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Paperback The Home Theater Companion: Buying, Installing, and Using Today's Audio-Visual Equipment Book

ISBN: 0825672368

ISBN13: 9780825672361

The Home Theater Companion: Buying, Installing, and Using Today's Audio-Visual Equipment

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Format: Paperback

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Highly recommended

Howard Ferstler's Home Theater Companion is informative, well-illustrated, and fun to read. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in setting up a home theater system or high-quality audio equipment. The emphasis is on a bargain-oriented approach - how to get maximum quality for your dollar.This is the book for you if you are trying to figure out the answers to questions like: Should I get 2-way or 3-way speakers? Would a subwoofer improve my sound and how would I set one up? Which room should my home theater system go in? Where should I place my speakers? How powerful should my amp or receiver be? Which noise-reduction system should I use on my cassette deck? How can I add hi-fi VCR to my TV? How do I set up surround-sound? Should I get a widescreen TV? What CDs and DVDs can I use to test my system? What is an equalizer used for? Can I get speaker cable at a reasonable price? (Ferstler does a very good job of debunking very expensive speaker cables.) Should I biwire my speakers?There are excellent discussions of room acoustics, narrow vs wide dispersion speakers, and the Allison Effect (suckout in the midbass), useful tables comparing cassette/VCR/DCC/Minidisc/DAT formats for recording and VHS/LV/DVD formats for home theater, plus glossary, appendices, and bibliography. My only criticism is that the discussion of headphones could have been a little longer.All in all I thoroughly recommend this book. My copy is already worn through.

A must-have book for serious A-V users

Ferstler's latest book, The Home Theater Companion, is a practical and insigtful guide to Audio-Visual systems. It is easy reading because Ferstler has a knack for reducing complicated subject matter into easy-to-understand language for the lay user. One particular advantage to this book is the author's extensive knowledge of audio; from this, he has been able to clearly differentiate the good from the not-so-good in the sound portion of any A-V setup. There have been some insincere criticisms of Howard's book (likely by those who have not actually read it); however, once you have absorbed it and realize the scope of his work, you will be very pleased with what you learn about this complicated subject. One suggestion, however, is the need for a follow-on update of the subject matter. The concept and technology of today's A-V systems are very dynamic; a revision to this book should be written to assure up-to-date subject matter.

More than a primer.

There are simplistic books on the subject; there are books obviously slanted towards off-the-wall gazillion-dollar weird systems -- and then there is this one. If you want to really understand what home theaters are all about, what is important and what isn't, take the time to read it through and absorb what the author is telling you. You will be rewarded.

Comprehensive, no-nonsense guide

Although this is misleadingly shown as a Dec 2000 book, it appeared several years earlier as an oversize paperback from Schirmer Books (of G. Schirmer music publishing fame). Ferstler has written for audio/video magazines for many years but rejects the extreme audiophile/tweak contingent and deals in detail with all the fundamental aspects of audio, including the development of DVD players, surround sound, etc. It provides the information needed to select and set up equipment, but obviously can't provide specific buying advice, as does a magazine like Consumer Reports. Any reader can learn a great deal from this overview and can avoid making common mistakes in selecting a home theater system. Very favorable reviews of the guide are in Sensible Sound, May 1998, and American Record Guide, Nov-Dec 1997, which may be read by anyone using the online database, Infotrac (Gale), available through many libraries.

Excellent book for a beginner in home theater

I have been interested in and have been a consumer of stereo equipment since the 60's; however, all of the options available with home theater were baffling as I began upgrading to a 5.1 system last year. Howard's book helped dispel a lot of the uncertainty about what was what in terms of decoders, speaker placement and similar issues. It is written at two levels - plenty of "read me first" info to quickly understand where one needs to to go in terms of home theater as well as at a technical level explaining how various ratings of equipment are obtained and what they mean. Additionally, there is an excellent bibliography for future reference.I found the book very useful in getting started. It remains on my bookshelf for reference as well. I strongly recommend it.
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