Surround Sound systems are a fun part of any home. Most of our clients come to us planning to use a Surround System in their Media Room or theater, but most people haven’t considered their Secondary Surround options.
What is a Secondary Surround?
It’s the term we use for the areas of your home, other than your main media room, that could benefit from Surround Sound. There’s a couple reasons why you should consider a Secondary Surround in your home.
- Volume – TV’s today are flatter, at least in part, because they’ve reduced the size and quality of speakers inside the TV. What’s more, most the TV’s are placed in larger rooms where more sound is needed to fill the space.
- Keeping Surround & Home Audio Separate – If you’re getting Home Audio, you may be thinking that you’ll have the Home Audio speakers double as TV speakers, but this is a bad idea. Yes it can be done, but you shouldn’t. It creates a very poor user experience, and a lot of headaches. It’s much better to dedicate Home Audio for Home Audio, and Secondary Surrounds for TV.
Cost of A Secondary Surround
Price is always a concern the first time we mention Secondary Surround Systems. If you’ve done any research for that perfect Surround System, you know they can get pricey quick. Secondary Surround doesn’t have to be a top tier solution.
This is actually part of the fun with Secondary Surround sound systems. Unless it’s in your budget, and it’s what you want, we’re not aiming for the best possible Surround Sound experience here. It’s a ‘Secondary’ surround, and that means we’re looking at less expensive speakers, and receivers.
In your primary Surround Sound for your media room, you’re looking for a system that gives you the best clarity, performance, and listening experience for your budget. With a Secondary Surround, you’re looking for a setup that gives you the volume you want, and that keeps the TV speakers separate from the Home Audio; so it can be a very price driven solution.
Where to use Secondary Surround
We recommend using Secondary Surround systems in the main viewing areas of the home, or places where the extra volume would be important. These areas typically include the Master Bedroom, Great Room, Bonus and Game Rooms, Porches, and decks.
What’s fun about Secondary Surround is that you can get a little more creative. There’s a variety of speaker solutions out there for any application. Say for example you have a room where the decor is especially important, and you don’t want to see the speakers. You could use hidden speakers, from a company like Sonance.
It’s just like it sounds. The speakers are actually hidden in the wall, they sound great, but their invisible. So you maintain the esthetics you want in the room, but gain the sound experience you want for movie time.
Kef has a cool speaker that recesses into the ceiling. When it’s listening time, the speaker drops down out of the ceiling on an angle, so that the sounds coming right at you.
Many of our Secondary Surround Systems for Greatrooms, include a Soundbar for the TV that’s placed over the mantle, and two rear speakers. Companies like TruAudio will even make custom housing for the Soundbar so it matches the TV, and keeps a clean design for the room.
Chances are you’ve never considered a Secondary Surround sound system, but you should. Often times, we hear from Clients that those areas they set up with a secondary surround are where they spend most of their time.
Our first Secondary Surround system was a Client who had built a covered deck to watch his kids play in the back yard and pool during the summer. Right before sheetrock, he asked us if it was possible to give him any more sound for his TV.
We wired up a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Surround Sound with in-ceiling subwoofers. He tells us it’s his favorite place to watch TV and movies in the whole home, but it was very much an after thought. He has an amazing surround setup, just inside the door from his porch.
As you’re designing your system, consider the rooms in the home where a Secondary Surround would enhance the experience for you. I’m confident you’ll be glad you included several surround systems throughout the home.
Matt is the co-founder of Tym LLC. His smart home and audio/visual designs have won four “Home of the Year Awards” from Electronic House & CE Pro magazine, and three awards from the Consumer Technology Association, including "Home Theater of the Year", and "Custom Smart Home of the Year".
Matt is Golden State fan.
Catch Matt's how-to videos on YouTube