The A/V Home Integration FAQ [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-22-2006, 10:00 PM
For some time I've been reading the same posts over and over again:

"Which room is best for my setup?"
"Where should I put my speakers in this room...?"
"I'm an audiophile, but my budget's only..."
"Tell me about room treatments..."
"How should I arrange my seating?"

After reading these repeatedly, it dawned on me that many people are faced with the same basic problem: how to integrate all their shiny new gear into their homes. So, I thought it'd be nice to collect the answers together and put them into a single thread for easy access. Of course we're talking about very critical stuff here, so no mere random poster's opinion would do. Thus I've spent quite a bit of time doing research for the right answers. In the process I learned something very interesting.

Believe it or not, the basic physics of home audio and video has not changed AT ALL since the advent of stereo. Think about it - sound waves are still sound waves, speakers still work by converting electrical signals to sound vibrations through drivers that move air, ears are still ears, eyes are still eyes, and TV is still TV (it's just gotten bigger). While stereo recording appeared in the fifties, it wasn't until the late sixties that home consumer products really became available and it wasn't until the seventies that these products became mainstream.

When I learned this, I also learned that the answers to all the questions we have, by necessity, were actually ANSWERED at this time as well. So it is with great joy that I can now share with you the A/V advice from the definitive experts in the field. I am, of course, referring to the gems of wisdom provided by the 1975 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book.

Let's get started, shall we?

01-22-2006, 10:15 PM
Ever notice how audio gear seems to change color every few years? First it's black. Then it's silver. Then it's got wood paneling. Then it's black again. If you've bought gear for long enough, you begin to notice that it always goes back to black. And how many non-black speaker grills have you seen? No, it's no mere coincidence. The simple fact of the matter is, the color most conducive to audio enjoyment is actually the one that is ABSENT of color. After all, this IS the color that matches the sonic capabilities of high end equipment best. You know, the gear that is totally neutral, devoid of distortion, and, yes, uncolored in its sonic reproduction.

The experts at BH&G knew this decades ago and they recommended black for complete audio bliss. In fact, the more black you can use, the better. See for yourself:

"This modern room is both warm and dramatic. The atmosphere created through cave-like darkness of the ceiling and walls is ideal for music listening."

01-22-2006, 10:22 PM
We all face the constraints of our pocketbooks. There's never enough money to get the ultimate amp, top speakers, best CD player, etc. at the same time. So where should you spend the money first? Many folks will tell you the speakers are the most important purchase because everything you hear will be produced by them. Others will tell you the speakers are worthless if the amp sounds like crap...

Once again, the experts at BH&G knew the answer. The most important element in any audio setup is... YOU! If a tree falls in a forest and no one's there to hear it, does it make any sound? Would it matter? The fact is, if you aren't comfortable when you're ready to do some critical listenening, no high-end gear will sound anything but annoying. Let's not even get started on speaker stands. So when you finally have some cash saved up for that new system, make sure the lion's share gets spent on seating.

"The budget for this hi-fi area included investment in an expensive chair and some cost-saving, install-it-yourself wall bracket shelves."

01-22-2006, 10:45 PM
"What's the best room in my house for my home theater?"

Ah, now you want to do more than listen. You want to see things as well. This changes things quite a bit. You might think that you're combining audio and video. Your not, you know. All the experts know better. Why do you Audio Review puts home theater in a SEPARATE forum from all the two-channel stuff? What you're trying to do now is two very different things. This changes the requirements of your room to multi-use. And the experts and BH&G will tell you that the more things you can do in your HT room, the happier life will be for both you and your family. By default, this means that the best room in your house will always be the one with the largest interior volume.

"The furniture arrangement in this high-ceilinged room suits the family's hobbies - reading, guitar and stereo music, and TV viewing."

01-22-2006, 11:10 PM
Everybody tells you that A/V gear plays second fiddle to a fireplace. After all, the fireplace is the centerpiece of the room. The feature that joins people together in engaging conversation. Sure, fires are captivating. They thrill the pyro in us all. But you know the crown a fireplace wears as king of the social is misplaced. Think about it: when was the last time your friends came over to watch Ahhhnold kick serious butt or to watch the big game with you because you've got 67 inches of micropixel heaven? Now when was the last time your friends came over to cuddle around the cozy fire? Uh-huh. Still, fireplaces can't be totally discounted. They may not work for your friends, but they can make a night with your significant other interesting in ways an HT system never will.

Yes, the experts at BH&G knew that both are important. In fact they are EQUALLY important. So the answer to your placement problem is obvious: your TV and the fireplace should stand together at center stage! Then you can please everyone! But how? Actually the trick here is to use the right flooring to meld these two very different dominate features into a seamless whole:

"Wall-to-wall plaid carpeting in a warm color makes this family room inviting."

01-22-2006, 11:16 PM
I'll have more after these important messages: