Sound is the second big piece of the entertainment pie, and a good home theater experience absolutely requires a good speakers. Perfecting the sound quality of your home theater goes beyond the actual equipment that you buy though. Of course, high quality speakers and subwoofers make a difference, but if they're not set up properly they're not going to produce the sound you're looking for. The right equipment setup can make a world of difference when it comes to your audio quality.

    This post will be especially helpful if you want better quality from either high end or budget speakers (or you know you could be getting better quality and don’t want to upgrade your speakers).

    An important thing to know before getting started is that sound quality is determined by more factors than the quality of the speakers themselves. We definitely think you DO NOT need room tuning kits. These can be expensive and they aren’t going to tell you when you’re getting the sound quality you are hoping for.

    Below is a list of the 3 methods we have found that can improve your home theater sound quality. If at the end of this you feel you still aren’t getting what you want, we suggest you search for an in-person consultations and they can help you out. But chances are that following the methods below are going to give you what you want and make a bigger difference than you thought!


    Try This First: Clap Your Hands And Listen For An Echo

    If you can hear any sort of echo or ambiance, it means you need more padding in your room. Even a speaker that has a good bass or subwoofer will be impacted by objects in the room that cause this echoing sound.

    Look around and see if there is anything noticeable that is causing this. It could be an awkwardly shaped shelf or a cabinet with a lot of glass near the speakers themselves. Some materials will deflect sound in better ways, which brings us to our next point.

    There are certain materials that will absorb and deflect sound

    Hard objects, shelves, lamps, even clocks, can all have an effect on it. If you can afford to move stuff around, the best thing you can do is to add some sort of consistent padding throughout the room. Acoustic wall panels will do just that. They are a soft material that doesn’t cause the sound to directly bounce right off of it but they are not too absorbent either.

    You ultimately want to find a good balance between the materials in the room. Also, know that the floor material can have an effect too. Try adding a carpet to your room if possible (especially useful if you have floor standing speakers).

    Toe-in Your Speakers

    Toeing-in your speakers means that you are pointing your speaker systems at appropriate angles towards the audience. This is one of the most overlooked factors that affect overall sound quality and can be literally adjusted in seconds! Take a look below and follow the general guidelines for how to do this as optimally as possible. Doing this could be the difference between average sound and the illusion of full surround sound.

    Your front speakers should be placed at a 22 – 30-degree angle inboard towards the seating area. The more speakers you have, the more you are going to have to take this into consideration.

    Your speakers shouldn’t be facing the direct center of the seating area (unless you have a single soundbar).The center channel or soundbar should always be placed in the middle of the room as that was the designer’s intent with them.

    Note: Soundbars should be eye-level with the audience if possible and centered right under the TV! we would try to get it as close to this calibration as possible to get the best sound.

    Change Your Seating And Subwoofer Placement

    Your subwoofer placement relative to your seating is something you can be a little more flexible on. we came across a bunch of examples where people placed them right next to their couch or at an angle that is slightly off-centered from their middle couch. Subwoofers help produce a richer and more dimensional sound that accompanies what’s coming from the actual speakers. Placing them in the corner at the front of the room can actually boost its output and thus make your sound system sound way better.

    Related Questions 

    1. Is a Soundbar better than a channel system? In some aspects they are, but it depends on how seriously you take your audio experiences. Soundbars are a better option if you want a simple set up or have a more limiting space for your home theater. They are also better for people with hearing loss, as they do a better job at boosting dialogue without sacrificing bass. Channel systems are good if you have a higher budget and have a set up that can accommodate multiple speakers throughout the rooms.

    2. When should I upgrade my home theater sound system? Not every new product is the best and latest in sound technology. Often new sound systems from Yamaha or Dolby are incremental and don’t make a profound difference. A lot of the time we recommend that you use your system until it breaks or you can sell it. A smart strategy is to buy an older model that’s still better than your current system with your budget. You’re not missing out that much by having last year’s model.

    3. What is a dB measurement? A dB is a measurement of “decibel.” The important thing to know is that home theater sound systems should be calibrated at 75dB and no more than 85dB. SPL Meters from Radioshack or Amazon can easily help you adjust your speaker ratios.

    4. How do I know if my speakers are giving me the best sound possible? The best way to know is to ensure you are following all of the tips listed in this article. If you are using an optical cord for speaker output and all of your systems are set to 75dB, you can be confident you are getting the best quality sound possible.

    5. Do I need 5.1 surround sound for virtual reality? Not necessarily. If you choose not to play with headphones, and your graphics card can support 5.1 Dolby surround or equivalent, that is the only factor that will determine if it is possible.

    Final Thoughts:

    In this article, we went over all the things you can do to almost instantly improve your home theater sound quality. Hopefully along the way you also learned of some better ways to improve it in the future. All of these methods should be as simple as possible and by no means are they meant to be over-complicated.


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