Home theaters are no longer a rare sight and can be found in most modern households today. Usually, a home theater system consists of a video projector or large flat-panel TV, and the audio augmented with a power amplifier. Also, one can have anything between just two speakers to a 7.1 channel amplifier with more than five surround sound speakers, but how do you add more to your home theater?
To add more speakers to your home theater, add a home theater receiver. Then, you may add a center channel speaker and also add left and right speakers on either side of the TV. Next, add surround sound speakers and powered subwoofers. In-ceiling and upward-firing speakers may also be added.
Having more speakers that are positioned in a way that maximizes their efficiency would definitely have a big impact on the overall effect and experience of a home theater. In this article, we will discuss the various speakers that can be added to a home theater and also talk about positioning and sound effects. Happy reading!
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Invest in a Great Home Theater Receiver
A home theater receiver (also known as the AV receiver) is the home theater system’s nucleus. Think of it as a nerve center that performs a number of essential functions that enable that home theater to function optimally. You can also think of it as a connection hub for audio, video, and internet streaming sources to connect.
Here’s a list of the functions of a home theater receiver:
- Receive audio and video signals from more than one source.
- Provide power amplifiers to drive loudspeakers.
- Decode a Blu-ray’s or DVD’s surround sound formats.
- Switch between audio and video components.
If you want high-quality surround sound, you need to start by investing in a good home theater receiver. Having multiple speakers in a home theater system makes an AV receiver essential, as that will act as the central hub. Most receivers have a unique interface that allows the user to control the various devices connected to it and have easier control over the audio and visual settings.
In short, having a home theater receiver allows you to connect a number of speakers without losing volume or sound quality, which is the main aim of this article.
There are currently many different types of home theater receivers in the market, so you need to make sure you get the right one for you.
Here’s a list of the aspects you need to consider when buying the right AV receiver:
The Number of Channels
You’ll need one channel for every speaker you connect. Usually, it is best to get receivers with at least seven channels. Since you’re already planning on adding more speakers to your home theater, it is best to get a receiver, which will allow you to connect the number of speakers you plan on adding.
If you already own an AV receiver, you may need to get a new one if it isn’t going to support your upgraded speaker system.
The Required Power Output
This typically depends on the size of the room and the power requirements of the speakers. Home theater receivers have built-in amplifiers to power all the surround speakers connected to it. Too little power or too much power can distort the sound or damage the speakers, so it’s important to check the speakers’ wattage and power it accordingly.
A home theater receiver that has Bluetooth and wireless capabilities will allow you to connect devices like your mobile to stream music and audio without much hassle. Additionally, wireless connectivity will allow you to connect wireless surround sound speakers and subwoofers as well.
In addition to all these essential features, you can also keep an eye out for AV receivers that have an app to control them. This will give you the ability to control the hub through your phone or tablet. Voice control integration is another convenient feature that many receivers currently have.
Focus on the Center Channel Speaker
This is one of the most important speakers in your home theater system. This is because it produces more sound than all the other speakers in the system. Additionally, when it comes to watching movies and such, this is the speaker that deals with most of the dialogue in the audio. Hence, it must be placed in the perfect position upfront.
When it comes to the ideal placement, the center channel speaker’s ideal location is usually right above or below the TV. It is recommended to tilt the speaker at such an angle that the sound is directed towards the listener’s ear level.
No matter where you place it, remember to keep it as close to the screen as possible. If your center speaker is mounted on a shelf or table below the TV, make sure you position it at the very edge of the shelf or table, as that will prevent the surface from interfering with the soundwaves.
Additionally, when buying a center speaker, always look for a “three-way design.” This will allow the speaker to have a wider sound field while also focusing on the front stage. As this speaker will handle most of the dialogue and vocals, it is advisable to look for the best in the market and not hold back.
Check out Sony Center Channel Speaker as a great example. It has a wide dispersion tweeter (which is very important in a center speaker) and has all the qualities you’d look for in a great center channel speaker. In addition to this, it comes at a great price for its features!
Flank the TV on Either Side
In addition to the central speaker right under or below the TV, you must have two additional speakers upfront that flanks the TV on the right and left. These speakers are next in line when it comes to essentiality, as they deal with most of the audio relating to the soundtrack and off-screen effects.
Like the center speaker, you want to make sure that the right and left speakers are also aimed towards the listening area. To do this, angle the speakers in such a way that their focus is on the seating area right in front of the TV. When you’re seated, the tweeter should be directed towards your ear level.
Most often, floor standing speakers are used as the front speakers, so you can go with that if it suits you. However, bookshelf speakers are also a common choice among many.
When positioning these speakers, the only way to know what works for you is through trial and error. Feel free to experiment with the sound as you move the speakers closer or farther away from the wall.
Usually, the bass is reinforced when placed closer to the wall, which isn’t necessarily bad. So figure out the best placement and location based on your individual taste and preference!
Additionally, when buying front speakers, keep in mind that they need to be magnetically shielded to avoid interference with the TV picture.
Here are a couple of links to the highest-rated home theater bookshelf speakers on Amazon. They have adjustable tweeters, are bookshelf speakers, and are compatible with most AV receivers, making them an exceptional choice for most home theaters:
- Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers – These speakers are bookshelf speakers but can also be mounted on the wall if needed. It’s size is more suitable for medium-sized rooms and works great in the front or rear of the listening area.
- Klipsch R-41M Powerful detailed Bookshelf Home Speaker – This speaker set can be used in a compact space as the main speakers or as surround sound speakers. It also has a Linear Travel Suspension tweeter which minimizes distortion and enhances the overall quality of the sound.
Add the Surround Sound Speakers
Surround sound speakers are what enhance the effect and quality of a home theater system. These speakers can either be placed on speaker stands or mounted on the wall. They are important as they largely contribute to the theater effect you’d want your home cinema to emulate.
You can place your surround sound speakers a little behind the seating area for effective sound as the front of the room is already covered by the center and side speakers. To accomplish this, you can use similar bookshelf speakers, as was mentioned in the previous section.
It is highly recommended that you use two or four surround sound speakers, depending on the room’s size. These can be placed either beside or behind the seating area. If you don’t want to use bookshelf speakers for this purpose, you can go for speakers that fire in different directions.
Air Audio Portable Surround Sound is one speaker you can check out if this is the option you wish to go for. It is a pack of 5 portable speakers that can be used as surround sound speakers as well. If not, you can consider checking out surround sound systems, which we will look at next.
When trying to find the right position for the surround sound speakers that are either beside or behind the seating area, be sure to follow the same principle as with the front and find the ideal location for the speakers by experimenting with new positions!
Surround Sound Systems
Currently, more people are opting for complete surround sound systems when creating their home theaters. This is because a surround sound system helps one get the perfect speakers that contribute to the system’s overall performance. While some people prefer using any speaker as their central and side speakers, many others find investing in a surround sound system more reliable in terms of quality.
There are typically two types of surround sound systems. Let’s have a quick look at them below:
- 5.1 Surround Sound System – A 5.1 surround sound system consists of 6 channels (for six speakers) and is best suited for small to medium-sized rooms. It consists of a center speaker, subwoofer, left and right front speakers, and finally, left and right rear speakers. It is usually cheaper and quite popular among home theater owners.
- 7.1 Surround Sound System – A 7.1 surround sound system is suitable for larger rooms, as it has eight channels instead of six. The two extra speakers provide better audio quality in a larger room. Hence, buying a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system mostly depends on the room’s size and the budget you’ve set out for the home theater.
Add Dipole Surround Speakers
A dipole speaker is constructed by mounting a loudspeaker driver on top of a flat panel, and it works by creating sound pressure waves from the driver’s front and back surfaces. Simply put, it is seen as slightly more advantageous than a regular surround speaker as its sound is concentrated in the listening area due to the polar response in the speaker.
Additionally, dipole speakers are generally believed to sound better in the rear of the listening area than the front, so you may want to consider this when figuring out where to place them. However, this belief is not exactly proven, so there’s no harm in figuring out if this really works yourself!
Use Powered Subwoofers
Subwoofers are necessary for a home theater’s sound system as they reproduce all the low-pitched audio frequencies, such as bass and sub-bass, which normal speakers are not capable of reproducing. Although woofers also perform the same tasks, people generally prefer having subwoofers as they easily reproduce low frequencies that may not always be possible for a normal woofer.
Choosing a subwoofer can be a little tricky, so here’s a list of all the things you need to bear in mind when buying subwoofers:
Some subwoofers lack the ability to reach notes that are below 20 Hz. Very often, this results in an exaggeration of the mid-bass performance, which leads to a boomy, single-note bass sound, which is far less appealing to the ears than the original soundtrack.
Hence, make sure the subwoofer can reproduce very deep bass notes, as anything less than this can completely ruin the soundtrack of songs or audios that have low bass.
Good subwoofers are supposed to reproduce the exact sound and notes of the original audio. However, some subwoofers can end up distorting the sound or over-exaggerating it. So be sure that your subwoofer is an extension of the sound system and does not add additional “thumps” or “thuds” to the soundtrack.
Blending With Full Range Speakers
Sometimes, you may find the bass overpowering all the other sounds in a sound system. A proper home theater requires an audio system that will blend seamlessly together. Make sure that you can’t hear the bass overpowering the other sounds produced.
Also, check if the subwoofer’s location can be easily detected in a room, which ideally shouldn’t be the case. Look for a subwoofer whose bass notes are complementary to the system as a whole.
When it comes to the subwoofer placement, it produces the best sound in terms of quality when directed towards the main listening area. Be sure to place the port away from the wall as it can cause rumbling or harsh bass sounds.
Also, try to avoid placing it in the corner of the room, as that can cause the bass waves to bounce against the wall in different directions, leading to a muddy tone in the bass sounds.
Though most people prefer having a single subwoofer, using two subs can improve the bass distribution in a room. Depending on the room’s layout, you can strategically place the subs to get the most impact out of them.
Typically, you get the best distribution by having the subs placed in the front of the room near the left and right corners (but at an adequate distance from the walls), but you may even consider placing one sub in the back of the room and the other in the front.
In order to have the freedom to place the subwoofer in any location in your home theater, it is advisable to go for wireless subs as that will remove the need to place it near the receiver. The best way to find the ideal location for a subwoofer is through trial and error!
Consider Adding In-Ceiling Speakers
In-ceiling speakers are becoming popular among home theater owners due to their ability to make the sound experience more immersive and provide an enveloping effect. In addition to this, people love the fact that they don’t take up much space (cause they’re fixed on the ceiling) and also give the room a less messy appearance.
When it comes to the placement, whether you’re using 2 or 4 in-ceiling speakers, it would be best to place them closer to the corners in the front and rear of the listening area to give equal coverage to the entire room. Also remember that if you’re pairing these speakers up with speakers on the ground, you wouldn’t need as many as 4, unless your home theater is a fairly large room.
Along with the placement, you will also have to decide on the size of the speakers. They typically come in a small and slightly larger size, so you can choose the size depending on the room’s size. Usually, the small-sized speakers are around 5.5-6.6 in (14-17 cm) and should be perfect for small and medium-sized rooms.
Another thing to remember is that if you already own a surround sound system (either a 5.1 or 7.1 system), then these speakers are simply an addition to it. In such cases, you can place the speakers in the center of the ceiling above the seating area, as the speakers on the ground will cover all the other corners.
Since these are still fairly new in the market, you’ll want to make sure you’re investing in good quality speakers from renowned brands. Also, be sure to invest in good quality cables for the wiring, as bad quality ones can malfunction soon and ruin the entire investment.
The only disadvantage with these speakers is that you can’t really follow the trial and error method when deciding on its location. Make sure you check the speakers’ effect in different positions before you permanently fix them in the ceiling.
Here are some in-ceiling speakers on Amazon:
- AmazonBasics 8″ In-Ceiling Speakers are designed to enhance the sound quality in-home theaters. Since they’re fairly big, you may want to check them out only if you plan on fitting them into a large-sized room.
- Klipsch R-1650-C In-Ceiling Speaker is a slightly smaller speaker and does not come in a pack of two. Hence, if your room is quite small and you only wish to have one speaker in the ceiling, this option would be ideal for you. I also recommend browsing through the comments if you aren’t sure about the quality of this speaker!
Invest in Upward Firing Speakers
In simple terms, upward-firing speakers are a set of speakers that fire the sound upwards towards the ceiling, where it bounces off the wall and comes back down, giving the listener an illusion of in-ceiling speakers.
Some of its advantages include an immersive sound effect and an enveloping soundstage. Its main objective is to give overhead effects.
This is a great option for people who like the idea of an enveloping sound effect but aren’t fans of in-ceiling speakers. In-ceiling or ceiling mounted speakers are pretty permanent, so it may not be the best option for everyone. In such cases, upward-firing speakers are the next best option.
As with in-ceiling speakers, you can invest in 2 or 4 upward-firing speakers. Typically, these are placed in the right and left corners of the seating area’s front and rear. However, if the room is comparatively small, having just two upfront can be a good option as well.
Unlike in-ceiling speakers, the position of these aren’t permanent or hard to move around, so you can revert to the previous method of experimentation until you attain the perfect enveloping soundstage you’re hoping for!
Tips for Adding More Speakers
Adding more speakers to a home theater can be a long, laborious, and frustrating job at times. Here’s a list of the tips you can employ while making these additions to your home theater:
- Invest in flat wires. These wires are specifically designed to be easily concealed. This removes the problem of seeing unseemly wires all over the place as soon as you enter the room. While you’re at it, don’t use more speaker wire than you need.
- Invest in a wireless speaker system. If you can afford it, try to go for a completely wireless system. This removes the hassle of camouflaging and hiding wires. It also gives you the freedom to move the speakers as and when you please. They can also be placed very far away from the receiver if need be.
- If you already have a speaker system and don’t wish to invest in a brand new wireless system, then you can consider using a wireless transmitter. This will remove the need for long cables running across the full length of the room.
- Use in-wall speaker cables wherever possible, as this will run the wires through your walls and ensure it is completely hidden away.
- If none of these options are feasible, then consider investing in cable ties and wraps to keep the wires organized and neat. This will also prevent you from pulling or tripping on cables that might run across the floor.
- People also prefer using in-wall and in-ceiling speakers to avoid messy wires lining the entire room. So if you haven’t already bought ground speakers, you can consider buying ceiling and wall-mounted speakers instead.
- In addition to all this, make sure you haven’t overcrowded the room with speakers. Having too many speakers in a small room can be unpleasant as well, so make sure you haven’t gone overboard with it!
- Also, if you have the privilege of having quite a few speakers fit within your home theater, make sure they have all been properly spaced and cover all the main points of the seating area adequately. After all, there wouldn’t be a point in having so many speakers if the sound experience isn’t impressive!
This article gives a summary of the different ways you can add more speakers to your home theater system, while also maintaining the aesthetic and auditory experience of the room. Here’s a short list of the entire article below:
- Invest in a high-quality receiver that will support many sources.
- Make sure the positioning of the speakers is perfect.
- Buy a suitable surround system that allows you to get all your speakers in one set.
- Add subwoofers for a better soundstage.
- Have at least four surround sound speakers with two in the front and rear.
- Consider in-ceiling or ceiling mounted speakers.
- Upward firing speakers are the next best option if you don’t prefer in-ceiling speakers.
I hope this article eased your doubts and answered your questions!