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What Are the Best Surround Sound Speakers for Your Home Theater System?

What Are the Best Surround Sound Speakers for Your Home Theater System?

The reason watching movies in a theater is such a memorable experience is not only the larger-than-life motion pictures but also the sound that engages you from all sides. As you prepare the perfecthome theater design for your property, you must consider which surround sound setup you want to install. Having the right audio in place could make all the difference.

SEE MORE:4 Steps to Designing the Ultimate Home Theater System

Upgrade to the Dolby Atmos Home Theater Experience

Dolby Atmos has taken the surround sound experience to the next level in both commercial theaters and at home. The new technology aims at creating a three-dimensional sound so you can follow the action. Hear a plane flying over you from the front of the room all the way past you. Every little detail is heard crisply and precisely where it should be.

Traditionally, surround sound systems would break sound up between two or more channels (each corresponding to a different speaker). This meant sounds in a specific channel could only be heard from that angle. In a Dolby Atmos system, sounds are treated as individual ‘objects' that can be moved throughout the room without being confined to one channel. This allows sounds to move around freely for truly realistic audio in your home theater.

Finding the Right Surround Sound System Layout

As long as you have speakers with Dolby Atmos-enabled technology, you have some leeway on the layout you want to use for your system. For the best sound, we recommend going with a 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 configuration though you can check out theDolby Atmos website for more options. 

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Home Theater Projector or 4K TV: Which Screen Is Right for You?


Let’s Break Down the Considerations for Each Display Option

When our team works oncustom home theater projects, we often hear: “Should I get a projector or TV?” This question used to be much easier to answer when the brightness, size, and price gaps were significant between the two options. Today, you can find projectors that are more competitive with TVs in brightness and price. Plus, some TV screen sizes have reached the triple digits.

The reality is that both display options are excellent depending on the environment and how they’re used. Below, we break down key considerations for each option to help you pick the right display type.

SEE ALSO: 5 Lighting Best Practices to Consider for Your Home Theater

When You Might Choose a Home Theater Projector Setup:

You Want to Emulate the Feel of the Cinema

If your home theater looks like a smaller version of a movie theater, then we recommend a 4k home projector. These spaces are meant to maximize the viewing experience with softer, more cinema-like picture rather than with an ultra-bright TV, which may need different brightness and contrast adjustments in a dark room designed for immersive viewing. Plus, you can watch film the way it was meant to be seen in ultra-wide aspect ratio as opposed to 16:9, perfecting your movie night.

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Large screen TV mounted on the wall with several lit candles beneath it and in-wall speakers


Adding a surround sound system can greatly enhance your home entertainment experience, whether you’re watching movies, binging shows, or enjoying the big game, but there are several factors that you should take into consideration before embarking on this exciting project for your Wilmette, IL, home theater or media room. 

Our team will walk you through the process from start to finish, but understanding what goes into this type of project is essential. Keep reading below to learn more!

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Setting Up a Surround Sound System? Here’s What to Know


Follow These Tips for an Epic Audio Experience in Your Home Theater

In an impressive home theater setup, a giant display is only part of the equation. If you want a movie-watching environment that rivals the cineplex, you’ll also need an enveloping, high-quality surround sound system to round out the experience.

We could talk about speaker selection and layout options in great length, but we’ll stick to the basics for those just getting started on a home theater system installation in their Highland Park, IL home. Read this guide to learn about common surround sound system configurations and get our top tips for ideal speaker placement.

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5 Lighting Best Practices to Consider for Your Home Theater


Check Out These Expert Tips from Our Home Theater Designers

To create an epic home theater, you must think beyond the display and speakers. A well-designed theater room features many unsung heroes that help make it great: acoustic treatments, custom theater seating, strategic lighting, integrated room control, and more.

In this blog, we’re focusing on home theater lighting. When lighting is an afterthought, it can destroy an otherwise awesome movie-watching experience. If you’re building or revamping a theater room in your Chicagoland home, follow these key lighting tips from the home theater designers at Avidia!

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4 Steps to Designing the Ultimate Home Theater System


Have you ever considered installing a custom home theater system? We’re not talking about the packaged speakers and flat screen TV you can get at your local electronics store. We're talking about a room specially designed –from speaker placement to room acoustics—to recreate the feel of a commercial theater. You can even decorate it to reflect your favorite sports team or movie era. By following the steps outlined below, Avidia designs the ultimate escape in your Kenilworth, Illinois home.

SEE MORE: What Are the Best Uses For your Home Theater System?

1. Finding the Right Screen
The first thing people will notice when they enter your theater is the video display. It is the focal point of the room, so it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the first things considered in the installation process.

Depending on the size you want and the room’s light specifications, you can choose between going with a screen-and-projector combination or a flat panel TV. If you decide on a screen, we partner with Screen Innovations to help you pick out the right model and material to ensure you get quality images that are in line with your personal style.

2. Setting up Your Seating Arrangement
The size of your screen and its viewing cone will affect your seating arrangement. The viewing cone is the area in the room where you can still see the screen without the images deteriorating. We make sure all recliners and sofas remain within this area. The size of the screen will then dictate how far from it guests should be seating. For most home theater systems, you’ll want to sit approximately 10 feet away.

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5 Great Speaker Options for Your Whole House Audio


Every family uses their whole home audio in a different way. Which is why it’s important to offer varied solutions, from the type of speakers that are being used to the preferred control devices. In this blog, we’ll go over some popular speaker options and their best applications. Depending on whether you’re looking to invest in a dedicated listening room or simply play background music when hosting friends, you’re going to have very different needs when it comes to your equipment.

SEE MORE: How to Upgrade your Outdoor Music System

Architectural Speakers

These speakers are very popular in modern luxury homes, as they offer high-fidelity sound without interfering with the interior décor. Architectural speakers are hidden within your wall or ceilings, sitting behind painted grills that camouflage with the rest of your home. These type of speakers offer wide dispersion, so you won’t hear a difference in sound when walking right by them, making them perfect for background audio in your living room or dining room.

Bookshelf/Cabinet Speakers

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Home Audio?

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Home Audio?

As technology continues to evolve from the radio to today’s streaming devices, one thing has remained constant: no form of entertainment is more beneficial to your family than music. A combined study done by Sonos and Apple earlier this year found that families that listen to music are happier and spend more time together. Maybe that's why whole house audio solutions are some of the most popular in the smart technology market, even above security and custom theaters. Which is why it’s so important you have a system in place in your Winnetka, IL home that offers high-quality audio and convenient control.  

SEE MORE: 5 Great Speaker Options for Your Whole House Audio

Easy Control of Entertainment

The digital music era has made it easier than ever to find the music you want within a matter of seconds. Through media libraries or streaming services, you can have thousands of songs at your disposal on your desktop, laptop or tablet. Where many families are still falling behind is getting that music to play in high quality throughout their homes. Without an easy way to send those songs to their speakers, they’re stuck playing music on their mobile devices.

Whole house audio offers a comprehensive solution to this problem. We place all your speakers and source components under the same intuitive user interface. Using the control device of your choice—a touchpad, smartphone or tablet—you can choose the song you want and play it anywhere even if you're not in the same room. You can even select all your home's speakers at once, immediately filling your entire space with music. 

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Should You Use a Screen or Television in Your Home Theater Design?

Should You Use a Screen or Television in Your Home Theater Design?

Selecting the type and size of your video display is one of the first steps of home theater design. While many people are adamant that a theater is not complete without a screen-and-projector combination, there are also benefits to going with a large flat-panel television instead. Below we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each option to see which one works best for your Glencoe, Illinois home.

SEE MORE: What Are the Best Uses for Your Home Theater System?



Pros: A screen-and-projector setup gives a home theater design more authenticity. It helps viewers feel like they’re really in a theater environment. One reason has to do with is aspect ratio. The preferred ratio for studio productions is 2.35:1 which is not available on any TVs on the market. So if you want to perfectly recreate the images from a commercial theater at home, a screen is the way to go.

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What is the Best Location for Your Home Theater?

What is the Best Location for Your Home Theater?

When it comes to home theater design, like in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. All of your high-end equipment needs the right environment to thrive in your Barrington, IL home. From the type of flooring to the room dimensions, the space you choose will all affect the quality of the sound and images as well as the kind of equipment you’ll need. Read on to see the room characteristics that could affect your theater’s performance: 

SEE MORE: What is the Best Surround Sound Setup for Your Home Theater?

Size:  There's no rule as to how big a room has to be. As with most entertainment spaces, you want to strike a delicate balance: if a room is too big it may be hard to hear well and see images clearly while a small one will be cluttered and likely lead to muffled sound.

Room Dimensions: Your room’s dimensions are much more important than its size. You want to make sure you’re not placing your theater in a square room as that will lead to distorted sound and an awkward home theater design. For one, choosing the size of your screen will not only come down to whether it fits in the room. You also have to be able to sit far enough from it to view the screen comfortably while leaving space for all the rows of seats that you want.

Windows: Ideally, you want your theater in a room that has no windows to eliminate ambient lighting. If you have no choice, we can install blackout shades that can reduce the amount of light entering the room. We can also give you smart control of those shades, so you can use your universal remote to open and close them instead of having to get up from your seat.

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Want the Ultimate Home Theater Experience? Start with Design


SEE ALSO: How to Enhance Your Home Theater with Smart Lighting


Choosing the Room

Many homeowners may think that bigger is better when choosing a room for their home theater. And while size does matter if you want a fully immersive movie experience, the most important aspect of the room you choose is its dimensions. Square and oval rooms will distort your audio. The ideal room for balanced surround sound should be rectangular, with walls longer than they are wide, and high ceilings.


Placing the Display

Comfort and perception significantly enhance your viewing experience, which means your display must be placed in such a way that prevents eye or neck strain. The image on the screen should appear naturally as your eyes would see it in real life. While a general rule of thumb is to place your screen 24” to 36” inches above the floor and 1.5 to 3 times the screen height distance from your seating, the ideal measurement will be unique to your room dimensions, screen size preference, and seating options.

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Bring Movies to Life with MartinLogan Architectural Speakers



SEE ALSO: Want the Ultimate Home Theater Experience? Start with Design

The Pinnacle of Architectural Loudspeaker Design

If you’ve experienced MartinLogan’s most ambitious floorstanding hybrid electrostatic loudspeakers, then you likely have a high benchmark for audio performance. Fortunately, you can experience that same level of accuracy and impact from an in-wall speaker when you choose the Masterpiece CI (custom install) speaker series from MartinLogan. The Masterpiece CI series is a tribute to the acoustic innovations of their iconic electrostatic speakers that put MartinLogan on the map.

The Masterpiece CI Statement 40XW in-wall loudspeaker is a testament to this achievement. With 16 tweeters, 16 midrange drivers, and eight woofers arrayed in a line-source design, the Statement 40XW delivers jaw-dropping levels of full-spectrum output even in the largest listening areas.

Its superior components and innovative design eliminate most of a room’s performance-destroying sound reflections, resulting in highly accurate and distortion-free sound. Enjoy a broad, enveloping soundstage with lifelike rendering of the most subtle audio details in all your favorite movies.

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What to Consider When Finding the Perfect Home Projector Screen



SEE ALSO: Want the Ultimate Home Theater Experience? Start with Design


Mounting Method

While most homeowners envision a fixed, wall-mounted projector screen for their entertainment space, you have other options, too. A fixed projector screen works well in a dedicated home theater, but what if your screen will be placed in an open, multifunctional space like a media room? You may want to hide your screen from view when it’s not in use so that eyes stay on your décor. In that case, consider a retractable screen that lives in the ceiling or the floor and reveals itself at the touch of a button.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the width and height of your projector screen’s display area. To choose the best aspect ratio for your screen, consider the aspect ratio of the content you plan to watch. Most TV shows and online video, as well as some films, use 16:9, making this aspect ratio the standard for today’s projector screens. However, if you’re a dedicated film enthusiast, you may consider a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is a more popular choice for widescreen viewing and is used in many commercial theaters.

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What You Need for a True 4K UltraWide Cinema Experience at Home


SEE ALSO: What to Consider When Finding the Perfect Home Projector Screen

A 2.4:1 Cinema Format Screen

First and foremost, you need a projector screen that matches the aspect ratio of the content you plan to watch. For cinephiles, that means a 2.4:1 screen. Because most of the content you’ll be watching in your home theater will be movies and streaming television, you’ll benefit most from this screen size.

You may wonder what this means for 16:9 content, like sports and news. If you also plan to use your home theater to watch the Cubs or keep up with local headlines, you could invest in two motorized retractable projector screens if you want to avoid black sidebars for the occasional 16:9 content.

Plus, when paired with a projector that features an anamorphic lens, you can automatically move between aspect ratios with zero inconvenience.

A 4K Projector with an External Anamorphic Lens

Speaking of an anamorphic lens, what is it? And why do you need one to create a true 4K UltraWide cinema experienceFirst, “anamorphic” simply refers to the cinematic format technique of shooting a widescreen picture. An external anamorphic lens externally attaches to your 4K projector to stretch or compress an image so that it displays properly based on aspect ratio.

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4 Clever Design Ideas to Improve Your Media Room Experience


SEE ALSO: What Do You Need for an Epic Media Room?


Retractable TV Mount for Better Views

While it’s best to install your TV so that the center of the display is at eye level, some rooms don’t allow this because of impeding structures like fireplaces. If your TV is installed above a mantel, it may be too high for comfortable viewing. In this case, consider a TV mount, which allows you to pull down the screen manually or with a remote and swivel it to your desired position so that your TV is in perfect alignment with your eye level. When you’re done, a quick button tap puts your TV back in place.

Hidden Display to Keep Eyes on Décor

If your media room also serves as the dedicated space in the house for hosting friends and family, you may not like having a big black wall-mounted screen distracting from your interior design when you’re not watching TV. Instead, consider a TV that transforms into beautifully framed artwork when turned off, like the Samsung Frame. Or conceal the display entirely by opting for a motorized projection screen that hides in a discreet cassette in the ceiling and reveals itself when you’re ready to use it.

Custom Media Furniture to Store Components

AV components stack up fast, causing unwanted clutter and wiring beneath your display. What’s the point of choosing a hidden display if your cable box, Blu-ray player, media server, and streaming device are in plain sight? Media cabinets solve this problem by storing and supporting your gear in a modular, ventilated cabinet that features sliding or removable rear panels for easy access to components and wiring. All that’s left to see is a beautiful, custom-finished credenza.

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Looking for Audiophile-Grade Speakers with a Lighter Price Tag?


SEE ALSO: Bring Movies to Life with MartinLogan Architectural Speakers

Audiophile Quality without the Audiophile Price

Electrostatic speakers are a rare breed of speaker, capable of extraordinary realistic reproduction of sound based on their meticulous and unconventional design. Anyone who’s heard the sonic purity of a MartinLogan electrostatic speaker can conclude that there’s simply nothing else like it.

As the top purveyor of luxury electrostatic speakers, MartinLogan set out to provide this same sound quality for audiophiles on a limited budget by introducing the Motion Series in 2010. Today, the Motion Series line delivers a richly detailed musical and cinematic experience at an unrivaled price.

MartinLogan achieved this through their unique Folded Motion tweeter technology. This thin-film transducer design packs the same accuracy and delicacy of an electrostatic panel into a small space by crimping the lightweight film transducer into an accordion-like structure to increase the tweeter surface area. The result is higher levels of sonic accuracy, extended bandwidth, and higher output capability, all with a faster and more efficient transient response and almost zero distortion.

This Folded Motion tweeter design paired with high-performance mid-frequency and bass drivers and hand-built, custom-tuned crossovers makes it possible to extend the signature MartinLogan sound beyond electrostatic speakers to a more traditional and affordable speaker line.

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655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200
8am -5pm CT

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655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200
8am -5pm CT

Join our mailing list
Stay up to date on the latest smart technology ideas and innovations.