Frequently Asked Questions

How big should my home theater or media room be?
When building out a basement or doing a remodel that includes a home theater or media room, this question is often asked. Our answer is simply this: “The bigger, the more open, the better.” First you have to understand how sound works. Sound is the pressurization and rarefaction of an air chamber and, ideally, sound wants to be created and then go off into infinity and die a natural death.

Picture throwing a stone into a pond on a calm morning and picture perfect circular ripples moving away from where the stone landed, they move on and on until they disappear – this is a great big open space.  Now, take that same stone and toss it into a bathtub – what happens? Before you can blink, the waves have reflected off the sidewalls of the tub and come crashing back into the original waves and all you have is choppy water and chaos – this is a small symmetrical room.

It’s almost as simple as that, sound prefers large spaces because there is more room for the sound waves to move and die off. Why do you think that all the best recording or concert venues are either large (Carnegie Hall) or outdoors (Red Rocks)?

My home theater or media room is already built and I am worried about the sound, what can I do?
Home theater reflection points and sound wavesIf you have done any amount of reading on this subject or talked to any acousticians they would have you believe that your room is your worst enemy and that nothing will ever sound good in there unless you spend $10k or more to treat it. Relax; it’s probably not as bad as you think. Chances are if your room is a pleasant place to have a conversation then it’s probably fine for a stereo or home theater.

At Soundings, our approach with Master Set™ is to correctly place your speakers and subwoofers in your room and get the speakers to not only work with the room to pressurize it, but also to get your speakers to work together as one. Once we’ve completed the Master Set™, if you still have a problem with some room acoustics we sprinkle in a little acoustical treatment as needed.

Do I need more than one subwoofer in my home theater?
When talking about home audio or home theater speakers we tend to avoid the word “need” because you don’t really need any of it. The question here is: “Should I want more than one subwoofer in my theater?” And the answer is a resounding: “Yes!” At Soundings we often use 2, 3, or more subwoofers in a surround sound system.

Home theater & home audio subwooferUsing the REL brand of subwoofers and their proprietary high level connection allows us to use the subwoofer first and foremost for sub bass support for your main speakers and then secondly as a dedicated LFE channel for the “.1” in a 5.1 channel surround sound system. The sub bass support that the REL’s provide for the front speakers expands the soundstage far beyond the location of the front speakers, it gives you depth and dimension that you will never experience from your speakers apart from using a REL. The LFE channel is used sparingly in movie soundtracks to accent a powerful deep bass (3Hz – 120Hz) note played by one of your 5 main speakers. They say the LFE channel is used as often as you would find an exclamation point in a romance novel, which is to say, not that often. REL is the only brand of subwoofers in existence that can do both of these feats simultaneously.

Once you understand what a REL can do for your front speakers, one need only turn around a notice a pair of speakers behind you used as the surround channels. Placing a REL subwoofer in the back of the room not only provides that same sub bass support for the surround speakers, but it also aids the front REL subwoofer to pressurize the room more evenly and quickly on the LFE channel. Put it this way, having a front REL subwoofer is like going to the aquarium, where you look beyond the sheet of glass to see so much depth and so many layers back in the tank. Adding the rear REL subwoofer is like being in the tank.

I'm putting together a home theater, how should I budget my money and what should I look for?
Putting together a home theater system can be tricky if you don’t know where to begin. There are several components that go into a home theater system and each one plays an important role. It’s important to have all the speakers in the system voice-matched, meaning they sound similar, usually from the same manufacturer and using similar drivers and components. The speakers should be large enough and capable of moving enough air to pressurize the room that the system is installed in. It’s also important to have an amplifier that will be capable of powering the speakers to the levels that you’re going to play the system at. A good amplifier will be able to handle the more complex passages of a movie or piece of music without sounding harsh or loud (which is a sign of distortion), while at the same time delivering the delicate nuances of the soundtrack and dialogue with great clarity. The most often overlooked aspect of a home theater or stereo system’s performance is ensuring that the speakers are all calibrated to work together in your room. Since no two rooms are alike, it’s crucial to have your speakers tuned to your room after the system has been installed to ensure a great performance everytime. See Master Set™ for more information.

When it comes to budget it’s all about quality. Most home theaters will have the same number of speakers and components and the difference between a modestly priced home theater and a very expensive one is mostly due to the quality of the components selected. While an entry level home theater system may be able keep up with the action and deliver intelligible dialogue, a better quality home theater system will deliver a more dynamic performance, be able to resolve much higher levels of detail and realism, and do this all with a sense of effortlessness drawing you deeper into the unfolding story on the screen. Everyone has a budget/quality level in mind when purchasing a home theater, most people just don’t know where that line is for them. The best thing to do is audition different systems, listen to the really expensive system because it will show you what a film soundtrack is supposed to sound like, then listen to the affordable system – get educated. As you pay attention and listen to different systems you’ll begin to form your idea of what makes a perfect home theater system for you and for your budget.

At Soundings Fine Audio Video, we’ve got 5 showrooms set up with different home theater and stereo systems to show you different quality levels and help you find the one that is right for you. Rather than asking you to make all the decisions on components let our experts design a proper home theater system that is specific to your home and your budget, carefully selecting the right components for the job. Then our attention to detail with installation and proper setup and calibrating the system to your room will ensure a thrilling performance every time you use your home theater.

How do I know which speakers to choose for my surround sound system?
Answer coming soon.

How do I get the best audio performance out of my stereo or home theater?
Answer coming soon.

Do high quality cables make a difference?
Answer coming soon.

How do I get the best picture from my home theater projector or TV?
Answer coming soon.

What components make up a home theater system?
Answer coming soon.

When I watch a movie on my surround sound system, I constantly have to turn up and down the volume - is that normal?
Answer coming soon.

What things are most important when buying a home theater system?
Answer coming soon.

My electrician is wiring our new home/remodel and he says that he can get me all of my audio equipment to - Is that a good idea?
Answer coming soon.

What are the differences between typical stereo speakers and home theater speakers?
Answer coming soon.