What is home audio?

What's home audio?  
Home audio can refer to any audio feature installed in your home.
Photo courtesy of Lauri Rantana, used under the CC BY 2.0 license.

Home audio is different for every individual and really depends on your circumstances and needs. In the simplest terms, 'home audio' refers to the sound systems that you install in your home. This can include anything from an iPod dock, all the way up to a custom installed 7.1 surround sound system, with speakers built in behind a projector screen in your home theatre, music piped around the house using in-ceiling speakers and a waterproofed outdoor audio - all feeding from any number of different audio sources.

What's right for my home?

Regardless of whether you want to be able to hear customised iPod playlists in every room in your house, kick back and listen to your old vinyl collection, or watch a movie with room-rumbling explosions and cars screeching around you, there should be a combination of elements that will suit your needs.

When you're planning for audio in your house, start by asking yourself what you want to achieve. Do you want high-quality audio with speakers that don’t conflict with your minimalist décor? Do you need to be able to play music simultaneously in the kids’ bedroom and the garden, but not in the kitchen? Or are you more concerned with having perfectly balanced audio in your home theatre, which will sound just as good no matter where you choose to sit?

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Some of the questions you will need to consider include:

  • Where in the house do I need audio?
  • Do I need surround sound?
  • What kinds of audio sources do I need?
  • How loud does my audio need to be?
  • How much ambient noise is there?
  • Do I need soundproofing?
  • How will my furniture interfere with the sound?
  • Do I want the speakers to be visible?

Budget, design and priorities

Getting the right setup depends on many different things - and the setup you end up with is as much a matter of what you're willing to pay as it is a matter of how serious you are.

Audio design is a science in its own right, and for a properly planned system, your best bet is to consult a custom installer or audio-visual design expert, who will be able to design a solution that suits your exact needs and which will perfectly complement your home. When it's planned and installed properly, home audio works effortlessly and can add tremendously to your house's comfort and ambience.

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