Aural pleasures: Surround-sound systems

Get the surround sound experience without all the hassles of wiring.

Getting a surround-sound system in your home theatre generally means setting up at least five speakers around your favourite sofa, running speaker wire to all of them, and then figuring out a way to hide all those wires. Well, no more. A sound bar can add to your aural pleasure, as well as clean up that rat’s nest of cabling and complement your ultra-modern furniture.

Although all of the speakers shown here employ slightlydifferent ways of getting that surround-sound experience, they generally work the same way. By using many small speakers, these systems are able to get sound to your ears at different times, tricking your brain into thinking that sound is coming from the left, right or even behind you.

But you don’t have to understand the physics. Just sit back, relax with a favourite movie and enjoy the technology.


Model: DHT-FS3

Specs: Five 22-watt speakers

Price: US$1,199 (on

You can attach your iPod via the optional Denon ASD-1R dock and control it with the DHT-FS3 remote. It also has outputs so you can watch your iPod videos on the big screen.Philips

Model: Ambisound HTS8100

Specs: Six full-range woofers plus two tweeters; 240 watts total power

Price: US$799

This is the real all-in-one solution. A CD/DVD player is built-in, and it can convert those regular DVDs to true high-def 1080p resolution.Yamaha

Model: YSP-4000

Specs: Two 40-watt and two 20-watt speakers; 120 watts total power

Price: $1,799

This Yamaha can focus the sound on a specific location, so you can hear your favorite program over other noises in the room.

XXPolk Audio

Model: SurroundBar

Specs: Seven mid-range speakers plus three tweeters; up to 125 watts per channel

Price: US$949.95

Not satisfied with the amount of sound coming from the SurroundBar alone? Add one or two more rear channel speakers for the ultimate in teeth-rattling sound.X


Model: SLIMstage40

Specs: One digitally controlled speaker, two speakers for rear channel sound, nine speakers for bass; 170 watts total power

Price: US$899

The slimmest solution here is only 3.4 inches deep, including subwoofer. A good choice for cramped spaces or low-profile installations.