Home Cinema speakers come in all shapes and sizes. From floor standers to book shelf to stand mount, there are speakers to suit all kinds of situations and budgets.
In home cinema use we aim to have three identically sized speakers across the front left, centre and right. We also aim to have these speakers at the same height so the sound across the front creates a balanced sound field. Sounds that pan from left to right and back again sound natural and at the same volume.
We employ the same type of strategy for the rear sides, (and rear back in 7.1 systems). Sometimes the use of bipole, dipole or tripole surrounds are preferred for the side speaker duty as they create a more diffuse sound to the rear and sides of the room.
You might find that speakers designed for home cinema use are not the best choice for playing back stereo or music tracks. This is because some speakers, such as THX certified units, will have to achieve certain dispersion characteristics under the certifications rules which don’t help imagining in a stereo set up, but sounds great with film soundtracks across a number of seating positions.
Speakers for home cinema use can be passive or active. Active speakers have the amplification built-in to the speaker enclosure and match exactly to the driver and tweeter used. Passive speakers will require a external amplification to drive them.
There are hundreds of popular speaker manufacturers such as Kef, B&W, Mission, Monitor Audio and more.