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.
Yamaha's 5.1 system is the definition of a modern home theater audio package, albeit with more power and one key input. Along with the latest range of wireless connection options – Bluetooth, WiFi, and Airplay, which is specific to Apple devices – the YHT-599U’s receiver features a pass-through for 4K TVs (the higher-resolution usurper’s of HD’s throne), making it a safe choice for the foreseeable future. This system also has Yamaha’s Virtual Presence Speaker mode, which improves separation, and the impression of different sonic sources, though the effect is most noticeable with music. [$650; usa.yamaha.com]