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How to Place Your Speakers to Maximise Your Home Theatre Experience

Speaker Placement

Whether you are setting up your computer speakers or a complex home theatre bundle, understanding the art and science of speaker channels and placement is the most critical step in enjoying your new sound system. Read on for a crash course in surround sound setup.

How Do I Configure Optimum 5.1 Channel Surround Sound?

Configure Stereo 5.1 Channel Surround sound to gain maximum output of stereo system meant for home theatre, desktop or television. To produce awesome soundtracks and movie scores and to get optimal performance in sound, place the correct speaker at the perfect place meant for it. A system of 5.1 stereo means 5 channels, one subwoofer and accompanying low-frequency effects channels which power it and a receiver which receives signals from the source, amplifies and sends to speakers.

IAT 5.1


Stereo 5.1 helps to create immersive surround sound and it is absolute minimum speaker set up to get best results. The first step is to place subwoofer at a convenient place in the room so that it receives the signals directly from the source as it is Omnidirectional. It must not be placed beneath a cabinetry or architectural shape otherwise Omni directional signals may become more directional deteriorating the quality of sound.

Left and Right Front Channels:

Sound effects, music dialogues will come out of speakers placed in front. One speaker should be placed 3 to 4 feet from centre line of viewing in left and the other at an approximately same distance in right at ear-height while seated on a chair. Place the speaker at an inner toe angle of 22 to 30 degree directed towards the centre of sitting area. One can set up this arrangement more precisely to get the best results in sound.

Centre Channel:

Now add the centre and surround channels. Sound delivery is spread amongst the additional speakers used in 5.1 systems. Place one speaker in the centre to the main viewing seat with no angle to the left or right side. It should be as accurate to ear height as possible because it is responsible for direct dialogue delivery from the screen. One can angle the speaker in such fashion that sound reaches to listener’s ear directly.

Surrounding Sound Channels:

The surrounding channels help to distribute the load and are responsible for the spread of environmental and ambient sounds. Cheers and whistles produced in a concert are delivered by these channels in making you feel to be sitting in the front row of the hall of a concert. So for maximum real impact left and right surround sound channels are placed at an angle of 90 to 110 degree relative to listening position.


How Do I Configure Optimum 7.1 Channel Surround Sound?

The standard setup for a 7.1 configuration includes a centre channel speaker, left and right front channel speakers, a subwoofer, left and right surround speakers and left and right rear surround speakers.

The rear surround speakers add more depth to the surround sound experience by spreading the sound across four speakers (the left and right surrounds and rears), rather than two, resulting in more directed, immersive sound.

The two additional speakers also help to fill larger rooms more completely. Plus, more and more films are being released or home viewing in 7.1 formats, adding to its appeal.

IAT 7.1

Centre channel:

Place the centre channel speaker immediately above or below the screen, directly facing the listening area. If the speaker is being set on a shelf or stand, be sure that the leading edge of the speaker is flush with the edge of the stand, to maintain dialogue clarity.


The three most common subwoofer locations include corners, placement along a wall or beside a front speaker, which can create a better blend with the front speaker, at the cost of sacrificing overall volume.

Experimentation with subwoofer placement is highly encouraged; slight adjustments can create big differences in bass reproduction.

Left and Right Front Channels:

The left and right front speakers should be placed at an equal distance from the screen and at least six feet apart; the left, right and centre front speakers should be an equal distance from the ideal viewing position. To enhance the experience, some toe-in might be desirable. If so, be sure to identically angle each speaker and maintain equal distance from the viewing position.

Surround Speakers:

The left and right surround speakers must be placed equally on each side and slightly above and behind the viewing position. Left and right rear surround speakers should also be about three feet above (and behind) the seated listeners’ heads.

Upgrading from a 5.1 system? Or perhaps you’re trying to decide whether a 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theatre receiver is best for you.

Either way, Integrated Audio Technology is here to show you how to set up a 7.1 system step by step.


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