The Audio component of your home theatre accounts for more than 60% of your home theatre experience, and identifying a good set of speakers is highest on the list to complete your dream theatre replete with surround sound. A good speaker system can be expensive (ranging from a couple of lakhs for a mid-level Revel or JBL brand, to more than 10-20 lakhs for high end Synthesis or Ultima series), and it is important for you to know the ins and outs before buying one.
Surround Sound: While speakers initially were positioned in the front of the audience (called screen channels; comprising centre, centre-left and centre-right speakers), sound technicians figured that the audience would be treated to a more immersive experience if sound was made to come from a 360 degree radius, thereby surrounding the listener and enriching the sound reproduction quality of the original audio piece. Thus was born Surround Sound, which now through many iterations, works well enough to identify the listener location where the audio effect(s) sound the best and feed the sound into the corresponding speaker closest to that sweet spot relative to the listener.
The standard configurations are 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 systems. The .1 denoted here is the Low frequency effects channel (usually the Subwoofer), meant for low pitched sounds from 3-120 hz. The 5, 7, or 9 refer to the number of speakers & full range channels into which sounds are directed.
- A 5.1 surround system, now considered the basic home standard, comprises 5 speakers and a subwoofer. 3 speakers are placed in the front channel (in the forward arc of the listener’s radius), usually a front, left and right speaker.Two surround speakers are placed behind the listener, one to the left and right.
- A 7.1 system, now considered the basic studio standard, comprises 7 speakers and a subwoofer.The front channel has the same 3 speakers, but 2 additional rear speakers are added behind the listeners hearing arc to create a more complete surround sound experience.
- A 9.1 system uses the same surround configuration as a 7.1, but adds left and right height speakers above the left and right front channel speakers.
Newer configurations are being added each day (11.1 being 9.1 + front width (L,R) speakers , 13.1 being 11.1 with rear height (L,R) speakers), and the latest in this sequence is Dolby Atmos, which supports up to 128 separate audio tracks and up to 64 unique speaker feeds!! For current Home theatre needs, we feel a 7.1 system performs well enough at a reasonable cost outlay. But if you don’t have a budget, then the sky is (literally) the limit!
To experience for yourself these different speaker configurations in Bangalore itself, do visit our offices in various locations in Bangalore for a free demo. What’s more, we’ll play a movie/scene of your choice in Blu-Ray or HD (if it’s available). If you have any further queries on Home theatres, do write to us and we’ll get back to you.