How to Hook up Surround Sound

This emindsca teaches you how to hook up a surround sound system to your TV.

Part 1 Preparing Your Equipment

1. Examine the speakers you have available. The number of speakers you have determines how you set them up; the most common setups are 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1, where the number before the decimal refers to the number of speakers and the “.1” refers to the use of a subwoofer.

2.1 is two front speakers and a subwoofer.

5.1 is two front speakers, a center speaker, two surround speakers, and a subwoofer.

7.1 is two front, one center, two surround, two back, and a subwoofer.

2. Determine the audio type of your television. You should see a “Audio Out” (or similar) section on the back or side of your TV with at least one of the following types of audio output:

A hexagonal optical port. Optical audio is the most recent and clear type of audio, and it is supported by the majority of modern receivers.

HDMI is represented by a thin hexagonal slot. HDMI supports audio as well as video. HDMI is supported by nearly all modern receivers.

AV – Circular ports in white and red. These are typically used for basic audio. All receivers should be able to accept AV input.

3. Check to see if you have an audio receiver. The average surround sound speaker, unlike powered speakers, cannot project audio on its own. A receiver receives sound from your television and sends it via wires to the speakers you’ve connected.

A receiver is usually included in surround sound kits. If you purchased your surround sound system used, you may need to purchase the receiver separately.

All speakers will connect to your receiver via AV cable, but the receiver can connect to your TV via optical, HDMI, or AV cables. Check that the audio input on your receiver matches the audio output on your TV.

4. Check that you have all of the necessary cables. To connect the speakers to each other, you’ll need speaker wire, AV cables (the red and white cables), and an optical, HDMI, or AV set of cables to connect the receiver to the TV’s audio ports.

If you don’t have the necessary cables, you can purchase them online or at a tech store. Online shopping is usually less expensive.

5. Consult the owner’s manual for your surround sound system. Each surround sound system will come with a unique set of instructions outlining the best way to set it up. While you can follow general instructions to get good sound from your speakers, the best way to optimise them for perfect sound is to first read their manual.

6. Turn off and unplug your television. You can place and connect the speakers after your TV has been turned off and completely unplugged from its power source.

Part 2 Placing the Speakers

1. Before connecting anything, arrange the speakers and their wires. This is known as “blocking,” and it ensures that you can optimise your speaker placement without having to stretch wires, move furniture, and so on.

2. Place the subwoofer in the centre of the room. Because the subwoofer produces omnidirectional sound, you will get similar results no matter where you place it. Many people prefer to position it near the front of the configuration so that it can be easily connected to the receiver.

Despite the fact that subwoofers are omnidirectional, placing them against walls and corners will amplify the bass, making it difficult to control.

3. Place the front speakers on either side of the television. If the speakers are labelled “left” and “right,” make sure they’re on the correct side according to the instructions in the manual.

The distance between the front speakers and the TV should be the same (e.g., three feet on each side).

4. Turn the front speakers to face the audience. Each speaker should be slightly angled in so that it faces the centre of the seating area.

Between the two speakers and the centre of the seating area, you should be able to “draw” a symmetrical triangle.

You will notice a significant difference in sound quality if you can raise your front speakers to ear level.

If you’re configuring a 2.1 system, you can now move on to the next section.

5. Position the centre channel speaker above or below the television. The centre channel acts as a bridge between the left and right speakers. It aids in keeping dialogue in sync with moving mouths on the screen when sound pans from left to right.

The centre channel should be angled up or down so that it faces the audience.

You won’t be able to hear the centre channel if you put it behind the TV.

6. Position the surround-sound speakers to the side of the viewing area. Your two surround speakers should be positioned on either side of the viewing area, facing the audience. If you aren’t using 7.1, you can place them slightly behind the viewer as long as they are still pointing directly at the viewer.

The surround channel speakers are responsible for creating the illusion of sound happening all around the viewer. They do not transmit as much sound as the front speakers, but by enveloping the viewer, they enhance the action on the TV.

7. Increase the volume of the surround channel speakers. Surround speakers should be placed about two feet above ear level and slightly angled down to point at the audience.

If you’re putting together a 5.1 system, you’re done with speaker placement and can move on to the next step.

8. Back channel speakers should be placed behind the viewing area. Place the two back channel speakers as close together as possible to create a sound bubble around the audience.

The height of the back channel speakers should be the same as the height of the surround speakers.

Part 3 Connecting the Speakers

1. Place your receiver close to your television. The receiver must be close to both the TV and a power source so that it can be properly plugged into both.

If your receiver requires a lot of space to vent heat, don’t put it in a cabinet.

2. Examine the way your speakers are connected. Most surround sound systems include ports for each speaker, into which you simply plug the appropriate connector.

Some older systems have clips into which you can insert bare speaker wire. To do this, use wire cutters to remove some of the wire and then clip it into place on the back of the speaker.

3. Connect each speaker to the receiver with a wire. Make every effort to conceal your wires as you run them, as this will prevent people or animals from tripping over them and pulling your speakers.

Run the wires under the carpet or through the wall if possible.

Allow some slack at each end to prevent the connection from becoming stressed.

4. Connect the speakers by connecting them together. Connect one end of your speaker wire to the back of a speaker, then connect that speaker to another in the same order. Each of your speakers should be connected in a line around your room, beginning with one front speaker and ending with the other front speaker.

AV cables will be used to connect the front speakers to the receiver. Do not use speaker wire to connect the front speakers to one another.

Unless otherwise specified in the manual, leave your subwoofer out of this process. Subwoofers are almost always connected directly to the audio receiver.

5. Install the subwoofer. A standard set of AV cables connects most subwoofers to the receiver.

The receiver’s subwoofer port is usually labelled “sub out” or “sub pre-out.”

If your subwoofer has multiple inputs, connect to the one labelled “LFE in,” or the far left input if no label is present.

6. Connect your receiver to a power source. After that, your receiver will gradually power on, though it may take several minutes to fully connect if this is the first time you’ve set it up.

7. Connect the HDMI devices to the receiver. Game consoles, DVD players, and cable boxes will use the TV’s HDMI input as their audio output, so connect these devices to the receiver to route their audio through your surround sound. Additional cables will be required to connect the receiver to the appropriate HDMI inputs.

Most receivers have a series of ports labelled “HDMI IN” and “HDMI OUT” (e.g., “IN 1”, “OUT 1”, etc.).

For example, an HDMI item plugged into “HDMI IN 1” would have an HDMI cable plugged into the receiver’s “HDMI OUT 1” port and the TV’s “HDMI 1” port.

The same reasoning applies to older items that make use of AV cables or composite cables (the red, yellow, green, blue, and white sets of cables).

8. Connect the receiver to the television. Use an HDMI connection to connect the TV to the HDMI Out port on the receiver for the best results.

You can use older connectors (for example, AV cables), but the quality will be much lower. HDMI is supported by the vast majority of modern televisions.

9. Reconnect your power supply and turn on your television. Once everything is connected, you can turn on your television to see how your efforts fared.

10. Put your surround sound system to the test. Each TV has its own method of configuring audio, but you can usually change your TV’s audio preferences by pressing the Menu button on the remote, selecting Audio, and locating the default output area.

The majority of newer surround sound systems have an automatic setup process that involves placing a connected microphone in the centre of the viewing area and allowing the speakers to read the ambient sound levels.

If your surround sound doesn’t feel right, try adjusting the settings on your TV and the items to which the surround sound is connected before physically adjusting the speakers.

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