Important: (2) Everything mentioned on this page is my personal view. (3) This page is not undergoing any update as on 26th August 2017, please feel free to come back later.
(1) I don’t give a FUCK of what you think or care. The least I did was made a website and posted everything by myself based on my own research and experience. Don’t like it? click on the right top corner and close your browser. Easy, eh?
#1 An Audio system that looks good; sounds good.
This is a classic example of our buying pattern. When we shop for an audio system, we tend to forget that we are paying for excellent sound that a given system is producing, not the looks. Off course, when we are spending our hard earned money on such system, we do expect certain level of quality and show from the proposed system. It is okay to do so and this is not wrong at all. But, when this desire for good looking system overrides the sound quality (and believe me that it does with most of you folks), you end up buying system which looks fabulous and sounds average. We can debate about the above statement with as many friends that we have but I assure you, if I run you a blind test, I can prove this point very clearly by giving you an audition for a system that costs half of what you would have eventually paid for, in an electronics store. The goal here is not to save money (or me giving you a small audition of a perfect audio system), but to help you decide best value for you money. The next time you shop for such system, please look around for something which sounds good and has functions that you are going to actually use (lets be practical on this aspect as well)
#2 If an Audio system is sounding good during demo; it will sound good even after installing it at your home.
It is very likely that the system which “sounds good” might not sound the same after installing at your premise. Now you would argue with me, “hey, you just said, buy stuff that sounds good and I just did that, but I am still not happy with it”. The reason behind numbering the myths is because, I want the visitors of BlumIndia to break free from these myths, step by step. Okay, now that you have found something that sounds good (and probably looks jazzy/elegant too), here is the next exercise for you. Try to find out if this shortlisted system is good enough for your home use or not. The first thing to check here is, what is the existing placement of this system where you are auditioning it. E.g. if you have auditioned this system in an electronic store, try and observe the placement of satellites and subwoofer. Is this the similar placement that you are going to do at your home? What was the type music which was played on it while it was at electronic store? Are you into similar Genre? Do you carry some songs with you about which you are very well aware of all the notes that are played? If yes, have you tried to play such songs in the proposed system before buying and find any difference? The acoustics of your room plays a big difference here and I do not expect every user to know this, but I do expect the users to asks themselves the basic questions that are mentioned above.
#3 A minimum 300W systems is required for home use. Preferably 500Watts or 1000Watts+
“What is the output power of this system?”, I asked the salesman, and he replied “This is the previous model home theater system with 500Wattts output. If you would like to go for newer model, we have it with us, which produces 1000Watts”. Both the systems were placed side by side and I could hardly see any difference in both of them. (Probably both are ClassD Amps, never mind). I asked the salesman, I want a system for watching movies at home and he “Strongly recommended” to go for only 1000Watts or more. The first thing here that YOU should know is that a simple amplifier with true 50Watts capability (when hooked up with suitable drivers), is more than enough for movie watching (or playing songs) for a room with a size of 250SqFt. Over the Internet you would find several sources for getting this concept correct. Here is a link to an article which describes Power Amplifier ratings very well. http://www.audioholics.com/audio-amplifier/amplifier-power-ratings
#4 Ported subwoofer are the best design a buyer can go for. Since all manufacturers (and your friends) are opting ported Sub-Woofer, you shall too go for it!
Before you Google and argue that almost entire world is going for ported Subwoofer, here is what I have to say. Have you ever asked yourself why these commercially available audio systems are (almost all of them) having ported design and not sealed? Companies manufacture and produce goods to make profits. For a product to sell in market, it should be accepted by consumers and should cost reasonably for manufacturer to make desired profit. If the production cost is higher, then it is difficult to price the product in market and face the competition. What’s this got to do with Subwoofer box design? Very simple, at a given signal input from Power Amplifier, a ported subwoofer will produce minimum 30% more effects than a sealed subwoofer. E.g. if you connect a ported box to a 50Watts amp, it will be at least 30% “louder” (not clearer or accurate) instead of a sealed box. Therefore, a manufacturer chooses a ported design so that it can save on (a) Amplifier cost (b) PSU cost (c) Sub-Woofer cost. For point #a, since lesser output is required, there is no need to put in a Powerful Amp. For instance instead of a 100W amp, a 50Watts Amp (and most of the time even lower than 50W) will suffice the need. For point #b, since the Amp is smaller and NOT so powerful, its PSU requirement is also less. Here again money is saved. For point #c, since the output from Amp is only 50Watts, a small subwoofer is more than enough to reproduce the Bass effects. Here, they use a smaller Subwoofer Woofer and tune the Port and enclosure size in such a way that Bass is at its Max. Yes, it’s a woofer that they use, not a Subwoofer and they hide the cone of these small woofer very well behind a stylish mesh grill or a black decorative cloth. The best part here is that such enclosures are larger (and intimidating for most of the folks) than similarly designed sealed ones. Users going for shopping of a system finds a big subwoofer box nice and the effects awesome and they decide based on these parameters. In my opinion, only a “Sub-Woofer” (preferably an 8” or larger) when built with a “Sealed Enclosure” can only re-produce accurate and tight Bass, period. The requirement for a clear tight Bass is higher when watching a movie. You can get tricked with a ported design if music is the only parameter to judge the difference. If you use a woofer or a ported enclosure, effects are lost or boomy effects are produced. The boomy effects that I am referring here is the same effects that you find as “Bass” while running a demo at an electronic store. For further reading, please follow https://www.google.co.in/search?q=woofer+vs+subwoofer
#5 The Subwoofer has to be position in a way that it faces audience.
The above myth might make some sense when using a woofer, not a subwoofer. In an audio system, subwoofer is non-directional. This means you can place it anywhere in the same room where you have done the setup for satellite speakers. If I were to play a song in my living room, it will be difficult for a user to point out, from which direction the subwoofer is playing from. This is the best part of a subwoofer that you can hide it anywhere (I know a large box is difficult to hide) in the room or camouflage it very well and guests still try to figure out where this subwoofer is placed. This one benefit also allows you to choose a sealed enclosure with down firing design.
#6 You can place satellite speakers in any way you can.
It is easy as long as you have a 2.1 or smaller system to optimally place the drivers in the room or on the table. For natural reasons, since there are only two drivers, you would place one on right and another on left. That’s perfect! But what if you have 4.1 or 5.1 or say a 7.1 Audio system? I know it sounds stupid, but I know few users who would just keep all satellite speakers together like an array (or a bus Que). Well, the problem just doesn’t end here. Not only each designated driver should be positioned correctly, it should also be angled correctly. You thought that since you have well positioned, it’s the right placement? Have you angled it correctly as well? This positioning job was an easier affair as long as you were doing it with a Subwoofer, not with satellite speakers! A typical satellite speaker box would contain a mid-range driver and (if you are lucky OR Intelligent) a precision tweeter. The mid-range frequencies and the high frequencies that the satellite speaker produces are directional. Hence, you have to set the angle of these satellites in such a way that when they are playing, all of them meet at one point in the room. This is the very point, where you sit on a sofa and enjoy your movie or song. Here is a small picture to demonstrate what I mean.
#7 All the Big Brands are selling you an audio system that is NOT worth its price and you end up paying for Brand; not for the audio quality.
When I say a big brand, I am referring to brands like Bose, Yamaha, HK, Klipsch, Polk, B&O, B&W etc. If you are one of those users who feel that buying from one of these brand simply means paying for higher Brand and not for actual hardware, you are wrong! First you need to understand, inquire and investigate, what really are these manufacturers offering. Leaving aside the above mentioned brand (and maybe few more, that I cannot recollect at the timing of writing this) all other remaining brands can be clubbed into a single basket. If the name for your favorite brand is not mentioned here, then they too land in the same basket that I have described. I don’t intend to hurt anyone (brand loyal) feeling here, but I would like to bring this one point in limelight that you get what you pay for. Top brands do invest lot of money in R&D and this effect the way they design their systems. Technology is put to use to create a system that will do its max for a given set of resources. Other brands can do the same, but the pressure of maximum profit and minimum production (and Marketing cost) results a system which I call “Average”. You must understand that it’s the design and layout that makes the system “Average”. Component wise, almost all companies use similarly priced components (except top brands). If I were to use components from one of such “Average” system to create a better system, I can do it easily. This makeover would be more like a MOD, wherein, I would change the total system components by max of 25% to bring noticeable changes in acoustics of the very system. I am not suggesting that run to the store and buy a Bose or something similar. I am pointing out, If your budget permits, buy something from top brands. If your budget is limited (or Brain says NO to top brands), you can explore your options in DIY, which in my opinion will give you results much “better” than any other brand out there. The so called “better results” from a DIY system is directly connected with the kind of components you use and the way you set it up.