One of the biggest mistakes people make when building their home theater is using a sub-par sound system. Stunning visual effects on a massive projector screen can be underwhelming when the accompanying audio comes from cheap speakers. Setting up a great surround sound system will take a mediocre theater to the next level.
Check Your Budget
Before beginning any project, check your budget. There is a lot of amazing equipment on the market that can create a stunning sound system. That amazing audio can come at a pretty steep price though.
Don’t get discouraged though. Once you’ve established your budget it will be easy to see what you can afford now, and what you may have to save a little for. Don’t compromise your ideal home theater just because you can’t afford it immediately. Spreading your budget around works sometimes, but in the long run it’s better to have five or six really nice speakers than twelve mediocre speakers.
Gently Used or Refurbished Gear (Sometimes)
Buying brand new stuff is the best. The feeling of opening something for the first time, pulling it out of the plastic and styrofoam, the “new” smell, it’s a rush. Unfortunately, the price of buying new is a little outside of your budget.
A lot of people will tell you it’s okay to get gently used or refurbished gear. This can be okay… sometimes.
If you use older gear, you run the risk of mixing older technology with newer technology, and may have compatibility issues. For example, if you buy a brand new Apple TV, it won’t pair with an old CRT TV.
It’s also important to note that some technology doesn’t change, but other critical pieces to your home theater might. The connections for stand alone amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers haven’t changed in a long time, but TV and other video device connections have changed a lot over the last few years.
Once you’ve found the best equipment you can, it’s time to start buying. This is where you get to see your home theater sound system begin to take shape. It’s exciting, but still requires patience. There’s still steps you should take to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Buying good speakers is the best way to start setting up your home surround sound system. Remember that if you go cheap on the speakers, the quality will match. That being said, don’t blow your whole budget, or go over budget, on your speakers. If the speakers you like are out of your budget, you’ll be happier if you save a little before getting them. Focus on the quality of the sound. Take some time to learn about the speakers you like. You may learn that your budget is inaccurate and you’ll need to re-allocate funds or save before purchasing your speakers. You may only have enough to buy the front three speakers, and you have to add the surround speakers later. That’s okay. You’ll be happier if you get everything you want, but take it as your budget allows.
When you buy your speakers, make sure to match the timbre of each speaker. Having the timbre of each speaker match means that each speaker produces the same sound. If your speakers have different timbre, the sound quality will be altered and unnatural. Matching the speaker brand is also important. It’s the easiest way to make sure the speakers have the same sound quality across all the speakers.
Once you’ve got your speakers all set up, you’ll know exactly how much power you’ll need to have in your amplifier/receiver. This piece should be your next purchase. Since some speakers require more power than others, don’t buy an amp until you know how much power you’ll need. If you’re buying a surround sound receiver with an amp built in, you’ll be happier if you put more of your budget into buying better speakers. Don’t overspend on your receiver. You’ll end up replacing it long before you need new speakers.
Finally, you need to purchase the source components. Today’s technology makes it easy to connect mobile devices, Blu-ray players, or turntables. These source components can be purchased relatively inexpensively for good quality. It’s important that you watch out for products that say they can do everything. Buy products for what they were intended to do. Your Blu-ray player should play Blu-rays, but don’t rely on it for Netflix. Buy an Apple TV or Roku for your Netflix needs.
When buying speakers and other sound system equipment, remember that it may sound differently in your home than on the sales floor. Ask the salesman for advice on how it would sound in your room, instead of just going by how it sounds in their room. It may also sound different when hooked up to your equipment, than what they have on demo. Asking a trained professional for help is one of the most important things you can do when buying anything for your home surround sound system.
Setting up a quality surround system is important to any home theater enthusiast. It takes a mediocre theater and transforms it into an immersive experience. If you follow these steps, you’ll be closer to finding the best surround sound system for your home. If you have questions about what surround sound system would be best for your home, contact us or come stop by one of our Argenta locations.