Home audio systems used to be expensive, hard to install, and not always reliable. These factors are why homeowners have long shied away from adding them to their homes. You may be surprised to learn that modern whole-home audio systems are nothing like they used to be. Today, if you want the ability to listen to music throughout your home, there is a system that is right for your house, tastes, and budget.
Whole-home audio systems are much easier to install than ever before, and there is a wide range of different components on the market from quality manufacturers at every price point. That means that no matter how much you want to spend, you can get quality audio without giving up the features that you want most. Of course, having an experienced whole-home audio professional guide you through the process is the key to getting the best bang for your buck. Could a whole-home audio system be the entertainment solution you’ve been craving? Here is what you need to know.
Whole-home audio means different things to different people.
Whole-home audio is a blanket term that refers to many different styles of systems. What each system has in common is that it allows music to be played throughout the home. What your system looks will depend on the size of your home, your preferences for audio functioning, and the way you want the audio system to be able to function in the space.
For example, some people may want to simply have a few extra sets of speakers that allow music to be played in two zones at once. Others may be looking for a way to pipe music into each room in the home when it is played from a central location. Still other people may envision a system in which different rooms have independent source control, so that the whole-home audio system serves the entire house from a central location while allowing people to select the music that they want in the rooms they are in.
If you’re not sure exactly what kind of whole-home audio system you want, relax—that’s normal. Home entertainment system specialists expect to design your whole-home audio system with your needs in mind. Many people are unaware of all of the potentials of whole-home audio systems and the different ways that they can be used when they first start to explore the idea of installing one.
Your whole-home audio system will need a central location.
Your whole-home audio system will need a central control base. Here, you will house the components of the system, whether you want a small, five-channel setup, a high-current amplifier, or other components to complete your system. Keep in mind that one of your biggest choices here will be whether you want to go analog or digital. Most listeners appreciate the sound of a digital amp most in a whole-home audio system, but if you’re a serious audiophile, you may wish to stick to analog for your amp. In this central location, in addition to your equipment rack, you may want to have some sources for music, including a tuner or Apple TV device that lets you access a digital music streaming source.
Having a central location for your system components is not only convenient, but also helps minimize the clutter around your home. You won’t need a full audio setup in every room in which you want to play music, and can instead use a device to control the system remotely and stream the music to the speakers of your choice.
Speakers are critical for maximizing your system.
The only representation of your whole-home audio system throughout your home—outside of the central location with the equipment rack—will be your speakers. As such, speakers are of tremendous importance. There are no hard and fast rules for picking the best whole-home audio speakers. Everything from the layout of your house to the way you plan to play music over the system will affect your speaker choice. However, as a general rule of thumb, skip the speaker’s power rating and instead look at its sensitivity rating. The sensitivity rating tells how well the speaker converts the energy signals it receives from the amp into sound, based on the level of output of the speaker from one meter away. The higher the sensitivity rating, the better the output of the speaker will be.
Speaker design is another factor that guides many homeowners’ decision-making process. Some homeowners prefer to stick to ceiling or in-wall speakers exclusively for whole-home audio because of the sleek look of these designs. You may find that you want more traditional surround sound speakers, such as floor speakers, shelf speakers, and mounted wall speakers. You can easily mix your speaker selection on a room-by-room basis. Your whole-home audio technician can help you select the best home theater speakers for your specific needs and budget.
You won’t get the best sound without the best music sources.
Of course, you can invest all of the money you want into a whole-home audio system, but if you use it to play poor-quality music, then you won’t get the best use of your investment. Keep in mind that most music streaming services use compressed files so that they are smaller in size. Compression technology has progressed dramatically since its introduction, and many music fans can’t really tell the difference between these files and other, high-fidelity files. However, you will maximize the quality of the sound coming from your system if you choose to stream music from sites that use lossless compression, such as Tidal, rather than the more widely used Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify services.
Not all music that comes through your whole-home system has to be digital. You can also hook up physical music players, including turntables and CD players, based on your preferences.
Your customized whole-home audio system can become a reality with help from Technology Specialists. Our pros will assess your needs and create a system that works for your home and your budget. We work with top brands, like Dolby and Dolby Atmos, to provide theater-quality surround sound speakers and much more. Contact our audio system experts today, and get started on your whole-home audio system design.