Home theater acoustics is the most important step to be completed before buying speakers, AV receivers, or amplifiers. But treating the acoustics of the theater room doesn’t mean installing good speakers. The acoustics are thin outside the AV receiver or speakers.
The people that are telling you to install speakers for the nice acoustics are misleading you. The acoustic process comes before the speakers and sound system as a whole.
If the acoustics of the room are not good, then even a hi-fi expensive sound system will sound mediocre. That’s why acoustics treatment is far more important than choosing speakers.
Without taking much time, let’s start unfolding the 5 steps to glory. Don’t forget to download the checklist at the end of this article.
5 steps to improve home theater acoustics
Here is the step-by-step process to have the best acoustic in your entertainment room.
- Soundproof the theater room
- Install acoustic panels on wall and ceiling
- Install Bass Traps in the corners
- Install soft-surfaced seating for the audience
- Place speakers on the stand, not on the floor
- Install dense and soft rug/carpet on the floor
Soundproof the theater room
You need to soundproof the home theater. This is to block the outside noise from coming inside the room and the inside noise from outside.
The reason is you don’t want the outside noise to come into the theater room. Because we want pure dialogues, background scores, and music without any contamination in it.
The purpose for which home theater was invented is to feel the realism of the video content. This realistic touch is given to it by the audio. That’s why we need the audio in its pure form.
The reason you don’t want the inside noise to go out of the room is that the speakers are meant to fill the theater room. If its energy is wasted on flowing the audio out of the room, then you will experience dead areas in the room where the audio will feel lesser than some other parts of the room. This is very bad for the home theater experience.
So, how to soundproof a theater room? I am breaking it for you in a few steps below. I will explain each one briefly. That’s why I might miss a few points in each step section. But don’t worry, I will provide a link to a detailed soundproofing guide at the end of this section.
Soundproof the theater room door
You need to soundproof the door. You can do it by installing a soundproofing blanket on the door. These blankets are made to soundproof the door. The sound will not leak through the door.
Soundproof the floor
Install a dense carpet on the floor so that the sound doesn’t leak through it.
Soundproof the wall
You will have to build another wall in front of the existing wall and stuff the empty spaces between them with soundproofing material.
But if you are a risk-taker then you can try to spray foam the existing drywall, but be careful because the inner wires can ignite the fire if they are of low quality. That’s why building another wall is recommended.
Soundproof the ceiling
If your ceiling has ducted pipes, or they are thinner and the sound can be felt easily above it. Then you will have to do the same thing with the ceiling that I told you to do with the wall.
You will have to build another ceiling and stuff the space between these two ceilings with soundproofing material.
But a lot of my friends have left the ceiling as it is and have acoustically treated all other things that I have told, and I will tell in this guide.
I have included many more options for each step of soundproofing with tutorials in this complete guide. How to soundproof a home theater? If I repeat the same things here, this guide will get a lot of meat, and I am vegetarian. Just kidding.
Install acoustic panels on the walls & ceiling
The reason to install acoustic panels is that the sound that comes out of the speakers not only hits your ears, but it hits the hard surfaces of the wall, ceiling, or floor.
After hitting these surfaces. They bounce back and collide back and forth. Due to this collision, the sound moves zigzagged in 3D form all over the theater room. It stops unless it loses all energy.
Due to this phenomenon, there is a lot of echo in the sound in an empty room. You hear the same dialogue several times with little delay between each interval of hitting your ears. That’s why you need these panels to absorb the excess energy of these sound rays and stop them from zigzag motion in the room.
Here I have written a detailed guide on how and where to install acoustic panels. You will also know the height and width of each acoustic panel you need. The guide is detailed but short.
Install Bass Traps or Diffusers in the corners
Now that we have stopped the normal sound from echoing in the room. It is time to stop the bass roaming around the room freely.
You will need to install bass traps or diffusers for that. These bass traps are denser and thicker than acoustic panels. Because they have to absorb more energetic frequencies of the bass sound.
When you install bass traps in the corners. You stop the bass from building up in the corners and will spread evenly all over the room and there will be no irregularities in the spreading of it. Without bass traps, the bass will be felt distorted in the corners and fine in the middle of the room.
You can also tackle this challenge by installing multiple subwoofers in the room.
The bass traps and diffusers work the same. One perfects the bass by absorbing, and the other by distributing the bass rays all over the room.
You can read this guide to know, do you need bass traps in every corner. I have also talked about how many bass traps you need and how much to cover the corner.
Read this guide, Bass traps Vs acoustic panels. You will know why we use bass traps if we have installed the acoustic panels already.
Install soft-surfaced seating in the room
You don’t need to install any hard surfaces in the theater room. That’s why you have to buy soft and dense surface materials all over the room.
That’s why you should buy those seats that are sofas or dense and don’t arrange hard chairs for the room.
Also, don’t keep your powerful speakers and subwoofers in a hard cabinet that will vibrate with sound.
Place speakers on the stand, not on the floor
Place the speakers on the stands that will isolate them from the carpet or floor. But choose those material stands which will not vibrate with the sound.
Many scientific reasons prove it is not a great idea to place speakers on the floor.
Read this guide to know about those scientific points. Do speakers sound better on the floor or the stand? And read this guide to choose the best stand for your speakers. I have analyzed all the points and materials of the stand in these two guides.
Install dense and soft rug/carpet on the floor
The sound rays also reflect from the hard floors. That will create the same problem which walls can create.
That’s why arrange a dense and soft rug for the front of the seating and install a carpet on the complete floor of the room.
The room will look gorgeous, and the rug will also help you absorb the excess sound.
5 Steps To Improve Home Theater Acoustics Checklist to download
How can I improve my theater room sound?
To improve the sound, first, treat it acoustically and then arrange the best speakers and provide it with the right power. You can do so by installing a preamp/processor and an amplifier and then calibrating the whole sound.
You need to install a speaker system, acoustically treat the room, then calibrate the sound. This will perfect the sound of your theater room. Not only speakers or amplifiers can do this. You need to repeat all these steps to have the best sound experience.
This was my opinion, read more about it from this Quora Discussion.