Installing surround sound speakers is a much easier task if you first decide where the acoustic center of your room is going to be. This may be a favorite chair, but in most cases it's the family couch facing the TV. Most surround sound speaker systems use five speakers and one subwoofer, designated as a 5.1 system. For larger rooms you may opt for a 7.1 system, which has seven speakers and one subwoofer.
Positioning the Front Speakers
The center front speaker should be placed directly in front of the acoustic center, either below or above your television screen. Place the front left and right speakers equal distances from the center speaker, ideally placed at an angle anywhere between 22 and 45 degrees facing the acoustic center. Speakers should be placed at ear-level while you are seated. If the speakers don't have rear-panel bass ports, they can be mounted to the wall -- otherwise, they should be mounted on stands.
Positioning the Rear Speakers
If you are installing a 5.1 speaker system, place the rear speakers at equal distances from the acoustic center. If you have the space, place the speakers behind the couch. If the couch is against the wall, place the speakers beside the couch, one on each side. If you have a 7.1 system, one pair of speakers should go on each side of the couch and one pair should be centered behind the couch. Each pair should be equally spaced from the acoustic center.
Positioning the Subwoofer
The subwoofer can go anywhere on the floor where you have room. It shouldn't be placed directly against furniture, walls or on top of shelves or tables because its vibrations can cause unwanted noise. The subwoofer has a strong magnetic field that -- along with the vibrations -- can interfere with other electrical equipment such as your stereo receiver. For best results, first try placing the subwoofer about 6 inches from a wall at the front of the room. For a bit more bass, move it to a corner near the front of the room.
Ensuring Wired Speakers Are in Phase
If you connect the wrong wire to the speaker or amplifier connection terminals, the sound will be out of phase and won't sound as good as it should. Depending on the manufacturer, speaker wires may be color-coded as red and black. Red wires should be attached to red connectors and black wires to black connectors. Not all speaker wires are color-coded, but if you look at the casing you should see a reference on the side of each wire to indicate which is red and which is black. To avoid mistakes, mark the end of each wire with a marker so you can easily identify which wire is which before connecting them.
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