How To Setup Your Surround Sound System
HD Wireless Speaker placement only gets you halfway there; you have to connect it all, too. Ditch the snaky cables with this new cord-free system. Each speaker has its own amp, and a wireless base station keeps the channels in sync. The sound, you ask? Clear your calendar—you’ll be watching every movie you love all over again.
1. Center Channel
This speaker handles most of the spoken dialog, so it should sit as close to the characters’ mouths as possible: center-bottom of your TV. Is your set bolted to the wall? Mount the center channel, too. Is the dialog quiet while the rest of the soundtrack is deafening? If you have a proper home theater system—of course you do—you should be able to boost just the center to bring order and balance to your sonic universe.
2. Stereo Left and Right
To squeeze the most syrup out these ones, place these speakers a few feet from either side of the screen, then “toe in”: find the spot on your sofa that lines up with the center of your TV and turn the boxes slightly inward so they face that spot. Start at 20 degrees, then try tighter angles until it sounds best. For group viewing, widen the sound stage by twisting the speakers slightly back toward straight-on.
Low frequencies are difficult for your brain to locate spatially, so you can plop your sub anywhere it sounds good. To test your arrangement, play something with a lot of bass and slide the speaker around. A few minutes of Marley will help you find a prime spot. Don’t shove it right up against a wall or into a corner—that makes the low end boomy and overwhelming instead of punchy.
4. Surround Channels
These are for ambient effects—cars passing, birds chirping, distant gunshots. Place them on stands or shelves just above ear level and aimed at your head, either beside or just behind the couch. Move any sound-wave-sapping objects between you and the speaker. Never put them on the floor: It ruins the surround effect.
5. The Room
Yes, your decor may be deadening the drama. A carpet is better than bare parquet, and the more echo-killing curtains or fabric wall coverings, the more sonic swagger that soundtrack will have.