Our Favorite Surround-Sound Speaker System

Fluance SXHTB

PROS – This is the best-sounding speaker setup in our lineup.

CONS – It doesn’t come with a subwoofer.

VERDICT – This system offers so much without jacking up the price. The floor standing speakers combined with the bookshelf speakers make for a full-sounding system.

Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set – Excellence Award – The Fluance SXHTB home theater system is unlike any system in our competition. This surround sound system has two bookshelf satellite speakers, two standing floor speakers and a center speaker. This is the only home theater system in our comparison that features two full standing speakers. The home theater system sounds full, loud and crisp. Even with the included floor standing speakers, this system doesn’t cost more than its competitors. These are just a few of the reasons why this speaker system earns our Gold Award.

Audio Performance

These are the best home theater speakers in our review. Our listening panel was impressed on all fronts by the performance of the Fluance system. For testing, our listening panel watched the same scene from a movie and filled out a detailed survey to rate the different audio characteristics of each speaker system.

Because it doesn’t have a subwoofer, this system isn’t a 5.1 surround sound system. Instead of the subwoofer, the two floor standing speakers handle the low-end frequencies – and they’re exceptional at it. The bass isn’t overpowering but is clear and concise, adding the body and fullness to the sound scape. In our experience, speaker systems without subwoofers offer weak bass response, but the Fluance excels, providing a listening experience that engulfed our panel in full surround sound.

The two satellite speakers in the surround sound system are bookshelf size. These speakers by themselves could be used as main left and right speakers. In fact, many of its competitors have speakers of similar size or smaller as main left and right speakers. These satellite speakers truly add to the depth of the surround sound. There is a scene in the movie our panelists watched where motorcyclists surround the main character – the audio provided by this surround sound speaker system put our listeners in that moment. The motorcycles rumbled with power from all angles, flooding the listener with a balanced attack of sound. Many others systems in our comparison left our panelists underwhelmed during the same scene. The satellite speakers were often unable to provide the same powerful and full surround sound as the Fluance.

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Many systems with a heavy dose of audio power and bass lose clarity. This system does not fall victim to that issue. The home theater tower speakers combined with the center speaker sound sharp and clear. All of the dialogue during the movie scene – even with the action going on – cut right through the action with exceptional clarity. Many of our panelists described the treble and dialogue as clear and sharp.

When we hooked up the left and right satellite speakers to our speaker switcher, it was no contest –the Fluance satellites clearly outperformed the competition’s main left and rights. Not only was the dialogue crisp and clear, but the overall tonality was much more enjoyable and fuller than other speakers. When you use the main left and right speakers by themselves, often it exposes a speaker’s shortcomings. Even the main left and rights provided a decent amount of bass along with the sharp treble response. The speakers sounded warmer and more natural than the competition. The overall outing by the Fluance SXHTB Home Theater System was impressive.

Satellite Speaker Specifications

Many of the competitors in our review have small, often cubed-sized speakers that are no bigger than a softball. These small enclosures have small drivers and in turn can’t produce the warm tonal quality that bigger drivers can. The Fluance system features 4-inch drivers in each satellite speaker – the largest drivers of any satellite speakers in our comparison. The large drivers in the speaker handle a good amount of low frequency – all the way down to 80Hz – most other speakers don’t reach below 100Hz.

The manufacturer states that these satellite speakers have a sensitivity rating of 86 dB. Many of the competitors boast sensitivity ratings of 88 dB or higher. Generally, speakers that have a higher sensitivity rating have to work less to convert power to sound. This results in greater speaker longevity and better tone.

Subwoofer Specifications

This system doesn’t come with a dedicated subwoofer. Instead it has two floor standing speakers that handle all of the low frequencies down to 49Hz and up to 20kHz. Even without a subwoofer, these speakers provide a good amount of bass. The floor standing speakers fill up the room with sound and can really stand alone without the two satellites or center speaker and still sound powerful and full. Even though the floor standing speakers provide plenty of bass, they still can’t reach frequencies that a dedicated subwoofer can produce. Subwoofers in our competition can dip down to sub 30Hz, a feat that these floor standing speakers can’t achieve.

The floor standing speakers are large – the largest component of any system we reviewed. They feature two 6.5-inch drivers and one tweeter in each enclosure. They stand 7.8 x 13 x 38.8 inches (L x W x H). Each speaker weighs 33.45 pounds. These speakers boast a sensitivity rating of 89 dB, which is higher than both the satellite speakers and the center speaker. It is good that the main component also features the best specifications.

Center Speaker Specifications

The center speaker shares the same frequency response, sensitivity and driver size specs as the satellite speakers. The speaker measures 5.2 x 15.8 x 7.9 inches (L x W x H). Unfortunately, the center speaker is tall enough to block the receiver on many televisions. Due to this issue, you may want to consider putting it on a shelf below the television or placing above the television.

Help & Support

Fluance offers two really great deals. The first is a 30-day trial on speaker systems. You can have the company set up the speakers in your home, and if you find you don’t like them, you can return them in the first 30 days without any cost to you. The second advantage to owning a Fluance system is a lifetime warranty. It’s reassuring to know that if anything goes wrong with your speaker system, you are covered. If you want to inquire about your home theater speakers, you can reach Fluance via telephone or email.

Summary

These top home theater speakers are impressive to say the least. The price is affordable, the components are high end and the sound quality follows suit. This system provides the full gamut – quality bass production, full surround sound production and crystal clear dialogue. This is a great system to consider if you want full surround sound in your home with a single purchase.

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