The Serious Importance of Quality Sound Michael Kwan September 6, 2013 Even if you don’t use your television to watch television anymore, it’s pretty clear that the living room remains the focal point for most people’s homes. It is there that you’ll stream a movie from Netflix or you’ll crowd around for awesome gaming sessions on your Xbox or PlayStation. And the experience is so much better when you have an awesome home theater setup to enjoy those movies and those games. Not surprisingly, regardless of the size of your budget, the first thing that most people look at when trying to set up their living room for a multimedia experience is the TV. You look at those massive 3D LED TVs with their increasingly thin bezels and fantastic contrast ratios. You look at the refresh rate and you worry about any kind of ghosting that you might get when watching hockey or football. That all makes sense. You want a quality image when you’re playing Halo or Street Fighter. But so many people forget about the other part of the equation, the part that is just as important as the visual experience: sound. You might blow well over $1,000 on getting a new big screen TV, but then why would you want to watch the big game now on the tiny built-in speakers on that thin panel? The built-in speakers are getting better, but they’re never going to give you an optimal experience. And if you’re investing a good amount of money on your TV, why would you then cheap out on the audio department? If you’re only playing games by yourself and you don’t want to disturb the rest of the people in the house, it might make sense for you to throw on a wireless gaming headset, but that’s naturally not the way to go when you want a far bigger audio adventure that you can share with the other people in the room. Yes, it’s true that pricing on home theater speakers can vary considerably. Yes, you might consider one of those convenient “home theater in a box” solutions that come with 5.1 surround sound and a Blu-ray player, but they might leave something to be desired. You might think about adopting a soundbar out of convenience, but it won’t give you the same kind of surround sound that you’d get with a proper 5.1 or 7.1 solution. As much as I like iPhone docking stations and Bluetooth speaker sets — they certainly serve a particular purpose in any home or office — they may not be the best idea when it comes to setting up your home theater. If your budget allows for it, the best way to go really is to get a nice set of real tower speakers to go along with a real dedicated surround sound receiver. Even if you don’t go with the full surround right away, you can invest in a couple of great tower speakers for the front channels, plus an appropriately powerful subwoofer. We all love bass. You’ve got to feel the rumble of those Hollywood explosions, right? And you’ll only get that visceral connection with good sound, regardless of how great that picture looks. Share This With The World!