A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Home Sound System

Gone are the days of borrowing VCDs in Video City or waiting for Voltes V on RPN 9. Now, watching movies and TV series are easier thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. TV sets are not a problem either as one can easily purchase bargain TV sets online and in department stores. Technology, indeed, has made TV and film more accessible, getting us more hooked to the boob tube.

However, the ultimate viewing experience—and we mean ultimate—is not all about the show and the medium. There are other things to consider like sound and audio quality. Think about it. Stranger Things won’t be that addicting without a soundtrack, right? You need to experience the show in full to understand and enjoy it better.

Now, you may think that Bluetooth speakers can do the job well. In hindsight, you’re right. But if you really really want to experience your favorite movie or show, consider investing in a home sound system. Setting up one, however, isn’t as simple as plugging in a couple of speakers into your TV. Before anything else, you need to choose a rig that suits your budget and room.

In this article, let Poundit.com help you find the ideal sound system for your home.

Home Sound System: Where Should I Begin?

1. Know the Components

For a more convenient approach, it’s advisable to check out home sound systems that come as a pre-matched bundle. Even if you decide not to go for the entire package, researching about sound systems in advance will give you a good idea of what makes up a good rig.

Expect the following components when looking for sound system bundles:

  • Amplifier and main receiver
  • A center channel speaker that usually sits below or above your TV
  • Front left and right speakers that come in bookshelf or floor-standing designs
  • Two or more surround speakers to go behind or beside your seating area
  • One or two subwoofers that can boost your frequency range at low end

This 5 speaker + 1 subwoofer setup is a good place to start. It’s also the minimum amount required for Dolby 5.1 surround sound (the .1 is the subwoofer.) Cinema-like, indeed.

2. Consider the Location

Before shopping for speakers, consider the size, layout, and shape of your room first. Whether you plan to set-up your home sound system in your living room, master bedroom, or heck, even in your kitchen, you need to understand the location beforehand. You don’t want to end up buying speakers that don’t fit in your sala, right? Speakers and amps that are waaay to big can also be too loud for a small room.

3. Study the Sound

Speaking of too loud, it is also important to determine the audio capabilities of your room. Around 50 watts (per channel) are more than loud enough for a normal-sized room while 10 to 20 watts are enough to make a big sound. Also, if your room is made of wood, note that it is more prone to echoing as compared to cemented walls.

Having an under powered set-up might put unwarranted stress on your rig. Remember that audio equipment shouldn’t be pushed to their maximum limits. Loudness doesn’t always equate to sound quality; higher volumes can cause distortion while lower volumes may give you a hard time understanding your show. Create a balance to achieve that perfect sound.

4. Understand the Set-up

You need to understand the components of your sound system. Every bit of it. You don’t spend money on something you can’t set-up and don’t know how to use, so let us break it down for you.

Center channel speaker

The center channel speaker plays the main dialogue of the actor or whoever is speaking on the show/film. Because of this, it would be wise to place it in the middle of your television set. Think of it as the star of your sound system.

Front left and right speakers

The front left and right speakers provide a more lateral sound to any home sound system. Along with the subwoofer, they help create a smooth audio transition thus being an important element in an immersive auditory experience.

Left and right surround speakers

The left and right surround speakers add another dimension to your home theater experience. These two are in charge of environmental and ambient sounds, the whoosh and swish in your favorite TV show. If you’re watching a movie, these could also be the sound of the actor’s footsteps as they walk across the scene. Left and right surround speakers are vital in creating the auditory illusion that you’re right there with the characters, listening on what’s happening.

Subwoofers

Subwoofers are cost-efficient means to add more bass to your sound. Unfortunately, these low-frequency sound waves are also more likely to bounce around your room. This results in either a hollowed-out sound or a dead spot, making them quite tricky to place.

PRO TIP: It’s best to put your subwoofers near the front of your room. Putting them close to the wall will make them sound louder but also muddier. That’s also the same reason why it’s best to avoid putting them under any other object in your room.

 

Though assembling your own sound system has its benefits, you can never beat the convenience of getting a bundled audio system. Consider your options, your location, as well your budget before purchasing an investment like this.