Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Choose A Surround Sound Amplifier

People often get confused by the different terminology used when talking about a surround sound amplifier and they mostly asked with friends, searching on net and doing many other things to get right details. In fact the whole subject of home cinema systems is awash with many different terms describing the same thing. A home cinema is a home theatre system or even just a home surround sound system. If we take a look at the main components of a home cinema system it will help you to better understand some of the audio terminology.

A home cinema system is usually made up of three major elements. There are many variations within these elements but basically three majors.

The Screen

Self explanatory really. The screen can simply be your television, or in high end systems you may use a digital projector. It is possible to project a large picture onto a screen or even a wall for viewing, giving a really effective home theatre feel.

Input Devices

Basically whatever you use to input your sound and pictures. Your cable system, a Blu-ray or DVD player, iPod and gaming consoles are also popular for use through your home cinema system. With modern systems you can add a number of different input devices.

The Sound System

How the sound is processed and delivered to your room. The sound system is arguably the core of your system. There are a wide range of options available when choosing a sound system.

The surround sound systems used for home cinema will normally come as a package or an integrated audio system. This will be made up of a surround sound amplifier and the speakers. The speaker system can come in a number of different configurations with 5.1 surround sound being the most common at this time. 7.1 surround sound systems are fast catching up and as their price drops in time will become the market leader. Just to explain a little, 5.1 set-ups have six speakers - 5 main speakers, often called satellite speakers, and a subwoofer (the.1), which is a specialised speaker that delivers low frequency sounds and bass.

The surround sound amplifier is also referred to as the Receiver or A/V Receiver. Think of this like your amplifier on you Hi-Fi. It basically processes the sound from your input device into channels to suit the speaker configuration. It controls the volume and amplifies the sound for delivery to the speakers. The integrated surround sound amplifier will manage all these processes and allow you to easily select different input devices and control the sound set-up. It is the brains behind the operation and as such should be where you spend your money. A good sound system will be at the heart of any home cinema set-up.

In some high specification systems the integrated amplifier is replaced by separate components. Here you would have a surround processor and a separate surround sound amplifier. This can become very expensive and complicated. The quality of integrated systems today are such that buying a separate processor and surround sound amplifier is not really worth the extra time and investment. So good luck and have fun in your search for the perfect sound system.

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