Nothing can replace the experience of being totally immersed in your home entertainment. Whether it’s gaming, TV, streaming music or movies, where you put the speakers affects your surround sound experience. Trying to figure out which systems to get and all those different configurations can be confusing, especially when you don’t have a lot of space to play with. This is why planning your home audio before buying is essential.
When you’re looking for high-quality home audio, you’ll see a bunch of titles, like 6.1 or 7.1-channel surround, which can look intimidating. These denote the different types of configurations, depending on your layout. The most common and simplest type is the 5.1-channel surround, which means five speaker channels with one subwoofer. Usually, you have a speaker trio in the front, located left, center and right, and two in the back on either side with the subwoofer in between.
The other two configurations follow the same speaker/subwoofer format, with permutations that add another subwoofer, indicated as 7.2. These configurations need more room. For 6.1, the speaker trios are evenly spaced in front and back, and the subwoofer can sit closer to the front. With 7.1, the trio in front works in conjunction with a speaker pair on either side of the sitting area and two directly behind. Both of these configurations are designed to generate enveloping sound.
For any home theater system, subwoofers are necessary. They recreate the low frequencies you hear in music or during rumbling scenes in certain movies. Subwoofers need more power to produce these sounds, and you need to figure out if you need them as passive or powered. Passive subwoofers need an external amplifier to reproduce those low-frequency sound effects and are primarily for custom installations that require special wiring. Powered subwoofers are most commonly used. They don’t need an extra amplifier, and they only need one cable connection to your receiver or processor.
If you’re looking for something that delivers quality audio for your mounted flat panel TV, consider getting a sound bar. It’s a comprehensive surround sound speaker that doesn’t need a lot of space, isn’t complex and is a sleek alternative to its bulkier companions. These units have their own amplifiers and can be more of a cosmetic match to a low-profile 50-inch TV. Some have separate subwoofers, but if you want a deeper sound without that extra equipment, consider a sound base. It’s a cabinet that provides both a base and full-range surround sound audio.
There’s elegance in having fewer wires to deal with, and that's a setup that some find more aesthetically pleasing. Wireless home speaker requirements include a transmitter and receiver for audio signals. The transmitter would need to connect to certain outputs, and the speaker boxes would need to connect to a power source. Keep in mind that not all home theater kits offer true wireless options, so you’ll have to shop around for one that has a surround sound speaker system that includes a wireless subwoofer. Going wireless is a practical solution for anyone who wants a clean setup without compromising good sound.
If you live in a small apartment or a college dorm, you need to be more economical without sacrificing entertainment value. One of the best ways to do that is with a multifunctional smart TV that incorporates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Chromecast capabilities. It’s got to have the necessary ports for Blu-ray and DVD, as well as an input for your PC, so it can double as a monitor. For sound, standing speakers may be too bulky, so a wireless sound bar with Bluetooth and music streaming capability, along with a small subwoofer, creates a better combination.
When choosing a home theater system, you’re looking for completeness, quality and easy installation. In addition to great components, you may also want to consider a few practical points that can affect your sound. If you’re dealing with non-carpeted floors, they tend to reflect sound and create uneven bass. You may need to invest in specific area carpeting. Wood panels create extra vibrations. Walmart.ca has a variety of foam bass traps to help absorb some of the unwanted acoustics.