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We aim to answer your questions on how to install a home cinema? What are the Best Speakers 2022? What is the Best Turntable 2022?

Unable to Access BBC Radio on SONOS

Here's the official solution to being unable to access BBC Radio Stations on SONOS.

BBC Live Radio No Longer Available on SONOS Radio or TuneIn!!!

Have you noticed you can no longer find BBC radio stations on SONOS Radio or TuneIn? Don’t stress, it’s not you, it’s them!

BBC has extracted itself from this format and has gone
all BBC Sounds App on us.

We’ve got you covered though.
Below are the instructions on how to reinstate your love of the Archers, Scoring awfully on Ken Bruces Popmaster, Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Women’s Hour, Classics on BBC Radio 3. etc. etc
(we’ll be here all day if I have to list them all!)

 

To listen to BBC Radio stations, podcasts and music mixes from the BBC, you’ll need to add the BBC sounds App to your SONOS system.

Below are the directions on how to do this.

On your iPhone, Apple Device or Android device firstly Open your SONOS App.

iOS or Android:

  1. Open the SONOS app.

  2. From the Settings tab, tap Services & Voice.

  3. Under Music & Content, tap Add a Service.

  4. Tap on BBC Sounds

  5. Tap Add to SONOS.

  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to add the music service account.

BBC Radio & SONOS
BBC Radio & SONOS

What is Dolby Atmos? & What are the Benefits?

WHAT IS DOLBY ATMOS?

Immerse yourself in a bubble of surround sound


Originally Dolby Atmos was in the presence of high-end cinema systems, but the changes in technology, the price point of Home Cinema Systems, the availability of speakers has changed this desired technology into an off the shelf solution for any aspiring home cinema system.
This is somewhat helped by the creation of blockbuster films using fully immersive technology to drive this revolution in home cinema sound.
I can’t think of many modern action films from producers like Marvel, Disney, Amazon, Netflix that aren’t including sound mastered with Dolby Atmos as part of their presentation?
So, What is Dolby Atmos?
Atmos is, in Dolby’s own words is “the most significant development in cinema audio since surround sound.”
Atmos was first developed in 2012, whereas Home Cinemas were based around a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup, with the main front centre speaker providing most of the leg work, and all other speakers being surround speakers. These systems played sounds around the room to immerse the listener into feeling part of the set/movie/show, creating a bubble style of sound.
Dolby Atmos uses technology within the amplifier/tv/system to produce up to 118 simultaneous sound objects to a specific point/location with the room. Can you imagine the sound designer’s ability to place a specific sound within a specific location within the room you are in! This creates a sound field within your room, where a sound can be moved, placed and manipulated to create a fully immersive 3 dimensional sound! Just like real life.
How many speakers can I have in a Dolby Atmos Setup?
This is seriously impressive! If you have the space or you are a commercial cinema, your system can have up to 400 speakers! For a typical home Cinema system, you can start the Dolby Experience with far less impact to your wallet or room with 7 Speakers.
For instance, adding two upward-firing speakers which sit on top of the front left and Right floor-standing speakers can be your starting point, or adding two or four in-ceiling speakers will give your system that Dolby Atmos lift (assuming your amplifier can create that Dolby Atmos Environment). 

How to build a Dolby Atmos System

Many manufacturers of Televisions, Media Players, Wireless Speaker Systems are providing a Dolby Atmos experience using a technique of Virtualisation. These systems enable you to get the Dolby Atmos experience without having to install quantities of speakers, without having to run cables.
Sure, they aren’t like the dedicated Atmos systems, but they’ll present you with a Dolby experience that you’d not appreciated before.
Upward Firing speakers from various manufacturers placed on top of your existing tower or bookshelf front speakers enable us to provide an add on to your existing systems. These work by firing the sound upwards to the ceiling, which is bounced back to the listener/room thus creating the in-ceiling speaker artificial-overhead effect.
If you plan on designing your home cinema system with a dedicated speaker package, then you must make sure the AV Receiver can decode Dolby Atmos soundtracks. Modern receivers have this capability, but it’s worth contacting us so we can check this for you.
Some of the less expensive AV Receivers use a system called Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization which simulates the overhead sound experience of Atmos through speakers at listener-level.

What Dolby Atmos content is available?

Many of the Streaming providers are featuring Dolby Atmos in their content. This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney and AppleTV. 
Terrestrial Television and Satellite TV from the BBC, ITV, SkyQ and other channels are broadcast with Dolby Atmos (but it’s worth checking the schedule). 
Why should I install a Dolby Atmos system?
This is your home cinema, your family entertainment space, your place to sit and watch your favourite film, series, episode or sport. Why wouldn’t you want to experience the feeling of being in the environment, in the stadium, or dodging the bullets in an action movie?
Dolby Atmos has become a standard that’s easy to include in your home cinema system without the need to spend thousands on lots of new equipment,

Written by Andrew Bissett
Sounds With Vision Ltd

How much does a home cinema cost

Part of our "You ask, We'll answer" series

HOW MUCH DOES A HOME CINEMA COST?

Firstly, to answer the holy grail of Home Cinema questions which has so many options available you, it’s worth considering what you are trying to achieve.

Many of our clients come to us with an idea of what they like, this ranges from the size and shape of the room, what your listening pleasure is and how you want it to look, i.e hidden, on wall, floor standing, etc.

So, we’ll try to address each of the options, and help you make an informed decision on how to cost your home cinema requirement.

If at any point, you need our help, were always available on email or telephone to help with these choices.

So, the first questions you need to ask yourself: Is your room currently your lounge that you want to add a home cinema system to? If so, you may already have a HD Television, or are unsure what TV to buy? Or are you looking for a dedicated room specifically for Home Entertainment, in which case, you may want a dedicated projector and screen.  

So we’ll let’s start there.

Televisions

Depending on the size of your room, we always recommend a suitable sized TV for the room and the seating distance from the TV. The same rules of distance from Projector Screen applies, and we’ve provided a size guide for this as well. 
We also have other articles: “What Size TV should I buy?” and “What Size Projector Screen should I buy?” which both have a lot more in-depth information on these questions, but for this purpose of this FAQ we’ll summarise. 

The calculation used to estimate the suitable size TV or Screen for the room is based as follows:

Seating Distance to Screen Size
Seating distance Screen Size
2m  32”
2.5m  40-43”
2.7m – 3.2m 48-50”
3.4m – 3.7m  55”
4m     65”
4.5m   70”
5m – 6m  75-86”
6m+   100”

We only feature the OLED, and 4k/8K TV’s on our website, but starting at around £1299 for a 48” OLED LG Screen, which is an absolutely amazing price for such a high quality TV. 
(our online range of Screens can be seen here: TELEVISIONS )

LG OLED 4K

Projector Screen

Typically, projector screens are installed from around 100” plus. This is partially due to the cost of buying a Televisions over 100”. Projector screens are measured in the same method of a Corner-to-Corner Diagonal, however for measuring distance from screen to seating area, we work on the total width of the screen, and double this.

100” Projector screens are approximately 2.2m wide. The minimal comfortable distance from the screen is 2 times the width (4.4m), with a maximum distance of 5 times the distance (11m) (in our opinion this is probable too small a screen for an 11m room).
100” Projector Screens range from £395 for a Manual Pulldown Screen, and increase depending on the material, size, electrics etc. (our online range of Screens can be seen here: SCREENS )

home cinema projector screen

Projector

Projectors much like modern OLED, QLED, NanoCell, QNED Televisions come in many shapes, sizes and prices. From LCD through to Laser, there are a few criteria that need addressing.
Firstly, where is the projector going to sit/hang? If mounting your projector to the ceiling at the back of the room is not an option, then an Ultra Short Throw Laser projector placed under the screen on a unit could be the answer.
If the room is long and narrow, you will need to have a projector with throw ratio of 2 plus. 
Are you able to pull HDMI and Data/Power cables to the projector?
Is the ceiling capable of holding the weight, or are there cross beams exactly where you need them?
All of these concerns can be discussed with our custom install team to ensure you get exactly what you need.
Are there windows in the room, or is there a fair amount of ambient light? 

Projector prices range from £695 all the way up to the high End Laser & Professional range  for a Manual Pulldown Screen, and increase depending on the material, size, electrics etc. (our online range of Screens can be seen here: PROJECTORS )

SONY 4K Laser Projector

Speakers

Breaking this down into a couple of components: There are many questions asked about the format of Dolby, Dolby Digital, Surround, DTS, etc, but what do they all mean? What is 7.1.4 or 5.1.2 mean? 

For the purpose of this, the format we use is "x.y.z" where:

"x" is the number of channels or speakers at or near ear level,
"y" is the number of channels or speakers dedicated to low bass reproduction
"z" is the number of overhead channels or speakers.

Examples:

5.1.2 - standard 5.1-channel surround sound system, with the addition of two height channel or speakers that generate sound from above the listener
5.1.4 - as above but with 4 height channels or speakers to generate sound above the listener
7.1.2 - a standard 7.1-channel system with two additional speakers dedicated to reproducing sound above the listener
7.1.4 - as above, but with 4 height channels or speakers
In a professional DOLBY Digital Cinema, you are able to go to 64.4.32! 64 Main Speakers, 4 Sub woofers, and 32 In-ceiling or surround speakers! Not that any house will go this far, but more speakers aren’t to make it louder, they are there to increase the dynamics of the sound, and engross the listener into the scene of the movie or program.
Most home cinema systems we propose are 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 these give the Dolby Atmos and DTX fully home cinema atmosphere.
We recommend speaking with us about your home cinema speaker system as the choices are many. Our range of Speakers are available here: https://www.soundswithvision.co.uk/categories/speakers
We have a few bundle products on our system, but were happy to help advise if you’re uncertain of which make or models to buy
https://www.soundswithvision.co.uk/categories/home-cinema-speaker-packages
Cost of speakers range from the £660 for a 5.1 Monitor Audio MASS system

Some of Our Range of SPEAKERS

NEW Monitor Audio Silver 7G

AV Receiver/Amplifier

As important as the speakers, screen or TV is, this is one element that its worth getting the right one for your room. With a good selection of systems available, there are some calculations that need to be taken into account when matching the AV receiver to the right speakers. 
Don’t just pick the amp with the same speaker outputs, look at the size of the room, the speaker capability, and marry them all together.
AV receivers cost around £600 upwards depending on the performance and speaker outputs.
For our range of receivers please see: AV RECEIVERS

Home Cinema AV Receiver

Equipment Location?

A necessary part of your system is where you store all of the equipment. This can be a unit at the front of the room such as a TV Cabinet, or a full data style cabinet in a dedicated room. Essentially all cables need to be pulled back to this location. 
These cabinets can range from £100 upwards depending on the solution? But as mentioned earlier, for a room with an existing TV cabinet, as long as the measurements of the equipment add up correctly, you can re-use your existing cupboard
For some of our AV FURNITURE

Lighting

Updating your lighting to smart lights, or a completely new lighting system can make a huge difference to the ambience of the room. 
Its always recommended to use lighting to create dramatic effect, and combine with a control system an easy to use and effective solution. 
RAKO use a system that can be added retrospectively to any lighting circuit, making a bespoke solution attainable even in an existing room.
RAKO costs around £250 per lighting circuit.

RAKO Home Lighting Solutions

Remote Control? 

Its something that tends to get forgotten, but if you have a SkyQ, AppleTV, AV Amplifier, TV remote, lighting control? Then you’ll understand that simply far too many remote controls a) cluttering up the room, b) finding the right one for the right purpose, can be an absolute faff. 
Implementing a single remote control to fire up the system, turn the equipment on, set the mood lighting and create the atmosphere can change your movie night into a full home cinema night in with you loved ones.
Costs of implementing these can range from £500

Home Cinema Remote Control

Seating

Probably one of the most important parts of your home cinema, cinema seats are dedicated seats that look like the ones in high street cinemas, but are upholstered in your choice of fabric, tailored to your requirement, recline, have drinks holders, etc. As this is such a subjective part of your home cinema, we always recommend speaking with us to set your expectations.
We recommend allocating £1000 per seat for a dedicated Cinema seat.
If a corner, or U-shaped sofa is more your family’s idea of watching a film, there are a large range of options available to suit both budget and room sizes.
Seating 

home cinema seating

Wall finishes and treatments

Finishing a cinema room with the right colour walls; ceilings with inset star constellations for you; a luxurious fabric wall system to hide the acoustic treatment and loudspeakers. What ever your preference, we recommend working with your builder, and the AV business to ensure you get the premium cinema system with a suitable finish to the right budget.
Its really hard to put a price on a fabric wall room, but we recently installed a full dedicated cinema room with fabric walls, which cost the client around £12k. Whereas another client where we put some soundproofing in, and painted the walls in the clients’ choices of colours cost in the region of £500.  

home cinema sound proofing

Installation Costs

This is the biggest single variable element to any home cinema installer or self-installer.
We’ve both worked directly with clients on their self-build, guiding them on the install, and minimising the cost for them, as well as providing complete construction, and finishing. For us, its always about giving the customer exactly what they want, in their budget, not ours.
 
If your home cinema build is a new build or a building/part of building renovation, its essential you get cables pulled at first fix stage. You can either do this, or we’ll do it for you.
If you are using a specialist home cinema business such as Sounds With Vision, we recommend involving us as early as possible to work with your builders, work with you on the solution, and the equipment required.
Installation costs vary dependent on the installation, but our rates are Somerset rates, not London rate.

Budgeting

Taking into account the information above, and depending on the style and solution you are looking for, we can safely say a home cinema system can be installed from as little as a few thousand pounds, through to a complete bespoke hand built cinema room anywhere from £15k upwards

So how can we help you design, build and install your home cinema system?
Please get in touch if you have questions, and if you'd like to start planning out your very own home cinema or media room drop us a line, and we’ll help you through answering how much does a home cinema cost for your room.

CONTACT US
 

HiFi Systems A to Z

Part One of 26 in our Monthly 'A to Z of HiFi and Audio Systems' Series

A is for Amplifier, also Audio, Acoustics,  Amplitude,  Attenuation,  Anti-skate, Acrylic, Affordable, Anode, Azimuth.
Here are the important ones:

Amplifiers (Amps)

You will hear mention of Audio Amps, Op amps, Line amps!  Basically these are devices that follow the definition of the word. They make things bigger. The output from a music streaming device when converted from digital to analogue is very small, and certainly not strong enough to make a loudspeaker work. So the sound needs to be amplified through an amplifier.

Without going into the intimate detail of amplifier design and circuits, there are two basic types of amplifiers: Vacuum Tube (or Valve),  and Solid State (or earlier transistor).
Valve amplifiers are not just old-fashioned looking devices, there are valve amps among the very top of the high end audiophile systems. The primary reason for this is that they produce a more natural sound.
How is it valve amplifiers produce this more natural sound? For a start there is always distortion. Distortion occurs naturally as sound travels though the air or whatever medium. When distortion occurs in nature it has an even order harmonic distortion (but lets not get bogged down with this complicated and lengthy subject), so this type of distortion is natural to our ears. 

With the majority of Solid State amps, the harmonic distortion is odd-order and therefore jarring to our ears. This is why the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) value needs to be extremely low to have a clean sound. On the other hand, with valve amps (and Class A solid state-more later) the THD is not as critical because we find the sound inherently more natural and pleasing. Some valve amps have a THD of 5% as opposed to 0.0005% in high end solid state amps.

When deciding on which amplifier to buy, do not buy on just the specifications. They are all put in the most positive and attractive way by manufacturers, and why shouldn’t they? This is where expert help is essential to guide you through that minefield. 

  • Does the amplifier have enough power?
  • Has it got all the inputs and outputs that you need?
  • Size?
  • Colour?  

Each designer and manufacturer has his/her own philosophy when it comes to sound and music, so it would be good to know what characteristics the amplifier has.
You can’t get to listen to all of them under the same conditions, but do look up some different reviews to see what speakers are being used etc.
Of course those who are already well versed in high end hi fi know all of this, but any questions about any of this would be welcome and responded to. Please do this via the contact us page

Acoustics

When referring to acoustics in the contact of HiFi, we take into consideration the sound properties of the environment in which the system is to be enjoyed.
E.g. if the room is sparsely furnished and has hard flooring with few items on the walls, it might be considered “live”.
The best way to test is to clap your hands sharply and listen out for a quick and bright sounding response from the room.
On the end of the scale, too much in the way of soft furnishings, furniture, curtains wall coverings etc will leave you with a “Dead” room and therefore no echo from the handclap test. This would mean that your amplifier has to work a bit harder to get to the preferred volume. Answer is of course a balanced acoustic.
Another aspect of acoustics is related to room dimensions and placement of speakers and nasty resonances together with standing waves and null points and bass frequencies.
There’s a lot to cover and further articles will cover these aspects .
 

 

The healing power of music

The Healing Power of Music

“Music is deeply important of being a human in more ways than we can even begin to imagine. It stimulates nearly every part of the brain, influencing everything from our mood to our memory. Surely, the effects that his has has on humanity as a whole throughout time have been nothing less than great. "Music Therapy" is even used officially as s treatment for anxiety, and to help deal with illnesses. It's known to reduce heart rates, lower blood pressure and even assist with pain perception. Health Physiologist Shilagh Mirgain (PHD states that "Music Therapy is an established form of therapy to help individuals address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs", and its continuing to be used as a treatment to help may patients throughout the world. The impact that Music has on mental health and motivation is great too. This study published in Frontiers in Psychology (https://www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741536/) shows how music has been a huge part of the human development throughout the ages, and the many different functions this has had.”

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