When watching a movie at home your most important speakers are the center channel, subwoofer and to a much lesser degree the main speakers and surround sound speakers. Thru rigorous testing we have found that having large main speakers will not really be necessary when watching movies. For music, however bigger is better.
The single most important speaker for movies is the center channel. This is because 70 to 80 percent of all the sound in a movie is designed to come out of the center channel. This speaker is for dialogue and action to be recreated directly in front of you. The subwoofer is the 2nd most important speaker for movies. This speaker will create all the explosive sound effects and rumble that you should hear and feel. Now that we use smaller speakers (satellites mainly) we need a good powerful subwoofer even more than before since these smaller speakers are unable to handle bass. For even better effects consider this article written earlier this year.
The rear speakers and side speakers, if you are lucky enough to have a 7.1 channel receiver, are important for all the action not focused in front of you. The main speakers (front left and right) are surprisingly not as important as you might think. Granted any surround sound setup without all the pieces (speakers) will be sub-par so these are still needed. However, with movies if the main speakers are 12’s, 10’s, 8’s or even really good 6’s or 5 1/4’s there really is no dramatic difference. In fact the smaller the speaker the quicker it is at recreating the sound to be heard. Also, the larger the speaker the slower it is at re-creating the effects found in fast moving action films. For this reason, Premium Audio suggests having a separate music setup from movies. For movies, we recommend the main speakers not being larger than 6 1/2’s for most setups. Not to say that you cannot use bigger speakers when properly equipped with a powerful enough receiver.
Satellite and bookshelf speakers have come a long way for movies. Premium Audio recommends for optimal surround sound nothing larger than 6 1/2’s for each speaker (except the subwoofer or subwoofers) for surround sound setups. This is so you get the best balance between clean clear highs, good mid-range and quick movement of sound all around you when enjoying a film.
Of course, not everyone has the room for even medium sized speakers so we also offer smaller speakers commonly referred to as “satellites.” Satellite speakers do not use anything larger than 4″ woofers. This means you can really keep down your expenses and get a less powerful receiver and spend your money mostly on a good subwoofer and either television or projector. If you do not want to pick and choose your setup, we offer Home Theater in a Box solutions or (HTIB). With this setup everything matches (color, style, and voice matching). Just connect a few wires and you are ready to go! Home Theatre in a Box setups are normally for bedrooms, but can be used in any room you see fit.
I know I seem to be harping a lot lately about dual 12’s (12″ woofers), but it is merely to prove a point. That point is this…for music, bigger speakers are simply better. This is not entirely true with movies however. We will delve deeper into why it’s not as important with movies in a future posting later this month.
Today we are focusing on music and using super big speakers. If properly configured these speakers will sound awesome! If, however you just take big speakers and connect them to just any old receiver you will not do your speakers or your ears justice. For starters, you need a powerful clean sounding amp. Sadly, the receivers sold at Premium Audio are not powerful enough for really big speakers. The receivers we offer are good for bookshelf speakers and of course satellites and will sound really good with movies. Next you will need really good gauge speaker wire.
So, I’m sure you are at this point confused why I would right about big speakers that we do offer and then tell you not use our receivers for them. Instead of using super big speakers you can get a good balance of movie and music sound with small to medium sized speakers when paired with our receivers. The problem here is that a receiver is not a dedicated product. In the 70’s and 80’s we had separate components for the radio and the amplification. The radio was referred to as a tuner. The tuner had no volume control, it had a dial to turn to adjust the station you wanted to listen to and had a AM and FM selector. This tuner needed to be connected to a separate component called an amplifier or amp for short. Because you were using a separate amp and connected the tuner, turntable, cassette deck, and cd player to it everything just sounded better. This is because the amplifier was much cleaner and more powerful. Receivers were made to save space by combining the tuner and amplifier into one component. This was never done to improve the sound. Sure some amps have more power than others and some even use cleaner sounding amps referred to as high current amps, but they are not rated for 8 ohms. Instead they are rated for 6 ohms which is more efficient and less powerful since most people have satellite and bookshelf speakers that simply are not as powerful.
In order to drive the bigger less efficient 8 ohm designed speakers you need a really powerful 6 ohm receiver rated much higher than 100 watts per channel. Even still you may not have the power needed when you get into larger speakers. To do this properly with these large speakers you should be running a amplifier or preamplifier to drive them. Use this setup just for music and your music will sound better than ever. For movies use one of the receivers we offer with either satellites or bookshelf speakers. If you get a receiver that is well over 100 watts per channel large speakers depending on the setup and size of the speakers may still be ok. To be clear a large speaker would be any speaker using at least an 8 inch woofer.
For your musical pleasure we recommend these 15″ speakers driven by these preamps that we are now carrying.