Simple HT Project Requirements

Simple Requirements for a Home Theater Project

Installing a home theater can seem as daunting as building a rocket, and I won’t lie to you: some theater projects may be almost as complex.  However, the following information will help you determine what kind of home theater setup is best for your space and the things you’ll need to do in order to get your private cinema up and running. 

Room Size and Sound Quality
The more common two-channel system setups are easy to install and likely what you have at home right now.  Moving up to a home theater system means considering what kind of sound quality you want, not to mention what types of speakers you need—and can afford.

For large rooms, make sure you avoid High SPL (Sound Pressure Level) Speakers because they distort sound at high volume levels, which you’ll need to use to fill your space.  These speakers are generally cheaper, however, and they will not make a significant difference in smaller rooms.  These speakers will still cause some small distortion to sound because of the horn design of the speaker and the amplifier, but at low levels it is difficult to notice.  No matter how large your space is, though, speakers you have hooked up to your sound system should not be repurposed for your home theater.  The sound quality will be compromised.

If you have a large space or want the best audio quality possible, then you need multiple subwoofer setups with correct time domains.  This means that all the speakers work together to create layered, crystal clear sound.  For a small space, two subwoofers may be sufficient, but this is a minimum, and you will notice much better quality with four subwoofers, especially if you have a large room.  The thing that makes the sound produced from this system so natural is synchronization of the time domains so that all of the subwoofers work together. 

Finding the perfect sound will take some work because you will have to adjust to the acoustics of your space and the reductive or complementary effects of sound waves bouncing all over the place.  While there are different ways to approach this, instruction manuals with your subwoofers will help you overcome modes and nulls in your room (odd sound effects that cause distortion).  However, once you’ve found the perfect spacing, sound frequency, and orientation of your subwoofers, you will find that you escape the distorting effects of amplifiers and high-level sound distortions.  If you need or love loud entertainment, you’ll likely find that only subwoofers can handle the juice and produce clear sounds.

What You’ll Need
The above demonstrates how you’ll go about setting up your system, but before you get that far, take a look at what you’ll need.  As indicated, you’ll need at least two subwoofers, though four will provide optimal quality.  If you are using speakers, you’ll need between five and seven, and the front three speakers should be identical because they are the most important.  You’ll also need a processor or theater pre-amp and a multi-channel power amplifier. 

This, of course, assumes you already have a projector or TV, reclining chairs or theater seating, a universal programmable remote, a DVD and/or Blu-Ray player, or some other media player.  If you have all of these basics, then make sure that you have cables—ideally balanced audio cables—speaker cables, acoustic foams, and power strips to protect your tech in the event of lightning strikes or weird electricity fluctuations.

Installing your own home theater system takes some work, but with some preparation, you’ll find you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to enjoy a cinema-quality experience at home.