After the creation of the 30.4.4 channel surround sound and more testing a much more affordable and easier to hookup surround sound was created. This post is about our brand new 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound system. I mention specifically what I used for creating and testing this system to give you a much better understanding of this system and not as bragging rights for particular brands.
With better equipment and ideal acoustics less speakers can in fact be more. With one large great sounding center (in this case my Polk dual 5 1/4″ center with 1″ tweeter and dual rear bass ports) connected to my Onkyo 7.1 channel THX certified reciever, one front center is all you need if you are ok with only one elevation of speakers. Adding a pseudo sub as a front center in this case detracts from the sound of this amazing front center speaker. Depending on the speaker use for front center you may discover this to be true in your living room too! Instead of using a pseudo sub placed by the front center and rear center I use a pair of pseudo subs as FL and FR speakers. Because I run two recievers (both 7.1 channel) I had to connect a front center speaker to the other receiver otherwise the receiver will sense this speaker missing (if not actually there) and improperly decode the surround sound. The solution I found was to connect a front center channel that can handle the volume when turned up, is ported and is not too large to detract from the sound coming from my large great center that is playing at the same time from my other surround sound receiver.
To be certain the smaller front center doesn’t get in the way I covered over the mids and tweeter, placed it directly on the floor and aimed the bass port at the wall. It sits about a 1/2″ from the baseboard. The result is you do not hear anything from this speaker, but because its connected the receiver is steering the sound properly around the room to each appropriate speaker as it should. I used an Onkyo dual 4″ speaker with a 1/2″ tweeter and a rear bass port for my small center. This speaker is rated up to 100 watts (50 watts nominal) and the cabinet is made of wood instead of plastic so it doesn’t rattle.
I tend to write using my own shorthand so this may come in handy.
FL = Front Left FR = Front Right FC = Front Center
RC = Rear Center MC = Middle Center
RL = Rear Left RR = Rear Right
SL = Side Left SR = Side Right
Sub/Subs = Sub Woofer PS = Pseudo Sub
Here is how you connect everything for this 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound:
Receiver A (I used an Onkyo 7.1 channel THX certified receiver). This is used for 7 speakers simply connected following the manufacturer suggestions outlined on the back of the receiver.
FL and FR: I used Polk 5 1/4″ ported woofers
FC: I used Polk dual 5 1/4″ ported woofers and a 1″ tweeter
RL and RR: I used Polk 5 1/4″ ported woofers
SL and SR: I used my rigged JBL speakers (JBL tweeters with Technics 5 1/4″ ported woofers).
Receiver B ( I used a Sony 7.1 channel receiver).
FL and FR: I used a pair of Pioneer 12’s as pseudo subs
FC: I used an Onkyo dual 4’s as a pseudo sub (as outlined at the beginning of this post)
RL and RR: I used a KEF 5 1/4″ ported single speaker. It is not a center speaker, but I used it as one. This required twisting speaker wire together from the RL and RR out of the receiver and twisting another speaker wire to the twisted wire. The other end of this newly twisted single wire connects to the back of the rear center.
SL and SR and MC: Connect a speaker switch off of the receiver connections for SL and SR and middle center. I used a pair of Technics 12’s as pseudo subs and this BIC 5 1/4″ center as a middle center placed on the floor. To connect the BIC speaker I took the speaker wire from L and R on one of the speakers outputs on the speaker switch. Then I twisted the wire together along with another single speaker wire. The other end of the speaker wire I connected to the BIC speaker. This sends the sound from the SL and SR to this speaker.
Subs: Use a “y” cable off the single sub output on the receiver and connect two powered subs to it. In my case only one receiver has a working sub output port on it so I did it this way instead: I connected a “y” cable to the one working sub port on the Sony receiver. Then I connected two more “y” cables to the “y” cable I already connected to the receiver (I did this by connecting one to the red side and the other to white side). This allowed me to connect 4 powered subs off of one single sub woofer port on the back of a receiver. I turned the sub volume on the receiver up all the way. I did not turn the main volume up anywhere near that high nor should you or will cause clipping to the speakers, receiver and damage your hearing (possibly even go deaf). I turned the volume on each powered sub up approximately 1/4 of the way (adjust as needed to make them play at the same volume).
Speaker placement tips:
Powered Subs: Place one in each corner of the room about a 1/2 or so from the baseboard. Elevate if needed. Angle against two walls in a corner if possible.
PS: (Use 10’s if that is the best you can find, but 12’s are much better for this). Place them about a 1/2″ or so from the baseboard and make sure they sit directly on the floor. Elevate slightly only if necessary. Use these as speaker stands for the 5 1/4″ speakers (or whatever size you end up using. Personally I think 5 1/4″ are perfect in size for optimal sound movement and recreation of sound).
LR, RR and RC: Use speaker stands for these speakers. Remember you want these speakers to be as close as possible in height as the speakers sitting on the pseudo subs.
MC: Elevate only slightly off the ground and angle it up towards you, but not aimed at the ceiling.