Choosing the Right Home Theater Receiver
Your receiver is the beating heart of your home theater system. It connects your television, speakers, and other components; as such, it can provide great power. But as Spiderman would be the first to tell you, with great power comes great responsibility.
Here are some tips for shopping and installing the most strategic surround sound systems or AV receiver for your home theater.
1. Receiver Power isn’t everything.
Many AV geeks get excited about power. And there is certainly a time and a place for it. But more watts per channel does not necessarily translate to extra volume or higher quality sound. Adding power could also overload some of your components. Plus, if you pay for 100 watts per channel, and your system is optimized for 50 watts per channel, then you’re overspending for no reason.
The moral is: Consider power as a factor, but not as the only one.
2. Receiver Distortion matters, too
We’ve all rolled our eyes at the sight of a young kid pumping thumpety-thump music at top volume from his car as it cruises down the neighborhood. Maybe the music sounds good to him, but it sounds awfully distorted to you. The truth is that distortion is a quantifiable — and correctable! — problem. The AV geeks measure distortion in using a term called Total Harmonic Distortion or THD. If your THD is 10% or greater at a top output, the sound would be basically unlistenable.
As we just discussed, it’s better to have lower power with lower distortion than higher power with higher distortion. But power and distortion are not the only factors that come into play…
3. Receiver Decibel level counts
Decibel ratings, like earthquake rating scales, are logarithmic. Decibels measure loudness. Changes in your receiver’s power don’t correlate neatly with changes in loudness. To double the loudness of a 50 watts per channel receiver, you’d have to boost the power by a factor of 10 (a 500 WPC rating).
4. Receiver Signal to noise ratio
In addition to managing distortion, you also need to manage background noise. The geeks use a term called signal to noise ratio, or S/N, to quantify this factor. When you have a lot of background noise leaking into the signal, the AV experience becomes annoying or even unlistenable. A higher S/N ratio is better, because that means that you’re going to get more desirable noises and fewer background noises.
You don’t need to parse receiver specs on your own. Look to the team here at Karbon Consulting. Our experienced home theater experts can help you pick, install, and troubleshoot the perfect components to create a dynamic, fun home theater environment. Connect with us online for a free estimate today. Or call (925) 798-7600