A typical “Home Theater”, as the term goes, is an ensemble of 6 (5.1) speakers, with a matching AVR (Audio Video Receiver), which is essentially an Amplifier, a source switcher and a video receiver & video out.
But much more goes into a Customized Home Cinema or a Personal Theater than just the audio-video jargon. AV equipment is just 10% of the total ingredients that go into the making of a good Listening Room.
Taking care of the following points can curate an experience many would desire:
1. Room Shape and DimensionsA perfect cube or a long corridor and circular rooms indeed make poor ‘listening rooms’.
Although there are many permutations, almost any room can be made to sound good with the right kind of speakers’ selection, placement, and well-planned acoustic design.
The position of the door and the absence of the windows play an essential role in planning the layout of such Rooms with ‘purpose’.
2. Well Designed Acoustics
Acoustics is the most important factor in any space where the sound is a concern; May it be ambient sound or amplified one. In the case of a Home Cinema, the sense of ambiance is provided by the multi-channel soundtrack, which is reproduced through multiple speakers.
The essence of a great Home Cinema is the dynamic range of spatial experience. In the movie industry, there are standards for every channel -
The front left and right channels (speakers), produce the major ‘stage’ sound.
The Centre speaker is designated to essentially produce the dialogues, and so on.
Hence the ‘standard’ requires that the ‘listening-room’ be relatively dead or anechoic. This means the ‘listening-room’ reverberations or echo must not dominate and needs to be designed accordingly.
3. Color of Walls and Ceiling
We need pitch-dark while watching a video through a front projection. Even a small light, direct or reflected can fade the picture.
Hence, it is essential for the ceiling and the screen wall to be matt black, to absorb the light that reflects off the screen and not bounce it back to light up the room substantially enough to fade the picture.
Similarly, care should be taken that the remaining walls are dark-colored too, if not black, for the same reason - to maintain the eye's focus only on the screen.
4. Choice of Speakers
There are very few companies that manufacture dedicated speakers for Home Cinema. Though these speaker sets may cost much more than the regular speakers, which were designed for music initially and then a center speaker, a pair or two of surrounds and a subwoofer added to them to call it a “Home Theater” speakers set. These speakers, designed for listening to music may not be able to do justice to the audio tracks of today.
We recommend a Cinema speaker set armed with Horn Tweeters as compared to the dome type for their wide dispersion of sound. After you finalize the speakers for your Home Cinema, it needs to be matched with an AV Receiver that can, at least, match the rated short-term wattage of your speaker system, if not more.
If your speakers are of high wattage, say 300 watts RMS each and above, we recommend separate power amplifiers for all speakers, with a preamplifier which has onboard Sound Processors, both DTS and Dolby Digital or higher.