DIY Surround Sound


The debate of whether or not to install your own surround sound system has fallen on deaf ears and you have decided to tackle this delicate task for yourself. Good for you. The thing is you aren’t really too certain about where to actually begin this delicate procedure. At this point, I’m assuming that you have purchased either a home theater kit or surround sound system for your home and are preparing to begin the actual installation process. A good place to start is by reading the instructions and owners manual that most likely came with either the kit you purchased or each of the individual components.

The thing to remember with a surround sound system is that nothing will work without the speakers and they will only work for their intended purpose if they are positioned properly. However, you need to make sure that the other components are in place before beginning to work with the speakers. I recommend, particularly if this is your first system that you go with a simple AV receiver, if you’ve already purchased a tuner, amplifier, and all that other great stuff it is no problem, just a little more involved as far as processes go. The installation of each of these devices is often as simple as finding a space for them and plugging everything into the proper slot. The good news is that most systems have the ‘slots’ well labeled for just this purpose.

Once you have the receiver hooked up you should begin placing speakers. If you went with the basic 5.1 channel surround sound system you should have 6 speakers including the subwoofer. This is a good system to begin with and (if you purchased your AV receiver wisely) will leave room for growth and expansion in the future. I will begin with instructions for the placement of the 6 speakers for a 5.1 channel system and expand those instructions to include the others later.

With a basic 5.1 channel surround sound system, you will have five speakers and one subwoofer. The placement of the speaker is important when it comes to placing the ambient sounds that are found in movies in the proper location in relation to the action onscreen. Three of the five speakers belong in the front. One speaker in the center and one each on the front left and right-the two remaining speakers belong behind you to the left and right (one left rear; one right rear). While this isn’t an overly complicated concept you’d be amazed at the number of people who have their surround sound systems improperly set up.

With the 6.1 channel system, you will move the rear left and right speakers to the side and place one speaker to the rear and in the center. If you then upgrade from a 6.1 to a 7.1 channel surround sound system you will move the speaker that is in the rear to either the left of the right and install the additional speaker on the opposite side and to the rear.

If you are going to make the investment in a home theater or surround sound system please take the time to insure that the pieces and parts are properly located and installed in order to get your money’s worth out of the process. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy your new sound system.

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