Millions of movie lovers have revelled in the big screen cinema experience for decades. What better way has there been to see the latest blockbuster than at the local multiplex or in a specialist IMAX theatre? However, as ticket and refreshment prices have spiralled, and the cost of taking the family to the movies has become increasingly a luxury, many people have chosen to bring the big screen home with them.
The advent of the home cinema system has allowed everyone to enjoy the thrill of the big screen in the comfort of their living room. However, when it comes to selecting the right system, there are all manner of setups that can be chosen; from low budget flat screens and soundbars to all-encompassing giant screens and the latest sound systems which can reproduce your movie of choice in all its glory. While many people are happy just to purchase a big television or pull down screen, it’s the choice of sound system that can really complete the experience. After all, who hasn’t enjoyed the sheer visceral thrill of fighter jets screaming overhead in the cinema, or that delicious shudder when the iconic villain of the latest horror flick sneaks up on you from behind?
As a movie lover, nothing immerses you more in a film than epic, high quality surround sound, the reproduction of the dynamic cinema experience at home. The standard TV speakers just aren’t enough – even today’s best LED or plasma screens with built-in sound systems can’t provide the complete experience. To get the full effect, you need to take a serious look at a genuine home cinema system, with excellent voice reproduction, realistic surround sound, and superb music playback.
Most of these systems come with 2, 3, 5 or 7 speakers, and an amplifier to boost the underlying sound from the TV, DVD or Blu-ray. As with picture quality, you often get what you pay for; in low end systems, there’s not a great deal of difference between a reasonable quality soundbar (which often contains several speakers and built-in amp) and a cheap multi-speaker system; spend a little more though and a mid- to high-end system can leave you spellbound. If you’re a movie nut- and have a decent budget- then buying a great quality sound system is every bit as important, if not more so, than forking out for high picture quality or a larger screen. Enthusiasts can also upgrade systems, purchasing better quality components to create the best bespoke package they can afford.
The number of speakers can add additional dimensions. 2.1 or 3.1 systems will provide good sound and a big enhancement over the basic TV speakers, while a 5.1 system adds two rear speakers: this adds a whole extra dimension. Enthusiasts seeking even greater reproduction can go for a 7 speaker system, but this requires a larger space (and the potential hazard of miles of cables). Of course wireless rear speakers can be purchased to alleviate this issue.
All that’s left to do is sit back and lose yourself in a great film.