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Your Options For Home Theater Sound
Nov 03, 2015
Expensive component audio systems provide the best home theater sound, but there are many less-expensive options. Sound bars and pre-matched speaker sets can produce excellent audio at a lower price, and are often the best choice when you’re facing space or budgetary constraints
There much more to home theater than just a high-definition TV or monitor. Even though the stunning video display is always front-and-center, you can’t have a true immersive entertainment experience without equally stunning audio.
We serve clients throughout the tri-state area, many of them repeat customers. For example, we installed automated shades and big screen HDTV for a client in East Hampton, Long Island area of New York; a few months later, he called asking for a number of options so he could decide on a home theater sound system to accompany it.
The ultimate home theater audio setup requires a large room which can accommodate lots of speakers and in-wall cabling, but that isn’t always feasible. There are a number of other ways to get great sound, even when you’re dealing with space and budget constraints. Here are some of the choices, in order of simplicity.
In a small space without room for extra speakers, a simple soundbar which sits above or below your TV can provide a vast improvement over sound from the usually-substandard speakers inside your television – which often aren’t even pointed in the proper direction. Thin soundbars, sometimes called speaker bars, can be found for less than $100 (although high-end ones can cost as much as $2000). They’ll broadcast audio in the proper direction, have both woofers and tweeters so lows and highs are reproduced more accurately, and often come with a wireless subwoofer to be placed wherever you have space.
Passive soundbars are similar to regular speakers in that they require an amplified audio feed from your home theater system; active soundsbars are more expensive because they include their own amplifiers, and some even somewhat simulate a surround sound experience. Either way, they’re a good option for avoiding cable clutter and making the most of limited space. There are a number of drawbacks to soundbars, though, and c|net lists some of them here.
Similar to soundbars, larger passive three-in-one cabinets have built-in center, left and right channel speakers which can be placed on a shelf or on the floor near your TV. They’ll need an amplified audio signal to work, but they’re another way to compensate for a lack of space and get good sound without running multiple cables.
This is simply a catchy way to describe matching surround-sound speakers which can be purchased together, then taken out of the box and set up in 30 minutes. If you don’t mind wires running along the floors or walls of your home theater, these systems “split the difference” between simple sound bars and complicated component systems. All you have to do is position the speakers, run the included wires to them, and you’re in business. Most include small left, right and center speakers, two small rear speakers, a subwoofer and a control module (which may have Bluetooth or WiFi built in to connect the rear speakers wirelessly).
It won’t sound as impressive as a component system, but it won’t be as labor-intensive to install, won’t take up as much space, and won’t bust your budget – high-quality matched speakers can easily be found for as little as $400-$500.
The majority of our DTV Installations clients want a home theater audio system which will give them the very best surround sound quality possible – and that’s one of our specialties. We’ll choose speakers which are perfectly matched and fit your room’s size, décor and quirks (although you can choose them yourself, if you prefer). We’ll run the cabling through your walls or ceiling and mount the speakers unobtrusively for a clean, professional look.
These systems will have at least five speakers and often more (for example, a 7.1 system will have seven speakers), along with a subwoofer and a dedicated audio receiver. And the listening experience for TV, movies or music will be unparalleled. Sure, it will be more expensive ($500 and up) than our earlier suggestions, but you’ll really notice the difference if you compare the options.
We often combine the installation of home theater sound systems with complete home theater design, motorized shades and smart home automation for the ultimate in entertainment, comfort and control. Add in our design experience and great customer service, and you’ll see why DTV Installations has so many positive reviews from satisfied clients. We look forward to adding you to the list.