7 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Home Theatre

There can be nothing worse than spending hard-earned cash on a high-quality home theatre system only to discover you're only getting a mediocre performance. Here is a list of hints and tips to help A/V enthusiasts  when they're trying to tap the true potential of a component home theatre system.


1. Reading the owner's manual
Yes, they can be dry as sandpaper but most contain important information for the correct operation and setup of your system. Force yourself to at least have a look through. You probably won't regret it.


2. Getting the sound right
Red and white stereo audio cables will carry sound to the receiver. So far so good. But you'll probably need an optical or coaxial digital audio cable for Dolby® Digital and DTS® surround sound. Also, Blu-ray and DVD players use a HDMI cable to transfer digital audio and video signals with a single cable. However, if the system uses one of these connections, you'll require an optical or coaxial audio cable to carry audio signals to all combinations of receivers and disc players.


3. Getting the picture right
Default video display settings on your Blu-ray or player will usually provide a fairly adequate picture. But it's possible those settings may not be optimized for the TV model. Selecting the proper aspect ratio in the player's menu ("4:3 standard TV" or "16:9 widescreen TV") will ensure you get the right sized picture to match the widescreen or standard set.


4. Setting your disc player's audio output to match receiver capabilities
Out of the box, the disc player probably won't be set to send the optimal audio signal to the receiver. So even if you are using the right connections the Blu-ray or DVD might not deliver the correct signal. Check the player's audio setup menu and adjust the surround sound setting (usually "bitstream" or "Dolby Digital") instead of the stereo setting ( "PCM" or "Digital PCM") and if the receiver has a DTS decoder, activate the player's "DTS" output.


5. Selecting the best playback modes
Even when using the correct connections, and setting your Blu-ray or DVD to surround sound, you might still have to make sure surround plays every time. This is because some Blu-rays and most DVDs don't have a default surround sound as an automatic mode. With some Blu-ray discs you'll have a couple of options for high-resolution surround sound, which means you'll have to manually pick the best for your system.


6. Check subwoofer setting and placement
The rule of thumb is the closer the subwoofer is to the walls, the stronger the bass will sound. But it's best to proceed with caution--placing them too close to walls can produce a distorted, boomy sound. Most subwoofers have controls to fine-tune the bass output. Always remember, the goal is to end up with a bass that is not just loud, but also deep.


7. Properly calibrate speaker system output levels
Additional calibration of speaker levels usually teases out special effects and subtle nuances we might not at first hear--a sense of three-dimensional space on a track recorded in a concert hall, or the true-to-life sound of airplanes flying overhead in your favourite action film. An inexpensive analogue decibel meter can be used to provide impressive and accurate results. For those who don't have don't have that kind of equipment, some receivers come with their own microphone and built-in calibration system that also does a great job.



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