Best Affordable Home Theater: NHT Super Surround 5.1
Get big sound for a modest price with the NHT Super Surround 5.1 speakers
Surround-sound speakers have to be versatile.
We ask them to re-create the experience of being in a movie theater, a concert hall and even the battlefield of a video game. Not many systems can deliver the goods without costing more than $1,000 for the requisite five speakers plus a subwoofer ("5.1" in home theater speak).
That's why, at $799, NHT’s Super Surround 5.1 seems too good to be true.
Why we like them
At the heart of the Super Surround 5.1 system you’ll find five NHT SuperZero 2.0 "bookshelf" speakers. These petite models earned a reputation on their own for quality sound. With five of the same, you get perfectly matched sound from your center, front and surround speakers — creating a truly encompassing field of sound.
As a helicopter flies through a movie scene, for example, it sounds as close in the surround speakers as it does in the front, creating a more real-world experience. If your receiver uses common surround encoding like Dolby Pro Logic II with music, you can create the illusion of sitting in a club listening to the band wail away.
[SEE ALSO: Best Affordable Stereo Speakers: GoldenEar Aon 2]
But without a subwoofer, you’d miss the low end that fills in the sound experience of a home theater. NHT’s Super 8 Powered Subwoofer hits the sweet spot: it has enough power to rumble the floor during chase scenes and explosions. But it has enough precision that you can better hear the elements that on lesser subwoofers come across as generic rumble. Together with the highs and mids that the bookshelf speakers produce, you get the full range of sound.
Keep in mind
While most center speakers are low and wide, the NHT Super Surround 5.1’s center speaker stands vertical at 9 inches high. But if that's too tall to fit in front of your TV screen, you can turn it on its side with no effect on the sound quality.
The five perfectly matched speakers may not be for you if you like vocals to dominate your listening experience. Instead of pushing voices out front, as is usually the case with a traditional center speaker in a home theater, the NHT system provides a more blended experience. This isn’t bad — just a bit different.
Finding surround speakers with full range, wide field of sound, and detailed bass is tough enough; getting it for $799 feels a bit like stealing. For all-around home theater sound on a budget, NHT’s Super Surround 5.1 hits the right notes.
Five bookshelf speakers, each having:
- 1-inch soft dome tweeter
- 4.5-inch paper cone woofer
- Dimensions: 9 inches (H) by 5.5 inches (W) by 5 inches (D)
- Weight: 5.8 pounds
- 8-inch driver
- Dimensions: 15 inches (H) by 15 inches (W) by 15.5 inches (D)
- Weight: 18.2 pounds