Home Theatre Room Acoustics

by Darren Springthorpe

A great home entertainment system will always take into consideration acoustics of the room. Home Theatre Room Acoustics are often underplayed but can make or break your experience. Acoustic treatment systems can be inlcuded in a design and consist of a few essential parts.  Here we explore how to put them together and create a balanced home theatre room.

What makes a great Home Theatre Room?

As the foundation of any home theatre system, the sonic/acoustic attributes of the theatre room are often overlooked.

The acoustic nature of the room itself will have a HUGE impact on the performance of the home theatre equipment, regardless of the dollars spent on speakers, amps and media inputs.

So how do I start?

An evaluation and assessment of the acoustic properties of the room are required before a system design can be put together. Understanding the system performance and required acoustic requirements can be identified and should be in all cases.

When we look at Home theatre room and it’s acoustics, we aim to understand the behaviour of sounds generated within the room, how the sound will bounce of surfaces and where it will be absorbed.

Home Theatre Systems and Acoustic treatment

Acoustic Control or Acoustic Isolation

One of the greatest misunderstandings of room acoustic treatments is that of acoustic isolation and acoustic control.

Acoustic isolation is the process of preventing sound escaping or entering the space. This is often confused with acoustic control being the behaviour of sound within the space.  It is true that most home theatre rooms will benefit significantly from acoustic control without the need to acoustically isolate the space…unless your theatre is below your 2 year olds bedroom! 

 

What type of room acoustics do I have?

As you design your surround system, the first thing to consider is the room itself, from the rooms acoustic properties to the room size. Each room will have a different type of room acoustic which needs to be understood.

Hard Room

This is a room with little to no sound absorption?  Generally hard surface floors, walls and ceilings, large areas of continuous flat surfaces reflecting sound energy around the “hard room.”  The surfaces reflect most of the sound back into the room-creating echo in specific frequency bands, mostly in the upper midrange and treble, a somewhat shrill or overly sibilant sound.

Soft Room

This is a room type where sound behaves very differently to that of the hard room, the Soft room type as a rule, incorporates thick heavy underlay and carpeted floors, heavy soft fabric drapes, large soft furnishings, and often described as quiet rooms.  Due to absorption of upper frequency bands sapping energy out of the upper midrange and top end frequencies of sound.  These rooms can often present over blown bass and/or low frequency boom a somewhat muddy thick sound.

Open Plan

The third room type is a room with extended multi-purpose spaces, open-plan areas include kitchens, dining, and living areas within one large open space, along with open corridors and large expansive areas of ceiling.  Though the seating/listening area may only be a small portion of the overall room size the sound “sees” the actual room.  These rooms present a number of challenges and are often the most challenging room types to achieve a high quality balanced sound.

How big is the Home Theatre Room?  A large, open living room with vaulted ceilings needs different gear than a small- or medium-sized room with 8’ ceilings.

Choose acoustic treatments that address the problematic acoustic of the room to achieve an acoustically balanced room.

Need help choosing an acoustic treatment? Give us a call on 1300 369 451 or email us at sales@insightsystems.com.au and one of our team will happily help you through the process.

How do I select the right acoustic treatment?

Once you know the type of room acoustics you are working with, you need to consider the basic personalities of room acoustic treatments. These fall into one of three categories and should be selected based on the acoustic challenges of the room you need to treat.

Diffusion, Deflection and Absorption

Diffusion

Three-dimensional treatments break up continuous flat surfaces and reduce acoustic reflection without reducing the energy of the room. The most common use of diffusion panels is where there is a need to control a certain sound range reflecting from a surface without reducing the intensity of the sound.

Deflection

Generally consisting of three-dimensional treatments to redirect the sound. These are often wall and corner mounted to reposition the acoustic reflection without reducing the energy of the room. Deflection panels are  designed to control certain sound range reflecting from a surface without reducing the intensity of the sound.

Absorption

Often constructed from various densities of fabric type materials that absorb acoustic energy. Acoustic absorption reduces sound intensity within the room, and is often overused creating additional acoustic performance compromise, such as bloated, muffled, hollow, blanketed sounds.

The Correct Treatment

When treated correctly, the acoustic results prove performance has everything to do with how you invest in the whole room design rather than how much you spend on speakers and components.  The true specialist will know the different sonic characters and personalities of Home theatre speakers and surround sound systems intimately. They will match these with the acoustic treatment to provide a space that provides years of exceptional audio experience.

Select the right home theatre acoustic treatments

Avoid buyer remorse and determine what home theatre acoustic treatment is best for your needs. Maximize performance by carefully considering system design.

Give us a call on 1300 369 451 or email us at sales@insightsystems.com.au and one of our team will happily help you through the process.

Home Theatre Systems and Acoustic treatment

FAQs

Designing your Home Theatre can be complex. To help, we have tackled some of the common questions we are asked.

What is a Home Entertainment System?

Whether a dedicated cinema system designed to fully immerse you in a Hollywood motion picture or a living room system designed to help you enjoy your favourite Netflix series, choosing the correct technology has never been easier.  Click here for more information

How do I choose the right big screen?

The centre of any Home Theatre System is the Big Screen. The big question is which is the best TV or Projector Technology for me?   Click here for more information

How do I choose the right speakers?

The centre of any Home Theatre System is the Big Screen. The big question is which is the best TV or Projector Technology for me?   Click here for more information

Do I need a control system?

Learn about what to consider when choosing a control system and how to get the most out of the products you already have.  Click here for more information

How do I stream media to my Big Screen?

Do you want to stream content and connect media players to your big screen and don’t know how? We break down what you need to consider before making a purchase or signing up to the latest streaming platform. Click here for more information

Contact Us Today

Do you want more information on TV or Projector Technology for your Home Theatre System? If so, please fill out the form below, and we will be in contact with you soon. You can also find out more about InSight Systems by visiting our website.