Elements of Home Theater Design

What is the best configuration for your newly purchased home theater system? Several factors should be considered before you even buy the components. Are you an avid movie watcher or do you enjoy the sports packages so prevalent in today's cable set-ups? What is the shape of your viewing room? What materials are present in that room? Do you predominantly listen to music and what type of music? Each of these answers will help determine what your home theater design will look like.


What you are trying to do is approximate the environment you find at a real movie theater to maximize your viewing and listening pleasure. You have a surround sound system that can have various speaker configurations. This is what distinguishes your home theater from an ordinary television-viewing situation. In order to avail yourself of these features, you should first decide where you want to locate the wide screen TV and where you want to sit. As you do this, keep in mind that the speakers will have to be separated in various locations around the room. This will give you the sense of actually being in the midst of the sound.

Your home theater design should also encompass the acoustic properties of the materials in the room. Bare walls do not work well with sound, as the reverberations tend to muddy the sound. Some type of sound absorbing materials should be installed to help the acoustic balance. Ceiling panels, draperies, and rugs are all helpful in achieving this balance. The actual atmosphere should be designed so that the lighting is controllable and beneficial to prime viewing. A dimmer switch on a few of the lights is probably the easiest method of controlling the lights or you could put in recessed lights to approximate the lighting in a movie theater.

The physical comfort of the viewers is of equal importance in home theater design. Temperature regulation keeps the room at a reasonable level and proper ventilation will provide air movement for a pleasurable atmosphere.

The next step is to arrange the speakers in the optimum configuration so as to heighten the listening experience. Surround sound speaker systems come in different packages with the basic one being the 5.1 channel set-up, made up of three front speakers, two side speakers, and a sub-woofer. The 6.1 channel set-up adds a channel (a rear speaker) to the 5.1 configuration, while the 7.1 adds yet another sub-woofer for increased bass. Your best home theater design will take into account the need for best placement of these components in terms of the physical space required and optimum separation of sound. Placing the speakers on the floor is not the best way to place them as the floor picks up the vibrations and distorts the sound. Accommodations must be made to elevate the speakers so that nothing comes between your ears and the speakers. This will heighten your experience in the best home theater design possible.

So sit back, dim the lights, pass the popcorn, and enjoy the show.


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