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Nothing is quite like perfect home theater sound. The right speakers and components can create an unparalleled movie experience. Capturing that perfect sound does not just require the correct equipment-it also necessitates the perfect set-up. In order to achieve the sound you want from your home theater system, you are likely to put speakers in a variety of locations throughout the home theater area. Although the result might be awesome sound, it can come with one real annoyance: speaker cables.

There is nothing as frustrating as staring at a web of speaker cables sprawling out across one's floor. It is an ugly proposition and brings with it an element of danger-both to components that might be yanked about if a cord should be tripped over and to the poor sap who actually does the tripping and ends up sprawled across the floor. Luckily, there are some good ways of handling the speaker cable problem.

First, one can 'hide' cabling by running it along the baseboards of walls and/or under the carpet. This is the most commonly used technique to handle the cable problem. If done well, it can be almost unnoticeable. In most cases, however, it ends up being something less than perfect. Using the 'tuck along the baseboard' plan is cheap and easy, but can fall a little short-especially when doorways are involved.

One can refine the technique by making use of flat speaker cable. Flat cables can go under carpets and remain undetectable. They do not produce the telltale bump in the rug traditional cords can make. They are also often paintable, making it easy to blend them in with walls or baseboards.

Second, one can use a wireless system to handle speaker needs. This takes the cables completely out of the picture and can produce a very clean set-up. This technique is often used for only part of a system. For instance, distantly placed surround sound speakers might be a perfect candidate for 'wireless cabling,' even if the rest of the system is more traditionally connected.

Wireless systems are more expensive than regular cabling. There is also a probably loss of some sound quality, although it may take a true audiophile to notice the difference. Overall, however, a wireless method can produce some great results.

Third, some home theater owners have opted to actually build their speakers into the walls and/or ceilings, making the wiring and invisible part of the equation. This strategy requires both a commitment to the speakers purchased and to their location.

It requires a great deal of up-front effort, but can produce fantastic results. Instead of dealing with visible speakers and a mass of cabling, the sound system actually melds with the surroundings seamlessly.

Finally, one can opt to run wires through the walls while still maintaining speakers outside of the walls. This requires a considerable amount of planning and effort, but it can produce the desired results. One must be certain they have determined the optimal location for speakers before starting this process.

Generally, it is a strategy best suited for those who know they will be using the same home theater for some time. The effort required just makes the process less than sensible for more temporary systems. Changes in equipment down the road may lead to changes in speaker placement. These shifts can make a lot of earlier wiring work seem like a real waste!

No matter what system one embraces, it is important to find a way to minimize speaker cable hassles. Many home theater owners have actually knowingly performed installations that fell far short of optimization simply because of the prospect of dealing with yards upon yards of cabling. One should not let a little cable compromise the quality of their home theater experience. Instead, they need only find the best to handle the cables discretely and professionally

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