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Best wireless surround sound systems for 2023

How to get thrilling surround sound without all the wires

In this article: Our top picks for an immersive home theater experience without the trouble of running wires...

  1. Best wireless Dolby Atmos system — Sony HT-A9
  2. Best wireless surround sound system for music — Sonos Arc 5.1 Home Theater Bundle
  3. Best value wireless surround sound system — JBL Bar 9.1
  4. Best sound quality — Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ Bundle
  5. Best for 4K TV compatibility — Samsung HW-Q990B

...And we'll also break down the different types of wireless surround systems and explain how they work.

S

urround sound is hands-down the best way to enjoy movies, TV shows, and video games. Being able to hear the action around you draws you deeper into your favorite stories. A high-quality surround sound system is the closest you can get to the joy of going to the movies from the comfort of your home. There's some work involved in getting all that set up, though.

A traditional component home theater installation requires running speaker wire across your floor to each set of speakers in your system. This can be pretty time-consuming and not always easy, depending on the shape and layout of your room. A wireless surround sound system gives you that immersive experience you're looking for, but without all the extra hassle.

Just how "wireless" are these systems?

The term "wireless" in this case refers to signal transmission. Wireless surround sound systems can transmit and/or receive audio signals without wires linking each speaker. There are a few wireless systems that feature battery-powered surround speakers, but the vast majority will require each component to be connected directly to an AC outlet for power.

Can I use Bluetooth for surround sound?

In short, no. Bluetooth is a great wireless techology for a lot of applications, but it doesn't currently have the bandwidth to handle surround sound audio signals. You can get impressive Bluetooth stereo music playback through any of the wireless systems on this list, but you'll need a Wi-Fi connection for wireless surround sound.

What are the different types of wireless surround sound systems?

We carry two kinds of wireless surround sound systems. One involves a full set of surround speakers and a wireless transmitter, and there are also sound bar-based systems with wireless surround speakers.

Multi-speaker surround sound systems with a wireless transmitter

Transmitter-based wireless surround sound systems use several satellite speakers placed around your room. This arrangement ensures you're getting sound from key points around you. These speakers communicate wirelessly with the transmitter, which is physically connected to your source via an A/V cable. Usually, this is an HDMI or optical digital cable hooked up directly to your TV. The transmitter and each speaker would then be plugged into AC power.

Sound bar systems with wireless rear speakers

Sound bars with wireless rear speakers work similarly to transmitter-based systems. The bar itself connects directly to your source via an A/V cable. The rear speakers go in the back of your room and receive a wireless audio signal from the bar. Again, each component has to be plugged into an AC outlet. The sound bar's multiple built-in speakers produce a wide soundstage in the front of your room, while the rear speakers provide wraparound surround effects.

If you already own a sound bar and want to expand to true surround sound, you might be in luck. Many sound bars are compatible with optional wireless surrounds. And if you're looking to pick up everything you need at once, we frequently bundle together compatible bars, subs, and rear speakers into a single package. A few of our choices below fit that very bill.

Sony HT-A9 home theater speaker system

Best for 3D audio — Sony HT-A9

The Sony HT-A9 is a powerful multi-speaker system that offers an expansive, cinematic soundstage with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Each of the system's four speakers has a front-firing woofer, soft dome tweeter, and up-firing driver for overhead effects.

The HT-A9 can simulate up to 12 "phantom speakers" for immersive sound no matter how the speakers are configured. Sony’s advanced 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology lets you tailor the sound to the shape of your room. You can track sounds coming from all directions, from the whoosh of aircrafts zipping overhead to the squeal of tires on pavement, and get pulled into your favorite movies and games.

To complete the action-packed soundscape, you can match the HT-A9 with one of Sony's powerful subwoofers. The 6-3/8" SA-SW3 adds low-end impact to help you feel the sounds around you. And if you want even deeper bass, you can also hook up the 7" SA-SW5.

Want to snag the HT-A9 and a sub at the same time? We bundle them together to keep things nice and simple.

Details:

  • wireless home theater surround sound system with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • 360 Spatial Sound Mapping calibrates the sound to match your room and speaker configuration for an expansive, immersive soundstage
  • four speakers connect wirelessly with a control box that plugs into your TV via HDMI
  • each speaker has an up-firing driver, soft dome tweeter, and woofer
  • built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from compatible devices

Sonos Arc 5.1 home theater bundle

Best wireless surround sound system for music — Sonos Arc 5.1 Home Theater Bundle

The Sonos Arc is one of our most popular and best-rated sound bars. This speaker-packed bar uses angled side-firing and up-firing drivers to create a precise, spacious soundstage all by itself. But the Sonos Arc 5.1 Home Theater Bundle doubles down on that by adding two Sonos One SL speakers for true wraparound effects and a Sonos Sub to add weight and impact to all the onscreen action. This bundle provides a full 5.1.2 home theater system without running wires all across your floor.

The coolest thing about Sonos, though, is that it's easy to expand the sound throughout your home. Every Sonos component can tie into a wireless multi-room music system that you can control from an intuitive app on your phone.

You can stream the same music in in several rooms or different music in each room. Start up the Frozen soundtrack for the tenth time of the day for the kids, and you can still rock out and pump iron to Metallica in your home gym. With access to all the major streaming services available, you've got a ton of options, too. Sonos lets you play whatever you want, wherever you want it.

If your budget is a little tight, the value-packed Sonos Beam (Gen 2) 5.1 Home Theater Bundle is a great alternative. It offers the same expandability and ease of use Sonos is famous for. And it's got more than enough oomph to hold its own.

Details:

  • Sonos Arc Dolby Atmos capable sound bar, Sub (Gen 3) wireless subwoofer, and two One SL surround speakers
  • sound bar features 11 built-in speakers, including up-firing drivers and angled side tweeters
  • sub has two force-canceling woofers for deep, rich bass with no cabinet buzz or rattle
  • communicates with other Sonos players via Wi-Fi or a dedicated SonosNet wireless network
  • built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for easy voice control

JBL Bar 9.1 Dolby Atmos sound bar

Best value — JBL Bar 9.1

The JBL Bar 9.1 delivers big 5.1.4-channel sound from a streamlined bar and sub with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The bar packs in nine speakers including up-firing drivers for overhead effects, while the 10" down-firing subwoofer brings the action onscreen to life with hard-hitting bass. All that makes for a great movie night, but what makes the 9.1 truly special is a pair of built-in 100% wireless surround speakers.

The 9.1's surround speakers are detachable and rechargeable. This means you can leave them connected to the sound bar to charge, then detach them when you want a deeper home theater experience with true wraparound sound effects. No wires, no power cables, just place them wherever is most convenient for your space. They can play for up to 10 hours, but only take 3 hours to reach a full charge. Now that's "wireless."

Plus, with Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Chromecast built-in, the JBL 9.1 makes it easy to stream your favorite music when you're not watching TV.

Details:

  • sound bar, wireless subwoofer, and true wireless surround speakers
  • surround speakers feature built-in batteries and recharge when attached to the sound bar
  • delivers 5.1.4-channel sound with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • bar features 9 built-in speakers powered by a 400-watt amplifier
  • Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and Chromecast built-in for wireless music streaming from compatible devices

Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+

Best sound quality — Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ Bundle

The Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ was designed to be an audiophile-grade system and offers super-detailed wireless hi-fi sound. This compact bar supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for immersive, object-based home theater and high-resolution audio tracks.

You can play high-res tracks stashed on a USB flash drive or stream them from services like TIDAL, Qobuz, or Amazon Music HD with the bar's built-in Wi-Fi (subscriptions required). The system also supports high-fidelity Bluetooth with compatible devices.

The Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ Bundle adds the PULSE Sub+ subwoofer and two FLEX 2i surround speakers for fantastic home theater sound with punchy, accurate bass and wraparound effects.

You can control and group each of the bundle's components with the BluOS app and even expand by adding more Bluesound players into your home to build a wireless multi-room system with up to 64 zones. If you want sweet sound somewhere in your house, Bluesound can deliver.

Details:

  • includes Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR+ with virtual Dolby Atmos support, PULSE SUB+ wireless subwoofer, and two FLEX 2i wireless surround speakers
  • bar features six audiophile-grade drives and two passive radiators powered by a 120-watt DirectDigital™ Hi-Fi amplifier
  • communicates with other Bluesound components via your home network (wired or wireless)
  • high-fidelity Bluetooth with aptX HD audio coding for more musical detail
  • supports high-res audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz

Samsung HW-Q990B 11.4-channel sound bar system

Best for 4K TV compatibility — Samsung HW-Q990B

Samsung's HW-Q990B 11.1.4-channel system delivers impactful, room-filling Atmos sound with a bar, sub, and rear speakers. The bar is absolutely jam-packed with 15 speakers that include side-firing, corner-firing, and up-firing drivers for a detailed, wide soundstage. The rear speakers help position sound behind you and the punchy sub adds deep bass to pull you into the action onscreen.

This system works great with almost any TV, but it's designed to complement Samsung's impressive line of QLED TVs with a range of extra features. When connected to a compatible Samsung QLED, the sound bar system can work together and synchronize with the TV's built-in speakers via Q-Symphony for an even fuller soundstage. With SpaceFit Sound+ the TV's powerful processing can be applied to the audio signal and calibrated to match the room for greater immersion.

The HW-Q990B can even receive a wireless Dolby Atmos signal from compatible Samsung TVs, for an even simpler wire-free set up.

Details:

  • powered sound bar with wireless subwoofer and rear speakers
  • delivers 11.1.4-channel sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • bar features 15 built-in drivers driven by a 384-watt amplifier
  • Q-Symphony feature allows bar to synchronize with select Samsung TVs to create a fuller soundstage
  • can receive a Dolby Atmos signal via Wi-Fi from your compatible Samsung TV
  • SpaceFit Sound+ lets compatible Samsung TVs process the audio signal based on your room for added clarity and immersion

Get started today!

There are tons great wireless systems to choose from, and we're here to help. If you need a little guidance finding exactly what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly Advisors.

Free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

Popular questions customers ask

Surround sound uses more than one or two speakers to reproduce the immersive multi-channel soundtrack technology of modern movies and TV. The single center channel speaker contains most of the soundtrack dialogue, and pairs of left/right speakers add layers of surround sound, starting with front, then side, then rear, then overhead. Subwoofers supply the super-low frequencies.

Wireless surround sound systems use Wi-Fi to send Dolby and DTS soundtrack audio to your surround sound speakers.

It depends. If you connect all your sources to your TV, it needs to have an HDMI output and be able to support the Dolby and DTS surround sound formats that you want. If not, look for a system that has enough HDMI inputs for all your sources.

In this case, “wireless” generally means “without speaker wires.” But all speakers in a wireless surround system still need power, which means that in most cases, each speaker will need to be connected to AC power (plugged into an electrical outlet). Some sound bars connect wirelessly to surround sound speakers connected by speaker wire to a dedicated wireless transmitter/amplifier. Other systems use wire-free, battery-powered side, rear, or overhead surround speakers.

Last updated 11/21/2022
  • Donald from Aldie, va

    Posted on 1/12/2023

    I'm hard of hearing,,when I watch my tv the background music is to loud,,, I want it turn way down ??? Can it be done ??

  • Guri Primor from California

    Posted on 10/19/2020

    do the speakers work with 220 volt?

    Commenter image

    Emily S. from Crutchfield

    on 12/3/2020

    Hi Guri! No, you should not plug any of these into a 220v outlet. Thanks for the question!
  • Matt from Cleveland, OH

    Posted on 10/14/2018

    Looking to re-do my office setup....primarily for music listening but also TV occasionally......currently Klipsch Synergy B3 bookshelf speakers, Klipsch C1 center channel (which doesn't work with my receiver for music), Klipsch subwoofer, Pioneer VSX 517 receiver. All from 2006-2007 era. Looking to replace all....keep the bookshelf setup, get a nice center channel, subwoofer, upgraded receiver....and looking to add wireless rear speakers that would be wall mounted about 2-3 feet behind me on the wall. Am not interested in a soundbar or anything like that, and would like a receiver with multiple digital outputs for TV and music. I wouldn't have too big of an issue plugging in rear speakers to power outlets. I don't know if higher end wireless speakers exist that I could get the rest of the system from the same company (all my other systems are all the same.....Magnepan, Klipsch, Sony). Any ideas?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 10/15/2018

    Hi Matt! Thanks for reaching out — I'm putting you in touch with one of our advisors, who will get a bit more information from you to help design you new system.
  • Kevin from Garden Grove

    Posted on 9/21/2018

    I have a Denon X3400 receiver and QSC 10" as my front right and front left speaker, a QSC as my subwoofer and klipsch as my center. I would like to wirelessly add surround speakers(Left/right) and possible surround rear(left/right). What speakers do you recommend? I read that Denon has HEOS technology. I heard its similar to Sonos. Would you recommend going this route?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 9/24/2018

    Hi Kevin! I'm putting you in touch with one of our Advisors who will help you choose the best options for your system.
  • Edwin A Santiago from Chelsea

    Posted on 8/5/2018

    My question is can you tell me if the Cavelli cv-19 5.1 home theater is as good as the bose home theater system not wireless?? Which would you keep?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 8/8/2018

    Hi Edwin, I'm not familiar with Cavelli (it's not a brand we carry), so I'm afraid I don't have any insight into their speaker performance.
  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/3/2018

    Hi Oscar, that's right. Your soundbar uses a proprietary wireless technology that is designed to work with the SWA-9000S wireless surround speaker kit. The good news is that it comes with everything you need to complete your system.

  • Oscar from Las Vegas

    Posted on 7/3/2018

    Hello, I have Samsung soundbar HW-MS6500. I wanted to add wireless surround speakers and a SW, but I was told it only works with Samsung brand speakers. Do you know if that's correct?

  • Dr M G Prabhu from dubai

    Posted on 5/25/2018

    I am a dental surgeon by profession, having music as my hobby, which is my life, runs in my blood. Most of the weekends I spend my time meeting people whohave dedicated their life for music, music equipements, the sound systems, visiting the adio/video shops where I can find the audio/video units, to study, understand. I am a member of many groups in music, but since I started to go through your articles, your explanations, all extrodinary, very simple to understand and digest even to very beginer in music field. God bless you all people who have dedicated your life for music, as music being a God's gift, which relieves the mind from every tensions, soothing thousands of people at the same time, really music is marvellous. I learnt a lot,a lot, specially in home theater science, right from buying the right units, placing them, matching them, etc, with a great depth and success too. Keep the good work. Congratulate Mr Bill and the entire team for their great success.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/23/2018

    Hi Matt, an HDMI switcher, like this one from Metra, is ideal for your scenario. It lets you connect up to five HDMI sources to a single HDMI input on on your TV.

  • Matt from Melbourne

    Posted on 3/23/2018

    Hi! I have a Sonos Playbar now and I'm looking to purchase the rest of the 5.1 components. However, my challenge is my Sony TV only has 4 HDMI inputs and I have 5 (minimum) HDMI devices. I've been looking for a Sony receiver to expand my HDMI options, but there is nothing I'm finding that doesn't also include an amp and wired speaker options. I really don't want to drop hundreds on something with all of those features when I just need something to expand my HDMI device count to pass A/V to my TV. Would love to hear what you guys are recommending to customers who are embracing the wireless speaker systems, but have needs that traditional AV receivers offer.

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