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3 years, 3 months ago
Audio systems for the house and home theaters

It is the next material and series of transcripts of our podcast "Sound" [1, 2, 3]. Today we publish the fourth release (of 9.01.2014): Dmitry Kabanov and Timofey Shikolenkov discuss household appliances and speak about basic aspects of audio systems for the house, paying attention also to TVs, projectors and screens.

[To listen to this release]

[In more detail about a podcast]

Transcripts of other transfers

Dmitry: Well, in last release we in details discussed a subject of a professional equipment. And, can be it is worth emphasizing once again the fact that some people too go in cycles in the "greed to quality" which replaces pleasure from listening.

Timofey: Here more likely not "greed to quality", and certain attempt of vision of quality.

Dmitry: Yes. The opinion which conducts to the fact that the person too strongly concentrates on a professional equipment and, in fact, turns out so that he "drives on city streets on the Formula 1 race car".

Timofey: Tries, in any case. Badly it turns out, obviously, but there is a strong wish.

Dmitry: In such atmosphere [speaking in images] you will not especially have a rest, and the comfort of a normal sedan is lost.

Timofey: Yes, remarkable comparison. Well shows as it is possible to use something not for designated purpose.

Really, people forget for the sake of what they buy audio equipment. They do not think of what will be farther. They look at some diagrams, digits are guided by some opinions. First of all, it is necessary to understand that the sound which is made by speaker systems has to be pleasant if we speak about the home equipment. If it is not pleasant, so "mission is not executed". It is possible to try to persuade himself:

"It after all is pleasant to me, it has to be pleasant to me because here such digits cool. It very much-very much has to be pleasant to me because it is very much good characteristics".

It is possible to repeat all this some time, but the truth is relentless, and to persuade itself very difficult. It is possible to call acquaintances and to brag: "Look what cool columns at me, look what characteristics at them". When there is one, it is impossible to relax and just to listen to favourite music with pleasure, it is necessary to do something else because "" this equipment does not suit for pleasure.

Dmitry: It seems to me, today it is worth discussing household appliances, home theaters. It would be interesting also from that point of view that we already many times emphasized that there is a price at which it is possible [but it is difficult] to make a decision on purchase, there are characteristics at which it is possible to look in the passport of a product, but …

Timofey: … from which there is not enough to use, unfortunately.

Dmitry: Yes, to use a little. It is necessary to come to special rooms of listening and to listen independently. And the subject of household appliances, home theaters is interesting also in the context of myths which are connected with it. People are often confused in different digits and components of home theaters: 5.1, 7.1, etc.

Timofey: First of all it is necessary to understand terminology.

Dmitry: Surely. It is worth beginning with it.

Timofey: The fact that to a point in 5.1, are 7.1 speaker systems which reproduce mid and high frequencies, that is the main sound. What after a point is a subwoofer – what reproduces a low bass and creates additional volume.

The fact that the human ear badly localizes low frequencies and is the frequent reason of existence of one subwoofer in home systems. To understand from where goes to "bu", it is difficult: something blew up, someone jumped, or the helicopter flew by. Actually, mid and high frequencies give localization. High frequencies are most precisely localized by a human ear, low frequencies – worst of all. We cannot understand from where they go. For this reason we have columns and subwoofers.

If to consider myths, that is such phenomenon as cheap sets of the home theater "in one box" which are just acoustics set for the home theater. Sometimes with some player, hardly very decent quality, and in subwoofers low frequencies are not such low as it would be desirable, unfortunately.

If we look at other columns which reproduce exclusively high frequencies and an edge "cling" the middle, then such subwoofer can issue low frequencies only "partially". It, of course, awfully. I do not understand what expect those who buy these sets.

It seems that movie theater – a subject very simple. We take cheap columns as generally in movies there is some "la-la": it is not necessary for reproduction of a human voice of the super-equipment if only it not singing.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
The room of listening in the Moscow salon of Audiomaniya (m. Electrofactory)

If something "thumped", for this purpose we have a subwoofer which "will thump", and all. Actually, if the system is brought together correctly [and at us periodically installers collect in showroom sets], the client comes … and after listening he does not want to go to cinema any more.

Probably, it is necessary to understand what the home theater consists of …

Dmitry: Yes, it seems to me, it is necessary just to spread out all this on elements, at least on simple words. And, maybe, to give couple of recipes how to approach the choice of movie theater.

Timofey: Let's begin with the fact that as it is about cinema, all of us see it, and not just we hear. Here everything is it seems rather simple: or it is the TV, or a projector. There are no other options. With TVs everything is it seems more or less clear. All understand what is the TV as to select it. It is clear, that there is 3D - TVs though all this history as on me, it does not make any sense because except some very beautiful demo videos and "Avatar" there is actually, nothing to look [in 3D].

Earlier the IMAX movie theater was not strongly popular because was a little 3D - movies, but there was a huge number of educational short films lasting 40 minutes. They were tremendous because acted in IMAX as it is necessary [for this format]. For someone it is unimportant, and it is very important for me: everything has to be in focus, all frame.

Dmitry: Yes, it is very important, otherwise just eyes awfully are tired.

Timofey: And now there is also no 3D - movies in which everything is valid in focus. Perhaps, I will be corrected, but except "Avatar" I know nothing of that kind. All the rest – normal cinema. A background "размылен", a close up and the foreground – in focus.

Sometimes focus is transferred to and fro. For 3D - movies, it seems to me, it in general is inadmissible. What focus transfer is? The viewer has to see everything, I will decide where to me to translate focus. My eyes will solve. I where will want, there and I will look.

Dmitry: In this case the feeling of the characters cut from a cardboard is often created. Just the indistinct background also creates such feeling.

Timofey: Worse the fact that now there is a huge potential at the companies which take 2D - movies is done of them 3D. They will not put the Zamyleny background anywhere, it is already blurred. It is possible to make so that will seem to the audience in special glasses that it really behind, and the actor close up is closer. But it is not 3D - cinema.

Dmitry: Yes, actually I waited for some break from "Hobbit", but the same turned out.

Timofey: Yes, the same turned out, as always.

Dmitry: Even could not look through it.

Timofey: People very much want to save.

Dmitry: Therefore if we speak about household appliances, it turns out that the efficiency is close to zero here.

Timofey: In my opinion, about 3D it is possible just to forget, it is an amusing toy with which all already got acquainted. If [someone] has a TV which turns 2D in 3D, [that now with it already] were played and switched off, and 3D - points become dusty somewhere on the shelf.

With projectors the situation is even worse. I did not see house 3D - projectors of which eyes would not be tired. I have an opportunity to look at both very expensive sets, and very expensive projectors with the most modern technologies: unfortunately, that 3D which projectors give today it is very uncomfortable for viewing.

I do not know, what will be farther, but I think that everything will depend on vendors of movies. If they understand that they do something not that, and will begin to remove normal qualitative 3D - "Avatar" movies, then, probably, and the industry of the equipment will a little adapt because there is no sense now to invest really big money in it.

Dmitry: Probably, "Avatar" was such peak moment which was just beaten out from an overall picture, and still just did not manage to be tightened. Therefore, me, apparently, [before emergence qualitative 3D] we will have as early as years the 5th minimum.

Timofey: I very much hope that it so. Because "Avatar" was not yesterday and not a year ago, it was necessary to wait a little everything. It is trusted hardly because, probably, this history was overpriced [in respect of expectations], on the one hand, and it is underestimated in respect of expenses by studios, on the other hand. It turns out that it is necessary to invest very big money, and probability that they will beat off, it is very small.

Dmitry: There is a chance that in 3D a large number of animated cartoons in which the same Pixar is engaged will be created. It is much simpler.

Timofey: Yes, indeed. With animated cartoons it is simpler because they are drawn on the computer, already others are not. But not all watch animated cartoons. And to develop all industry only for those who watch them … I do not know, I do not know.

About 3D I suggest to forget at once. With TVs everything is clear: if there is a TV, means it is possible to watch on it something. Though as on me, this home theater is a big screen, and the big screen on the TV – it so far after all is very expensive. It is much more expensive, than a mediocre projector and the big screen [for a projector]. To receive the bigger diagonal, we have to purchase much more expensive TV.

In a case with a projector we speak about house conditions where the sizes not of 100 square meters, but 20, at most 30, and here we can purchase really big screen and receive the bigger diagonal. About screens it is possible to speak very long too.

Screens are the whole separate business. There are both cheap, and expensive screens. Of course, someone can hang up a sheet instead of the screen, but is rather simple look once at the expensive screen to understand what they take such money for. I too not up to the end understood it while we did not equip in showroom a zone of movie theater with very expensive screen. This reflection and contrast. It would seem, all this gives a projector, but not all. Having purchased other screen, it is possible to receive absolutely other result with the same projector.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
The screen for a projector of Digis Velvet is created especially for home theaters – the cloth provides the maximum color rendition, is not deformed and does not form waves therefore is more expensive than "office" analogs

Dmitry: Sure. Here as always – it is necessary to look most.

Timofey: Yes. [] we will not go deep into a subject of screens, it big and separate. As for projectors: there is an amusing myth that all projectors identical. And film theatrical projectors – a marketing product.

It is not marketing. Matrixes which stand in projectors have physical permission: quantity of points in horizontal direction and verticals. When we give on an input to a projector excellent [from its physical] permission, conversion begins to enter the picture in that permission which can show a projector. Any conversion is a deterioration. Always it is necessary to think of it. It works both in a case with a sound, and with video. Of course, mathematical algorithms join here.

It is necessary to remember that, buying a projector for office, we receive a projector of resolution of office computer, and it is not always suitable for cinema.

Dmitry: Unless to watch Youtube.

Timofey: Youtube in general can be looked on anything. Even with HD Youtube it is not so good as far as qualitatively written movie can be good. Therefore it is necessary to understand that the modern projector for cinema is Full HD 1920x1080. It is already the standard. Any other office projector expected demonstration of the presentations will give very big difference in quality [towards deterioration] due to conversions.

Dmitry: And there is something already with 4k?

Timofey: Yes, already is, but there are no movies yet. There are Ultra HD which transform the image, improving it. They increase resolution mathematical algorithms, and approximately – looks better.

It is that history when there are 2 projectors, the client comes, sits down, to him include one, he speaks: "Fine! In general it is remarkable!" Include another, he sees a difference. Here he learns that a difference in the price [at projectors] by two and a half times: "It is very expensive". The first projector joins back. And the person understands that he is not ready to go on it any more, he already has to reflect, where to take it a little more money.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
The film theatrical projector of Sony VPL-HW40ES supports Full HD and 3D

Really, the difference is. Of course, each to their own. In general I was asked several times by colleagues who are connected directly with sales what to do in the following case:

The client speaks: "I want cinema of the house. What projector is necessary to me? I selected one, it it seems cool, cheap here". I [in such cases] speak: "If at you the budget is limited, you purchase a second-hand projector better, let it will be not Full HD, but it will be film theatrical".

There is, besides, a question about lamps. All speak: "Oh, and there lamp. It has a limited expiration date". But nobody tries to divide these thousands of hours in which lamp service life is measured for days, and then these days for months and months for years.

I a few years ago purchased a second-hand projector, and there was a lamp which was used earlier. Still I even did not reach a half of its service life. While I watch film every day practically, I am a film fan. Well, not every day, but every other day, it precisely.

I thought that I would buy / u-shny the device, so it is necessary to purchase a lamp. Purchased a lamp, it at me lies on the shelf. Why I purchased it, I do not know.

Dmitry: Probably, it is expected about 5-7 years. Perhaps, even it is more.

Timofey: Yes. Even if to watch film till half a day. But it is necessary to understand that it is necessary to darken the room – dense curtains or something more serious.

Dmitry: So to say, a certain ritual is necessary.

Timofey: Yes. Now, of course, is closer to winter this ritual will be automatically available to all because in the morning you left for work, returned in the evening – already darkly. It is possible to watch film.

Dmitry: Well that, we pass to a sound?

Timofey: Yes. With projectors, I think, everything is clear. Main thing: if this cinema, then there has to be a film theatrical projector. As if it seemed to you that it is more expensive. There too there are a lot of subtleties, it would be desirable to talk about everything, but, maybe, next time if there are questions at our listeners.

About a sound, it seems to me, history much longer, strangely enough. We already began to say that there are one-box sets for the home theater, but I do not represent who and why can buy them.

Dmitry: It seems to me, a story about a sound it is simple more richly because there are no such problems here as we already sounded about 3D. Here just there is a huge klichestvo of different solutions and approaches to a design of movies.

Timofey: Truly. First, it is necessary to understand how the situation with a source of [sound] is. Still literally a few years ago there were disk DVD players, now they already practically died. I do not know who uses them now. Probably, already anybody.

There is Blu-ray, but these disks rather expensive, and all follow them on torrent-trackers. We for the present have no culture to pay for content though the same iTunes gives now opportunities to download qualitative video. There are no problems, earlier just like that it was impossible. Now there was iTunes, and that is how many years it "appeared"? Because in each country the rights.

Dmitry: Yes, in Russia quite recently fully everything earned. And Apple TV allows to purchase as just the license for reproduction in the mode of stream broadcasting, and to take [movies] in rolling.

Timofey: Yes, I used and use. In general Apple TV is very cool player. Not in the sense that it the best on quality, but it very convenient in sense of a combination to other equipment of Apple. I got from an iPad bag, included some roller on Youtube, and everything at me on the screen is reproduced. It is very healthy.

Dmitry: That time which we spend on search of the same torrents is simple …

Timofey: Then downloading, pumping on a flash card, from a flash card on a network …

Dmitry: Converting and all the rest. To pay for all this 30 rubles …

Timofey: Not all people are ready to count, how much is their own time. Perhaps, in the course of a growing they begin to understand that time of their life costs money. If to pay now and not to spend it for this nonsense with downloading and pumping, then it is really possible to prolong life. The.

Dmitry: It is even cheaper, than in the bus to pass.

Timofey: It is possible "to purchase" a little life. Young people to a lesser extent think of it, and I already begin. Began a time ago.

Dmitry: Well, how to tell. The youth, in principle, already begins to lose skill of use of torrents. It is simpler to them to open iTunes.

Timofey: It is good if so. It is good that there was an opportunity to make it simply. Before this opportunity was not. I had to leave the house, go somewhere, there look for something – and not the fact that I would find it. A question not in what people did not want to pay though this is true it just was not convenient. There was no opportunity to pay. You have no right all this to download, but also you cannot pay too.

Thank God, now with it it is simple, valid, Apple TV – very cool history. Therefore disks, of course, gradually consign to the past though Blu-ray is very high quality. If the budget allows, it is exciting to have a selection of disks, not to depend on the Network. Anyway, not behind it the future. Of course, the future behind receipt of content from the Network. It is obvious.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
Blu-ray reproduces the Denon DBT-3313 player, certainly, not only Blu-ray, but also many others video and audioformats, has support (that notorious) 3D - video, and also is capable to play video with Netflix

Dmitry: It is quite possible that we will see such solutions as "iTunes-radio", but for the image, for "picture". But if to return to a sound, we began with terminology.

Timofey: Also walked a little on a source of [sound]. Usually connect either flash cards, or hard drives to hardware players, or they "drag" content on the Network.

Network storages in which the huge number of movies is stored now too are very popular. The player can transmit a signal directly to a projector or to the TV, and can transfer to a receiver, and the sound goes there.

And here the new subject appears. Just that with which we began, 5.1, 7.1, etc. It is valid, apparently, that than more speaker system, especially a surround sound is created, but also there is the reef.

I have an acquaintance one, he decided to purchase the home theater. I do not know why he did not ask me. Probably, to it very much was impatient, and it on Saturday or to revival went somewhere. Purchased many columns. He was told: "You want this home theater? You need many columns".

He, just, 7.1 made to himself, that is he has 7 columns around and a subwoofer. When I included it, to me it became a little terrible. That money which it spent on 7.1 could be spent for 5 columns and to receive absolutely other result.

Dmitry: Perhaps, from the point of view of the room size it somehow can be justified …

Timofey: Of course. If this very big room. All speak: "Here you come to movie theater. How many there columns hangs on walls? It is a lot of. Here and to you too much at home is necessary". At the same time we have not a movie theater in the apartment, we have normal apartments, rooms happen, of course, different, but in general their size cannot make 100 or 150 square meters in any way.

Dmitry: Just to feel a sound of the flying by bullet "from a column on a column" which are at distance of 30 centimeters among themselves …

Timofey: It is ridiculous. In normal household sense for this purpose there is no reason. If there is a big space, it is possible to think of it, but it is necessary to understand as well as where it will hang. In reality the reasonable minimum which is logical in such situation is 4.0 – 4 speaker systems without subwoofer.

It is a sufficient minimum to feel volume. Front columns big that we heard some low-frequency sound if we have no subwoofer, plus a column behind that volume was created. Already with great reserve it is possible to call it the home theater, but, of course, it is difficult to emotion to receive from it.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
Special rear acoustics for the home theaters B&W; DS3 allows to receive "atmospheric" sounding during viewing of the movie

The central column, that, the fifth, is intended only for a voice and appropriately optimized for this purpose. In an amicable way, it is possible to do without it, but with it it is real better. Through it it is heard better, and a sound … Here it is necessary to return to formats and a source.

All these columns would not be necessary if in the file for these channels nothing would be written. If we download from a torrent a short file on 1,5 GB, and then it becomes clear that in it a sound two-channel, then all our history, turns out, is not necessary.

What do we do? We include some special mode which tries "to make" some volume of these two kalan on a receiver. But it is, naturally, nonsense. The surround sound has to be initially written as it is necessary. Generally this sound is written as 5.1. Other question that there can be different formats.

Dmitry: Then there is a question how the sound 7.1 is reached?

Timofey: The receiver can [channels in addition] to decompose. At long distances it can be actual because, really, in any place where I sit, to the right of me there is no sound source, in front it is very far, behind it is very far too. Also a certain space turns out. It seems as nothing is heard on the right. In that case it makes sense. If we have a normal apartment, the normal room, then in it there is at all no sense because a sound all the same around.

Dmitry: It, probably, is actual from 50 square meters, maybe, from 70.

Timofey: Yes. Differently it does not make sense even to think of it. That sound which is suffices, and it creates necessary volume, and this volume is really written on this source. In total. We received it. Here it is necessary to understand that the subwoofer is the certain canal too, but not just reproduction of all low-frequency sounds.

Perhaps, some low-frequency signal goes also on frontal columns, and on a subwoofer or maybe not. We cannot foreknow it. As it is written, so we also hear. It to a question that we receive content in the form in which it was conceived. It is an important point.

Dmitry: Sure. To try to invent something with it then – it is not absolutely correct any more.

Timofey: Now it is possible to talk about formats. The receiver is a multichannel amplifier which in parallel is able to decode a digital sound. It has digital inputs and analog outputs on columns. And, as a rule, the modern receiver is also the receiver, the radio receiver which, than further, probably, is less necessary to those.

Why receivers when there is such quantity of content are necessary, and it is possible just to select any and to listen to what I want to listen at present to and not that someone decided to show? Probably, shortly the sense in them will not be any more, but, nevertheless, they to eat simply because it is so accepted.

The digital signal which is given in a receiver can have different formats. The player from which we give a signal can be Blu-ray, it can be Apple TV, it can be some other hardware player. It gives a signal in a digital format, and further the receiver has to understand what the signal is and to decrypt it.

Further questions with support begin. With the advent of a large number of quality audioformats we faced impossibility of some receivers to unpack this or that format. The player gives this format, and the receiver does not know what is it. Now this problem is absent any more. New formats do not appear in that quantity in which it occurred earlier.

Dmitry: Something else, with formats connected?

Timofey: It is necessary to understand that all these formats not so often meet, unfortunately. Also it is possible to add that there are disks with different languages: original language and target language. Very often happens so that in original language quality is much higher, than quality in Russian. It, of course, very offensively.

And there is a question and whether the receiver which decodes everything on light is necessary to us if we receive content in Russian, which on quality "so-so". Or not that "so-so", but the original is better. You include the original and you understand, as it is more volume, and the effect of presence is better. You think: "Well as so? Well why?".

Dmitry: Here it is difficult to outstrip at once and, probably, it is worth looking on studios which were engaged to dubbing-ins.

Timofey: Of course. They have to have the corresponding equipment, they owe it both unpack and pack, or receive the original if it is possible. Unfortunately, I do not know for what reason so occurs.
And one more important point: as a rule, on disks on which there is a record in HD audio there is also a record in simpler option that practically any receiver, even not really modern, could decode this signal.

The receiver can receive also video. Especially it is useful if there are separately a TV and a projector. He can send video to different receivers and collect video from different sources. There is separately Blu-ray the player, there is Apple TV, and there is one more HD player, all of them are connected to a receiver, and when switching sources both the sound, and video switches. It is very convenient. In this case the receiver executes a switch role.

Audio systems for the house and home theaters
AV a receiver of Onkyo TX-SR333 is suitable for rooms of the average size (for example, for the standard apartment), has the USB connector, HDMI outputs and built in by Bluetooth receiver

About formats, probably, all. We did not talk about speaker systems.

Dmitry: Yes, it seems to me, it is worth already "hammering a nail".

Timofey: There is such myth that for movie theater frontal columns have to be big, and rear have to be small. For the minimum volume and, but if to put big and on the back, then the difference will be felt. I hear it periodically when installers collect sets in showrooms.

I every time lick lips because that effect of presence which is gained as a result is incomparable with any movie theater.

Often to us come and speak: "I have couple of columns, I listen to music. How to me to add a playback capability of the home theater?"

Dmitry: To add volume?

Timofey: To receive from this the home theater, having just bought in addition still some quantity of columns. Two behind and one more in front. It is easy to buy in addition columns, they are available. And further there is a question.

The stereoamplifier who reproduces music and who is always used in this case for such speaker systems to disconnect it will not turn out, otherwise it is necessary to switch every time of the jumper, and it is not absolutely convenient.

At the same time and to do without receiver it will not turn out as it is necessary to decode a multichannel sound somehow. The stereoamplifier also reproduces a binaural sound with the best quality. It turns out that it is impossible to refuse the stereoamplifier, without receiver it is impossible too in any way. What to do?

Here it is necessary to remind that there are stereoamplifiers with a special input which is connected directly to the power amplifier. At the same time adjustments of the amplifier are turned off, and it is possible to use the cascade, gains from the stereoamplifier, and to manage everything from a receiver.

The situation with the stereoamplifier who was used for music with connection to it of a receiver on which amplifier stages for frontal columns are not used, arises often. I do not know, it is clear explained or not.

Dmitry: Let's hope that we intimidated nobody by all this.

Timofey: On the one hand, everything is terrible, and on the other hand, once becomes. I remember how I after moving connected everything that I had. It was very terrible. At first thought that I will put everything, and then I will climb a hand back and I will connect everything blindly. Nothing left, everything was necessary to sort. Really, there are a lot of wires.

Dmitry: For such things, it seems to me, it is better to involve professionals.

Timofey: Yes, of course. If there is no deep understanding as to connect all this.

Dmitry: Even, if is. Just in case.

Timofey: Sure. We had stories when installation is already ready, and the receiver burned down. Everything happens. Any electronics fails. The person lives far. He speaks: "I now will disconnect everything and I will bring to you the device". Well, well, all right. It brings the device in which the part of connectors remained in jumpers. The person just pulled out wires and did not notice it. Here it is necessary to be careful, accuracy and to understand as as becomes.

P.S. We continue to please the clients with traditional sales which already managed to prove as it is good to save a reliable method on purchase of Hi-Fi and High end of components. Until the end of summer sale there was only a couple of days, friends.

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