5.1 channel to 15.2 and everything in between

When setting up your home theater it is important to plan ahead. By doing so, you can properly account for proper speaker distance from your seating area for optimal surround sound effect. Always measure the room dimensions and the furniture to see what will fit and where. If you have large speakers, better measure them too.

Other reasons to plan ahead include:

  • Proper seating arrangements. Most people build their living room around the furniture they plan to have in the room. I however, do not start there. No, I start with speaker arrangements and where to place the TV or projector and then deal with what to sit on and where. Whatever order you choose to start with, make sure you and your friends have a place to sit and relax.
  • Overcoming acoustical disasters, before they occur. One of the reasons for my creation of a 15.2 channel surround sound was because I wanted to fill in the gaps created by one of the worst possible living room designs possible. If I had a “normal” room to work with this probably never would have come to be. I am for the purpose of this article referring to “normal” as a 10′ x 10′ or perhaps 12′ x 12′ living room. Try to avoid “great rooms.” “Great rooms” are way too open for a 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound setup. Also avoid “L” shaped rooms if possible too.
  • Determining just how many speakers you will need to achieve the proper sound in that room. Remember every room can potentially be different. Is it a rather large room? What shape is the room?
  • Does the room contain a partially vaulted ceiling? Why does this matter, you may ask; well do you like echo’s in your music and movies? I don’t and odds are you won’t either. A raised ceiling, say 9 or 10 feet but level in height throughout the entire room is fine. If part of the ceiling is higher then the rest you want to avoid this.
  • Does the room contain carpet or tile? Carpet, just like too much furniture, will muffle the sound which means it will require more volume to be heard. If your speakers and or receiver are not that powerful then this could possibly damage them when you turn them up more than you should have to. Tile flooring will do the opposite of carpet and instead make the volume appear much louder even at lower volumes. Too much tile might create an echo.
  • What size speakers to choose? Will they fit? How and where do I hide the speaker wire?
  • What elevation will the speakers sit at? If they sit too low they will not be heard very well and may require wall mounts or speaker stands.
  • Where will the subwoofer go? Can I get two subwoofers into the room and if so where? In a previous article the importance of the subwoofer was discussed.

In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed this article and that you do take the time to plan ahead. By planning ahead you will not waste your time in wiring everything up only to find a flaw in your plan and having to rearrange furniture, speakers and the TV or projector and then rewire everything. Most importantly, remember this, the time wasted rearranging could have been used for the best part of all….the sound check! I love this part…testing your new setup with a good movie or some music to find out just how it sounds and then fine tuning it ever so slightly to make it the best it can be.

For more information on how you can setup your very own surround sounds, download my book       “Customize Your Home Theater 5.1 channel to 15.2 and everything in between”.

As always, any comments, or questions on the article you have read, or any others posted here, would be greatly appreciated!

One thought on “The importance of planning your home theater setup

  1. This article brought back memories. Not good memories.
    Yes, I’ve made some of those mistakes!
    Time spent planning is never wasted.

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