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How to Set up Surround Sound Speakers

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So you’ve bought that brand new home theatre surround sound system and taken it home in eager anticipation of sitting right down and watching the complementary Iron Man blu-ray they gave you at the shop. Boy, those sound effects are sure going to be awesome in full 5.1 sound!

But wait a minute, there’s an awful lot of speakers and wires here, an awful lot of connecting and setting up to do. Bummer! Iron Man’s going to have to wait a while.

While it’s true that a surround sound system takes a little effort and time to set up, it’s not really as bad as that mess of wires makes it look. There are essentially three areas you need to address: connection, speaker placement and volume level. Take them one at a time and you’ll be battling the baddies with Robert Downey Jr. in no time.

5.1 Layout

In a 5.1 surround sound system there are five speakers (front left, front right, centre, rear left and rear right) and one subwoofer. Each of the speakers must be connected to your receiver. The receiver is the box that decodes the sound signal and sends it to the appropriate speakers – often it will be built into your DVD player.


As movies have their sound separated into a number of different channels, and as each of these channels exits from its appropriate output on the receiver, it is essential that you connect the correct speaker to the correct output on the back of your receiver. Connecting the left rear speaker, say, to the centre output will result in the actors constantly talking behind your back (as the dialogue channel is always routed by the receiver to the centre output).

As you connect each speaker, label it with its designation (LR, RR, C etc.) – post-it notes are great for this. Labelling speakers at this point in the process will save you a lot of time when you begin to place them around the room.

Speaker Placement

Once you’ve connected all your speakers, you need to place them appropriately. Speaker placement will vary according to the size of the room, its acoustics and your personal preferences. However, there are certain general rules you can follow to get a good starting point.


Read more about speakers placement connectivity on www.wireless-speakers.org

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