A Short Guide to Multi-Channel Home Theatre
Did you ever look at your TV and wished you had a bigger one? Or wished for a better sound system? A multi-channel home theatre might be just what you need. As fun it is with our regular TV and sound systems, they sometimes don’t do justice to the media content we get. This is noticeable when you’re into gaming, have a knack for making music, or just want to watch your favorite movies in the best video quality possible.
Well, you wouldn’t be the only one feeling this way. Lots of other people do, and that’s why home entertainment setups are so popular now. People are upgrading their setups to enjoy the max of everything. This became more common after the pandemic hit and everyone was stuck at home.
Home theater or home entertainment systems have been popular for some time now. The popularity skyrocketed when franchises like Marvel started releasing movies with high-quality VFX. It grew even more with the pandemic attacking the world. Of course, people couldn’t go out to buy a new home theater setup then but they realized the need for it.
When it comes to a home entertainment setup, you’ll see “home theater” everywhere. And it is true, a multi-channel home theatre is the best way of enjoying the movie theater experience. But what exactly is this kind of home theater and how does it work? If you’re thinking about an upgrade of your home setup, keep reading for more!
Multi-Channel Home Theatre: The Whats and Hows
Multi-channeled home theatres are a step up from your regular home entertainment setup. It is extensive and is made of the best components for audio and video. The difference between multi-channel and regular home theater setups is their method of working.
Well, let’s break down the way it works then.
What is a multi-channel home theatre?
Let’s talk about what a home theater is first. You know the movie theater you always go to every time a new movie comes out? Imagine that theater but in your home. That’s what a home theater is. This is a two-dimensional setup. The home theater system focuses on both the audio and video part of the setup to recreate the movie theater experience for you.
A multi-channeled home theater is that, but with even more nuance. Both the video and audio components are more powerful. Multi-channeled home theaters have more components in the setup than the regular home theater setup. It uses sound enhancement and sound spatializing. Like regular home theaters, it uses the sound localization ability in humans to make the viewer feel like the sound is coming from all directions.
Multi-channeled home theaters use surround sound systems to recreate the movie theater sound. The speakers and other audio equipment are strategically placed to make it feel like the sound is coming from all directions. The sound is enhanced and it works based on the sound localization of humans. Sound localization is the ability to detect the source or the direction of the sound.
How is a multi-channeled home theatre different?
A multi-channeled home theater is different in the way it works. Instead of separate channels for each speaker, it uses one centralized channel.
All home theater setups use surround sound systems for audio outlets. The setup takes multiple speakers and strategic placement of them to work. Usually the speakers are on left, right, center and front. A regular home theater setup has separate channels for each speaker to control the sound output. A multi-channeled home theater setup has one centralized channel. The speakers are all connected to that channel and the output is controlled with the AVR.
To recap, the difference between a multi-channeled and a normal home theater is the sound output channel. Regular home theaters have separate channel units and the multi-channeled theater has a centralized control unit with multiple channels.
What do you need to set up a multi-channeled home theatre?
A multi-channeled home theater setup needs five things. You’ll need speakers, AVR, source, display, and interconnections to make a multi-channeled home theater setup.
Speakers are the base of any home theater setting. Scratch that, speakers are the base of any kind of home entertainment setup. The same goes for this one you can’t enjoy the experience if your speaker configuration is all over the place.
First, you’ll have to decide what kind of sound system you want. There are multiple types like stereo systems, soundbars, and surround sound. For multi-channeled home theaters, you’ll need surround sound. Surround sound needs at least 5 speakers. You’ll place one on the left, one on the right, and one in the center. Then you’ll place the remaining two opposite your first two corner speakers.
This is the 5.0 setup, some people add a subwoofer to make it a 5.1 setup. There are other setups too but this is the most basic one.
AVR is the star of a multi-channeled home theater setup. Also known as an audio-video receiver, it can also be called an AV preamp and AV power amp. Whatever name you call it, it does the same job.
AVR is the controlling unit of a multi-channeled home theater. It powers all the speakers and processes all audio tracks. The audio coming from the source gets to the sound outlet through AVR. The intermediate mixing and processing happen in the AVR. This is the central unit that controls the multiple sub-channels for each speaker.
The right AVR for a setup depends on the system. If you want more speakers, you’ll need a stronger AVR. The more speakers you have the more wattage/energy they will consume. To distribute the energy properly and make sure your electrical connections aren’t getting fried, make sure to check and see if the AVR is enough for your setup.
If the source you’re picking doesn’t support the advanced sound system you’re using, then the whole thing goes down the drain. You have to make sure your source supports the advanced setup. One way to make sure of that is to look for Dolby labels. Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus support the 5.1 setups, and Dolby Atmos supports the multi-channeled surround sound. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime also support the multi-channeled setups.
The most visible part of the setup. You’ll need a screen big enough to show the whole high-definition cut. Your display device doesn’t have to be a TV. You can go for projectors, or you can double up and get both of them.
Find out your preference between TV vs. Projector
This is my area of experts. You’ll have to connect all your speakers and other components with each other. You can keep the good old wiring system, or you can go wire-free. You’ll need a power manager to run your whole system, and a speaker connecting wires if you aren’t going wire-free.
A multi-channel home theatre is an extensive setup. Before you begin, make sure you have room for it. Make sure to do your research before buying the components. Or if you don’t want that hassle, go for the home-theater-in-a-box kits.