November 01, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
5. Floorstanding and Soundbar Speakers
The types of speakers being incorporated into media rooms is changing, too. Berman sees a trend in people using floorstanding and bookshelf speakers rather than in-wall speakers. The media room is still a special destination room, so users want a good experience. In-wall speakers are great if you want to hide all of the equipment, but floorstanding and surface-mounted on-wall speakers produce the clearest audio. Stereo East usually recommends a quality digital-to-audio converter (DAC) with each audio system to improve the fidelity of digital music files.
Paradigm Studio 60 tower speaker
Atlantic Technology’s Peter Tribeman notes a strong move toward soundbars, as well. People may think that soundbars are more about looks than sound, but Tribeman says today’s best soundbars approach the quality of full-range speakers and can be easier to integrate into the home. Entry-level and midrange home theater-in-a-box systems are giving way to soundbar/subwoofer systems because they offer an easy way to fill a room with audio. Built-in audio processing, Bluetooth, wireless subwoofers and one-remote operation are making those systems attractive options for people looking to upgrade from poor-sounding TV speakers.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.