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Want to spice up your home with an amazing home theatre system? Want incredible sound that complements your TV and enhances your experience? You’ve come to the right place, as we break down what you need to know, about speakers, receivers and even, Dolby Atmos. So, how do you choose the best home theatre system for you?
Having a great home theatre system can heighten your entertainment experience. Imagine having sound that cascades over and around you, each frequency simultaneously shining above and seamlessly working with, each other.
Generally speaking, home theatre systems are composed of multiple components working together to give you the best experience. The technical aspects can be a little bit daunting, but that’s why we’re here; sit back, relax and let us guide you through the world of home theatre.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of home theatre systems, let’s start with the basics.
Power, (measured in Watts), is usually a good indication of the volume of a set of speakers or an amplifier can reach, but it is not the only factor. Resistance and sensitivity of speakers and amplifiers should also be considered, due to amplifiers/receivers being responsible for driving power to the speakers. As such, if more power is driven to a speaker than the speaker can handle, more heat is generated, not only distorting the sound, but also potentially damaging the speaker.
Channels refers to how many avenues of audio your receiver or soundbar can play, and can be arranged in configurations such as 5.1, 7.2, 9.2.4 etc. Essentially, the first number refers to how many speakers you can use with your setup, while the second number relates to how many subwoofers can be connected.
The third number refers to your overhead, or upward-firing speakers, utilised with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats. So, in the case of a 9.2.4 home theatre setup, you are able to use four overhead speakers.
Sometimes all those numbers may not be present when you are searching for the optimal receiver; instead it may refer to it being a seven or five channel system. This refers to the number of speakers. A 5.1 configuration is known as a five channel setup, while a 5.1.2 is a seven channel setup. The subwoofer is not counted in this regard.
There are two main audio formats that you will come across quite often, and which you most likely would have heard about before now. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are ‘object-based’ audio codecs designed to create multi-dimensional sound by adding a height element. What we mean by ‘object-based’ is that instead of directing specific audio to specific channels, sound is treated as an object in space.
With Dolby Atmos, the height element is achieved by reflecting sound off the roof and down to the viewer, using a set of upfiring speakers. Audio can be delivered to specific speakers for accurate and realistic sound. Put it this way, if you are watching a plane taking off overhead, Dolby Atmos will utilise the upfiring speakers to direct sound from above. Through this, Dolby Atmos can effectively use 128 object-based channels.
DTS:X works in a similar way, but doesn’t require additional height speakers. Instead, DTS:X adds a height element to your existing surround sound speakers, pairing with an auto-calibration functionality to determine what channel is best to output a given sound. Due to this, theoretically, DTS:X can utilise an infinite number of channels.
Now, we know that can seem like a lot, but in a nutshell, Dolby Atmos requires additional upfiring speakers while DTS:X adds a virtual height element to your existing 5.1 or 7.1 setup.
If you don’t want to delve into the complexities of a full home theatre speaker setup but still want to improve your TV audio, a soundbar may be ideal for your home. A soundbar is comprised of three speakers, centre, left and right; providing three channel audio. This can be paired with a compatible subwoofer for some additional bass impact.
If you want to add surround sound to your setup, some soundbars are compatible with additional discrete (separate or individual) speakers, allowing you to create a five or seven channel system. However, if you think you may want to eventually add surround sound after you purchase your soundbar, it may be better to buy a model that comes with additional discrete speakers.
Soundbars typically take up less space than a full home theatre system, generally running down the length of your TV. And because soundbars are a single unit, they are altogether cheaper than home theatre setups.
But if you are looking to be utterly immersed in high-quality audio, you are going to want the precise sound control and area coverage that can only be provided by a proper home theatre system.
A receiver is the control centre of your home theatre, connecting your TV, speakers, subwoofers, game consoles, and Blu-ray players into a single hub. Receivers allow you to switch between audio and visual formats, as well as decode surround sound formats. It’s your receiver that sends audio to the individual speakers and subwoofer, creating surround sound.
When choosing your receiver, your first consideration should be how much power output you desire. If being set up in a medium-sized room, 300 watts should be sufficient, and a large room will benefit from 500+ watts. That being said, it’s better to have more power than you think you need, you can always turn the receiver down. Running a receiver at higher volumes can cause faster wear on the components and cause sound distortion.
Working similarly to receivers, amplifiers take low voltage signals from your equipment, be it a TV, game console or assorted player, and increases the gain to power a pair of speakers. It is due to this that multiple amplifiers can be used across your home theatre setup, each powering a particular set of speakers or audio device. Essentially, this leads to higher volume, and a clearer signal.
Amplifiers generally do not possess HDMI inputs like many modern receivers, but they typically supply a cleaner sound to connected audio devices, such as a record player. One of the key differences between amplifiers and receivers is that amps cannot interpret and enhance video signals, making them purely beneficial for audio.
Now, we can get to the fun stuff and take a look at all the speakers you can employ in your home theatre system. There are three main types of speaker, each delivering varied nuances in sound frequency, tonality and audio quality.
Satellite speakers are designed to be smaller and nondescript installations, but they aren’t able to deliver incredibly-forceful bass tones. They can be paired with a subwoofer to provide you with those dynamic lows.
Bookshelf speakers are the next step up in speaker design, typically a little bigger than Satellite speakers and featuring a wider soundstage. The separation of the tweeter and woofer provide a higher-quality sound, balanced across frequencies. Due to this, bookshelf speakers are great for bolstering the sound quality of your TV.
Floorstanding speakers are the largest of the three types, standing stalwart around your room. With their larger size, comes the greatest soundstage, forceful bass impact and great separation of the different frequencies.
When establishing your home theatre system, it’s important to match your speakers with your receiver. This isn’t as important when dealing with bundled home theatre packages, but it’s still great to know, especially if you are going to be adding additional speakers.
Speaker resistance, or impedance, refers to how easy or difficult it is to transfer sound between the amplifier and speaker. Measured in ‘ohms’, resistance ratings commonly come in two, four, six and eight ohm varieties. A higher resistance, e.g. 8 ohms, will require more power to drive the sound, which can lead to a slightly muddied or distorted sound, primarily at higher volumes. Alternatively, a lower resistance speaker, like a 4 ohm model, will require more power from your amp and have a clearer sound, but they come with a higher price tag.
It’s important to note that your speaker is the only member of the duo that has an impedance rating; instead, the receiver/amplifier will cover a range of resistance levels. This is because your receiver is driving or pushing the sound to your speakers. While you should try to match your speaker and receiver resistance levels as closely as possible, if there is going to be a difference, your speaker should always have a little more resistance.
That's all folks...we hope this Buying Guide will really make your shopping with The Daily Sale Shop easier and remember we sell everything that we have talked about above.