Home Theater

These speakers work together to create the surround sound experience of a movie theater in your living room. While there are many brands and models that do a great job reproducing sound, you will want to be sure that the various speakers in your home theater system work well together as a cohesive unit.

Center channel speaker

The center channel is the unsung hero of the home theater speaker system. When you watch a movie, the center channel delivers more than 50% of the soundtrack, including almost all of the dialogue. Since its purpose is to keep sound anchored to the on-screen action, a good center channel speaker is crucial for a well-balanced home theater system.

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Front left and right speakers

In home theater, the front left and right speakers provide a wide soundstage that blends with the video to create a more realistic and exciting movie experience. In addition to reproducing the musical score, front speakers handle the bulk of the special effects, which move back and forth between the two speakers in sync with the images on the screen. Front speakers also broaden the soundstage by reproducing off-screen special effects. Finally, the front left and right speakers in your home theater system also act as the left and right stereo speakers for listening to music.

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Surround speakers

Surround speakers produce atmospheric, ambient sounds — such as rain drops, the rustling of leaves, or footsteps crunching on gravel. They also work with your other speakers to deliver spectacular directional effects, like a locomotive rushing by, or a bullet zinging past. They help put you smack dab in the center of the action
Although a 5.1-channel surround system, with only one pair of surround speakers, is the most common setup, most newer home theater receivers can power more than a single pair of surround speakers. Today, many people buy one or two additional speakers to use as “back surrounds” in a 6.1- or 7.1-channel system. To learn more about surround sound, including the newer 7.1-channel formats.

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If you’re assembling a home theater, plan on including a powered subwoofer. Many Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks provide a dedicated channel of deep bass (sometimes known as low frequency effects, or LFE). This bass is what makes the entire soundtrack feel larger, fuller, and more lifelike — it gives special effects like thunder or explosions their window-rattling punch. A subwoofer is also a wonderful way to enrich music listening — it can round out all types of music, from classical to jazz to rock to R&B. Since most speakers can’t deliver that level of bass on their own, a subwoofer is needed to ensure that your home theater system delivers crucial low-frequency impact.