Setting up a surround sound system for an apartment

Setting up a surround sound system for an apartment

Are you unsure about how to optimize your surround sound system for an apartment space? You’re not alone! Whether you’re looking for advice on which system to choose or where to place it, you’ve come to the right place!

Building a sound system in a small area

The consensus is that sound systems and apartments go together like chalk and cheese. Concerns like limited room space, shared walls, and the inability to modify walls to accommodate speakers, all contribute to this commonly held belief. The truth is, however, that when constructed under specific conditions, sound systems can be installed in smaller apartment spaces without these concerns being an issue.

Surround system setup

Space concerns

Overcoming the space confines is one of the biggest concerns for apartment owners when it comes to surround sound systems. The best way to overcome this is to shop specifically for slim and compact speakers and amplifiers. By limiting the amount of space being taken up by equipment, tenants avoid filling most their living space with sound components and creating an even smaller living space. Space can be maximized even more by wall mounting speakers and hiding the amplifier inside a TV cabinet or even wall mounting a shelf for it.

Shared wall concerns

Angry neighbors is another concern for any surround sound lover. There is little that can be done to avoid noise transference when sharing a wall…or is there? Decoupling speakers is one of the easiest ways to decrease noise transference from an apartment to a neighboring apartment through a shared wall. Although complete decoupling is not possible, even partial decoupling will limit disturbance of a neighbor. Another way to overcome the concern of angering a neighbor is to utilize a frequency limiting technology. The most well-known technology for this purpose is Audyssey LFC. Audyssey LFC works to maintain sound quality within a room, but limits frequency levels to where they are not transmitted outside of the room and into a neighboring apartment.

Wall modification concerns

A final concern of apartment owners looking to build a surround sound system is limitations on modifications that can be made to walls within the apartment. Most often this is a minor concern in comparison to those mentioned above, and it can be solved with a few small tweaks. For example, running wires under wire coverings on the floor or tucking them into the edge of the carpet can avoid the need to drill holes in walls to feed cables through. Better yet, wireless speaker kits can solve the problem of wires all together!

Apartment surround sound system options

With the main concerns of implementing surround sound systems in apartments tackled, what surround sound system options should the apartment owner look for?

Mountable speakers

For the apartment owner looking for mountable surround sound speakers, Bose is always a good place to start. They offer a wide range of systems to choose from depending on available space, but the Acoustimass 10 Series V home theater speaker system is a great space saving option, with four speaker arrays as well as a center channel speaker and a powered Acoustimass module.

Compact speakers

Apartment owners looking for a compact home theater speaker system can find exactly what they’re looking for in the Polk Audio Blackstone TL250 system. This system has four compact satellite speakers as well as a center channel speaker.

Wireless speakers

When it comes to wireless speakers for apartment living, the SONOS Playbar gets the best reviews. Although technically a soundbar rather than a set of wireless speakers, apartment owners agree hands down that this SONOS system is the best wireless option. For apartment owners not looking to spend $700 on a soundbar, however, the Samsung curved soundbar systems with subwoofers come almost as highly recommended for half the price!


Finally, for the apartment owner that doesn’t have the budget to invest in a good quality surround sound system, headphones should remain an option. When it comes to the best headphones for surround sound TV watching, go with the Sennheiser Momentum M2. These over the ear headphones keep out external noise and rate the highest in terms of comfort.

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