Home Theater Audio: What You Need To Know
One of the cornerstones of a truly stunning home theater system is great audio. You might have the latest 4k Ultra High Definition 64” TV but if you are only using the tiny little on board speakers you are missing out on half of the experience. Fortunately there are many different options to suit just about any space. Let’s take a look at some different audio setups.
Traditional Surround Sound System:
Easily the most recognizable of the bunch is the traditional Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound system with 5 speakers and usually a subwoofer. This is the one that will get you that movie theater sound you are after, as long as you don’t buy the absolute cheapest big box special (and even those will sound better than the crappy speakers attached to your TV.) The biggest downfall of this variety is running the wires to the satellite speakers without turning your living room into an electronics spider’s nest. Wireless speakers are an option, but they require batteries that need to be changed on occasion, and if you are anything like me, chances are those batteries will only ever get changed once.
- Provides most immersive experience
- Variety of price points including very inexpensive
- Satellite speakers are usually small and easy to hide.
- Messy wire runs or batteries that need to be changed out.
This is a versatile solution that comes in many different forms such as the set of free-standing tower speakers above. There are compact 2 channel bookshelf speakers, and some even come with a subwoofer for better reproducing those low frequencies. This is the setup I personally use, just to avoid the wire running.
You might even occasionally see an old set of floor shaker speakers floating around in the wild as well. They might not be modern, or pretty but it is hard to compete with a set of 12 inch woofers in the loudness department!
- Many different shapes, sizes, and looks to compliment home decor.
- Generally fairly inexpensive.
- Sound quality is improved over on board speakers.
- Lacks the immersive qualities of surround sound systems.
The soundbar is the newest of the audio systems I have outlined here. Many flat TVs have been hung on the wall, which has the effect of increased floor space… and reduced counter space that a set of speakers could live on. The Soundbar was created to hang on the wall right under the TV, providing better sound and looking good while doing it. Most Soundbars are 2 channels, but you can also find them with subwoofers and even satellite speakers to provide another way to get full surround sound.
- Can be wall mounted.
- Different options to suit different needs.
- Lack of rich bass without a subwoofer
What system do you like best? let us know in the comments below.