Setting Up Your Home Audio System
Whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool audiophile who’s researching home theater surround sound options in preparation for a big A/V equipment purchase; or you’re a newbie just getting started with home theater installation, you want to optimize speaker placement. This task may seem intuitive, but many different variables can impact your options and best practices. For instance:
- The natural and ambient acoustics of your room;
- The presence or absence of carpeting in the room;
- Your aesthetic preferences in terms of volume, timbre, etc;
- Whether or not you have neighbors or children who might restrict or constrain how you listen to your system;
- Whether or not you want to install the equipment and set it up yourself or have someone else do it for you.
- The type of entertainment you will be consuming. For instance, it you’re a commercial director who needs to listen very carefully to sound, you will need to optimize your set up much more than you would if you’re just a movie buff who wants to get immersed in blockbusters.
Here are some powerful tips for speaker placement:
Subwoofer. You can put the subwoofer basically anywhere in the room with some caveats. The speaker should be able to communicate with the receiver. The location should be convenient. Keep it away from the corners or walls.
Primary speakers. If you’re doing a 2.1 channel set up, your primary channel speakers should be around 3 or 4 feet from the center of your TV screen and at ear height.
Center and surround speakers. If you want an immersive sound experience – such as a 5.1 channel set up – you’ll want to add in center and surround speakers. Set up the center right below the viewing area (without angling it out), and position it to direct sound towards the listener’s head. The left and right surround speakers should be behind your ears by 10 or 20 degrees — i.e. around 90 to 110 degrees from the listening position itself.