The perfect wi-fi {surround} sound programs, examined and reviewed

The perfect wi-fi {surround} sound programs, examined and reviewed

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Tony Ware

A wi-fi soundbar can change the whole really feel of your property theater. It doesn’t matter what form of content material you devour, sound high quality makes a world of distinction, and these wi-fi programs enable for impeccable high quality with out professional set up. Most programs embrace a soundbar in addition to satellite tv for pc audio system and a subwoofer, all of which talk wirelessly with no delay. We’ve examined a number of the hottest and highly effective wi-fi soundbars available on the market and got here up with these suggestions for any sort of viewer. Nonetheless, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 reigns as the very best total wi-fi soundbar, however the competitors will get nearer on a regular basis.

I’ve previewed and reviewed merchandise—each within the professional audio and residential audio realms—on and off all through a lot of the twenty first century for shops together with Combine, Most Tech, DJ Tech Instruments, Bob Vila, and a few defunct publications printed on paper known as magazines. Between the PopSci employees, we’ve examined variations of those wi-fi {surround} sound programs firsthand. Past our personal favorable experiences, these wi-fi {surround} sound programs have all proved fashionable with professional reviewers. Every of those programs affords one thing a bit totally different from the others, however all of them embrace rear satellite tv for pc audio system as a result of we needed to restrict this listing to programs that really {surround} you with audio system. Some soundbars and soundbar/subwoofer combos do a powerful job creating digital {surround} sound environments (you may learn in regards to the best Dolby Atmos soundbars and excellent budget choices that help object-based sound codecs if you would like some maximized minimalism). Nonetheless, this listing is for individuals who need the total expertise.

The perfect wi-fi {surround} sound programs: Evaluations & Suggestions

From a massively highly effective two-subwoofer system to a soundbar that detaches rechargeable battery-powered rear audio system, these wi-fi {surround} sound programs tackle totally different wishes for the way deep into the immersive sound you need to go. If filling a single room with sound simply isn’t sufficient, some choices additionally allow you to increase right into a multiroom system. The frequent thread is not any speaker wire however no lack of bodily audio system that deliver true {surround} sound to your property.

Finest total: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max

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Why it made the minimize: This 2022 replace to an already confirmed and highly effective system piles on {hardware} enhancements and new software program processing to make your wi-fi residence theater a literal and figurative blast. 


  • Audio channels: 9.2.4 with 18 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: 1300W/113dB 
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-22kHz
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1 enter x3, HDMI 2.1 eARC output x1, optical digital audio enter x3, coaxial audio enter x1, RCA audio enter x1, USB, Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD 
  • Format compatibility: Dolby Imaginative and prescient with 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X


  • Loud and clear sound with full-spectrum element and realism
  • New and unique audio processing improves the efficiency of immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
  • Plentiful HDMI 2.1 connections with eARC for supporting the most recent TVs and recreation consoles


  • No room-calibration operate for organising
  • Additional audio system imply plugging in further energy cords

Even earlier than a March 2022 replace, the favored Nakamichi Shockwafe Extremely 9.2 wi-fi {surround} sound system (which is still available) would have made this roundup listing for its immersive, life like sound, readability of audio, and large bass rumble from its twin 10-inch powered subwoofers. Prospects and critics alike have showered it with adoration since 2017. 

However the brand new Shockwafe Extremely 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max system goes additional in practically each conceivable method with {hardware} and software program upgrades. It now has HDMI 2.1 connections with eARC to the TV to allow the very best high quality lossless audio, 4K HDR and Dolby Imaginative and prescient video, and options like variable refresh price (VRR) for next-gen gaming consoles. It additionally has Bluetooth 5.0 with Qualcomm aptX HD—uncommon for a soundbar system—and that allows you to stream Bluetooth audio at as much as 24-bit digital high quality.

The SSE Max designation refers to Nakamichi’s new expertise—at the moment unique to this technique—for creating life like 360-degree immersive audio in a house theater. It’s the mixture of Shockwafe’s three Spatial Encompass Elevation audio processing engines for enhancing the sense of spaciousness to the soundstage, balancing the surround-sound combine throughout all of the audio system, and creating audio top results for object-oriented codecs like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. 

Upgraded {hardware} consists of redesigned extended-range twin-cone drivers within the soundbar, new high-output amplifiers and upgraded drivers within the subwoofers, and 2nd-generation two-way Quad Modular Encompass Audio system with new silk dome tweeters and extended-range twin-cone drivers. A brand new matte-black end and 2nd-gen backlit distant spherical out the updates, which Nakamichi primarily based on buyer surveys, beta assessments, and buyer overview suggestions. The $1,899 MSRP Shockwafe Extremely 9.2 eARC SSE Max requires a number of house, energy shops, and experimentation to seek out the correct setup for the 4 {surround} audio system, but it surely rewards your effort with a robust and life-like cocoon of sound. (And an much more intense, dearer ultra-flagship we hope to check out, the quad-sub Dragon, was announced at CES 2023.)

Best setup: JBL Bar 9.1

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Why it made the minimize: JBL cuts much more cords out of your life with its Bar 9.1 system, which makes use of the soundbar to cost removable battery-powered rear {surround} audio system that don’t even should plug into wall shops. 


  • Audio channels: 5.1.4 with 10-inch wi-fi powered subwoofer
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: 820W/103dB 
  • Frequency response: 34Hz-20kHz
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1 enter, HDMI 2.1 eARC output, optical digital audio output, USB, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Format compatibility: Dolby Imaginative and prescient with 4K passthrough, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Chromecast, AirPlay 2


  • Removable battery-powered rear audio system recharge from the bottom soundbar.
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X top results from 4 up-firing audio system.
  • Crisp, balanced sound acceptable for all makes use of.


  • Speaker batteries not replaceable

In the event you’re in search of a wi-fi {surround} sound system with a easy setup, it doesn’t get a lot less complicated or extra actually wi-fi than the JBL Bar 9.1. Whereas the wi-fi part of most programs means you don’t have to connect speaker wire, you often nonetheless must discover a energy outlet to plug in all of your satellite tv for pc {surround} audio system. Not so with the Bar 9.1. Its rear {surround} audio system detach from the primary soundbar unit and work on battery energy for as much as 10 hours. While you’re completed, dock them within the soundbar to allow them to recharge in about three hours. (Or you may cost them independently by way of MicroUSB.) Whereas the rear audio system recharge, you may nonetheless use the total system for digital {surround}. While you detach them once more, they detect their distance to the soundbar to calibrate the sound. However it’s also possible to use the auto-calibration instrument to optimize the sound combine on your room upon your preliminary setup or every other time you progress the rear audio system. 

For the immersive 3D audio codecs that ship overhead feels like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the Bar 9.1 has two up-firing audio system on the soundbar and one every on the satellite tv for pc items, which even have front-firing audio system. Combining these surrounds with the subwoofer, the 5.1.4 Atmos efficiency could be very satisfying for a comparatively compact system like this, however the Bar 9.1 additionally has a impartial and balanced sound that works effectively for the entire gamut of audio, from listening to spoken phrase materials to watching essentially the most explosive of big-budget motion pictures. A mid-2023 refresh of the JBL soundbar line—certainly one of which, the JBL 700, we’ve had a chance to audition—guarantees to take this expandable all-in-one idea to new, effectively, heights (and lengths and depths) and introduces the JBL 1300X as the brand new flagship. That doesn’t imply the JBL Bar 9.1 is out of date, nonetheless.

Finest sound high quality: Bluesound PULSE system

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Why it made the minimize: Audiophile-grade sound combines with highly effective inside processing in a system that may increase to multiroom audio. 


  • Audio channels: 7.1 with 11 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: W/ dB 120W soundbar, 25W Flex
  • Frequency response: 22Hz-20kHz
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1 eARC, optical digital audio enter, 3.5mm analog audio input1, USB Sort-A, Bluetooth aptX HD, WiFi, Ethernet
  • Format compatibility: 24-bit/192 kHz audio, Dolby Atmos, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, AirPlay 2, Spotify Join, Tidal, Pandora, Amazon Music, MQA high-res audio


  • Helps 24-bit/192 kHz high-res audio, together with MQA decoding and Roon Prepared
  • Can increase to a multiroom audio system
  • Wonderful preset audio modes for various eventualities


  • Not bought with bundled pricing

In the event you’re prepared to piece your purchases collectively, the Bluesound PULSE “by audiophiles for audiophiles” wi-fi {surround} sound system is technologically very versatile and the primary multiroom system to help the MQA format that “folds” and “unfolds” digital information to stream high-res audio with out a ton of bandwidth. With the SOUNDBAR+ as its centerpiece (proven above), mixed with a dual-band WiFi 802.11ac-equipped PULSE SUB+ and two equally wi-fi PULSE FLEX 2i or PULSE M satellite tv for pc audio system, the system can increase two-channel stereo content material right into a spacious soundstage due to Bluesound’s audiophile-grade drivers, high-performance digital-to-analog converter, and clear, highly effective Class D amplification. The eight-speaker forward-facing configuration of a 1-inch tweeter, 2-inch mid-range driver, 4-inch woofer, and 4-inch passive radiator—one set left and one proper—is optimized for music streaming due to a robust quad-core ARM processor that handles high-quality audio with blazing velocity. The ensuing, authoritative sound handles vocals with visceral element, whereas the general tonality is balanced, by no means synthetic. Lows and mids sound heat but not fuzzy, and the treble is exact with out sounding harsh. 

When you have a wealth of advanced-resolution downloads/personally ripped digital music, Bluesound can be utilized as a Roon endpoint for those who’ve arrange a appropriate music server in your native community. In any other case, you may stream lossless music immediately from iOS units by way of AirPlay 2 on WiFi and/or higher-bitrate, although nonetheless lossy transmissions by way of any system that helps Bluetooth (appropriate Android units may even join by way of aptX HD). In the event you subscribe to Spotify and/or TIDAL, each companies have a natively supported “Join” service, so the very best high quality stream will go immediately by way of WiFi to the SOUNDBAR+, bypassing your telephone. The BluOS app consolidates supply management, in addition to affords some EQ. Related to the TV by way of a single HDMI (e)ARC connection, the dimensionally tall, however aesthetically unobtrusive Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ decodes Dolby Atmos materials immediately however with nuance, though with extra subtlety in its top moderately than in its width as a result of lack of up-firing drivers. It presents music compellingly with none processing, though there are some fascinating audio modes and upmixing choices with which to experiment.

Based on our managing editor, who has skilled an entire Bluesound PULSE set-up, including in a pair of FLEX 2i audio system permits sonic textures to be much more open and expressive—most impactful when watching demo-worthy Atmos movies like Mad Max: Fury Street and Child Driver or whereas taking part in a choice of spatial audio from Apple Music on the Apple TV 4K. Music, particularly, feels genuine, a well-rounded presentation from a flat facade—the SOUNDBAR+ with surrounds assures each observe’s scope is totally conveyed with out shedding something granular because it unfurls. And when you’ve got excessive ceilings or a wider, open viewing house, including in bodily {surround} audio system makes a world of distinction when in comparison with soundbars that use reflections to convey dimensionality.

On the opposite finish of the spectrum, the SUB+ affords versatile, visceral LFE reinforcement, its 8-inch long-throw driver and 150-watt amplifier taking the 70Hz cap of the SOUNDBAR+ right down to 22Hz. Able to laying flat below a settee or sitting up in opposition to a wall, the sealed enclosure is definitely built-in bodily into any room format (wall outlet permitting) and digitally by way of residence community and the BluOS app. As for what the SUB+ provides sonically … it’s tunefulness. It’s a subwoofer that’s much more about nimble pluck than unchecked pump; although it could actually attain dynamically deep, the SUB+ impressed much more with its dexterity. In the event you worth realism as a lot as rumble, the SUB+ is one other superb addition to the Bluesound ecosystem.

Not watching something or wanting to limit your soundtrack to a single room? You’ll be able to relocate an ultra-compact mono PULSE FLEX 2i or much more expressive omni-hybrid stereo PULSE M speaker round your property (or simply get extras for different zones). So long as they’re all on the identical WiFi community, you go no matter music you’re streaming from speaker to speaker for those who transfer to particular areas or have it play concurrently all through the home—wherever the motion is.

Finest for Samsung TVs: Samsung HW-990D

Samsung HW-990D

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Why it made the minimize: Crystal clear dialog (particularly when you’ve got a present Samsung TV) cuts via the ample bass to make motion pictures and TV exhibits simple to listen to with out resorting to subtitles or cranked quantity. 


  • Audio channels: 11.1.4
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: N/A
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Connectivity: HDMI ARC, optical digital audio enter, Bluetooth 5.0 
  • Format compatibility: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X


  • Tremendous-crisp voice replica makes actors simpler to know
  • Samsung TV customers can get a wi-fi Dolby Atmos sign that eschews a cable
  • Wonderful total sound high quality augmented by wi-fi facet audio system with up- and side-firing drivers
  • Very simple setup


  • Non-Samsung TV customers miss out on some options

We rated the Samsung WH-Q990D soundbar probably the greatest we’ve heard up to now. When you have a present (2022 and after) Samsung TV, then you definitely get a number of notable further options from this setup that different TVs can’t present. Samsung TVs can beam a wi-fi Dolby Atmos sign to the soundbar, which eschews the necessity for a hardline connection. The Samsung Q Symphony function integrates the TV’s built-in audio system into the combination so as to create an much more immersive sound with extra pronounced middle channel efficiency. Plus, solely Samsung TVs get entry to the strong automated room calibration function, which listens again to the system’s efficiency and tweaks it to match the house.

Even for those who’re not utilizing a Samsung TV, nonetheless, that is nonetheless one of many best-sounding soundbar programs round. The bass thumps and rumbles with vigor, but it surely doesn’t drown out the remainder of the combination. Emphatic sounds have impression, however they don’t get too harsh in such a method that you might want to continually manipulate the quantity. It’s an excellent system that units up with out a lot fuss and offers every thing most listeners will want.

It’s a bit on the expensive facet, however Samsung usually affords common reductions all year long, so that you’re unlikely to should pay full retail for it while you determine to make a purchase order.

Finest wi-fi connection: Enclave CineHome PRO

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Why it made the minimize: Good sound and a sublime design that places every audio channel into its personal speaker with out occupying an excessive amount of house make the CineHome PRO a pleasure to make use of. 


  • Audio channels: 5.1 with 14 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: N/A
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Connectivity: HDMI ARC, optical digital audio enter, 3.5mm analog audio enter, Bluetooth 5.0 
  • Format compatibility: THX and WiSA licensed, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS 5.1 Digital Encompass


  • Beautiful, detailed sound, supported as much as 24-bit/96kHz high-res digital audio
  • WiSA wi-fi transmission gained’t intervene with WiFi or Bluetooth bandwidth
  • Eye-catching design with a separate unit for every audio channel


  • No Dolby Atmos or WiFi streaming
  • No firmware replace to HDMI eARC but

The WiSA (Wi-fi Speaker and Audio Affiliation) expertise will not be an enormous buzzword in residence audio, but it surely’s value your consideration. It permits the transmission of as much as eight channels of uncompressed 24-bit/96 kHz high-res audio (twice the decision of CD audio) on wi-fi frequencies that gained’t intervene with Bluetooth or your WiFi bandwidth. And the WiSA audio is so low-latency (5.2 milliseconds) that it’s going to seem completely synced together with your TV’s image. The Enclave Cinehome PRO 5.1 wi-fi {surround} sound system is the primary THX-certified WiSA system with its degree of surround-sound help, which incorporates Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital {surround}, Dolby Professional Logic II, and will add Dolby Atmos help at a later date via a firmware replace.

Whereas solely a 5.1 system, the CineHome PRO places out lovely audio with consideration to element. Every audio channel will get its personal speaker unit that may sit horizontally or vertically to save lots of floor space. With 3-way middle and entrance left/proper items, and 2-way rear left/proper items, the system balances the whole frequency vary terribly effectively. It additionally will get very loud, however the audio stays clear whatever the quantity degree. A useful management app places totally different sound modes at your fingertips, together with the superb Entire Room Stereo mode, which makes the CineHome PRO an impeccable system for music listening on prime of its immersive {surround} sound efficiency for residence theater.

Finest design: Sonos Arc with Sonos Sub and Era 100 or Era 300 {surround} audio system

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Why it made the minimize: Combining the Sonos Arc soundbar with the Sonos Sub (Gen. 3) and two Sonos {surround} audio system makes for a surprising ensemble each visually and audibly. 


  • Audio channels: 5.1.2 with 17 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: N/A 
  • Frequency response: apprx. 32Hz-19kHz
  • Connectivity: HDMI eARC, WiFi, Ethernet 
  • Format compatibility: Multiroom audio, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Apple AirPlay 2, Siri, Amazon Alex, Google Assistant


  • Very spacious {surround} sound imaging and good Atmos efficiency
  • Sensible speaker options and WiFi streaming
  • Modern styling with contact controls on the soundbar and {surround} audio system


  • Restricted connectivity and no Bluetooth
  • Room calibration solely works via the iOS app

This clever wi-fi {surround} sound mixture might be bought as a single bundle for just over $2,000. But when that appears like an excessive amount of upfront and also you need to assemble parts piecemeal, it’s value it to obtain the Sonos Arc soundbar, Sub subwoofer, and a pair of Era 100 surround speakers step by step to create a formidable residence theater system you could additionally easily connect together with your TV and any variety of Sonos merchandise to make a multiroom audio setup. The Arc offers you Dolby Atmos playback via two top-firing audio system, in addition to an HDMI eARC connection (which permits high-resolution audio), Apple AirPlay 2 streaming, and sensible speaker options like built-in voice management with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. The Sonos app enables you to join most different streaming companies, and the iOS model can run auto-calibration to tune the audio system’ response to your specific house.

The Arc’s minimal aesthetic has limitations, comparable to a single HDMI connection and an app-only distant management. Nonetheless, it emits exact mid-range and excessive frequencies, and the graceful, rattle-free bass from the Sub’s two force-canceling drivers provides weight to the low finish whereas relieving stress on the opposite audio system, permitting for extra finesse all through the frequency vary. Contact controls for quantity, play/pause, and observe skipping (by swiping left or proper) on each the Arc and the Era 100 surround speakers can turn out to be useful while you’re locked to the sofa, and people further LS/RS channels take the spectacular efficiency of the Arc into the following degree of real {surround} sound.

In the event you’re in search of the very best design for Dolby Atmos content material, nonetheless, improve the rear audio system to a pair of the Era 300, that are purpose-built with six multidirectional drivers to unfurl the full immersive potential of spatial audio. Whether or not it’s an album on Apple Music or Mad Max: Fury Street, the full $2,500 7.1.4 setup enables you to expertise immediate gratification and ongoing exhilaration. (A single Era 300 additionally works as a standout standalone speaker for those who’re simply seeking to flip any previous room right into a multidimensional efficiency.)

Finest with 4K video compatibility: Sony HT-A7000 with SW3 subwoofer and RS3S rear speakers

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Why it made the minimize: Moreover being very effectively constructed and good at mainly every thing, the Sony HT-A7000 has two HDMI 2.1 inputs and an HDMI 2.1 eARC output for prepared compatibility with the very best 4K TVs and even 8K units.


  • Audio channels: 7.1.2 with 16 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy: 900W
  • Frequency response: 28Hz-22kHz
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1 enter x2, HDMI 2.1 eARC output x1, optical digital audio enter, 3.5mm analog audio enter, USB, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Compatibility: Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, 8K video at 60Hz, 4K at 120Hz, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Sony 360 Actuality Audio, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Join, Amazon Alexa


  • Nicely-balanced, clear, and detailed sound enhances each motion pictures and music
  • Good Atmos efficiency and efficient Immersive AE up-mixing mode
  • Large bass energy with the SW3 subwoofer


  • No customized EQ choices.

Many individuals could assume that any wi-fi {surround} sound system they buy will work nice out of the field with any TV, recreation console, or different units they’ve. However, sadly, to get every thing doable out of your different electronics, it’s possible you’ll must be sure that your property theater sound system has the very best degree of HDMI connection, which the Sony HT-A7000 has. Its two HDMI 2.1 passthrough inputs and HDMI 2.1 eARC output help 8K video at 60Hz, 4K at 120Hz, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, which makes it completely fitted to the highest-resolution video and audio.

In case your content material hub is a next-generation recreation console just like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, you may want a Sony Bravia XR TV and to plug the console immediately into that, with the soundbar connected to the eARC port, to take full benefit of game-centric protocols like VRR (Variable Refresh Fee) and ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode). Nonetheless, regardless of the way you’ve received every thing patched in, what comes out of this soundbar will astound you. The HT-A7000 with SW3 subwoofer and RS3S rear {surround} audio system is only a extremely spectacular system with a easy, wi-fi setup and a moderate-sized footprint. It’s constructed very solidly and has an auto room calibration instrument. The soundbar’s side- and top-firing drivers together with the rear audio system create a big candy spot for native immersive content material within the Atmos or DTS:X codecs, and the Immersive AE up-mixing impact does a reputable job of constructing any audio supply extra 3D. 

It’s additionally a robust system for nearly any sized front room. Despite the fact that the SW3 subwoofer doesn’t dip fairly as low into the frequency vary as some others, it is extremely highly effective, so preserve your image frames securely connected to the partitions and alert the neighbors if it’s important to. Happily, the distant management has devoted quantity controls for each the subwoofer and rear {surround} audio system.

Extra invested within the Samsung ecosystem however equally obsessive about high-definition video as you might be with immersive audio? You may get an identical setup, with the surrounds and subwoofer, that performs properly with a new Q-Series TV while you spend money on the equally $1K+ 11.1.4-channel Samsung HW-Q990B.

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Why it made the minimize: Denon Dwelling’s wi-fi, multiroom audio system affords a less-expensive choice for beginning small however finally constructing a whole-home speaker empire. 


  • Audio channels: 5.1 with 11 complete speaker drivers
  • Complete energy/SPL loudness: N/A
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1 enter x1, HDMI 2.1 eARC output x1, optical digital audio enter x1, minijack audio enter x1, USB, Bluetooth, dual-band WiFi 
  • Format compatibility: 24-bit/192kHz audio, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Imaginative and prescient w/HDR 10, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, AirPlay 2,


  • Modular system expandable to as many audio system in as many rooms as you need
  • Rear audio system embrace controls, Bluetooth pairing, and audio inputs
  • Good aesthetic look with matching material speaker coverings
  • Clear, balanced sound


  • Some HEOS app setup snafus and instability with the rear audio system
  • No up-firing drivers for spatial audio codecs
  • No Chromecasting for sending Atmos music from cellular units

When it’s possible you’ll not have the funds to buy the wi-fi {surround} sound system you most need responsibly, you may compromise and purchase a lower-end system … or you may play the lengthy recreation, train a bit endurance, and purchase parts one after the other till you’ve constructed one thing nice. The Denon Dwelling household of wi-fi audio system enables you to do the latter at decrease costs than the opposite multiroom succesful programs. Whereas the Denon Dwelling Wi-fi 5.1 Dwelling Theater System is accessible in one fell swoop, it’s also possible to decide up the Sound Bar 550, the Subwoofer, and 150 Wireless Speakers individually, or begin with a bundle of the soundbar/subwoofer or soundbar/wireless speakers.

“Finances” is within the eye of the beholder. Nonetheless, in the end, the Denon Dwelling parts ought to complete round $1,500 and prevent a number of hundred over comparable purchases from the Sonos or Bluesound multiroom programs. Denon Dwelling additionally has 250 wireless speakers and 350 wireless speakers, that are bigger audio system with extra driver items inside, higher fitted to being the only audio supply in their very own room, like an workplace or bed room.

The Denon Dwelling system makes use of the HEOS app to hyperlink all of the audio system collectively, replace firmware, and management what audio or music is taking part in from which room, when you’ve got audio system in a number of rooms. HEOS additionally consolidates all of the appropriate music companies and sources obtainable into one place, comparable to Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, music saved in your telephone, and extra. In our firsthand testing of the Denon Dwelling Wi-fi 5.1 Dwelling Theater System, setup precipitated some frustration with failed firmware updates and the app not pairing at first with the wi-fi audio system and subwoofer to the soundbar. In contrast to many different wi-fi programs the place the soundbar acknowledges and pairs with the sub and {surround} audio system robotically, it’s important to join every Denon Dwelling speaker individually to your property community by way of HEOS after which pair the audio system to the soundbar. After a number of makes an attempt to take action with HEOS displaying that pairing failed, the subwoofer and wi-fi audio system finally simply began working with the soundbar. After that, the system labored collectively, however the 150 Wi-fi Audio system did expertise a connection drawback the place the audio crackled or flickered on and off. Nonetheless, biking the ability solved that.

The compact Sound Bar 550 measures solely 26 inches large and appears living-room-ready with its enticing fabric-lined enclosure and illuminated contact controls on the highest panel for quantity, play/pause, and muting the built-in Alexa voice management operate. Its small distant has separate degree controls for total quantity and bass, audio mode and supply, and a Bluetooth pairing button. When examined as a standalone speaker, the soundbar’s forward-facing six drivers and two passive radiators do an honest job of downmixing surround-sound sources right into a spatially separated combine. You do get an actual sense of separation between, say, the characters and their atmosphere in a film.

Denon Dwelling doesn’t disclose any wattage or SPL numbers for its items, however the Sound Bar 550 isn’t terribly loud for its dimension. It may possibly suffice because the TV’s soundsystem in an average-sized front room, however for those who like excessive quantity, the Sound Bar 550 distorts some while you crank it as much as the max, so it’s higher for extra modest listening. Its sound, nonetheless, is clear and effectively separated within the frequency ranges. Dialog in motion pictures and TV exhibits pierced via the combination usually, and music shimmered with a stereo soundstage belying the soundbar’s dimension. In the correct candy spots, it does have extra spectacular bass energy than anticipated however does profit enormously from including the Denon Dwelling Subwoofer.

It’s Atmos and DTS:X appropriate; nonetheless, with out up-firing audio system, the object-based immersive audio results don’t totally translate to your 3D atmosphere the best way they have been initially meant. Including the 8-inch, downward-firing subwoofer and two 150 Wi-fi Audio system to the combination made huge enhancements each aurally and functionally. Every 150 unit has its personal quantity and play/pause contact controls that work for the whole system they’re paired to, so it’s fairly handy to succeed in over the sofa to a rear speaker and flick the quantity if wanted. The 150s additionally allow you to provoke Bluetooth pairing and have USB storage inputs and minijack audio inputs, which may also ship their audio to the whole system.

Whereas the system as a complete nonetheless didn’t attain the decibel ranges of many others on this information, it made watching “occasion” motion pictures just like the Atmos-ready Thor: Love and Thunder an immersive good time, regardless that the spatial Atmos results aren’t totally supported with height-based drivers. Switching to the Film (DTS Digital:X) preset offers Atmos materials a barely extra expansive sound. Throughout PlayStation 5 video games like Horizon Forbidden West, the Denon Dwelling system tracked the character actions effectively, protecting the {surround} combine believably positioned and clearly representing the combination of sounds from playable and non-playable characters, the pure atmosphere, and the essential rumblings and fumblings of enemies within the distance.

For music, the total system can turn into a single stereo powerhouse with all of the audio system working collectively as a stereo system. Pairing varied Bluetooth units was simple and clean, with no dropouts in our testing. For audio constancy, nonetheless, streaming over AirPlay 2 sounds markedly higher (Denon doesn’t listing a Bluetooth codec for the system, which might be baseline SBC). When evaluating the identical audio sources performed over Bluetooth after which AirPlay 2, the AirPlay sign sounded rather more full and vibrant total, with deeper, rounder bass.

Total, the Sound Bar 550 is an excellent improve from inside TV audio system, even when the soundbar can’t faux to supply something aside from digital {surround} sound. The 150 audio system nonetheless don’t have any up-firing drivers for Atmos materials. Nonetheless, including two wi-fi surrounds and the subwoofer resulted in full-spectrum audio that happy the necessity for a booming {surround} sound expertise. And the flexibility to maintain extra rooms stuffed with sound with out totally emptying your pockets is enticing, certainly.

Issues to contemplate earlier than shopping for the very best wi-fi {surround} sound programs

Perhaps you get pleasure from unspooling many toes of speaker wire throughout your media room and crawling behind a cupboard to route every thing via an A/V receiver. However for those who’d desire to get pleasure from full-room, actual {surround} sound with audio system behind or beside you minus any messy entanglements, we’ve received you. The perfect wi-fi sound programs ship audio as vivid as that new OLED TV, they usually do it with none noticeable latency between sound and picture. Many of those programs additionally embrace cellular system sharing by way of Apple AirPlay 2 and/or Google Chromecast and help voice management from sensible assistants. They allow you to stream music wirelessly over Bluetooth and/or WiFi. Whereas wi-fi {surround} sound programs nonetheless value a couple of bucks greater than wired equivalents, this information exhibits you the very best choices throughout quite a lot of worth factors and have units.

Keep in mind, nonetheless, that calling a {surround} sound system “wi-fi” implies that you don’t have to connect any speaker wire to the audio system. Additionally they allow you to stream audio and/or video wirelessly from units over Bluetooth, WiFi, or each. However that doesn’t imply zero cables. To make use of them with a TV, you might want to join the primary soundbar or base unit by way of HDMI to the TV, after which the remainder of the audio system obtain an audio sign wirelessly. Every speaker additionally has to plug into an influence outlet, except they’re battery-powered (as within the case of the JBL Bar 9.1’s rear {surround} audio system). And also you would possibly must crawl round a bit to seek out the perfect place for your subwoofer.


Wi-fi {surround} sound programs are usually dearer than equal wired programs since you nonetheless pay a little bit of a premium for the additional comfort and tidiness of a wi-fi system. The programs right here vary from about $1,100 (JBL Bar 9.1) to about $2,400 (each the Bluesound PULSE and the Sony HT-A7000 system with all their listed parts). Costs could fluctuate considerably from month to month due to chip shortages/provide chain points, and there are brands like Vizio that make much more approachable funds choices, however don’t anticipate wi-fi {surround} sound programs to plummet in worth an excessive amount of anytime quickly. 

Sound high quality 

Whether or not a {surround} sound system is wi-fi or wired does not likely decide its sound high quality. Different components matter, comparable to the standard of the supply audio and the development and supplies of the audio system. Most individuals won’t discover a lot distinction between a modern-day wi-fi system and a wired different. Nonetheless, connoisseurs of audio high quality looking for out a wi-fi {surround} sound system could need to be sure that it helps 24-bit digital audio in order that it’s appropriate with high-resolution codecs. The Bluesound PULSE system right here helps 24-bit/192 kHz digital audio, a decision restrict so excessive that you simply’d have to look particular niches for audio materials that maxes it out. The 24-bit/96 kHz Enclave CineHome PRO system meets a high-res audio normal adequate for even essentially the most discerning ears, and the CineHome PRO’s WiSA audio transmission normal additionally ensures that it gained’t intervene together with your WiFi community’s bandwidth.

Would you like a multiroom system?

A wi-fi {surround} sound system on your TV room could also be all you’re into for now. Nonetheless, for those who’re enthusiastic about increasing to a multiroom speaker system the place you may share/go supply audio between totally different rooms in your abode, there are two choices right here. Each the Bluesound PULSE system and the Sonos Arc with Sub and Era 300 speakers help constructing multiroom programs with quite a lot of totally different add-on items. 


Q: Are soundbars simulating {surround} sound pretty much as good as true surround-sound programs?

Soundbars simulating {surround} sound are simply merely inferior to true surround-sound programs, that means programs which have satellite tv for pc audio system that go most frequently behind you, generally to the left and proper sides of you, and infrequently even above you—within the case of high-end Dolby Atmos residence theaters. In the present day’s superior soundbars with high-tech immersive audio processing can provide an honest phantasm of {surround} sound that’s positively a giant step up from inside TV audio system. Nonetheless, the very best {surround} sound programs nonetheless truly should {surround} you with bodily audio system.

Q: How do I join my TV to a wi-fi {surround} sound system?

You most frequently join a TV to a wi-fi {surround} sound system with an HDMI cable that passes each video and audio to and from the TV to both the primary soundbar or in any other case some small base hub unit. Within the uncommon case your TV doesn’t have an HDMI ARC enter, you may join the TV to the sound system utilizing each HDMI and digital optical audio cables

Q: Is there a very wi-fi {surround} sound system?

There may be not a very wi-fi {surround} sound system for those who contemplate wires to incorporate energy cords and HDMI cables, as a result of the time period “wi-fi {surround} sound system” implies that you wouldn’t have to attach any speaker wire to any of the {surround} audio system or the subwoofer, the best way it’s important to join speaker wire to the audio system of some residence theater programs which can be powered by amplifiers. In the present day’s wi-fi {surround} sound programs nonetheless want to connect with a TV with an HDMI cable, and you might want to plug in an influence twine to numerous parts comparable to a soundbar or a subwoofer. You will discover some choices, such because the JBL Bar 9.1, which have rear audio system powered by rechargeable batteries, eliminating two energy cords from the setup. Nonetheless, there’s not a wi-fi {surround} sound system but that doesn’t want at the very least an HDMI cable and a few energy cords.

Last ideas on the very best wi-fi {surround} sound programs

Attributable to its highly effective and clear sound, its wealth of state-of-the-art expertise—like HDMI 2.1, eArc, and Dolby Atmos—and the sheer dimension of its 9.2.4 speaker configuration for lower than $2,000, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Extremely 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max will get the nod as the very best total wi-fi {surround} sound system. It will not be low cost, however it’s nonetheless an excellent worth in comparison with a number of the competitors. Nonetheless, its twin subwoofers and 4 {surround} audio system are a little bit of overkill for some folks’s wants or obtainable house. 

In contrast, choices just like the JBL Bar 9.1 or Enclave CineHome PRO accomplish full-room {surround} sound with smaller footprints. If maybe you’d like to start out even smaller and construct from there, the Sonos, Bluesound, Sony, and Denon programs on this listing all allow you to begin with an impressive soundbar and add to it with subwoofers and {surround} audio system. You actually can’t go incorrect with any system on this listing when you conclude how a lot energy, what number of audio system, and which technological extras you need together with your wi-fi {surround} sound system.

Why belief us

Fashionable Science began writing about expertise greater than 150 years in the past. There was no such factor as “gadget writing” after we revealed our first challenge in 1872, but when there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for on a regular basis readers means we’d have been throughout it. Right here within the current, PopSci is totally dedicated to serving to readers navigate the more and more intimidating array of units available on the market proper now.

Our writers and editors have mixed many years of expertise overlaying and reviewing shopper electronics. We every have our personal obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video video games to cameras and past—however after we’re reviewing units outdoors of our speedy wheelhouses, we do our greatest to hunt out reliable voices and opinions to assist information folks to the perfect suggestions. We all know we don’t know every thing, however we’re excited to stay via the evaluation paralysis that web buying can spur so readers don’t should.

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