THERE'S NOTHING LIKE the shake, rattle and rumble of a movie soundtrack to make you feel as though you're in the middle of the action. That's true whether the sound in question is a hail of explosive spears whizzing by in "Mad Max: Fury Road" or the lush score that immerses you in the intrigue of "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Enjoying the same sonic experience in your living room, however, has typically required living with a big, honking A/V receiver and a mess of wires. It took a while, but the wireless revolution has finally found its way to the home theater: WiSA, a new, ridiculously easy-to-use technology lets you conveniently position speakers all around your living room for optimal sound. The amplifier is gone, and so are the pesky wires you once needed to run to each speaker.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. The best wireless bookshelf speaker system we've found priced under $800 is the Edifier S1000DB. With built-in Bluetooth and both analog and digital inputs, this active speaker pair connects to smartphones, computers, and TVs, and lets you easily create a stereo system without a separate amplifier or receiver. The SB1000DB doesn't include Wi-Fi audio streaming or a phono input for a turntable, but those features are easy to add (and if you're a vinyl enthusiast, we have a turntable-ready pick for you too). Our panelists picked the Edifier S1000DB as the best sounding of all the powered, wireless bookshelf speaker systems we tested, and yet it was far from the most expensive.
Most people settle for a sound bar when they want something better than the pipsqueak sound their TV's speakers put out. And since most sound bars have limited abilities when it comes to bass response, a big percentage of those folks buy one that's pre-paired with a wireless subwoofer. But when it comes to delivering true surround sound, only the most-expensive sound bars can compete with a 5.1-channel speaker system driven by an A/V receiver. The CineHome HD is a true 5.1-channel audio system that keeps the wires to a minimum. But many people are allergic to all the boxes and wires that such systems entail, especially when you need to drag speaker cable from one end of the room to the other to connect the surround channels.
The Raumfeld WiFi Soundbar delivers the best price/performance ratio of all the Berlin Acoustics multi-room audio components we tested. Where most manufacturers either make you step up to a higher-end model to get a subwoofer, or have you buy one in addition to the sound bar, Berlin Acoustics includes one in the package. I'll discuss the sound bar first, and then go into the merits of the sub. Six 2.8-inch drivers (cellulose cones) are housed in a 39-inch-wide MDF cabinet and powered by a six-channel 150-watt (RMS) amplifier. That width is a good fit for most mid-sized TVs--it didn't look too small beneath my 55-inch Panasonic Viera.