Improve the sound of your home theater without changing equipment

Al Amin md

By Al Amin md

Home Audio, 3 years ago


If you have a home theater system, following these tips can get you a better sound with which to enjoy your movies. 


It has happened to all of us, you get home with a new electronic equipment and the desire to try it is so great that we directly connect it without further ado. We do not read instructions, nor do we look for advice to assemble it. It is a very common mistake that, can be corrected with small actions that often do not have to dedicate much time to it. In this case, here are some tips to improve the sound of your home theater, although some tips also serve to improve stereo sound. 

Home theater equipment, like television screens, computer monitors and other electronic devices, are not set at the factory to give the best of themselves. Not all rooms are the same, nor do all users have the same tastes, so manufacturers include the possibility of setting up home theater equipment to adapt it to our tastes and needs.

As it is possible to program certain parameters, manufacturers tend to configure their equipment by default to be very striking in stores but, except in the unlikely event that we live in one of them, such configuration

It will rarely be the most appropriate for our room. In addition there are other factors that allow to improve the home theater sound beyond browsing option menus.

The acoustics of the room is one of the most important factors

It is useless to put it between four bare walls: the echoes and reverberations will turn the experience into a nightmare. In addition, if it is done with style it does not have to affect the decoration of our room, a very important factor for people who do not have a dedicated room for home cinema.

As we have already mentioned, the main factor to avoid in a room where any type of sound equipment is installed is the echoes and reverberations. Surely you have ever seen in series or movies the typical rehearsal room of a music group that has lined the walls with egg cartons. The main mission is to prevent sound from bouncing from wall to wall freely. 

There are alternatives with which to improve the acoustics of the room and, consequently, improve the sound of your home theater. Just use your imagination to see that there are decorative elements that will help us in our task and that, together correctly, will help decorate the room. In addition, many of them will already be in our possession, so the investment is reduced.

First of all, a good carpet, the thicker the better, helps prevent sound waves from bouncing off the ground, which is essential above all in order to avoid those cinema effects that abuse the bass a lot (explosions, engine noises ...) make the house rumble and cause auditory fatigue. To improve the sound of home theater is ideal to place it just in front of the front speakers and the subwoofer to take charge of absorbing the excess of bass, letting these hit the body to get the desired effect. 

Second, the curtains are our best allies to prevent the sound of our equipment from causing vibrations in the windows. The heavier the curtain, the greater the amount of sound that it absorbs, also preventing it from bouncing on the piece of wall that surrounds the windows.

For the rest of the walls of the room you have to make use of your imagination, but you will surely get the essence: to interpose something, the bigger the better, between the sound and the walls of the room. You can move shelves with books, place tapestries, hang pictures ... The only premise that must be fulfilled is to avoid that these objects have moving parts that can cause resonances, especially in high-end blows. Thus, it is necessary to avoid as far as possible the showcases with glass, furniture with handles that are not fixed ...



Experiment with speaker placement

Another of the most important factors to improve the sound of home theater is the placement of the speakers. There are many different types of speakers (floor columns, bookshelf speakers, small satellites ...) and each of them has an optimal placement different from the others, but there are some factors common to all of them to be taken into account.

Just as a television screen must be installed in such a way that the center of the image matches our eyes, the speakers of any sound equipment

They should be up to our ears while we are sitting at our listening point. If this is not possible, try to tilt them, so that they point directly at the main listening point of the room. In addition, as far as possible, the front and rear speakers should have the same separation on each side of our listening point, so that if the left front is 1.5m away from us, the front right also should be.

The central speaker of a home cinema is paramount: most dialogues go through it. For this reason, in the movie theaters, both the front and the center speakers are usually placed behind the projection screen, so that the sound seems to come out directly from the image. In a home theater you can achieve the same effect using micro-perforated projection screens, but if you do not have one, it is ideal to place the center speaker just below the movie screen or TV. If you place the center speaker too high or too low it will give the feeling that the dialogues and sound effects are unreal when coming from another direction. 

The subwoofer, the dedicated speaker for bass, allows greater flexibility due to the way in which the sound of low frequencies expands. However, the greatest effect is achieved by placing it in front of the listening point, in such a way that the sound waves

hit us directly, increasing the realism of the effects.

Use the proper wiring

Wiring is one of the most controversial factors when determining how to improve the home theater sound. Despite what the advertising campaigns of some manufacturers promise, there comes a time when it is impossible to find differences. 

The final sound that reaches the speakers is analog, they are electrical impulses that determine the movement of the loudspeaker membranes to generate the sounds. For this reason, the equipment uses converters that transform the digital signal of a film into analog sound as a previous step to pass through the power stage.

If we have a modular home theater equipment it is quite possible that there are differences between the different DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converter). Therefore, it will always be a good idea to use the one with the best quality. This is achieved using digital cables or analogue, in such a way that, if we connect a blu-ray player to an amplifier with an optical or coaxial (digital) audio cable, the amplifier will be in charge of decoding the signal, while if we use RCA (analog) cables, it will be the blu-ray that is in charge of decoding. If we use the stereo output, typically marked in white and red, we will be taking out only two channels that the receiver will be responsible for replicating the rest of the speakers, do not do it.

Following these small tips you can improve the home theater sound of your equipment and settings. You can share with us your own tricks and tips to improve the home theater sound of your teams in the comments

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