If you're watching movies, playing video games, or enjoying your favourite TV shows and only using the speakers built into your television, you're missing out. A great set of living room speakers doesn't have to break the bank or take up a lot of space. Here are five of the best, based on your nominations.
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The "best" speakers will vary depending on your individual needs. There are many of things to consider: the size of your living room, the orientation of your home theatre system, and the amount you can afford to spend. Recommendations from others can definitely help, but you still need to do your research. It also pays to shop around for speakers, as pricing varies widely (remember to factor in shipping if you're buying from overseas, a major consideration with larger speaker sets).
Polk Audio (RTiA Series)
Polk offers a broad variety of models in an assortment of price ranges, and the RTiA series is particularly popular amongst Lifehacker readers. for walking the line between price and performance more than anyone else. The RTiA range is available in bookshelf and floor-standing models and is made from real wood. Many readers also praised the Series II, a line which is technically discontinued, but still available if you do some digging.)
Energy (Take Classic 5.1 System)
If you need to fill an entire living room with sound and you don't want to spend a lot of cash, Energy is a solid choice. Energy is actually a Klipsch brand, but its speakers are aimed at a less audiophile market. The Take Classic 5.1 speakers have been warmly received by reviewers, making them an ideal choice for savvy shoppers. Each speaker comes with a sleek, all-black finish, and the individual speakers themselves don't take up much space, so they're great for small apartments or living rooms.
Bowers and Wilkins (600 Series/800 Series Diamond)
Bowers and Wilkins' offers high-end audio equipment with price tags to match. Particular favourites are the high-end 800 Series Diamond -- the studio speakers used at Abbey Road Studios -- which are individually sculpted and come in both bookshelf and floor-standing models. They're clearly professional speakers -- anything in that price range aren't meant for the average buyer's living room, but you'd love what you heard if you had them. The 600 Series are designed for the home theatre. They offer wood and metal cabinets and are available in bookshelf and floor-standing varieties.
Klipsch (Quintet/Reference Series)
Klipsch enthusiasts noted that with a great amplifier, its speakers can sound just as good as more expensive name brands. The Quintet series was a particular favourite, but is being discontinued in favour of the HD and Reference lines. If you're not interested in buying piecemeal, grab an entire system at once.
Paradigm (Studio/Monitor Series)
Those of you who nominated Paradigm praised its sound quality, especially for its relative affordability compared to other manufacturers. The Paradigm Studio line includes wood cabinets, quiet enclosures, multiple wood and finish options, and bookshelf and floor-standing models. The space-saving Mini and Atom Monitors deliver great size with tiny footprints. There's also a broad line of centre channel speakers and subwoofers available for both models to add on to the systems.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favourite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Tell us in the comments.