Home theater speakers typically reproduce all audio frequencies on a soundtrack except for the lowest bass and the low-frequency effects (LFE) channel, which are reproduced by subwoofers. Low bass is redirected from speakers to subs below a crossover frequency - normally 80Hz - via bass management in an AVR or pre-pro.
Three main types of home theater speakers exist. First, stage or left/center/right (LCR) speakers, typically mounted behind an acoustically transparent projection screen or around a TV. Second, surround speakers mounted in or on the side and rear walls. And last but not least, top speakers mounted in or on the ceiling.
The cinema standard for sound pressure level (SPL) output per speaker at the main seat is 85dB program + 20dB headroom. However, few home theater enthusiasts listen at true cinema levels, so you can normally relax output requirements by 3 or 6dB.
Excellent sound quality is the prime requirement! Speakers should accurately reproduce the soundtrack at cinematic SPLs without audible distortion.
Suitable form factor. LCR and surround speakers should generally be shallow format sealed boxes or in-walls to minimize their intrusion into the theater and/or allow them to be hidden behind stretch fabric. Top speakers usually are mounted in-ceiling and should have angled baffles to direct high frequencies at the seating area.
Excellent acoustic measurements. On-axis frequency response should be close to flat so that the soundtrack is presented faithfully and without timbral distortion. In addition, speakers must have wide dispersion to provide a consistent audio experience across multiple seats.
Can be driven by an AVR. Speakers ideally should have sensitivities close to or over 90dB (2.83v@1m) and impedances of 6 or 8 ohms to allow them to be driven from typical 80-100W/Ch AV receivers.
On a limited budget in a small room and need an on-wall speaker? Consider the Procella P5V, a 91dB efficient, 4-1/2" deep, sealed cabinet design that can be used as an LCR, surround, or top speaker.
MSRP is $1000, with an in-wall, angled baffle version, the P5iCW is available for $1349. In larger rooms, the P5 makes an awesome surround speaker companion to the $2800 P8.
Sonically, Procella speakers are balanced to the warm side of neutral and offer excellent dynamics, lagging behind class leaders such as JBL Synthesis only on the resolution front.
Simply put, a near-perfect home theater speaker.
With a list price of $3300, the SCL-3 is a 91dB efficient in-wall with 110-degree dispersion and superb acoustic measurements. In addition, it’s one of the only compression driver-based speakers that manage to blend high sonic resolution with zero listener fatigue, a testament to JBL's transducer and waveguide design capabilities.
If you need more SPL output, move up to the SCL-2 at $6600, which more than triples the woofer surface area and uses a dual-diaphragm compression driver.
With Acoustic Frontiers, all it takes is 4 simple steps.
We'll take the time to understand your unique needs and goals to customize our approach to designing the best audio-video experience for you.
This is where the magic happens and what really makes Acoustic Frontiers stand out. Every room is different, and we’ll account for all the elements that impact audio-video performance in your space to ensure you get the best performing system for your budget.
We’ll make the installation process as painless as possible and carefully calibrate your system to optimize performance.
You deserve the best, and now you’ve got it. Put on your favorite movie because the system you wanted is yours to enjoy.
“Acoustic Frontiers were very patient and helpful when it came to selecting speakers and equipment for the room. As a vendor for a multitude of companies, I really felt that I was getting objective advice. They helped me select everything from the speakers, AVR, to even the projector and screen! The end result was nothing short of amazing and my family and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Acoustic Frontiers receives my highest recommendation. We can’t thank you all enough!”
“One of Acoustic Frontiers’ strengths was their willingness to work flexibly with us from both a budget and design perspective. Although they are of course well prepared to make equipment suggestions, they are also willing to work with whatever equipment is already in place to create the best system possible. We ended up with a mix of gear, but it all works together seamlessly. Post-installation and calibration, the system looks and sounds phenomenal!”
“Acoustic Frontiers started out with a design review (since the room work had already begun) and after a couple of interactions I was comfortable enough to let them plan/guide the rest of the build, and purchase the AV equipment from them. They took the time to understand our requirements, discuss equipment options and budget considerations, and were able to provide recommendations without any over-selling. The room has turned out beyond our expectations, and it would not have been possible without Acoustic Frontiers’ home theater products & services.”
Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers