Home Theatre Surround Sound

Written by Serena Berger
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Home theatre surround sound could seem redundant to a true audio or videophile, since for many, theatre is inseparable from surround sound. People don't just go to the movies to impress their dates with five dollar popcorn or a chance to work the yawn-and-get-the-arm-around-the-chair maneuver. It's the sense of being completely subsumed in another world that makes a movie in the movie theatre so much more exciting than the same movie rented six months later, and it's the size of the screen and the quality of surround sound which are most effective at creating that complete immersion.

Dolby Digital Home Theatre Surround Sound

The most popular choice for home theatre surround sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. If you are looking at pre-packaged home theatre systems which come with "everything you need," it's likely that you'll be looking at this kind of system (though in most cases, you'll be sacrificing some level of quality in the accessories if you're getting). The minimum equipment that you'll need for surround system will be a receiver with 5 or 5.1 channels, the speakers, and the cables.

The speakers which comprise a home theatre surround sound system are two front satellite speakers (which pick up the right and left stereo sound), the two rear satellite speakers and a center speaker, which goes right over or under your TV and picks up the dialogue or vocals. A subwoofer is the speaker that picks up the bass and makes action sequences and music much more powerful. A really phenomenal surround sound system will also have a back center speaker or two additional side satellite speakers, but don't feel like you're missing out too terribly if you don't have the money or the space for those yet.

In order to make the most of surround sound capabilities, you need to be fairly meticulous in setting the system up. Poor set up of sound equipment is sort of like neglecting to focus your camera when taking a picture: no matter how good it looked when you looked at the scene through the viewing lens, the picture won't reflect that composition. The more speakers you have in your system, the more carefully you want to measure their heights and angles, to make sure they all converge in a sweet spot where you can sit to watch and listen.


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