How to Install Surround Sound

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Surround sound can really bring television, movies, and music to life. Having a surround sound system installed in your home will dramatically increase your enjoyment of the things that you watch and listen to, but it can take a little bit of work to set it up correctly. To save yourself the cost of professional installation, this guide will show you how you can install your own surround sound system as quickly and easily as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Surround sound speakers
  • Stereo, DVD player, or digital tuner
  • Speaker wires (unless using wireless speakers)
  • Mounting kits/screws
  • Stud finder
  • The first thing that you need to do when installing surround sound in your home is to determine where in your house you are going to want your speakers to go. If you are using 5.1 surround sound, you will have 5 satellite speakers to place plus a subwoofer. The next generation is 7.1 surround sound and it is similar, but features 7 satellite speakers instead of 5. You should have 1 speaker that will be placed directly opposite of your entertainment center, with the other satellites being divided evenly around the room. The subwoofer will most likely be placed in your entertainment center, though you are free to move it elsewhere if you prefer.

  • Check each speaker to see if its position is labeled; depending on your speaker system you might have some speakers that are designed to be on the left side of the room or on the right. If a speaker is labeled "center" or seems to be larger than the rest, it will be the one that should be opposite entertainment center. Place this speaker in the floor in front of the location where it will be mounted, then arrange the other speakers around the room (again in the floor) until you have a speaker arrangement that you are satisfied with.

  • Before you mount the speakers, go ahead and run the speaker wires to them and hook them up to your stereo or digital tuner. If you're using a wireless speaker system, turn on all of the speakers and the wireless transmitter so that all of your speakers are connected to the signal. Start a CD or DVD, adjusting the speaker balance as needed to test the speakers on the left and right side individually. This will make sure that they are connected properly before you begin mounting the speakers.

  • Use either long screws or speaker mounting kits to secure your speakers to the walls near the ceiling. Don't forget to use your stud finder to make sure that the screws you use are going into the wall studs to ensure plenty of support for your speakers. If you're using wired speakers you can run the wires to the various satellites again after they have been mounted.

  • Use the same CD or DVD that you used to test your speakers before to test them again. This will ensure that everything sounds the same as it did before you mounted them, and the test will let you know if you have to change any part of your setup now instead of letting you discover it while trying to listen to music or watch a movie.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the speakers that you're using have separate positive and negative wires, make sure that you connect the right wire to the right terminal
  • Use small hooks or hook-and-eye tape to secure the speaker wires to the walls where the wall meets the ceiling in order to keep them out of the way
  • Be careful when working with any wires, as there is always a risk of electrical shock; turn off all power to the speakers and your stereo before connecting speaker wires

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