How to Build Your Dream Hi-Fi or Home Theater System

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
We’re often asked how to build a stereo or home theater system. Where do you start? In this article, we discuss the strategies for building your dream audiophile hi-fi or home theater system, including defining your goals, setting a budget, and planning to achieve the best outcome.

It's important to remember the process of putting together a system can be complicated, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy years of listening pleasure without a few missteps. Whatever you do, try to have fun and remember that this is not life-or-death — it’s a hobby, and one that we’re lucky to participate in at any level.


Read: How to Build Your Dream Hi-Fi or Home Theater System
 
MigMeisterGeneral

MigMeisterGeneral

Audiophyte
Hello Jacob,

Thank you for the article. I appreciate your advice about considering the motivation end goal - personal listening, home entertaining etc. as well as keeping the setup and layout in mind.

Your article underscores the importance of thinking things through - something I hadn't done when I bought my first stereo system as a young man. I believed that bigger was better and impulsively bought a cheap receiver and huge 3-way, big box store, twin tower set of speakers. They were loud, with muddy, bloated bass and an unwieldly aesthetic - and there just was no space in the first house I later bought with my wife in NY.

We were looking at flat screen TV's and found that they were a couple of thousand dollars for a big screen with crappy sound. With a little bit of research I figured out that we could counter that cost with a basic HT setup: an Epson projector + screen , the Energy Take 5.1 system and a Yamaha RX-V477 to handle it.
A modest setup to be sure but it was very enjoyable.

Over the years, I've learned more, beefing up the speakers (looking for far more than just size), added a pair of sealed subs, and purchased a newer AVR. Our house in Texas gives us a little more room, but I have also learned more nuance in the setup - like how to keep the equipment present but discreet, keeping wire runs neat (or hidden altogether as needed). We have more power, and clearer, dynamic sound but it's in harmony with the environment.

I agree that proper planning is as much part of a satisfying media experience as procuring cool equipment.
 
Tankini

Tankini

Senior Audioholic
Wish I had internet back when I first started down this rabbit hole for proper planning and research at the very least. I've spent enough on this audio/video, could've brought a new car for sure. Now that I have internet and a whole lot of much better knowledge of audio,gear,speakers. Still learning, still doing more research and now I've taking up the mantle of researching video, aka HDTV OLED, QDOLED, QDLED, Etc.
There are just as many tradeoffs with video as with audio. Speaking of HD Video TV, you do get what you pay for when it comes to a TV. As of now today, a 55" or bigger screen size tv, you will have to spend 1k and more for a good enough HDTV. I want a flagship OLED at 3500 plus tax which I can do, but dam this rabbit hole is deep! But it's awesome fun!

Wish I had Genes website when I first started with this audio/video. Sure they had audio magazines back in the day, those audio magazines paled in comparison to Genes "Audioholics" website
 
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isolar8001

isolar8001

Audioholic General
Wish I had internet back when I first started down this rabbit hole for proper planning and research at the very least. I've spent enough on this audio/video, could've brought a new car for sure. Now that I have internet and a whole lot of much better knowledge of audio,gear,speakers. Still learning, still doing more research and now I've taking up the mantle of researching video, aka HDTV OLED, QDOLED, QDLED, Etc.
There are just as many tradeoffs with video as with audio. Speaking of HD Video TV, you do get what you pay for when it comes to a TV. As of now today, a 55" or bigger screen size tv, you will have to spend 1k and more for a good enough HDTV. I want a flagship OLED at 3500 plus tax which I can do, but dam this rabbit hole is deep! But it's awesome fun!

Wish I had Genes website when I first started with this audio/video. Sure they had audio magazines back in the day, those audio magazines paled in comparison to Genes "Audioholics" website
I remember when returning speakers you didn't like was akin to visiting The Godfather and asking for a favor...maybe he will help you, maybe he won't. :)
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
Great article thanks. A good list to think about when setting up a music or home theatre system. Advice I would share based on my experience is to get equipment you can buy, try in your home and return for no or little cost, if you’re not satisfied with the how it sounds. I believe there’s no best equipment including speakers. What’s best is what sounds and looks good to you (and possibly your family) in your room and within your budget. Most importantly, enjoy the journey. It’s a great hobby.
 
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