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Choosing the right speakers

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When investing in a home theatre, it is important to remember that the sound is half the experience. RYNO GOOSEN from HFX Systems offers some tips and advice on how to go about selecting the right speakers for the best home theatre experience.

Many people make the mistake of spending all their money on the biggest television that they can afford, forgetting that the sound makes up half the home entertainment experience, says Ryno Goosen from HFX systems: ‚If you want the real home theatre experience, it is essential that you invest some time and money in your selection of speakers. Whether your surround sound system will be used for television viewing, music or watching your favourite movie ‚ the quality of the speakers you have chosen will have a huge influence on your enjoyment.‚

He says that home theatres comprise a 5-, 6- and 7-speaker set-up, which all comprise the following speakers: the centre channel speaker, the front left and front right speakers, the surround sound speakers and the subwoofer. All these speakers need to work well together as a cohesive unit in order to create a true movie theatre experience in the comfort of your own home.

Ryno provides some general tips on things to consider when selecting speakers:

¬∑ Voice-matching: Essentially, this refers to speakers that create a similar tonal quality and that share the same harmonic characteristics. Voice-matching is essential to create a seamless surround effect ‚ without it, the sound will be disjointed when it travels from speaker to speaker. The easiest way of ensuring all your speakers are voice-matched is to choose speakers from the same brand.

¬∑ Strong construction: Some non-tech advice on choosing speakers is to make sure they are made from strong materials. They should be heavy so that it won’t rattle or shake when it is playing. A speaker that is light is prone to have shortcuts in its construction that will lead to lower quality sound. The speaker cabinets should be strong and inert, made from rigid materials such as MDF or aluminium, with strong internal bracings, which will help reduce internal resonances that can muddy the sound.

¬∑ Power is key: The more powerful the speaker’s magnets and voice coils, the greater control it will offer for the creation of more detailed sound. No mater what kind of music or movies you listen to, whether it jazz, classical, rock, movie soundtracks with intense special effects ‚ you should be able to clearly hear every detail.

¬∑ Imaging: Good speaker systems should give you a sense of a sound stage, and not just sound like the music is coming from a box. The overall effect should be able to create a true sense of space ‚ when you are listening to a music concert for example, if shut your eyes you should be able to place the musicians.

The different kinds of speakers

The centre channel speaker: This is arguably the most important speaker in any home theatre system, as it delivers more than 50% of the soundtrack, including almost all of the dialogue.

Front left and right speakers: These speakers broaden the soundstage that blends with the onscreen imagery to create a realistic and thrilling theatre experience. The front speakers handle the musical score, the majority of the special effects and they act as the left and right stereo speakers for listening to music.

Surround speakers: These speakers place you in the centre of the action. They team up with the other speakers to enhance spectacular directional effects, such as a car racing by for example. They also produce detailed atmospheric sounds, such as the inhaling of a cigarette, footsteps crunching on a gravel path, rain drops, and so on.

Powered subwoofer: No home theatre would be complete without a subwoofer for the delivery of crucial low-frequency impact. It is the deep bass, provided by many Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, which makes the sound feel larger, fuller and more lifelike. It is also this bass that gives large sound effects, such as explosions and lightning for example, its heart-stopping punch. It is also very beneficial for music listening as it rounds out all types of music ‚ from rock, to blues, classical music and even jazz.

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