Creating soundscapes without breaking the bank: The best bang for your audio buck

Posted by Christine on 5/15/2014
The pictures are beautiful—all those smooth white walls (and ceilings) with sleek flat white mesh concealing the custom-installed in wall speakers for the latest in home theater technology. The trouble is, unless you’re installing a state-of-the-art surround sound system while your new home is being built (and usually even then), you will spend more than a good set of speakers cost just to install them.

It sounds great, with speaker prices showing at as little as $70 each, but if you figure the minimum surround sound set up is five speakers, that’s $350 just for the most basic hardware. Add wires or a wireless receiver, and labor, and installation of your $350 purchase will cost you anywhere from $425 up!

Rather than buy chintzy speakers from a company that knows it’s making its money on the installation, invest your nearly $1,000 into the best speakers you can afford, and get them off the floor and out of the way by mounting them yourself—on walls or ceilings.

What you can get for you grand depends on your needs. If you’re building a full home-theater, do you still need components? If so, you’ll likely spend around $2,500 to get everything off the ground, and be able to watch movies, listen to high-quality music, and live stream Netflix or the like. If you are going for primo sound and have everything else you need, a thousand will yield a good quality system.

Speakers of decent quality used to be behemoths, unwieldy and almost unmovably heavy. Not the case any longer! Most are slim-line, compact, and lightweight. You can get your own wall or ceiling mounts, and install your own theater-grade system yourself for pennies on the “in wall” installation dollar.