a couple of those. The main problems with those are if you move and take the system with you, there are major repairs to do. There is also the potential problem of the installation. Most will want speakers that simply you simply place and plug in.
So, room size is important, and a 7.1 system needs a little bit of space. Firstly for the physical size of the speakers and secondly to be able to get the best sound. For some, you do need to jack up the volume to get the optimum performance.
You will need to decide on whether you want a built-in receiver. Some come with a receiver; others don’t. If you have to purchase a receiver, then that is going to be more expensive, and they don’t come cheap.
You’ve Got a TV, Right?
We are assuming you have already got the TV. One word of caution, though. If you are going for the all bells and whistles systems with Dolby Atmos, etc., have a look at your TV. Not all TV’s will support it.
Do you really want to get the best sound possible and have Dolby Atmos? There is a considerable difference in the surround sound experience if you have Atmos Systems. But that feature tends to make the systems more expensive.
Check your TV first before deciding what to buy. You may not only need a new sound system but also a new top-end TV to get the best possible sonic experience.
Do You Want Streaming Services.?
Are Bluetooth and WiFi going to be necessities? If so, some systems have those features, but some don’t.
There are lots of considerations that will apply to some and not to others. One that will apply to most is what the system actually looks like. Will it suit your home? Is it attractive in its design, or does it just look awful? Some manufacturers don’t seem too bothered about the visual aspect. But this is your home, so most are going to want something that looks nice and matches their style.
Fancy Building a Complete 7.1 System?
If buying a complete system doesn’t appeal, and you’d like the option of choosing the different parts. Check out our reviews of the Best Home Theater Speakers, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Speakers For Vinyl, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, the Best In Ceiling Speakers, and the Best In Wall Speakers currently available.
So, What Is The Best 7.1 Home Theater System?
This is a system for the home, and therefore it not only has to sound good but also to look the part. Most of the systems have almost the exact same features, and while some sound similar, there are quite large differences in price. However, for us, if we were to buy a system that sounded and looked great, we would choose the… Definitive Technology 7.1 System.
A great looking system with very good sound and at a decent price point. Definitely our choice for the best home theater experience.