It doesn’t take much effort to turn a typical room into a home theatre—just add a television. But considering how many movies and TV shows most of us actually watch at home, why not go the distance and create a domestic space that rivals the movie theatre experience? Here are some simple steps for creating a home theatre that’s worthy of all the time you’ll spend in it.
Let’s deal with the Sound
Speakers come in a variety of types and sizes, and placement is important. If you have limited space, bookshelf speakers and soundbars may be best. Consider floor-standing speakers for a large room, especially if the receiver doesn’t have a subwoofer output. So first things first, when you get your sound system, here’s what you shouldn’t do.
- Don’t place stereo speakers too near the front wall (the wall behind the speakers). Give them about two to three feet of space.
- Avoid orienting the speakers so that they’re completely parallel to each other.
- Don’t just set speakers directly on the floor unless they are floor-standing tower speakers.
- Refrain putting anything in front of the speakers.
It’s best to place the speakers about 1-2 metres apart (about 1 metre from the centre of a front wall) or in a front corner. However, don’t place speakers flat against a wall or corner. Space is needed between the speaker and the wall/corner.
The golden rectangle rule states that a speaker’s distance to the nearest side wall should be at least 1.6 times its distance from the front wall. For example, if the distance from the front wall is 3 feet, then the distance to the nearest side wall should be at least 4.8 feet for each speaker (or vice versa if your room is wider than longer).
Position the speakers so that the distance between the front wall is 1/3 to 1/5 the length of the room. Doing so will prevent the speakers from creating standing waves and exciting room resonances.
Speakers should not face directly forward but angled to face the primary listening spot (“sweet spot”). This provides the best sound direction balance.
Tips To Turn Your Room Into A Home Theatre
Yes, you can get turn your viewing experience into a high-end theatre experience. Thanks to lifewire, we have some great tips to help achieve this feat.
1. Find Your Visual Sweet Spot
The math is relatively simple—take the display’s diagonal screen size and multiply it by 1.5 to 2.5. That’s how far your couch, chairs, or other prime seating choices should be placed relative to the front of the television.
For small rooms, consider getting a soundbar, which packs multiple speakers into a single low-profile, horizontal package. Some of the sleeker models can fit right below the screen, while others act as a kind of reinforced base, with the TV sitting directly on top.
3. Clear Space For Wall-Shaking Bass
Another simple audio upgrade comes from a subwoofer, a bass-only class of speaker that’s designed to literally vibrate the room. The key here is to make sure there’s enough space right against one of your home theatre’s walls and preferably in a corner.
4. Mount Up For Surround Sound
The best, but most complex, audio setup is full surround sound, which usually entails six total audio channels, or speakers—one for the centre, the right and the left, two for the rear, and one subwoofer. The biggest challenge, however, is generally rear-channel placement. Expect to go the distance and mount the rear channels in the wall (the upper back corners of most rooms work fine).
5. Sit Up Straight For 3D
If you plan on watching a lot of 3D content, get yourself a seat with a stiff back. Why? Because tilting your head to one side or the other can garble the 3D effect—meaning the sort of sprawling position typical to couch-based viewing is no good. So make sure your chair or couch faces forward, in a way that discourages slouching and lounging.
6. Kill Two Birds With One Curve
The subtle bend in curved-HDTV displays actually increases the total viewing angle to either side of the TV. Prioritizing this feature can take some of the fuss out of the overall home theatre setup.
7. Put on Headphones, And Sit Wherever You Want
A handful of newer products let you plug standard headphones directly into a remote control or give wireless capabilities. So if you’ve got good headphones, pair them with your tv and you can sit anywhere.
Stereo System Cost vs Performance
Balance what you want with your budget. You don’t have to buy a hi-end stereo receiver, but make sure the one you buy has all the features and connection options you need or plan to use in the future. Stereo receivers start as low as $120 and go up to over $1,000. Also, keep these tips in mind:
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on cables and wires. Beware of 6-ft speaker wire that costs $100 or more.
- Don’t assume a 20,000 shilling pair of speakers will sound twice as good as a 10,000 shilling pair of speakers. As prices increase there’s often only an incremental increase in quality. There are excellent expensive speakers, but there are also moderately-priced speakers that provide excellent performance for the price.
The Bottom Line, Home Theatre Planning
Before you reach into your wallet, consider the following:
- Critical vs Casual Listening: Whether a critical or casual listener, try out a demo of the system or components you’re considering. If it doesn’t sound good at the dealer, it won’t sound good at home.
- Small or Large Room: If you have a small room, a compact system may be fine. If you have a large room, make sure your choice can fill the room with a satisfying sound.
- Music vs TV/Movie Listening: If you want to use a stereo system for TV and movie sound in addition to listening to music, consider a system that enables you to connect a subwoofer and provides video pass-through connections.