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Whether you are setting up your computer speakers or a complex home theatre bundle, understanding the art and science of speaker channels and placement is the most critical step in enjoying your new sound system. Read on for a crash course in surround sound setup.
How Do I Configure Optimum 5.1 Channel Surround Sound?
Configure Stereo 5.1 Channel Surround sound to gain maximum output of stereo system meant for home theatre, desktop or television. To produce awesome soundtracks and movie scores and to get optimal performance in sound, place the correct speaker at the perfect place meant for it. A system of 5.1 stereo means 5 channels, one subwoofer and accompanying low-frequency effects channels which power it and a receiver which receives signals from the source, amplifies and sends to speakers.
Stereo 5.1 helps to create immersive surround sound and it is absolute minimum speaker set up to get best results. The first step is to place subwoofer at a convenient place in the room so that it receives the signals directly from the source as it is Omnidirectional. It must not be placed beneath a cabinetry or architectural shape otherwise Omni directional signals may become more directional deteriorating the quality of sound.
Left and Right Front Channels:
Sound effects, music dialogues will come out of speakers placed in front. One speaker should be placed 3 to 4 feet from centre line of viewing in left and the other at an approximately same distance in right at ear-height while seated on a chair. Place the speaker at an inner toe angle of 22 to 30 degree directed towards the centre of sitting area. One can set up this arrangement more precisely to get the best results in sound.
Now add the centre and surround channels. Sound delivery is spread amongst the additional speakers used in 5.1 systems. Place one speaker in the centre to the main viewing seat with no angle to the left or right side. It should be as accurate to ear height as possible because it is responsible for direct dialogue delivery from the screen. One can angle the speaker in such fashion that sound reaches to listener’s ear directly.
Surrounding Sound Channels:
The surrounding channels help to distribute the load and are responsible for the spread of environmental and ambient sounds. Cheers and whistles produced in a concert are delivered by these channels in making you feel to be sitting in the front row of the hall of a concert. So for maximum real impact left and right surround sound channels are placed at an angle of 90 to 110 degree relative to listening position.
How Do I Configure Optimum 7.1 Channel Surround Sound?
The standard setup for a 7.1 configuration includes a centre channel speaker, left and right front channel speakers, a subwoofer, left and right surround speakers and left and right rear surround speakers.
The rear surround speakers add more depth to the surround sound experience by spreading the sound across four speakers (the left and right surrounds and rears), rather than two, resulting in more directed, immersive sound.
The two additional speakers also help to fill larger rooms more completely. Plus, more and more films are being released or home viewing in 7.1 formats, adding to its appeal.
Place the centre channel speaker immediately above or below the screen, directly facing the listening area. If the speaker is being set on a shelf or stand, be sure that the leading edge of the speaker is flush with the edge of the stand, to maintain dialogue clarity.
The three most common subwoofer locations include corners, placement along a wall or beside a front speaker, which can create a better blend with the front speaker, at the cost of sacrificing overall volume.
Experimentation with subwoofer placement is highly encouraged; slight adjustments can create big differences in bass reproduction.
Left and Right Front Channels:
The left and right front speakers should be placed at an equal distance from the screen and at least six feet apart; the left, right and centre front speakers should be an equal distance from the ideal viewing position. To enhance the experience, some toe-in might be desirable. If so, be sure to identically angle each speaker and maintain equal distance from the viewing position.
The left and right surround speakers must be placed equally on each side and slightly above and behind the viewing position. Left and right rear surround speakers should also be about three feet above (and behind) the seated listeners’ heads.
Upgrading from a 5.1 system? Or perhaps you’re trying to decide whether a 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theatre receiver is best for you.
Either way, Integrated Audio Technology is here to show you how to set up a 7.1 system step by step.
Things to Consider Before You Buy A Subwoofers!
When trying to recreate the magic of the cinema in the comfort of your own home you will require a few key pieces of equipment to create that perfect home theatre set up, most importantly a subwoofers one of those key pieces.
Once you have picked your method of viewing the next challenge is producing the sound to accompany it. An essential part of any movie experience is the combination of the picture you see, with the sounds that you hear and feel. Your new home theatre should consist of front and rear speaker, in addition to a subwoofer.
When you’re in the cinema watching those expensive special effect explosions it is the subwoofer that allows you too ‘feel’ those booming vibrations which make them an absolute must-have.
The subwoofer creates the lower end of the audio spectrum better known as bass. Most loudspeakers cannot handle these deep, detailed and rich bass sounds on their own, this is where the subwoofer comes into its own.
There are two main types of subwoofer available; the passive and the active or powered. The passive subwoofer will rely on an external amplifier for its power source, this is an important point to consider as extreme bass will require more power to create those low-frequency sounds. When selecting this type of subwoofer it is essential that the amplifier or receiver has enough power to handle these demands.
The power needed will be determined by the requirements of the speaker and the size of the room. As the name suggests a powered subwoofer is a self-contained unit containing the speaker/amplifier configuration in a single unit. This set up will eliminate the problem of insufficient power.
Subwoofers come with all sorts of different technical specifications and design variations; however, the type of subwoofer you choose should also be influenced by the characteristics of the room and your own preferences. In a very large room, it may be best to integrate two or more subwoofers. Once you get your selected subwoofer home it’s worthwhile to experiment with its location within the room, it is surprising the effects moving it few inches in either direction can have on the sound quality.
If you get a chance to try before you buy, you don’t want to hear that well-known thump-thump of bad bass, that is a sign of volume at the expense of quality. A good subwoofer should be able to reproduce deep sounds realistically and accurately. As that well-known saying goes it is quality vs quantity when selecting a subwoofer, more bass does not always mean better bass.
The Bottom Line
Despite all of the technical specifications and design factors of subwoofers, the type of subwoofer you choose for your system depends on the characteristics of the room and your own preferences. When you go to a dealer, take a favourite DVD and/or CD that has a lot of bass information and listen to how the bass sounds through various subwoofers.
Home Cinema Subwoofer by Compact Audio, Made in the UK
One of the few subs designed and built entirely in the UK, the SUB10 active subwoofer delivers accurate deep bass for home theatre and music applications. It is primarily designed to seamlessly blend with the Fidelity series of In-ceiling and In-wall loudspeakers but can work equally well with any high-quality speaker system. It features inputs for both high speaker level and low line level signals, each with independent gain controls. These inputs can be used simultaneously and the sub further integrated into the speaker system with crossover point and full phase control adjustment.
Compact Audio In-Ceiling Fidelity C6 with Kevlar and Titanium Drivers
Introducing Compact Audio’s new range of integrated speakers, designed to offer the best possible full range sound from ceiling installation. The UK based audio design company is founded by a former London studio engineer. Who has a particularly keen ear for music reproduction! In addition, Compact Audio are so confident in the Fidelity C6 in-ceiling loudspeaker, they are offering a 14-day money back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied!
The Fidelity series bass drivers utilise Kevlar, a synthetic aramid fibre probably best known for its use in bulletproof vests. The mechanical properties of its strength and the ability to dissipate energy also make it the perfect speaker cone material. The results are a more constant dispersion pattern at all frequencies in its range with a clearer more natural tone.
First of all, put simply, the Compact Audio Fidelity C6 is one of the most superior sounding ceiling speakers you will hear. It features a 6.5” Kevlar bass driver coupled with a 1” Titanium dome tweeter, tuned and engineered to deliver a full spectrum of detailed, exciting sound.
Furthermore, the bass driver incorporates a large 18oz magnet with an AVS voice coil, enabling controlled performance at increased volume levels. This assembly and it’s long thrown cone surround results in an excellent in-ceiling bass response.
As well as high-quality components for sound quality the speaker is designed to be as astatically pleasing as possible. The pure white magnetic grill is a trim-less design with micro-perforated holes and low profile.
As with all of the Fidelity C6 series, the bass driver is made of Kevlar, a synthetic aramid fibre. The mechanical properties of its strength and the ability to dissipate energy make it the perfect speaker cone material. The results are a more constant dispersion pattern at all frequencies in its range, with a clearer more natural tone.
The Fidelity C6 series features Titanium dome tweeters. Most vital, Titanium is an incredibly light material that is twice as solid as Aluminum and also very impervious to erosion. These qualities make it an ideal material for a quick and responsive tweeter, delivering detailed clarity with a wide scattering design.
Audio grade capacitors and coils are used in the crossover design to achieve the best possible transition between bass driver and tweeter. The components are linked to a front mounted +/-3db equalizer to compensate for the rooms HF response.
The micro-perforated grill is a frameless magnetic design, with only a 4mm profile. The closely-knit fine holes and very thin edging result in an aesthetically pleasing design. To finish its aesthetical perfection, the grill is finished in pure white, with the ability to be painted so it can match your decor preferences and interior design!
- Application: Stereo music or Surround effect channels
- Bass driver: 1 x 6.5” Kevlar, ASV coil, 18oz magnet
- Tweeter: 1” Titanium Dome with +/- 3db control
- Power Handling: 60w RMS
- Impedance: 8ohm
- Sensitivity: 90db (1w/1m)
- Frequency response: 60Hz – 20KHz
- Dimensions: W227 x D87mm
- Cut out: 210mm
As a result, if you have a home theatre system already installed, consider upgrading your in-ceiling speakers to the Fidelity C6. If if you are planning to install a home theatre, consider Compact Audio Fidelity C6.
Home theatres are most likely a one-off ‘major purchase’ for most homeowners or home audio enthusiasts. You spend a lot of time, research and money on such a project. The last thing you want at the end of installation is something feeling off, not seeming quite right. Did you make a mistake? Here are the top 5 home theatre mistakes and how to avoid them!
1. Buying the wrong size TV
With the wide range of choice of TV’s these days everyone wants a big TV, and with the average screen size purchased by consumers now 55-inches, a lot of larger screen sets are finding places in many households. However, a large TV is not always best for a particular size room or viewing distance.
With today’s trend towards 4K Ultra HD TV, the seating distance rules change somewhat as you can get a better viewing experience at closer seating distances than previously available.
For 720p and 1080p HDTVs, a good rule of thumb to follow is that the minimum optimum viewing distance from the viewer to an analog or standard definition TV screen (if you still have one) should be about 2 times the width of the TV screen, and for an HDTV the optimum viewing distance is about 1-1/2 times the width of the television screen.
In other words, if you have a 55-inch Plasma, LCD, or OLED HDTV, you should sit about 5 to 6 feet from the screen. If you sit too close to a TV screen, there is a greater chance that you may see the line or pixel structure of the image, which cannot only be distracting, but uncomfortable.
To determine the best screen size option for your TV, first, make sure you take stock of the space the TV is to be placed in. Measure both the available width and height available – also, measure the seating distance(s) from the screen that you have available to view the TV. Base your TV size buying decision on the combination of what looks best to you in relation to your available space.
2. Buying The Wrong Speakers
One of the most common mistakes is investing money into the aesthetics of a home theatre system and not enough into the speaker/subwoofer systems. This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands for a modest system, but you should consider speakers that can do the job.
Speakers come in several sizes and shapes, from floor-standers to compact bookshelf’s, and both box and spherical shapes – and, of course, for home theatre, don’t for about the subwoofer – you need a place for that too.
Tiny standalone speakers are not going to fill a large room with great sound, as they just can’t move enough air. Large floor-standing speakers might not be the best match for a really small room because they just take up too much space.
If you have a medium, or large size room, a set of floor-standing speakers may be the best option, as they typically provide a full range sound and larger drivers that can move enough air to fill the room. On the hand, if you don’t have a lot of space, then a set of bookshelf speakers, combined subwoofer for the lower frequencies, may be your best option.
3. Buying by Brand or Price, Instead of What You Really Need
Although considering a brand is a good starting point, it does not guarantee that the “top” brand for a particular item is right for you. When shopping, make sure you consider a variety of brands, models, and prices into consideration.
Also, avoid prices that seem to be too good to be true. Although a high-priced item is not necessarily a guarantee of a good product, more often than not, that “doorbuster” AD item will not be able to fill the bill, in terms of performance or flexibility. It is always advised to seek out opinions and help from professionals.
4. Not Budgeting For Needed Cables and Accessories
A common home theatre mistake is not including enough money for all the needed cable or other accessories that you might need for your components to work. Of course, connection cables and speaker wires are the most important.
There is a constant debate on whether it is necessary to purchase very high priced cables for a basic home theatre system. However, one thing to consider is that the thin, cheaply constructed cables that come with many DVD players, probably should be replaced by something that is a little more heavy-duty. The reasons are that a more heavy-duty cable can provide better shielding from interference, and will also stand up over the years to any physical abuse that occurs along the way
5. Not getting professional help!
Lastly, the most common and worst home theatre mistakes are not seeking out the professionals and taking on such a job oneself! Professional help and installation can help avoid a home theatre disaster, and ensure home cinema gold!
After spending much time researching, deciding on your system and spending a ton on your equipment, the last thing you want is to run into hiccups at the finish line.
You provide the room and budget; the home theatre installer can provide a complete component package for access to all desired audio and video content.
Looking to design your home theatre system? Contact us for a chat!
A home theatre system is an immersive viewing and listening experience. Excitement can get the better of you and you can find yourself in the deep end with what you need and what you should buy! A home theatre can be anything from a smart TV to a sophisticated built system with inwall and ceiling speakers. Whatever system is best for you, there is a lot of information to consider before you embark on setting up a system.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind.
1. The Room
The most important thing to consider is room size, it will determine the size and type of video display system, TV or projector and which is best to use. How much ambient light is present? Images can be washed out or result in screen glare if there is too much light present. Is the flooring carpeted? In particular, flooring is important, especially bass distribution through the listening area. Carpets absorb audio whereas hardwood floors can reflect audio!
Depending on how you want the room to look will determine where and how you place your components. Also, whether ceiling or in-wall speakers (and speaker placement in general) are best depends on what surround sound formats you will be most commonly use. How will your room be set up? This will determine the optimal screen size for the best visual experience. Before embarking on buying your actual home theatre system components, especially for a medium-to-high end system, it might be a good idea to consult with a home theatre installer to come onsite and assess your room and address the above questions.
2. The Video Display Device
The most important element of this experience is the visual experience of viewing a large image on a screen. The actual size of the room will help determine the size of the screen that can be accommodated. From there, you need to decide what type of video display device would be most appropriate. This is where you have a choice of:
A Flat Panel LCD or OLED. Also, you have a choice of TVs that can display 720p, 1080p, or 4K Ultra HD resolution images or a Video Projector/Screen Combination.
3. Audio Reproduction
Once you have your visual viewing equipment selected, the next thing to consider is sound! The way this is implemented in a home theatre system is either a home theatre receiver or Preamplifier/Amplifier combination. A Home Theater Receiver usually combines the functions of three components.
A radio tuner for AM/FM and, in some cases, HD (High Definition Radio), Internet Radio, or XM and/or Sirius Satellite Radio. A Preamplifier that switches and controls which audio and video source is selected and processes the incoming stereo or surround sound signals and distributes them to the correct amplifier channels and the subwoofer output. The preamp in an AV receiver can also route video signals coming from source components, such as a DVD player and direct the video signal to the TV. A built-in Multi-channel amplifier 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, or more, channels that sends the surround sound signals and power to the speaker system.
4. A Home Theater, AV, Surround Sound Receiver or Separate Preamp and Amplifier
The Home Theatre/AV Surround Sound receiver is the heart of a home theatre system and provides most, if not all, the inputs and outputs that you connect everything, including your television, into. A Receiver provides an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your home theatre system.
Loudspeakers can be determined again, by the size and layout of your room. The most important point to consider is to try and buy the same brand and related audio equipment to ensure a better acoustic match between the room and speakers. Consider listening to several types of speakers and setups to find out which is the best match for you and your room.
The advent of home theatre has introduced the Subwoofer to many consumers. A subwoofer is a specialized speaker that only reproduces the extreme low frequencies present in movies or music. There are several types of subwoofers you can use in a home theatre system, and, once again, the size and type of room, and issues such as whether the room is carpeted or not will help you determine which subwoofer is right for your setup.
6. Source Components
At a minimum, you need some type of DVD player for your home theatre system. Also, if you decide to get a Blu-ray Disc player to access true high definition source content, instead, or in addition to, a DVD player, you can also use it to play standard DVDs and, in most cases, audio CDs as well. Antenna/Cable/Satellite – Also, you need to decide how you will receive your primary television programming: Antenna, Cable, or Satellite. If you opt to subscribe to a Cable or Satellite Service, you might also consider combining that service with a DVR. DVRs provide a way to record your TV programs on a Hard Drive, rather than disc or tape.
Another home theatre source option is the Internet. If you have high-speed internet access, you can stream both music and movies, without having to buy a DVD or Blu-ray Disc.
7. Surge Protector
Although they are not foolproof, providing your system with some sort of surge protection is a good idea. You never know when you might have a sudden power outage, or even a brownout that may affect your system. Surge protectors are the unsung heroes of a home theatre system.
8. Connection Cables and Speaker Wire:
You can’t have a home theatre system unless everything is connected; whether you buy basic connection cables and speaker wire or the really high-end stuff. The main things to consider is to use the right type, right length, and to connect everything correctly.
9. Control Options
One of the most confusing parts of a home theatre system is not all components and the connections, but actually managing and controlling it. Each component in a home theatre system comes with its own remote, leading to a collection that can number half-a-dozen or more.
One solution is to opt for a sophisticated, but easy to use, universal remote that can control most of the functions of each of your components. After the initial hurdle of programming the remote for your system, such a device will enable everyone in the family to use the home theatre system without frustration.
You have a fancy home theatre system, now you need a place put your components, such as stands and racks, as well as some comfortable seating that will make you want to spend your time with your home theatre. Check out some home theatre seating options.