It may not be the most productive way to pass the time, but we all like to sprawl out on the sofa now and then, and get our fill of series and movies. If you’re a self-confessed Netflix addict, and you’ve set up a home theater to get the most of your favorites, then obviously you’ll want to make sure every element of your entertainment is just right. Here are some tips for getting great audio in your home theater.
Move Your Seats Away from the Walls and Speakers
For ideal sound quality, everyone’s ears should be at least 4 ft away from any speaker. Don’t put any seats near the walls, especially a back wall, or you’ll just wind up losing the surround sound envelopment you paid for, and also get a lot of booming, intrusive bass. Get a seat too close to the walls though, and you’ll experience too much sound localization. If you’re in the market for new equipment, make sure you plan out a seating arrangement beforehand. This can be just as important as the speakers themselves, if not more so.
Don’t Neglect the Acoustic Treatment
The audio equipment you use is only one part of the sound quality you ultimately get. The other main element to it is the room you’re using it in. Google room acoustics, and you’ll find a chaotic storm of conflicting opinions and self-professed experts. The best advice we can offer is getting it installed from a reputable home theater services firm, and making sure you cover all the basics. There needs to be enough bass trapping to keep all your room modes under control. Fiberglass traps with a decent amount of depth are very effective, and also fairly cheap. The only drawback is that they take up a huge amount of space. Still, if you’ve got enough room behind the screen and in your risers, these traps are your best bet for great audio. Once you’ve got the bass trapping figured out, all you need to worry about is adding enough absorption to make the whole room sound nice. It should never feel echoey or eerie, whether you’re talking to friends and family or watching a movie. The good news is that if you have wall-to-wall carpet, there’s usually enough absorption.
Have Enough Subwoofers
If you have a single row of seats, you’ll need two subwoofers. If you have two rows, you’ll need four, and possibly more depending on the seating plan. If you rely on a single horn-loaded sub, you won’t get the bass you want. Sure, there’ll be a lot of it, but you’ll also experience extreme peaks and troughs throughout your listening area from speaker interference cancellations. The best advice we can offer is to use more subwoofers, and to put them in a “mode-cancelling” arrangement. This will make it easier to achieve a consistent, smooth bass presence for anyone watching.
Take this advice, and you’ll be well on your way to a home cinema that not only looks great, but sounds great too!