- Improve Home Theater Audio
- Built in Entertainment Centers
- Mounting Your LCD
- Home Theater Cable Management
- Eliminating Electronic Clutter
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ElectronicsSimple Steps to Improved Home Theater Audio
So you've just bought your first home theater audio system. You spent a few hours with your spouse pulling out your hair and trying to figure out where all the various parts and pieces go. You finally got it all squared away, you popped a bowl of popcorn and you put in your favorite DVD. You settled in, prepared to be blown away by the surround sound experience, and when the music started...you were less than stunned. What happened? You check all the wires and buttons and as far as you can tell, everything is as it should be. But then again, you're not an audio system expert and aside from referring to the directions that came with the equipment, you're not really qualified to appraise the situation. So you spend the next two hours watching a movie with less-than-perfect audio, wishing you knew more about such things.
Most people who purchase home theater audio systems are not electronics experts. Fortunately for them, they don't need to be. If you ever find yourself in a situation like the one described above, take the time to make a few simple confirmations before calling it quits or calling in a professional. Most of these items are simple to accomplish, and several don't even involve electronics. Don't worry; you are smarter than your audio system.
First, check that your speaker(s) and interconnect cables are in the correct positions. Yes, you probably checked this when you first set up the system, but it never hurts to be sure. If you're anything like most people, you have a lot of cables behind your audio/video receiver, and it's easy to mix up which wire goes where. Try ensuring that your system's test tones are coming out of the correct speakers.
If you think your system's bass sounds off, perhaps thick or uneven, try the simple expedient of lowering the volume. Most people crank up their subwoofers louder than necessary, and this can distort the sound. If that doesn't work and if your other (satellite) speakers are on the small side, try adjusting the subwoofer's crossover point. Bigger satellite speakers produce more bass on their own, so smaller versions need the crossover controls set at midpoint or higher.
There is a lot that can be accomplished through rearranging the speakers' positions, too. Again, if the bass is uneven, try moving the subwoofer away from the wall or walls and closer to one of the satellite speakers. This can sometimes have the effect of evening out the bass. If the sound quality of your satellite speakers is lacking, try placing them on floor stands or wall brackets. And if you don't want to spend the money on such speaker holders, at least remember that speaker orientation plays an important role in sound quality. Speakers should be placed so that their tweeters are as close as possible to ear level. The speakers to the left and right of the listening position should be equidistant, and a speaker should never face the corner of a room.
Finally, if all else fails, redecorate your home theater. Hard surfaces such as wood or tile floors, windows and mirrors can sound overly crisp. Some softer decor, such as a thick rug or drapes, will absorb some of the sound and mitigate the harsh effect.