How To Set Up Surround Sound [All You Need To Know]

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Oct 16, 2022


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Do you like getting fully immersed in music and movies? Or maybe you’re a gamer who wants the best gaming experience possible. Having good quality audio can make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.

But if you’re not tech-savvy, installing such a system may seem challenging. That’s why I’ll show you how to set up surround sound and get that theatre-like experience. So whether you’re a beginner or an audiophile, keep reading for all the info you need.

What Is Surround Sound?

Surround sound is a technology that allows you to hear audio more realistically. By using multiple speakers, you can create an environment with all-around rumbling effects.

There are many different setups, but the most common is a five-speaker system. It includes left, right, and center units for front audio, two rear ones, and a subwoofer for bass. However, you can also get a seven or nine-speaker configuration to suit your taste.

Let’s have a look at the requirements for a good surround sound installation.


The first main thing you need is a receiver. This is the central unit that processes audio signals and sends them to the right speakers. It’s important to get a good one because it’ll affect the overall quality of your sound.

You also need additional output hardware that comes in many shapes and sizes. If you’re not sure what to get, I recommend checking out some of the best home theater systems around. Other than that, here’s a round-up of the equipment you need:

  • A/V receiver
  • Subwoofer
  • Left and right speakers
  • Center speaker
  • Cable raceways
  • Elevation speakers (Optional)

You’ll also need the right surround sound cords for your setup. The most common are HDMI, optical, RCA, and coaxial wires. Depending on the hardware, you may need at least one of them, if not all.

It’s now time to get down to business.

How To Set Up Surround Sound

Once you have all your equipment, it’s essential to know how it pairs together. This will vary depending on your setup, as you’re about to see below. So, let me give you a general idea of how different surround sound configurations work:

5.1 Surround Sound

A 5.1 configuration is the most common surround sound installation. The 5 refers to the number of speakers, while the 1 is for the subwoofer. This type of setup is perfect for a medium-sized living area and provides good coverage for all-around audio.

Start by placing the front left and right speakers on either side of the room. Make sure that they’re at the same height as your ears when you’re seated. Place the center one directly above or below your TV. From here, position the subwoofer in the corner of the room or near your main seating area.

Next are the rear speakers. If you’re using wall mounts, install them at the same height as those on the front. Also, ensure they’re about two feet away from the wall. If not, place them behind where you’re seated.

But there’s more.

Fix the HDMI surround sound connection cable from your receiver to your TV. If it doesn’t have this port, you can use an optical wire instead. Finally, fix the RCA cables (red and white) from the left and right front. If need be, use raceways to cover, protect, and keep your wiring neat. 

And that’s it!

Now that we’re done with the 5.1 Surround sound set-up let’s briefly cover other configurations.

7.1 Surround Sound

A 7.1 surround sound set-up is great for a large living area. It gives you more coverage and a deeper immersive experience overall. The configuration is pretty much the same as 5.1, but it includes two extra speakers.

You should install them on the rear to produce additional effects from behind the listeners. Placing them on stands or mounting them to the wall is a good idea as well. Another thing to consider is you need a compatible receiver to install such a system.

9.2 Surround Sound

A 9.2 speaker set-up is worth considering if you have a dedicated theater at home. It includes an extra subwoofer and ceiling speakers. This gives a 360-degree soundscape for a more captivating experience.


You should ensure safety when installing the ceiling-mounted speakers. In most cases, it might be ideal to seek help from a professional. With the right equipment, however, you can still get the job done yourself.

Wrap Up

Now that you know the ins and outs of setting up surround sound, it’s time to build your home theater! Just remember to take your time and appreciate the process. After all, once it’s done, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your favorite movies, music, or games in bliss!


What is the best setup for surround sound?

The best surround sound setup will depend on the size and layout of your living area. A five-speaker configuration with two front and rear speakers is common for midsize rooms. For larger living spaces or a more immersive experience, you can opt for a seven-speaker system.

Where should surround sound speakers be?

In general, position the front speakers on either side of the room at the same height as your ears when seated. A center one should be placed directly above or below your TV. The subwoofer can go in the corner of the room or near your main seating area. Not to forget, have the rear units right behind where you sit. And that’s how to set up surround sound in your living space.

How do you calibrate surround sound?

Most receivers have a calibration toolkit that you can use to fine-tune your sound system. To do this, you’ll need to place the receiver and speakers in their final positions. From here, follow the prompts on the receiver’s display to optimize it to your liking.


Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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