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Best Home Theatres of 2012

Updated on January 4, 2012

Quest For The Best Surround Sound System

This article has a single, crystalline purpose. To dive headlong into the competitive world of Home Theatres and return with a wish-list that would make even the most budget-conscious sound engineer smile. Although to be fair, the majority of these choices are aimed at people such as myself, those of us who want a surprisingly luxurious and high-quality experience without bankrupting ourselves in the process.

The following choices are divided into three main price categories. Nevertheless, I fully expect all my candidates to fulfill several important critera: They must be cost-effective (more bang for our bucks), they must be flexible (easy to install and customizable) and aesthetically pleasing (they need to "fit in"). Without wasting any more of your time, I give you my current selections!

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL

Clocking in at around $100 (forget the list price), this Yamaha home theatre bargain is a worthy candidate for the price conscious.These are probably the least expensive 5.1 channel speakers you can buy, which may explain why they are bestsellers.

The design is, as can be expected, minimalistic rather than ostentatious. A uniformly black design aimed at smoothly fitting in, in just about any living room. Having said that, if you're looking for a jaw-dropping design you may want to look further afield. There's nothing overly fancy about these. But they do do a wonderful job at home theatring.

So, what exactly can a user expect for the price?

  • Yamaha's Advanced Active Servo Technology (YST) - To ensure high performance symbiosis between the amplifier and the speakers.
  • Magnetic Shielding
  • 8 inch 100w high powered sub-woofer
  • Wall hanging enabled
  • 2-way satellite speakers and 2-way center speakers.

Added to all this, you may want to check out the uniformly positive consumer reviews, because I am certainly not the only person who seems to love these!

Onkyo HT-S3300

The Onyko is a leap forward in both features and price. For those who are serious about their media, this model has everything a movie and audiophile needs. This is, as the model above, a complete receiver and speaker package.

Flexibility is the name of the game here, with 3 separate HDMI 1.4 inputs, you can connect the kitchen sink to this thing (in all seriousness, it will accommodate your gaming console, blu-ray players and satellite tuners).

HD decoding allows you to play faultess studio tracks and soundtracks with ease, an ease to use on-screen settings display and the ever handy universal port for peripheral connections (you only need the HDMI cables and won't need any extra audio cables in terms of accoustics). Oh, and consequentially you are still looking down the pipe at 5.1 channel surround.

This system definately matches higher-end packages in terms of quality and sound, and I recommend reading any reviews you can regarding this product. The only con I can think of is that it remains a system that is perfect for small of medium rooms, larger rooms may need larger packages.

Energy 5.1 Take Classic

It's always good to have a CNET editor's choice award on you CV, and the Energy Take Classic swept this award in 2009 in a highly competitive field. Added to this prestigious mark of excellence is the most recommended review on Amazon (71 out of 72 people) which opens with the following "Absolutely Astonishing!". This definitely has the best surround sound system I have seen in this price-range.

This model boasts wide dispersion and low distortion thanks to its CSM (Convergent source module) and uniform frequency response for top-notch acoustics. The entire package is absolutely loaded:

  • Subwoofer featuring Ribbed Elliptical Surround, which can make the entire room feel like the earthquake in the film has somehow poured through the monitor.
  • Wall-mounting. This model fully integrates and supports custom wall mounting for more pleasing aesthetics.
  • Sonic accuracy thanks to the aluminum tweeter dome.
  • And far more I cannot realistically list.

The bottom-line with this beauty is that you are essentially buying an $800+ package at a fraction of the price. And one with a history of bragging rights, at that!

And then there was...

Best Home Theatre Conclusion

This article is frequently updated, so please check back! If you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments regarding the best home theatre bargains please let me know in the comments section below!

I hoped I was of some use to you in your hunt!

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