Are you thinking about completing your home theater system? It is one of those dreams that many people are striving to achieve. And, while it is quite easy to find your own blu-ray players, it might be harder to find the right speakers for the job.
The good thing is that you do not have to spend a lot of time searching for the right information. This article should do that for you.
Today, I am going to talk about the best speakers in 2020.
Best Speakers for Your Home Theater System
1.SVS Prime Tower Surround
The SVS Prime Tower Surround is what I would consider as the gold standard if you want to build your own home theater system.
You will get five total speakers that have a tower design that you can easily put around your living room or home theater setup and you should be ready to go.
I am especially impressed with how it sounds. The sound that it emits flows perfectly between the speakers and no matter what genre of media content you are watching, it should provide you with the right audio without any problems.
Despite its lack of a subwoofer, the sound doesn’t get muddied at all. In fact, it produces an overall balanced sound that still provides enough bass to simulate real theater audio.
5.1 speaker systems have become the norm when it comes to surround sound systems, so I highly recommend this one as it doesn’t break the bank.
2.Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V
If you want to have that subwoofer because you want all of that bass, the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V is the one I would recommend for those people that want amazing surround sound on a budget.
While it only comes with tweeters, its subwoofer provides that extra ‘oomph’ that the first recommendation may not be able to provide.
I love the fact that the entire speaker system is easy to install. It comes with convenient cables right out of the box so that you can instantly plug them into your home theater setup and play.
Another good thing about these speakers is that the tweeters can actually be mounted on the wall to provide you with an even more immersive sound, as well as them not being a hindrance whenever you go around the room.
It is important to point out that the bass can be too overpowering at times, so I would suggest tweaking the setting so that it can jive with the tweeters.
3.Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1
The next set of speakers is more expensive than the previous recommendations but the reason why I’ve included it is that they are just so good to pass up.
The Q Acoustics 3050i offers the most impressive sound system setup for a set of home theater speakers that costs less than $2,000.
You get 3 small speakers, two floorstanders, and one subwoofer. I love the fact that the speakers work harmoniously to produce the sound that you will definitely love.
Build quality is nice and you can surely feel its premium makeup. It’s got plenty of bass so that you can tweak that to your liking if you want more oomph.
Connecting the Q Acoustics 3050i is a breeze as it comes with a plethora of connectivity options.
It is a bit on the expensive side, but the Q Acoustics 3050i is great simply because of its amazing audio performance for a sub-$2000 set of home theater speakers.
4.KEF LS50 Wireless
Placing more than 2 speakers on your home theater system can be a huge chore, especially if you need to find the right angles to make the most out of it. Wouldn’t it be great if you only need to place just two speakers?
Well, I do agree with that and that is why the next set of speakers is the one you should look into if you want an audio solution that is easier to set up.
The KEF LS50 Wireless gives you two woofers that provide maximum sound and impressive audio quality. Despite only having two speakers, the LS50 Wireless provides full and balanced sound without any compromises.
Inside the speakers are sturdy bracings that will ensure minimum vibrations during operation. This just means that even if you set the volume to the max, you will not hear any crackling or distorted sounds.
One of the main selling points of the KEF LS50 Wireless is its ability to connect wirelessly to your home network so that you can use it with your smartphone.
Basically, once everything is plugged in, you just have to download its companion app and it will connect to the speakers immediately. You can then enjoy your music just by controlling your smartphone.
The application also allows you to adjust certain parameters of the speakers so that it will be easier for you to tweak the sound without having to adjust anything on the speakers manually.
While it is indeed on the expensive side, I wouldn’t recommend anything else at the $2,000 price point.
Not a lot of people have the money to spend on a really good set of speakers. But, who said that you need only expensive speakers to complete your home theater system?
The Vizio SB3851-CO is one of the best budget speakers out there. It’s got Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities so that you can instantly connect your smartphone to control them.
You can play your favorite Spotify playlist or you can stream content from your phone to the speakers themselves.
Included in the package are one soundbar, two small speakers, and a 6-inch subwoofer, along with a remote control for basic functions.
I am also happy to report that the speakers also make use of DTS Virtual X sound technology. Without getting too technical, it just means that the audio that is produced provides a clear and balanced sound overall, though you can definitely tweak its bass if you want punchier results.
6.Elac Debut 18.104.22.168 Home Theatre System
Now we are getting into the high-end territory and this recommendation is worth the money. The Elac Debut 22.214.171.124 Home Theatre System is pretty good and for the price, I do not see any major compromises at all.
Included in the package are two floorstanding speakers that are fitted with four drivers each. The drivers are three 13-cm woofers and one 25mm silk-dome tweeter.
You also get two standmounters and a 5.2 center speaker as well. Despite their appearance, these home theatre speakers provide an overall clarity no matter what kind of music of movie you play.
Whether you are listening to a classical piece or you are firing up one of those action movies using your Netflix account, the sound remains consistently clear all throughout.
Seriously, you can throw any type of media content in these speakers and they will perform admirably well.
You can also spend a bit more to buy one of the Dolby Speaker addons, but the base package is definitely good enough.
7.Onkyo HT-7800 5.1
Another bang-for-the-buck speaker system, the Onkyo HT-7800 is a 5.1-channel speaker system. Included in the package are seven smaller surround sound speakers and are punctuated by a single subwoofer.
I think it is safe to assume that nearly all of us have access to smartphones and since you are going to buy a home theatre system, you can extend its functionality even more.
By default, the HT-7800 allows you to connect your smartphone to the device and you can stream any content from it directly to the speaker system.
It supports AirPlay, WiFi, Chromecast, Bluetooth, Spotify, Netflix, and a host of other streaming services for your viewing and listening pleasure.
I love the fact that it supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology which you can switch at any time using your phone.
It is one of the best speaker systems of its class at this price point, so if you have $600 to spend, I wouldn’t hesitate to get this one.
8.JBL 306P MKII
There are a lot of content creators out there and that is even more so due to the Covid-19 situation that we’re experiencing right now.
If you are creating content for your audience, it is important that you have a set of speakers that provide a balanced sound so that you can be assured that the resulting audio of your content works really well for your followers.
That is where the JBL 306P MKII comes in. It is a budget speaker that performs really well for content creators and for music production.
What you get for $200 are two studio-type monitors that produce a flat sound by default. Of course, you can tweak them if you plan on using it for your home theatre setup, but if you are into content creation or music production, a flat sound should be the way to go.
At this price point, nothing comes close to the JBL 306P MKII.
9.GoldenEar Triton Five
To complete this list, I present to you the GoldenEar Triton Five. It has a class-leading performance at a relatively affordable price.
The company was founded by none other than Sandy Gross who was responsible for creating the companies, Definitive Technology and Polk.
For those of you who do not know, Sandy Gross has been a pioneer in sound engineering and has helped develop numerous speaker systems that range from personal use to full-fledged home theatre speakers.
What you get for $1,100 are two floorstanding speakers that produce a sound that you would normally see on $10,000 audio systems.
Although its overall balanced sound is on by default, tweaking this to lean toward the lower-end would make this a perfect accompaniment to your home theatre setup.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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