5.1 Surround Setup

Posted : admin On 5/8/2019
5.1 Surround Setup Rating: 4,4/5 5986 reviews
Posted byOperator2 years ago

[>GUIDE<] - Surround Sound (5.1+)

In order to put together a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 surround sound system you need only three things.

  • Surround Receiver

  • Some Speakers

  • A Subwoofer

Pick a budget (usually above $500) and assemble your system. If you don't think you can afford a good system right away consider starting with a 5.1 receiver and only two decent speakers. That basic 2.0 can have a sub added down the line making it a 2.1 and as funds become available you can add rear speakers or move the initial budget speakers to the rear, get better fronts and then add a center.

There is no harm in building a system up over time.

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The da vinci code movie series. {5.1 vs 7.1 Note:} Your room makes this determination. If the room you are in does not have at least 6 feet of open space behind your seating positions you are likely not going to fit a 7.1 properly and should stick to 5.1

{.1 and .2} This simply means a subwoofer(s). Since it isn't a full range channel they just indicate it as an addon. Don't worry about having a .1 and wanting two subs. A simple RCA SPLITTER can give that to you. It is more a marketing ploy to sound cooler.

{MultiEQ, Audyssey, Room Correction} These are features/programs that receivers come with to automatically 'fix' room acoustics. It uses a supplied microphone to try and detect speaker response range, distance, reverb delay, etc etc etc. It can help oddly shaped or echoy rooms OR with mis-matched/bad speakers. You aren't required to run it but I recommend it if you hear any issues you don't like. (results vary and you can always UNDO it)




Look for the cheapest unit from a reputable brand that fits ALL/most of your needs (# of HDMI inputs, 5.1 or 7.1, Legacy inputs (S-Video, RCA-Video for old game consoles), Airplay, etc) Remember to mostly Ignore wattage (more than 90wpc is enough for 99% of speakers) and stick to the brands listed below or drop a comment if you find a good deal. Don't be afraid to look at last years models either, most times very few changes occur and only a few 'smart' features or HDMI ports are added with a facelift. You can also look for Refurbished Receivers to save some cash.


-#-Item------------------Description - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Cheapest
1DenonThis is my most preferred brand. They are very clean looking, have amazing sound quality and some little features I like. Preset buttons and 1/2db volume increments make me happy. Affordability for beginners.5.1--7.1
2MarantzFeaturing the only 'slim' line of receivers on the market and absolutely state of the art UI and remote features. Amazing reliability and great support. BUT you will be paying extra for these features.5.1--7.1
3YamahaSporting a remarkable amount of different receivers you will have to do some sorting. They have good sound quality and TONS of inputs including legacy but tend to have a confusing setup and remote layout.5.1--7.1
4OnkyoNormally higher on my recommended lists some Onkyo AVR's have been plagued with recent design flaws and overheating issues. Still I can't fault everything they make so read reviews and choose wisely.5.1--7.1
5PioneerThe Polk of receivers. They work and can be found at a bargain but since the Pioneer Elite line exists they tend to leave a ton of features off these entry level AVR's. That just means you can get them cheap.5.1--7.1
6Harmon/KardonStylish but I can't find anything to really love about H/K. They 'work' but don't DO anything better than anybody else. You can usually find these at brick and Mortar Stores which means price matching heaven.5.1--7.1


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I am making a personal guarantee that all the speakers below will be good. They each have their strong suits but in the end it comes down to personal preference and what you can fit in the space and the budget. Most of these are sold in pairs but not all, most have a matching center but not all. If a matching center is not available you can use an additional single bookshelf or roll the dice and just get a very good center, MTM or LCR from another manufacturer. Rule of thumb is get a better center then your left and right if you can. Matching is also good. Bigger rooms usually need bigger speakers.


Price/prItem------------------Description - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Review--
$60Dayton B652-AIRI have replaced the standard B652's with the Air revision because they are just that good. Crisp highs and the cheapest Air Motion Tweeter Speaker in the World. Will definitely fill a room on a budget.Review
$90Micca MB42xMatching Center These are the speakers you are going to buy. They are small, sound great and even put out low end all on their own. I have clocked them at over 100db when powered properly and they LOOK GOOD which is rare in the cheap speaker biz.Review
$150Fluance SX6Fluance makes some of the most surprisingly good cheap Home Theater gear out there. These speakers are no exception. These big ugly boxes kick quite a bit of ass. They get reasonably loud and are a bit more forgiving than most NEWER MODEL + Matching CenterReview
$230WaveCrest HVL-1Sold as a pair or in bundles for every amount. Amazingly clear vocals and a warm solid mid-range. Front porting makes them easy to place and the small size makes them easy to hide.Review
$230ELAC B5/6Bigger B6 Andrew Jones does it again. These speakers are square, sexy and loud. I am not sure how hard to praise these as to not break the internet. New series is being released currently. Whole SeriesReview
$280Chane A1.4Not your average Speaker. The Chane lineup is a no holds barred testament to engineering over marketing. Where word of mouth is what propels this brand. Matching CenterReview
$330HTD Level3Designed to be as loud and accurate as you need for a REAL home theater. Watch my review of these it says it all. They are however sized appropriately for that purpose. IE HUGEReview
$400JBL Studio 230JBL now offers the biggest, baddest, loudest of their studio line with these. Efficient and great low end you get the sense they are based on the LSR305 but .. bigger. I suggest you watch the review to really understand how good these are. Matching CenterReview
$420Klipsch RP150mOne of the finest things to come out of the modern klipsch wheelhouse. Clear and accurate without the scary highs the brand had become known for. Excellent extension and some of the best efficiency of this whole list. Low power older systems look no further. Matching CenterReview
$500Elac Unifi UB5OK, these are the speakers nobody can stop talking about. They have wow'd the audiophile shows and they deserve it. They may not get as loud as their cheaper B6 cousins but they have just that edge of clarity and imaging that put them on this list for this price. Music lovers should aim here. Matching CenterReview
$1000SVS UltraSVS lives up to its reputation with these. Work just as well for music and movies. Insane soundstage and imaging and some of the most controlled bass of the lot. These are expensive for a reason and the most any normal person could want from a speaker. Matching CenterReview
$1250PSA MT110Now for the abnormals, these are essentially REAL movie theater speakers designed for REAL theaters. They get so loud and so loud and a have such a great clear sound and FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Endgame.period. Consult the Mrs about these. Matching CenterReview




All the speakers above can be used as rears. BUT if you want specialty speakers or to get a bit cheaper then this is a list for that. Some of these speakers are (Di/Bi-pole) and throw sound in multiple directions, these types of speakers can only be used as rear channels in 5, 6 and 7.1 setups. These Bi/Di-pole are a worthwhile upgrade in most cases and don't worry about 'matching' your rear speakers to the fronts by brand or model as timbre has very little to do with off phase rears. So get the pair that works best for you and your room.


Price/prItem------------------Description - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
$40Micca Covo-sTiny, coaxial, speaker. They do not have any mounting port so if you get these for rear duty prepare to screw them into a set of brackets to mount them properly. Review
$70Sound AppealFront Port, narrow depth, big driver and sharp tweeter. These great in the role of rear speaker. Review
$100Polk OWM3While not Di or Bi-pole these OWM's are practically flat. They have built in mounts for corners or 'On Wall' positioning and are an affordable option. Come in Black or White Review
$120Fluance AVBP2The cheapest truly Bi-pole speaker you can buy. Usable for 5.1 or 7.1 applications in small rooms. Large rooms see the XPBP's Below
$200Fluance XLBPThe big brother of the AVBP2's these can handle large rooms and may be more balanced with big front speakers.
$240Bic America PL-66Probably the biggest of the dedicated rears. These employ a passive radiator that keeps port noise down to 0.
$270Klipsch R14SWhile not part of their THX line these are sure to make some of the loudest noise of the group. Boom, smash WOOSH!
$350Polk FXi A4Designed to match polks larger series of speakers (which doesn't matter) it is just nice to see a full sized speaker with Di-pole tweeters available






You will also be needing some speaker wire, Either 16 or 14 may be used in most scenarios where longer runs or larger speakers are used. Make sure you search for 100% copper or Oxygen free speaker wire!

This wire is used for all channels so buy enough to run everywhere and hide the wires along moulding and around door frames. You may also need a Wire Stripper if you don't already have one and I recommend you pick up some Banana Clips to make your life so much easier when connecting everything. A single RCA wire for your subwoofer is also needed and finally try not to overpay for HDMI cables.

Questions, Comments please leave them below. I do read all of them.

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Surround sound audio is, simply put, sound that completely surrounds you. It means a speaker in virtually every corner of the room, projecting high-quality digital sound at you from all angles just as though you were in a theater.

Oh, but there’s so much more. It also means sound diversification, with deep, thunderous bass rumbling the floorboards as an explosion happens on screen, and subtle sound effects skittering and tapping behind you in a suspenseful scene. For music, it’s being purely enveloped by the song you’re listening to.

In terms of nuts and bolts, it means a set of speakers, usually five, including the all-important “center speaker,” and a subwoofer for powerful bass. This is where the term “5.1” comes from -- five speakers and a subwoofer. If you're interested in buying a surround sound system, be sure to read the definitions below, as well as the breakdown of how the different parts work.

Components of a Surround Sound Speaker System

    • Subwoofer
      A subwoofer is a large, powered speaker specifically designed to produce bass tones and other low-frequency notes. A subwoofer uses air pressure to create a deep, rumbling sound in order to fill a room with bass noises. Subwoofers are most often placed on the floor in the corner of a room or auditorium for maximum effect across the entire venue. When you’re in a room or theater with loud bass that makes the floor rumble impressively under your feet, that’s the subwoofer you’re feeling. On a PC surround sound system, a subwoofer helps create fantastic bass tones when playing music or a particularly exciting movie.
    • Center Speaker
      The center speaker in a surround sound system is often considered to be the most important speaker of all the speakers in a surround sound system. Usually larger, more versatile, and containing more individual speaker cones than the other satellite speakers, most of the “important sound” is channeled through this speaker. In movies, for example, this means dialog and other important sound effects. High-quality surround sound systems will have a center speaker that is different from the left and right satellites.
    • Satellite Speakers
      A satellite speaker is a general term used for any of the speakers meant to be placed on the left or right sides of the room. In a standard 5.1 system, this means left and right front speakers and left and right rear speakers. That’s a total of four speakers plus the center speaker, which makes five, and then the “.1” represents the subwoofer, which is how the term “5.1” developed. So, 6.1 surround sound means six speakers plus still just one subwoofer.
    • Equalizer or Mixer
      Usually, the equalizer or mixer will just be a part of your PC (or audio receiver, for home theaters). Most computers have built-in equalizers or mixers as part of their sound card output specs, and most audio software, such as iTunes, also comes with its own mixer. On really high-end systems, or on systems which require a lot of power, you may need a separate equalizer as part of a powered amplification system.

Types of Surround Sound Speaker Systems

    • 2.1 Speaker Systems
      2.1 audio systems are not technically “surround sound,” but they are definitely a step up from simple shelf speakers (which don’t have the benefit of a subwoofer). Just as with 5.1 systems, the “2” stands for two satellite speakers -- at the left and right front -- and the “.1” stands for the subwoofer. So 2.1 sound is a great economic solution if you don’t have the money or space for what is called “true” surround sound (at least 5.1 speakers), but you still want high quality, dynamic sound.
    • 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers
      5.1 surround sound and better is often referred to, when the system is of a high enough quality, as “true” surround sound. This is because the five speakers allow for two left and right front speakers, two left and right rear speakers (behind your head), a quality center speaker (thus the “5” in 5.1), and a powered subwoofer for deep, rumbling bass tones (that’s the “.1” in 5.1). When digital surround sound signals (such as Dolby or THX) are played through a system like this, you enter a whole new realm of sound, with thundering explosions, dynamic music, and subtle, encompassing sound effects all around your room.
    • 6.1, 10.2, and other Multi-Speaker Systems
      5.1 surround sound is considered the minimum number of speakers needed for true surround sound. Other common configurations include 6.1 (six speakers and a subwoofer) or 10.2 (ten speakers and two subwoofers). The configuration doesn’t matter a great deal and is mostly dependent upon your room size and personal desire. Most audio experts will tell you that above all, you just need to ensure that the speakers are balanced on each side of the room. In a 6.1 system, the extra satellite usually goes at the back center of the room, to balance out the front center speaker.