When building a home theater system, one of the most important decisions is selecting the right speakers. The speakers you choose will have a major impact on the audio quality and overall experience of your home theater. There are four main types of speakers you need for a home theater - center channel, surround sound, main front speakers, and a subwoofer. Actually, we also call these speakers combination as cinema speaker. Today, Let us understand the role each of these speaker types play will help you pick the right components for your system.
Cinema speakers are specially as designed loudspeakers used in commercial movie theaters to reproduce the surround sound and soundtrack for films. They are optimzed to provide broad, even coverage across the large seating areas of theaters and auditoriums.
The center channel speaker is essential for reproducing dialogue and vocals. In most movies and TV shows, the dialogue and voices come primarily from the center channel. This speaker should be matched tonally to your front left and right speakers, so the sound is consistent as voices transition across the front soundstage.
For the best clarity, the center channel speaker should use similar tweeters and woofers as the front speakers. Many manufacturers make specific center channel speakers that go with their front speaker models. Place your center channel speaker directly above or below your television, anchored firmly so it does not tip over.
When choosing a center channel, look for a 3-way speaker design. This includes separate tweeters for high frequencies, mid-range drivers for dialog, and larger woofers for lower frequencies. The tweeter and mid-range drivers are especially important for voice clarity. You can also look for center speakers with horizontal MTM (mid-woofer-tweeter-mid-woofer) driver arrangements to disperse voices broadly across the listening area.
Surround speakers complete the lifelike ambiance of your home theater by immersing you in sound from all directions. They reproduce ambient sounds, music, and sound effects during movies and TV shows. Surround speakers should be placed to the sides and slightly behind the central listening position.
For a 5.1 speaker system, you want at least one pair of surround speakers placed behind the couch or seats. For a 7.1 system, add another pair of rear surround speakers. The surround channels don't need as much power and bass capability as the front three speakers. High quality bookshelf speakers make excellent surround speakers in most home theaters.
To create a seamless surround soundscape, try to match the tweeters in your surround speakers with the same brand and type as the front speakers. This gives a consistent tonal balance as audio pans from front to back. When installing surround speakers, mount them 1-2 feet above ear height and face them towards the central seating area.
As the centerpiece of your home theater, the two main front speakers handle the bulk of the audio output. They reproduce most of the mid-range and treble sounds, along with strong bass and dynamics during action scenes. Larger front speakers with 6.5 to 8 inch woofers have the frequency range and power handling to deliver a full cinematic experience.
The front right and left speakers establish the tonal quality and voice of your overall system. They should have high sensitivity and consistent dispersion to fill the room with crisp, balanced sound. Floor standing tower speakers or large bookshelf speakers are common choices for front home theater use. They provide the scale, presence, and output needed for lifelike dynamics.
To choose the right speakers, listen to demos and decide which ones have the full-bodied tonal balance you prefer. The material of the woofer cones also impacts sound. Polymer composite cones provide tight bass, while aluminum delivers bright detailed mid-range. And dome or horn tweeters give clean, airy highs.
No home theater is complete without a subwoofer to handle the low bass frequencies of explosions, soundtrack music, and engines rumbling. With less directional low end audio, the subwoofer can be placed almost anywhere in the front of the room. It should only reproduce the LFE (low frequency effects) channel and lower bass from the main speakers.
Powerful 12 to 15 inch subwoofers add thrilling dynamics and realism through wave after wave of deep bass. However, two 10 inch subs can provide smoother, louder bass than a single 15 inch if properly placed. Subwoofer size, amplifier power, and your room size all impact potential bass performance.
Look for a sub with at least 150 watts of continuous power and rear ports for maximum volume capacity. The amplifier should have adjustable bass, crossover, and phase controls to blend with your speakers. Place your subwoofer along the front wall, in a corner, or end of a cabinet to take advantage of room gain.
With the right combination of center, surround, main, and subwoofer speakers chosen for clarity, frequency range, and seamless tonal matching, your home theater system will deliver incredible immersive audio for movies, TV, sports, and music. Carefully planning and optimizing each component will let you achieve audio bliss.