Home theatre systems are never really complete without an excellent sound system. The kind that will deliver surround sound that makes you feel like you are right in the middle of the scene you are watching. Although the visual experience is the most important element of a home theatre, a dynamic sound system can add another incredible dimension to that experience. To make that home experience really pop, an excellent receiver isn’t enough. You need to match the quality of speakers with the quality of receiver to get the most out of your system.
The Importance of Compatibility
If you want to create the best home theatre experience, I recently posted on the importance of having a really good receiver. However, you could be wasting your money on a better receiver if your speakers aren’t good enough to match it. A good receiver means nothing without some solid speakers to create a really clean, crisp sound quality and ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck (pun intended).
Just as it doesn’t make sense to have a high-end receiver with low quality speakers, it makes no sense having high-end speakers with a poor quality receiver. They should be aligned, which isn’t always the easiest to accomplish. To keep it simple, three things to look for are frequency range, power and impedence.
Starting with power, you want to match the power output of the receiver with the capacity of the speakers. For instance, a 100-watt per channel receiver can easily blow 50-watt speakers. You also want speakers with a higher frequency range as they will be capable of delivering both the highs and the lows. The broader the frequency range the more likely you have a higher-end speaker that will take advantage of a high-end receiver. Impedence is the last characteristic and the most common to get is around 8 ohms. If the impedence is too low, the amp will have a hard time driving the speaker.
Once you have aligned the speakers with the receiver’s capabilities, the most important test is your own ear. Take some music you like and try it out with a few speakers to find the tonal qualities that you like. Although excellent speaker should be able to deliver clearer and crisper sound, it is very important to find the tonal qualities that are pleasing to your ear. There is a very personal element to sound quality that you should never ignore.
For those higher-end receivers, here are a few good speakers to consider.
The thing I like about the Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 system is that it is a full set of very high quality speakers that are especially designed for surround sound high-end receivers. It comes with 4 surround speakers, a centre channel speaker and a 300 watt subwoofer. The surround speakers are all relatively small as is the centre channel speaker but they have lots of power with 200 watts each. The sound is pure, crisp, and clear and yet they won’t take up too much space.
These speakers also have a very good frequency response going from 32Hz to 30 KHz so they will be able to reproduce sound clearly with such a broad range. A very attractive set that comes with tripod feet so you can get the speakers at the right height for excellent surround sound effects.
Another option to get some great speakers that exactly match your higher end receiver is to look at Polk Audio speakers. Polk makes a broad range of excellent speakers so you are sure to find the right speakers to match your receiver’s output. I am particularly fond of the Polk Audio RT Series of speakers as they are their higher-end speakers and you can get them in a couple of different finishes; either cherry wood or black wooden cabinets.
For the front speakers, the Polk Audio Tower Speaker (RTIA7) will look awesome and sound even better. You could use more tower speakers for the rear or use Polk Audio Bookshelf Speaker (RTIA3). The Polk Audio Centre Channel Speaker (CS20) and the Polk Audio DSW660 12” Subwoofer or the DSW550 10” Subwoofer will finish off the surround system nicely. The combination will really sound great when matched with a similar receiver.
Speakers are Polk Audio’s primary business and they have been at it for more than 40 years. As a result they make excellent sounding speakers that are very good quality. Their variety of speakers is so great that you are sure to find speakers that will match your receiver, but also match your room in terms of size and finishes. You can choose tower or bookshelf speakers or mix and match them to make the perfect set.
Of the options identified here this Bose Acoustimass 10 System is the lowest cost but yet it delivers great sound. Bose has a knack for getting excellent sound out of very small speakers and the 5 surround speakers with this set are nice and small so they should be easy to place in your room. But don’t be fooled by the small size as these speakers have a very full sound.
The Bose speakers won’t have the same frequency response of the systems above so they won’t have the same crispness of sound in those higher-end speakers. Nevertheless, they are very capable of providing an excellent home theatre immersive experience. Like the Definitive Technology ProCinema 800, the Bose Acoustimass 10 System is a full set that are designed to work together and will look good but unobtrusive in your family room or home theatre.
To add tremendous sound to your home theatre experience make sure you get a better receiver and then match it with speakers that are complimentary in output and quality. Once you experience the capabilities of an excellent surround sound system I can guarantee you will never go back.