Audio Guide / FAQ

Dolby® (a pioneer in the world of surround sound) has a really great interactive tool for explaining speaker placement in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. Here's the link . . .

Room Layout and Speaker Placement



We are available to answer your questions via email and our toll free line: 866-HTD-AUDIO (866-483-2834), M-F 8am-6pm Central Time.

When choosing a set of speakers for your home theater, start with the center channel. On average, the center channel reproduces 50% of an entire movie soundtrack and over 90% of the dialogue. Choose a center channel speaker that fits your space as well as your budget.
 
Next, choose the front left and right speakers. Ideally, these should be as close a match sonically to the center channel speaker as possible. The front three speakers create the front soundstage similar to the way a pair of stereo speakers creates the soundstage in stereo music. If the front three speakers are not well matched, the soundstage starts to fall apart- imagine listening to stereo with a large wooden speaker in the left channel and a small plastic speaker in the right channel and you get the idea. So if you select the Level TWO Center Channel speaker, it is best to buy the Level TWO Main speakers in order to achieve the best sonic match and thus the best soundstage. Similarly, if you plan to use an in-wall speaker for the center channel, then your best match for the front left and right channels will come from two other in-wall speakers. If your situation does not allow for a perfectly matched set, you can still achieve decent imaging and panning effects as long as the speakers are not too different. Just be aware that without a matched set you are straying from the best possible audio performance.
 
Moving on to the surround speakers, again, the ideal setup is to use the same speakers in the back left and right as used for the front left and right. However, it is difficult to establish a "side" soundstage between the front and back speakers so having the back speakers match the front speakers is not nearly as important as having the front three match. Often, our customers who choose Level THREE for the front speakers, opt for Level TWO speakers or Middies in the back because of space considerations. The result, while not exact, is perfectly fine because we design these speakers for a similar tone.
 
For similar space and cosmetic reasons, in-wall speakers are often used in the back even though regular cabinet-style speakers are placed in the front. This is also acceptable, just be aware that the tone will be different so you are exchanging a little bit of sound quality for aesthetics. Should you go this route, choose an in-wall speaker that is designed to be as close in tone as possible so that panning effects are not distracting. We recommend using the HD-R65 (high definition round) or HD-W65 (high definition rectangular) when combining with our Level TWO or Level THREE cabinet-style speakers.
 
Finally, a Powered Subwoofer is necessary for reproducing the unique Low Frequency Effects channel recorded in most of today's movies. It can also help augment the lowest frequencies in every channel. We recommend you consider how well the powered subwoofer blends with your main speakers in music listening when selecting the most appropriate sub. Speaker drivers are typically built in the following sizes: 4", 5.25", 6.5", 8", 10", and 12". In general, you'll want to get a powered subwoofer that is 3 "sizes" larger than the driver found in your cabinet-style main speakers (or at least 2 sizes larger than found in your in-wall speakers). That is why our Level TWO Main Speakers (5.25" driver) are best matched with the Level TWO Powered Subwoofer (10" driver), the Level THREE Main Speakers (6.5" driver) are best matched with the Level THREE Powered Subwoofer (12" driver), etc.

A powered subwoofer, by definition, has the amplifier built in. The signal sent from the home theater receiver/processor is therefore a "non-powered" signal that needs to be shielded from its surroundings. Shielding prevents unwanted interference, specifically a 60 Hz "hum" from nearby electrical wires, from being picked up and amplified. We offer a shielded powered subwoofer cable in lengths of 12 feet and 30 feet.

The other speakers in a surround sound setup (front left, center and right plus all of the surround speakers) do not have amplifiers built-in. Instead, they are powered by amplifiers in the home theater receiver. It is difficult for an amplified signal to pick up interference, so regular, unshielded speaker cable will do. We recommend 14 gauge cable because, in our experience, it is difficult to notice an improvement with even thicker cable. When running cable behind a wall or in the ceiling, most building codes will require that you use UL rated CL-3 cable which has a higher fire retardancy than clear jacket cable.

Many people still cling to the idea that a powered subwoofer is only necessary if you are using small bookshelf speakers. While a powered subwoofer can, and usually should be used to assist in the bass reproduction of every channel, its main purpose in home theater is to reproduce the Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel. This channel (the ".1" in a "5.1" or "7.1" recording) was introduced with Dolby Digital and DTS and offers a completely unique conduit for low frequency information and effects. If you don't have a powered subwoofer, you're completely missing out on this exciting stream of low frequency information.

The LFE channel dramatically improves the impact and emotion of scenes in all types of movies. Imagine missing out on the resonance of the approaching T-Rex in Jurasic Park, not feeling the rumble of an earthquake, or missing the low tone that penetrates your body just before the bad guy jumps out at you in a scary movie. Emotion is often conveyed through a movie's soundtrack and a powered subwoofer makes the most impactful low notes really hit home. Invest in a good powered subwoofer- you'll be glad you did.

The center channel speaker is arguably the most important speaker in your system, but not because it reproduces sound any differently, but because in movies the center channel receives 90% of the dialogue. If you plan on using an in-wall speaker for the center channel then we recommend using a single speaker identical to the front left and right speakers for the center channel location. This is the only way to guarantee a 100% perfect “timbre match”, meaning that all three of the front speakers will sound exactly the same.

You might have assumed that a center channel in-wall speaker should look different because most cabinet-style center channels, which are arranged more horizontally then vertically, look different from their comparable "bookshelf" speakers. The reason for this is best understood with a short history of the derivation of the center channel speaker: When speaker manufacturers first started selling surround sound packages the sets were sold with five identical bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer. This inevitably caused complaints about the aesthetics of standing a bookshelf speaker on top of a television. The initial “fix” was to place the logo on the long side of one of the speakers so that the speaker could be positioned horizontally thus providing a lower, more pleasing-to-the-eye, profile.

The problem is that listeners positioned more to the side of the tweeter (which produces the highest frequencies) would hear a "brighter" sound from the center channel speaker than those seated on the woofer (mid and lower frequencies) side. The solution has been to make a more symetrical speaker that contains a woofer on either side of the tweeter. The final result is a lower profile speaker that sounds essentially the same regardless of where you are seated.

With in-wall speakers you will typically experience a major problem trying to fit a horizontal speaker with two woofers and a tweeter into a standard space between studs (approx 14.5"). And while we could design one that would fit, the odds are not good that the speaker would line up centered with your TV. For most people, an in-wall speaker that is positioned vertically does not have any negative aesthetic appeal. In fact, the best overall "look" is often also the best acoustic solution; that is, arrange three identical in-wall speakers (for front left, center, and front right) all in a row at the same height.

The definition of a "transmission line" differs depending on who you ask or what you read. A simple port by some definitions is a type of transmission line. But we distinguish our designs from simple ported designs because we don't just cut a hole in the cabinet and insert a straight plastic tube.

Instead, we build a channel in every cabinet that goes inside the cabinet and up at least aportion of the back wall with a length that is equal to a minimum 1/12 the desired wave length. In same cases this transmission line wraps around inside the cabinet. The difference is obvious in the improved bass performance (both depth and control) of our speakers.

Our longest transmission line, relative to the cabinet size, is seen in our Level TWO Powered Subwoofer. Follow this link and then click on the tab labeled, "More Images": Level Two Powered Subwoofer

We do not publish all of our mechanical drawings because we consider this proprietary, but we do show this cut-away as a good example of a key difference in our cabinet designs.  This feature is only seen in much more expensive brands. Our lower price is simply the result of our business model of selling our products only direct to consumers.

It is also significant to note that all our cabinet-style speakers are "front ported". This design allows you to place your speakers close to, or even directly against, a back wall without negatively impacting bass peformance. While a front port design costs a little more to manufacture, its importance becomes apparent (especially in home theater setups) when determining the location of your speaker.

Source input locations are conveniently located throughout your home! Most whole-house audio systems require all of your components to be located in one centralized area. Lync is different! From any LyncPad keypad, you can choose to listen to audio sources located not only in the central area, but also sources located throughout your home. This page displays three ways to get audio into the Lync system: A) connect directly to the Lync controller, B) connect directly to a LyncPad keypad, and C) connect to a LyncPad via an optional Source Input Panel.
 

A) Control up to six centrally located devices. In addition to Lync's built-in MP3 player, you can connect an additional 5 sources directly into the Lync controller. These 5 sources can be controlled via IR pass-through by aiming the source's remote control (or a common universal remote) at any LyncPad keypad. This is because an IR eye is built into every LyncPad. IR information is routed only to the source selected by the LyncPad. This allows you to connect more than one of the same type of source with common IR commands (such as multiple cable or satellite TV boxes), but only control the one you want. A separate global IR output is included on the back of the Lync controller allowing you to control up to two centrally located IR components that are not even part of your whole-house audio system.
 

B) For extreme convenience connect any device with an analog audio output directly into the LyncPad. This includes standard headphone outputs. So when your friend says you need to hear a new song she just downloaded to her phone, just connect her phone with a short patch cable and the phone's audio is instantly connected to the Lync system and available to all zones. Stereo audio is digitally transferred to the Lync controller at CD-level quality.
 

C) Add a source input location anywhere within each zone. When wiring your system, run a 5-conductor cable (or Cat5/6) behind the wall from the LyncPad to a more convenient source input location. This is usually the best solution for connecting a source more permanently within a zone. While a zone source can only be controlled from within its own zone, it is available for listening in all zones.
 


To the Lync whole-house audio system
The Lync whole-house audio system includes an integrated point to point intercom. Use the Zone buttons and the Talk button (shown below) to communicate with one or all zones.

Select a zone:
Use the Zone buttons (left or right) to select the zone you would like to contact. The display screen will display the phrase “Talk To:” followed by the name of the zone. By default, zones are named “Zone1, Zone 2, Zone 3...”. You can use the Valet Home Control app to customize these names to match your home.
 
With Lync v3 controllers, you also have the option to force a zone to power on when attempting to intitiate a call to a zone that is currently powered off or in DND mode. The intercom microphone is built in to the LyncPad. Hold the Talk button to talk. The other zone communicates in the same way by holding their Talk button. The sound quality is outstanding since the same speakers used in that zone are utilized when using intercom.


Talk to ALL Zones:
Along with the ability to communicate with each of the individual zones, the Lync system allows the user to talk to ALL zones at once. The process is the same as communicating with a single zone except that “ALL” is selected instead of an individual zone.


Good- Use a single stereo amplifier in combination with a speaker selector box with impedance protection turned on. A speaker selector box allows a convenient way to connect multiple pairs of speakers to a single stereo amplifier. Most selector boxes include a switch for turning impedance protection "on" or "off". When turned "on", your receiver will never see an unsafe impedance (most selector boxes prevent the impedance from ever dropping below 5 ohms), regardless of how many speakers you connect. The upside to this type of connection is 1) ease of installation, and 2) the ability to turn zones of speakers (HTD offers speaker selectors for 4 and 8 zones) on and off at the selector box itself without having to worry about impedance issues. The downside is that impedance protection has the effect of "choking" your power, meaning you won't be able to get quite the same volume out of your speakers compared to a set-up that employs impedance matching.

Better- Use a single stereo amplifier in combination with impedance matching volume controls. An impedance matching scheme allows you to get the most out of your amplifier. While a speaker selector box is not mandatory, it is still a good idea as it provides a convenient method for connecting your speakers in parallel. In a carefully planned impedance matching scheme, you will turn the protection switch off thereby ensuring you get the most from your amp. The downside is that you must leave all zones turned on at the selector box so you can only turn zones off at the impedance matching stereo volume control.

Best- The best, albeit more expensive, method for powering a whole-house audio system is to use a dedicated multi-zone amplifier, like our DMA-1240. This multi-use/multi-zone amplifier allows you to select between multiple audio sources for each zone and balance the overall volume level going into each zone. 35 discreet watts of power is provided to each of 12 channels (6 stereo zones) which is more than enough for this type of application. And because the amplifiers are discreet, you can connect up to two 8 ohm speakers into each zone without having to worry about impedance issues. And if you need more power in some zones than in others, side-by-side channels can be bridged to create a single 100 watt channel.

For designs that require more than 4 pairs of speakers spread throughout the home, a multi-channel amplifier is really your best bet. And now, the DMA-1240 makes this upscale option affordable to the do-it-yourself enthusiast.

In all of the above cases (good, better, best) you will likely want to position your whole-house amplifier in close proximity to your existing audio sources, e.g. your home theater equipment. You can use a line level auxiliary output (or preamp output) on your home theater receiver to connect to the line level inputs on a stereo amplifier. In this way, the sources you have connected to your receiver (such as a DVD player, satellite receiver, etc.) can also be played throughout your whole-house audio system. If you use a multi-zone amplifier like our DMA-1240 you can also connect each source directly into the multi-zone amp so that you can have multiple sources playing at the same time and you decide which zone hears each source.

If you are in the market for a new home theater receiver and want to power an extra one or two pair of speakers throughout your home, you should consider purchasing a receiver that can handle both. These receivers will have a minimum of 7 channels of power built-in; 5 channels for home theater, and 2 channels for stereo whole-house audio (note: some 6.1 receivers provide the option of using the sixth channel to power a mono whole-house system, but who wants mono instead of stereo?). Such receivers are usually dual source/dual zone, which means you can play two sources at the same time and choose which zone (home theater zone or stereo zone) hears each source. As an example, the home theater zone can be playing a DVD, while the stereo zone listens to a radio or satellite broadcast. The Denon 3803 is an example of this type of receiver.

Every LyncPad has a built-in IR receiving eye. This IR eye is used to control the LyncPad from its remote control AND to pass IR signals through the Lync controller to other centrally located equipment. The LyncPad's basic functions- source selection, volume up/down, power, mute, DND, and the MP3 functions- can all be controlled from the LyncPad's own remote control. But the IR eye on the LyncPad serves another very important function as well- it passes IR commands from the standard 38K frequency band to the Lync and then on to your other centrally located equipment with the use of the included IR emitters. In other words, you can control a centrally located device simply by pointing the IR remote control for that device at any LyncPad.
 

A central MP3 player for always-available background music. Connect a USB flash drive full of your favorite music and you instantly have the perfect source for background music. The MP3 player is not intended to be your primary music source- use a separate music streamer for that. Instead, the built-in MP3 player works best as an always-available source, with no moving parts, that can play continuously on a loop into areas like courtyards, guest bathrooms, hallways, landscapes, etc.


Control the centrally located MP3 Player from any Lyncpad or within the Valet Home Control app.
 


To the Lync Whole-House Audio System
Rectangular speakers are generally best for in-wall installations and round speakers are most often used in the ceiling. At one time, rectangular speakers tended to sound a little better than their round counterparts primarily because rectangular speakers had more room to include a better crossover (the electronics behind the moving parts that determine which components produce each of the frequencies). Around 1999, we, along with many other high-end manufacturers, began producing semi-circular circuit boards that contained comparable crossover parts and could still fit behind a round speaker. The result is that, for the most part, performance is no longer a factor when choosing between rectangular and round.

Aesthetics is usually the best determinant. Most designers agree that round looks best in the ceiling because people are used to seeing other round items in your ceiling, primarily recessed lighting, so the more inconspicuous than rectangular. It is also easier to install a round speaker in the ceiling because you don't have to be concerned about properly aligning the edges of the speaker with the surrounding walls when cutting the hole.

Also, in most cases, ceiling speakers are mounted into rooms where the primary purpose is "coverage" as opposed to rooms where the goal is to provide a soundstage for a specific listening location. Ceiling speakers will sound the same regardless on which side of the speaker you are standing or sitting because he tweeter is mounted concentrically to the woofer. All HTD in-wall and in-ceiling speakers include a pivoting tweeter that can help make the speaker more directional by aiming the highest frequencies toward the listening area. Lower frequencies spread out more quickly, making it difficult to ascertain the point from which they emanate.

In contrast, rectangular speakers have the tweeter mounted above the woofer (when positioned vertically) or toward the middle of the room (when positioned horizontally). When mounted in a wall, it is easier to achieve a nice stereo image with rectangular speakers than it is with round speakers when the listening position exists directly between the speakers.

So if your room is laid out with a specific listening area, all other considerations being equal, rectangular in-wall speakers are preferred. If the goal instead is to evenly cover an entire room with music, a pair (or two) of round in-ceiling speakers will do the best job.

Click here to purchase HTD speaker cables.
 
HTD Multipurpose in-wall speakers can accept 14 gauge cable but 16 gauge should also work well for most installations where individual lengths are less than 100 feet. The High Defnition in-wall speakers can accept 10 gauge wire, but 14 gauge seems to be the point of diminishing returns for most listeners, i.e. you can spend more money for 10 or 12 gauge cable but you probably won't hear the difference. While clear jacket cable is suitable for most in-room speaker installations, if you are running cable behind a wall or ceiling, you need to use UL Class 3 rated cable to be in compliance with most building codes. Class 3 cable will not degrade in extreme temperatures because it uses an extra plenim sheath to protect the cable. The letters CL3 should be printed somewhere on the sheath.

Good cable will make a difference in the performance of your speakers but you shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to get them. Most speaker cable is simple in design because it carries a hi-level or powered signal so it does not require much "shielding" to protect it from interference and hum. On the other hand, audio interconnect cables transmit a line level or non-powered signal from one component to another (such as from a DVD player to a receiver or from a receiver to a powered subwoofer) and are at high risk for interference and thus require a good amount of shielding.

Good speaker cable should adhere to the following three principles:

1. Oxygen Free Copper should be used. Copper of 99.9% or higher concentration is used in most speaker cable today, but to officially be considered "oxygen free", it should be 99.99% pure. Extra, and more costly, processes are used to get to this level which is one reason speaker cable is more expensive than typical copper cable. Look for the letters "OFC" printed on the cable or packaging. Poor quality copper will deteriorate fairly quickly and the conductivity can be reduced to the point that it is noticeable in the speaker's performance.

2. The thicker the cable, the better. A cable's overall thickness is measured by gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the cable. HTD recommends using 16 gauge or thicker cable. In general, the longer the cable run, the thicker it should be to minimize signal loss. While Level TWO and Level THREE cabinet speakers can handle down to 8 gauge cable, we have found that the point of diminishing returns seems to be around 14 gauge for most listeners. This means that it becomes difficult to justify spending significantly more on thicker cable for the tiny amount of improvement in speaker performance- an improvement most listeners won't detect.

3. The higher number of strands used to produce the gauge of the cable the better. Speaker cable typically consists of many small wires twisted together. Because electrons flow along the surface area of the copper wire, more surface area means less signal loss. And more strands means more surface area. Further, something called "gap flux" that occurs between strands needs to be minimized and the closer together the strands the smaller the gap flux.

HTD offers a complete line of quality speaker cable that excels in all three points discussed above.

Many people still cling to the idea that a powered subwoofer is only necessary if you are using small bookshelf speakers. While a powered subwoofer can, and usually should be used to assist in the bass reproduction of every channel, its main purpose in home theater is to reproduce the Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel. This channel (the ".1" in a "5.1" or "7.1" recording) was introduced with Dolby Digital and DTS and offers a completely unique conduit for low frequency information and effects. If you don't have a powered subwoofer, you're completely missing out on this exciting stream of low frequency information.

The LFE channel dramatically improves the impact and emotion of scenes in all types of movies. Imagine missing out on the resonance of the approaching T-Rex in Jurasic Park, not feeling the rumble of an earthquake, or missing the low tone that penetrates your body just before the bad guy jumps out at you in a scary movie. Emotion is often conveyed through a movie's soundtrack and a powered subwoofer makes the most impactful low notes really hit home. Invest in a good powered subwoofer- you'll be glad you did.

When choosing a set of speakers for your home theater, start with the center channel. On average, the center channel reproduces 50% of an entire movie soundtrack and over 90% of the dialogue. Choose a center channel speaker that fits your space as well as your budget.

Next, choose the front left and right speakers. Ideally, these should be as close a match sonically to the center channel speaker as possible. The front three speakers create the front soundstage similar to the way a pair of stereo speakers creates the soundstage in stereo music. If the front three speakers are not well matched, the soundstage starts to fall apart- imagine listening to stereo with a large wooden speaker in the left channel and a small plastic speaker in the right channel and you get the idea. So if you select the Level TWO Center Channel speaker, it is best to buy the Level TWO Main speakers in order to achieve the best sonic match and thus the best soundstage. Similarly, if you plan to use an in-wall speaker for the center channel, then your best match for the front left and right channels will come from two other in-wall speakers. If your situation does not allow for a perfectly matched set, you can still achieve decent imaging and panning effects as long as the speakers are not too different. Just be aware that without a matched set you are straying from the best possible audio performance.

Moving on to the surround speakers, again, the ideal setup is to use the same speakers in the back left and right as used for the front left and right. However, it is difficult to establish a "side" soundstage between the front and back speakers so having the back speakers match the front speakers is not nearly as important as having the front three match. Often, our customers who choose Level THREE for the front speakers, opt for Level TWO speakers or Middies in the back because of space considerations. The result, while not exact, is perfectly fine because we design these speakers for a similar tone.

For similar space and cosmetic reasons, in-wall speakers are often used in the back even though regular cabinet-style speakers are placed in the front. This is also acceptable, just be aware that the tone will be different so you are exchanging a little bit of sound quality for aesthetics. Should you go this route, choose an in-wall speaker that is designed to be as close in tone as possible so that panning effects are not distracting. We recommend using the HD-R65 (high definition round) or HD-W65 (high definition rectangular) when combining with our Level TWO or Level THREE cabinet-style speakers.

Finally, a Powered Subwoofer is necessary for reproducing the unique Low Frequency Effects channel recorded in most of today's movies. It can also help augment the lowest frequencies in every channel. We recommend you consider how well the powered subwoofer blends with your main speakers in music listening when selecting the most appropriate sub. Speaker drivers are typically built in the following sizes: 4", 5.25", 6.5", 8", 10", and 12". In general, you'll want to get a powered subwoofer that is 3 "sizes" larger than the driver found in your cabinet-style main speakers (or at least 2 sizes larger than found in your in-wall speakers). That is why our Level TWO Main Speakers (5.25" driver) are best matched with the Level TWO Powered Subwoofer (10" driver), the Level THREE Main Speakers (6.5" driver) are best matched with the Level THREE Powered Subwoofer (12" driver), etc.
Rectangular speakers are generally best for in-wall installations and round speakers are most often used in the ceiling. At one time, rectangular speakers tended to sound a little better than their round counterparts primarily because rectangular speakers had more room to include a better crossover (the electronics behind the moving parts that determine which components produce each of the frequencies). Around 1999, we, along with many other high-end manufacturers, began producing semi-circular circuit boards that contained comparable crossover parts and could still fit behind a round speaker. The result is that, for the most part, performance is no longer a factor when choosing between rectangular and round.

Aesthetics is usually the best determinant. Most designers agree that round looks best in the ceiling because people are used to seeing other round items in your ceiling, primarily recessed lighting, so the more inconspicuous than rectangular. It is also easier to install a round speaker in the ceiling because you don't have to be concerned about properly aligning the edges of the speaker with the surrounding walls when cutting the hole.

Also, in most cases, ceiling speakers are mounted into rooms where the primary purpose is "coverage" as opposed to rooms where the goal is to provide a soundstage for a specific listening location. Ceiling speakers will sound the same regardless on which side of the speaker you are standing or sitting because he tweeter is mounted concentrically to the woofer. All HTD in-wall and in-ceiling speakers include a pivoting tweeter that can help make the speaker more directional by aiming the highest frequencies toward the listening area. Lower frequencies spread out more quickly, making it difficult to ascertain the point from which they emanate.

In contrast, rectangular speakers have the tweeter mounted above the woofer (when positioned vertically) or toward the middle of the room (when positioned horizontally). When mounted in a wall, it is easier to achieve a nice stereo image with rectangular speakers than it is with round speakers when the listening position exists directly between the speakers.

So if your room is laid out with a specific listening area, all other considerations being equal, rectangular in-wall speakers are preferred. If the goal instead is to evenly cover an entire room with music, a pair (or two) of round in-ceiling speakers will do the best job.
In a whole-house audio setup, small rooms, bathrooms, hallways, etc. often only have room for one speaker. While you can't achieve stereo imaging from a single speaker, there are two ways you can still hear both the left and right channel of a stereo recording:

1.) If your whole-house audio setup includes one of our multi-channel amplifiers, we include a feature for "merged stereo". This setting allows you to "sum" the left and right channel of information at the amplifier before sending the amplified signal to a regular, single in-ceiling or in-wall speaker. In this situation, you run two-conductor cable from the amplifier to the speaker. If you are installing a stereo volume control in between the amplifier and the speaker, you will only use either the left or right input and output on the volume control.

Please note: If you are using the multi-channel amplifier in combination with just one or two sources, then every channel on the multi-channel amplifier can be set up for "merged stereo". However, if you are using the multi-channel amplifier with a more Advanced Setup that includes a separate controller for switching between more than two sources, then only two of the zones for each multi-channel amplifier can be set up for merged stereo. Please contact us by phone for further explanation.

2.) If you are using a more basic whole-house audio setup where a single stereo amplifier is used to power all of the speakers in the home, then you will need to install a special stereo in-ceiling speaker in every room that just has one speaker. The MP-S65 is our only speaker model that accepts both the left and right channel of information. The MP-S65 includes two tweeters (one for the left channel and one for the right) and a dual voice coil woofer (one for the left and one for the right). For this speaker, you run four-conductor cable from the stereo amplifier to the speaker: positive and negative for the left channel; and positive and negative for the right channel. If you are installing a stereo volume control in between the amplifier and the speaker, you will use both the left and right inputs and outputs on the volume control, just as if you were connecting to two speakers.

Our MP (Multi Purpose) line of speakers offer great quality and produce a very nice sound, similar to speakers you might find at Best Buy only at a fraction of the cost.We designed this line with polypropylene cones, a silk dome (not just a fabric "soft" dome) tweeter, and a nice crossover.These are very similar to something like the Polk RC series with a few additional features that Polk does not offer on their RC line, such as the +/-3dB switch for the tweeter which allows the speaker to be slightly customized for your room or when matching the sound to other speakers in the room. This product line was primarily designed for general listening applications, such as whole house audio or background/ambient music. All of our in-wall and ceiling speakers have high power handling which means they will not distort at volume levels higher than most people will ever listen to.

The HD (High Definition) line is more similar to a custom-install brand, such as Niles or Speakercraft, and was designed more specifically for critical listening applications. This includes home theater/surround sound rooms and dedicated listening rooms. The HD line was designed with aluminum woofers, ceramic-coated aluminum tweeters, and a 2nd order crossover.The lighter weight and stiffness of the aluminum drivers allows for a quicker, more accurate response from the woofer. Our ceramic-coated tweeter provides all of the crispness of other high quality metal dome tweeters with the added benefit of no ringing or harshness due to the ceramic coating. The end result is that the HD line produces a cleaner, more detailed and more accurate reproduction of sound than the MP line.

The HD line is also more flexible in its applications. In addition to a +/-3dB switch on the tweeter, the HD line also offers a +/-3dB switch on the woofer giving the listener even more flexibility for adjusting the tone to accomodate room anamolies or the listener's personal taste. With its aluminum components and powder coated aluminum grille, the HD line is also well suited for high moisture environments, such as bathrooms and even covered areas outdoors. As a result, we took the extra steps of gel-coating the electrical components on the crossovers and using stainless steel mounting hardware to make them truly weather-proof.

Both the HD and MP lines come ready for easy installation and can be painted to match any decor. All of our speakers include a 30-day guarantee and 5-year warranty.

HTD speakers are only for sale directly from us, the manufacturer. Our prices are low because we do not use sales reps, or sell through distributors, dealers or retailers.

We believe, and most audiophiles agree, the best listening environment for evaluating any speaker is in your own setting. While listening rooms at retail stores are good for narrowing the field, your final decision really should be made after listening to the speakers in your own home with your own equipment. HTD encourages its customers to do as much research as possible with other brands and then take advantage of our 30-day Guarantee to see how our speakers compare. Nothing in the same price range will come close to the quality of our components, the build and finish of our cabinets, and most importantly the overall performance in home theater and music. In most cases, if you don't agree that HTD offers the absolute best value in home audio, we'll send you prepaid shipping labels to get the speakers back and we'll issue a full refund, including your initial cost of shipping. Click here for complete details.

Of course, if you are in the Dallas, Texas area, we'd love to give you a personal demo at our headquarters in the Plano Tech Center. Please call in advance to schedule an appointment- toll free 866-HTD-AUDIO. Our address can be found at the bottom of the About Us page.

The definition of a "transmission line" differs depending on who you ask or what you read. A simple port by some definitions is a type of transmission line. But we distinguish our designs from simple ported designs because we don't just cut a hole in the cabinet and insert a straight plastic tube.

Instead, we build a channel in every cabinet that goes inside the cabinet and up at least aportion of the back wall with a length that is equal to a minimum 1/12 the desired wave length. In same cases this transmission line wraps around inside the cabinet. The difference is obvious in the improved bass performance (both depth and control) of our speakers.

Our longest transmission line, relative to the cabinet size, is seen in our Level TWO Powered Subwoofer. Follow this link and then click on the tab labeled, "More Images": Level Two Powered Subwoofer

We do not publish all of our mechanical drawings because we consider this proprietary, but we do show this cut-away as a good example of a key difference in our cabinet designs.  This feature is only seen in much more expensive brands. Our lower price is simply the result of our business model of selling our products only direct to consumers.

It is also significant to note that all our cabinet-style speakers are "front ported". This design allows you to place your speakers close to, or even directly against, a back wall without negatively impacting bass peformance. While a front port design costs a little more to manufacture, its importance becomes apparent (especially in home theater setups) when determining the location of your speaker.

All of our in-wall and ceiling speakers can be installed in drop down ceilings in much the same way as if into dry-wall. Cutting the hole is a little more tricky since if you go too fast, it is possible to crack the panel.

But the most important thing to remember is to make sure that you have a sheet of bat insulation above the drop-down ceiling. If there is not one present, it is a good idea to cut a piece (typically 2' x 4') to lay over the back of the panel. If for some reason, you cannot lift the panel to insert the insulation, then you should be able to squeeze a 2' x 2' section through the hole that you cut.

The back of the speaker will touch this insulation and that is exactly what you want. This will significantly improve bass performance and help drastically reduce sound being carried where you don't want it.
All of our in-wall and ceiling speakers can be painted to match your decor. This includes the plastic frame as well as the powder coated aluminum grille. For best results, follow these instructions:

The plastic frame can be painted with a brush, but spraying on the paint usually provides the most even result. The grilles should ONLY BE SPRAYED as you do not want to fill in the grille holes. You can find a spray bottle with a compressed air canister at most paint stores that allows you to mix your own paint. "Preval" is a common brand an they are usually less than $10.

Every pair of our in-wall or in-ceiling speakers includes a cardboard template with a cut-out that can be used as a paint shield for the speaker. With the grille off, you place this shield inside the frame of the speaker covering the components. This protects them while they are being sprayed. Note that it is not intended that the speakers be installed when they are painted- it is better to line them up on some old news paper, paint cloth, etc., lay the shields inside each speaker and then spray.

The grilles require extra care when painting them. You will need to dilute the paint with about 50% water and do only one or two light sprays. You do not want to "fill in" the holes in the grille or performance will be diminished. Another nice trick is to drop each grille, paint side up, about 10 inches (again on to news paper or a paint cloth) right after they've been sprayed. This will force any paint trapped in the holes to drop through.

Installation instructions and tips are included in the Owner's Manual for each speaker.
When installing an in-wall (or ceiling) speaker into a wall inside your home which is also an exterior wall, follow the installation steps in the Owner's Manual as instructed, but note the difference in how you handle insulation with a paper barrier.

With an external wall, typically the insulation will include a paper barrier located toward the inside of the house. The speaker will not perform to its potential if the back of the speaker is pressed up against this paper.

Instead, the back of the speaker should be pressed directly into the insulation material. With an exterior wall, the best way to achieve this is to peel away the paper that is exposed to the hole cut in the wall. This ensures that the soundwave coming off of the back of the speaker is properly "dampened" and that enough volume of air is located behind it.

If you are concerned about cutting into the barrier, alternatively you can usually push in another piece of bat insulation (with no barrier) through the hole and positioned between the speaker and the paper barrier. A two foot section can usually be forced through the hole and spread properly, but the more insulation the better as it increases the volume of air trapped behind. The amount of air trapped behind a speaker has a significant impact on overall performance, especially in the mid and lower bass frequencies.
Click here if you are installing one of our High Definition in-wall/ceiling speaker.

Click here if you are installing one of our Multi-Purpose in-wall/ceiling speaker.
Rectangular speakers are generally best for in-wall installations and round speakers are most often used in the ceiling. At one time, rectangular speakers tended to sound a little better than their round counterparts primarily because rectangular speakers had more room to include a better crossover (the electronics behind the moving parts that determine which components produce each of the frequencies). Around 1999, we, along with many other high-end manufacturers, began producing semi-circular circuit boards that contained comparable crossover parts and could still fit behind a round speaker. The result is that, for the most part, performance is no longer a factor when choosing between rectangular and round.

Aesthetics is usually the best determinant. Most designers agree that round looks best in the ceiling because people are used to seeing other round items in your ceiling, primarily recessed lighting, so the more inconspicuous than rectangular. It is also easier to install a round speaker in the ceiling because you don't have to be concerned about properly aligning the edges of the speaker with the surrounding walls when cutting the hole.

Also, in most cases, ceiling speakers are mounted into rooms where the primary purpose is "coverage" as opposed to rooms where the goal is to provide a soundstage for a specific listening location. Ceiling speakers will sound the same regardless on which side of the speaker you are standing or sitting because he tweeter is mounted concentrically to the woofer. All HTD in-wall and in-ceiling speakers include a pivoting tweeter that can help make the speaker more directional by aiming the highest frequencies toward the listening area. Lower frequencies spread out more quickly, making it difficult to ascertain the point from which they emanate.

In contrast, rectangular speakers have the tweeter mounted above the woofer (when positioned vertically) or toward the middle of the room (when positioned horizontally). When mounted in a wall, it is easier to achieve a nice stereo image with rectangular speakers than it is with round speakers when the listening position exists directly between the speakers.

So if your room is laid out with a specific listening area, all other considerations being equal, rectangular in-wall speakers are preferred. If the goal instead is to evenly cover an entire room with music, a pair (or two) of round in-ceiling speakers will do the best job.

Click here to purchase HTD speaker cables.
 
HTD Multipurpose in-wall speakers can accept 14 gauge cable but 16 gauge should also work well for most installations where individual lengths are less than 100 feet. The High Defnition in-wall speakers can accept 10 gauge wire, but 14 gauge seems to be the point of diminishing returns for most listeners, i.e. you can spend more money for 10 or 12 gauge cable but you probably won't hear the difference. While clear jacket cable is suitable for most in-room speaker installations, if you are running cable behind a wall or ceiling, you need to use UL Class 3 rated cable to be in compliance with most building codes. Class 3 cable will not degrade in extreme temperatures because it uses an extra plenim sheath to protect the cable. The letters CL3 should be printed somewhere on the sheath.

Good cable will make a difference in the performance of your speakers but you shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to get them. Most speaker cable is simple in design because it carries a hi-level or powered signal so it does not require much "shielding" to protect it from interference and hum. On the other hand, audio interconnect cables transmit a line level or non-powered signal from one component to another (such as from a DVD player to a receiver or from a receiver to a powered subwoofer) and are at high risk for interference and thus require a good amount of shielding.

Good speaker cable should adhere to the following three principles:

1. Oxygen Free Copper should be used. Copper of 99.9% or higher concentration is used in most speaker cable today, but to officially be considered "oxygen free", it should be 99.99% pure. Extra, and more costly, processes are used to get to this level which is one reason speaker cable is more expensive than typical copper cable. Look for the letters "OFC" printed on the cable or packaging. Poor quality copper will deteriorate fairly quickly and the conductivity can be reduced to the point that it is noticeable in the speaker's performance.

2. The thicker the cable, the better. A cable's overall thickness is measured by gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the cable. HTD recommends using 16 gauge or thicker cable. In general, the longer the cable run, the thicker it should be to minimize signal loss. While Level TWO and Level THREE cabinet speakers can handle down to 8 gauge cable, we have found that the point of diminishing returns seems to be around 14 gauge for most listeners. This means that it becomes difficult to justify spending significantly more on thicker cable for the tiny amount of improvement in speaker performance- an improvement most listeners won't detect.

3. The higher number of strands used to produce the gauge of the cable the better. Speaker cable typically consists of many small wires twisted together. Because electrons flow along the surface area of the copper wire, more surface area means less signal loss. And more strands means more surface area. Further, something called "gap flux" that occurs between strands needs to be minimized and the closer together the strands the smaller the gap flux.

HTD offers a complete line of quality speaker cable that excels in all three points discussed above.

HTD speakers are only for sale directly from us, the manufacturer. Our prices are low because we do not use sales reps, or sell through distributors, dealers or retailers.

We believe, and most audiophiles agree, the best listening environment for evaluating any speaker is in your own setting. While listening rooms at retail stores are good for narrowing the field, your final decision really should be made after listening to the speakers in your own home with your own equipment. HTD encourages its customers to do as much research as possible with other brands and then take advantage of our 30-day Guarantee to see how our speakers compare. Nothing in the same price range will come close to the quality of our components, the build and finish of our cabinets, and most importantly the overall performance in home theater and music. In most cases, if you don't agree that HTD offers the absolute best value in home audio, we'll send you prepaid shipping labels to get the speakers back and we'll issue a full refund, including your initial cost of shipping. Click here for complete details.

Of course, if you are in the Dallas, Texas area, we'd love to give you a personal demo at our headquarters in the Plano Tech Center. Please call in advance to schedule an appointment- toll free 866-HTD-AUDIO. Our address can be found at the bottom of the About Us page.

If you live near our facility in Plano, Texas you can pick up your order between 8am and 6pm Central time, Monday-Friday. It is best to place your order by phone but you can also place your order online and write "Hold for Pickup" in the shippng address and then contact us with the time you plan to drop by.
 
And while you're at our facility, we will be happy to demo any of our products in our showroom. If you'd like, bring your own music or even a competitor's product. We always enjoy visiting with our customers and showing off our speakers.
 
Our complete address is:
Home Theater Direct, Inc.
1000 Shiloh Rd., #100
Plano, TX 75074
972-312-9972
 
Map and Directions


We look forward to meeting you!

HTD only ships to the USA and Canada. International orders are sometimes accepted under the following conditions:

1.) Payment requires a verified USA credit card or PayPal account, or a wire transfer to our bank account.

2.) You set up a USA shipping address through BongoUS.com that will then forward the order to your internatonal address. We provide a link for establishing a Bongo account near the bottom of our online shopping cart. It is a mostly orange icon. You may want to visit www.bongous.com where you can use their Landed Cost Calculator to estimate the total cost of delivery to your door.