Choosing the Best Home Theater Speakers – A Brief Guide
Choosing the best home theater speakers can be a time consuming, but rewarding exercise. As with any major electronics purchase, you need to educate yourself about the possible options, learn what different brands have to offer, and make a decision that fulfills (and exceeds) your requirements and expectations.
Bundled or Separate?
The first thing you should decide on is whether you want to buy a bundled home theater system, or buy individual components separately. The former offers ease of use, while the latter allows you to choose the best components according to your needs.
There is certainly an argument to be made for buying a bundled package. Most companies nowadays offer highly competitive home theater systems at affordable prices. The ease of use, customer support and after sales service that a bundled package offers would be unmatched. Plus, installation would be infinitely easier as well, since all the components would be from the same brand.
At the same time, buying individual components allows you to mix and match speakers as per your requirements. Certain brands make better woofers than others, while some other brands have higher quality speakers. By buying these components separately, you can make your own home theater system designed carefully to fit your needs.
Of course, the problem with such a setup is the ease of installation and after sales service. Each component would have its own warranty period and customer support. Some components may not be compatible with others, making installation more difficult. But if you aren’t daunted by electronics and enjoy tinkering with DIY projects, making your own Surround Sound System with individual components would definitely deliver a better performance.
A key step in choosing the best home theater speakers is separating the noise from the actually beneficial facts when looking at technical specifications – the grain from the chaff, so as to say. Speaker manufacturers often inundate the consumer with a lot of data, a lot of which is useless and rarely translate into better real world performance.
Case in point is the collective obsession with ‘wattage’ that most consumers have. Most speaker manufactures declare the wattage proudly on their systems. However, more often than not, this is the ‘peak’ wattage, not the average or RMS wattage. If a home theatre system has 500 watts peak wattage, it means that it can or may deliver 500 watts when required. The average watts delivered may be much lower than this. What you should ideally look for is the ‘RMS’ (root mean square) wattage, which gives you the average watts delivered. This is a much more useful figure than peak wattage which most companies tend to use.
Therefore, when looking at technical specs, it is important to not look at the numbers alone. Instead, try to figure how the numbers translate to a real world performance. Always ask for a demo and read up on actual user reviews before you make a buying decision.
Price is obviously a consideration when choosing the best home theater speakers. You would want to listen to the speaker system once before making a decision, so buying online can be a bit tricky. But more often than not, prices on the internet are more competitive than the ones in-store.
What I recommend is visiting a store, checking out the different speakers, asking for a demo and making careful notes of the sound quality and prices. With this data sheet in hand, head over to the internet. Use comparison shopping websites like NexTag.com or Amazon.com to check up on prices for the same speakers online. If you get a better price than the one offered in-store, you can just buy the speakers through the internet. You can easily save a few dollars this way.
Choosing the best home theater speakers is all about doing proper research and knowing your own requirements before making a buying decision. The internet is a wonderful research tool. Use it extensively to learn more about home theater systems, the various components, and all relevant technical specs.