Whether you are putting together your first home theater or planning a big upgrade to the system you already have, it’s important to know the fundamentals. Home theater can be a big investment, making it imperative that you have a good idea of what you are looking for before you start your research. Having a good base of knowledge can help you narrow your focus, especially when it comes to the lifeblood of your home theater system – your speakers.
Know your components
Cruise down to your local stereo shop, or surf around on the web, and you are bound to find a plethora of options. They come in all shapes and sizes, and if your last system was put together when 5.1 was cutting edge, you are going to find a lot more options now as well.
Be familiar with the names given to parts of each setup. A 7.1 setup adds back surrounds to the usual center, fronts, surrounds and a subwoofer. Cutting-edge Dolby Atmos seeks to create a 3-dimensional soundscape, incorporating ceiling or floor speakers.
Consider the space
The first thing to consider is the room. Is it a dedicated home theater room, or does it serve multiple purposes? Big loudspeakers may not be the best choice for an area that isn’t just for entertainment enjoyment. Sometimes you need to find a happy medium between sound quality and a room’s decor. The best home theater systems don’t stick out, but instead blend well with the room.
It’s also important to consider the space you have in the room, and where the speakers will fit into that space. Will they need to be wall-mounted, or can they sit on the floor? Knowing your space constraints can help you narrow down your list of possibilities. Obtaining the best placement is also critical to getting your money’s worth.
Speaking of budgets, it might be tempting to grab individual sets of speakers from different manufacturers in an effort to save money. That might be easier on your bottom line, but it can result in a less than perfect experience, even if all the speakers in your setup are reputable brands. That’s because every manufacturer’s speakers carry a slightly different sound and tone to them. Even pieces made by the same company can sometimes not fit together well. Those that do play well together are sometimes referred to as tonal matches. Being tonally matched can help a lesser set sound more cohesive.
You should also consider your level of use. Are you going to be spending time with your home theater every day, or just a couple times a week? Making a huge investment might not be worth it if it’s not going to see steady use.
When choosing new speakers, it might be tempting to care more about the subwoofer, or your front speakers. The truth is, however, over 50 percent of the sound on a movie soundtrack comes out of your center channel. Don’t skimp on the part of your system that will be doing most of the heavy lifting!
Is it time to upgrade your home theater? Contact our team at Performance Audio. We carry the very best from brands like McIntosh Audio, Denon, Paradigm and Vandersteen. We’ll help you find your next great system, and handle installation so you get the system you want without any hassle.