You can spend all the money you want on HDTVs and monitors, high-end audio receivers, amplifiers and speakers, but the quality of your equipment won’t make much difference in the sound you hear in your home theater after installation if you haven’t placed your loudspeakers and subwoofer properly. Choosing the right spots for all of your speakers is a critical element in planning an A/V room or home theater that, unfortunately, many people overlook.
Don’t be one of them. Here are some easy guidelines to follow.
5.1 Channel Audio
- Center Channel: This speaker goes exactly where you think it should, centered right above or below your video monitor or HDTV. If it’s a lot higher or lower than the position of the tweeters in your right and left front speakers, tilt it so it’s aimed directly at where you’ll be sitting.
- Right and Left Front Speakers: These should be at an equal distance from your center channel speaker, with the tweeters at the same level as your ears when you’re sitting in your listening position. If possible, don’t put them against the front wall; they should be slightly forward of the monitor’s position, at a 25-30° angle from the center channel speaker.
- Subwoofer: Contrary to common belief, the subwoofer doesn’t have to go in the front of the room, but most people put it there so speaker wires can reach easily. It should be on the floor, though, and the closer you place it to a wall, the more bass you will hear. Putting it in a corner will really boom the bass, if that’s what you’re looking for. This is the easiest speaker to move around to suit your tastes.
- Right and Left Rear Speakers: If you’ve always assumed these go directly behind your listening position, you’d be wrong (like many others are). Draw an imaginary horizontal line through your preferred listening position, and then place the surround sound speakers to your right and left, either directly on the line or just behind it. The ideal placement is at about a 90-100° angle from the center channel speaker, with the drivers a little bit above your ear level.
7.1 Channel Audio
Center Channel Speaker, Front Speakers, Subwoofer and Rear Speakers: Same positions as for 5.1 channel audio.
Rear Surround Speakers: These are the ones that go behind where you’ll be sitting, placed to your left and right and ideally elevated at least a little. The best locations for the rear surround speakers are about 140-150° from the center channel speaker.
9.1 Channel Audio
Center Channel Speaker, Front Speakers, Subwoofer, Rear Speakers and Rear Surround Speakers: Same positions as for 7.1 channel audio.
Front Right and Left Height Speakers: The two extra speakers should be placed between four and six feet above the primary right and left front speakers, pointed toward your preferred listening spot.
In some 7.1 Channel Audio systems, you can choose to use the “rear surround” speakers in front of your viewing position instead of behind it, which will give you more audio presence in the front of the room. In that case, position them as described in the 9.1 “front right and left height speakers” section.
A new level of audio enjoyment is possible with Dolby Atmos or Auro 3D speakers installed in the ceiling – or, if that’s not a possibility in your home theater, with specially designed Atmos-enabled speakers which reflect sound off the ceiling to replicate the theater experience. Just ask one of our experienced DTV Installations professionals about options for home audio installation service.