Home theater setup recommendations?

My daughter, married, middle aged, has asked me to help them set up a decent home theater/listening room in their new home. I've been an audiophile since the 70's......before I even heard the term, so I'm a pretty competent 2 channel guy and I understand room acoustics............That said, I never really ventured into HT. I simply went with my 2 channel rig and was perfectly happy with things that way.....still am.

I guess my questions are..........How  important is multi-channel for movies vs audio.............dumb question, I'm sure, but it's not my area, so I'm asking...............and any recommendations for a decent, not UBER, sound system primarily for movies. They're willing to spend some money to get a nice setup, but not the kind of coin that many here likely would. I'm thinking used gear, speakers, subs, receiver or amps. Something that will sound good, but not require a second mortgage..................These folks think that hanging 4 inch Bose speakers in the corners of the room with a micro, wanna-be sub is good sound..............I want to "enlighten" them..........thanks

Showing 1 response by ethos123

As several have already mentioned, without a budget and more info about the room, I can’t give you recommendations on specific equipment but I do have experience introducing a non-audiophile (my wife) to the benefits of a decent home theatre setup.

I definitely agree with what was said before about needing at least a 5.1 system to really get that “WOW” factor. My wife had never experienced surround sound and was initially a bit annoyed when I cut holes in the walls of the living room for surround speakers, but it took about two days for her to be totally won over by hearing effects from our favorite shows coming from behind us or in the room. She still after 3yrs occasionally darts a look over her shoulder and smiles about being fooled by it when an effect gives that immersive feeling...especially on a scary or suspenseful scene. It’s mid-fi, but she likes that room way more than another setup we have with much better stereo speakers & electronics but without the surrounds.

She was also annoyed by the “big black box” (an SVS SB2000) that “ruined” the aesthetics of the room...for about 36hrs until a scene in Game of Thrones where one of the dragons landing gave that sensation where you can feel it in your chest. She literally paused the show just to look at me and say “that was cool” and I’ve not heard a complaint about that big black box ever since. Total game changer compared to the micro sub from an old pioneer home theatre in a box that had been in the room before. So get a real subwoofer...or two :).

Depending on the budget, neither surround speakers or a decent subwoofer even need to give anything away to room aesthetics anymore as there are really good in-wall/in-ceiling options these days for both. I’m not suggesting the in-wall are better or as good for a given price point, but for surround and subwoofer channels where sound quality is less vital compared to the center and front R/L, they do a great job...especially if the room will have to stay multifunctional.

As as for electronics, my only suggestion is to keep it simple. Ideally have the whole setup controllable from a single remote &/or phone or tablet apps. Audiophiles might not mind getting up and sequentially turning on multiple components or having 5 different remotes to control every part of a home theatre system, but that’s annoying to most people. Also, be sure any receiver you get is 4ohm stable and has pre-outs in case they want to upgrade to a separate amp down the road...most decent ones will have both qualities, but some of the lower end models won’t.