Home Theater for Stereo Buffs
Elevate Your AV Performance with a Quality Sound System
While most of us equate "Home Theater" with "Surround Sound" and equate Surround Sound with Dolby Labs and DTS decoding, some of us are mostly music lovers who happen to have a TV in the same room as our stereo and want to use the two together. So the emphasis is on stereo music reproduction...not on the ever-increasing number of channels employed in the latest surround soundtracks on blockbuster movies. (This is not to denigrate home theater systems in any way. A sound system installation with top-notch speakers and electronics in your Boston area home theater setup will recreate what you hear in a movie theater in a very different way from any two-channel solution. But some of us don’t want more than two speakers in a room!)
There are sometimes a few logistical issues involved. Most important is whether the TV is situated mid-way between the stereo speakers. This is the critical piece, because if your stereo produces a solid center image on music, such that the vocalist or soloist mixed in the middle of the stage sounds like that's where he or she is positioned, so will the TV dialog mixed to sound like the speaking voice is coming from the actor's lips...without the need for a dedicated center speaker or multi-channel processor. Your stereo system will do the trick.
The next logistical hurdle is connectivity...many of today's TV sources only have HDMI outputs, with no "legacy" analog connections. There are three ways to resolve this. The easiest is to connect all source devices to the TV itself, then connect the TV audio output to your stereo. This can work very well...if your TV has an audio output for this purpose. If your TV's audio output is strictly digital, and your stereo amp has no digital to analogue converter built in, you might need an outboard DAC. Another solution is to get a stereo with HDMI switching, or eARC, which is beginning to show up on some stereos. The third solution is to use an outboard HDMI switch with "audio de-embedding" which can then plug into your stereo using analog or digital connections, as appropriate. This solution is ideal if the TV is inaccessible for running any new cables, as is sometimes the case with custom installations. Once these logistics are resolved, every link in the video chain has to be configured to output stereo...not surround sound, bitstream, or any other format, in order to sound correct coming through a two-channel system.
What else? Make sure your system has either really good bass response, or add a subwoofer to effortlessly deliver the low frequencies that make movie and TV soundtracks exciting...it will enhance your music, too! Finally, if you want to dabble in some kind of surround enhancement for stereo without going whole-hog into an AV receiver or preamp-processor, there are some preamplifiers on the market that actually have rear channel outputs for the purpose of adding tasteful ambience or hall acoustics to a fine stereo. The new Black Ice F-360 hybrid tube preamplifier (coming soon to Natural Sound!) is such a unit. Designed by the legendary audio engineer Jim Fosgate, it marries state of the art musicality with a few useful enhancements, like effective tone controls, a stereo "dimension" control for spaciousness to the image, and dedicated back channel and subwoofer outputs. This is the perfect preamplifier for listeners who want to improve their music and TV sound in a very natural way. It sells for $1995.00.
Want to bring this high quality of sound performance to your home theater or media room setup? Learn more from our team of experts at Natural Sound and give us a call today – or fill out our online contact form here. We look forward to assisting you with your sound system installation soon!