How to Lay Out a 9.1 Home Theater Speaker


As sound continues to move to digital, becoming more and more clear, there will be new ways to listen to it. The first step was the invention of surround sound with a standard six speaker (5.1) setup. As technology progressed, however, the six speaker was no longer adequate to pick up the subtle nuances of sound. One of the next generations of this is the 10 speaker setup (9.1 surround). It may seem difficult to figure out where to place all the speakers; however, depending on your preferences, setting up a 9.1 speaker system is easy.

Things You'll Need

  • 9 surround sound speakers
  • 1 subwoofer
  • Tuner which can accommodate 9.1 surround
  • Speaker mounts
  • Large protractor
  • String
  • Pencil
  • Set up the tuner according to the manufacturer's directions so that it connects with your existing sound system.

  • Find the center of the room where you have your stereo. All of the speakers will be pointed at that spot. Make a pencil mark on the floor and place the protractor on the ground at that point.

  • Place the first speaker directly in front of the center point of the room. This is the center speaker and all other speaker measurements will go off of this one and the center point. Plug this speaker into the center speaker output.

  • Attach a piece of string to the center point of the protractor and run it until it reaches the center of the front edge of the center speaker. This is the distance which you will use for rest of the speaker placement.

  • Place one end of the piece of string on the center point of the protractor. Measure 30 degrees to the left from the center point and pull the string so it is taut in that direction, 30 degrees off of the center speaker. Place the left speaker in this place, pointing toward the center of the room. Repeat this for the right side and plug these speakers into their respective outputs.

  • Repeat the process with a 45 degree angle. These measurements will be for your left and right high speakers. These speakers should be mounted with speaker mounts near or on the ceiling, and be pointing at the center of the room at 45 degree angles (so these are 45 degrees off the center, on a wall, facing down at a 45 degree angle). Plug these into the right and left high speaker outputs.

  • Do another repetition of the measurement, this time to 60 degrees on either side. This is for the left and right wide speaker placement. Place these so that are facing the center point and plug them into the wide speaker outputs.

  • Measure one more time as you did before, going out to 120 degrees. These are your left and right side speakers. These speakers should be placed no more than 1 foot above a person's head and should be pointed toward the center of the room. Position these speakers and plug them into their respective outlets.

  • Place the subwoofer on the ground next to the stereo. A subwoofer is an omni directional bass speaker which doesn't need to be pointed anywhere in particular. Plug this into the tuner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on your tuner setup, you may find that there are other ways to set up 9.1. For example, one additional way is to forgo the wide speakers (Step 7) for left and right back speakers. If this is the case, these speakers will mirror the left and right speakers, 30 degrees off the center, but they will be behind the center point, facing toward it.
  • Make sure the power of the tuner is off before you start plugging speakers into it. While it is low, there is an electrical current which powers the speakers that can shock you.

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