Question Standalone Surround Sound Speaker Recommendations and Questions

Urzu1000

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Dec 24, 2013
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Hey guys!

I'm about to get a new house in the second part of the year, and I really wanted to try for a proper surround sound speaker setup for our living room. I had a few questions...

1: What brands would people here recommend for standalone speakers? (NOT soundbars)

2: 5.1 or 7.1? Why?

3: Will I need any additional pieces of equipment to make this work? I'm not super familiar with standalone speaker setups, coming from 10+ years of headphones only.

Currently: I currently have a couple pairs of Sennheisers headphones with a Creative Soundblaster AE-9 sound card in my gaming PC. I'll probably be using my older ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 card in the media server.

Thank you!
 

dwd999

Honorable
Hey guys!

I'm about to get a new house in the second part of the year, and I really wanted to try for a proper surround sound speaker setup for our living room. I had a few questions...

1: What brands would people here recommend for standalone speakers? (NOT soundbars)

2: 5.1 or 7.1? Why?

3: Will I need any additional pieces of equipment to make this work? I'm not super familiar with standalone speaker setups, coming from 10+ years of headphones only.

Currently: I currently have a couple pairs of Sennheisers headphones with a Creative Soundblaster AE-9 sound card in my gaming PC. I'll probably be using my older ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 card in the media server.

Thank you!
Well for starters you'll have to think about wiring. Basically there are 2 options; passive speakers are wired to a receiver of some kind and powered by that; or the speakers are wired to a wall outlet and get a wireless signal from a central location. There are fewer so called wireless systems; one you might consider is the Plantin Monaco system; you can read up on that to see how such systems work. Most systems are conventional audio video receivers powering passive speakers. There are a huge number of companies to chose from; some a popular names like Sony or Yamaha or Onkyo and others are more esoteric like Denon. There is even a larger selection of speakers. Whether you go 5.1 or 7.1 or 9.1 with Atmos will depend on your source material. You'll have to analyze that on your own to see the percentage of material you have in each format. As far as streaming services go you get 5.1 Dolby with the free Netflix app from the Windows store.
 

Urzu1000

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Dec 24, 2013
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I can't imagine many things would take advantage of 9.1 surround sound. I think I'm leaning towards 5.1.

As far as wireless goes, it's something to think about. The Plantin Monaco seems like a decent suggestion - do you have any recommendations for anything wired? I have a bit of an aversion to wireless devices but I'm not wholly against the concept.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I can't imagine many things would take advantage of 9.1 surround sound. I think I'm leaning towards 5.1.

As far as wireless goes, it's something to think about. The Plantin Monaco seems like a decent suggestion - do you have any recommendations for anything wired? I have a bit of an aversion to wireless devices but I'm not wholly against the concept.
The "gold standard" for surround speakers is to have all the speakers exactly the same. That way there is no change in tone as a sound moves between the different speakers.
What speakers and other equipment you choose is mostly a budget question.
Typical 5.1 systems start at about $100 per speaker plus $500 and up for a subwoofer. I have Paradigm in my house -- https://www.paradigm.com/en/home-theater-stereo
 

dwd999

Honorable
I can't imagine many things would take advantage of 9.1 surround sound. I think I'm leaning towards 5.1.

As far as wireless goes, it's something to think about. The Plantin Monaco seems like a decent suggestion - do you have any recommendations for anything wired? I have a bit of an aversion to wireless devices but I'm not wholly against the concept.
At the moment I'm using the Kef Q350 wired speakers with a 10 year old Yamaha receiver. Note that these speakers are provided without grills so if you have children who would touch them you'll have to add on the magnetically attached grills which they might easily remove. These speakers have really great bass so I'm able to use them without a subwoofer. One of the important things for me when choosing a receiver it to get one which includes an automatic setup system. They provide you with a little microphone that plugs into the front of the receiver and you run the setup program which sets the levels on all of the speakers and equalizes the sound to help minimize variations caused by room layout. Yamaha calls this YPAO room calibration and others like Denon call it Audyssey Dynamic EQ.
 

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