Home theater speaker questions from a newb

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Old 02-05-13, 05:31 PM
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Home theater speaker questions from a newb

Everyone has convinced me here to avoid in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Cool. So where do I go from here?

1. Is surround sound a necessity? Or overrated?
2. If I'm not doing in-walls, do I need bookshelf speakers then?
3. What are soundbars?
4. If I do surround sound without in-walls, do I just mount rear speakers to th wall?
5. Are subwoofers a must?
6. And should I run all my HDMI components through a receiver?

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That is the TV "room." The built-in entertainment center will be on the wall on the left that protrudes into the middle of the room. And the distance from that wall to the window at the rear of the room is 15.5'.
 
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Old 02-05-13, 05:49 PM
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I should probably add that I'm not really really into great sound. I know guys that spend thousands on their systems, and that's not me. But flat screen TV speakers are horrible and I know I need something better.
 
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Old 02-05-13, 11:19 PM
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1. Is surround sound a necessity? Or overrated? ...... No it's not a necessity but it sure makes watching TV a whole lot more enjoyable.

2. If I'm not doing in-walls, do I need bookshelf speakers then? ......... Bookshelf speakers will work. I do a lot of retrofit work for people who are on a budget. What works out good is small box or wedge type speakers mounted to ceiling or walls. You can get swivel type mounts for them.

3. What are soundbars? .......A sound bar is a like a 2 channel surround sound. It can it under the tv or on a shelf over a tv. Ok for limited areas or where it's impossible to run wires.

4. If I do surround sound without in-walls, do I just mount rear speakers to the wall? ..... yup....covered in # 2.

5. Are subwoofers a must? ........ YES......a sub is a must.

6. And should I run all my HDMI components through a receiver? ........ You can....I don't. You can use the optical feed for surround sound. One plus in running everything thru the receiver is you will only need one set of wires to the tv.


You don't have to go crazy. Must of my customers purchased the all-in-one systems. Receiver, sub, five speakers, complete with lots of crappy wire. I just install them. Adds just the right touch and doesn't break the bank.

The crappy wire goes right into the garbage.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 06:41 AM
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I agree, a small surround system will make a big difference in any movies (or nowadays all those TV dramas that are broadcast in surround) you watch.

I'm not really a fan of the all-in-one systems myself. I find that they might be a step below in price of separates, but they are 2-3 steps below in quality.

I would go to a local A/V place, preferably a local type store if any exist, or Best Buy if they don't, and talk to one of their salespeople and listen to a few options. Though the $5,000 system might sound great, you can really stay in a reasonable price range and get 2 front speakers, 2 rear, a center, and a subwoofer, and a name-brand, but inexpensive receiver/amplifier. Be sure to include speaker mounts (or shelves) to your budget too. See what options you have and what fits into your budget. Oh, and don't let the salesperson convince you one system is better than another, you'll hear it.

I also agree, don't use the cheap wire, but you don't have to splurge for top of the line wires and connectors either.

It looks like a great room! Good luck with it!
 
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Old 02-06-13, 07:31 AM
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We live in the boonies and rarely go to a movie theater so for us a good sound system including surround is very important. Is surround sound overrated? I don't think so. If you do the system properly you'll be shocked even when watching TV that stuff (sounds) happens all around you.

My wife hated free standing tower speakers so all of our's except for the subwoofer are in wall. They sound good but it cost considerably more to get the same quality of sound. Pedestal/tower speakers of the same sound quality are less expensive and easier to tune to the room since you can change their position somewhat.

Sub woofer... a second big YES. It depends on how into audio you are but nothing brings out a THX or Dolby Digital movie like bass that makes the house rumble. You may not know some effects exist if your don't have a sub that can cleanly get down there to make the sounds/vibrations.

You can run your HDMIs through a receiver. It makes switching inputs & outputs easier but from a purely technical standpoint a receiver adds one more bit that can degrade the signal so in a higher level system you would route through a high quality receiver or go direct with the signal.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 08:09 AM
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Going backwards through the OP, I'll run all inputs to my TV, and a fiber optic cable to the receiver. This way I only change the input on the TV when going from Sat to the Boxee, or Blue-ray. My dad's setup growing up was so confusing if you where not use to it. You'd have to change the input on the TV as well as the receiver to be able to switch devices.

Surround sound... Pretty much a must these days for TV and movies. The spearkers on flat pannel TVs do not get the full audio range that are found in the stuff we watch today. They also sound like crap 99% of the time.

A sub, not always required, but needs to be compensated for if not. Using my dad's system again, his front (early 90's high end) speakers have 12" subs in them and his center speaker cost him more then my all-in-one blue-ray/receiver. They easily compensate for the lack of sub, but are big.

Looking at your photo, if this is going to be somewhat budget driving, and you know where your TV/receiver is going to be located, I'd suggest running your speaker wire from the receiver location to the speaker locations. You can use wall jacks (banana jacks suggested) behind your speaker locations and receiver. Once the walls are up, a reasonably inexpensive surround sound system can be used, with either small shelves to hold the speakers, or wall mount swivel mounts (cheap).

The banana jack system is cheap, and allows you to disconnect and reconnect the speakers very easily. Should you move, the next owner can easily use the same setup.
 
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Old 02-07-13, 05:57 AM
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I would ditch the 5.1 surround system in favor of 7.1.
 
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Old 02-07-13, 06:53 AM
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I would ditch the 5.1 surround system in favor of 7.1.
The OP was asking about a sound bar, so 7.1 may not even been in the scope or desire.

That being said, if the walls are all open, they could wire for it (using flush mount banana clip jacks) and should they wish to upgrade or sell the place, it's already done.
 
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Old 02-07-13, 07:59 AM
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My parents shopped for LCD TVs with good sound because they noticed a lot of them were crap. Within a year or so, my mother was complaining about the sounds on the TVs that she originally thought were good. It was a big chunk of change IMO but they forked out $400 for the Bose sound box that sits under the TV and everyone agrees the TV experience is better. 5.1 or 7.1 surround is only going to add to that experience.
 
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Old 02-16-13, 07:46 PM
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OP: Subwoofer is a must in my opinion. It can make or break a system. It really balances everything out. You'll quickly realize how vital it is once you get everything hooked up and compare the sound of your system with the sub on and with it off. Remember you'll likely be playing music through your system too, and a sub will make your system rock.

Others: I currently have a 3-channel setup and am considering adding two rear surround channels. My receiver only has one 3-channel surround mode so when using other surround modes (Dolby Digital, etc.) I am losing sound information. I'm not sure where to mount the speakers though considering the couch is against the back wall. Should I mount the speakers directly above in the ceiling firing downward or in the wall above the couch? Seems like the ceiling would be the better option.

Hey...I just realized that I have surpassed 1000 posts. Don't I get some kind of recognition for that?
 
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Old 02-16-13, 10:21 PM
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Ceiling or wall would be ok and since you are so close to them they will be on very low.


Don't I get some kind of recognition for that?
Sure....:moonface:
 
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