When building your home theater, your first priority is obviously the TV. High-definition visuals with accurate colors and smooth frame rates can definitely up the ante for a cinematic look and feel. However, that experience can be ruined by not-so-stellar audio coming from your TV’s built-in speakers.
This simply means that for a truly immersive viewing (or even gaming) experience, you need a complete home AV system. For those who have already purchased an awesome TV, here are some tips for getting the best sound system or speakers for your set-up:
Take Note of the Room’s Size
One of the biggest factors you should consider when buying speakers is the size of the room. The usual logic is to correspond the size of the speakers to the amount of available space. After all, if you buy too-big speakers for a small area, you might get overwhelmed by the audio. There are also manufacturer recommendations regarding the distance of the speakers from the walls, along with the distance of the speakers to the listeners.
In addition, you should also think about the literal space you have in the room. Wall-mounted speakers are ideal for smaller spaces but again, consider the manufacturer’s positioning recommendations. Some other models include slim floorstanders and bookshelf-type speakers.
Sometimes, Soundbars Are Your Best Choice
For those with a smaller budget or those with limited audio knowledge, soundbars are a foolproof option for improving the sound quality in your home theater. They’re much better than your TV’s own speakers, but are also easy to set up since they’re self-contained. Some even have Bluetooth connectivity, along with optical and/or HDMI connections.
Soundbars are also designed to be space-savers, which makes them ideal for small homes and apartments. If you’re planning on adding to or improving your sound system in the future, choose models with compatibility features. For example, there are soundbars that you can incorporate into a surround-sound system.
Minimize Echoes in the Room
According to science, sound travels in waves; these waves can bounce on hard surfaces, creating echoes. This is not an ideal situation, especially when you want to hear sounds more clearly. As such, a room that has plenty of hard, smooth surfaces that can reflect sound waves might not be the best location for a home theater. (You can test a room for echoes by simply standing in the middle of it and clapping hard.)
If you don’t have any other location at home for your theater set-up, you can instead try to “soften” the echoes. An easy solution is to break up the surfaces that bounce the sound waves, like adding plants on top of tables. If the room has windows, add some thick draperies. Carpets are also a good idea; if you can’t afford wall-to-wall carpeting, then strategically placed rugs can also work. Basically, simple sound-proofing steps can do wonders to the sound quality of your home theater.
Passive, Powered, or Active?
If you’re more of a sound connoisseur, then you need to decide whether you want passive, powered, or active speakers. Do note that most speakers available in the market are passive, which means the power comes from the amplifier and the signal then gets directed to their respective drivers via a crossover.
Powered speakers have built-in amplifiers inside the speaker cabinet and thus require their own mains feed. The signal is amplified before it gets passed through a passive crossover, separated into frequencies, and finally fed to the drivers. On the other hand, active speakers have separate amplifiers feeding each driver. They’re more expensive but can give you more accurate sound calibrations.
Obviously, if you are more particular with your sound experience, active speakers are the way to go. Still, this doesn’t mean that passive and active speakers have bad sound output. There are plenty of affordable options that can produce quality audio.
Consider a Different Brand of Subwoofer
Are you the type who’s loyal to one brand when it comes to electronics? Well, you might want to make an exception for your subwoofers. Indeed, a manufacturer’s top-tier speakers don’t immediately translate to good subwoofers. And since subwoofers are crucial in producing those bass and sub-bass sounds (which create fuller audio outputs), you need to really be discerning about what you buy.
Thankfully, there are plenty of reviews you can find online to help you decide on the best brand of subwoofers. Be patient in reading through them; better yet, ask for advice from your more knowledgeable friends or even in forums/groups dedicated to audio equipment.
You might also want to consider buying two or more subwoofers for better bass distribution and a more dynamic sound. Finally, as with the main speakers, placement is key to optimum results; however, some of the best sound outputs usually have two subwoofers placed on either the two front corners of the room or one in front and one in the back.
Once you’ve got your home theater system ready, all that’s left to do is prepare some snacks and drinks. Then, put your feet up and get ready to enjoy your favorite movies and TV series in their full glory!