V once told me that good quality audio was like crack for your ears, and colour me a believer. After hearing Juice had snagged up a 4.0 home theatre system, I inquired to V about snagging the basics: two 6.5″ front speakers, a 100W (continuous) subwoofer, and a 5-channel A/V receiver to plug everything into. Everything in black ash, made and designed in Canada.
When the padded truck comes for me, my excuse will be this: they had a sale on and I got a great deal, and I simply can’t ignore a good deal, can I? 😉
Last Saturday, V came over to hook everything up. I’ll still have to grab a Toslink cable to enable DTS and Dolby Surround on the PlayStation 2, but the sound changes are already quite apparent just by using the FM tuner on the receiver.
The speakers output sound that is incredibly clear and rich. Even at -50dB, I can make out the words to a song. When watching the news, I can hear the wind wooshing through the reporter’s microphone as he interviews the village idiot on the street.
The subwoofer generates rumbling lows that sound like a passing subway train, not like a tuned Honda Civic with incontinence. My system is in the value segment, and it’s the best sounding thing I’ve ever owned. I sound like an audiophile magazine, but you get the drift.
Oh, and V got the speaker company’s founder to sign the back of one of my speakers. How cool is that!
Some things I’ve learned about setting up home theatre systems:
* The sound industry fudges numbers even more than the video industry. Power ratings on equipment is usually rated PMPO (the wattage that is achieved just as the amplifier explodes) or when the speaker is playing a 1kHz blip. My receiver can push 50W to 4 channels continuously, in normal listening ranges, without distortion.
* The receiver will get hot. It doesn’t like enclosed spaces.
* Speakers can be hooked up with lowly lamp cord, AWG24 wire, or even unravelled strands from CAT 5e cabling.
* Get the cheapest toslink cable you can find. Digital cable is digital cable; it either works or it doesn’t. You don’t need that $200 Monster FX-4000 Ultra Super Great cable.
* To get uncooperative screws into speaker stands, rub their threads beforehand with a little wet soap.