Best surround sound systems for gaming (in 2016)

In case you hadn't noticed, your TV's built-in speakers are rubbish. Tinny, tiny and totally unsuitable for the sumptuous sonic output of today's best games, they're an embarrassment to you both. But we can fix that. On this page you'll find some amazing sound systems, all of which can be used to turn your gaming setup from average to stupendous. Gunshots will be satisfying, punches will be meaty, and you'll hear where your enemies are as they approach thanks to surround sound mixing. You'll never go back to built-in audio.

But first! Be aware that a decent amplifier is essential on many setups (don't worry - we'll tell you whether you need one in the header of each product in this list). This allows you to plug your game console or other surround sound source in via HDMI, then send the split signal to the individual speakers at a decent volume. Here's a good one:

This Yamaha RX-V379BL costs $279.95 from Amazon US and features everything you could need, including 4K HDMI 3.0 support for future-proofing. There's also Pioneer's VSk-430-K, which is £229.99 from Amazon UK. Such amps may seem expensive, but keep in mind that an audio setup is only ever as good as the weakest part of the chain. And power is important.

But anyway - onwards to the speakers:

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System (requires separate amplifier)

This is the number one best-selling Surround System on Amazon and with good reason. These speakers have got magnetic shielding to avoid interference, there's a separate sub-woofer for deep bass and the satellite speakers have both woofers and tweeters for powerful mid-range and crisp treble. They're $134.99 from Amazon US or the very similar Yamaha NSP40BLB set is £141.59 from Amazon UK.

Quad L-ite Plus 5.1 speaker system (requires separate amplifier)

The latest evolution of the dependable Quad L-ite range, this 5.1 speaker set is small in size so would work well if you're pushed for space. It's also come down a lot in price since launch (it was around £2,000), so what was already an impressive offering is now even more enticing at £649 from Amazon UK.

Logitech Z-906 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers (comes with amp)

This system is THX 5.1 certified so you'll be getting crystal clear, 5.1 channel surround sound for your games (and movies too, of course). At £274 from Amazon UK and $249.99 from Amazon US (for an almost identical model), this is a great all-in-one system that can connect to up to six devices. Be warned that it's not quite as big as the older and now vastly price-inflated Z-5500, but if you've never owned that, you'll still be very impressed with this.

Onkyo HT-S5700 5.1-Channel Network A/V Receiver/Speaker Package (no separate amp required)

This little beauty doesn't compromise anywhere. The amp is built-in and it's got six HDMI 2.0 ports so you'll get high-quality audio from all your HD sources, and at 90w per channel, it's loud too. There's a heap of extra functionality in there too such as Wifi, Bluetooth and even Internet Radio built-in. You are paying a premium for such a slick piece of home entertainment tech, but it will satisfy all your needs. It's $579.98 from Amazon USor this very similar model is £399 from Amazon UK, though it lacks Wifi connectivity.

Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (requires separate amplifier)

This set of premium quality speakers requires an amplifier (recommended power of 20-100 Watts RMS) but will suit small or large rooms. It's got a 200W subwoofer so suffice to say the bottom end won't be lacking. It's $318.87 from Amazon US.

Sumvision V-Cube 5.1 Bluetooth Home Cinema Surround Sound Speaker System (no separate amp required)

This is a budget-priced setup, but will make your games sound better than the TV's speakers, without question. There's no HDMI input so you'll need to run a Frankenstein-esque setup, most likely from the headphone jack on your TV. But it's nice and loud and only £49 from Amazon UK. Worth a look, even if you only end up with stereo and not actual surround sound goodness.

Looking for more buying advice on great tech? We can help! Here are the Best TVs for gaming, the Best Xbox One deals, and the Best PS4 deals.

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The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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