Whether it’s a family room or whole house AV, it’s important to gather as much information as possible to make the smart decision. Our industry and the products change rapidly.
We’ll come to you or stop in our showroom. The best way to get the most out of your home theater is to plan it and let a professional guide you. Let’s talk about the goal of the room or the system as a whole and how it will be used. This is where our industry knowledge and years of experience are used to your advantage.
Intro to Home Theater
Selecting audio components can be one of the more daunting tasks if you do it on your own . On the surface, it would seem that if you just go out and buy the best components you can afford, they’ll sound great with both movies and music. And that could be true but a better system will more accurately reproduce the audio and video you feed it, regardless of whether that signal is from a movie or music. But it’s often not that simple. While assembling a home theater system that’s equally amazing with movies and music may be a big goal, unless you have unlimited funds, you’ll probably have compromises to make. At that point, you might want to steer the system’s performance strengths one way or the other with the right mix of speakers and electronics. But how do you go about matching these up? The first step is to figure out where you fall on the music/home theater scale. The best time to think about all of this is before you buy a system. Ask yourself a few questions: Do you and your family listen to a lot more music than watch movies, or is it the other way around? When you do listen to music, is it on for background as you go about your business, or do you love to sit down in front of the speakers and immerse yourself? Then there are aesthetic considerations—the gear’s appearance and how it fits in with your décor. How will those factors influence your buying decisions? If you’re an audiophile who no longer has time to listen but your family will be using the system daily for TV and movie viewing, you’ll want to plan your budget accordingly.
Room Size Matters
Before you can select speakers or electronics to drive your system, take a good look at your room. If it’s big around 2,500 cubic feet or larger and you crave a visceral, feel-the-sound-in-your-bones experience with movies and music, you might seriously consider buying full-size, full-range speakers, and audio separates with a powerful dedicated amplifier instead of an A/V receiver. Big floor-standers backed by serious power reserves will typically play louder and with lower distortion than small bookshelf speakers. Even if you only want to crank your system just once or twice a year to impress your home theater pals, it’s nice to have the capability.
If you’re serious about movies, room size also affects how many speakers needed for your surround system. A bigger space may need extra surround speakers in the rear or the sides to fill the room. Surround modes like Dolby Pro Logic IIz or Audyssey DSX fully utilized the number of speakers in the room.
If the room is small, say 12 by 18 feet, and you never need to feel it shake, a small subwoofer and a decent mid-priced Audio Video Receiver should be adequate for both home theater and music. The bottom line is that room size and volume capability go hand in hand and should be linked to your system’s performance. Big rooms with high-volume-potential systems will by necessity have a bigger ticket attached than systems for small rooms.
How to Balance Speakers
Not surprisingly, the selection of speakers is perhaps the most critical factor in leaning the system more toward music or home theater playback.
If you’re primarily using your home theater for movies, consider putting more money into a better center-channel speaker and accompanying subwoofer. If music is the focus, put the majority of your speaker budget into the front left and right speakers.
Once you’ve identified what you want, don’t make the mistake of buying by brand alone. Sometimes we have a tendency to associate specific brands more with movies or music. But model selection is the key, even within a company’s offerings and not all manufactures make the best speaker for a specific application.
Bass in Your Place
For the home theater, the subwoofer’s prime responsibility is supplying low-frequency effects. For music, the sub needs to deliver an accurate, tight control that’s perfectly integrated with your speakers. We always suggest taking a look at the subs offered by the manufacturer of your other speakers.
Don’t forget the need to control it!
A system is only as good as its control. There are a lot of options out there. We offer 3 quality solutions and we can find something for everyone, any budget. Rule of thumb, if you have 3 or more remotes you use to control your AV, it’s time to consider consolidation in to a simple to use universal remote. Here is a peek at universal remotes we support.
We’ve given a lot to think about, and hope this will help you make more informed choices when planning your purchase. Our up-to-date industry knowledge is based on our own experiences and informational reviews of Top Picks and recommended products from many publications, manufactures, and training.
Of course, if your budget is big, you will have a superb-sounding home theater and music experience. You might even be able to enjoy the ultimate best of both worlds and have two completely separate systems; one optimized for home theater, the other for critical listening.