Thursday, January 26, 2017


When it comes to being entertained in a home theater, audio seems to always be standing behind video: it's the TV picture, never the sound that gets touted. But having a really great home theater means that the audio is also dynamic and just as high in resolution as the picture is. And while a big screen TV also has stereo speakers built-in, the quality of the audio can be improved immensely by having separate audio components providing the sound. So what are the choices?
Sound Bar
A sound bar is a self-contained audio device that contains audio speakers (more colloquial described as "drivers") as well as an digital amplifier to take the audio from the TV and "send" it to the speakers. The sound bar doesn't require lots of cables to be properly attached, and more often than not includes "smart features" that go beyond providing a simple menu, like Bluetooth audio streaming capabilities and apps for playing music and videos from off the Internet. The size of the sound bar can vary, as can its ability to provide stereo sound or surround sound. And the sound bar can even be curved to match your curved TV. Most sound bars will include a subwoofer to provide for bass to enhance the overall sound -- in many cases the subwoofer is wireless and so eliminates a connection and just needs to be placed in a corner and plugged into a wall outlet for power. There is also the advantage in that, if the TV is wall mounted, the sound bar can be wall mounted below the TV also.

Surround Sound Audio System
The traditional way to have a surround sound system is by placing a set of speakers throughout the area where the home theater is located. This consists, in general, of front left and right speakers for stereo, a center channel for dialogue, left and right speakers to the side or behind the listeners for surround effects and a subwoofer to handle the bass. In almost all cases the speakers must be physically wired to the AV Receiver (i..e, the amplifier) which typically is placed in front of the listener, often in a cabinet on which the TV stands. The AV Receiver is able to handle the chores of being a video switcher as well as a full throated audio device for controlling the audio streams -- giving much more personalized control (and greater volume and clarity in most cases) for the listener. Features also abound in the AV Receiver -- automated matching of the various speakers to one another being just one of the many.

Personal Listening
For those who wish to listen in private, headphones become the "audio system" for the home theater. Headphones can be personalized in many ways but only when bought: you can get over the ear headphones or on the ear, headphones using moderate or large audio "drivers" and a variety of features that affect their placement and comfort level. In addition, while running a physical connection from the AV Receiver to the headphones is possible, being able to wirelessly connect a headphones is possible as well using either a wireless device that attaches to the headphones or having this wireless capability built in. Additionally many AV Receivers will have special audio systems built in to take advantage of the pros and cons of a headphone so as to provide the best sound to it (with multichannel surround sound capabilities existing as well).

Having great sound in your home theater shouldn't be a hope but something realized. Making an educated decision as to how to have the sound delivered will guarantee that what you are hearing will be just as exciting as what you are watching.


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