Video and Audio Center Blog



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

UPGRADE YOUR AUDIO SYSTEM



When was the last time you watched a movie with the sound turned off? No matter how big or splendid the TV picture is — without sound there’s just no enjoying it. And because today’s BIG SCREEN TVs are now so thin and svelte, there’s just not the room for including big speakers that can provide big sound to accompany the big picture.

That’s why it’s way past time to upgrade your audio system. Besides the obvious enjoyment of having greater volume and surround sound effects, listening to music becomes an event, not a tiny sound coming from a portable speaker or a smartphone.

The basics needed for a home audio system are simple, but making choices as to which components will best serve your needs will take time and effort. As will placing them correctly in your living room, den or wherever that 4K TV or HDTV has been placed. That’s why many forego the route of the Do-It-Youselfer and have a professional installer like Just One Touch take over: they not only have the knowledge as to what will give you the best possible sound, but also as to how to place the audio system so that it performs at its best.

So here are the basics that will transform whatever room you’re watching in — as it makes your home theater experience as good as going to the movies. Just without having to pay those insane prices for a candy bar and soda.


The A/V Receiver

An Audio/Video Receiver (named as such due to receivers having added video capabilities some time back) provides the means for powering the speakers that the home theater needs. As the “hub” of all the components, the receiver decodes the audio formats, like Dolby Digital and DTS (as well as even newer audio technologies like Dolby Atmos and others) and amplifies the audio signal so that it can drive the various speakers that provide surround sound. There are many added benefits found in different AV Receivers, but providing for multiple speakers is always the main concern — be that a 5.1 system (meaning a front left, front right, center channel and pair of surrounds along with a powered subwoofer) or 7.1 or even greater.

Additionally, the receiver can be used as a “video switcher” — this works by having the various video components (such as a Blu-ray player, a cable box, etc.) sending their video signal into the receiver. Then a single output cable goes from the receiver into the TV or front projector. This also has the advantage of sending the multichannel audio into the receiver, provided that the cable being used between the video device and receiver is an HDMI cable.  
The Speakers

A set of speakers provide sound for the  home theater. A pair of left and right speakers are the basics, good for playing stereo from a CD or a vinyl turntable or even a digital file. But to enhance the sound, a center speaker (a.k.a. center channel) will highlight dialogue and voices. Then added to that will be a pair of surround speakers (left and right) to allow for the surround effects that make movies so exciting. A subwoofer in the corner (self-powered) joins in to add the strong bass that makes action movies so dynamic. More speakers can be added too, especially if the sound format calls for them, but the 5.1 audio system is the basic setup needed for a home theater to sound good. Not that there are not alternates that can be used — for example, a speaker bar sound system. Here you have a number of speakers contained in a single unit, with surround speakers and a subwoofer often part of the package as well (and in some cases working wirelessly too). 


The Hardware
Amplifiers and speakers and other components can’t be left on the floor — they all need to be properly positioned not just so that they can perform their tasks correctly, but so they are safe for those watching to be around. So that’s why speaker stands and TV cabinets and other furniture and special devices are needed. That’s also where a professional installer can excel: helping to place those elements of the home theater safely and ubiquitously.

A home theater needs a great audio system just as it needs a great TV. Careful planning and patience will serve you well as you work on upgrading your audio system.

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