While most gadgets have become gloriously intuitive, surround sound systems seem to be stuck in amber. There are usually cords and cables everywhere, the pros and cons of different products aren’t always clear, and even basic features require working knowledge of obscure hi-fi audio lingo. We can help. Whether you’re completely new to this category, or you're simply curious about the current state-of-the-art in immersive audio, we’ve highlighted the systems worth looking into. It’s a wide range, with something for whatever type of movie or music lover you happen to be.
If you have the room to spare, strongly consider Pioneer’s big, bold SP-PK52FS system, which boasts a 100W subwoofer and the kind of floor-standing tower speakers that could dwarf smaller home theater spaces. This system’s primary selling point is power – another reason to avoid dragging it into an apartment – for which it’s unparalleled at this price. But there are no fancy connectivity features, so expect to use traditional, wired audio-video sources (as well as a receiver). [$550; pioneerelectronics.com]