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How to improve your home theater

How to improve your home theater that is the question that you are most likely asking yourself. You have probably been given some tips over the years by various people, but how useful were these tips? Seeing as how you are reading this post (and probably others from us), here at Premium Audio, I am guessing that the tips were not that good since you are still seeking out advice. Luckily for you you have finally come to the right source for this issue. We have years of experience with this (established in 2005) with our focus on not just selling products, but making even the products you already have sound even better than before with little or no cost involved.

Here are some general tips that we have tested and proven to work in most situations:

The order of these suggestions do not matter. Try one, try none, try them all – the choice is yours!

  1. Upgrade your speakers. Perhaps they are too small or just not very good. Cheap speakers are just that …. cheap and it shows. Start with the center since it is the most important. Then work on the front speakers. After that upgrade your rear speakers and or sub.
  2. Upgrade your receiver. It may be lacking in power or just not very good. Clean amps from top of the line brands always sound better even at low volumes.
  3. Upgrade your speaker wire to at least 18 gauge wire. 16 gauge is even better.
  4. Relocate your home theater to a room with better acoustics. Rooms that are overly large, odd shaped, have vaulted or partially vaulted ceilings or are just plain open (great rooms) are less than ideal for home theater. Bedrooms and finished basements work best because they are generally square in shape (or rectangular) and you can close the door to keep the sound in the room.
  5. Does it sound like an echo chamber or like it’s all muffled? Flooring choices can make a HUGE difference!

Need additional assistance?

Check out our other blog articles in our blog directory to find just what you need. Also don’t forget to download our FREE HOME THEATRE E-BOOK.

Still need more help?

If so, we suggest you download these affordable books:

Customize Your Home Theater 5.1 channel to 15.2 and everything inbetween

The Evolution of Home Theatre: 22.8, 22.4.4 and 22.6.2 channel surround sounds

Custom made speaker stands

 

 

 

 

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Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater

Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater

When making up your home theatre setup you first have to ask yourself what it is that you want to set out to accomplish.

I ought to know since I have been doing this since prior to creating Premium Audio way back in ’05. Even to this day I still stop and reflect on this purpose before drawing up speaker diagrams. Believe it or not my goal is not to create a way to run more speakers together (well not entirely anyway). Instead my real goal is to place speakers strategically to serve an actual purpose.

Some of the purposes I have setup to accomplish have been to maximize sound placement in a large room other times it has been to do so in a smaller room. I have experimented with how to optimize the sound of lesser name satellite speakers in a small room to the point of actually making them outperform much larger speakers that are expected to be much better since they are name brand but fail to perform due to the much larger environment (room) I have chosen to place them in.

I have played around with multiple elevations, multiple receivers and switches and multiple powered subs (one in each corner of the room). I have even gone as far as to create my own names for speakers that have never even been thought of by the supposed “experts.” These include “middle centers”, “side speakers,” and “pseudo subs”. Of course let’s not forget about my angle experiments too which help to enhance what exactly can be heard. My favorite experiment has been in creating ways to independently adjust the volume of different speakers with the use of multiple receivers all running simultaneously. In my first book I covered many concepts including acoustics to avoid and how to improve any rooms acoustics.

Just when you thought I would be out of ideas I released another e-book this time about custom speaker stands (again concepts never seen before by anyone). So what next? I am sure you are asking yourself what could possibly take this to the next level (beyond 30.4.4 channel surround sound)? One of my best friends (of 30 years now) always asks, jokingly of course, when I will come up with a 100 speaker surround sound system. As cool as I can imagine it being to be able to say ” I have a 100 speaker surround sound system” or to be able to say something like “I have a 100.#.#” (fill in the blank for subs and pseudo sub numbers) the reality is that will never happen. No, I am not writing about a bigger surround sound system then my 30.4.4 (at least not today). Nor I am I writing about how to create a wall of bass (because I already did). Instead, today I want to share with you my Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater. So here they are:

Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater:

  1. If you have the space, time and money (and if possible the know how) you can properly insulate the room for home theatre. To do this I recommend building 2 x 4 wooden frames to anchor to the existing studs in the room. Once secured add rolled insulation (be sure to follow all safety protocols when dealing with insulation) to the walls and follow them up with attaching new drywall. Keep in mind that by doing this you will have now shrunken your room by about two feet for every wall you build.
  2. If you have built insulated walls and attached them as mentioned above then why not take it even further? Build an insulated ceiling and floor the same way as you did for the walls. By doing the walls, ceiling and floor you pretty much have built yourself a soundproof room. If using a THX certified receiver this will be awesome! Any movie theaters that are labeled as THX certified actually start out with having to be a sound proof room.
  3. Real movie theaters have dimmed lighting along the sides of the room. This lighting is strategically placed below eye level when seated so you are not distracted when enjoying a film, while allowing you to find your way safely in and out of the room (which is basically pitch black once the film starts). Three affordable ways come to mind to accomplish this without taking up crucial wall and floor space. 1) Install track lighting on the walls so you can adjust where you want the lights and how many. 2) Save even more money and simply use “tap lights” as needed. 3) Use plug in night lights and stockpile lots of light bulbs because they do not last long.
  4. If you will be using a great room or any partially open room for your home theatre and you cannot build walls then consider adding shutters and or shutter doors as needed. This will help contain some of the sound in the room. Speaking from past experiences I can tell you that this really will help some.
  5. The biggest difference between your home theatre and a real movie theater is the seating arrangement. Here are suggestions to make yours better: 1) If you have the money to spare you could get a leather sofa with built in cup holders. 2) You could build your own wooden benches with cup holders built in and then pad and carpet the back and seat. 3) Get comfy matching chairs (in leather) and place them side by side. 4) Buy a leather futon with built in cup holders. I recommend adding a bed topper for added comfort and placing a blanket over it to hold it in place. 4) Go to a junkyard and find some really comfy seats from an old luxury car and build a frame (either out of wood or metal if you know how to weld) to support them from falling over.

          Now that you have the seats you want it’s time to take this to the next level (literally)! To truly create the movie theater seating you need multiple elevations. To do this you will want to create  a raised platform to place your furniture on. This can be accomplished by building a sub floor out of        2 x 4’s with OSB board attached on top of the frame. You can then carpet it with marine carpeting            which is cheap and easier to clean up if something spills on it. You can glue or staple gun the                      carpeting to the OSB board. A sub floor accomplishes four things: 1) It is easy to attach steps to it              for a way to get up and down the next row of seating. 2) You can easily attach railing for added                    safety just like in the movie theaters 3) You can run the speaker wire for your middle center                        underneath the sub floor to avoid tripping over it (it also looks much more professional if wires                can be hidden). 4) If you are going to have your surround sound in a basement you have a lesser chance of having it ruined by water getting into the room. Please measure to ensure you will have enough headroom before building a sub floor (especially in a basement).

Bonus: If the sub floor is long enough and wide enough you can hide other wires in the sub floor too (for side speakers, sub woofers, pseudo subs, etc.).

Whatever Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater you choose to use I hope you like the outcome.

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How to properly balance the volume needed for so many speakers

As I continually test and retest my own surround sound creations, improvements are bound to happen and that is a good thing! Today I will cover how to properly balance the volume needed for so many speakers. As you will soon discover the solution is such a simple one that I feel dumb for not discovering it much earlier – sorry about that.

Okay so here’s the scenario:

Your running X number of speakers, plus 4 powered subs and 4 pseuodo subs. You really have to crank up the volume to power the pseudo subs don’t you? They are after all 12’s connected to switches that share the load with other much smaller speakers. You have to be careful how loud you go because the smaller speakers just might not be able to handle that much volume without distortion.

What do you do?

Add a third receiver. Instead of running the 12’s off the switches connect them to this additional receiver. Now you can adjust the sound as needed for the smaller speakers with their receiver and adjust the sound for the larger speakers with this other receiver. Placement of the speakers will not change from how you have them setup at all.

But how do I get sound to this third receiver?

I’m already splitting the sound from the DVD player, ROKU (or whatever I am using to play movies from). This is an easy fix too! Keep the splitter for audio off the DVD, ROKU (or whatever your using). On that video device there is another way to connect it for audio so use it too. In most cases this will be a HDMI connection. Connect the HDMI from the video device directly to the third receiver.

Won’t I get a weird echo like you mention in a previous blog posting? Normally yes, but in this case no. Here’s why this will not create an echo. The third receiver is simply for the pseudo subs. Since psuedo subs are only for bass (the mids and tweeters are covered over and the speakers are on the floor and up against a wall) you will not notice an echo.

Hopefully this post has helped you in determining how to properly balance the volume needed for so many speakers. Not sure what surround sound to use? Click here to see what we offer.

 

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Optional Variations to 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound

If you like the parts of the 9.5.4 channel surround system we discussed in our previous blog post, but felt it was somewhat lacking you will like this post. This post is all about the optional variations to 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound. This posting will add a ceiling elevation to create a better sense of realism without having to use the 30.4.4 channel surround sound system to accomplish this. Best of all it can be done in no more than 4 steps! It is recommended to apply all of the steps to the same receiver and not mix it up, however it is your home theatre so experiment if you wish.

Steps:

1) Add a switch to the FL and FR spot on one of the receivers. Connect a pair of speakers at ceiling height. 9 speakers (from the 9.5.4 surround channel system) + 2 that you have now added equals:

11.5.4 channel surround sound.

2) Add a switch to the RL and RR. Connect a pair of speakers at ceiling height. 9 speakers (from the 9.5.4 surround channel system) + 2 that you have now added equals:

 11.5.4 channel surround sound.

3) Take the existing pseudo sub used as a front center and uncover the mids and tweeters. Place it at ceiling height. 9 speakers (from the 9.5.4 surround channel system) + 1 that you have now added equals 10 speakers. Because you have subtracted one of the pseudo subs is this equals:

10.4.4 channel surround sound.

4) Add a ceiling height middle center. Connect it as you did when following the post on the 9.5.4 channel surround sound under the SL and SR Receiver B instructions. 9 speakers (from the 9.5.4 surround channel system) + 1 that you have now added equals 10 speakers.

10.5.4 channel surround sound.

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If combined you can get up to a 15.4.4 channel surround sound. Here is how in case I lost you:

Remember these variations of your choice are used on the 9.5.4 channel surround sound system.

In step 1 you added two speakers. In step 2 you added two speakers. If combining just steps 1 and 2 that would give you a 13.5.4 channel surround sound system which is fine if you want to stop there.

If you build on this 13.5.4 channel surround sound system here is what you get:

Step 3 removes a pseudo sub, but in its place ads another speaker giving you 14.4.4 channel surround sound. You could stop there if you wanted, but why not take it just one more step?

Step 4 takes the 14.4.4 channel surround sound and adds one more speaker for a total of 15.4.4 channel surround sound.

Note:

If you want to be different you could follow steps 1, 2 and 4 and skip step 3. This would give you a 14.5.4 channel surround sound. There is no wrong answer. What matters is what you like based on room acoustics, budget and what you perceive to sound best to you! Have fun experimenting, I know I always do.

 

 

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Our You Tube Channel has been updated

After forgetting about a video project for what was at the time our upcoming 22.4 channel surround sound we have found the footage. It is now posted to our You Tube channel. All video was shot in January 2016 using a hi-def 1080 widescreen new Fuji Camera that was purchased just for this project. At the time of this post we ended up posting 4 videos.

Sorry for the delay. You can see the videos here. Hopefully in 2018 we can get back to shooting and perhaps with better lighting.