Tag Archives: surround sound

Best Speaker Systems for the Super Bowl

Whether or not you like football, you’re probably going to end up watching the Super Bowl as the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers square off on Sunday, February 7. It’s one of the greatest spectacles in television from excessive press coverage, to commercials and, of course, the most important football game of the year.

Most Super Bowl party hosts only think about the size of their television when dreaming up the perfect setup for their guests. Obviously, your TV is an important component; however, it should not be your only concern. There is the seating, food and, of course, the audio to think about.

Don’t settle for the run-of-the-mill Super Bowl audio experience. You don’t want 20 of your guests leaning in to hear whether the play will be overturned or what the guy says to the adorable lost puppy in the beer commercial. Make sure every bit of dialogue is clean, crisp and that you practically feel every bone-crunching hit.

Below are some of our suggestions for the best speaker systems for the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is broadcast in 5.1-surround sound; meaning that there are quite a few options you can go with.

Klipsch Reference R-4B Design

Soundbar + Wireless Subwoofer

This is the quickest and easiest solution to upgrade your Super Bowl sound. Most soundbars provide a plug-and-play solution that is a significant upgrade over your TV’s crappy small, thin built-in speakers. Also, an included wireless subwoofer will add significant impact to your listening experience.

Thankfully, Klipsch has a variety of options depending on your price point. If you want to go all out, choose the Reference R-20B. Looking to overspend on snacks and adult beverages? Check out the uber-obtainable Reference R-4B. In between those two options is the excellent Reference R-10B.

Reference Luck

Traditional 5.1 Speaker Systems

We’re based in Indianapolis, so we have to admit that it is a total bummer that Klipsch Brand Ambassador Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are not in the Super Bowl. Anyway, with a traditional, passive 5.1 speaker system, you’re going to have to run some wires and utilize an audio-video receiver (AVR), but your system will be the envy of all of your family and friends, including your neighbor Ron who brags about the dinky little satellite speakers he has hanging from the ceiling.

Whether it’s the Palladium, Reference Premiere or Reference series, Klipsch has plenty of kick-ass 5.1 systems to choose from that deliver room-rattling sound. Of course, if space is a concern, you may want a slimmer design like something from the flat panel Gallery series. The choice is yours.

Reference Premiere HD Wireless RP-440WF RP-440WC RP-110SW

Wireless Home Theater

OK, so Reference Premiere HD Wireless speaker aren’t available until after the big game; however, it’s going to be an excellent option for football fans across the country (and planet). Simply plug the speakers in the wall and set their positions using the one-button system on the back panel and you’re good to go. That means you can crack open a tasty beverage and it’ll still be ice cold by the time you’re finished setting up your new system. Plus, the lack of speaker wire for the surround speakers means that guests won’t potentially be tripping over any wires.

From 2.0 to 5.1 and beyond, any of the nearly endless configurations of the Reference Premiere HD Wireless system will be suitable for the big game. To get the full effect of the crowd noise, we would recommend a 5.1 system but the 2.0 setup provides a surprising amount of thump.

Klipsch Gate Powergate 1 social

Multi-Room

If you happen to have a lot of guests over, chances are they will be wandering around your place and drifting into other rooms whether you like it or not. With the upcoming Klipsch Gate and Powergate amplifiers, you can turn your existing passive or powered Klipsch speaker system into a multi-room system, so that these transient people don’t miss a second of the action.

What is your speaker setup for the Super Bowl? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Upmixing with Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is now. Not years from now. Right now.

While the stream of programming with Dolby® Atmos has only begun to fill the media landscape, you don’t have to wait to experience the the immersive, cinematic sound of Dolby Atmos thanks to “upmixing.”

You will immediately notice the benefits of upmixing compared to standard surround sound during movies as well as musical performances, video games and sporting events.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Dolby Atmos is the biggest advancement in home and cinema audio since surround sound. (Overview + FAQ of Dolby Atmos.)

HOW DOES UPMIXING WORK?

A Dolby Atmos enabled receiver will handle most of the work by recognizing the sound that would typically be sent to the surround channels and sends some of that sound out to the Dolby Atmos elevation channels.

In Dolby’s own words: “The Dolby surround upmixer employs the original soundtrack to create a highly accurate rendering of the environment in the movie while simultaneously honoring and maintaining the artists’ intent for the mix.”

All of the major receiver manufacturers including Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, and Pioneer are making Dolby Atmos enabled receivers that will work with Klipsch Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. Remember, if you need help picking the right receiver, check out our guide on how to find the best receiver for you.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SURROUND SOUND AND UPMIXED DOLBY ATMOS

Upmixing allows you to hear height/elevation effects, creating a much more immersive, true-to-life experience versus traditional surround sound. This isn’t a gimmick. It’s a honest-to-goodness improvement that will reinvigorate your existing movie collection, television programs, video games and music collection.

Dolby says “Unlike previous wideband upmixing technologies, the Dolby surround upmixer operates on multiple perceptually spaced frequency bands for a fine-grained analysis of the source signal. The Dolby surround upmixer can individually steer frequency bands, producing surround sound with precisely located audio elements and a spacious ambience.”

Don’t believe it? We strongly recommend a visit to your local Klipsch dealer who carries Dolby Atmos speakers to test this out for yourself.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UPMIXING AND “PURE” DOLBY ATMOS

“Pure” Dolby Atmos is only possible when source material is encoded (mixed and published) in Dolby Atmos technology. If you are looking at a Blu-Ray, it should be clearly labeled with the Dolby Atmos logo on the disc packaging.

With a “pure” Dolby Atmos mix, you are hearing sound exactly as the (human) sound editor intended it. In order to upmix to Dolby Atmos, an algorithm in the receiver determines which sounds go to the Dolby Atmos channels based on frequency and phase correlation. Essentially, upmixing is a synthesized, yet very effective Dolby Atmos experience that draws from the original 5.1/7.1 mix.

More and more content is being created in Dolby Atmos; however, you will be delighted by the immediate benefits that you will hear by upgrading to a Dolby Atmos setup.

 

Have you had a chance to check out Dolby Atmos? Let us know in the comments!

 

Soundbar vs Surround Sound

Trying to decide between using a soundbar or a home theater system for your home? We’ve listened to your requests and put together this overview to ease your mind and open your ears to the difference in set up and sound quality.

As you know, soundbars are all the rage with their sleek design, easy installation process, wireless set up, and ability to produce a form of surround sound. Does this mean you’ve found a replacement for a separate-piece surround sound system with front, rear, and center speakers? No, of course not. Nothing can replace a full-blown Klipsch home theater setup…BUT a soundbar can be the ideal solution for those seeking an upgrade to their wimpy TV speakers.

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each so you can decide what’s best for you.

Soundbar Overview

Pros:

  • Easy installation and connectivity
  • Minimal wires
  • Modern design
  • Great for small-medium living spaces
  • Excellent virtual sound, which simulates the surround sound experience

Cons:

  • May need to buy separate subwoofer (although many Klipsch systems include a sub, such as our HD Theater SB 3, R-10B Soundbar and R-20B Soundbar)
  • The placement of the soundbar creates specific “sweet spots” in your listening experience
  • Does not produce complete surround sound, especially in larger living environments

Surround Sound System Overview

Pros:

  • Full range surround sound
  • Able to place speakers in multiple stations for optimal acoustics
  • Maximum bass
  • Audiophile theater system presentation

Cons:

  • Most quality systems require running wires from the receiver to each individual speaker
  • Takes up more space
  • More involved installation process
  • More expensive

Q: Does Bigger = Better?

Big speakers may provide the look of a major sound producing machine, but remember, looks can be deceiving. While it is true large speakers have the ability to produce eardrum pounding sound and are an excellent choice for a large room, soundbars and smaller speaker systems are more than capable of producing quality sound. Make an informed decision and learn how to ensure a quality set up by reviewing the following section.

How Do I Compare a Soundbar to a Surround Sound System?

As with any audio product, there are varying levels of quality and associated performance depending on the device. The best soundbars will overpower and outperform the run-of-the-mill surround sound system. So, the question is, what performance standards do you look for? We’ll make this part easy on you. Just refer to the below list on how to understand the specs to find the quality speaker system you desire.

  • Sensitivity

The speakers’ effectiveness of converting power (watts) into volume (decibels). The higher the sensitivity, the less power the speaker needs to deliver the effective sound. To put it quite simply – a higher sensitivity rating = loud, clear, high quality sound.

Speaker

Sensitivity Rating

Power Needed To Produce High Volume

Speaker A

85 dB

100 Watts

Speaker B

89 dB

50 Watts

Speaker C

92 dB

25 Watts

*less power to produce higher volume is key for speaker longevity

  • Frequency Response

The range of frequencies that are audible to humans lies between 20 and 20,000 Hert (Hz). Some of the lowest frequencies (below 35 Hz) are more felt than heard (like an earthquake in an action movie), and are produced by the subwoofer. Review the frequency response range to understand what kind of listening experience you will gain with the associated highs and lows that the speaker produces.

  • Power Handling

How much power, in watts, a speaker can handle before it is damaged. Simply put, the higher the power handling, the more likely you are to piss off the neighbors.

  • Impedance

How much electrical resistance is presented against the current flowing from your outputs. Impedance will fluctuate since the speaker will produce sounds at varying frequencies, but all manufacturers will publish a nominal impedance figure. 8 ohms is the norm, though some speakers can handle a 4ohm load (just make sure your receiver matches this load).

SUMMARY

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions on how to choose the right speaker system. Remember, much of it comes down to personal preference, but be sure to do your homework when it comes to reviewing the specs and associated performance standards of each sound system. We’re sure that either choice will amplify your current set up and make PWK proud.