Have you ever watched a movie or listened to music and felt completely immersed in the experience? As if you were right there in the action or front row at the concert? That feeling of audio enveloping you from all directions is what surround sound aims to achieve. And wireless surround speaker systems allow you to get that effect without having to run wires all around your room.
With wireless rear speakers and a subwoofer that sync up with your soundbar or AV receiver, you can enjoy seamless 360 degree audio. But with so many options on the market ranging from budget picks to luxurious splurges, how do you determine the right surround sound system for your needs?
In this guide, we’ll break down the top 5 wireless surround speaker systems that deliver an exceptional immersive listening experience. We’ll discuss what features to look for when making your purchase decision. And answer some frequently asked questions about wireless technology and home theater setups.
By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to confidently choose and set up a wireless surround system that fills your space with glorious multidirectional sound. Let’s get started!
The Leaders of Immersive Audio: Our Top 5 Wireless Surround Sound System Picks
Sonos Arc – Sleekly Designed Smart Soundbar with 3D Sound
The Sonos Arc represents the pinnacle of the company’s efforts to bring immersive cinema-style sound into your living room. The minimalist rectangular soundbar contains 11 high-performance drivers including two that face upward to bounce audio off your ceiling. This creates the illusion of overhead height channels even without physical upward-firing speakers.
Arc’s other drivers are positioned along the length of the bar to deliver left, center, right, and surround channel audio. Combined with Sonos wireless subwoofer and rear speakers, you can create a complete 5.1 or Dolby Atmos home theater system.
The Sonos Arc soundbar supports both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound codecs. It also has Sonos’ Trueplay tuning which uses your phone’s microphone to analyze room acoustics and optimize audio output.
With its clean aesthetic and matte black or white finish options, the Arc blends in beautifully with modern decor. Touch sensitive controls and LED indicators are discretely located on the soundbar’s top.
For smart features, the Sonos Arc has integrated far-field mics so you can control it completely hands-free using your voice and Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It also supports Apple Airplay 2, allowing you to stream audio directly from your iOS devices.
At around $1000, the Sonos Arc delivers phenomenal cinematic sound quality and versatile streaming features in a compact and attractive package. While pricey, it’s the ultimate wireless surround sound system for design conscious audiophiles.
Samsung HW-Q90R – Performance Focused Soundbar and Speaker Set
If you want truly cinema-like surround sound sans a full-blown wired home theater setup, the Samsung HW-Q90R should be on your radar. This 7.1.4 channel system includes a soundbar, two wireless surround speakers, and a subwoofer – everything you need for an immersive wireless experience.
The HW-Q90R soundbar houses 12 speakers with individual amplifiers, including 4 that face upward to create height effects. Samsung’s proprietary Acoustic Beam technology uses these speakers to emulate a surround sound field with rich audio coming at you from all angles.
Combined with the 210W wireless subwoofer and rear speakers, the system supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound formats. You’ll feel like you’re right in the midst of the action, thanks to the multiple channels of seamless 360 degree audio.
Samsung has also included some useful smart features in the HW-Q90R. It has built-in Alexa and Bixby support, allowing for voice control of playback and smart home devices. There’s also a handy Calibration feature that custom tunes the system’s output to your room’s acoustics.
At around $1300, the Samsung HW-Q90R is more expensive but delivers phenomenal wireless surround sound quality perfect for dedicated home theater enthusiasts.
Vizio SB46514-F6 – Feature Packed Wireless Soundbar and Speaker Set
Vizio’s 46 inch SB46514-F6 wireless sound system provides an immersive Dolby Atmos experience at a more budget-friendly price point. For around $650, you get a 46 inch wireless soundbar, two compact surround speakers and a wireless subwoofer.
The 5.1.4 channel capable system supports object-based audio in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats. Despite its affordable price, the SB46514-F6 can hit up to 100 dB sound pressure level for room-filling loudness.
The soundbar houses three full-range drivers for the front left, center and right channels. It connects wirelessly to the included surrounds via Vizio’s SmartCast platform and Bluetooth to the subwoofer.
Conveniently, the Vizio SB46514-F6 soundbar has Chromecast built-in. This allows easy wireless streaming from phones, tablets and laptops without needing a separate streaming device.
For an immersive wireless surround system under $700, the Vizio SB46514-F6 delivers impressive surround sound performance. The combination of wireless rear speakers and sub with a feature packed soundbar makes this a great choice for value seekers.
JBL Bar 9.1 – Wireless Surround Speakers that Detach for Flexible Setup
JBL’s Bar 9.1 soundbar includes a cool extra feature – the wireless surround speakers can detach and be placed anywhere in your room. This provides more placement flexibility compared to other systems where the rear speakers are permanently joined by wires.
The Bar 9.1 is a 5.1.4 channel soundbar system capable of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback. It includes two battery powered wireless surround speakers, plus a huge 10 inch wireless subwoofer for earth shaking bass.
JBL’s signature audio tuning delivers a dynamic surround sound experience. And you can further calibrate using built-in EQ modes like Movie, Music, and Night modes.
For connectivity, the Bar 9.1 has HDMI eARC to send lossless audio to your TV. It also features built-in Chromecast and Airplay support, plus Alexa and Google Assistant control.
Priced at around $1200, the JBL Bar 9.1 is a premium wireless surround system designed for flexibility. The detachable surround speakers make placement easier in any room.
Polk Audio Command Bar – Feature Filled Budget Soundbar with Wireless Speaker Set
For shoppers on a tighter budget, the Polk Audio Command Bar delivers surprisingly capable wireless surround sound. At only $250, it’s an affordable entry point into immersive audio.
The Command Bar is a compact soundbar featuring a wireless subwoofer and optional surround speakers. Despite its low cost, it supports advanced audio formats like Dolby Digital and DTS.
Polk’s proprietary SDA surround technology delivers surprisingly immersive audio from the minimal components. And Amazon’s Alexa assistant is even built right into the soundbar for voice control convenience.
Setup is simple with the Command Bar – just connect the soundbar to your TV via HDMI ARC or optical input. The wireless subwoofer and optional rear speakers connect seamlessly to immerse you in sound.
For shoppers wanting great wireless surround sound on a budget, the Polk Audio Command Bar proves you don’t need to spend a fortune for an immersive experience.
How to Select the Best Wireless Surround Sound System for Your Needs
With so many options available, choosing the right wireless surround speaker system can feel daunting. But following these tips will help you identify the optimal system to achieve audio bliss in your space:
Consider Your Primary Usage
How you plan to use your wireless surround system determines which features you’ll need:
- For a dedicated home theater setup, prioritize systems capable of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback with multiple channels (5.1, 7.1, etc.). Object-based surround capability is key for an immersive cinematic experience.
- For music listening, stereo 2.1 systems are often sufficient. But wireless surround systems let you hear music with more enveloping depth and spaciousness.
- For a multipurpose entertainment system, choose one with smart assistants and multi-room audio streaming. This allows you to enjoy music and TV across your home.
Factor in Room Size
Larger spaces benefit from systems with more components covering multiple directional channels:
- For smaller rooms under 300 sq ft, compact soundbars with virtualized surround effects often suffice.
- Medium spaces of 300-500 sq ft perform well with 5.1 systems comprised of a soundbar, subwoofer, and two rear speakers.
- For big open concept rooms or dedicated home theaters, 7.1 systems and up with more speakers provide the most lifelike surround immersion.
Match Connectivity Needs to Your TV
Consider what inputs your TV has to determine the best connectivity options:
- If your TV has HDMI ARC or eARC, choose a soundbar that supports ARC for simplified setup using one HDMI cable. eARC enables lossless surround sound passthrough.
- With an optical audio output only, you can connect a soundbar via optical cable but may be limited to basic Dolby Digital surround.
- For a smart TV that supports streaming apps, having Chromecast or Airplay built into the soundbar allows wireless streaming.
Weigh Wireless Multi-Room Audio
Soundbars and speakers with multi-room audio streaming protocols like Sonos, Chromecast, and Airplay allow you to extend your system to other rooms:
- Start with a basic soundbar and rear speakers for your TV, then add matching wireless speakers to play music in kitchen, bedroom etc.
- Group multiple speakers in different rooms to synchronize music across your whole home.
Consider Integrated Smart Assistants
Soundbars with built-in mics and Alexa or Google Assistant integration allow:
- Hands-free voice control of your soundbar and smart home devices.
- Easy access to streaming music services like Spotify by voice.
- Voice control is convenient but not essential – many TV remotes have volume/mute control over HDMI CEC.
Don’t Neglect Placement
Proper placement of wireless surround speakers optimizes immersive effects:
- Position surround speakers at ear level to the sides or just behind seating area.
- Avoid blocking or facing them into walls which dulls sound quality.
- Some wireless surround speakers can detach from the soundbar for flexible positioning.
Bass Lovers Should Consider Subwoofers
While many soundbars aim to produce sufficient bass, a dedicated subwoofer helps recreate ultra-low rumbles:
- A wireless subwoofer can be flexibly placed anywhere in the room.
- Larger 10 inch+ subwoofers move more air for chest thumping impact.
- Smaller integrated soundbar subwoofers work for those short on space.
Soundbars vs. AV Receivers
For ultimate flexibility in a surround system, an AV receiver with wireless speakers allows mixing and matching components:
- AV receivers support swapping out speakers and adding components like extra height channels.
- Soundbars provide an all-in-one solution but don’t allow as much customization.
- Consider your need for upgradability when choosing between these options.
Wireless Surround Sound FAQs
Still have some questions about achieving surround sound nirvana? Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you gain clarity:
How does the audio quality compare to wired surround systems?
Modern wireless surround systems use high bandwidth radio transmission like 5 GHz Wi-Fi that delivers CD quality lag-free audio that sounds identical to wired systems.
Do wireless surround speakers need charging?
Yes, wireless surround speakers contain batteries that provide 8+ hours of use but need charging every few days. They connect magnetically to the soundbar for easy power transfer.
What is the maximum range between the soundbar and wireless speakers?
Most wireless surround systems have a range of 150-200 feet between the soundbar and rear speakers. This allows flexible placement even in large spaces.
Is there latency or lag with wireless surround sound?
Quality wireless systems use technologies like aptX to deliver synchronized audio between the soundbar and speakers with minimal lag of 10-30 milliseconds – undetectable to the human ear.
What audio codecs do wireless surround systems support?
High end models support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for object-based 3D audio. Midrange models offer Dolby Digital and DTS for basic surround. All models support standard Stereo PCM.
Do you need HDMI 2.2 / HDCP 2.2 for 4K HDR TVs?
For 4K video passthrough, your soundbar needs HDMI 2.0 minimum. For HDR and wide color gamut, HDCP 2.2 compatibility is also required. ARC only works properly with matching HDCP versions.
What’s the benefit of a wireless subwoofer?
A wireless subwoofer gives more placement flexibility compared to wired subs. Position it wherever the bass sounds best without worrying about wiring.
Should you get a soundbar with built-in smart assistant?
It’s handy but not essential. Using Alexa/Google Assistant on your TV remote or other devices can control the soundbar too. Voice control is convenient but costs more.
How do HDMI ARC / eARC and CEC work?
HDMI ARC allows sending audio over HDMI cable from TV to soundbar, obviating an optical cable. eARC supports higher bandwidth like Dolby Atmos. CEC lets TV remote control soundbar volume.
Is Dolby Atmos virtual height worth it?
Yes – soundbars projecting Atmos height cues make a huge difference in immersion. But discrete height channel speakers are even better for true 3D audio.
We hope these tips help you identify the perfect wireless surround sound system to audio blast your home theater. While navigating the myriad options can be tricky, a little guidance goes a long way. Once you settle on the right setup for your needs and budget, you’ll be thrilled by the immersive listening experience.
Here’s to never watching another movie or enjoying music in basic stereo again! Wireless surround sound frees you to fully indulge your audiophile passion. Let sublime multi-directional sound transport you into spectacular virtual worlds of immersive entertainment through the magic of wireless audio technology.