Even more so than displays, an audio system can be incredibly multifaceted. For a full audio setup you’ll need a quality receiver (THX certification strongly recommended), at least 5 to 7 standard speakers (center, front, surround, rear), and one or more subs.
For receivers I greatly prefer Onkyo, then depending on the size on room you’ll be filling with surround sound, pick the THX certification that fits your needs. Higher certifications really just increase the size of the room that they’re certified for, so if you’re not going off the wall and building an actual theater you can probably get away with the smallest certification (which is what I run)!
I’ve had non-THX certified receivers for years now, but for my latest one I finally bit the bullet and splurged a bit, and boy am I glad I did. The THX certification (at least with Onkyo receivers) brings with it oodles of handy tools and settings that have greatly streamlined my surround sound setup and configuration. Simply put, I will never buy another non-THX certified receiver!
Of course, the fanciest receiver in the world wont mean diddly if you don’t have a good set of speakers that it is driving. To that end I really enjoy nice big tower speakers. Each have a full suite of small, medium, and large speakers for a full range of sound. At present my speakers themselves are not THX certified (I went with a cheaper set of Polk speakers). I can’t say whether or not I should have went a step up and got THX certification or not, but money was tight at the time and these were a definite improvement over my jury rigged setup I had been running for a decade before.
A caveat here. While easy, I would definitely recommend staying away from “theater in a box” type kits. Take some time, do some reading and research a receiver and speakers that will fit your needs. I’m fairly certain you’ll enjoy what you get much more than if you were to just “settle” for a quick setup!
To get you on your way, take a look at the “least expensive” Onkyo offerings that support THX certification. My current receiver is the TX-SR608. It is now about two generations old. The TX-NR609 replaced it, and it itself is about to be replaced by the upcoming TX-NR616.
Any of these receivers should likely be more than enough audio technology for most setups, and definitely for those of you just starting out in the surround sound audio realm (welcome to the party!).
More To Come in the Mark 2 Omnis-System Guide!
I’ve ran out of time. I’ll be adding additional sections for keyboards, mice, networking gear and the like. As the main guide is completed I published this as is. Please check back if you’re interested in more content. As as stated above I hope to expand these sections even further when I complete my Mark 2 guide following the full release of Ivy Bridge and the GeForce 600 series!
April 22, 12012 HE — Cleared out sections I just haven’t had time to flesh out as I have begun working on my Mark 2 Guide!
April 9, 12012 HE — Formating cleaned up. Some grammar and other fixes throughout. Updated Display and Audio Addendum sections!
April 8, 12012 HE — Guide Published. Some formatting to clean up and some additions to the Addendum needed!