Acoustics plays a major role in the living room at home. To enjoy movies and series with optimal sound quality, you need high-quality equipment. We present three systems that allow you to experience impressive sounds and immerse yourself in the movie action.
Soundbars: Inconspicuous, Inexpensive And Convenient
Many surround sound systems have one major drawback: they require a hodgepodge of speakers that must be perfectly matched in terms of positioning. Otherwise, the acoustic quality is lacking and the sound experience suffers. If you’re one of those people who don’t want to clutter up their living room with technical elements and have to deal with the optimal alignment of the speakers, a soundbar is just the thing. Unpack it, plug it in, and you’re done. That’s all you need to install this acoustic equipment.
Another advantage concerns the space requirement: soundbars are relatively long but compared to surround sound systems with numerous boxes, they are much more space-saving overall. Thus, even residents of small apartments can enjoy impressive acoustics. Soundbars usually fit easily on any low board and can be placed directly in front of the TV. Integration is particularly compact with a sound deck, on which the TV can be placed directly. The disadvantage is that sound decks usually cost considerably more to buy.
As the selection of recommended soundbars from leading brands at the Home Cinema Guide shows, there are good soundbars for under 200 euros. For example, the product range includes inexpensive models from well-known manufacturers like Samsung and Bose. By the way, you don’t have to do without surround sound with soundbars. It is not a real surround sound, but a simulated one, and renowned manufacturers manage it quite convincingly. The technologies for this vary from brand to brand, but the objective is always the same: It is about distributing the sound waves of the soundbar in the room and having them reflected by the walls in such a way that the listener gets the impression of a spatial sound sensation.
- No additional loudspeakers necessary
- Quickly ready, minimal effort
- Good price-performance ratio
- Solid selection
- No real surround sound
- Relatively weak bass without subwoofer
7.1 Surround System – Defined Sound
The technical arrangement of 7.1 surround sound systems is much more extensive. To illustrate the advantages, let’s first take a short detour to the 5.1 surround system. This includes the following main channels:
- 1 Low frequency channel (e.g. subwoofer)
- 1 Center speaker
- 2 Surround speakers
- 2 Front speakers
Two speakers are located to the right and left of the listening position and are angled in slightly. The center speaker is below and the two front speakers are next to the TV. The bass channel is located between the front boxes. In a 7.1 surround system, two additional speakers are added, which are placed behind the listening position at least one meter away from the side speakers or mounted on the wall. The heart of 7.1 surround systems is AV receivers. This component serves as the elementary control center and multi-channel amplifier. CHIP has summarized which AV receivers are recommendedin a test report.
Due to the numerous speakers and the well-thought-out placement, an excellent sound experience is created. Conversations, explosions, engine noises, and many other sounds are reproduced very realistically. Since the sounds come from different directions, it almost seems as if you are right in the middle of the action.
- Well defined home cinema sound
- The surround backs optimize the surround effect
- Sound improvements from rooms with about
- large selection
Compared to soundbars often more expensive, because many components are required.
- Increased space requirement
- Complex to install
Not every movie and series is mixed for 7.1 surround sound.
Dolby Atmos 3D Audio Format – Intense Sound Experience
Dolby Atmos takes the sound experience up a notch. Unlike soundbars, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, Dolby Atmos‘ object-based 3D audio format does not produce sound on just one plane. Instead, sounds are perceived from the front, sides, back, and top. The overhead dimension guarantees an incomparable all-around cinema experience. However, you have to dig much deeper into your pocket for this than is the case with soundbars. For example, a Dolby Atmos set from Teufel (Ultima series) costs between 1,800 and 4,500 Euros.
- Intensive involvement in the sound event
- Many blockbusters have already been produced accordingly (A movie list in Dolby Atmosprovided by Dolby online)
- Comparatively complex setup
The speaker placement must be right so that the realism does not suffer.
In the video, home theater expert Patrick Schappert from Grobi.TV discusses the increasing selection of Dolby Atmos productions and provides insight into the associated sound quality:
Supplementary information about home cinema and acoustics at hifi-online.net: