CHOICE membership

Tell us about your home theatre speakers, please

CHOICE Digital Home regularly tests and reports on soundbars (we’re testing them now), and home theatre speaker sytems.

We’re interested in knowing what sort of a set-up you have, if any. Not brands and models, just the type of system and how you have it set up.

Some questions you can answer for me:
How many speakers do you have, eg front pair, centre, rear surround pair, etc.
Do you use a soundbar (a long front speaker with multiple drivers - some soundbars can do phantom multi-channel sound) ?
Do you use a subwoofer ?
Are any speakers wireless ?
Are any of your speaker wires run inside walls, under carpet, under floor, in ceiling, etc ?
Do you use any speaker stands or wall-mounts ?
Do you use your home theatre speakers all the time, or do you sometimes just use the speakers in your TV ?
Do you use a programmable remote control ?
Do you use your home theatre speakers to also listen to music, or just for TV and movies ?
What was the more important criterion when you purchased your system: how it sounded, or how it would look in your room ?
Anything else you’d care to share !

Thank you !!

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Hi sokeefe, My home cinema system has 1 - pair of front speakers, 1 - pair of rear speakers, 1 center speaker, 1 sub woofer & was set up as per the manufacture recommendations. All of the speakers are wired in & are free standing & wall mounted. None of the speakers are on speaker stands, Wiring is run under the house & hidden elsewhere.
I listen to TV, DVD, Radio, CD & music on my home cinema system using the home cinema speakers all of the time.
I will have to try the TV speaker after this to see if it works. My system has a programmable remote control & how it sounded was the only factor besides cost that decided my choice.
My cinema system came with an Acoustic Optimizer that you mount at ear height in your listening position & it helps tune in the speakers to that position. Its quick, it works & its brilliant. The sound is fantastic!
My advise is read all the advise on position of speakers before you start mounting fixings etc, Put all the speakers were you decide, run wires temporary to each (if wired in type), hook it up & listen to it before you have to move fixings off walls & relocate them. I know it sounds stupid & condescending but you can get sound bounced off walls or objects, echos, or it just sounds bad! Oh & one more thing if you have pets think real hard before you buy a system with speaker stands that are less than rock solid when bumped, pushed or hit. Hope this is helpful.
Regards Pegasus

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I have 2 legendary Yamaha NS-1000 speakers. That’s it. None of this trendy nonsense.

Thank you Pegasus. This is exactly the type of consumer experience details we are interested in !

Hi Leptobrama. Thank you for your input. In this ‘survey’ we’re specifically interested in home theatre speaker set-up experiences, rather than stereo.

My home cinema system is 5.1 and has 1 - pair of front speakers, 1 - pair of rear
speakers, & was set up as per the manufactures recommendations. All of the speakers are wired in & are on speaker stands, Wiring is run under the carpet.
My system came with an Acoustic Optimizer that you use to tune in the speakers.

Thank you rwest48. I hope to eventually build up a database of members’ usage scenarios. This will help us to best plan future testing.

I have LG home theatre Blue Ray system. Its the second one i have bought, but in hindsight, the worst. wireless rear speakers (not really wireless though). Both systems I purchased have broken down, the first one had the wireless speaker connection box replaced 4 times, until the last time i said i wanted a new system. Less than 12 months and it went again ( only carried the remainder of the warranty, so last one was out of warranty.) Bought a new one, with better features, only to find the same issue, gave up trying to get it fixed. Had to drive half way across the city (Melbourne) to the service place. Not happy Jan!!

Hi @sokeefe

I have two sound systems, but will give you the details for the main one:

How many speakers?: The speaker package I bought has 7.1, consisting of two large front, and four small’surround’ speakers, plus a powered subwoofer. However, I have augmented the speakers with two middle size units for the ‘surround’ sound

Soundbar?: No soundbar.

Do you use a subwoofer : Most definitely!

Are any speakers wireless?: No.

Where are speaker wires run: As a temporary measure I have wires run under carpet to the rear (surround) speakers. I will eventually run the cables through the ceiling space to connect the rear and centre speakers. The delay is because the centre speakers need to be on the ceiling and I do not like the mounting bracket that are available (the USA has brackets I like)

Do you use any speaker stands or wall-mounts?: I have two “presence” speakers wall mounted (not on brackets).

Do you use your home theatre speakers all the time, or do you sometimes just use the speakers in your TV?: The TV speakers are generally used for ordinary programs like news, lifestyle, any program where sound is not a big issue. The home theatre speakers are used for ‘spectacular’ or special TV programs - anything where sound is a big part of the program, especially movies.

Do you use a programmable remote control?: No.

Do you use your home theatre speakers to also listen to music, or just for TV and movies?: Mainly TV and movies.

What was the more important criterion when you purchased your system?: There were a number of criterion which were equally important, including the capacity for 7.1 sound, good frequency response, good quality speakers and functionality (while we do not use them much things like terrestrial and internet radio).

Hope this helps.

We have a soundbar with subwoofer box - has a remote which is needed to turn it on despite the bar being a brand match for the TV we still need both remotes! Improves the sound marginally - can’t say I’m impressed. It is wireless at least. I do use it to listen to music as well. Bought it when I bought the TV on recommendation of salesperson - won’t do that again.

I have a Panasonic home theatre system which has not worked consistently since purchase.
It has two pedestal front speakers, a centre speaker, two rear pedestal speakers and a sub-woofer.
The rear speakers are connected wirelessly to the unit but are wired to a receiver.
The rear speakers have a tendency to drop in and out intermittently which can be very annoying, even to the point were I sometimes turn them off altogether.
Lately however, the system has stopped working altogether when used to amplify sound direct from the TV.
It will still work ok when playing a cd or dvd.
I’m looking to buy a sound bar and scrap the home theatre system all together.
Even when it was working ok I found the rear pedestal speakers to be cumbersome.

@sokeefe firstly, A+ profile picture :slight_smile:

We have three speakers attached to our TV (they’re like a set you could also plug into a laptop), a pair + a subwoofer. We like that they’re just plugged in by one point to the tv as we can remove that cable and plug it in to our phones. I often use my phone to stream spotify in the living room, rather than music through the television. I haven’t tried mounting anything and the speakers just generally point out into the direction of the room.

Sound quality works ok, but I mostly like the fact it is versatile, depending on what device I want the sound to come from.

I’ve got a few friends using the Sonos system which intrigues me, but is probably not as versatile.

I have a Philips soundbar that I bought to use with a Dick Smith brand TV (Which I picked up cheap, but find the picture quality to be surprisingly good!

It has a wireless subwoofer and is connected to the TV via HDMI ARC.

The sound is definitely a million times better than the TV (Not that I expected great sound from the TV). It imitates surround sound, but that doesn’t matter to me that much.

We often put the music channels on Foxtel to listen to music (I don’t think Foxtel provides that great a sound quality know - it’s noticeably crisper if I use Bluetooth to play music on the soundbar)

Most important thing for me was an affordable improvement in sound quality. It delivered on both.

Thanks for the input. Sorry to hear that your experience was not a good one.

Thank you Allan ! Great response with lots of detail.

Thank you Jonathan. All this input is being collated… and will help us determine how we should conduct future tests.

How many speakers do you have, eg front pair, centre, rear surround pair, etc.
Six in total. The manufacturer is Gale. The speakers comprise of two forward towers, two rear speaker boxes, a centre speaker box and a subwoofer.

Do you use a soundbar (a long front speaker with multiple drivers - some soundbars can do phantom multi-channel sound) ?
No

Do you use a subwoofer ?
Yes.

Are any speakers wireless ?
No

Are any of your speaker wires run inside walls, under carpet, under floor, in ceiling, etc ?
No. The rear speakers have been placed in the front as we didn’t want speaker cables running across the floor or drilling holes in the floor.

Do you use any speaker stands or wall-mounts ?
No

Do you use your home theatre speakers all the time, or do you sometimes just use the speakers in your TV ?
We used to use them occasionally when watching a movie for better sound.Unfortunately our son (when he was 18 months old) got to the power point and blew up our AV receiver by turning the power switch on and off rapidly for a few minutes…we only discovered what he was doing too late.

Currently don’t have a working AV receiver but plan to buy one in the coming months/year. Not on our high priority purchase list.

Update Jan 2017 - we purchased a Denon520BT in December 2016 and is adequate to power the Gale speakers.

Do you use a programmable remote control ?
No.

Do you use your home theatre speakers to also listen to music, or just for TV and movies ?
Yes, we use AV receiver to listened to music either through radio, streaming on TV or blue tooth (streaming music from a tablet computer/smart phone).

What was the more important criterion when you purchased your system: how it sounded, or how it would look in your room ?

We were given the system as one of our friends were ‘upgrading’ and no longer wanted their old system. Rather than it becoming e-waste, we took it.

The Denon 520BT was purchased as it sounded okay and also met our needs. It would have been ‘nice’ to purchase i higher end AV, but we couldn’t justify the additional expense.

Anything else you’d care to share

No.

Hi @sokeefe
I have owned a Bose set up for over 20 years, it consist of 2 front, 1 centre, 2 rear speakers and bass speaker, I added a power sub woofer at the same time. Rear speakers are wall mounted and both front and centre speakers are built into a wall unit surrounding the TV.All wiring is hidden either behind walls or above the ceiling, I installed everything myself using supplied wiring and even after all this time am still very happy with the sound quality.
I use this set up for all TV, DVD as well as PVR playback, as well as listening to both FM radio and my extensive CD collection. I use the remotes supplied with the TV and Stereo and it works well.
My initial reason in selecting Bose was the unbelievable sound and their small size and have not regretted my decision.