Putting together a home theater can be difficult
or easy depending on how you go about it. If you put together
the perfect home theater you may never have to leave your house
to enjoy high quality sound and imagery again. There are manufacturers
that have put together "in a box" home theater packages
that can add an entirely new dimensions to how you listen to music
and movies. To view all home theater packaged systems available
at Abt Electronics, click
here. If this is more of a convenience for you, then deciding
on an inbox home theater package might not be so bad. Most
home theater packages include five to six speakers that include
a center speaker, four surround speakers, a Subwoofer, and a receiver.
What is prepackaged by the manufacturer may not be exactly what
you want so then you need to take the leap and build your own home
A good home theater system starts with a high definition TV. To view all of your TV options at Abt Electronics, click here.
Once you have decided on your TV size then you can move into purchasing a receiver. The receiver you buy will determine the type of speakers you will buy and how many you will buy. A receiver will also let you know if you need to invest in a Subwoofer; it will also tell you how loud your home theater can actually be. The wattage that a receiver puts out, determining how loud your system can get, varies with all make and models. You don’t want to buy high-powered receiver running 120 watts per channel only to find out that the speakers you have purchase can only handle 80 watts. This will cause your speakers to blow. To view all of your audio receiver options, click here.
A home theater system has 5 to 7 speakers including a center channel for voices (dialog), two front speakers that will serve as your stereo speakers (front left and right), two rear speakers that help with surround sound effect and a Subwoofer to give extra bass. To view all of your speaker options, click here.
Along with a good home theater system comes a high quality DVD player. At Abt Electronics, we carry a wide variety of DVD players that will suit your home theater system. To view your DVD Player options, click here.
Component cables are important when putting together a home theater system. Most manufacturer cables do the job but they don’t go that extra mile. The component cables the manufacturer provides you with reduce the strength of the signal they are transmitting. They also let other electronic signals cause interference and don't always make a solid connection. High-performance cables help ensure the quality of the signals as they travel through your system. These cables are shielded so that any interference will bounce off of them. Most high quality audio/video cables are gold plated to provide the highest quality connection. Some of the brands we carry at Abt Electronics include Acoustic Research and Audio Quest cables. Click here to view our cables.
When putting together a home theater system it is a good idea to consult with someone who is well informed in the field. At Abt Electronics our knowledgeable sales staff can help you with any question you might have regarding your home theater system. To reach us, call 1-888-228-5800 or e-mail to email@example.com. If you would like to try our live chat feature, click on the "contact us" button within the left navigation bar.
Below we have created a glossary of terms you may come across when shopping for a home theater system.
An electrical signal where the frequency and level vary in direct relationship to the original sound waves that provided the signal.
A component that increases the level of an audio signal from line level to speaker level. Indicates whether or not the receiver has an integrated amplifier. Most audio/video receivers included in home theater systems have integrated amplifiers. If a receiver does not have an amplifier a separate amplifier will need to be added to the system.
A feature that turns off the power of the subwoofer when it is not in use.
One of the three types of boxes surrounding a subwoofer. Band-pass enclosures are closed, like sealed enclosures, with the addition of an audio filter at the front of the subwoofer to allow for lower frequencies at higher power and volume. They tend to cost slightly more than sealed and bass reflex enclosures.
A type of speaker in which two cones fire sound from each side of the enclosure, thereby diffusing the sound throughout the listening area.
The name of the manufacturer's brand. We carry the following lines within the home theater category:
Receivers: Denon, Sony, Onkyo, Yamaha
Amps: Denon, Onkyo, Sonance and Parasound
Tuners: Sony, Denon, Parasound & Yamaha
Cassette Decks: Sony, Denon, JVC, Onkyo & Yamaha
CD Players: Sony, Denon, JVC, Onkyo & Yamaha
DVD Players: Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Apex, Denon, JVC, Mitsubishi, Onkyo, RCA, Samsung & Yamaha
Speakers/Subs: Bose, Canton, Infinity, JBL, JM Lab, M&K, Mirage, Mission, Snell, Advent, Rockustics, Sonance, Sony &Yamaha
Home Theater Systems: Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Denon, Nakamichi, Onkyo, Panasonic, Sony & Yamaha
Televisions: Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, JVC, Mitsubishi, Sharp, RCA & Samsung
Satellite Systems: Sony, RCA, Hughes, JVC &Panasonic
HD Receivers: Hughes, Sony, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, RCA & Panasonic
An amplifier section that provides positive and negative signal information for a speaker. Stereo signals use two processing channels. For instance, a four-channel amplifier has at least four separate inputs and four separate outputs.
One of the components of a home theater speaker package, it's the speaker that sits directly above or below the television and reproduces the sounds typically found directly above and to the side of the screen at your movie theater. The center channel speaker produces most of the vocal content of the audio track on your videotape or DVD, along with a fair portion of the effects localized at the front of the room.
The loudness of the sound. Though individual increments are almost impossible to detect, you should know that a 10-decibel increase will double the sound. A normal conversation is 60 decibels, while a blender is about 90 decibels. Standing next to a power mower will put you at 107 decibels, while standing about 100 feet from a jet plane will rate 130 decibels.
Also known as Dolby AC3 or Dolby 5.1, this surround sound format contains 6 high quality full range sound channels. The terms "5.1" or "Five Point One" are used to describe this concept. Digital home theater was initially called AC-3 to differentiate it from the Dolby Digital used by movie theaters. Currently, the difference is negligible Dolby Laboratories refers to both simply as Dolby Digital. With this technology movie producers can precisely place sound effects for optimal home theater impact.
Dolby Noise Reduction. Decreases the hiss on cassette tapes you play and record. Dolby B NR decreases hiss by 50% while Dolby C NR decreases hiss by 75%.
The most common surround sound system. It is a four-channel analog surround sound system (front, right, center, left, and rear mono) that is encoded onto most VCR movies and many TV and commercials shows. It provides a single limited bandwidth (100 Hertz - 7000 Hertz). Dolby Pro Logic derives the center and rear-surround channels from the front (left/right) channels using a matrixing technique.
The predecessor to Dolby Pro Logic has 3 channels (right, left, and rear). This system tends to have less focus and on-screen dialog has less clarity, but overall it provides a good surround effect.
Also known as Digital Theater Systems it premiered in 1993. Similar to Dolby Digital, DTS is a form of multi-channel digitally encoded 5.1 surround sound that has six separate channels of sound (front right, front left, center, right-rear, left-rear, and low frequency effects or subwoofer). Both DTS and Dolby Digital use a compression system to place 6 channels of sound and 2 hours of video onto a 5-inch DVD discs. However Dolby Digital and DTS are incompatible.
The main difference between DTS and Dolby Digital is that all movies and music encoded in the DTS format contain six-channel surround sound; there is no two-channel DTS. DTS advocates assert that lower compression levels noticeably improve sound quality. In fact, DTS has higher fidelity due to 20-bit audio (Dolby Digital has 16-bit audio) that produces a higher sampling rate and improved overall sound. Some surround sound receivers can decode both DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks. DTS soundtracks use more disc storage space and they are only available on 3% of all DVD releases.
Measured in Hz, this is the number of cycles per second in which a sound travels. The human audible range is from 20 to 20,000Hz.
Just like the name implies, this is one of the two speakers that reside on the front sides of your home theater speaker package. Designed to play a wide range of sounds, they'll also play the sounds involved in standard stereo music from CDs, records, or tapes. Since they have such a large role in home theater, they're usually built to handle almost the full range of audible sounds.
One cycle per second. This is the unit of measurement for sound, usually categorized in frequencies, which is the number of Hertz per second. Humans can hear sounds from 20Hz to 20,000Hz.
The highest power, measured in watts, which the manufacturer recommends for your speaker. If your amplifier or receiver provides more watts to your speaker than the manufacturer recommends, you risk permanent damage to the speaker.
Describes an environment created in your home for a listening and viewing experience that simulates a visit to a movie theater. Recent progress in audio technology has transformed two-channel (right, left) stereo sound into multiple channels (speakers) of audio and frequency effects.
The resistance your speaker will give to your receiver. The lower the impedance number in Ohms, the harder your receiver or amplifier will have to work to provide the same loudness. Most receiver and amplifiers are set to 8 Ohms. Some smaller bookshelf speakers will be rated at 4 or 6 Ohms because their enclosures force them to put more strain on the receiver or amplifier to produce louder sounds. If any of the speakers you intend to buy have a 4 or 6 Ohm impedance, you should check your owner's manual to make sure your receiver or amplifier is rated to handle that much resistance.
The manner in which the speakers receive their signals from the amplifier, which are either speaker or line level, or both. Speaker level inputs allow you to connect your speaker with wire, whereas line level inputs allow you to use RCA jacks to connect the speaker to the receiver.
Low Frequency Response: The lowest frequency a particular system or speaker will accurately reproduce. The audible range is from 20Hz to 20kHz. Home theater can reach down to 30Hz, but audio recordings may reach the very bottom of the audible range. An ideal home theater system will include a subwoofer, which is designed to reproduce the low frequencies most other speakers can't reach. If you purchase a five-speaker package, you can still add a separate subwoofer at any time. We have a guide for that, too.
The lowest power, measured in watts— which the manufacturer recommends— for a particular speaker. If your receiver doesn't provide enough power to any one of your speakers, it may not function as well as it could, but it won't burn out, as it would if you exceeded the high power handling.
One of a speaker's drivers. As its name suggests, it's the part of the speaker dedicated to producing the middle of the audible range, typically sounds between the ones produced by the woofer and the tweeter, and generally between 200Hz and 3.5kHz.
A rating designed to tell you how much resistance, or impedance, your speakers give to your receiver or amplifier. The lower the rating in Ohms, the higher your receiver or amplifier will have to work to power your speakers. You should make sure to match your receiver or amplifier's output capabilities to the home theater package you intend to purchase.
Connecting wires for audio and video components; using these would allow you to connect your subwoofer or satellite speakers with the same connectors you use for your individual components, such as CD players or cassette decks.
As the name suggests, this is the speaker that sits behind the listener in the home theater, and it's designed to reproduce the speakers in the back of the movie theater. These speakers have the least difficult role in providing your sound, focusing mainly on the effects that will extend the listening field.
One of three types of speaker enclosures, these have no vents and can be placed in smaller boxes. They tend to have a more controlled, less boom sound than bass reflex enclosures. Sealed enclosures generally need more power to play at the same volume.
The ability of a speaker to play at higher decibels with the same input. The higher the speaker's sensitivity, the easier it will be for your speaker to play at louder volumes given the same power provided by the amplifier. For example, in order to increase your output by three decibels, you'll need to double the input power. Thus a speaker rated at 87 decibels will need 150 watts of to play at a certain volume, while a speaker rated at 90 decibels will only need 75 watts. You'll want to consider this if your amplifier or receiver is going to provide low wattage to your home theater speakers.
The speaker in your home theater system that is designed to reproduce the lowest frequencies in the audible range, typically from 20 to 200Hz. If you plan on buying a subwoofer that is passive, or un-powered, make sure to check the owner's manual of your receiver or amplifier to find out if your system will provide the power for the subwoofer. Many of the packages in our guide contain a subwoofer, which is an important part of a home theater package, but it's perfectly acceptable to buy a five piece package and shop for a separate subwoofer to complete your speaker set. We have a guide for that, too.
The lowest frequency that your home theater package will reproduce. The human audible range goes down to 20Hz, and although home video usually bottoms out at 30Hz, some audio recordings will go all the way down to the lower reaches of the audible range. Five speaker packages, which won't contain a subwoofer, will generally bottom out well above the lowest frequencies you can hear, but you can purchase a separate subwoofer to alleviate this problem. A six-speaker package will contain all the speakers of an ideal home theater, with varying low ranges. When choosing a home theater speaker package, you may want to consider whether you can hit the low notes that make home theater really rumble.
Pronounced "tam-bur," it's the tonal sound of the speaker. Timbre is what makes instruments or voices sound different when playing the same note or at the same frequency. When you buy a speaker package piece by piece, you risk getting speakers that have different timbres. This will make a sound seem different as it travels across your speaker system. Buying a complete home theater package will give you a completely integrated system in which you won't notice a difference in sound as an effect moves among your speakers.
One of the speaker's drivers, it's the part dedicated to reproducing the highest frequencies in the audible range. Since tweeters need to vibrate at a high rate to produce their sound, manufacturers recommend tweeter materials that are rigid and lightweight. Tweeters are generally found in many home theater speakers, but you won't find them in a subwoofer.
Unit of measurement of electricity, usually associated with the amplifier. A higher number of watts correspond to a more powerful and louder subwoofer.
Digital ready receivers have these 6-channel discrete inputs (front Left/Right, center, rear Left/right, and a subwoofer). Used to connect an external/outboard Dolby Digital or DTS decoder, or a DVD player with built in digital decoding.
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