Home Theater: How to Set Up Surround Sound
The placement of your home theater speakers has a significant effect on the sound quality of your setup. An average-sounding device can be elevated to an elite home theater experience with proper speaker placement.
In this post, the experts at MIProTechs will show you how to position your surround speakers for optimal sound. Let’s get started.
Front Left/Right & Center Channel Speakers
You want the sound field from your front left and right speakers to be aimed right at your listening spot. Your speakers should be angled slightly towards the seat directly in front of the TV. And as a general rule, the speakers should be mounted about 1-2 feet above ear level for the best sound results.
As for your center channel, put that right above or below your TV and line it up with the middle. If possible, tilt the speaker to direct the sound at ear level.
You can either put your surround speakers on stands or have us mount them to the wall. To keep your wires and cables neat and tidy, we can bundle them, hide them in the wall, organize them in a structure panel or equipment rack.
There are two main types of surround sound setups - 5.1 and 7.1 - and often include a subwoofer (or two) for bass enhancement.
5.1 Surround Sound
Surround speakers should be positioned to the left and right of your listening location in a 5.1 setup. For the best sound, aim them directly at where you’ll be sitting. If side placement is a hassle for your space, put your surround speakers a few feet behind your seating area and face them forward. Either way, make sure your speakers are at least 1-2 feet above ear level for best results.
7.1 Surround Sound
Surround speakers are mounted beside and behind your seating area in a 7.1 setup. The side speakers, much like in a 5.1 setup, should be positioned to the left and right of your seating position and facing directly towards you. The rear speakers should be located behind you and face forward. Again, they should ideally be mounted about 1-2 feet above ear level for best results.
Since bass frequencies are omnidirectional, you have the freedom to place your subwoofer almost anywhere. More bass will be produced if your subwoofer is placed near a wall, and even more if you place it near a corner where three room boundaries meet.
Most people position their subwoofer in the front of the room to make connecting it to their home theater receiver easier. However, if running a cable to the best location for your subwoofer is too impractical, a wireless subwoofer eliminates the need to compromise.
Add a Second Subwoofer for Better Bass
Where bass response is lacking, consider using two subwoofers to increase bass distribution. Moreover, an additional sub can also deliver more impactful dynamics and greater headroom.
The location of the second subwoofer will depend the layout of your theater room. In certain spaces, placing a one in each of the room's front corners yields the best results. Others prefer to have one in the front and the other in the back of the room for more balanced bass distribution. Overall, the best way to determine what works best for you is to experiment with different arrangement.
Don’t Sweat Perfection
You don’t need to be a professional audio engineer to find the “perfect spot” for each speaker. Many of the home theater receivers we use at MIProTechs feature automatic speaker calibration that takes care of it for it.
During this process, a microphone placed in your seating area “listens” to test tones at various volume levels generated through each speaker. From there, the receiver is able to compensate for off-base speaker placement by making automatic adjustments to timing, output level, and equalization.
If you’re currently in the process of building a new home theater or just looking to get more out of your current surround sound setup, we’ve got you covered. MIProTechs is Southeast Michigan’s premier provider of home technology, control, network, security and entertainment. In other words, we’re in the business of making YOUR life easier!
Call us at (248) 987-6171 or schedule an appointment online today!