Can You Mix and Match Home Theater Speakers?

Written by Jonah Matthes
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When you are ready to set up your home theater speaker system, you may be thinking about working with a bunch of different brands and equipment, since you’ll need a number of speakers and speaker types to build a great home theater system.

You might be wondering, can I mix and match brands in my home theater speaker system? It's best to stick with one brand and line for your entire home theater speaker system. However, you can mix and match speakers, but there are some guidelines to follow. If you choose to mix and match, you’ll want to make sure to mix and match properly, otherwise, you could run into big problems. And even if you do follow the general guidelines, it’s not always guaranteed to be a perfect fit, unlike a speaker system by one brand that is designed to work together.

  • Choosing one brand and line for your home theater speaker system across the board is a great and safe option for those not wanting to dive into the ins and outs of different speakers and their capabilities.
  • When mixing and matching, it’s important to know the capabilities of your speakers, so that they work together properly. Ensure that they have similar dynamic ranges and sensitivity ratings.
  • It’s also important to know what types of speakers to mix and match. Many home theater system gurus prefer to mix and match brands to achieve the best sound for their home theater system because they know what brands produce the best speakers for the different purposes.

Maybe you’re wanting to add speakers to your current home theater sound system, like subwoofers or surround sound. Perhaps you’re interested in a few different brands of speakers to serve different purposes in your home theater.

There are a lot of questions to ask. If you mix and match, will your different speakers work together properly? Will you be able to achieve the sound quality that you’re after with only one brand and line? How will you know if you’re making the right choice?

The Pros and Cons of Mixing vs. Matching Speakers

Pros and Cons - mix and match home theater speakers

Using multiple brands for your home theater sound system may sound like a reasonable option to save time and money. You can save money by using your old speakers and pair them with new speakers for other uses, and you can save time researching different brands by purchasing one brand for your entire home theater speaker system.

Will you get a better sound going with the top brands in each category, or will you get a better sound with a system that is made to work together? The last thing you want to do is invest in multiple brands to get a wonky-sounding speaker system or run into problems over the long-term.

There are a few different paths you can go down, and each path has its advantages. The safest path for speaker and home theater newbies is to choose one brand and one line for your entire speaker system since this system is specifically designed to work seamlessly as a unit.

You don’t have to learn about the different qualities of speakers from various brands, and you will only have to contact one company if you ever have any problems with your speaker system. Whether you’ve got thousands or hundreds to throw down on your all-in-one home theater system, there’s a great set for you.

On the other side of the fence, some people argue that you are better off choosing different brands for different areas of your speaker system, because the brand that specializes in a certain type of speaker will produce the best results.

For example, you’ll normally find that your go-to brands for subwoofers are different than your go-to brands for your main and surround sound speakers.

If you are new at building your own home theater, it doesn’t mean that you can’t mix and match brands, but it might be in your best interest to consult a home theater expert to ensure that you are making the right decisions for the long-run.

When to Mix and When to Match Speakers

When you’re mixing and matching different speakers in your home theater, there are some important rules to follow.

First, it’s best to stay in one brand for each purpose. Choose one brand for all of your main speakers, so that your center channel speaker perfectly transfers sound between the left and right main speakers. For your surround sound, stick to one brand for the entire system, and the same goes for your subwoofers. It’s best not to use odds and ends to fill up your home speaker system because mixing and matching brands in the first place can present problems.

Besides going with one brand and one series for your entire speaker system, the safest option for mixing and matching speakers is to only choose a different brand for your subwoofers.

If you do plan on purchasing subwoofers for your home theater system, you’ll definitely want to look into the brands that specialize in subwoofers, such as SVS, BIC, ELAC, and Epik because the quality and sound will far outweigh the brands that aren’t known for their subwoofers.

Choosing Speakers that Work Together

It’s important to be aware of the potential downfalls that you might run in to when choosing different brands of speakers to serve different purposes. Different brands of speakers carry different qualities and capabilities, so you’ll want to make sure to look at the specifics of different brands and lines of speakers.

Here is a great article going over the specifications of soundbars. The size of your room and how you set up your system also matters.

If you have a large room, you’ll want to use speakers on a 7.1-channel system with side and rear surround sound, and if you have a smaller room, a 5.1-channel system with two surround speakers will do.

When it comes to matching your center channel speaker to your other front speakers, size matters. If you opt for compact speakers, you’ll need a smaller center channel, and if you choose floor standing speakers, you’ll need a large center speaker to match up with the heavy output. In addition, the timbre, or the sonic balance, of the front three speakers should be the same or very similar.

Most importantly, you’re going to want to make sure to choose speakers with similar output capabilities to preserve your speaker system’s dynamic range, and speaker sensitivity needs to be fluid throughout your system. For example, some Klipsch products have a sensitivity of 110 dB, and other name brands are less efficient at 81 dB or so, making an inefficient pairing.

Making the Right Investment

When you’re building your home theater, it’s an investment, so it’s important to invest in the right equipment. It needs to meet your needs in the short-term and last for years to come. If you’re choosing to mix and match speakers based on what’s cheapest, you may want to reconsider.

Don’t choose the cheapest option because it's likely that your speakers aren’t going to work together optimally. It’s worth the investment to find the right brand of speakers that fit your budget while ensuring that they will work together to the best extent.

How to Choose the Right Path for You

Now that you know the pros and cons of mixing and matching different aspects of your home theater speaker system, the question is – what path is right for you? Should you stick to one brand and line for your entire system? Are you going to purchase subwoofers? Should you go with different brands for different purposes in your home theater system?

Since there are a few different ways to go, it’s best to start with doing your research. Can you find a line of speakers by a great brand that meets all of your needs, including your budget?

Some great options are from top brands like Klipsch, Paradigm, Pioneer, Yamaha, and SVS. If you can, then why not go the safe route. If you want to splurge on subwoofers, you can add a specialty brand. If you have your heart set on different brands for different purposes, just make sure they will seamlessly work together.

If you run into any problems, be sure to look into them right away. It’s easier to return something than live with the problems for years.

If you have some speakers already that you want to use in your system, make sure that they match up with any new purchases. If you aren’t sure of this at any point in time, consult with a professional.

Related Questions

What are some of the best brands for an all-in-one home theater system?

Some of the top recommendations for an all-in-one home theater system are with brands like Bose, Sonos, Klipsch, Onkyo, and JBL. Each brand will fit different needs and budgets, so be sure to check out all of them to make sure you making the right choice.

Here is a great Klipsch home theater speaker set! This is one of the higher-end all-in-one sets. Great for a very minimal footprint, while also providing amazing audio quality!

Here is another awesome home theater speaker set by Polk. This set is far cheaper than the Klipsch set, but is still a great quality system!

What brands are recommended for subwoofers?

If you’re looking to get a great low-end sound in your home theater system, subwoofers are a great choice, and there are great options for every budget. Some of the top recommended brands include SVS, ELAC, BIC, Harman Kardon, HSU Research, Epik, Rhythmik, Polk, Klipsch, and Velodyne.

Where can I go to get advice on my home theater speakers?

To get expert advice when choosing your home theater speakers, there are a number of different people and places you can turn to. One of the most popular places to buy home theater speakers and to get help is at Best Buy.

Not only are their salespeople knowledgeable, but you also have Geek Squad to turn to for advice or any emergency. Among major retailers like Best Buy, you can go to specialized technology stores for great advice and support. In addition, you can contact different brands individually to get more information.

The important thing is that you do your research, and you don’t rush into a major purchase without looking at it from all aspects.

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About Me

Hi! I’m Jonah. I grew up addicted to different electronics. I began working for an Audio/Video installation company years ago and realized my passion for Home Theaters! The Home Theater DIY is a place for me to share my different findings and experiences about home theaters and home electronics. For more information, check out my about me page!

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