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Best Home Theatre Systems Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 28, 2019

So, you are thinking about buying a new TV for your living room, but there is just one itsy bitsy problem with your plans. The speakers on the one you want are awful. Well okay, no TV worth buying these days have an awful sound, lord knows the market would eat the poor thing alive. But your needs for sound from your television may be a bit more sophisticated than your average TV may be equipped to provide. And as such, you need to get your hands on some improvement. This is where a home theatre system comes in. Let's take a look at the ten best on the market today.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
98.3/100 our score
Sound Quality
99
Ease of Use
97
Value
99
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Why is it better?

Great for large or small rooms

Wall mountable

Ribbed elliptical surround technology

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Test Winner: Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Researched Sources
22
Researched Sources
Total Readers
16k
Total Readers
Reviews Considered
9k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
12
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Sound Quality Ease of Use Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Sound Quality
99%
Ease of Use
97%
Value
99%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$329.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Sound Quality
98%
Ease of Use
97%
Value
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$399.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.7
Sound Quality
97%
Ease of Use
95%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$1,746.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Sound Quality
97%
Ease of Use
96%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Sound Quality
95%
Ease of Use
93%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$130.80
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Sound Quality
94%
Ease of Use
94%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$799.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Sound Quality
94%
Ease of Use
92%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$646.51
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Sound Quality
93%
Ease of Use
90%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$349.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Sound Quality
89%
Ease of Use
88%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$3,999.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Sound Quality
87%
Ease of Use
84%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$377.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Energy 5.1 Take Classic
  • Yamaha YHT-4930 UBL
  • Sonos 5.1 Surround Set
  • Harman Kardon 5.1
  • Monoprice 5.1
  • Enclave Audio CineHome HD
  • Onkyo Dolby Atmos
  • Pioneer 5.1
  • Bose Lifestyle 650
  • Samsung 3D Blu-Ray
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Home Theatre Systems

1. Energy 5.1 Take Classic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Sound Quality
99
Ease of Use
97
Value
99
best offer for today
$329.99
Pros:

Great for large or small rooms

Wall mountable

Ribbed elliptical surround technology

Cons:

Pricey

Kicking off our list, we have the Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System. This system is a set of 4 gloss black 2-way energy satellite speakers. Energy has made quite the name for themselves when it comes to their electronics and sound equipment, and this set is basically an encapsulation of all of their best qualities. Let’s go over some of them now.

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Great for large or small rooms

The thing about these sorts of surround sound systems is that a lot of the time, you need to be careful about the kind of room you’re getting it for. Too big and the sound won’t carry as well, but too small, and the sound will be like firing a shotgun in an echo chamber. However, this system has neither of these problems, putting out just the right amount of sound to be usable in either scenario. That, plus being equipped with Energy’s patented ribbed elliptical surround technology, makes this sound system great for large and small rooms.

Wall mountable

You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but in fact, a big pet peeve a lot of consumers have about home theater systems is the fact that they can’t find a place to put all of the speakers. Which is why this home theater system comes with speakers that can be mounted onto the wall. Now you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to put your speakers.

Cost and Value

It stands to reason that a home theater system would not be cheap, and sure enough, this is quite the pricey piece of hardware. However, among its peers, we consider this system to be rather affordable, all things considered.

2. Yamaha YHT-4930 UBL

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Yamaha YHT-4930 UBL
Sound Quality
98
Ease of Use
97
Value
97
best offer for today
$399.95
Pros:

Wireless music streaming

4K Ultra HD Sound

YPAO Sound Optimization

Cons:

The subwoofer is a bit on the small side

Coming in second place, we have the Yamaha YHT-4930 UBL Home Theater. Yamaha is one of the most famous names in the home television business, and they’ve branched out significantly into pretty much every type of field that’s associated with home television, which of course includes home theater systems. And out of all the ones they’ve made, we consider this to be one of their best.

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Wireless music streaming

Going to do some housework and need some music to pass the time? Maybe you’re not all that enthused by the radio channels your TV has to offer. In this case, you can use this home theater’s Bluetooth compatibility to instantly and wirelessly stream music from your phone or computer straight into your home theater, to be played on blast.

4K Ultra HD Sound

In today’s television climate, the trendy buzzword of the day is “4K Ultra”, an advanced type of high definition production that can refer to both visuals as well as sound. And this home theater is one of the big poster boys for how beneficial this type of sound can be because you will be hard pressed to find a more crisp, clear, detailed sound anywhere else.

Cost and Value

As we said, the previous entry is considered affordable amongst its peers, because this home theater is almost twice as expensive as the last one was. However, it would not have gotten this far if we didn’t think it was worth the money.

3. Sonos 5.1 Surround Set

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.7
Sonos 5.1 Surround Set
Sound Quality
97
Ease of Use
95
Value
95
best offer for today
$1,746.00
Pros:

Powerful subwoofer

Realistic, immersive sound

Built-in Amazon Alexa

Cons:

Very expensive

Finishing up our top three segment, we have the Sonos 5.1 Surround Set - Home Theater System. This is, without a doubt, one of the most advanced home theater systems on the market. Sonos has always been an envelope pusher when it comes to sound technology, but they have truly outdone themselves this time.

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Powerful subwoofer

People not learned in the field of sound design (i.e., most people reading this) have likely asked about the purpose of a subwoofer at least once. A subwoofer’s job is to add in a bass vibration that marries itself into the audible sound coming from the speaker, making what you hear feel more impactful. And the subwoofer for this home theater runs circles around the competition, delivering bone-shaking bass to the sound coming from the speakers.

Realistic, immersive sound

The speakers for this home theater can play sounds you would otherwise never be able to hear with other speakers. The sound made by this home theater is some of the most richly textured, detailed, and powerful sounds you’re likely to hear in the comfort of your own home. And while, like HD imagery, this can actually break a film’s immersion now that you can hear everything (including what might be happening offset) when it works, you won’t ever want to go back.

Cost and Value

Do we even need to say how expensive it is? Because you can probably guess that this is one of, if not the most expensive home theater system on the list. This should come as no shock, but despite the four-digit price tag, we still consider this home theater system to be completely worth the cost.

4. Harman Kardon 5.1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Harman Kardon 5.1
Sound Quality
97
Ease of Use
96
Value
95
best offer for today
Pros:

Adjustable subwoofer

Voice-matched speakers

Powerful, down-firing subwoofer

Cons:

Subwoofer tends to hum sometimes

Coming in our #4 spot, we have the Harman Kardon 5.1 Channel Home Theater. While not quite as advanced as the previous entry, it is a lot more affordable, and that counts for a lot. It’s also no slouch when it comes to providing beautiful, rich sound.

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Adjustable subwoofer

A subwoofer is intended to be a powerful, vibrating force to join the sound coming from the speaker, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to adjust it accordingly. This subwoofer comes equipped with bass-boost controls and phase switches, which allow for thorough adjustment to the power of your subwoofer.

Voice-matched speakers

Want to adjust your subwoofer or speakers, but you mounted the system too high up for you to reach practically? Don’t worry, because this home theater system comes equipped with voice-matched, two-way speakers that you can use to adjust the theater system with spoken commands.

Cost and Value

While nowhere near as expensive as the previous entry, don’t think you’re getting a great deal for this home theater. It’s still pretty pricey, but around average for what we’ve seen so far.

5. Monoprice 5.1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Monoprice 5.1
Sound Quality
95
Ease of Use
93
Value
94
best offer for today
$130.80
Pros:

Easy to use

Complete surround sound

Affordable

Cons:

Subwoofer could use more punch

For our 5th place spot, we chose the Monoprice 5.1 Channel Home Theater System. This is one of the best home theater systems that you can buy on a tight budget. While still by no means cheap, by the standards of this list, it definitely fits that description. But don’t count it out in terms of quality.

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Easy to use

Sometimes, simplicity is key. With the more advanced home theaters, you get more performance, but you also get the more cumbersome design, and Wi-Fi capabilities that, let’s be real here, no one asked for. But this home theater goes for the simple approach and just focuses on giving you the best sound system you can ask for at a reasonable price.

Complete surround sound

These speakers come with mounting brackets that can be put into pretty much any wall short of solid steel. So, if you want complete surround sound, then you just need to find four places to put these four speakers, a nice spot center frame for the center channel, and somewhere out of the way for the subwoofer, which isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds.

Cost and Value

The best part about this product is its price, which is incredibly affordable for what it is. And considering that it still puts out top-tier sound is doubly impressive.

6. Enclave Audio CineHome HD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Enclave Audio CineHome HD
Sound Quality
94
Ease of Use
94
Value
92
best offer for today
$799.00
Pros:

No need for receivers or cables

Dolby Digital and DTS Sound

Custom designed, tuned up HD audio WiSA speakers

Cons:

Pricey

Coming in at #6, we have the Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Home Theater System. We return, with this entry, to the cutting edge side of the home theater market, as this is another highly advanced, sophisticated home theater system that, if you can afford it, definitely belongs in your home.

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No need for receivers or cables

The best part about this home theater system is the fact that it is 100% wireless and has no need for cables or even an A/V receiver. This, as you can imagine, makes this one of the most convenient and user-friendly home theater systems on the market right now. So, if you can afford the system itself, but are cringing at buying a receiving and cables on top of that, then don’t worry about a thing.

Dolby Digital and DTS Sound

If you prefer your sound system deliver an uncompressed, intense and crisp sound, this is the home theater system for you. Thanks to 5.1 channels of LPCM 24 bit uncompressed audio, and the latest in Dolby Digital sound tech, this home theater system will deliver intense, cinema-esque surround sound, practically burying you in sound.

Cost and Value

Of course, when we return to more advanced systems, we also return to the prices thereof. And sure enough, the price of this home theater system is extremely pricey but totally worth it as always.

7. Onkyo Dolby Atmos

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Onkyo Dolby Atmos
Sound Quality
94
Ease of Use
92
Value
90
best offer for today
$646.51
Pros:

App based audio streaming

Dolby Atmos

Built-in Chromecast

Cons:

The remote control is a bit cheap

For the 7th place spot, we have the Onkyo Dolby Atmos Home Theater System. Another highly advanced home theater system, this time from venerable electronics manufacturer Onkyo. Onkyo is almost a stamp of quality in and of itself when it comes to their electronics, and you need not to look any further than this home theater system for proof of that.

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App-based audio streaming

Music apps are the way of the future, giving more people better access to their music. The drawback is that most apps are accessed via phones, which don’t have the most exceptional speakers. They get the job done, but your home theater’s speakers run circles around them. Fortunate, then, that this home theater system has an App based audio streaming service that connects to everything from Pandora to Spotify and even Tidal.

Dolby Atmos

But the best part about this home theater system is that it has access to something very few other home theater systems have: Dolby Atmos. You may have heard of Atmos as being the touted sound system used for Pixar’s Brave, a film known for having some of the best sound quality in animation history. This is a highly advanced sound system that emits a sound that moves through the room in 3 dimensional space. What this means is that this home theater system as some of the best surround sound on the market, if not the best, fully immersing you into the action.

Cost and Value

The reason that Dolby Atmos is rare to find in home theater systems like this is, surprise surprise, they ratchet up the price like mad. While it isn’t the most expensive entry on the list, it’s a close second, but if you can afford it, you will not regret it.

8. Pioneer 5.1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Pioneer 5.1
Sound Quality
93
Ease of Use
90
Value
90
best offer for today
$349.00
Pros:

Versatile

Built in Bluetooth

Affordable, given the circumstances

Cons:

The receiver has been known to turn off at random times

Kicking off our final three entries, we have the Pioneer 5.1 Home Theater System. If you want a highly advanced home theater system without having to spend close or even more than a grand for the privilege, then we cannot recommend this home theater system to you enough. What makes us say this? Let’s find out.

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Versatile

Thanks to a variety of cutting edge Dolby Digital audio technology including Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Pro Logic II, this home theater system is capable of interfacing with whatever you plug into it and your TV. From video games to movies to music, as long as it’s got sound, there’s nothing this home theater system can’t do.

Built-in Bluetooth

Working with electronic cables, in general, is a hassle, but home theater systems are a particular pain. Mostly because you have to wire them into and through the wall to find a place to connect them. Add that onto the fact that you need to connect wires from all the way across the room if you want surround sound, without leaving wires hanging in the air, and you have a problem. Which is why this home theater system is made with Bluetooth technology that completely removes the need for cumbersome cables.

Cost and Value

The best part about this home theater system is its price. While nowhere near cheap, necessarily, for the features it has, it’s a wonder that it is not higher than it is. Which is what makes it such a great deal.

9. Bose Lifestyle 650

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Bose Lifestyle 650
Sound Quality
89
Ease of Use
88
Value
85
best offer for today
$3,999.00
Pros:

Omni jewel satellite speakers

ADAPTiQ Audio Calibration

Can sync up with Alexa for voice control

Cons:

Most expensive on the list

For our second to final entry, we are looking at the Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System. Bose is one of the undisputed grandmasters of home entertainment systems, and while their work is by no means cheap, as we’ll get to, their qualities more than balance things out.

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Omni jewel satellite speakers

The speakers for this home theater system are a couple of the smallest Bose has ever put out, and yet are also some of the most powerful. Combined with the equally slim center channel, these speakers deliver true 360 degree sound. So instead of hearing it coming from any one direction, you’ll hear it all around you. So, if a television show has a character close a door behind another character, you too will hear that door closing right behind you, or at least in such a way that will make you believe such.

ADAPTiQ Audio Calibration

But the true secret weapon up this home theater system’s sleeve is the ADAPTiQ system. This is a bit of adaptive technology that scans the geometry of the room; how big it is, how much stuff is in it, where the speakers are placed and so forth. It then adjusts its audio output accordingly, going as soft or as loud as it needs to be in order to provide the ideal auditory experience.

Cost and Value

If you think the other entries were pricey, you have not seen anything yet. Or rather, you have, because this home theater system is the most expensive on the entire list, by a wide margin. While it is an excellent home theater system, we doubt the average consumer would be comfortable spending several grand on something when there are 9 other options just as good on this list for way cheaper.

10. Samsung 3D Blu-Ray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Samsung 3D Blu-Ray
Sound Quality
87
Ease of Use
84
Value
84
best offer for today
$377.99
Pros:

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

DTS digital surround sound

3D Blu-ray

Cons:

Rear speakers may have trouble when streaming music

For our final entry for this list, we have the Samsung 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System. Samsung, we’re confident, needs no introduction. They’re one of the world’s biggest tech giants, and for a list like this, whether one of their products gets on the list is considered a matter of time. So, let’s finish this list and see what got this system here.

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Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Sometimes the radio and music channels on the television just do not give you what you need, and who uses CDs anymore? Which is why this home theater system utilizes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities to connect to a wide range of music sharing sites to give you complete control over the music you listen to.

DTS digital surround sound

Dolby does surround sound better than anyone else, which is why so many of the big names shell out the money to have their tech in their home theater systems. This home theater system is equipped with DTS digital surround sound, which engulfs you and the entire room in the sound from the device.

Cost and Value

You would think that this entry would cost more than it does, but truth be told, it’s a very average price for this list for something so above average.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Sound Quality

Well, obviously, right? Of course, this would be listed as one of the most important criteria for this list. So much so that if even five or so negative things were said about the sound quality, we booted that contestant off of the list entirely. But this means more than just how clearly you can hear what is going on, though that was, of course, important as well. But besides that, there was also the strength of the subwoofer. A subwoofer’s job is to release vibrating bass lines that melt into the sound. You don’t hear anything, but the idea is that you feel it, your body subtly reacting to the vibrations being sent throughout the air. Ideally, you don’t really notice it, but it goes a long way to making the sound coming from the speaker appear more impactful. It is a very subtle trick that needs a lot of tweaking to get just right, so we made sure to look for the best subwoofers that accomplished this for the list. A home theater system needs a powerful subwoofer, the kind of thing that you normally only get in, well, a theater. So, for this list, we looked for subwoofers with above average vibration and strength, that would shake viewers all the way down to the fillings in their teeth.

Ease of Use

There are multiple ways in which a home theater system can be made easier to use. The first and most common of these is to implement Bluetooth capabilities, which means removing the many, many cords and cables that these home theater systems usually need in order to function properly. This is the part of the installation that you are guaranteed to hate the most, as finding a way to string up all of the cords and cables in a way that does not get in anyone’s way, yet still finds its way to the central point is a nigh herculean task. But with Bluetooth, the home theater’s many components connect to each other wirelessly, and so there’s no need for any cable except to plug into the wall. Which then leads to the other most popular method: connecting to apps. People like music apps because it lets them have total control over their music and what songs they listen to. Which is why a lot of newer home theater systems allow you to connect your phone’s music apps to the receiver and play them through the larger system. Little touches like these go a very long way to making the use of a home theater system a lot less painful than it usually is.

Value

The last criteria we judged each entry by was their price. And if you didn’t think (for some reason) that home theater systems were expensive, we trust that this list has thoroughly changed your mind. Even the worst ones we found cost several hundred dollars. As such, we only had one choice for judging each one of these entries; judge their prices by how well they’re justified, rather than by the prices themselves. After all, if you know for a fact that you’re getting what you paid for, then you are probably going to be more comfortable paying more for a home theater than you would otherwise. People are, after all, more likely to be okay with a high price if the features it includes (advanced design, more sophisticated sound system, etc.) are reflective of that price.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Benefits of Investing

Aside from the obvious benefits of providing a more immersive experience for your movie and TV watching and your video gaming, investing in a home theatre system will pay off in more than one way. Why pay $50 to go to the movie theatre to watch a movie when you can stay in the comfort of your own living room, enjoying a flick in your pajamas with some take-out dinner instead? Not to mention, you're going to feel like you're in the front row of your favorite sporting event when you have your new surround sound system installed.

Other Factors to Consider

Effectiveness

You're a movie lover, right? Or maybe even a video gamer looking to level up your gaming experience? That's why you're looking at a home theatre system in the first place, isn't it? You want to be able to enjoy your movies or video games on a deeper level. Having a surround sound system in place will help to create a more immersive experience. You'll feel like you're right in the middle of the action. Or, at least that's the goal, right? When we were compiling our list of best options on the market, we wanted to take into account the effectiveness of each of these systems. If they didn't provide the experience that we're looking to create as consumers then we nixed them off of our list.

Durability

When you're dropping a fair bit of money on a home theatre system for your home, you want to know that the product you're investing in is going to be durable. This was one of the criteria we used when compiling our top ten list. If we found that there were a number of reviews questioning the quality of the product, we didn't include it on our list. We wanted to be able to offer you only the best products available on the market and we believe the final ten you'll find here are the absolute best. These products are constructed from the highest quality products and some of them even have great warranties behind them, giving you more confidence in your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is surround sound anyway?
a:

Who doesn’t love surround sound? It’s one of the best things you can possibly add to your television or sound system. While not absolutely needed in order to enjoy a movie or TV show, having the entirety of the music and audio effects engulf you on all sides is an experience that can’t be matched by normal sound systems. And there’s no better way to experience that than with a home theater system. These are the ideal way to improve your TV watching experience, by surrounding you on all sides with sound and letting you become completely immersed in what’s happening on screen. And if that’s what you’re looking for, we can’t recommend these ten entries to you enough. All of them provide the kind of viewing experience you deserve. Some are more powerful than others, some are more adjustable, more advanced, etc. But we didn’t put them on this list unless they were of remarkable quality and gave you the best experience possible. So, if you want to improve your audio experience with your TV, pick out one of these excellent home theater systems, and listen to and feel the difference in quality.

q: What’s the difference between 3D and 4K?
a:

These are two buzzwords that you’re likely to hear being used interchangeably by those who don’t actually know what the heck they’re really talking about, so we’re here to clear the air.

Now, we’re betting that you already know what 3D is, as it’s been around the longest. 3D televisions, however, are a newer thing, since the technology used to make 3D imagery hasn’t ever been as commercially available as it is today. However, 3D doesn’t really apply to sound technology, which is why it’s much easier to tell the difference as it pertains to a home theater system between this and its counterpart.

4K is basically HD 2.0, it’s the next step in the evolution of high definition production, and unlike 3D, can be applied to almost any medium as a result. 4K Ultra HD sound is the best sound you can get your hands on right now, as there isn’t a more crisp, clear, or viscerally detailed sound technology can develop currently.

q: What is acoustic proofing and why do I need it?
a:

Have you ever looked at the behind the scenes extras of your favorite cartoon show? If you have, then you’ve most likely seen the actors doing their jobs in the voiceover booths. If you’ve ever wondered what those black padding things on the walls are, that is acoustic proofing. Acoustic proofing is vital if you have a home theater system and also live in, say, an apartment building. The main reason that you would have to buy a home theater system would be to surround yourself in loud music or sound. And as you can imagine, that can get really annoying for other tenants, very quickly. So, if you live in a neighborhood or apartment complex with relatively thin walls, then getting a home theater system requires getting some acoustic proofing on top of that.

q: How does a home theater system calibrate for the size of the room it’s in?
a:

Built in on board the receiver is a microphone. Now, this microphone can be used for a variety of different uses, from voice commands to other functions, but in this case, it serves one primary purpose. When you’re setting up the system, the speakers will emit a sound. The microphone picks up that sound, and then a computer measures how far away each sound came from each speaker. And from there measures out the size of the room. The receiver than adjusts the volume of its speakers accordingly. Some home theater systems make you buy this as a separate microphone, but we made sure that every entry had that tech built in as standard.

Sources

  1. Pioneer, Whole Home Audio,
  2. Wikipedia, Surround sound,
  3. Wikipedia, Stereo sound,