Best Surround Sound System Under $300 in 2020
by David Wright |
Getting your home hooked up with a high-quality and powerful surround sound system doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. I mean, its 2018 and you know what that means? Endless alternatives and flexibility!!
And, there is no reason why this should not apply to your budget as well. You need to have the best without necessarily blowing your budget in any way. Surround sound systems have traditionally been expensive home appliances that you could only afford if you had a crazy amount of disposable income or if you were willing and patient enough to save for several couples of months.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Our reviews offer a comprehensive list of viable alternatives that you can consider if you want to hook your home up with a high quality and powerful home theater system and still remain within your budget. Read on to find out about five of the best home theaters that you can buy under $300.
If you are in a hurry, here’s our best pick: the Onkyo SKS-HT540. This model is a set of eight speakers consisting of seven two-way, large and multi-driver speakers and one 10” subwoofer that boosts a power rating of 230 watts. It has a sturdy and premium build quality that promises long-lasting durability yet its price is one of the lowest compared to its alternatives on the market.
Top Surround Sound Systems Under $300 – our list:
|Onkyo SKS-HT540||130 watts|
|Logitech X-540 5.1 Speaker System||70 watts (nominal)|
140 watts (max)
|VIZIO SB3851-CO 38-Inch 5.1||300 watts (max)|
|Monoprice 10565 Premium 5.1||1000 watts (max)|
1. Onkyo SKS-HT540 – Best Overall
The SKS-HT540 is a 7.1 channel surround sound system featuring a 2-way bass flex front, a center and surround speakers each with an output of 130 watts and a bass-rumbling 230W subwoofer. Several characteristics make the SKS-HT540 the best surround sound system under $300. First, the front and center speakers have dual 5” woofers that feature the original Onkyo Micro Fiber (OMF) diaphragm technology.
In addition to that, these speakers use pure cotton cones thus ensuring an extremely fast and accurate response with the subwoofer having a 10” cone. It is not easy to get an eight-piece surround speaker with the specs of the HT540 going for less than $300. As a matter of fact, most are either double the price or even a couple more dollars higher than twice its price.
Pros and Cons
Sturdy and powerful speakers
Features the OMF technology
2. Logitech X-540 5.1 Speaker System – The Best Gaming Surround Sound System
The X-540 from Logitech is a beast when it comes to amplifying gaming sounds. This sound system comprises of 4 satellite speakers, 1 center channel speaker and a powerful subwoofer to create a combination that delivers a three-dimensional soundstage that envelops and immerses you right into the action. What makes the X-540 particularly special for gaming is the Frequency Directed Dual Driver (FDD2) technology, which eliminates uneven frequency responses.
Besides that, it also features the matrix mode, which converts 2-channel stereo to realistic 5.1 surround sound thus giving even the old games a modern quality of sound.
The subwoofer in this surround sound system is down-firing, which means you get to enjoy deep and rich bass since the sound is directed evenly throughout the room. The result of this down-firing bass is extra-deep rumbles and explosions that make the games and movies more intense than they usually are. What is more, the Logitech X-540 5.1 Speaker System comes with a corded control pod that hosts the power, master volume, bass level, and matrix mode control knobs.
Pros and Cons
It is lightweight and easy to install: the center channel speaker can be mounted on the monitor
Comes with a convenient corded remote control pod
Would be better with a cordless remote
3. VIZIO SB3851-CO 38-Inch 5.1 Channel – Best Wireless Surround Sound System
This surround sound system by VIZIO consists of a 38-inch sound bar, rear satellite speakers and a wireless subwoofer that creates an immersive home theater experience like no other. It comes with some of the best features that are only available in high-end surround systems like the Dolby Digital surround sound, which is the standard for broadcast, cinema, DVD, Blu-ray and streaming content. It also features the DTS Digital Surround which is reputable as the benchmark for high-quality cinematic surround sound.
The VIZIO surround sound system is one of the best under $300 wireless surround systems that features built-in Bluetooth that allows you to stream audio right from all your mobile devices wirelessly. What is more, this system is so powerful that it delivers up to 100 dB of crystal clear sound that comes with less than 1% total harmonic distortion.
Pros and Cons
Its wireless functionality makes it easy to set up
It has a versatile range of uses
Comes with a remote control that has an LCD unit, which makes it easy to use
It is bulky in size
4. Monoprice 10565 Premium 5.1 Channel – Most Compact Surround Sound System
This is the best choice for the size-conscious folks. The Monoprice 5.1 surround sound system comes with four 5.1 channel satellite speakers, one 8” subwoofer with a power of 200 watts and one center channel speaker, all of which are compactly sized and wall-mountable. Despite the small size that the surround sound system comes in, it is surprisingly powerful when it comes to delivering high-quality sound for your music, movies and games.
It is also worth noting that this surround sound system comes at a very competitive price point, which is not usually the case with home theater that pack the kind of specs found in this one. If you intend to mount it on the wall, it is going to take you a couple of minutes but its overall setup time is quite short and straightforward.
Pros and Cons
Offers excellent sound quality with minimized floor vibrations
Limitless mounting options and easy to set up
5. Onkyo SKS-HT690 Surround Sound System – Runners-Up Best Compact Surround Sound System
The SKS-HT690 is an average home theater that is capable of offering impressive power for an average music and movie enthusiast. The package is a 5.1 system that consists of a center channel, a 10” down-firing subwoofer, two main speakers and an additional pair of dedicated surround speakers. Apart from being just compact, the satellite speakers and the center channel speaker are compatible with wall mounts although they will still work fine if you place them on the shelf or a speaker stand.
It is definitely going to blow your mind how neatly packaged the midrange drivers are enclosed in the all-gloss cabinets. It is also worth noting that despite being only averagely rated, the SKS-HT690 is quite capable of balancing the highs and the lows in almost all the music genres. That is perhaps because its subwoofer is down-firing but, you will not fail to notice the lack of a floor-rumbling bass even in the highest bass settings, and this can be quite discouraging.
Pros and Cons
Comes with dedicated surround sound speakers
Center channel speaker produces clear and accurate dialogue
There is nothing that enhances your home theater experience better than supplementing it with a surround sound system. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a decent surround sound system because most of them are usually quite costly. However, if you get yourself a deal, say an under $300 bargain for a surround sound system, here are some of the buying tips that you need to put into consideration.
First, consider the composition of the system you are buying. The most common surround sound systems in the market are 5.1-channel and 7.1-channel surround sound systems where the ‘5’ and the ‘7’ represent the number of speakers while the ‘1’ represents the subwoofer. For a 5.1-channel surround sound system, you get two front speakers that are usually positioned on both sides of the TV for the soundtrack and special effects, one center channel speaker is placed below or above the TV for dialogue and two rear speakers for sound effects.
Secondly, find out if the system features a dedicated AV receiver or a Blu-ray player. Most HTIBs (Home Theater in a Box) do not feature a blu-ray player. Instead, they have a dedicated A/V receiver. The power of the speaker drivers is usually rated in watts and the higher the rating, the more powerful the surround sound system.
The third most important consideration is the size of the system. You should buy a surround sound system that is proportional to the size of your home. If you are living in a medium-sized apartment, it is advisable to buy an averagely rated surround system that will not be too loud for your listening convenience.
Lastly, consider the price of the system you are buying. It is always a good idea to try as much as possible to stick within your budget. Do not go for one that is too expensive and neither should you go for a very cheap surround sound system because you might be trading off some of the essential quality aspects that are essential in a surround sound system.
Dolby Digital – HD Surround Sound Test
Budget surround sound systems are not common in the market. However, with a little bit of patience and careful research, you can get yourself a very affordable and satisfying selection in the market. You can boost your chances of a successful purchase by reading our review before going to the market for the best surround sound system under $300.
Other than choosing one from the five that we have reviewed above, you can as well use our buying guide and make the selection yourself.