How to Set Up a 7.1 Speaker System

Many people love the sound of centre channel speakers and bring them home, hoping they’ll be simple to install. It can involve a bit more attention than the plug-and-play aspect of a sound bar, but if you follow the exact instructions from the box, and your installation diagram, they shouldn’t be too difficult to install.

If you are curious about how to set up your speakers before you decide on a 7.1 speaker system, we’ll assist you with the best way to set one up step-by-step.


What is the Difference Between 5.1 and 7.1?

A 7.1 speaker system offers more audio channels than a 5.1 setup. A 5.1 has 5, while 7.1 has seven. The seven doesn’t include the subwoofer, which is present in the .1 of the configuration. When all the speakers have been installed in your living room, or home theatre room, you’ll have a full surround sound listening experience.

The seven speakers will comprise the following channels: left, right, and centre, left surround, right surround, left back, and right back, and your subwoofer.


Best 7.1 Speaker Configuration

Your speaker system isn’t your only part of your home entertainment system. You’ll have your receiver and your large flat screen TV also. Generally, your TV and receiver are going to sit at the back of the room on their entertainment stand.

Here is how the standard speaker configuration should be set up.


The Centre Channel Speaker

Your centre channel speaker will sit in the front of the TV. It will be in direct line to the centre of your couch. This speaker is usually placed immediately above or below your TV screen. It will directly face people who are sitting in the listening area. If you decide to install your speaker on a shelf or stand, you’ll want to ensure that it is flush with the edge of it. This will help to keep dialogue clarity from your TV shows or films.


The Front Speakers

When you set up our L, C, and R speakers, you are creating an X=Y=Z configuration, with a V shape. The left and right front speakers will be placed at equal distances from your TV screen on either side. Get out your tape measure and measure a distance of six feet. This is the optimum distance to place them apart from each other.

It’s recommended that you toe-in or angle your speakers to match the angle from left to the centre of the couch, or from right to the centre of the couch.


The Surround Sound Speakers

To either sides of the couch will be the SL and the SR speakers—the surround sounds. These should also be placed an equal distance apart from each other. They should also be slightly above and behind the person who is sitting in viewing position. The height should be about three feet.

You will then you place the SL and the SR speakers behind the couch. These speakers should also be installed at a height of three feet from the ground. They should also be behind the listener’s heads.


The Subwoofer

The subwoofer should be placed behind the TV on either the left or right sides. You’ll find that adding a subwoofer will add more bass to the listening experience.

The three most common positions in a room for a subwoofer are the corners, along a wall, or beside a front speaker. If you place it beside your front speaker you’ll find that it does a nice blend of sound. However, you may sacrifice your overall volume if you do that.

Often the subwoofer is installed in the corner and back from the TV and the centre speaker.

It’s recommended that you experiment a bit with your placement of the subwoofer. These adjustments can make a large difference in bass output.


Add a Second Subwoofer

Many people will choose to add a second subwoofer to the room, so there is also one on each side. This turns the 7.1 into a 7.2 configuration. If you choose to do this, you’ll want to place one subwoofer to the left rear spot behind the television, and the second subwoofer at an equal distance from the TV on the right hand side.

Again, be sure to experiment with the placement to gain the best sound experience.


Other Speaker Installation Considerations

This configuration can be simple for homeowners who have a basic rectangular-shaped room. But if your room isn’t that shape, don’t worry, you can still install your speakers, even if your room is square, T-shaped, or some other size.

You may also have issues with power sources, so you may need to run some cords where you didn’t expect. You may also wish to rearrange your furniture. It may be time to do a room redesign.

You may also find measurement guidelines for the optimum arrangement, however, no two rooms are the same, so don’t take this advice too seriously.

Just try to stick to the basic configuration: TV in the back, centre speaker above or in front, subwoofers to the back, left and right speaker in the front sides, and surround sound speakers to left and right of couch, and behind the couch. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to fit them to your room and your listening enjoyment.


Benefits of the 7.1 Speaker System

When you see all the speakers together on a diagram you’ll begin to understand how they create that full surround sound experience which is far better than purchasing two speakers or a sound bar.

Remember that sound is fifty percent of your listening experience, and visual is the other half. You don’t want to sacrifice on your sound when you’ve already spent a ton of money on your flat screen television, PVR, and receiver. When you have installed your speakers in a perfect 7.1 configuration, you’ll be experiencing the true impact of your movies, TV shows, music, and video games. Now sit back and enjoy a complete home theatre experience!