Getting into home theater can seem daunting at first glance. If you spend a few hours browsing through the online haunts of audiophiles, you might come away from your experience thinking that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a worthwhile home theater system. While this is a hobby that seemingly has no upper limit, it is also one that can be surprisingly accessible. If you're just looking for a way to enjoy your movies, television shows, and music a bit more, then you've come to the right place. This brief guide will provide you with a few options to wade into the broader world of home audio without breaking your budget.
What You Need…
The number of available channels defines the typical home theater system. At the lower end of the scale, a 2.0 or 2.1 system has two channels (right and left) or two channels plus one subwoofer. In other words, this is a basic stereo setup. At the higher end, surround sound systems may have five or seven channels. Most home audio speakers are passive, which means that they cannot be directly plugged into a sound source. Instead, the source is plugged into an amplifier that then drives the speakers.
So, what do you need to get started? For a simple home theater system, all you really need is a pair of speakers and something to drive them. Most home theater systems use home theater receivers. These big black boxes include an amplifier paired with additional components to allow you to switch between audio/video sources or decode surround data. Modern receivers also tend to feature Bluetooth connectivity and other options for integrating the receiver into a smart home.
…And What You Don't
If you've looked at the home theater systems at your local big-box retailer, then you've likely noticed that they all include either five or seven speakers plus a subwoofer. While you'll need at least one pair of speakers for your front left and right channels, it isn't necessary to immediately purchase one of these larger sets or to buy enough individual speakers to fill out a surround system. Purchasing a good receiver and a single pair of speakers is enough to get you started on the right foot, and it is easy to add more channels to your system in the future. This flexibility can be especially helpful if you are on a tight budget or if you aren't quite sure what you want.
Making the Right Choice
In addition to choosing how many channels you want your system to include, you will also need to decide if you want to purchase your components individually or buy a system-in-a-box. Buying a system-in-a-box gets you everything you need, but the quality of the individual components may be mediocre. Of course, this isn't always true, but it will pay off to spend some time carefully reading reviews of any systems that you are interested in purchasing.
On the other hand, buying speakers and a receiver separately will allow you to select the exact components that you want. Building your system this way will give you more ability to customize the system to your needs and budget. Another significant advantage is that you can buy higher quality speakers for your front channel and add more speakers as time and money allow. By doing this, you are more likely to buy components that you will keep for the long haul, saving you money in the future as you expand your system.
The Importance of Auditioning
However, you choose the build your system, be sure to audition any speakers that catch your interest. Home audio is a highly personal, often contentious hobby. A speaker that's loved by others may sound too harsh to your ears. The more speakers that you listen to, the better you will be able to judge the type of sound that you enjoy, ultimately allowing you to purchase a home theater system that you and your family can enjoy listening to for years to come.Share
10 December 2019
I'm glad you decided to stop by. My name is Duarte Ribeiro. I decided to create this website because I am obsessed about good sound quality and I am tired of events that have unnecessarily bad audio and visual. For some, it may not be noticeable, but to others, the audio can be like nails down a chalkboard. For that reason, I have begun researching sound systems on my own time and have been slowly creating content that may be helpful to anyone who will be holding an event or anyone else who wants to use audio equipment for an event.