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How To Setup Home Theater: The Definitive Guide🕺🏻

This updated guide is about how to set up a home theater in 2023. Many people create their home theaters with big displays and cozy chairs. But the mistake they make is the sound system.

They buy prominent speakers without knowing that multi-dimensional audio creates a great theater sound system. So, we are here to give you a detailed step-by-step guide. Keep reading and follow along to establish your excellent home theater sound system!

🤔Before We Begin – How To Improve The Sound In Your Room?

Watching movies in home theater
Watching movies in the home theater

Keep this in mind: Home audio differs from outdoor sound setup. If you are watching movies on your TV and the audio output is from the television speakers themselves, you can significantly improve your room sound.

For this, you will need an amplifier and a few speakers. Here we are just talking about the essential things. We will go to surround sound afterward. 

All you need to do is send the audio output from the source (DVD player, cable box, console, etc.) to the amplifier. An amplifier boosts an electric current. It will convert the audio signals into electrical signals.

Now send the sound to the speakers from the amplifier. After doing this, the way sound is produced will differ from what you have heard.

Also Read: The Epic SVS Speakers Showdown [2023]!

It will be much cleaner and more powerful than the audio from TV speakers. This will enhance your movie experiences. Just sit back and enjoy it then.

To sum up, here the following are the steps you need to follow:

  • Get an amplifier and some speakers.
  • Connect the source (cable box, etc.) audio output to the amplifier.
  • Connect the amplifier to the speakers.

That’s it! These simple steps can let you enjoy better sound while you watch your favorite shows or movies.

🔊How To Send Audio Output To The Amplifier?


We discussed improving audio quality by changing the audio output from the source. 

As simple as it may sound, you might face trouble splitting picture and audio output. To find out if this splitting is possible with your source device, you need to look at it.

For example, a cable box, may use one HDMI cable or have two connections: one for picture and the other for audio.

Don’t get worried about this.

Let us see how to separate the sound signals from the speaker system:

  • Look at the jacks on your source device. Choose the jack to use for the audio output as per your desire, and consider the input your amplifier offers.

For example, if you use an optical audio output, the amplifier must also have an input for that. Just keep this in mind before getting the cables.

  • In the case of DVD players or Blu-ray players, they come with many output options. Making a connection with them will be easier. Nowadays, cable boxes also offer several output options.

I hope you have not forgotten that this was a basic sound setup. This is just to improve your sound experience.

For the home theater surround sound system, we are going to up our game. We still have many things to discuss and figure out how to establish our excellent audio system.

Also Read: 10 Best Party Speakers You Can’t Miss This Year [2023]

Let’s continue then:

🧏🏻What Is A Surround Sound System?

Surround Sound
Surround Sound

In technical terms, ‘surround sound‘ means a multi-channel speaker system designed by the famous ‘Dolby Labs.’ In day-to-day life, it is used to refer to a theater multi-channel sound system.

We are here to create our home theater surround sound systems. For that, we need to learn how speakers make multi-dimensional sounds.

Let us start with that.

You are very familiar with headphones, mentioning the left and right ear cups. And if you have played some video games with a headset, you know the purpose of the ‘left and right’ stuff very well.

It lets you locate enemy locations. It’s like you can track and hear each footstep of the enemies. 

It lets you locate enemy locations. It’s like you can track and hear each footstep of the enemies. 

This is because the left driver and right driver produce the sound regarding the origin. That is what lets you have a multi-dimensional feeling.

Similarly, to establish your surround sound system, you will need multiple speakers. Each of them will produce the sound as per the origin. You will also need to have the correct placements for the speakers.

How Many Speakers Required
How Many Speakers Required

Thoughts and questions might pop up in your mind, like ‘How many speakers will be needed?’ or ‘Are not two speakers, one for left and one for right, sufficient?’.

Well, we will get to them one by one. Before that, you should know that we will learn how to establish a 5.1-channel surround sound system (and extend the knowledge to a 7.1-channel system).

If you are planning to set up a different system, you may very well check that out. But we recommend you to continue reading as a lot of the stuff you learn here will help you out.

We will have a brief-up about the 7.1 channel system too. You will learn a lot from here, and this stuff is going to be helpful information.

If you are new to all this, a 5.1-channel system will be perfect for you. It will also cost less than the 9.2 and other systems you might have heard about.

🤩What’s The Big Deal About 5.1 Channel Surround Sound System?

5.1 Surround Sound Diagram
Credits: Wikipedia

We will understand it step-by-step. Basically, ‘channel’ means speaker. Five speakers are there when the term ‘5.1 channel’ comes in front of us. What the ‘.1’ represents is the number of subwoofers.

If ‘.2’ had been there, it would mean two subwoofers.

That’s the basics.

Now, the crucial part:

The subwoofer is responsible for the bass, while the other speakers have their uses. 

As you might have guessed, we will need five speakers and one subwoofer to establish a 5.1-channel home theater system.

First, the most important speaker is the center channel/speaker. It is essential because it is used for dialogues. As movies have a lot of dialogue, it has the most critical role.

Center Channel
Center Channel

It is placed directly below your TV screen (or the display you use). You might have already figured that out because of its name.

Then comes the left front and right front speakers. They are placed on the screen’s left and right, respectively. They should slightly tilt towards the center speaker. The front speakers and the center speaker do most of the work.

They are responsible for reproducing dialogue, significant portions of music, and sound effects.

After that comes the left and right surround sound speakers. They are responsible for adding dimensional flavor to your sound.

The left one will be placed precisely to your left, while the right one is exactly to your right. Keep in mind that we are talking about your seating position.

Also, the surround sound speakers should not be placed below your position. They should be above and exactly at your sides.

Last but not least, the subwoofer brings the bass to the party. We will talk about the subwoofer placement later.

It needs some extra attention, so let’s discuss other stuff first.

😳Next, We Come To AV Receiver!

AV Receiver
AV Receiver

Recall the basic stuff we just discussed in which we improved audio from TV by changing the audio output. In that case, we connected the TV to the picture source directly.

Modern AV receivers will make handling the audio and video signals convenient.

These days, AV receivers are not just amplifiers, but they can handle video signals too.

I was wondering what is good in it for you?

First, what we discussed earlier was to set up a base. We only cared about splitting the signal and producing the audio through speakers.

But, if you think about it, we had to directly connect the source to the TV for the picture. So, if we change sources (like a cable box to a DVD player), we will have to reconsider the whole arrangement of cables. This makes our task inconvenient.

If we use an AV receiver instead, it can handle switching between sources. This lets you easily switch from a cable box to a console. 

Also, only one video cable will be needed for the display for each source. For example, connecting a cable box and a PlayStation (both via HDMI cable) to the AV receiver will split the signals. It will send audio signals to the speakers and video signals to the display screen.

💢 Why Use an AV Receiver?

Perks of an AV Receiver In Your Room
Perks of an AV Receiver In Your Room

  • Lesser cables will be needed.
  • Neater setup.
  • Multiple input options (Can make many connections).
  • Easily switch between sources.

I’ll be honest:

You can always use the basic setup with the amplifier (which I discussed earlier) to improve your room sound.

But in that setup, you will require several cables, crowded and tangled wires, and an inconvenient way to switch between sources.

Here are the exact steps you need to follow to use an AV Receiver:

  • Connect an AV receiver to the TV/display.
  • Connect sources like the cable box to the AV receiver.
  • Connect speakers to the AV receiver.

That’s all. The sources will send the audio and video signals to the AV receiver in this setup.

The AV receiver will send the video signals to the TV/display and audio signals to the speakers.

The AV receiver will let you select the source. As per the source, it will handle signals.

Which AV Receiver to buy? 

As we discuss a 5.1 channel surround sound system, the AV receiver you buy should support the 5.1 connection.

Basically, on the back of the AV receiver, it should specify that it is a 5.1 amp. If you are considering establishing a 7.1 channel, look for a 7.1-amp AV receiver.

If you have a big room, checking out AV receivers that support 2 two subwoofers is preferable. This is because a more ample space might need giant bass.

Note: A 7.1-amp AV receiver also supports a 5.1-channel system. It’s totally up to you which one you choose.

😏Now, We Head Over To The 7.1 Surround Sound System!

7.1 surround sound system
Credits: Denon

As said earlier, we will brief you about the 7.1 surround sound system. To set up a 7.1 channel system, as you guessed, seven speakers and one subwoofer are needed.

Here is how you can set up this:

  • The center speaker will be placed below the display in the center. It is very important as it delivers the dialogue. 
  • The front left and front right speakers will be placed to the left and right of the screen. They should slightly tilt towards the center speaker. They are responsible for significant portions of music notes, sound effects, and dialogues.
  • The surrounded left and surrounded right speakers should be placed precisely to the sides of your seating position. They should be placed above your position. They create a multi-dimensional effect.
  • The back left and back right speakers will be placed behind you, slightly tilting towards the surround speakers. They are of the least importance. They only serve to reinforce the surround speakers.
  • The subwoofer will be responsible for the bass. It is to be placed according to the room. We will discuss subwoofer placement afterward.

💫Get The Most Out Of Your Subwoofer!


As promised, let’s talk about the subwoofer and its placement. Firstly, the subwoofer is what adds powerful bass to the sound.

As for the placement of the subwoofer, it all depends on your room.

Let us know how to find the perfect placement of the subwoofer:

  • Place the subwoofer next to your sitting position (make sure no driver or port is blocked).
  • Sit there and play bass-heavy music (with the highest settings). Listen carefully.
  • Now crawl into your room with your ear near the floor.
  • Then move to every corner of your room, anywhere you think you can place the subwoofer.
  • Mark the place(s) with a pencil or tape where the music sounds best.
  • Place the subwoofer in that place.
  • Go back to your sitting position.
  • You will find that the music sounded almost the same when the subwoofer was right next to you.
  • This would be the perfect placement for the sub.

Note: Have a long cable connected, as no one can tell how far you will place the subwoofer.

Let’s quickly recall the steps for clarity:

Place the subwoofer very closely to the seating position. Crawl around the room, find the best-sounding position and place a subwoofer there.

If you think about how this is happening, think of it as based on sound reflection. It’s more complicated than that, but no need to get into it. Generally, a subwoofer sounds best when placed at the corners of a room.

Now, if you have a big room, you can have more than one subwoofer. A large room having more subwoofers enriches the bass. Two subwoofers can deliver sufficient power for a large room.

😉More About The Placement Of Speakers

Speaker Placement
Speaker Placement

What we discussed was the placement of speakers was a rough idea. There are more things to consider.

Front speakers

Let us first discuss the tilt angle of the front speakers. You know that you must place the front left and front right speakers at the sides of the display.

Now for the angle, first place it in the direction of your seating position. When they are exactly parallel to the position, start tilting them towards the center speaker.

The perfect angle is between 22 – 30 degrees. This will itself create some amount of surround sound effects. The angle might differ a little as per your room.

But the angle should not be far from the range of 22 to 30. You have to listen and find out the perfect angle for you. If the angle differs a lot, your room build is improper. 

This could be the case generally for those who live in a building built 30 years ago or so. But this does not happen often.

The speakers’ height should be such that the speakers’ tweeters are at your ear position level. You do not need to be exact with the positioning, but it should be approximately correct.

The front speakers should also be near the wall. This will make the sound richer with deeper bass

Center speakers

As I mentioned, they are to be placed at the center of the display, in front of you. You can also place them below the display (or just above). They should be at an ear-level height or close to that.

Surround Speakers

Placing them on the walls is one way to do it, but you can also put them on stands. The room will dictate the positioning.

No need to worry about changing or not; whatever is convenient, go for it. They must be placed precisely to your sides (left and right to the seating).

Rear speakers (Not in case of 5.1 channel)

The rear/back speakers are placed behind you to the left and right. They should be angled between 135 and 150 degrees (with relation to the center speaker).

They should be above or at your ear level. Again, the room will determine the angle. You have to listen to place them correctly.


The placement of the subwoofer has already been discussed. So you may know that the subwoofer generally sounds best in the corners because of reverberation.

It is recommended to follow the steps mentioned earlier for the placement. Do not get caught up in it. Subwoofer placement is less important than other speakers.

😌Here Are Some Useful Products That Will Boost Your Room Sound!

3 Products

  • Speaker stands

    If you did not know, speaker stands are available on the market. Consider buying these if you lack space on your table to place the speakers.

    They don’t take up much space and are available in different sizes. 

  • All-in-one home theater package

    It’s worth considering these package deals. These all-in-one packages include an AV receiver, all speakers, and the subwoofer.

    It reduces the task of finding and purchasing each product separately. They don’t come with a TV generally, so you can get the sound system only.

  • Wall mounts

    Honestly, speakers’ placements might be a bother, finding the correct size table and stuff. But, if you mount the speakers on the wall, you won’t have to worry about having the speaker at the right height.

🧐Best Surround Sound Tips On Different Kinds Of Rooms!

You might be feeling confused or troubled as at a lot of places you would have read ‘as per room’ or ‘room dictates.’

So, let’s keep it simple and slow and find out things that will probably improve the audio experience.

For Big Rooms

Surround Sound Tips For Large Rooms
Surround Sound Tips For Large Rooms

If your room is big, you can have a great sound experience if you establish a great setup.

To get started, let us talk about the subwoofer first. In big rooms, the bass generally gets dull. Its power feels insufficient for space.

To correct that, there are two things you can do:

  • The first is to get two subwoofers. If one subwoofer can not deliver the thundering bass, have another one that reinforces the bass. It will undoubtedly make a difference.
  • The second thing you can do is create the illusion of having two subwoofers. To do this, all you have to do is split the single subwoofer output with the help of a ‘Y’ connector. It will not produce too big a difference, but it can surely add juice to the sound.

Note:  It’s recommended to have AV receivers that support two subwoofers for big rooms.

  • The next thing is the channel configuration. If your room is big, having more speakers will strengthen the sound. It makes sense, right?

So, instead of a 5.1 system, having a 7.1 or 7.2 system will offer richer sound to you. The more speakers, the better the audio quality.

  • The last thing recommended is, as you might have already guessed, to have better speakers. It’s a super simple thing; just buy speakers that can play louder and better.

Home Theater For Small Rooms
Home Theater For Small Rooms

There are some simple things to remember to establish your home theater in a small room.

  • To kick it off, having one subwoofer is sufficient. Having two subwoofers might sound tempting, but we want an ‘immersive experience’ and not ‘noise.’

Powerful bass is good, but too powerful bass just gives you a headache. You can lower the sound, but then what is the point of buying an extra subwoofer?

  • The second thing is to not go for a lot of speakers. A 5.1 or a 7.1 channel will be sufficient. If you go for a 9.1 channel, all it’s going to do is make you feel crowded by speakers.

  • The last thing is to have a good sitting position. If the room is small, a sitting position too close to the subwoofer might feel uncomfortable. Figure out a good position for yourself and the speakers.

🥳Final Words On How To Setup Home Theater

Final words on home theater surround sound
Final words on home theater surround sound

We tried to give you a lot of information. This knowledge will surely help you establish your own ‘home theater surround sound system.

We covered the 5.1 channel system as well as the 7.1 channels. But we focused more on the 5.1 channel.

If you are experienced with all the surround sound stuff, looking into Dolby Atmos and all the top-notch sound systems out there is preferred.

To set up your theater, you must buy an AV Receiver with a suitable configuration.

It Would Be Great If:

You buy cables for the connections. Remember that the cable length should be enough; you should have short cables for front and center speakers, and long cables for surround speakers should be enough.

If you create a surround system for the first time, you might feel confused and panicked. We have tried to simplify things for you to keep your cool and make a great sound system.

If the system works improperly, look at the connections first. There are a lot of ports on the AV receiver, and connections could be made wrong.

Because of a lot of stuff, it’s preferred to go through the steps again or take screenshots so you don’t feel lost at some points.

All that is left is to create your surround sound system, turn it on, and enjoy a movie with some buttered popcorn.

😎What Do You Think?

There you have it: the complete guide on setting up home theater surround sound in 2023.

Now, I’d turn it over to you.

  • Which tip from today’s post will you try out first?
  • Will you use the all-in-one home theater package to keep things easy and convenient?
  • Or will you use dual subwoofers for your large rooms?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

how to setup home theater

Rach Wellard

Rach Wellard is the driving force behind Sound & Solitude. Her mission is to help you discover the profound impact of sound in your daily life and to explore the beauty of solitude. With a deep passion for the connection between soundscapes and emotions, she brings a unique blend of expertise and personal dedication to our platform.

Rach understands that every individual's auditory journey is unique, and she’s here to guide you every step of the way. As a devoted audiophile, Rach’s discerning ear carefully selects the most exceptional products that align with your desires for Sound or Solitude. In a world filled with noise and chaos, Sound & Solitude serves as your sanctuary.

Rach’s journey as an autistic individual with a heightened sensitivity to sound fuels our commitment to creating an inclusive space where everyone can find solace while enjoying the meaningful sounds in their lives. Her understanding of diverse sensory needs enables us to offer personalized recommendations and insights, ensuring that your chosen audio equipment not only meets technical criteria but also resonates with your unique sensory preferences. And if you simply seek the best sound possible, Rach has you covered.

At Sound & Solitude, authenticity is our foundation. We provide unbiased reviews and comparisons because you deserve nothing but the truth. Our reviews are meticulously crafted, drawing upon Rach’s deep understanding of audio technology and the human experience in the Sound and Solitude realms. Whether you're searching for noise-cancelling headphones to immerse yourself in music or seeking a gaming headset that transports you to virtual worlds, you can rely on our reviews and personally tested comparisons to find the best equipment for your specific needs. Explore our carefully curated content, from the latest wireless audio advancements to tips for creating your ideal auditory retreat.

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4 thoughts on “How To Setup Home Theater: The Definitive Guide🕺🏻”

  1. Learning more about surround sound from this article was extremely helpful, so I appreciate that. As an avid fan of concerts and movies, watching them in our home theater with the best sound will really make it all worth it. To do that, I’ll get a surround sound installation expert to help me set up all of this equipment once we’re done remodeling the room that we’ll place the home theater in.

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