Do you want the full theater experience in your living room, but just don’t have the big bucks to make it happen? If so, you’ll love to know that there’s a way to get a high-quality sound setup on a budget. All you have to do is follow these tips to create a home theater system that promises to get your heart pumping.
Plan to Start Small
While working with a tight budget, you’re going to have to make peace with starting small. If you do this right, you can slowly build upon your system until you have it just the way you want it.
To take the right approach, start with a used 5.1 or 7.1 receiver. These receivers allow you to run five to seven speaker channels, respectively. You will only operate it as a 2.1 system to start, however.
A 2.1 sound system has:
- One receiver
- Two tower or bookshelf speakers
- A single subwoofer
Your receiver serves as the brains of your sound setup. This device allows you to set up multiple speakers across many channels while improving their sound quality.
Tower and bookshelf speakers feature all the initial tweeters, mid-range speakers, and bass drivers you need for your left and right channels. The subwoofer sends big bass rocking through the room, adding punch to every tense scene.
Buy Used Equipment
Many people upgrade their sound systems as soon as the newest features come out, landing their original setups in the used marketplace. So, to get the best brands without paying big money, you’ll want to buy used whenever possible.
To find high-quality used home theater equipment, look at:
- Thrift stores
- Consignment shops
- Pawn shops
Try to avoid online marketplaces since you cannot test out the receivers and speakers before you buy them. If you cannot avoid shopping online, look for a solid return policy and be ready to send the items back if they don’t fit the bill.
Select Good Brands
Even though you’re working with a tight budget, you still need to select trusted audio brands. Otherwise, your sound quality will suffer.
For receivers, you’ll ideally want to find Denon, Onkyo, or Yamaha. Speaker brands you can trust include Edifier, Klipsch, and Polk. As for subwoofers, look for Dayton, Kanto, and Bic.
Set Up Your Initial System
Upon selecting all your equipment, it’s time to assemble your budget audio system. Put your speaker on an open shelf right beneath your TV. Make sure that you have room to run your speaker wire and other cords. Also, give the receiver lots of breathing room to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
Then, put the tower or bookshelf speakers on either side of the receiver. Run the speaker wires to the correct channels to have the sound come at you from the right sides. After that, you just have to hook up your subwoofer and put it in the corner of the room to further amplify its output.
Pick Up Centers and Surrounds Later
Once you have your 2.1 setup running strong, use any extra funds to buy a center speaker and surround speakers. As the name implies, the center speaker goes right between your two tower or bookshelf speakers.
If you’re running a 5.1 system, the surround sound speakers go just past your seating position and get angled toward you. A 7.1 system allows you to add two more speakers behind your seating area. All your surround sound speakers should sit at about ear level for the best results.
Although this might sound like a big undertaking, building your own system allows you to get the highest quality setup without a huge initial expense. If you want to avoid all that work, go with a moderately priced home theater in a box with a 7.1 receiver. Then, you can build on it later if you want.