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Home Theater How-To Part 2: Picking the Right Sound

Home Audio Systems Create a Cinematic Experience in Your Home Theater

Studies have shown that sound plays an even more critical part in the movie-watching experience than the visuals. If you want a movie theater-quality experience at home, you need to pay close attention to the accompanying sound system you choose.

The professional home audio installation near me recommends the following considerations when choosing the right sound system.

Choosing the correct number of channels

No self-respecting home theater system these days will only have two or three speakers, though you may want to consider a separate stereo system for music listening alone.

The most common setups nowadays are 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. These numbers refer to how many individual speakers the system has.

A 5.1 surround system will have five speakers and a subwoofer. Four speakers are positioned strategically in front and behind (or to the side) of you, and another central speaker used for dialogue is placed in front of the screen.

We generally recommend a 7.1 surround sound system. A 7.1 surround system also has four speakers placed around the room but has three speakers at the front instead. Alternatively, height speakers can be used in a 7.1 setup for an even more immersive sound experience.

A 7.2.1 system refers to a system with three speakers in the front, two to the side, two to the back, and two in the ceiling. There’s also a subwoofer in the mix for meaty bass. With a 7.2.1 system, you get authentic 3D sound, with sound that can come from above.

Other setups like 9.2 or 11.4 speaker systems follow similar lines, but unless you have a vast room, then there are diminishing returns on adding more speakers to your home theater sound system.

Wireless vs. Wired

Wireless home theater sound systems have the clear advantage of no wiring. They’re undoubtedly convenient and can be easier to fit into a room.

On the other hand, wireless speaker systems typically come at a price premium over wired systems. They’re also not completely wireless, needing power, so they don’t represent as big a difference as you might first think.

Another reason to consider wired systems is that they’re typically easier to upgrade in the future. If you decide you want to replace just your floor speakers, for example, you can swap in just about any brand you wish. Wireless systems don’t play together so well, at least not yet.

A/V receiver

Your A/V receiver transmits the sound signals to the correct speakers. This task is more complicated than it first sounds, as there are so many sound formats, speaker setups, and inputs to consider.

The Denon AVR-X36700H is one of our preferred A/V receivers for home theaters. It’s a 9-channel 8K AV receiver supporting every 3D audio format under the sun, from Dolby Atmos to IMAX Enhanced.

Height speakers

Home theater speakers aren’t just about one plane anymore. With height speakers, 3D is now finally truly 3D, with sound that can come from above you.

Height speakers require the correct type of room, typically one with a low ceiling. And support for height speakers is relatively new in media. Dolby Atmos supports height speakers, yet DTS:X doesn’t, for example. You’ll need a 7.1 speaker setup for Atmos to work with height speakers, and while it can sound fantastic when set up correctly, we recommend a professional installation.

Home audio soundbars

Instead of three speakers at the front of your setup, you can instead have a soundbar. A soundbar is a single speaker that sits in front of your screen. Soundbars can deliver quite good sound, particularly if you choose the right brand, but it isn’t easy to compete with three speakers.


Great bass is another prerequisite for a satisfying home theater experience. Subwoofers are usually included in surround sound packages. This is convenient and means the subwoofer will have been acoustically matched to the other speakers in the system.

Still, if you find a surround sound system lacking in bass punch, you can get a separate subwoofer. Most modern home theater subwoofers have a built-in amplifier, so you don’t need to worry about how to power them.

Professional home audio installation in Marietta, GA

All the high-tech equipment in the world means nothing if it isn’t installed correctly. One mistake people often make with their home audio systems is thinking they can easily do it all themselves. Here at Sound Sensations, we specialize in home audio installation and home theater installation in Marietta and surrounding areas. Our installation techs are experts in the products we sell, as well as how to install them.

Stop by and see us today at 337 Cobb Parkway South in Marietta, give us a call at 770-429-1600, or visit us online.

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