The 5 best home theater systems of 2021 for immersive surround sound

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  • A home theater system can create an immersive movie-watching experience with surround sound.
  • Compact systems offer convenience, while larger speakers with AV receivers perform the best.
  • Polk’s T Series is our top pick thanks to its impressive performance and affordable price.

Speakers built into your TV are fine for casual viewing, but if you’re looking for an immersive audio experience, you’re going to want to upgrade to an actual home theater system. Home theater systems include multiple speakers and support for surround sound, enabling you to hear movie soundtracks the way they’re meant to be heard: with effects moving throughout your room.

Most home theater systems also include subwoofers for dedicated bass, bringing more impact and rumble to explosions in action movies. An AV receiver is often required as well. The AV receiver is used to power and process your speakers, and many receivers also serve as a connection hub to hook up multiple HDMI devices to your TV.

Though buyers who want high-end systems will typically have to piece together all of these components and purchase them separately, some companies and retailers bundle everything you need in one handy package. If you want an even simpler solution, a multi-speaker soundbar system might be a good fit. Though performance isn’t on par with a genuine speaker setup, soundbar systems don’t require separate AV receivers. For those who want a no-fuss, plug-and-play home theater, a soundbar package is the way to go.

With all of these different options to consider, figuring exactly what type of home theater system works best for your needs can be complicated. Thankfully, we’re here to help simplify the process. I’ve been reviewing home theater gear for nine years, and through hands-on testing and research, I’ve selected the best home theater systems you can buy for a variety of budgets and room sizes.

Note: Some of our picks include AV receivers or built-in amplification, but if an amp isn’t included, we’ve provided a link to a recommended model.

Here are the best home theater systems you can buy:

The best home theater system overall

Polk Audio T series speaker system
Polk T Series 5.1 system

The Polk T Series 5.1 speaker system is a full-fledged home theater package with a surprisingly affordable price tag. 

Pros: impressive performance for the price, floorstanding speakers, 10-inch subwoofer

Cons: Requires a receiver, doesn’t include Dolby Atmos speakers 

Polk’s T Series has long been considered one of the best home theater packages for the money. The system was designed to compete with one of my all-time favorite speaker packages, the Pioneer SP-PK52FS, and it offers similar performance. 

Though I think Pioneer’s speakers have a slight edge, they’re no longer available. And while our previous pick in this category, the Onkyo HT-S7800, offers the added convenience of built-in Atmos support and an included receiver, that system is also completely sold out. 

When it comes to readily available home theater speakers, the Polk T Series is nearly unmatched at this price point. Unlike a lot of other budget-friendly options, the T Series doesn’t just rely on bookshelf speakers. Instead, you actually get floorstanding speakers for the front left and right channels, along with a 10-inch subwoofer that should provide ample bass. 

Reviews for the T Series have been positive. Sound and Vision gives the system an 8/10 and praises the audio quality, saying “the T50 towers deliver the kind of performance that forces you to keep reminding yourself of just how affordable they are.” 

On the downside, these speakers do require a separate AV receiver for amplification and processing, which will add to your cost. To power all of the included speakers you’ll need a 5.1-channel receiver, and the Yamaha RX-V385 is an affordable option that should get the job done well. 

Yamaha RX-V385BL 5.1-channel receiver

Product Card (button)

Polk T Series 5.1 speaker system

The best budget home theater system

Vizio SB36512 F6 Soundbar System
Vizio 5.1 soundbar system

The Vizio Sb3651n-H6 Soundbar System delivers a surround sound experience in an affordable and convenient package.

Pros: Budget-friendly price, separate rear satellites, doesn’t require an AV receiver, Bluetooth streaming

Cons: Small subwoofer, doesn’t support Atmos, performance isn’t as immersive as bigger systems

Soundbars are convenient, but full surround sound setups are more immersive. So, what if you could combine the best of both worlds in a simple, budget-friendly package? That’s where the Vizio Sb3651n-H6 Soundbar System comes in. 

The Sb3651n-H6 is one of the most budget-friendly home theater soundbar options available, delivering a full 5.1-channel experience. This means there are left, center, and right channels in the soundbar itself, along with two separate rear speakers for true surround sound. A 5-inch wireless subwoofer is also included for dedicated bass.

Best of all, the soundbar handles amplification and processing itself so there’s no need to buy a costly receiver unit. The soundbar even includes an extra HDMI input so you can connect another device, like a game console or media player, in addition to your TV. Bluetooth is featured as well for wireless music streaming.

When watching movies and TV, the Sb3651n-H6 offers impressive performance for its price, creating an enveloping soundfield. The subwoofer is also decent for its size, but I’ve found that Vizio models tend to have some balance issues. It’s also important to keep in mind that the soundbar’s overall audio separation, depth, and  clarity can’t equal the quality found on bigger and more expensive systems. 

This is an entry-level audio solution designed for buyers on a budget with smaller rooms. In that context, it delivers great value, but it’s not suited for audiophiles.

The best mid-range home theater system

Focal system
Focal Sib Evo Dolby Atmos system

The Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos system features a compact design and good performance — but you’ll need to buy a separate receiver.

Pros: Compact size, 5.1.2 system with Dolby Atmos speakers, immersive performance

Cons: Requires a separate AV receiver, dialogue sounds a little soft

Looking for a compact, mid-range speaker package with support for Dolby Atmos? The Focal Sib Evo speaker system is for you. The package includes five speakers plus a subwoofer, and the front left and right speakers even include upward firing drivers to create overhead sound.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to buy a separate AV receiver to use this system, and the receiver will need to support Dolby Atmos if you want to take advantage of everything the speakers have to offer. We recommend the Pioneer VSX-834 7.2-channel receiver as a great model with all the features you’ll need.

The speakers deliver truly fantastic sound, offering an enveloping 5.1.2 experience. The two upward firing drivers on the left and right speakers do a great job of bouncing Dolby Atmos effects off of the ceiling, making it really sound like audio is coming from above. The effect can be a little hit or miss, but the added drivers always help to expand the soundstage. 

On the downside, the compact size of the speakers can limit their performance just a tad. Dialogue, in particular, can sound a little soft from the center speaker. The subwoofer is a nice match for medium-sized rooms, but buyers looking for a home theater system to set up in a large space might crave a bit more oomph. 

Pioneer VSX-834 7.2-Channel AV Receiver

VSX-834 7.2-Channel AV Receiver (button)

Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos system

The best high-end home theater system

Klipsch Reference Premiere 7.1.2 speaker system
Klipsch Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos system

If you can afford it, Klipsch’s Reference Premiere 7.1.2 speaker system is a home theater dream come true.

Pros: Incredible 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos audio performance for a true theater-like experience

Cons: Very expensive, large speakers require more space, needs a receiver for power and processing

All of the other home theater packages included in this guide are great performers in their own right, but Klipsch’s Reference Premiere 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker system is on another level. Designed for true enthusiasts, this is the speaker package to buy if you want a full movie theater experience in your living room.

Though there are several different Reference Premiere speakers you can mix and match together, this particular 7.1.2 bundle includes a pair of RP-8060FA speakers with integrated upfiring drivers for Dolby Atmos height effects. In total, the system offers nine speaker channels — two more than our mid-range pick. You’ll need a 9-channel receiver to enable the full 7.1.2 experience, and we recommend the Denon AVR-X3700H for its reliability and packed set of features. 

Klipsch is well known for its proprietary Tractrix horn-loaded technology, and that audio tech is put to good use here. Performance is simply stunning, with range, clarity, imaging, and bass that outclass all of our less expensive recommendations. 

Of course, not everyone is going to have a room large enough to accommodate a setup like this, and only the most serious home theater enthusiasts will want to spend several thousand dollars on speakers. For those willing to make the investment, however, the Reference Premiere series is hard to beat. Expert reviews rave about the performance. High-Def Digest gave the speakers a 4.5/5, and called them “a sonic joy from top to bottom.”

Denon AVR-X3700H

Product Card (button)

Klipsch’s Reference Premiere 7.1.2 speaker system

The best wireless home theater system

Enclave CineHome II 5.1 speaker system
Enclave CineHome II 5.1 speaker system

The Enclave Audio CineHome II offers solid sound quality, but its main advantage is its wireless support.

Pros: Almost completely wireless, includes wireless receiver

Cons: No Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA support, each speaker needs a power outlet

There really isn’t a completely wireless home theater on the market yet, but the Enclave Audio CineHome II is about as close as it gets, allowing you to set up a surround sound system without any speaker wires.

To be clear, each speaker still needs to be plugged into a power outlet or strip, and you do still need to run an HDMI cable to your TV. What the CineHome II does save you from, however, is the hassle of having to run speaker wires to an AV receiver. Instead, the speakers all use WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) technology to wirelessly connect to the included transmitter. The transmitter then acts as a hub, complete with an HDMI eARC port and an optical port to connect to your playback devices.

Together, the five speakers and 8-inch subwoofer offer solid audio performance, but sound quality won’t match comparably priced wired home theater systems. It should also be noted that the CineHome II system doesn’t support Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA audio formats. This means you can’t get full lossless audio from Blu-ray discs, but you’ll still get surround sound using standard Dolby and DTS processing. 

The CineHome II replaces our previous pick in this category, the older CineHome HD. The updated model features a more modern design, along with some new connectivity features, like eARC and support for adding even more speakers via modular upgrades that the company plans to offer.

How to choose a receiver

Klipsch Reference Premiere Center Channel Speakers Atmos

If you’re buying a home theater speaker package that requires a separate receiver, there are a few key factors you should look for when choosing a model. First, you’ll need to confirm how many speakers you plan to use in your setup. In general, the more speakers you have, the more enveloping your listening experience will be. More speakers, however, require more terminals on your receiver, so you’ll need to make sure your AV receiver includes the necessary connections and processing support.

To figure this out, you’ll need to take a look at the “channel” specification on your receiver. The number of channels a receiver supports correlates to the number of speakers you’ll be able to set up. Channel designations are listed as a string of up to three numbers separated by decimal points. The first number refers to standard ear-level speakers (left, right, center, surrounds). The second number indicates how many subwoofers are supported for dedicated bass. The final number describes how many height speakers you can connect for Dolby Atmos overhead audio.

For example, if you have a standard 5.1 surround sound speaker layout you’ll need a receiver with at least 5.1-channels. If you have a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos speaker arrangement, you’ll need a receiver with at least 9.1-channels. Dolby Atmos setups will also require a receiver with Dolby Atmos processing support. 

Other key features to look for in a receiver include support for lossless audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA. This feature is pretty standard on most receivers sold today. Many receivers also feature HDMI inputs for passing video from a streaming box, Blu-ray player, or game console to your TV. For the most comprehensive 4K HDR passthrough capabilities, you’ll want to find a receiver with support for at least the HDMI 2.0 standard. 

Finally, many receivers also include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless capabilities for easy music streaming from mobile devices. Some receivers even include voice control capabilities via separate Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices. Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and DTS Play-Fi protocols are all supported on select models as well, so you’ll want to make sure that your receiver supports whatever format works best for your ecosystem.   

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As an early Prime Day 2021 deal, the Bose QC35 II wireless noise-cancelling headphones are already $50 off

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Bose QC35 II Prime Day 2021 deals

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyQuietComfort 35 II (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Prime Day 2021 is just a few hours away, and Amazon has already launched an early deal on one of our favorite pairs of Bose headphones.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are on sale for $249, which is $100 off their full retail price and $50 less than their typical $300 street price. Though a good deal, the current discount doesn’t match the all-time low of $199 we saw during Black Friday last year.

The Bose QC35 II deal is currently available to all Amazon shoppers, but most Prime Day deals are exclusive to Prime members. Amazon Prime costs $13 a month or $120 a year. Prime members get access to tons of special discounts throughout Prime Day. The sales event runs from June 21 through June 22.

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How do the Bose QC35 II compare to the Bose 700?

The QC35 II were first released in September 2017, which makes them almost four years old. That’s not too old in headphone years, but Bose did release a new set of wireless noise-cancelling headphones called the Bose 700 in 2019. This newer model usually sells for around $379.

Bose didn’t discontinue the QC35 II, which means they’re not considered the “old” model. Rather, the Bose 700 are in a newly minted “ultra-premium” category, while the QC35 II exist alongside them as the standard premium option.

It was around the release of the Bose 700 that the company reduced the retail price of the QC35 II from $350 to $300, and now they’re even cheaper thanks to Prime Day.

Bose’s QC35 IIs are still excellent headphones – especially for this deal price

With the QC35 II headphones, you’re getting deep, rich sound with a healthy dose of bass and balance of mids and highs. They’re also incredibly comfortable with soft ear pads and plenty of room for your ears. Their noise cancelation is top-notch and only bested by Bose’s own 700 headphones, and perhaps Sony’s most recent WH-1000XM4.

While the QC35 II are excellent, they’re not entirely perfect. For one, I expected better build quality for a pair of headphones that used to cost $350. It’s not bad, but they’re made of light and hollow plastic that can easily scuff over time.

Something else to note is that the QC35 II use the old microUSB standard for charging. This could be annoying if you’ve been ditching microUSB devices for products that use the newer USB-C standard. One extra cable you have to carry around isn’t too much of a drawback, however.

There’s no such thing as the perfect device, and this discount more than makes up for any complaints.

QuietComfort 35 II (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Amazon Prime Day headphone and audio deals

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Echo Buds Prime Day deal: Amazon’s new noise-canceling earbuds are $40 off as an early Amazon Prime Day 2021 deal

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Amazon Echo Buds on desk
Amazon’s new Echo Buds are available at a $40 discount for Amazon Prime Day 2021.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyEcho Buds (2nd Gen) with wired charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with wireless charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Buds come with noise cancellation, a much-improved design compared to their predecessors, and great sound quality. They were already affordable at their usual $120 starting price, but Amazon is taking $40 off leading up to Amazon Prime Day 2021 for Prime subscribers.

Amazon Prime Day takes place on June 21 and runs through June 22, and we’re expecting to see big discounts across categories like tech, home, kitchen, toys, appliances, and much more. Amazon loves to discount its own products on Prime Day, and we’re already seeing early deals on products like the Echo Dot, Echo Frames smart glasses, Amazon Halo fitness band, and Kindle Paperwhite.

And don’t forget – you’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day deals. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests products and evaluates deals.

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The best Amazon Echo Buds deals for Amazon Prime Day 2021

The standard Echo Buds that come with a wired charging case are available for just $79.99, a notable drop from their usual $119.99 price. Paying less than $100 is a steal for any pair of true wireless earbuds, but especially for a pair that we’ve called one of our favorites. The pricier version of the Echo Buds that come with a wireless charging case is also getting a price cut to just $99.99 compared to their usual $139.99 price.

The Echo Buds don’t sound as good as some more expensive wireless earbuds from Apple and Sony, and they also may not fit as snugly in your ears. But they have a lot to offer for the price, and this Prime Day discount makes them an even more compelling alternative to Apple’s AirPods or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds.

Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with wired charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with wireless charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Amazon Prime Day 2021 headphone deals

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The best Amazon Prime Day 2021 speaker deals happening now, plus expert tips on what to consider when buying a speaker

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Echo Dot with Clock - Amazon Prime Day 2021 Bluetooh Speaker Deals

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Amazon Prime Day 2021 is fast approaching on June 21 and 22, and we’re anticipating plenty of deals on speakers.

Last year’s Prime Day sale featured tons of discounts on smart speakers, soundbars, Bluetooth speakers, and home theater systems from brands like Samsung, Sonos, and Bose. Prime Day is also one of the best times to snag an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot for a low price, and some models are already on sale.

We’ll be compiling all the best speaker deals during Prime Day 2021 as soon as the event begins. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member yet, you should consider signing up for a 30-day free trial to take part in the savings.

Though bigger discounts will likely be available on Prime Day itself, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some solid speaker deals on Amazon right now. Below, we’ve rounded up some current speaker discounts, along with details on what we expect during the big sale. Learn more about how Insider Reviews evaluates products and vets deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium)

Best early Amazon Prime Day smart speaker deals

Amazon devices are usually available for some of their lowest prices during Prime Day, and Echo speakers with Alexa are no different.

Fourth-gen Echo speakers feature a new orb-shaped design and improved audio performance, which make them stand out in comparison to the older puck-shaped models. The fourth-gen Echo Dot is available for a modest $5 discount right now, but we expect a better deal when Prime Day begins. Check out our Echo (fourth-gen) and Echo Dot (fourth-gen) reviews for detailed impressions.

Third-generation Echo Dots are also on sale right now. Outside of the visual design, overall performance between third- and fourth-generation Dots is very similar. If the third-generation Dot drops to a lower price on Prime Day, it may present a better value compared to the fourth-gen model.

Amazon isn’t the only company that makes impressive smart speakers, however, and it’s possible we could see some good Prime Day deals on models from other brands. Smart speakers from companies like Sonos and Bose even let you choose between Alexa or Google Assistant.

Echo (4th Gen) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Dot (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Amazon Prime Day Bluetooth speaker deals

Bluetooth speakers make it easy to listen to wireless music at home or outside. Many of them are portable with integrated batteries, while some are also water-resistant for trips to the beach or pool.

Last year’s Prime Day sale included discounts on Bluetooth speakers from brands like Bose, JBL, Sony, and Anker. We expect a similar assortment of deals on Prime Day 2021.

SRS-XB43 Bluetooth Speaker (medium, Preferred: Amazon)SoundLink Revolve+ (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best early Amazon Prime Day soundbar deals

Soundbars offer a sizable upgrade over the tiny speakers built into most TVs, while still saving you some cash and space compared to a larger home theater system.

Some soundbar models feature wireless subwoofers, and more advanced packages even include satellite speakers for surround sound. Premium systems also include up-firing speakers to enable Dolby Atmos audio. This feature can make it sound like effects are coming from above your head.

On previous Prime Days, we’ve seen deals from brands like Samsung, Vizio, and Bose. We anticipate a similar assortment of discounts on Prime Day 2021.

HW-Q600A Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)HW-Q900T 7.1.2 Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Amazon Prime Day home theater speaker deals

If you’re looking for truly immersive audio performance when watching movies, playing games, or listening to music, it’s worth investing in a genuine home theater speaker setup. Home theater speaker setups can take the form of a simple pair of stereo bookshelf speakers, or even a complete surround sound system with five or more speakers.

That said, buyers should keep in mind that most home theater speakers require a separate amp or AV receiver for power and processing. Amazon sometimes offers packages that include a receiver, but more often than not you’ll need to pick one up yourself. New 5.2-channel receivers start at around $250, while 7.2-channel receivers start at around $400.

For Prime Day last year, the Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers were available for $255, and a similar deal is possible for Prime Day 2021. Discounts on some of our top home theater speaker recommendations are also possible, including picks from brands like Polk, Focal, and Klipsch.

Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System Bundle (small)S 803 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Frequently asked questions

When is Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is slated for June 21 and 22.

To take advantage of Prime Day speaker deals, you’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member. A Prime subscription is available for $13 a month or $120 annually. Amazon Prime members receive a ton of benefits, including free two-day shipping on many items, access to Prime video streaming, and more.

New Prime members can receive a free 30-day trial. If you haven’t signed up before, you can subscribe to Prime now in order to try the service and take part in all the Prime Day deals for free.

How to shop for a speaker

Choosing exactly which speaker is right for you can be tricky. Different speaker types vary wildly in price and size, so certain models are better suited for specific buyers.

Shoppers who simply want a compact speaker to take outside or use on trips should consider a portable Bluetooth speaker. If you want to add a digital assistant to your household, then you should look into buying a smart speaker. Smart speakers typically offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, but they don’t always include rechargeable batteries. If you simply want a good pair of stereo speakers for your desk at home or work, then consider buying a set of computer speakers or powered bookshelf speakers.

People looking to upgrade their TV-watching experience will want to find a good home theater system or a soundbar. Soundbars can be space- and budget-saving, but a full home theater setup with multiple speakers will give you the best performance with true surround sound. On the downside, most home theater speakers require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can add a couple hundred bucks or more to your total price.

If you’re looking for more speaker recommendations and detailed buying advice, check out our various speaker buying guides:

More Amazon Prime Day deals

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What is AirPlay? How to use Apple’s media-sharing feature

Samsung TV (airplay)
You can AirPlay content from an iPhone to a smart TV directly within a media player app.

  • Apple’s AirPlay feature allows users to stream videos, images, music, and other forms of media from an Apple device to another compatible device.
  • You can AirPlay content from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to an Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible smart TVs and speakers.
  • For AirPlay to work, both devices have to be on the same Wi-Fi network, ethernet cable, or within Bluetooth range.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple introduced AirPlay as a feature over a decade ago, but it still remains one of the most convenient ways to share media across Apple devices and other compatible systems.

What is AirPlay?

AirPlay is a feature that allows Apple devices (commonly iPhones) to share media – like videos, images, and music – to other devices like TVs and monitors for dual screen mode, as long as they’re all within the same network. This means AirPlay can only work if both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, within Bluetooth range, or connected to the same router using an ethernet cable.

AirPlay1.PNG
This is what the AirPlay icon looks like.

For example, if you want to stream music to a Bluetooth speaker from your iPhone, AirPlay is a convenient way to do it. The same goes for videos: If you’re watching a YouTube video on your iPad but want to watch it on a bigger screen, AirPlay is the quickest way to maintain seamless viewing.

AirPlay is similar to Apple’s Airplay mirroring, but screen mirroring is typically used to copy an entire display to another device, like a projector or TV.

How to use AirPlay

  • From an iPhone to a TV: With the selected media open, find the AirPlay icon and select it. Under “Speakers & TVs” select the device you want to AirPlay the media to.
    AirPlay2.PNG
    Select the device under “Speakers & TVs.”

  • From an iPhone to a Mac computer: There is no direct way to AirPlay from an iPhone to a Mac, but you can download a third-party app or use Apple screen mirroring.
  • From a Mac computer to a TV: To AirPlay from a Mac to a TV, first make sure your Mac has AirPlay enabled using System Preferences.
    AirPlay4
    Make sure your AirPlay Display is enabled by selecting the name of the device.

  • From any Apple device to an Apple TV: Make sure the devices are all on the same Wi-Fi network. You’ll know if AirPlay is supported if you see the AirPlay icon.
  • From an Apple device to Roku: Before attempting to AirPlay, check to make sure your AirPlay-compatible Roku has AirPlay enabled and is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Advantages of AirPlay

  • AirPlay is one of the easiest ways to share and stream media from one device to a speaker, television, or projector.
  • If the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or ethernet connection remains strong, content can be streamed rather seamlessly and without lag.
  • All new iOS devices support AirPlay, and the feature doesn’t require any setup or configuration like some other streaming outputs.

Disadvantages of AirPlay

  • AirPlay can only be used from one app at a time – this means you can’t stream a YouTube video to your Apple TV while also simultaneously streaming Spotify to a Bluetooth speaker.
  • Depending on your Wi-Fi connection, AirPlay can struggle and occasionally drop off or freeze entirely, which may require troubleshooting.
  • Perhaps the biggest con is that AirPlay is almost entirely exclusive to Apple; non-Apple devices may have to download additional software to use AirPlay.

How to troubleshoot when AirPlay isn’t working

If AirPlay isn’t working, you may need to troubleshoot the involved Apple or AirPlay-compatible devices, or even reset your Wi-Fi router. See our AirPlay troubleshooting guide for directions and further information.

How to AirPlay content to your Apple TV and mirror your phone or computer to a TV screenHow to use AirPlay to stream HBO Max on your TV from an iPhone or iPadHow to turn on AirPlay on a Mac computer, for screen mirroring on larger displays like an Apple or smart TVHow to use AirPlay on a Roku player to stream content from an Apple device

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Amazon’s new Echo packs powerful sound and smarter features into a $100 speaker, signaling a big upgrade for the company’s popular smart home device

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Amazon Echo (4th generation)

  • Amazon’s newest Echo feels like the most meaningful upgrade in years.
  • The smart speaker has better sound, a new design, and an integrated smart home hub.
  • It’s the right balance of convenience and solid audio quality for most people.
  • Check out our guide to the best true wireless earbuds for more audio product buying advice.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyEcho (4th Gen) (small)

Amazon’s popular Echo speaker has finally gotten a makeover.

Nearly six years after Amazon quietly unveiled the original Echo, the company has completely changed the speaker’s look, marking a big departure from the glowing cylinder that we’ve come to associate with the Echo since late 2014.

But the latest Echo is far more than just a cosmetic upgrade. Amazon’s most recent entrant to the smart speaker space also features a boost in sound quality, its own dedicated Amazon-designed processor that should make Alexa more responsive, and other extras, like a temperature sensor and a built-in smart home hub.

Taken together, the improvements represent the most significant upgrade to the standard Echo we’ve seen in years, helping it stand out in Amazon’s lineup. It’s a much more notable update than 2019’s third-generation Echo, which didn’t add much to the speaker other than improved sound quality.

But the new Echo also launched as Google and Apple have been investing more heavily in their own smart home speakers. Just days after Amazon unveiled the new Echo in September 2020, Google introduced its $100 Nest Audio. Apple, meanwhile, announced a smaller and less expensive version of its HomePod smart speaker for $100 called the HomePod Mini.

Here’s a closer look at what it’s been like to use the new Echo.

Amazon Echo 2020 specifications

Amazon Echo 2020 Specifications
Dimensions 5.7 inches x 5.7 inches x 5.2 inches
Weight 34.2 ounces
Colors Charcoal, white, and blue
Processor Amazon AZ1
Speaker 3-inch woofer and dual 0.8-inch front-facing tweeters
Input/output 3.5mm line in/out
Other features Integrated smart home hub, temperature sensor

Design

New Amazon Echo vs. Old
The third-generation Amazon Echo (left) vs. the new Amazon Echo (right)

To say the new Amazon Echo looks different than its predecessor would be an understatement. Gone is the cylindrical shape that’s been a hallmark of the smart speaker series so far. Instead, the new Echo takes the form of a compact, fabric-laden orb that glows at its base when Alexa is listening.

The new Echo looks less like a traditional speaker than its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. It has more of a standout look that differentiates it from rivals, like the Nest Audio, and the spherical shape enables it to fit more naturally into my home decor. The placement of the glowing ring at the bottom of the speaker rather than at the top also feels less distracting.

But unlike the Nest Audio, which comes in black, white, green, pink, and blue, the Echo is only available in three colors: charcoal, white, and blue. For a device that most people will be prominently displaying in the living room or kitchen, it would have been nice to see a broader range of color options like those offered by Google.

Sound quality

Amazon Echo Top
The new Amazon Echo

Amazon’s new Echo has received a big boost when it comes to its most important job: serving as a home speaker. Amazon says its new speaker can now detect the acoustics of the room it’s in and adjust the audio accordingly, just like the $200 Echo Studio.

The new shape also gives the Echo better sound projection and richer bass thanks to its surface area to volume ratio, the company says.

The upgrade is certainly noticeable when compared alongside the third-generation Echo. Across the board, music sounds louder and much more open and full-bodied compared to its predecessor, with better bass as well.

The older Echo sounds a bit shallow in comparison, and isn’t able to fill the room with audio nearly as well as its successor. This is true whether I listen to pop, rock, or hip-hop on the new Echo.

It’s not quite as loud and clear as the $200 Sonos One, but it certainly comes a lot closer than the standard Echo ever has before.

Smart home hub

Phillips Hue Smart Lighting
Philips Hue light bulbs and connectivity bridges

If controlling smart home devices is one of the primary reasons you’re interested in Amazon’s smart speaker, the new Echo will feel like a step up.

Amazon has built a smart home hub into the device much like it did with the Echo Plus speaker it introduced in 2017. That means you can quickly set up devices that use Bluetooth low energy or the ZigBee protocol – one of the major protocols that allows smart home devices to communicate with one another – without requiring a separate hub or bridge. It will also support Amazon’s long-range Wi-Fi network called Sidewalk when the feature launches on June 8.

Getting a Philips Hue light bulb up and running with the new Echo requires virtually no set up since it’s compatible with Zigbee. I simply screwed the light bulb into my bedroom lamp and asked Alexa to discover new devices.

After a few short moments, Alexa confirmed that my Echo had discovered the new light and added it to the “My devices” section of the Alexa app.

The third-generation Echo, on the other hand, requires a bridge in order to connect to the same Philips Hue light bulb. The Echo also has a leg up over Google in this regard since Google devices don’t offer voice setup for smart home devices and require you to connect through the company’s app.

Other features

Amazon Echo New

The Echo series may be nearly six years old, but Amazon is only just introducing its own custom processor for its smart speaker line. Amazon’s new AZ1 processor promises to make Alexa faster and more responsive when processing requests. This functionality wasn’t available at launch but has since begun rolling out to the fourth-generation Echo and Echo Show 10.

However, the fourth-generation Echo is only slightly faster than the third-generation Echo at answering basic questions in my experience, often only beating it by less than a second.

The new Echo also comes with another unexpected addition: a temperature sensor. This makes it possible to not only ask Alexa for the weather outside, but also the temperature indoors.

For many, the decision to side with an Echo device or Google Nest device will largely depend on what ecosystem best suits your needs.

Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant can both handle many of the same tasks, but also offer their respective perks. Alexa, for example, supports a wider variety of smart home devices, as the company says there are more than 140,000 gadgets that work with Alexa. Google, on the other hand, supports more than 50,000 internet-of-things devices.

Alexa also has some extra skills, including the ability to detect sounds, like breaking glass and alarms, when you’re not home. Google requires a Nest Aware subscription for this, whereas Amazon offers these features as part of the free tier of its Alexa Guard service. And of course, Alexa makes it incredibly easy to shop on Amazon via your voice.

The Google Assistant, however, has generally performed better when it comes to answering general knowledge questions, which should come as no surprise considering it has the world’s most popular search engine at its disposal.

In a 2019 test conducted by Loup Ventures that involved asking the Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri 800 questions, Google answered 93% of those queries correctly. Alexa answered 80% of them correctly while Siri correctly responded to 83%.

Google’s smart speakers also have extra features, like an interpreter mode that translates full conversations into another language, which is more sophisticated than Alexa’s ability to translate individual phrases and words.

Privacy

Amazon Echo Light

Privacy is also crucial for a microphone-equipped device meant to sit in your living room or bedroom. Amazon, Google, and Apple have all come under scrutiny in the past over their previous policies when it comes to sharing saved recordings with human annotators for the purposes of improving their voice assistants.

Both the new Echo and Google’s Nest Audio include a physical button for turning off the microphone.

But unlike Google and Apple, you must opt out if you don’t want your voice recordings to be used by Amazon to help improve Alexa’s functionality. You can do this from the Alexa app under the Alexa Privacy section in the settings menu.

Google doesn’t retain audio by default, and announced last September that users would have to opt in to a setting that enables the search giant to share recordings with human reviewers to improve the Google Assistant.

That said, both Amazon and Google have announced privacy updates over the course of the past year. Amazon now allows you to choose to automatically delete your voice recordings after Alexa has processed your request.

You can also delete all of your previously saved voice recordings just by asking Alexa, or you can ask Alexa to send you a link to privacy settings for your device in the Alexa app.

Google also launched new features earlier this year for telling its voice assistant to forget an utterance that was detected by accident and asking the Google Assistant for more information about Google’s data collection policies.

Google recently announced a Guest Mode for the Google Assistant as well, which, like Incognito Mode, prevents Google from saving queries to your account or offering personalized responses.

The bottom line

Amazon Echo New

With improved sound, a sleek new design, and a built-in hub for setting up smart home devices, the new Echo feels like a significant upgrade for Amazon’s smart speaker.

The standard Echo model has inherited some features from its more premium predecessors, such as the $200 Echo Studio’s ability to adjust audio to match a room’s acoustics, and the integrated smart home hub that debuted on the $150 Echo Plus from 2017.

As a result, the new Echo feels like the right balance of quality audio and convenience for most people in need of a basic smart home speaker that’s not quite as high-end as the Studio, but more powerful than the $50 Echo Dot.

That could make it more difficult for rivals, like Apple and Sonos, that specialize in offering superior sound quality to compete with Amazon’s latest Echo. It also feels like an execution of the vision that Amazon has been working toward for a while when it comes to the Echo: a home speaker that doesn’t make big compromises when it comes to audio quality or smart home features.

If you have a third-generation Echo, you probably don’t need to upgrade immediately. But if you have an older model or were thinking about purchasing a second Echo anyway, you’ll certainly appreciate the upgrades.

Pros: Improved sound, attractive new design, built-in smart home hub makes it easy to set up devices

Cons: Not as much choice when it comes to color selection compared to Google, Amazon still saves and uses your voice recordings by default

Echo (4th Gen) (button)

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24 cool gift ideas for the music lover in your life

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gifts for music lovers 30
  • The music lover in your life can likely always be found listening to or playing music.
  • Here are 24 gift ideas to fuel their passion for songs, bands, instruments, and any genre.
  • For more gift ideas, check out all of our gift guides over here.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Most of us listen to music in some capacity and can say we like it.

There are the people who just listen casually to whatever happens to be on the radio, and then there are the people who spend hours carefully curating playlists, filling their calendars with concerts to attend, and even playing music themselves.

This gift guide is for the latter group, who don’t just like music, they love it.

To fuel their passion, you can gift them something that elevates their listening experience, teaches them something new about music, or puts them right in front of their favorite singer. Due to the impact of the pandemic on the music industry, we also suggest looking at their favorite local music store or live event venue for merch and gift cards. Or, you can make a donation to local musician funds and venues in your recipient’s name.

The 24 best gifts for music lovers:

A microphone that will bring karaoke to their home

Uncommon Goods Karaoke Microphone

Karaoke Microphone Speaker, available at Uncommon Goods, $50

This karaoke speaker will help liven up all special events and get-togethers. They’ll need to download an app to connect the microphone to their phone and then they’ll be all set to sing their heart out all night long.

A fun music association game

Game That Song under $25

Game That Song Music Card Game, available at Amazon, $19.99

The rules of this card game are simple. Everyone must choose a song based on a random card prompt, such as “a song to play that brings back good memories” or “a song to play about time.” Then everyone playing will vote on the best song selection. They can play this fun but challenging game with their family, friends, or other loved ones to learn more about everyone’s music preferences.

A custom plaque of a song they love

Personalized Glass Acrylic Music Plaque with under $25 badge

Personalized Glass Acrylic Music Plaque, available at Etsy, from $21.49

Submit your recipient’s favorite song to make this eye-catching acrylic plaque. You can use an album cover or a personal picture to make this gift feel even more special. You can also opt for a stand so they can keep the plaque close by on their desk or any other surface.

A customizable record doormat

UG Record Doormat

Personalized Record Doormat, available at Uncommon Goods, $35

Turn their favorite record into a treasured home decor piece with this thoughtful gift. Personalize this doormat with their favorite record title and their name to make this gift feel like it was made just for them.

A Cameo appearance from their favorite musician

Cameo ice cube

Cameo appearance, available at Cameo, from $50

Make their day by gifting them a special video message from their favorite musician. With hundreds of artists to choose from, you can filter artists by your recipient’s favorite music genre. If you want to go the extra mile, some artists offer availability for one-on-one chats and Zoom calls. Some musicians you can find on the site include Snoop Dogg, Kenny G, and rapper Ice T.

A turntable that doubles as a bluetooth speaker

Best Buy Turntable

Sony Bluetooth Stereo Turntable, available at Best Buy, $199.99

No music lover’s vinyl collection is complete without a turntable that can play their favorite records over and over again. This turntable from Sony not only has incredible sound quality but also doubles as a bluetooth speaker, allowing them to play music from their other devices.

Pasta shaped like music notes

Music Pasta Under $25

Pastabilities Music Pasta (2-Pack), $12.99, available at Amazon

If they like playing music as much as they like playing with their food, here’s a fun, edible gift they can cook right away. 

A vintage band tee

Music gifts Rolling Stones shirt

The Rolling Stones Tie-Dye Tee, $39, available at Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters offers tons of graphic T-shirts featuring the logos and designs of classic artists and bands like Def Leppard, Nirvana, Prince, and Snoop Dogg. 

A pair of warm socks

gifts for music lovers 31

Foot Traffic Novelty Socks, $11, available at Amazon

These soft and comfortable socks come in a variety of music-themed patterns, from a simple but striking piano keyboard to an ensemble of orchestral musicians. 

A poster of famous guitars

gifts for music lovers 2

A Visual Compendium of Guitars 18″x 24″ Print, $30, available at Pop Chart

Can they identify all the guitars held by famous rockers in this eye-catching print? They’ll find the musical companions of  Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, Kurt Cobain, and Joan Jett, among many other iconic musicians. 

A vinyl record membership

music lover gifts update 4

Three-month Gift Membership, $119, available at Vinyl Me, Please

Record owners experience no greater joy than when they get to add to their collection and play a new vinyl for the first time. Your recipient will choose from three different types of tracks each month and will also receive extra goodies in each package. The three-month membership includes one bonus record. 

A cocktail recipe book that pairs good music with good drinks

Under $25

Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, $22.49, available at Barnes & Noble

Combining two great pastimes, the fun guide features 70 albums from the ’50s through the ’00s and an A-side and B-side cocktail for each one. They’re organized by mood, so your recipient will know just what pairing to use for the night.  

A cool music mixing game

music lover gifts update 2

DropMix Music Gaming System, $39.99, available at Amazon

DropMix is a fast-paced game that challenges them to make new and unexpected mixes with popular tracks they already know and love. It’ll be a hit among competitive music lovers and experts.

A pair of stylish over-ear headphones

gifts for music lovers 7

Bowers & Wilkins PX Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones, $309.45, available at Amazon

A music lover wouldn’t be caught dead without a pair of headphones, whether they’re just running a quick errand across the street or settling in for the long-haul. These Bowers & Wilkins ones not only bring out the best of each song and have three noise-cancelling modes, but also simply look great

A pair of wireless earbuds

gifts for music lovers 8

AirPods with Charging Case, $129.99, available at Best Buy

Apple AirPods are far from perfect, but we have to admit they’re really convenient. They’re the easiest earbuds to pop into their ears since they’re light and pair automatically with their phone, and they’ll stay in surprisingly well. 

A high-end visual speaker

gifts for music lovers 1

Cotodama Canvas Lyric Speaker, $1,900, available at Amazon 

This sleek WiFi-enabled speaker, which integrates seamlessly into their living room or bedroom, recognizes and artistically displays the lyrics of the song as it plays. The sound quality is also top-notch, which isn’t a surprise since the company behind it is part of an incubator run by the famous Abbey Road Studios.

Pencils they won’t be able to stop drumming on their desk

Amazon pencil drumsticks

Suck UK Drumstick Pencils, $6.47, available at Amazon

These clever pencils are an easy stocking stuffer for budding and experienced drummers alike. 

An online class taught by a film-scoring legend

gifts for music lovers 9

Hans Zimmer Film Scoring Class, $90, available at MasterClass

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the work of film score composer Hans Zimmer. Through lessons on tempo, character themes, sound palettes, and more, the composer of over 150 movies including “Inception” and “The Lion King” shows students how he makes movie score magic. 

A waterproof portable speaker

gifts for music lovers 20

Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker, $139.99, available at Amazon

The loud and powerful UE Boom 3 delivers 360-degree sound and has a long battery life, perfect for outdoor hangouts. They can even continue being DJ at the beach or in the tub because the speaker is waterproof. 

A book about why humans love music

Under $25 (1)

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, $14.57, available at Amazon

This fascinating book delves into why music is so important to us and is written by someone with a firm grasp on both the artistic and scientific sides of it: a neuroscientist who previously worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer.

A smart speaker

amazon echo 2020

Amazon Echo (4th Generation), $99.99, available at Target

They’ll be able to stream music from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more, without even lifting a finger. The newest version of the popular Echo device has even better audio features than before: 360° Dolby-powered audio, dynamic bass response, and personalized equalizer settings. 

Wine glasses they can play songs with

gifts for music lovers 25

Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses (Set of 2), $68, available at UncommonGoods

These special wine glasses have lines labeling different notes of the scale, so they can play a tune with their finger while enjoying their favorite red or white. 

A way to organize their concert ticket stubs

Under $25 (2)

Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer, $9.24, available at Amazon

Videos and photos aside, a way to remember their concerts, down to the exact seat in the venue, is this ticket stub diary. There’s also space on each page to jot down notes and memories to look fondly back on later. 

Cufflinks shaped like a sixteenth note and treble clef

gifts for music lovers 14

Cufflinks, Inc. Music Notes Cufflinks, $55, available at Cufflinks.com

These small accessories are the perfect finishing note on their ensemble, whether they’re heading to work or the symphony. 

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This new speaker from a former Apple designer can customize sound for your specific room – here are our first impressions

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

SyngCellAlpha
Syng Cell Alpha speaker in a living room.

  • The Syng Cell Alpha is a “triphonic” speaker that creates an enveloping listening experience.
  • The speaker comes from former Apple designer Christopher Stringer and DC Shoes co-founder Damon Way.
  • The Syng Cell Alpha is now available for $1,799.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Former Apple designer Christopher Stringer has helped develop a number of game-changing products including the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Now, four years after leaving the tech giant, he’s looking to bring a spatial sound experience to listeners with the new Syng Cell Alpha “triphonic” speaker.

This high-end speaker is built to fill a room with sound thanks to multiple points of distribution on its globe-shaped design. You can combine the speaker with two additional units and place them around a room, as well, to provide an even more enveloping listening experience.

The speaker operates via Syng Space, an app that lets you place sounds – such as music from Spotify – in certain corners of a living room. The app is currently only available in the Apple app store but will be available in the Google Play Store in summer 2021, according to Syng.

Syng Cell Alpha price and release date

Syng released its Cell Alpha speaker on May 14. It’s available in two options on Syng’s website: the Cell Alpha with a table stand for $1,799 and the Cell Alpha with an adjustable floor stand for $1,969. Shipments are expected to go out in six to eight weeks.

Individual $79 table stands and $249 floor stands are now available for preorder, with shipping expected in summer 2021.

Syng Cell Alpha Specs

SyngCellAlpha

The Syng Cell Alpha is boosted by two woofers – one facing up and the other facing down – along with a three-element, two-way beamforming array. The speaker also includes three microphones that scope out the room around it to create the feel of live music.

The speaker is able to sync up with other Cell Alphas using multi-Cell geometry calculations that expand the system’s spatial, “triphonic” sound. The Cell Alpha also lets you utilize multiroom audio.

The Cell Alpha‘s stem, which connects to its table stand or floor stand, includes a USB-C input. The speaker can also be connected with AirPlay 2, Spotify, and HDMI ARC. HDMI connectivity will only work with a $49 Syng Link USB-C-to-HDMI cable, now available for preorder.

The Cell Alpha only uses Bluetooth during its setup and relies on Wi-Fi control via the Syng Space app.

How does the Syng Cell Alpha sound?

SyngCellAlphawithRecordPlayer

Insider Reviews was invited to attend an in-person demo of the new Syng Cell Alpha speaker. Christopher Stringer and Syng acoustic researcher Elisabeth McMullin were in attendance and walked us through the Cell Alpha‘s unique features while directly comparing the speaker to two competing models.

Syng Cell Alpha vs. Sonos and Bang & Olufsen speakers

McMullin played a song on two high-end speakers: the Bang & Olufsen Beosound 2 ($2,599) and the Sonos Five ($499). She then played the same track on the Cell Alpha.

As someone who regularly attended concerts prior to 2020, I felt more present in the sound space with the Cell Alpha than I did when hearing the music through the Bang & Olufsen and Sonos speakers. The Cell Alpha was also more interesting visually, as the vibrating top of the globe-shaped speaker was exciting to see when backed with kicks and drums.

Syng’s overall audio performance produced a crisper, more moving experience compared to the competing speakers. Even when the volume was turned low, the bass was still present and balanced with the music. The triphonic design also made the sound more disperse and room filling than the other speakers, creating a pleasant advantage when compared to a traditional 2-channel design.

Syng’s Space app lets you place the speaker’s sound around your room

McMullin then showed me the Syng Space app, an app that lets you drag, change the size of, and place sound around your room after you set up your Cell Alpha.

The speaker’s technology helps it read the room, and the ability to emphasize sound in specific areas can be great for people standing in a certain corner or sitting in a certain chair, for instance. The app makes the sound you’re listening to appear in a bubble so it looks like a mobile game as you navigate where you want to hear music.

While this feature was interesting when used with one speaker, it was even more impressive when multiple Syng speakers were paired together in a triangle around the room. McMullin played singer Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part” – a song I heard live years ago – and asked me to walk around the space. As I walked from one speaker to the next, it never felt like I was moving away from the sound. The song sounded similar to how I remembered it when I heard it live.

The bottom line

The Syng Cell Alpha is impressive in its presentation of audio, specifically with its app’s ability to customize how you want sound to play among multiple speakers. And while this listening experience is fantastic, it’s important to remember this is a high-end speaker geared toward buyers with big budgets.

A single Syng Cell Alpha costs $1,799 and buyers who want a multi-speaker experience will have to pay even more. Replicating the triangle-shaped arrangement I heard would cost you anywhere from $5,397 to $5,907.

This price is likely to turn away the average listener, but it could be a worthwhile purchase for buyers on the hunt for a high-end luxury speaker with a unique design. I could also see the Syng appealing to creators and performers who can arrange these speakers for a memorable, customizable listening experience for their audiences.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best speaker deals – save $20 on Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

echo dot
  • Speakers with good performance can be pricey, but they often go on sale.
  • We’ve compiled all the best speaker deals for May 2021.
  • Right now, you can get an Echo Dot for $30 – that’s $20 off its full price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Great speakers can make listening to music far more enjoyable, and there are plenty of deals to be found. These days, even relatively inexpensive speakers can deliver well-rounded bass response, a well-tuned mid-range, and plenty of clarity and detail in the high end.

Whether you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker, a smart speaker, floortstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers, or even a soundbar, you may be able to stay on budget and save some cash thanks to these awesome discounts. After combing through the web, we’ve rounded up the best speaker deals out there for a variety of needs.

Here are the best speaker deals in May 2021:

Echo Dot (4th Generation) (small)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Jacket H20 4 Bluetooth speaker (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Best Bluetooth speaker deals

Altec Lansing Jacket

Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to take your music on the road with you. Many of them are water-resistant, meaning you can use them near the pool or at the beach, and while they’re usually not as great-sounding as more expensive home theater speakers or soundbars, they’ll definitely get the party started at your next BBQ.

Product Card (medium)Onyx Studio 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker (medium)Sonic Portable Bluetooth Speaker (medium)
Best soundbar deals

samsung hw t550

If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality in your living room without going all out for a full-sized surround sound system, then it’s worth considering a soundbar. Soundbars range in price and audio quality, but the best of them allow for full-bodied audio in a relatively compact package. Some models even include wireless subwoofers and separate satellite speakers for more immersive performance.

2.0-Channel Mini Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)HW-T550 Soundbar (medium)SL4Y Soundbar (medium)
Best smart speaker deals

Echo Dot light

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years, and they can now help you with a huge range of tasks, including controlling smart home devices, finding out information from the web, and more. There are often deals on smart speakers too – so you might be able to pick one up at a super low price. So models even include screens, enabling video playback to go along with audio. 

Echo Dot (4th Generation) (small)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best home theater speaker deals

Klipsch Reference 820F system

Soundbars are great, but if you truly want the most immersive movie-watching or gaming experience, it’s worth looking into home theater speakers. Home theater speakers can be set up as a simple pair of stereo speakers next to your TV, or a full surround sound system. It should be noted, however, that home theater speakers typically require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can make purchasing a full system pricey. Thankfully, the below discounts can help cut down your costs.

RP-8000F Speaker (medium)
Best computer speaker deals

Klipsch ProMedia 2

Want to avoid having to use headphones all the time when you’re at your computer? A great pair of computer speakers can make for a better PC gaming experience, or simply make listening to music and podcasts more enjoyable. Sometimes, computer speakers even come with a small subwoofer to help enhance bass performance.

Product Card (medium)
How to shop for speakers

There are a number of different types of speakers, and they can all serve drastically different purposes. 

If you want something to take to the beach or use on the go, then a portable Bluetooth speaker is your best option. If you’re looking to enhance your TV-viewing experience, then home theater speakers or a soundbar will do the job. If you want to bring a digital assistant into your home, then consider a smart speaker. If you just want speakers around the house, then perhaps it’s worth considering bookshelf speakers or a pair of computer speakers.

It’s also a good idea to take the brand into consideration when purchasing speakers. For example, if you’re buying a smart speaker, then it’s definitely worth looking at options from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Sonos, and Bose. Vizio and Samsung, meanwhile, are both safe bets for soundbars. If you’re setting up a surround sound system, then brands like Klipsch and Focal will be a better fit for your needs. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to think about your budget. You can get decent Bluetooth and smart speakers for under $150 – but that probably won’t be enough if you’re looking for a soundbar or multiple home theater speakers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best speaker deals – save $120 on Vizio’s flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

VIZIO OLED TV and Elevate soundbar
  • Speakers with good performance can be pricey, but they often go on sale.
  • We’ve compiled all the best speaker deals for April 2021.
  • Right now, you can get Vizio’s 5.1.4 Elevate Soundbar for $879 – that’s $121 off its full price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Great speakers can make listening to music far more enjoyable, and there are plenty of deals to be found. These days, even relatively inexpensive speakers can deliver well-rounded bass response, a well-tuned mid-range, and plenty of clarity and detail in the high end.

Whether you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker, a smart speaker, floortstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers, or even a soundbar, you may be able to stay on budget and save some cash thanks to these awesome discounts. After combing through the web, we’ve rounded up the best speaker deals out there for a variety of needs.

Here are the best speaker deals in April 2021:

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Pill+ (small, Preferred: Best Buy)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)

Best Bluetooth speaker deals

Altec Lansing Jacket

Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to take your music on the road with you. Many of them are water-resistant, meaning you can use them near the pool or at the beach, and while they’re usually not as great-sounding as more expensive home theater speakers or soundbars, they’ll definitely get the party started at your next BBQ.

Pill+ (small, Preferred: Best Buy)SRS-XB43 Bluetooth Speaker (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best soundbar deals

Vizio Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality in your living room without going all out for a full-sized surround sound system, then it’s worth considering a soundbar. Soundbars range in price and audio quality, but the best of them allow for full-bodied audio in a relatively compact package. Some models even include wireless subwoofers and separate satellite speakers for more immersive performance.

One of the best deals you can snag right now is on the Vizio Elevate soundbar. The system is on sale for $121 off its full price, and it serves as a more affordable alternative to a traditional home theater setup. You can read our full Vizio Elevate review here

Elevate 5.1.4 Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)SB46514-F6 46-inch 5.1.4 Channel Soundbar (small, Preferred: Best Buy)2.0-Channel Mini Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)HW-T550 Soundbar (medium)SL4Y Soundbar (medium)
Best smart speaker deals

Sonos Beam

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years, and they can now help you with a huge range of tasks, including controlling smart home devices, finding out information from the web, and more. There are often deals on smart speakers too – so you might be able to pick one up at a super low price. So models even include screens, enabling video playback to go along with audio. 

Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Best home theater speaker deals

Klipsch Reference 820F system

Soundbars are great, but if you truly want the most immersive movie-watching or gaming experience, it’s worth looking into home theater speakers. Home theater speakers can be set up as a simple pair of stereo speakers next to your TV, or a full surround sound system. It should be noted, however, that home theater speakers typically require a separate AV receiver for power and processing, which can make purchasing a full system pricey. Thankfully, the below discounts can help cut down your costs.

R-620F Speaker (medium)
Best computer speaker deals

Klipsch ProMedia 2

Want to avoid having to use headphones all the time when you’re at your computer? A great pair of computer speakers can make for a better PC gaming experience, or simply make listening to music and podcasts more enjoyable. Sometimes, computer speakers even come with a small subwoofer to help enhance bass performance.

Z625 2.1 Speaker System (medium)Product Card (medium)
How to shop for speakers

There are a number of different types of speakers, and they can all serve drastically different purposes. 

If you want something to take to the beach or use on the go, then a portable Bluetooth speaker is your best option. If you’re looking to enhance your TV-viewing experience, then home theater speakers or a soundbar will do the job. If you want to bring a digital assistant into your home, then consider a smart speaker. If you just want speakers around the house, then perhaps it’s worth considering bookshelf speakers or a pair of computer speakers.

It’s also a good idea to take the brand into consideration when purchasing speakers. For example, if you’re buying a smart speaker, then it’s definitely worth looking at options from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Sonos, and Bose. Vizio and Samsung, meanwhile, are both safe bets for soundbars. If you’re setting up a surround sound system, then brands like Klipsch and Focal will be a better fit for your needs. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to think about your budget. You can get decent Bluetooth and smart speakers for under $150 – but that probably won’t be enough if you’re looking for a soundbar or multiple home theater speakers.

Read the original article on Business Insider