Ed's AV Handbook.com
Home Theater & High Fidelity Stereo Audio

Chapter Eight
Home Theater Sound
by Design

Page 1

Batting practice for the audio/video pro and a primer for the novice

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Home Theater
               Sincere proponents of various home theater sound concepts are easy to find.  
Some of their views originate from reputable physics and engineering.  Others are sourced in fiction.  We will not debate which is necessarily better.  Our focus is on how to make the right choice for your specific circumstances.  This sifts down to three fundamental design options: Custom, THX, or High Fidelity.  

The Custom Design
             Custom is generally a code phrase for “hide the speakers and electronics in cabinets, walls, and ceilings.”  This design sacrifices the sound system’s performance as it acquiesces
to the priorities of an interior design that shuns the aesthetics of speakers and electronics.

owever, a custom design of merit still strives to
minimize distorting sonic compromises caused by sheet-rock wall resonance, room boundary reflections, wall and cabinet diffraction, small speakers, and above-ear-level placement.  A custom design can
set about this as follows:

  • Reduce mid-bass distortion & mid-range harshness caused by the sheet-rock resonance of in-wall/ceiling speaker systems, with wood braces or a wood baffle at each wall stud or ceiling rafter speaker location.
  • Small in-wall/ceiling and bookshelf speaker systems are low frequency deficient.         This can cause cold harsh sound. Manufacture warmer sound by re-routing the       lowest bass frequencies to a sub woofer.  Use filter networks &/or equalizers to alter         a small speaker’s frequency balance and operating bandwidth.
  • Mount the center speaker at the TV location to improve imaging impaired by above-ear-level placement of the left and right speakers.  The typical dominance of a near-ear-level center channel will acoustically appear to draw the left and right channels closer to ear level.
  • Salvage sound field imaging forfeited by near field cabinet diffraction.  Move the speaker to the front edge of the cabinet shelf.  In addition attach acoustical absorption on cabinet walls near the speaker.
  • Generate the impression of a larger and more satisfying sound system with a larger and/or second discretely placed sub woofer.
          Custom is the design of choice if the appearance of a speaker or electronic compontent
is at odds with your aesthetic goals
.  However, employ the steps above to minimize the sonic compromises of  the custom design.

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Ed's AV Handbook.com
Batting Practice for the AV Pro and a Primer for the Novice.
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288   Revised 2018