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How to maximise your sound system for the best home theatre experience

Movies have the ability to transport us into another world.

The digital age has allowed us to catch up on our favourite films via high-quality streaming sites like Netflix and Blu-ray at home, but a 4K resolution is not enough for a truly immersive experience. 

The right sound system in your home theatre is important, but what many realise after buying all the equipment is that it sounds different from when you first tested it out in the shop.

Your equipment may play a big part in laying the foundation for a surround sound system, but there are a couple of other quick tips that will maximise its potential to create the best home theatre experience you can have. Read on for more. 

Make sure to match your speakers

maximise sound system home theatre
Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Balance (Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

If you’ve inherited speakers from friends, or if you’ve bought your own from another brand because it seemed like there weren’t enough speakers in the room, you’re doing it wrong. A hodgepodge of old and new speakers from different manufacturers will only downgrade your home theatre. Each speaker brand has its own signature way of interacting with sound.

By having matched speakers throughout the system you can ensure that the sound transitions seamlessly from one speaker to another, resulting in a more realistic, immersive experience. If you need recommendations on speakers that look good and sound good as well, we’d recommend some from Bang & Olufsen and Devialet

Consider upgrading your subwoofer

maximise sound system home theatre
Bose Bass Module 700 (Image credit: Bose)

In layman terms, the subwoofer is the one the adds intensity and depth to the sound of your movie: think the intensity from an explosion and the pounding footsteps from Godzilla.  Unless you’re the kind who solely watches romantic comedies, a good subwoofer really shines in any home theatre. Some brands to consider would be Bose and Klipsch

Think about switching up your amplifier

maximise sound system home theatre
Yamaha CX-A5200 (Image credit: Yamaha)

The best speakers in the market won’t do your sound justice if your amplifier doesn’t have enough power. Your speakers may not need a whole ton of power very often, but action sequences in movies and wide variations in music dynamics will require power to maintain excellent sound quality.

New homeowners may consider amplifiers with a 5.1 channel setup, just enough for a small to a mid-sized room and can work with most audio formats. Brands like Yamaha and Denon are trusted names that include a wide range of amplifiers. 

Rearrange your speakers

maximise sound system home theatre
Devialet Phantom Reactor (Image credit: Devialet)

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is neglecting the speaker placement. As a rule of thumb, don’t place your speakers in the far corners of your room or near the ceiling on top of your cabinet. Every home theatre space is different, and the configuration of your speakers move with your space.

However, in general, your surround speakers are best placed to the left and right of your screen, angled directly at the couch. In case you don’t have enough space for placing your speakers by the side of your tv, position them a few feet behind your listening position and face them forward. 

Create good acoustics

maximise sound system home theatre
Baux Acoustic Panels (Image credit: Baux)

Acoustics play a big part enhancing your surround sound system. A flat, hard surface of a wall, ceiling or window will result in sound distortion, and you won’t be able to hear the original audio from your speaker. To control this effect, you will need to soften the hard surfaces in your room so they no longer bounce sound around.

An easy way to do this is by placing drapes or curtains on your windows and installing sound-absorbing panels. A dedicated home theatre would work best with these panels on all your walls, but if you don’t want to embark on such a large project, key areas near the corners of the room would work as well.

How to maximise your sound system for the best home theatre experience

Jocelyn Tan

Senior Writer

Jocelyn Tan is a travel, food and design writer who loves to explore lesser-known cities abroad and chat with locals about their favourite eats in town. When she's not writing, she's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history.

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