What Is The Best Way to SetUp A Surround Sound System?

Edwin Parker
By Edwin Parker 10 Min Read
10 Min Read
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Do you love watching movies? Whether you have a special room, like a home theater or a man cave, or just a simple TV in your living room, adding some extra speakers can make movie time way more fun! The speakers that are already in your TV are good but think about it… they can’t really make the loud BOOMS of an explosion or the tiny tip-tap of footsteps sound super real. That’s why a speaker system can be really cool to have!

Now, if you’ve looked at speakers before, you might be wondering if you should get a “5.1 surround sound system” or a “7.1 surround sound system.” It can be a bit confusing, huh? So, let’s talk about what surround sound really is and how you can make it work best for you!

Surround sound is like having sounds come at you from all around, not just from the TV in front of you! It’s like being in the middle of all the action in the movie. You hear sounds from the front, the back, the sides—everywhere! It makes watching movies, playing games, or listening to music way more exciting.

Now, the “5.1” and “7.1” stuff is just about how many speakers you have. The “5.1” means you have five speakers and one subwoofer (that’s the thing that makes the big BOOM sounds!). The “7.1” means you have seven speakers and one subwoofer. So, it’s like having even more sounds coming at you from different places.

Setting up your surround sound system is super important. You want to put the speakers in the right spots so that the sounds feel like they’re really happening around you. There are some easy rules to follow, like putting some speakers in front of you, some behind you, and the subwoofer somewhere in the middle. If you take some time to put everything in the right place, it can make a big difference.

What is Surround Sound? 

So, surround sound is like a super cool way to hear all the different noises and music when you’re watching movies or listening to tunes. It’s like the sound is coming from everywhere around you, not just from the front! It makes everything feel super real and exciting.

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You might have seen numbers like 5.1 or 7.2 when looking at surround sound systems. Let’s break that down. The first number is how many speakers there are. The second number is the number of subwoofers (the things that make the BOOM sounds). So, 5.1 has five speakers and one subwoofer, and 7.2 has seven speakers and two subwoofers!

When a sound system has two subwoofers (like the 7.2 we talked about), it makes the big, booming sounds even on both sides, so one side isn’t louder than the other. If you have two subwoofers, they go on opposite sides of your TV screen.

Every speaker in a surround sound system has a special job, and putting each speaker in the right spot makes everything sound the best. Let’s talk about a couple of different setups and how to make them sound awesome.

What is 2.1 Surround Sound?

A 2.1 surround sound system has two speakers and one subwoofer. The two speakers make stereo sound (like when you hear different things in each ear with headphones on), and the subwoofer brings the deep, booming sounds.

For a 2.1 system, you want the left and right speakers to be at an angle from your screen, and the subwoofer goes on the floor on one side of the screen. The speakers should be at the height of your ears and a couple of feet away from the wall. And remember, don’t put the subwoofer in the corner; we don’t want any weird echoes!

Even a simple 2.1 setup can make the sound way better than what your TV can do on its own. It’s like jumping from regular TV sound to a mini movie theater experience right in your living room!

What is 3.1 Surround Sound?

So, a 3.1 surround sound system has three speakers and one subwoofer. You get two front speakers, a center speaker, and, of course, the subwoofer for those big BOOM sounds. The center speaker should go right in front of you, and it helps make voices sound really clear and real.

  • Front Speakers (FL & FR): Place these ones at the front.
  • Subwoofer (SW): This one goes on the floor.
  • Center Speaker (C): Straight in front of you!

This kind of system is great if you want to make movie time more exciting but don’t have a ton of room or a big budget. It’s like a step up from the 2.1 system and adds more depth to the sound.

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What is 5.1 Surround Sound?

Next, we have the 5.1 surround sound system. This one has five speakers, one subwoofer, and it also includes two surround speakers. These extra speakers go behind you and make it sound like things are happening all around you!

  • Front (FL & FR) and Center (C) Speakers: Similar to the 3.1 setup.
  • Subwoofer (SW): Still goes on the floor.
  • Surround Speakers (SL & SR): These go behind you, at an angle.

This setup is super common and is kind of the first level of “true” surround sound, making things sound real and exciting from every direction. Most DVDs, TV shows, and streaming services use 5.1 surround sound, and it works well with tech stuff like Dolby Digital and Dolby DTS.

What is 7.1 Surround Sound?

The 7.1 surround sound system is getting us to a whole new level! It has seven speakers, one subwoofer, and includes two rear speakers, which means you get sounds from the front, sides, and behind!

  • Front, Subwoofer, Center, and Surround Speakers: Set up similar to 5.1.
  • Rear Speakers (RL & RR): Place them behind you at a wider angle.

This setup lets you have sounds coming from all directions, making your movie time super thrilling. This is perfect if you have a special room just for watching movies or shows!

What is 9.1 Surround Sound?

Now, we have the 9.1 surround sound system. This one includes two wide speakers. It makes the sound cover more areas and makes everything even more realistic! The wide speakers should be placed in front of you but at a wider angle.

  • Front, Subwoofer, Center, Surround, and Rear Speakers: Like in 7.1 setup.
  • Wide Speakers (WL & WR): These go to the front sides.

This system is like having a cinema at your home with sound coming from every direction! But it’s usually for bigger rooms and can be a bit complicated to set up.

How to Set Up a Surround Sound System

Setting up any of these systems needs an AV (audio/video) receiver. This cool gadget lets you connect all the speakers and control them. It’s like the brain of your sound system! You can switch between different devices like your TV, Xbox, or CD player easily.

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To hook up your sound system, you just connect the wires from each speaker to the AV receiver. Every connection on the back of the receiver is labeled, so you know exactly where each wire goes!

If you don’t want to see a bunch of wires everywhere, you can hide them in the walls, or you can get wireless speakers. But remember, even wireless ones need power, so you’ll have to deal with some wires anyway.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

So buddy, are you ready to make your movies sound super awesome? Whether it’s the simple 2.1 system or the big 9.1 setup, each one will make your movie time way more exciting! Just remember to set everything up correctly, and you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of all the action!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What components do I need to set up a surround sound system?

You will need a surround sound receiver, a set of speakers (left, right, center, and two rear speakers), and a subwoofer.

2. Where should I place the speakers for the best sound quality?

The left and right speakers should be placed at an equal distance from the center of the TV or projection screen. The center speaker should be placed directly above or below the TV, and the rear speakers should be placed behind the listening area.

3. What is the recommended listening position for a surround sound system?

The recommended listening position is in the center of the room, with the speakers set up in a semicircle around the listener.

4. What is the difference between a 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound system?

A 5.1 system has five speakers and one subwoofer, while a 7.1 system has seven speakers and one subwoofer. The extra two speakers in a 7.1 system provide additional surround sound effects.

5. What is the ideal distance between the subwoofer and the other speakers?

The subwoofer should be placed at an equal distance from the left and right speakers, and slightly offset from the center. This will provide a more balanced sound throughout the room.

6. How do I calibrate the speakers in my surround sound system?

Most receivers have an automatic speaker calibration feature that will adjust the volume, distance, and frequency response of each speaker to provide the best possible sound. Some receivers also have manual calibration options for more advanced users.
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