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rv interiors & furnishings

RV Stereos & Speakers: Surround Sound & Home Theater

rv_eugene_oregon_stereo_speaker_surround_sound.jpgWhen it comes to wiring your RV for audio/video integration there are numerous systems to choose from. Most RV's come with built in cd players and radios wired into two zones of the vehicle: the cab, and the living quarters. Depending on the stereo brand, and your personal preference, sound quality may be an issue for you. OMC has all the solutions you need for stereo upgrades and speaker replacement in your RV. Whether you want to add additional speaker zones to you RV, or want to enhance your home theater experience, we can do it all. In addition to working with the various brands of 12-volt mobile stereo products, we can also install traditional home stereo and theater systems to meet any of your entertainment needs.

12-volt Mobile Stereo Systems

These stereo systems are specifically designed for automobiles by drawing off the typical 12 volt automobile battery. As a result, these systems are somewhat limited in style and quality. Although there are many 12 volt car stereo brands, some with superb quality, most aren't designed to address the larger interior of an RV. Although car stereo systems can sound superb they’re not meant to fill the huge space of an RV. Fortunately we can change that! It may be as simple as upgrading your RV's speakers for a more clean, precise sound, or adding additional amplification if you can’t achieve the volume level you desire without excess noise or distortion. Perhaps you’re lacking the low end of a bass drum and are in need of a subwoofer to gain the missing instruments in your music. All of your RV stereo needs can be addressed here at OMC.

RV Stereo: Surround Sound: 5.1 Home Theater Systems

RV owners are sometimes misconstrued when it comes to the difference between “Surround Sound” and “Multi-Zone”. Surround sound is a more specific term that actually addresses sound quality rather than sound coverage. The concept of surround sound is to use additional audio channels and speakers that provide sound quality in a 360 degree radius around the listener, making you feel as if you're 'surrounded by sound'.

Surround sound or a 5.1 Home Theater system consists of five speakers (typically) and a subwoofer. The center speaker (usually located in the ceiling or your RV in front of the TV) handles all the of the on-screen action and dialogue. The front left and right speakers take care the action just off of the screen. The rear speakers handle the ambient sound (i.e., rain falling or a plane flying overhead from behind you). Finally the subwoofer handles all of the low frequency effects (i.e., earthquake rumbling, explosions, etc.) that the five smaller speakers can’t reproduce because of their size. Unlike mobile audio systems, a 5.1 Home Theater system is driven by an A/V receiver just as you may have at home(see below). It powers all five speakers and sends a signal to a powered subwoofer or sometimes carries additional power for a passive subwoofer. The A/V receiver also handles most, or all of the switching between sources (i.e., DVD, cable box, etc.) so your TV stays on a single input and the A/V receiver does the rest. OMC offers a wide variety of A/V receivers to meet almost any demand.

These types of stereo systems require the listeners to be in one targeted location, which is the opposite of multi-zone sound (see below). Surround sound is ideal for home theater systems, creating the sense that you are sitting directly within the action of the movie or whatever your are viewing on your television. Surround sound can also enhance a radio or stereo experience to feel as if you are in a 3 dimensional setting even if you aren't watching a TV; it allows you to feel as if you are sitting right on the sidelines as you listen to Monday Night Football while actually watching the white lines slip past on the highway.

RV Multi-Zone Speakers and Custom Installations

Whether you're in the cab of your RV, the sleeping quarters, or even outside, you dont wan't lose a beat in your favorite song, or miss critical news and weather updates. Technically, this is referred to as multi-zone sound delivery, meaning you can hear everything regardless of what 'zone' you are located in, or out, of your RV.

Multi-Zone simply means two or more rooms that contain one or more pair of speakers per room. Depending on your stereo systems capabilities you can even establush multiple 'sources' to listen to two different broadcasts at the same time. That way you can listen to the football game in the cab, while your kids watch their favorite show in the living area.

There are numerous ways to distribute sound throughout your RV. Upgrade existing speakers in their current locations, or add additional stereo speakers by installing them into the cabinetry, walls or ceiling of your RV's interior. Would you like music playing outside while you're barbecuing or just relaxing? Or, would you like to work on your computer with your TV as the monitor while streaming music through your iPod/iPad? At OMC we can do it all! 

Our custom cabinet shop can address the cosmetics of you speaker installations while our electronics technicians can assure they are properly wired. Wall bracketed speakers with wires strategically running along seems and corners are another mounting option. Some stereo and television systems are also compatible with wireless speaker systems. Outdoor speakers also available. Outdoor speakers can be setup manually once you're parked, and then removed when you pack up camp, or non-corrosive marine grade speakers can be permanently mounted in your RV exterior for easy listening while being able to withstand the elements. Some RV'ers even go so far as having external stereos mounted behind a locking door on the external shell of the RV for easy access while bar-b-quing in the sun. Though the options are nearly limitless there are many considerations when installing custom stereo and speakers systems in your RV. Easy access to wiring while removing wires from plain sight for both cosmetics and safety must be accounted for. Stabilization to reduce wear and tear on your stereo from the constant vibrations of travel, in addition to assuring sound quality, is also important.

RV Stereo and Home Theater Systems

The built in speakers in most televisions only provide a limited range and clarity of sound. Many home owners opt to upgrade their televisions audio system. In an RV, given the limited space and mounting requirements your stock television speakers may be even further challenged. Fortunately, there are many ways to enhance your television viewing and listening experience in your RV.

Television Sound Bars

Sound bars are one of the simplest means of enhancing your televisions sound quality. Sound bars are inexpensive, easy to install, and dont take up a lot of space. Although some wiring is necessary, a sound bar eliminates the need for rear speakers and can reduce the overall installation time required for a true 5.1 Home Theatre system. Depending on your RV configuration, you may require some minor alterations to your cabinetry to secure your sound bar, while maintaining sound quality and the general aesthetics of your entertainment audio video console.

A/V Receivers and Surround Sound

A/V receivers provide multiple speaker outlets and channels to deliver a significant upgrade in stereo performance and sound output. You no longer need to sit in the “sweet-spot” for the best sound. Most A/V receivers include auto acoustic calibration so no matter where you sit you get the best sound possible for your RV.

When making the choice to add an A/V receiver to your RV there are a few key decisions that must be made. You need to decide what you want connected to you’re A/V receiver (i.e., satellite, DVD, XM radio, etc.), because every receiver differs in how many external components can be connected. Space is another key factor. A/V receivers require a certain amount of depth in the cabinet to allow not only for the component itself, but also for the interconnect cables behind it, as well as top and bottom clearance. A/V receivers generate heat, especially at higher volume levels. Ventilation is almost always a necessity, so cool air can circulate or warm air can escape. Talk to our experts here at OMC to discuss available options for your RV.

RV Home 'Stereo' Systems vs. Surround Sound

Another alternative for your listening experience is the traditional home stereo system. Home stereo systems have been improving steadily through the years and provide the broadest range of options for your listening (and viewing) pleasure. By drawing on the vast spectrum of known stereo brands from Sony to Bose or the high end brands of Alpine, Kenwood and many more, your options are almost limitless. In comparison to surround sound, 'stereo' sound is technically a different beast. It is the traditional listening system that is a step up from monophonic sound, by using two (or multiple pairs of channels) rather than a single channel. Stereophonic sound can be magnified to quadrophonic sound by using an additional pair of speaker channels. To the discerning ear the sound output is definitely different than surround sound; as to which is better is a matter of opinion and/or usage. The unique channel distribution of surround sound is typically considered best for television viewing and gaming, while traditional high end stereo systems are considered optimal for listening to music. Many people are of the belief that stereo systems provide the best of both worlds while surround sound is more limited to television systems.

RV Stereo Component Brands

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