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The Best 2.1 Home Theater Surround Sound System

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/4/2009

After extensive research, we've got the absolute best Home Theater system for your 2.1 setup inside.

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    Best 2.1 System

    You’re sitting there reading the headline wondering “why would anyone in their right mind want a 2.1 system in a 5.1 world?” I don’t claim to understand it either, but the two main reasons I could see for it include space restrictions and the fact that wiring for 5.1 surround is pretty difficult without using wireless speakers that aren’t as good and cost a fortune. However, if money is not an object for you, let me introduce you to the greatest 2.1 “surround” sound system you’re ever going to listen to.

    Denon S-301 “Home Theater in a Box”

    MSRP: $1599.99

    Amazon boasts that you “Save $99.01” on this system, but considering that price tag, I suppose the only people buying this sort of system are those that are very affluent and don’t need to save any money.

    Simply put, this is the best of the best of the best. While it’s lacking an HDMI output, the input should be more than enough to accommodate those that are using HDTVs but don’t have the space to accommodate a really killer 7.1 surround sound system.

    The S-301 would’ve been more at home in pre-recession times, but don’t let the price stop you – the features behind this speaker pair and subwoofer are more than enough to compensate it’s rather hefty price tag.

    First of all, you’re paying for a Denon system – nobody builds them like Denon does. Simply the best materials and resources go into constructing each and every Denon speaker. Much like BOSE was synonymous with the apex of sound in the 90s and early 2000s, Denon today reigns over the speaker and home theater market looking down on competitors from a great altitude.

    To give you an idea of how powerful these speakers are the environment they produce is something akin to a 5.1 surround sound system. By using special reverberations and other tech, you’ll feel like you’ve purchased a 5.1 system without the extras associated with such a system (though your wallet will feel like you just put a down payment on a nice car).

    Aside from the simulated 5.1 surround sound, these speakers also come complete with a receiver and controller right out of the box. Set-up is so simple a child could do it – just plug in the wires diagrammed on each speaker and then to your HDTV and you’re ready to go.

    As cool as all that sounds, the HDTV is only one part of this package. You can also plug in an iPod or iPhone as well as practically any MP3 player for complete “surround sound” listening. This is a neat feature, but then again, a great $400 dollar receiver with a great $1000 5.1 system still does the same thing for less money.

    While I’m a fan of Denon’s speakers, this thing is just too rich for my blood. I’d rather purchase a less expensive system with a slight reduction in sound quality. Because honestly, between a BOSE and a Denon, you’d have to be quite the audiophile to be able to tell the difference and a comparable BOSE system is a few hundred dollars lighter than this.
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    Related Reading

    Understanding Audio/Video Receiver Specifications and Terminology - The A/V receiver is a important part of a home theater system. Some folks prefer to select a higher-end A/V receiver that offers high output, many different surround sound modes, and easy switching between components. This guide covers terms and specifications for receivers purchased separately.