AV Receiver – The Key to a Great Audio System for Home Theater

audio system for home theater

Your home theater requires high-quality sound to enjoy movies or video games to their full potential, which an AV receiver provides.

Consider installing a hi-fi setup if you prefer listening to albums and concerts, while home theater systems require specific speakers placed around a screen to reproduce movie theater audio.


Speakers are essential when building a high-quality home theater system. From starting with brand new speakers or upgrading an existing system from your local big box store, speakers must provide clear, dynamic audio as well as immersive surround sound effects that bring movies to life.

Speakers are comprised of numerous components designed to produce optimal sound reproduction. A quality speaker often employs a speaker horn or dome, enclosure and tweeter in combination to reproduce various frequencies and intensities of sounds at different frequencies and intensities; usually housed within a wooden cabinet to reduce vibrations and improve sound performance.

An effective home theater audio system must create a wide and deep stereo image in front with left and right speakers, and utilize surround sound speakers to immerse you into the movie with their surround sound effects, especially for action scenes with explosions or loud sounds.

Most AV receivers come equipped with either 5.1, 6.1 or higher speaker configurations to enable surround sound effects. Surround sound systems require an AV receiver with dedicated outputs for each speaker channel – typically color coded inputs will indicate which speakers they belong to.

Center channel speakers are essential to any effective audiovisual setup, serving as the voice of film characters and being easily heard over other dialogue, background noises, or room reverberation. When choosing left and right speakers for optimal results within budget constraints, always choose models from the same model series for best results that sound natural and uniform.


Subwoofers are essential components for an immersive home cinematic experience and making you feel like you’re watching a movie in your living room, creating the sensation of explosions while adding depth and realistic bass tones for light music like pop, rock or jazz.

Subwoofers come at various price points, but usually as you spend more, the performance increases significantly. The top subwoofers will accurately reproduce bass tones with great fidelity; their drivers are driven by magnetic coils which cause them to vibrate at low frequencies for powerful bass reproduction – giving a home theater system its impressive bass response.

Most AV receivers allow users to customize the crossover frequency at which main speakers stop working and subwoofer takes over, and set its phase accordingly (180 degrees out or in phase). A high-pass filter removes frequencies above subwoofer’s lowest range to ensure only bass information reaches driver. This improves sound quality as woofer isn’t overworking its driver which results in greater sound quality overall.

Home theater systems often incorporate one or more subwoofers for powerful and accurate bass response during movie viewing experiences. If you decide to incorporate more than one subwoofer in your system, make sure their combined SPL output at both primary and secondary listening positions is verified before writing down their combined level so you can balance out each speaker individually so it does not create unnatural or overbearing tones when played together.


Prior to home theater systems becoming affordable for everyone, serious audiophiles relied on separate pre and power amplifiers for their sound systems. Nowadays, however, home-theater-in-a-box systems with surround sound speakers and built-in receivers provide more affordable ways of enjoying amazing audio experiences in your living room – but dedicated amplifiers offer better performance for these home cinema setups.

To enhance a high-end experience, look for an AV pre/pro with built-in decoders for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound formats as well as 4K video input support. Furthermore, these home theater preamps typically come equipped with onboard room calibration that fine-tunes speaker sound for lifelike, natural results in your specific space.

The best AV amps are constructed using audiophile-grade components for maximum sound quality, such as SNR (Sound Noise Reduction) ratings. Also, multiple outputs which can serve as pre-outs are ideal so that powered subwoofers can connect directly instead of going through left/right stereo outputs.

Be wary when purchasing standalone AV amps to save money; using external amplifiers allows you to upgrade just the preamp or power amp without impacting other components in your AV receiver or home theater system. Over time this can become more costly; however some standalone amps like Belles 150A Hot Rod offer such powerful performance as to break away from this trend; at only $1499 stereo and $1999 for three channels alone it stands out as one of the top AV amplifiers for home cinema use.

Speaker Wire

Wiring is just as essential to audio as any other component, yet many don’t realize its importance. Even without their knowledge, their method of hookup can have a dramatic impact on how their system sounds; with proper wires and connections you can build a professional-grade home theater setup capable of reproducing even intricate audio details with clarity and accuracy.

Speaker wire is an insulated cable with two sheathed conductors that connects the positive and negative terminals of your speakers and amplifier. While copper speaker wire is the most commonly used material, other metals and purities may be available depending on your individual requirements. When choosing speaker wire gauges to match impedance of speakers and amp, higher impedance means greater resistance and reduced current flow – potentially diminishing audio performance.

Once you have selected an appropriate gauge, it’s time to connect your speaker wires. First locate the terminals on your amplifier (or receiver); they should be labeled and may even be color coded so as to identify (+) and (-). Next, insert each exposed end of each speaker wire into its respective terminal using binding posts, spring clips or banana plugs as soon as the connection has been made; after completion it is important to ensure its tightness and proper phase alignment.

If you have a 3.5-inch speaker, consider switching out banana plugs for spade connectors as they will slide easily over binding posts’ collars when tightened down again. Be careful to remove any exposed insulation during termination as this could interfere with other electrical lines causing unwanted interference.

AV Receivers

Home theater AV receivers perform similar duties to standard stereo receiver/amp combinations, but with additional capabilities for processing surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Many modern models also include internet connectivity for streaming music services as well as voice control integration via Google Home or Amazon Alexa voice assistants.

When purchasing an AV receiver, be sure it offers the number of audio inputs and outputs necessary for your system. When making this choice, also take into consideration whether Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity will meet your streaming needs, or if a separate streamer would work better. Most AV receivers can play back high-resolution audio from connected devices – including computers or laptops – but it’s essential that you understand which formats each source requires before selecting an AV receiver.

Finally, take into consideration the maximum power output (in watts) when choosing speakers for an AV receiver. Aiming for a lower max wattage than your total speaker system power will enable you to expand it without outgrowing its capabilities.

Label each cable or terminal on your receiver that connects to speakers and other components so you can keep track of which parts belong where. Furthermore, ensure all cables and connections have the optimal length to reduce interference while being kept clear from anything that might damage them – such as power cords from appliances or metal wiring on walls and ceilings.