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When it comes to your home theater, improving the ambiance is a matter of experience. One of the best ways to improve the ambiance is to increase the volume. If that’s the case, does it adding a speaker make it louder?
Adding a speaker to a home theater system makes the volume louder. To be specific, every similar quality speaker you add doubles the sound intensity. This doubling of sound intensity increases loudness by 3 decibels. More speakers mean more air displaced, which results in more volume.
Are you trying to boost your home theater’s immersion through volume? Let’s see how everything works and what you can do to make your home theater louder.
How Do Speakers Work?
So, how does the speaker volume work? The basics of speakers are simple, but the calculation is a bit too complicated. Let’s first define what a speaker is.
In the easiest terms, a home theater speaker is a way to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Sound, at its core, is a pressure wave where air particles compress and rarefy. Faster air pressure means higher frequency audio.
A speaker is, at its crudest depiction, a piston. When it moves back and forth, this piston moves the air particles and changes air pressure. These pressures travel, creating sound waves that your ears hear.
By converting audio signals into electrical energy, you can convert it to a sound. A current goes into the voice coil, producing an electrical field that activates the magnetic field. As charges attract and repel, the cone moves back and forth, creating pressure waves. This is sound.
Does Adding More Speakers Make It Louder?
So, does adding an extra speaker to your home theater system make it louder? The simple answer is yes. This detail, however, is a matter of how humans perceive sound.
Because sound is mechanical energy derived from motion, adding an extra device moves more air. If we follow the piston analogy, adding an extra speaker means you have two pistons moving the same air pressure. More air moved results to louder sounds and sound intensity doubles.
Doubling sound intensity, however, does not equate to double the decibels. This detail is due to how decibels calculate.
Decibels are logarithmic functions that measure magnitude. Every 10-decibel increase means the audio has 10 times more intensity. A 60-decibel sound is 1,000,000 times (106) more powerful than a 1-decibel sound.
With that said, adding a speaker with a similar volume adds around 3 decibels. The human ear, to hear double the audio, needs an increase of 10 decibels. Why?
Perceived loudness is a matter of psychoacoustics, meaning it concerns how one perceives loudness. There is a variance in the perception of sound among people. Even then, evidence suggests humans measure loudness doubling every 10 decibels. This measurement means you need to increase the sound intensity by a factor of 10 to hear twice the loudness.
The increase in loudness is also exponential. For every 10-decibel increase in intensity, you’ll get double the previous sound. For example, 60-decibels will double in loudness once it reaches 70 decibels. Once it reaches 80 decibels, this sound is four times as love as 60 dB.
What this means is 100 decibels is equal to 16 times the loudness of 60 dB.
Decibels by itself is not a good measurement of loudness. If you want to measure loudness, the two units you need are phons and sones.
Phons are the perceived loudness of a sound, measured using decibels measured at a 1 kHz reference tone. A 40 decibel, 1 kHz tone is the same as 40 phons.
Sones are a non-standard but more accurate measurement of loudness. Sones start at 40 phons and double in value for every 10 phons. For example, while 40 phons is 1 sone, 100 phons are equivalent 64 sones – making 100 phons 64 times as loud as 40 phons.
Even then, you can measure loudness easier by using a sound meter to handle your audio needs.
Going Beyond Loudness For Your Home Speaker
Now that you know these details adding speakers is not the only way to improve your home theater system. Remember that for home theater units, loudness is not the only measure of experience. Immersion is valuable, and you can get as much of that worked on your audio.
How? Give these a look.
Match Your Speakers
Matching your speakers can improve your immersion. Many home theater systems that don’t come as a set can have different quality of audio. A medley of different speakers can make different have a variety of audio quality, making immersion impossible.
When building your own home theater systems, get ones from the same line or same brand. As every brand has their signature sound output, using different brands can mean non-matching audio. It feels like it’s not a big deal, but the truth is different.
The brain processes audio differently and can pick out variances in audible sound quality. This effect will remove the immersion and cut down the realism of your rig. You want to make sure that the audio is seamless across speakers.
If you have to match one by one, start with the front left, then right and center first. Once you match all three speakers, move towards matching your surround audio.
Follow Proper Speaker Placement
Speaker placement can be a crucial adjustment that you can do. When positioning your speakers, the last thing you want is stowing them everywhere. Putting them in far corners of your room or inside home theater cabinets can be a problem. It can make their audio quality and loudness worse.
Depending on your seating arrangement, you need to follow a specific arrangement. For example, the front left and right speakers need to face the center of your seating. You would also want to move them away from the wall to control the bass and improve performance.
Your central channel should be in the exact center of the seating arrangement. This can go on top of your TV, lining it up on the midpoint. For best results, position it at ear level.
Depending on your surround sound systems, you would need to point your side surrounds to both the left and right of your seating. The rear surround would then go behind the center seating, creating a speaker wrap-around.
One of the biggest headaches for home theater owners is the reverb from their room. Reverberation is the secondary audio that reflects off a hard surface. These hard surfaces can be your walls, your windows or even your ceiling.
When audio bounces, no amount of good audio will work because the sound will distort for sure. You won’t hear pure, proper sound from your speakers, but rather get excess noise. How do you remedy this for your home?
Try to soften your surroundings to reduce the bouncing of the audio. Adding drapes is the simplest way to do it. You can also install some acoustic foam in your room, especially in key places where audio will bounce.
Add A Quality Subwoofer, Central Channel and Amplifier
Instead of adding an extra speaker, a superior subwoofer can give you a better audio experience. The subwoofer handles the lower frequencies of your audio or the bass. This loudspeaker is crucial because most speakers are unable to produce low frequencies.
With a sub, you get crisper, more realistic sounds. With low frequencies, your home theater audio will have a richer, more three-dimensional effect. This improves your immersion by a ton more than a 3-decibel increase in audio.
When picking subwoofers, take into account quality more than size. A quality subwoofer will help improve the impact of your audio without the muddy sounds from cheap subs.
You would also want to upgrade both your central audio and amplifiers. The center channel does most of the work, producing more than 80% of a movie’s audio information. It is also crucial for both dialogue and explosions.
Find yourself a large center channel, allowing better handling of bass. When you position it correctly, you can give everyone a more enjoyable experience.
As for your amplifier, you want one with a good chunk of wattage from a quality brand. Not only will an amplifier help boost loudness, but it can also breathe new life into your audio quality.
Adding a speaker is a good, simple way to add loudness to your home theater speakers. If you want a quick, easy boost and you have an identical speaker, don’t hesitate to use it. Even then, improving home theater audio quality doesn’t end with improving loudness.
Loudness can be subjective and does not always translate to a superior experience. Instead, invest in home theaters that improve your audio quality. Invest in quality equipment that can provide you with crisper, more immersive sounds. Get quality subwoofers and central channels and take care of how you position your speakers.
When it comes to home theater, being careful with how you set up your room is helpful. You can add acoustic foam to reduce reverberations and even get your surround speakers in prime position. Doing careful work to make your home theater experience perfect can be helpful.
Are you looking to improve your home theater? Follow our guide and we’re sure you can get the best value out of your system.