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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Speakers for Your Projector

When building a home theater around a projector, it‘s easy to get caught up in specs like screen size, resolution, and brightness. But if you want a truly immersive viewing experience, you can‘t overlook the importance of high-quality speakers. Your projector may be capable of a massive, 4K picture, but if you pair it with weak, underpowered speakers, the overall impact will fall flat.

Choosing the right speakers for your projector is crucial, but it can also be confusing given the wide range of options on the market. From compact soundbars to full-fledged surround sound systems, there‘s a lot to consider in terms of sound quality, features, connectivity, aesthetics, and budget.

To help simplify your search, we‘ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to choose the best possible speakers for your projector setup. We‘ll cover the main speaker types, the key specs and features to look for, and how to optimize your speakers for your particular viewing space. We‘ll also highlight our top product picks for each category based on in-depth research and analysis.

By the end of this guide, you‘ll have all the knowledge you need to select the ideal speaker setup to complete your projector-based home theater. Let‘s dive in!

Projector Speaker Options: Pros, Cons and Top Picks

The first step in choosing speakers for your projector is deciding on the general type of speaker system you want. There are three main categories to consider, each with distinct benefits and drawbacks. Here‘s a detailed breakdown, along with our top product recommendations for each type:



  • Space-saving design
  • Simple setup
  • Affordable
  • Good for dialogue clarity


  • Limited bass without subwoofer
  • Narrow soundstage vs. separate speakers
  • Fewer surround/Atmos effects

Top Picks:

  1. Sonos Arc ($799) – This premium soundbar is expensive but offers exceptional sound quality, Dolby Atmos support, and seamless wireless streaming.
  2. Vizio Elevate ($799) – Another great Dolby Atmos soundbar with unique rotating speakers for wide surround sound.
  3. Yamaha YAS-209 ($349) – An excellent mid-range option with DTS Virtual:X surround processing and Alexa voice control.

Bookshelf/Tower Speakers


  • Superior stereo imaging
  • Powerful, dynamic sound
  • Strong bass response
  • Flexible placement
  • Work well for both movies and music


  • More expensive than soundbars
  • Require more space
  • May need stands or mounts
  • Separate AV receiver usually required

Top Picks:

  1. KEF Q150 ($599/pair) – Simply some of the best bookshelf speakers you can buy for under $1k, with fantastic neutrality and detail.
  2. SVS Ultra ($1,599/pair) – These flagship tower speakers deliver astonishingly lifelike sound with rich bass and a huge soundstage.
  3. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 ($399/pair) – Unbelievable value in a bookshelf speaker, with great build quality and audiophile-grade sound.

Surround Sound Speakers


  • Highly immersive movie experience
  • Multiple channels for enhanced realism
  • Dedicated subwoofer for deep bass
  • Dolby Atmos/DTS:X height effects possible


  • Takes up significant space
  • Complicated to set up, with many wires
  • Expensive, especially for "full" 7.1 or Atmos
  • Requires AV receiver with ample channels

Top Picks:

  1. Klipsch Reference Premiere 7.2 System ($4,910) – A phenomenal complete surround package, with detailed sound and high sensitivity for easy pairing.
  2. SVS Prime 5.1 System ($1,496) – One of the best values in surround sound, this compact 5.1 system is perfect for small to mid-sized rooms.
  3. Aperion Novus 5.1 System ($1,995) – Known for their neutral, uncolored sound, these beautiful speakers are hand-built in the USA.

Wired vs. Wireless Connectivity

Another key consideration when choosing projector speakers is how you‘ll connect them to your projector (and other components). The two main options are wired and wireless. Here‘s a quick comparison:

Wired (HDMI, Optical, RCA, etc.)

  • Uncompressed, full-resolution audio
  • Lower latency (delay)
  • More reliable signal
  • Supports surround sound

Wireless (Bluetooth, WiFi)

  • Much easier to set up
  • Flexible placement with no cable clutter
  • Can stream audio from mobile devices
  • Slightly compressed audio
  • Limited surround sound support

Many projectors have built-in Bluetooth, allowing you to easily connect wireless speakers. Some also have wifi for connecting to your home network. While these wireless options are incredibly convenient, Bluetooth does compress the audio signal which can reduce quality.

If you want the best possible sound, we recommend using a wired connection from your projector (or a separate AV receiver) to your speakers. HDMI or optical connections can carry full-resolution surround sound, while analog RCA cables are fine for basic stereo. The downside is that wired connections are more complicated to set up and limit speaker placement.

What About WiSA?

WiSA Logo

You may have heard of WiSA, a new wireless audio standard that promises high-resolution, multichannel sound with virtually no lag. Several projector makers including Optoma and LG have released "WiSA Ready" models that can transmit uncompressed sound to WiSA-certified speakers, allowing for a truly wireless surround setup.

The catch is that WiSA speakers tend to be quite expensive, and your projector must specifically support the standard. But if you want the convenience of wireless without sacrificing audio quality, it may be worth looking into WiSA-compatible gear.

Key Projector Speaker Specs Explained

Once you‘ve settled on a speaker type and connection method, you can compare individual models by looking at their specifications. But if you‘re not an audiophile, many of these specs can sound like technical jargon. Here‘s a plain English breakdown of the most important speaker specs and what they mean for projector pairing:

Frequency Response – Indicates the range of frequencies (low bass to high treble) the speaker can reproduce. The wider the range, the more detailed the sound. Look for speakers that can reach from around 60 Hz on the low end to 20 kHz on the high end.

Sensitivity – Measures how efficiently the speaker converts power into sound. The higher the sensitivity (usually given in decibels), the louder the speaker will play with the same wattage. Around 90 dB is good for a projector-based setup.

Power Handling – The wattage range the speaker is designed to handle. You‘ll want to match this to the output power of your projector‘s internal amp or an external receiver. Most projector speakers fall between 20-200 watts in terms of recommend amplifier power.

Driver Size – Generally, larger drivers are better for bass and volume. Woofers 5 inches or larger are best for projectors, while tweeters with soft domes excel for dialogue clarity. Also look for stiff, lightweight driver materials like aluminum or titanium.

Impedance – Expressed in ohms, this tells you the electrical resistance of the speaker. Most home theater projectors and receivers work best with 8 ohm speakers.

Optimizing Projector Speaker Placement & Room Acoustics

Even the highest-end speakers will sound underwhelming if they‘re not set up properly in your room. Speaker placement and room acoustics play a huge role in sound quality, especially with a projector-based system. Here are some tips to get the best performance from your projector speakers:

Two-Channel Stereo

Stereo Speaker Setup

For a basic two-speaker stereo setup, place the speakers to the left and right of your projection screen, angled slightly inward toward the listening area. Ideally, the two speakers and your main seating position should form an equilateral triangle. Exact placement will depend on your room‘s layout, but aim to get the speakers around ear height and 6-10 feet apart.

Surround Sound

5.1 Surround Sound Setup

For a 5.1 surround system, the three front speakers (left, center, right) should sit just below or above the projection screen. Place the center channel as close to exact center as possible, with the left and right channels 20-30° off-axis. The two surround speakers belong to the sides of your seating area, slightly elevated and angled down toward the listeners.

If you‘re using a 7.1 system, the two additional speakers (surround back left/right) should be behind the seating area. Place Dolby Atmos height speakers in the ceiling above the main listening position, slightly in front of the seats.

Subwoofer Placement

Bass frequencies are omnidirectional, so you have some flexibility with subwoofer placement. Corner placement can enhance bass response, but avoid putting the sub right against a wall. Experiment with a few different locations to find the most balanced sound. If you have two subwoofers, try placing them in opposite corners of the room.

Room Acoustics

Hard, reflective surfaces like bare walls and windows can create unwanted echoes and muddy the sound. Consider adding some soft, absorptive materials like thick curtains, area rugs, or acoustic panels to tame reflections. You don‘t want to completely deaden the room, but a balance of absorption and diffusion will give you the clearest sound.

Making the Most of Your Projector Speakers

By choosing high-quality speakers that match your projector‘s capabilities and optimizing their placement, you‘ll be well on your way to an incredible home theater experience. But to really get the most out of your setup, there are a few more tips to keep in mind:

Break In Your Speakers

Don‘t judge your new speakers right out of the box. The drivers and other components may be stiff at first, leading to harsh or thin sound. Let your speakers "break in" by playing a variety of content (at moderate volume) for at least 20-30 hours. You should notice the sound smooth out and open up over time.

Use a Receiver With Room Correction

An AV receiver with built-in room correction processing can work wonders for getting the best sound from your projector speakers. These systems (like Audyssey, YPAO, etc) measure your room‘s acoustics with a special microphone and automatically adjust speaker levels, distances, and EQ to compensate. It‘s an easy way to overcome less-than-ideal speaker placement.

Experiment With Content

Not all movies, TV shows, and video games are created equal in terms of sound design and mixing. To really experience what your projector speakers are capable of, seek out content with outstanding audio. Look for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks and high-resolution streaming formats like Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio.

Don‘t Forget About Music

While you may be building your projector speaker system primarily for movie watching, don‘t overlook its potential for music playback. Whether you‘re streaming Spotify or playing vinyl on a turntable, high-quality speakers can bring new depth and nuance to your favorite albums. Experiment with two-channel stereo music to appreciate the full-range capabilities of your speakers.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, the best speakers for your projector setup will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. But by following the guidance in this article, you‘ll be equipped to make an informed decision.

To recap our key takeaways:

  1. Choose a speaker type (soundbar, bookshelf, surround) that matches your space and desired level of immersion.
  2. Decide on a wired or wireless connection method based on your projector‘s outputs and your convenience/sound quality priorities.
  3. Look for speakers with wide frequency response, high sensitivity, ample power handling, and quality driver materials.
  4. Take the time to optimize your speaker placement and room acoustics for the clearest, most balanced sound.
  5. Invest in room correction and break in your speakers to further enhance their performance.

By prioritizing audio quality and following best practices for setup, you‘ll create a projector-based home theater system that looks and sounds absolutely incredible. You may never want to visit a commercial cinema again!