Cheap Dave's Home Theater


Speakers: how much to spend?

The "Cheap Dave's Home Theater" philosophy: Home Theater is NOT audiophile.
You need to be able to hear the dialog, and when something on the screen blows up it needs to go BOOM, BUT you don't need the most expensive sound system on the block to do that in a convincing fashion.

The "Cheap Dave's Home Theater" philosophy: Home Theater is NOT audiophile.
You need to be able to hear the dialog, and when something on the screen blows up it needs to go BOOM, BUT you don't need the most expensive sound system on the block to do that in a convincing fashion.

Speakers are probably one of the easiest items to spend a whole lot of money on.

Speaker obviously play an important roll in achieving this affect but that doesn't mean that you have to break the bank on them. Also don't think that just becasue you spend a lot on speakers that they will perform well. There
is one company sells tiny speakers for lots of money. But you can get better sound for half the money.

There is some basic physics that comes into play when building speakers. To produce clean low bass you have to move a lot of air. So you need drivers a certain size. If you try to do it with much smaller drivers then you have
to do other things to compensate. IE extremely long throw drivers or multiple drivers. It can be done but at a price.

Also speaker efficiency is an improtant number to consider. You want to be able to fill your home theater with relatively loud sound. So efficient speakers will help you do that without having an amplifier so powerful that
the lights dim when you turn it up. In fact speakers that are 3 DB more efficient will play roughly twice as loud for the same amount of power.

A good subwoofer will take care of the low bass and make it easier to get away with speakers that don't have large woofers. And if you start off cheap you can always add a second subwoofer later as your budget allows.

For my current home theater I bought very inexpensive in-wall speakers for my front left/right/center speakers. They are from Audio Source and I think I paid less than $80 for a pair of them. I bought one pair and wire it up
to test it out before I bought more. These speakers have 8" woofers in a three way arangement. So they produce good bass but they don't have to go to the lowest notes becasue of my 2 in-wall NHT sub-woofers. Now these are a high end brand but I bought them use don EBay for less than half price. So I have plenty of bass in my room. Enough that when King Kong slams down a fist you jump.

So I guess my recommendation is don't be afraid to go cheap if you are willing to upgrade later. But also don't buy expensive speakers on impulse. I just saw a classified ad for a guy selling a bunch of high end speakers
for $4,000, that he just boguht 2 months ago. He says he is going to get out of home theater and concentrate on stereo. That is a lot of moeny to waste if you don't know what you want. So do your research but don't let
yoursefl get pressured into spending more than you want.

How about this rule of thumb (I am making it up right now) don't spend more on your speakers than you spent on your projector and don't spend less than you spent on your receiver.