So you have finally managed to scrap and save up enough money to get yourself a semi-respectable home entertainment system with DIRECT TV service near you. Sometimes that may not be enough. You may want more than this. But the thought of having to spend another few thousand dollars on new equipment is out of the question. What can you do about this?
There are a few ways in which you can make the most of what you already have without having to break the bank. One of the first things you need to do is to make sure your system has been set up properly and is performing at optimal levels. Here are a few of the things for you to check:
Cables and interconnections
It is pivotal for the signal to be transferred from the source to the speakers properly. It will be traveling through a number of components on the way and needs to go through as little degradation as possible. Ensure that your audio, speaker and video cables are all of top quality and that none of them are corroded or old. You could use a contract enhancer to ensure the connection is perfect. If you need to get new cables, do it.
Ensure you use the highest A/V connection that is supported by your system. If you have the option of using the DVI or component video connection from the DVD to the display device, go for it.
Your video display isn’t going to look too nice if it isn’t calibrated properly. Manufacturers have a dismal record as far as calibrating home displays in the factory. Most of the TVs have been designed in a way that they look their best while on the floor of a showroom. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will look good at home too. In fact, a projection TV may just have its life shortened dramatically if it isn’t calibrated properly.
The contrast is usually set too high so that the set stands out in a showroom. This helps sell more TVs but it can cause premature tube wear. Proper calibration will be able to correct the problem. There are a number of salient tools which you can find online to help calibrate your home theater. You should consider getting one of them.
This encompasses a number of different things from the acoustic treatment of a room’s interiors to the quieting of your projector. When you lower the noise floor, you will be able to increase the dynamic range quite effectively. Also, acoustic treatments will help improve bass response, imaging, and dialogue intelligibility.
You could also consider adding a one-inch or two-inch thick acoustic panel on the side walls of the home theater in order to reduce first reflections. This is basically the sound which leaves the front speakers and then takes a longer path to the listener by bouncing off walls along the way. This longer path it takes makes it arrive later as compared to the direct sound, which is coming straight to your ears from the speakers. The net effect of this is a loss in dialog intelligibility.
In order to find the proper placement for acoustic materials, you should sit in the listening position and put a mirror on one of the side walls and keep moving it until you have a view of the front speaker in it. When you can spot it that will be the center for the acoustic panel.
One more and even cheaper tip is to optimize the placement of your sub-woofer. People have been saying that bass is non-directional and that the position of the sub-woofer doesn’t matter for a long time now. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Even though low bass can be quite non-directional, the amount of bass and tonal quality is affected quite a bit by the placement of the sub-woofer. The easiest thing for you to do is to place the sub-woofer at ear height. Move all over the room at the height of the sub-woofer and try to find the best bass quality location. That is where you need to place your sub-woofer.
You could consider building a hush box around the projector in order to minimize any noise from it. Ensure you provide for adequate ventilation in order to maintain effective and efficient cooling. This is something which can’t be emphasized enough.
A partial measure which you could take without having to go through the trouble of building an entire hush box would be to place some acoustic absorption materials on the ceiling right above the projector. If the projector is also close to the ceiling, it will help kill any noise which usually bounces off the ceiling into the listening room.