The Best Home Theater System Sound Bars and Speakers 2020 - Rolling Stone
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The Best Home Theater Systems to Bring Big Events to Life

The best seats in the house, are the ones in your house



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Let’s be honest: as incredible as being on the red carpet for the Oscars or in a box at the Super Bowl may be, the creature comforts of home far outweigh the experience. But how can a viewing party be taken to the next level? The answer should be right in front of you: it’s time to upgrade to a home theater system.

With premium audio manufacturers engineering simple and supreme wireless systems, adding a home theater is as easy as unpacking the components and plugging them in. I tried multiple systems from some of the industry’s top HiFi companies and was utterly blown away with the quality of product from an aesthetic and build perspective as well as the monstrous sound capabilities of the systems.

While a standard definition of a home theater system doesn’t really exist, it’s essentially a collection of speakers that boost the normal TV-generated sound. A soundbar is fantastic for bettering the viewing experience, though adding one alone does not qualify as a home theater. Take the same soundbar paired with a subwoofer, and/or multiple satellite speakers, and a home theater starts to come together.

Why is a home theater a worthwhile investment? Because it provides a nearly overwhelming aural sensory experience. Imagine a feeling of being engulfed in precise sound and being acoustically transported into the show, movie, or album that’s playing. Sound is more life-like and vivid and way more immersive.

These systems used to take up a ton of space, were bulky, exceptionally expensive and tedious to maintain. However, the best home theater systems today can come in an all-in-one or bespoke set-ups that are as easy to install as they are easy on your decor.

As Bose and Sonos continue to innovate and revolutionize the audio industry, each company keeps practicality in mind. Both companies recently released a couple of new small portable speakers that are great for on the go, but when they are at home, each can be incorporated into the home theater system. We also like the offerings from JBL, an industry leader in home audio.

Adding any of these systems will make you feel as though you are front and center for the performances at the Grammys and on the field for the halftime show at the Super Bowl. They will transform your living room into a proper viewing space and will put you right in the middle of the action. Sit back, relax, and turn up the volume.

1. Sonos 5.1 Surround Set

Sonos continues to amaze with their quality. Their products have a simple and elegant design that makes displaying them fun. The 5.1 surround set comes with the Sonos Beam (soundbar), two Play One SLs, and the mammoth 35-pound boomtastic subwoofer.

The system takes less than 20 minutes to set up and immediately and intuitively connects though the Sonos app. In line with Sonos’ user-friendly, tech-focused approach, the system bypasses the need to connect to various smart TVs in favor of only one remote – your phone.

An added bonus, for anyone who has the Move, or has existing Sonos speakers, they are all welcome to the party. The Move makes this already-wireless system that much more wireless (since it is battery powered).

For me, this is a perfect all-in-one setup for any home theater audiophile. I put the system through its paces — much to the chagrin of my neighbors — and it handles Roddy Ricch’s new album with deep pristine bass. Switching over to Soulection’s weekly mix for a touch of house and EDM, the system transitioned to clean and clear highs with magnificent tonal range. At night, movies and TV were a new experience, as I was transported into the setting of my shows.

Sonos 5.1 Surround Sound

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: Sonos 5.1 Surround Set at

2. Bose Soundbar 700

The Soundbar 700 is a finely-tuned, custom creation from the masters of audio engineering at the Bose factory. The proprietary speaker composition and design create a nearly unparalleled listening experience.

The low profile design with a tempered-glass top and wraparound metal grille create a flawless and clean aesthetic. Though beautiful and modern, as they say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Much like the stunning acoustic technology in the Home Speaker 500, the Soundbar 700 envelopes you with sound. The sound is clean, clear, omnipresent and powerful.

For my review, Bose and I created a custom sound package. Rather than a standard soundbar and satellites, we bundled the Soundbar 700 with the aforementioned Home Speaker 500. As I had the Portable Home Speaker as well, it made for a unique version of the center plus two model.

It cannot be understated how excellent the engineering is with this lineup of Bose smart speakers. Mixing and matching the three speakers created a dynamic listening experience, the Portable Home Speaker could be on my coffee table and radiating sound, the Home Speaker 500 can be anywhere and produce surround sound (from a single unit), and the Soundbar 700 stays the course with sublime primary sound.

The experience is multi-dimensional and sublime.

Bose Soundbar 700

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: Bose Soundbar 700 at $799.00

3. JBL Bar 5.1

The JBL Bar 5.1 makes a creative twist of a typical 5.1 setup; the satellite speakers are totally wireless. As in, they are battery powered.

The design of the Bar 5.1 is unique and super appealing. It’s easy to connect and disconnect the satellite speakers, and these mobile components enjoy 10 hours of playtime. The ability to move the speakers around to various locations is a remarkable bit of listener customization.

The system is everything one would expect from the experts at JBL: powerful, deep, clean, and value-driven. Great for enjoying the big game, or for gaming bigger, the JBL Bar 5.1 adds life to a living room and invites the viewers to feel a part of the action.

JBL Bar 5.1

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy: JBL Bar 5.1 at $800.00

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