Minneapolis Home Theater Speakers
In home theater systems, there are a dizzying array of speaker options available. How do you make sense of all the jargon? Lelch Audio Video installs Minneapolis home theater speaker systems and are the go-to experts for design of your system.
Curious about Great Sound Systems? Ask Lelch Audio Video!
We get a ton of questions here at Lelch about speaker systems. How many do I need? Should I go 5.1 or 7.1 or soundbar? How do I know when to use which configuration? What matches my system?
We really could go on and on with the sample questions we get about theater speakers. Afterall, we've been at this for over 10 years!
Let's start with the most common speaker configurations being installed today.
For small media rooms or family rooms, the minimum theater system layouts are the soundbar and the 2.1 systems. Soundbars are long cabinets with all speakers in one box. Sound is projected straight out from the soundbar so you really don't get a "surround sound" effect due to having no rear speakers behind you. This may be fine for casual movie and TV watching in a small bedroom or small media room. Some of the upper end sound bars do sound pretty good and may be all you need in an apartment.
Add a sub woofer to the sound bar and you just made a 2.1 theater system. "2" for the left and right channels in the sound bar and ".1" for the subwoofer. You just improve range and depth of your sound but, still have only addressed the front channels.
By the way, a channel usually contains more than one speaker. A channel is most often a broad range speaker for the mid-range sound and a tweeter for the highs.
How Many Theater Speakers in Surround Sound
In order to obtain "surround sound" typical of most "theater in a box systems", you need to go with a 5.1 channel system. There will be 5 speakers plus one sub woofer for bass. The other 5 speakers will be two front speakers for left and right channel, a center channel speaker and two rear speakers for the left and right channel. The sound system will be much fuller and richer (able to reach good levels of highs and lows) and will be able to surround you in sound - you'll start to hear characters and objects in your movies in 3D sound. Cars or bullets will now sound like the passed by you!
The problem with 5.1 channel theater-in-a-box systems though is of course quality. When you buy an entire AV monitor and 6 speakers for a few hundred dollars, the system will not have much range and the noise criteria (NC) will be quite high. There will be audible hissing in the background. 5.1 systems were used in Dolby, Dolby ProLogic, DTS and SDSS systems dating back to Dolby's introduction in 1976. As old as it is, 5.1 is still a pretty common set-up.
Next up is the 7.1 channel system, or 8 channel audio systems. Most Blue Ray and HD DVD systems added the capability to drive 8 channels of sound. You still have one bass speaker and one front center channel but now you have two front channel speakers, two side channel speakers and two rear channel speakers. With a 7.1 system, you really can hear sound effects that can circle around you and can be quite dramatic!
Again, a pre-configured box home cinema system is going to be low on quality and have an NC rating around 25 to 30 (audible hissing). In comparison, a THX system in the theaters has to have an NC rating of 22 or lower to be certified. With a high quality custom system you can obtain an NC10 which has background noise levels of 10 decibels...basically a quiet whisper!
What's Next in Home Theater Speakers?
The sound scientists are at it again! Dolby's next standard currently being released is the Dolby Atmos System. To achieve Atmos sound quality you'll need additional speakers mounted above you in the ceiling. You can still use your Blue Ray player but, you'll need to connect to a Dolby Atmos capable AV Receiver.
One speaker layout being recommended is a 7.2.4 standard. This is the typical 7.1 channel surround sound system as in above with another subwoofer and 4 (two front and two rear) ceiling mounted speakers added.
Lelch Audio Video Home Theater Speaker Design and Installation
Our design experts at Lelch Audio Video can design the perfect system for your environment. Whether it a big home cinema dedicated room or a family room setup, let us take a look at your space and talk about your desired outcome. We can help you get the theater surround sound system you've been dreaming about.