If you’re going to have a home theater, acoustics matter.

Regardless of what kind of home theater you have — bargain basement or top of the line — you want to make sure you’ve got good sound. Movie watching requires two main senses — hearing and sight — and you don’t want to discount either of them. (Movie watching also involves some subordinate senses, including taste and smell for popcorn and other snacks.)

Endless Variables

The truth is, every sound is different in every room. It depends on a multitude of factors, including the size of the room.

Everyone knows how a room seems filled with echoes when you take down your drapes to wash them or take up the carpet in preparation for a new one. Hard surfaces bounce sound back at you, and a lot of bouncing sound is going to affect your movie-watching experience.

In fact, not only will the sound be distorted, it might be bad enough so that you have a hard time making out the dialogue. You want your money’s worth from your speakers and your entire home theater, so plan to remedy the situation if you have a lot of hard surfaces in your room.

Muffle that Sound

The general rule of thumb in a home theater is that fabric is your friend. If you have tile floors in your basement, or whatever room the theater will be housed in, they’ve got to go. Or at least cover them up.

The same goes for your ceiling. Drop ceilings are adequate, but don’t use drywall or any other hard surface. If you aren’t sure the material you want to choose is correct, ask yourself if it would absorb water easily. If the answer is no, then you don’t want it.

A Client Upholstered The Walls Of Her Home Theater
click image to enlarge

Wall Panels

Many home theater owners don’t go to the trouble and expense of outfitting their walls properly, they just leave up the drywall or paneling. But have you ever noticed that in the multiplex, the walls are soft and sound-absorbing? There’s a reason.

You can buy wall panels specially designed for home theaters [check out 4Seating— they offer panels in leather and suede, for the deep-pocketed consumer] or you can doctor up your own walls.

You could try this DIY for making your own acoustic walls, but if not done carefully, they can look more like decorations restaurants make at Christmastime when they wrap up their artwork in gift paper.

One website advocates peel-and-stick carpet tiles, which work really well until they start falling off the walls, which usually takes 24 to 48 hours (after all, they’re meant for the floor). Hanging drapes helps, and it makes sense if you want to cover up windows or sliding glass doors.

If you need help reducing echoes and ambient noise in your home theater, call the experts at TYM Smart Homes & Home Theaters. We can help you select and install just the right products to maximize the acoustics in your home theater.


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