Purchasing a speaker system and speaker mounts and stands is not enough. No, to truly get all that you want out of your home theater system you simply must place each piece in the right location to take advantage of the number and type of speakers you have, the dimensions of your room, and where folks will be sitting.
5.1 Speaker Systems
The 5 of a 5.1 speaker system refers to the total number of speakers a speaker system not including the subwoofer has. A 5.1 system has one center channel speaker that projects the voices of the actors on your screen, two (one left, one right) rear channel speakers for sound effects and background noise, and, finally, two (one left, one right) front channel speakers for primary sound effects and music. Altogether, that is the five of the 5.1.
The one of the 5.1 refers to the subwoofer that produces the low frequency effects that make your belly rumble and your windows shake.
7.1, 5.2, 9.1. 9.1, Most Other Speaker Systems
The other speaker systems are variations of the 5.1 setup with the first number referring to the total number of center, rear, and front channel speakers it has and the number after the decimal referring to the number of subwoofers. The good news is that the basics of speaker placement are the same for all speaker systems.
Proper Placement of Speakers
To place your speakers, you must first place your television screen and your primary chair or sofa. The sofa must be directly to the front of the television screen. Now, you need to consider the center of the primary seat as being at the center of a 360 degree circle, with the TV being at 0 or 360 degrees.
The front right channel speakers sit at from 22 to 30 degrees, while the left front sit at from 330 to 338 degrees from the viewer’s direct front. The right rear channel speakers are placed around 90 to 110 degrees from the viewer, while the left rear channels sit from 250 to 265 degrees of the viewer. If you have a 7.1 system, the two additional rear speakers sit at 135 to 150 degrees for the right speaker and 210 to 225 degrees for the left.
The center channel speaker is then placed either below or above the TV so that it too sits at 0 or 360 degrees. Then place the subwoofer about ten to 13 degrees from the TV. Subwoofers normally sit directly on the floor.
Automatic Speaker Calibration
Once you think you have got everything right where it ought to be, run your system’s automatic speaker calibration function that will adjust the output of each speaker to make up for the less-than-ideal acoustics of your room.