Home theater systems are trending as the must-have feature in remodeling projects and new-home builds â€” and they are just as popular for existing great rooms, man caves and basements.
If you’re looking for the current trendy system, and cost is not a factor, look no further than Dolby Atmos, which Randy Revak, owner of Sound Investments in Greeley, said is “the ultimate surround sound experience.”
He likes it so much that he chose it for his own home theater.
What makes it special? Revak said Dolby Atmos is the first home theater system to have a cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects.
“The result is sound that feels as though it’s coming from the room you’re sitting in. Raindrops can be heard hitting individual leaves close by, helicopters sound like they’re flying right above you. You are now placed in a 360-degree bubble of realistic sound.”
Integra DLB-5 soundbar features Dobly Atmos technology.
However, Revak said most home theater systems, even those that are budget-friendly, can produce favorable results if you follow these tips:
- Equipment selection: Select your speakers first then get a matching receiver. Savings from doing it yourself quickly disappears when you purchase an unbalanced system. Better-quality speakers simply sound more realistic.
- Cable selection: “There is a lot of hype in the world of speaker cable and interconnect cables in general,” said Revak, who advises not being oversold by a well-intentioned sales person. Instead, refer to charts that explain what gauge speaker wire is needed for any given length.
- Pre-wiring: Revak said he’s had many customers who were told by home builders that they don’t need to pre-wire their home theaters because everything today is wireless. “Don’t believe them. The only thing wireless is the audio signal. As of this date, they still can’t send electricity through the air.”
- Correct speaker placement: “Speakers in the wrong location will ruin the illusion the director was trying to create,” Revak warned. Speakers high on a back wall facing forward, for example, will sound like they’re coming from the front of the room.
- Calibration and menu setup: Home theater systems are not plug and play. Once correct connections are made, the next step is to set up the menus and to take the calibration microphone out of the box and use it. Most people, he said, skip these crucial steps.
- Choose the right TV and proper location: “If you have a great audio system with a 50-inch TV that is 15 feet from seats, you won’t be happy.” He recommends checking a seat-distance-to-TV size chart to ensure you get the ultimate viewing experience.
- Use just one remote: Downsize your cable remote, your TV remote, the audio remote and any others you might have into one programmable remote control. “That’s a must for your new system,” Revak said.