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Setting up Your New Home Theater System 2012

So the Christmas party is over and you're sitting there wondering how do I set up this home theater system I got? Well here is some advice to follow no matter what type of system you received.

Soundbars - This is an easy one. Most soundbars require little or no setup. You plug the soundbar in, hook up one cable from the Cable or Sat box and you're off to the races. If it came with a subwoofer you may want play with placement till you find the best sound. Placement will be partially determined depending on if you've got a wired or wireless subwoofer. Typically somewhere near the front of the soundstage (near your television) is the best placement but the back of the room could also work. 

HTIB - Home theater in a box systems are also relatively easy to set up. With blu-ray, amp and tuner in one box you simply hook up the speakers and your off. Need help with speaker placement, click here. Key is to keep the front speakers at a seated persons ear height for optimum listening experience. Follow similar advice on subwoofer placement. 

New home theater speakers - If you're hooking up new home theater speakers follow our easy to understand speaker placement guide here. Keep in mind that many high quality speakers will need some break in period to reach their optimum sound quality, 10-20 hours or so. Use a quality 14-16 gauge speaker wire. Fancy Monster Cable is not necessary but if it makes you feel better, have at it! 

Home Theater Speakers NOT to buy


These Jamo speakers (Jamo S 426 HCS 3 WENGE 5-Piece Home Theater System (Wenge) ) are currently on sale on Amazon for an astounding  $122.99, and with Prime free shipping it might strike you as an incredible deal. 

Indeed, a full home theater speaker package for under $130 minus a subwoofer. But are they really worth it? If you went simply by the 4.5 star reviews you'd likely jump at this deal. Everything from these are based on a  design by Klipsch but made in china, to they are smooth and punchy. 

The human brain is a wonderful device and left on it's own will deliver exactly what it users preconceptions will demand. If listened to on their own with an untrained ear (most folks are untrained) these might indeed sound just fine. But put them up against even speakers costing 3 times as much you'd notice a 10 fold difference. 

  • The entire speaker package weighs in at 55 lbs. Given the price range that would mean really small, cheap magnets on these guys. Really small. 
  • Cabinets. Again, the weight tells us these are practically made of cardboard. Why do you care? The sound will change over time as it interacts with the environment more so than even moderately more expensive units.
  • Response. It is possible that Jamos tuned the port on these to deliver a 48Hz bass response, but don't expect that response to extend beyond that specific frequency.
But like I mentioned, the human brain is great at filling in the gaps, including magically extending the bass frequency beyond what is actually there. 

As for the design being from Klipsch? Well it could be that Jamos used an old Klipsch tool to create these but it is they clearly did not use the same materials and components. 

So this is a long way of saying that if you're in a real financial bind and need a really cheap home theater speaker system, you could always get this. Just realize that your brain is the only reason these might sound acceptable. And by all means, stay away from watching movies or listening to music at a friends, you'll only go home depressed.

Better Home Theater Speaker Choices, Both with Subwoofers.

Klipsch for under $350

Boston Acoustics Horizon Series MCS100MDNT 5.1-Channel Speaker System (Black)

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