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HOW TO CREATE THE ULTIMATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

It’s time to squeeze into your favourite tracksuit pants, make the popcorn, boil the kettle, organise the chocolate and snuggle into your favourite spot to watch a movie. There’s nothing quite like sitting down and relaxing for a bit of big screen time. Having the right home theatre set up will only make the experience even better, so we sat down with Scott Davies from CHT Solutions on how you too can have the ultimate set up.

1. What’s the first thing you need to do when you plan a home theatre system?

Set an overall budget and then allocate to certain areas of your home theatre. We like to break down the overall component budget down as a rough guide 65-70% Audio (Speakers, Subwoofers, Amplifiers Etc) and 30% to 35% Visual (Projector, Screen or Television). We do this as audio will have the biggest effect on the performance of a home theatre system. Funds will also need to be budgeted for accessories like cables and installation if you will not be doing it yourself.

2. What are the rules in determining how big you go for a system?

Private cinema at home
Determining Projector Screen Size:
To find your optimum distance, measure the size of your screen diagonally and divide that size by .84. Using that calculation, a 100-inch projector screen requires an optimal viewing distance of 119 inches or 3m from the screen. This formula is the generally accepted guideline for judging the optimum distance between the screen and your seating area.
100-inch Projector Screens have an optimal viewing distance of 3m
110-inch Projector Screens have an optimal viewing distance of 3.3m
120-inch Projector Screens have an optimal viewing distance of 3.6m
130-inch Projector Screens have an optimal viewing distance of 3.9m
150-inch Projector Screens have an optimal viewing distance of 4.5m
Determining Speaker Size:
This is usually determined by a few factors such as budget, WAF (Wife Approval Factor) and what you plan on using the system for. Tho if you have a smaller room you may opt to use smaller speakers such as bookshelf or satellite speakers. If the focus of your system is movies in our opinion you would be best to go without floor standing speakers for the front left or right if your budget is limited and instead use bookshelf sized speakers. The savings can then be put into a bigger and better subwoofer, as this will have the biggest impact in your system and is not something you should be looking to save on.
Home Theatre Room

3. How much easier are new systems to set up and get going these days?

With the auto calibration options which are inbuilt into modern AV Receivers, it’s easier than ever. Most offer a very simple setup which involves setting up an included microphone at your listening position and following the onscreen instructions and can usually be completed in around 15 minutes. Also most modern AV Receiver now include mobile apps which can be used to control the system of even playback audio in other zones in the house.
When setting up your AV Receiver you have the option to set your front speakers as either large or small. This is really never explained very well and in our opinion, this setting should be renamed to ease confusion. As what they are actually asking you is with the audio which is being sent to your front channels do you want to send the full audio range or would you like the lower frequencies (example anything below 80Hz) to be sent directly to your subwoofer. In our experience, if you have a subwoofer you should be setting your front speakers to small, even if you have large floorstanding speakers, as a subwoofer is designed to reproduce these lower frequencies and will do a better job that your front speakers.
CHT Solutions design and complete home theatre rooms to maximise performance for any given budget. They are founders of the Australian Home Theatre and HiFi Community group where they offer free advise.
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