Are you one of those people who have been settling for the audio quality of your TV’s built-in speakers? Don’t forget that part of creating a home theatre is ensuring the sounds are of similar quality. You may have an impressive, high-end TV model, but it will never be as good unless you also invest in the right sound system.
A sound system will not just make the sound louder, but you will get to enjoy the sound effects and the soundtrack with quality speakers. It will give you the same feeling of being immersed in the movie as you would feel in a cinema.
In the past, getting a home theatre system meant paying thousands of dollars. Well, times have changed, and for a few hundred bucks, you can find decent systems that can upgrade your home theatre experience. You also have the choice between a traditional home theatre sound system, which includes several speakers for surround sound, or a simpler setup.
The Differences Between Surround Sound And Soundbar
Soundbars deliver a decent surround sound experience, in one enclosure that is placed under or in front of your TV. Setting it up is also simpler; all you need to do is plug it to the TV and a power source. On its own, it aims to offer virtual surround sound, which mimics the effect of a full surround sound setup.
This means it may add some more depth to the audio, but without the many speakers, it does not deliver the same experience that a full sound system can.
Fortunately, there are soundbars that come with subwoofers to get closer to the real thing, while some models will allow you to add satellite speakers to achieve a more authentic surround sound. But even without them, soundbars are already an upgrade to your TV’s built-in speakers and can give you good audio quality.
Another reason why most people buy soundbars is the fact that they are uncomplicated. A real surround sound system requires setup and an AVR (Audio/Video Receiver) whereas a soundbar is plug and go.
There are also models that have Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use it to play music from your phone, for example. Lastly, they take up significantly less space compared to a complete speaker setup, so it is preferable for those with less space at home.
Complete Surround Sound System
True audiophiles out there would continue to stick to the classic, full surround sound system. It consists of several components that, when combined together, make you forget you are at home and more in the cinema.
Each piece has its own purpose, from the AVR being the brains of the setup and splits the audio signal into different channels that are routed to the right speaker.
Even the speakers have their own strengths. The centre speaker is where dialogue is blasted out, divided into the left and right speakers for a stereo sound effect. The front speakers work with the centre speaker to deliver that stereo effect while the rear speakers provide you the “surround sound” so you feel like you are part of the scene instead of just being a viewer.
Lastly, the subwoofer is dedicated to bass reproduction, which delivers some fantastic effects like making your windows rattle a bit when a bomb explodes in the film.
The most common setup is using 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer (5.1 channel), while some opt for the 7.1 channel. With 2 more rear speakers, the sound quality has much more depth. Some people also go for additional subwoofers, although for most people this is unnecessary.
Choosing The Best Sound System
The best sound system actually depends on a few factors. While one system (full surround sound) may offer a real stereo sound and more depth, it might not be the best choice for everyone. Think about these factors to decide for yourself.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is, “How much do I want/have to spend on a sound system?” There are some brands that are generally more affordable than others but can already deliver decent quality that is still better than your built-in TV speakers.
Take note that soundbars are not automatically cheaper than a full surround system setup. While more affordable models do exist, there are high-end ones that cost around the same as a good set of speakers. The great news is, whatever your budget, you will most likely find a good product with decent sound quality.
Full Sound or Ease Of Use?
At the end of the day, you have to choose between the complete setup or a simple soundbar. The question to ask yourself is, “Are you willing to handle a complicated installation and setup or do you prefer a plug-and-play option?” Of course, you always have the option of hiring a professional to handle the setup of your home theatre, so you can still get the best without sweating it out the whole day.
If you have a small apartment with limited home theatre space, then having 6 speakers installed is simply impossible. In these cases, be glad that you have the option of getting a soundbar, which will still significantly improve the audio quality. On the other hand, if you have a dedicated home theatre room, then do not be stingy and go for the full setup to really deliver that feeling of being in the cinema.
Go For The Best TV Sound System
If you are a true movie fan or an audiophile, then the slight differences between different sound systems do matter. Despite the best attempts of soundbar manufacturers, you will still not achieve the exact same result.
Do you really want to recreate the feeling and effect of a real cinema at home? If yes, then going for the best is your only choice, maybe investing in a complex 7.2 (7 speakers and 2 subwoofers) channel setup. Afterward, test it with your favourite action movie, and you will feel like you are in the middle of the gunfight or the blast zone, thanks to your audio setup.