Over the years I have created custom surround sounds of my own for Premium Audio. This time I am going to do something a little bit different. In this post I will explain how to make your own custom surround sounds.
- Plan your system before purchasing equipment. Always measure twice to be sure it will all fit and will allow for the proper distance between you and your TV and speakers. What size speakers will you use? How many speakers? Will you have multiple elevations? If so, how many. How many subs will you use? Will you be using any pseudo subs?
- Acoustics play a key role in both surround sound and music. What is the shape of the room? Is their a vaulted ceiling? Is the room an open room? If so, can it be closed off to retain the sound in the room? For more information on how this all plays a crucial role in setting it all up check out this book: “Customize Your Home Theater: 5.1 channel to 15.2 channel surround sound.” I promise you the tips on this subject alone make the book worth purchasing.
- After reading the book listed in step 2 and reviewing our blog postings on surround sounds and reviewing our diagrams too, its time to decide which format you want or if you want to customize.
- More thought will then be needed to make sure it will work like you want. How many receivers will you need?
- After all of this preparation it’s finally time for the fun to begin! It’s time to wire it all up. I recommend placing the speakers where they need to be before connecting them to further visualize how it will all come together. Here are some items you may discover that you need that we carry in our store: speaker stands, cables and of course lots of speaker wire.
If customization is your decision then please read on for tips on how to do this. If you want to use one of our existing surround sounds that will work out nicely too! My personal favorite surround sounds are: 6.1, 8.2, 10.5.4 (coming soon), 22.4, and 30.4.4.
How to make your own custom surround sounds
If possible get all the speakers (not counting center channels and subs) to be the same size and brand for optimal tone. Or experiment some like I always have done. Remember the center channel (especially the front center channel) is the MOST IMPORTANT speaker for surround sound so don’t skimp on this. The same goes for the receiver(s). Your system is only as good as it’s weakest link. If you are going to have a weak link at all you can generally get away with it with the side left (SL) and side right (SR) speakers and possibly the middle center(s).
If you are going to go with different sized speakers I recommend using the larger ones at ear level and the smaller ones at ceiling height (if you choose to have multiple elevations). Depending on room size and how close you will be to the speakers you might even be able to use smaller speakers for surround sound speakers (which will allow you to save some money). Remember to place the speakers so that you sit in a circle of surround sound (or as close to a complete circle as possible based on the number of speakers used).
Here are the types of speakers to choose from: Front Speakers (left and right), Center Channel (front, middle at floor level, middle at ceiling height, and rear), Side Speakers, Rear Speakers (surround sound), Pseudo Subs and Powered Subs. It is up to you to choose which types to use and how many of them. After all of the speakers are appropriately placed it’s time to connect it all. If you run into any issues with audio or video not playing properly, check out this book for all the troubleshooting tips you will ever need. Remember Pseudo subs also can double as speaker stands, thus saving crucial floor space and the cost of buying speaker stands. Remember when figuring out how to make your own custom surround sounds that there is no bad one if the speakers are appropriately placed and everything has been connected the right way.
So now that I covered the basics lets get down to the most important part of all of this. What is your goal for your home theatre? Is it to be sitting in a room full of speakers to capture every sound from just about every corner of the room? If so, reconsider the 30.4.4 channel surround sound. Is it to simply tweak the industry standard 5.1 channel surround sound? If so, reconsider the 6.1 and 8.2 channel surround sounds. Maybe you just want another pair of front left and right speakers and or rear right and left speakers. If so, this can easily be accomplished with one (or possibly two) speaker selector boxes (switches) connected to your receiver(s). Maybe you think more sound should come from the middle of the room than I have previously covered with the two middle centers. If so, you could run additional speakers off the switch used for the side left and side right speakers. Personally I think that you will not find much sound there, however I have never tried it and until you test it you never really know.
Maybe the number of speakers is not what you want to experiment with. Instead perhaps you want to test out different angles and heights of the speakers. This could be beneficial to the accuracy of sound heard from the ceiling height speakers and possibly even from a middle elevation. Keep in mind that as you add more speakers you will most likely need more power to the speakers to allow you to hear them. Remember to never turn up any receivers volume beyond half way or it will damage the speakers and receiver (not to mention your hearing at high volumes). To further improve upon the sound heard from speakers I recommend the upcoming book on speaker stands that will be coming out soon from Premium Audio.
Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you with your surround sound (custom or not). Have fun experimenting, building and testing it – I always do!