Choosing the Right Audio for your Home Cinema System


If you are compiling your own home cinema system, it is easy to get caught up in choosing the right equipment to give you stunning visual effects and as a result, sideline the amazing impact that a smooth, responsive and powerful audio system can have on the cinematic home entertainment experience you are aiming for.

Compression Technology

Audio compression has come a long way with the development of the latest lossless audio codecs also known as HD Audio. Dolby, the masters of audio compression and restructuring have made Dolby TrueHD Lossless Audio for HD Surround Sound available for incorporation into Blu-ray systems. This lossless audio system can restructure compressed digital audio so that it is bit for bit identical to the original studio master. It can also support up to 7.1 audio systems.

Home Cinema Audio

Home cinema audio aims to give you a surround sound experience that immerses you in the soundtrack and makes you feel as if you are in the centre of the action. For true HD sound you will need a Blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player a fairly standard part of a modern home cinema system because of its ability to play HD .Your Blu-ray player will send the audio to an amplifier/control unit where it is passed out to your speakers. The most common speaker setup is the 5.1 system.

Home Cinema System

The 5.1 and 7.1 Speaker Systems

The labelling refers to the ratio of speakers to one subwoofer. The 5.1 speaker system is the most common speaker setup used with home cinemas. It consists of 5 speakers; front left and right, rear left and right and a central speaker which is often a horizontal speaker placed near the TV. Extra bass tone is provided by a bass box, sometimes known as a subwoofer. There is also the 7.1 speaker layout which is the same as the 5.1 but introduces two additional speakers located to the sides of the room. The audio process interprets and distributes the sound according to the setup you have, so that the sound moves smoothly throughout your speaker arrangement to give you the surround sound experience. You may find that you are in a position to choose a wireless speaker arrangement which is very convenient for avoiding cable clutter but may result in some loss of quality.

The Soundbar

The latest In space-saving audio playback technology is the sound bar. A sound bar is a single audio unit in the form of a slim bar with discreet speakers inside. It creates virtual surround sound by using various pitch placement and delay algorithms generated by the onboard digital processors. The Soundbar is great for homes with limited space in an area that is intended for the home cinema system. Orbitsound Soundbars are a good example of how a Soundbar uses what Orbitsound refer to as special stereo technology to reproduce the surround sound experience from a single unit. This is a much more convenient and tidy way to get the sound effects you desire from your system.

Rating the Power of Your System

The first mistake that many people make is to think that a 100 watt amplifier will play twice as loud as a 50 watt. This is not true. It takes twice the amplifier power to produce and extra 3 decibels. This means that a 100 watt amplifier will play 3 decibels louder than a 50 watt. Another mistake that people make is to think that having twice as many speakers will double the volume. This is also not true because what happens is that the generated decibels are distributed throughout the speakers.

Bearing all of this in mind you should now be in an informed position to make the best choice for your audio requirements. Some people say audio constitutes 50% of the home cinema experience and this may well be true. In which case the audio system should most certainly not be sidelined in favour of the visual effects.

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