- 1 Great performer, great value
- 2 A compact surround speaker
- 3 An easy-to-place center speaker
- 4 Big sound for home theater
- 5 A smaller bookshelf speaker
- 6 A matching center speaker
- 7 For the loudest, most immersive experience
- 8 For clear, full-sounding dialogue
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Polk Signature Series S15
Great performer, great value
The S15 bookshelf speaker pair sounds great, looks cool, and is surprisingly affordable.
Polk Signature Series S10
A compact surround speaker
The small S10 is easy to fit or install just about anywhere, so it’s ideal as a surround speaker.
Polk Signature Series S35
An easy-to-place center speaker
Thanks to the S35’s low-profile design, you can fit it easily in front of a TV or mount it on the wall.
The Polk Signature Series is the best deal we’ve found in a surround-sound speaker system. The Signature line includes a variety of models, but we recommend the S15 for the front left and right channels, the S10 as surround speakers, and the S35 center speaker. In our tests, this combo’s performance was competitive with that of everything else we tried in its price range—and better than that of many more-expensive systems we tested. The S15’s sound wasn’t quite as dynamic as what we heard from some of the larger bookshelf speakers we tested, but it was robust enough to play at high volumes without distortion. The S35 center channel sounded clear for dialogue in our tests, and its low-profile, 4.1-inch-high design lets it sit in front of most TVs without blocking the picture. The Signature Series’s design is far more stylish than we expect to see in such an affordable speaker line.
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
Big sound for home theater
The B6.2 bookshelf speaker has a powerful sound, and a matching Dolby Atmos add-on module is available. But it’s bulky and not very attractive.
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2
A smaller bookshelf speaker
The B5.2 is a little smaller and usually a bit less costly than the B6.2, so it’s a good choice for the surround channels.
ELAC Debut 2.0 C5.2
A matching center speaker
This fairly compact center speaker is a good match for the B6.2 bookshelf speakers.
The ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers are larger and have a more robust sound than the Polk Signature Series speakers, which might make this system a better choice for someone who has a large room or likes to listen at higher volume levels. Many system configurations are possible; we recommend two B6.2 bookshelf speakers for the front left and right channels, the slightly smaller B5.2 as surrounds, and the compact C5.2 center speaker. ELAC also offers the option to add matching A4.2 Dolby Atmos–enabled speakers, which makes it easy for you to create an even more immersive surround-sound experience if you own an Atmos-equipped AV receiver. But the Debut 2.0 speakers are bulkier and far less attractive than those in the Polk Signature Series, and they cost more.
Monolith by Monoprice THX-265B
For the loudest, most immersive experience
The Monolith by Monoprice THX-265B is bulky and plain-looking, but it plays movies at commercial-cinema volume and has an upward-firing Atmos speaker built in.
Monolith by Monoprice THX-365C
For clear, full-sounding dialogue
The THX-365C adds a midrange driver that lower-priced center channels usually lack, so dialogue sounds clear in every seat of a home theater.
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The Monolith by Monoprice THX speakers are designed for serious home theater enthusiasts who like to play movies at or near the volume they would hear in a well-calibrated commercial cinema. The THX-265B bookshelf speakers produce a notably smooth, natural sound, and they also incorporate upward-firing, Dolby Atmos–enabled speakers that bounce sound effects off the ceiling to deliver more immersive sound from Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. The THX-365C center speaker is a three-way design, with a separate midrange driver that lets it deliver consistently natural-sounding dialogue across a wide area. The system’s rather plain design and finish might make it unwelcome in many living rooms, but for a serious basement or den home theater, it’s tough to beat.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Surround-Sound Speakers for Most People