By Marty Rosenbaum

Whether you’re a music junkie, film buff, or like to zone out to some mindless tv, your sound setup alters the whole experience more than you know.

There’s a reason musicians, producers, and audio engineers spend countless hours working on the fine details. They want you to hear it. They want you to have an active ear and create a multi-sensory experience.

With a little creativity, you won’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to have a quality sound setup in your home.

While I’m not going to crunch the numbers on the best budget products (you can find links to those below), here’s a few tips to help you save a lot of money and get a lot of sound.

Get a central location for all your content

This is a big one. The easiest thing to do is to build around your TV. With many newer TV’s having USB, HDMI, and other ports that allow you to plug in devices, the TV should be your home base for content.

Here’s the thing. You can minimize space and the need to purchase additional devices by channeling all content through your TV. If you’re TV has an HDMI port, move on to step #2.

The good news is that smart TV’s are cheaper than ever and won’t put a huge dent in your wallet. Take a look at these 5 budget smart TV’s.

Grab a streaming device to plug into your TV

Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire sticks are great resources that can bring you endless amounts of audio & video content. Whether you want to stream XRT, watch Netflix, or check out some YouTube videos, these devices allow you to do so. Plus, you can stream most content directly from your phone or tablet onto your TV.

Most media streamers aren’t terribly expensive and barely take up any space. devices like Chromecast & Roku plug directly into your TV’s HDMI ports making space efficiency the name of the game.

Mix the old with the new

You’ve got that fancy new streaming device plugged into your TV, but keep it old school when it comes to your sound. Grab yourself an AV receiver (here’s a list of some solid receivers that won’t break the bank) and a set of home theater speakers (again, link to a list of speakers here).

Not only can you connect the audio from your TV to your receiver, you can hook up other devices such as a turntable, CD player, or more. Plus, most receivers have a radio tuner so you can get your fill of XRT without having to power up the TV.

You can also peruse the internet or go to a local AV shop to try and find used gear. Receivers & speakers were built to last a long time. As long as there’s nothing wrong with the product, there’s no reason to stray away from an older piece of gear.

Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to research the cost of your optimal setup. Once you have everything ready to go, cue up your favorite record and enjoy your new sound system without worrying about putting too big of a dent in your wallet.

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