Improving your home theater system II

Recently I had quite a few messages asking about how one can get more out of their home theater system.

There are many options, ranging from free tweaks to top dollar options.

Firstly a shift in speaker position is a free yet highly effective tweak. Of course some will reply that their options for this are limited.
Do note that a fancy amp or new CD player can't fix a poorly placed speaker. Putting large floor stander speakers in the corners of a small room won't yield the best results.

The next option that is often used are cables. IMHO, cables can tune the sound but should not be considered a top tier tweak.

Room acoustics is one often neglected tweak or one that cannot be considered simply due to the WAF issue. In particular those of us using living rooms for our hobby will face a lot of resistance. But simple things like moving speakers or the MLP are free and very effective.

Another often using method is the use of power amps. Yes if the speakers used are low impedance or hard to drive then certainly more powerful or high current amps will make a big difference. But bear in mind that the pre-amp section may not be up to our higher musical requirements.
So if we have a basic AVR , with a modest pre-amp section, I put it to all bros that buying a power amp which may cost a few times more than the AVR may not be so useful.

The alternative for better stereo music is what we have mentioned before :
Adding a stereo amp with HT bypass. This method allows critical listening to be done without the AVR being in the loop. Of course when choosing this one needs to choose a amp with such a function and you won't be able to enjoy the surround effects.

For that a higher level processor may need to be added. This option is obviously more expensive, and again when one uses a better processor, don't scrimp on the interconnects and power amps.

Finally changing speakers and subs whilst retaining the rest of the gear is more likely to make a difference then tweaks like cables and power amps. Of course this may not be a cost effective option but in my experience it can yield far better outcomes.

Finally what options we choose will depend on a few factors:
The budget
WAF needs
Looks and whether renovation plans are afoot.

Most importantly we need to be cognisant of what our tweaks can achieve.
Changing a power cable is simple for example, but if the speaker to amp match is wrong, or the speaker is in an odd position, the money spent on the cable may simply go down the drain.

A lot of planning and discussion with the relevant experts will help save time and money.


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