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is it possible for home speakers to sound as good as the theater? (1 Viewer)

david*mt

Second Unit
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Dec 11, 2002
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I have a fairly cheap home theater system and while I think my system sounds decent it isn't even close to the kind of sound I experience when I go to my my local. My theater uses JBL speakers and they sounds fabulous. So is it possible for a good set of home speakers to sound as good as it does in theaters? I am considering upgrading my current system to a JBL EC35, E50s, and E30s for rears. Would this sound anywhere near as good as the theater if I added in a good sub like an SVS?
 

JoshGivens

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Sep 5, 2004
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I think that a lot of the experience that you have in a theater is enhanced because of the controlled environment. They are designed (good theaters anyway) to make the sound just right. I don't know if you've ever experienced a true THX theater or not but it's almost like walking into a pressurized room.

Now, with all that being said, yes, it is possible to get the same kind of experience at home. You can get on your way with just upgrading speakers but to get the theater kind of sound that you're looking for, you have to go much deeper than that. We're talking room stucture and the like.

There are several good topics on this in the HT basics and construction forums.

Josh
 

Eric Ha

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Sep 27, 2004
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Here in central IL the local theater sound systems are pathetic. Very easy to best them at home.

The JBL's are fine, though there are also many other brands to consider. Listen to as many as possible, and buy the ones that you like. Getting a quality sub that goes strong to 20hz (and below) is essential. Also, get a good quality power source for your speakers. Long term, you would want to go with a seperate power amp or amps for your speakers to realize the max improvement. You can do what I'm doing. Buy a good receiver, then later buy a good 3 channel amp for your front speakers and center channel. You can use the receiver to power your surrounds. Make sure that the receiver has pre-outs for your future amp upgrade.

After the equipment is bought, make sure to have all speakers and sub blend well together. There are test discs available, as well as many, many guides and tips on this forum. A sound pressure level meter is also a nice tool for calibrating your home theater. Hope this helps.
 

Chris Quinn

Screenwriter
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Many of us thing that our HT's sound better than the theater. The best thing you can do is get out and listen to a lot of different speakers and figure out what sound you like.
 

Leo Kerr

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May 10, 1999
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Also the JBL monsters in the theater may be very different than the ones you typically find for smaller installations.

The theaters are also making compromises: they need to drive a large amount of sound into a vast volume, while you're trying to do the same to, say, 1/100th the cubage?

Conceptually, it's very easy to get better sound than the typical theater.

Actually, one of the things I really like about the theater environment is that they can have such a large 'sweet spot' - because, at least my preferred close theater, the house is huge - say 80' wide by 120' deep (guesses) so it's easy for the sounds to 'blend' into a continuous sound-stage. At home, I'm working in a 8x14 area.

Leo Kerr
 

JohnSmith

Supporting Actor
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Apr 8, 2003
Messages
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My system sounds far better than any cinema I've heard, granted mine doesn't go as loud as those in the cinema, but at least my ears don't bleed whilst watching a film (cinemas just so sound harsh it's unbearable) Once you go into a few thousand pounds worth of kit it'll exceed cinema sound.

The picture quality is far better too, again it's not as big image, but it has far better contrast than the dark cinema projection.
 

John Garcia

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For me, I'd say it's a draw. One of my nearest theaters is THX cert, and I have no complaints about any of their theaters. Even the smallest ones still sound properly calibrated. The nearest theater is only 2 mi away, and it's sound isn't as good, but the seats are better :D IMO, except for cool new movies like The Grudge (damn that was fun), or a decent action flic, I still prefer my home system.

My biggest problem with the theater is all the morons who think it is OK to talk during a movie. :angry:
 

Stephen Bort

Agent
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Feb 17, 2004
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Hey, Eric, I hear that there's an awesome one-screen theater in Hoopston (or Hoopeville or something) over by the Illinois/Iowa border, about 45 mintues from Champagne. I never got the chance to go, but I hear it's nice.
 

Eric Ha

Stunt Coordinator
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Sep 27, 2004
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146
Marty M. said:

Just curious if you are talking about Champaign-Urbana.

Hey Marty,

I was referring to Decatur and Mattoon theaters. I'm an hour south of Champaign (Sullivan). Are there any decent theaters in Champaign? I'm going to be making a Famous Dave's run in a couple weeks and may hit a movie.

Thanks for the heads-up Stephen. I'll look into the Hoopeston theater.
 

Robert_Gaither

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
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1,370
Yes, most theaters sound harsh and way too many people talk or their phones ring that I think the theater lost it's magic.
 

bryan_m

Auditioning
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Feb 12, 2004
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We have a Carmike Cinema's here at the mall in Clarksburg WV, I would have to say my HT room sounds much better than their theater. I went to see The Chronicles of Riddick and it was the last straw, the picture was horrible, the sound was even worse and the theater was hotter than He**. Plus no more people kicking the back of your seat, cell phone's ringing and hot tamalees being thrown at ya.
 

Garrett Lundy

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Mar 5, 2002
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We still have pro-logic theaters here..... when the surrounds are even turned on. Not to mention the lack of any subwoofers.
 

MikeLi

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 6, 2003
Messages
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For not alot of money, (unless you have a difficult room to work with) you will be surprised at what you can put together that will always sound better than going to a theater. Since I have had my HT done I have never gone back to a theater and don' plan too.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2004
Messages
23
A big yes ! You can build a Home Theater to surpass the local Theater . It will cost some $$$$$ though. I have done it and many more have to. You are able to select a speaker that you like for starters then add some low end bass set the seating the way you want it then get the video sources you desire. With all that done your ears and eyes don't have to settle for anything you picked it out. Then you tweak it just the way you want. With the HT I have set up I have not heard a Public Theater do any better.

You will need some good power and good speakers to pressurize your room but you can do it cheaper than you think.
 

MikeDuke

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
248
First of all I would have to agree that a home theater setup can be much better that a 24 screen multiplex. The only theater that I have heard that is better than mine is an IMAX theater. And that is not just my opinion. Everyone who listens to it says the same thing. Now it took $$$$$ to get there, but I don't care. I love it :D.
Mike D
 

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