HOW TO: Set up a home cinema surround sound system

Features, Home audio, Home cinema, Tech Digest news

review-line.JPGFrom sub-woofers and surround speakers to 3D sound, the latest home system can add another dimension to your viewing experience, creating the ultimate night-in.

But it’s not just about having the correct equipment; it’s just as important to know how to set it up properly in your living space too, particularly if you’ve got a system with several speakers. Chris Moseley, AV Product Manager from Samsung Electronics, gives Tech Digest his top tips for making the most of your home entertainment.

1 – When watching a film or listening to music, the centre speaker is a very important part of a surround sound system. This is where all the dialogue will come from and can be a significant proportion of a films soundtrack. Ideally this should be at ear height, directly in front of the viewer / listener. However, this is also where the TV should be. So unless you’re using a projector screen, placing the centre speaker just above or just below the TV is best

2 – Speakers should also be mounted on solid surfaces. Any flexible surfaces such as plastic or glass will absorb sound energy from the speakers and thus reduce the sound quality. If you do have to mount a speaker on a surface like this, insulate it with a small piece of rubber or even blue tack

3 – When listening to music, the front left and front right speakers should ideally be positioned so the sound comes from the centre (i.e. from the middle of the TV). To position them, try listening to a song with a single voice singing it. If the voice sounds like it’s not central, move the speaker it’s coming from most slightly backward (or the other speaker forward) until the desired effect is achieved. Please note that this may mean the speakers are not positioned symmetrically (and it is also unlikely that the furniture in your room isn’t either), meaning the speakers are not likely to behave the same on different sides of the room

4 – Ideally, speakers should not be placed against walls. In practice this isn’t always possible, but if you can place the speakers away from the outer wall you will get less reflected sounds and a clearer bass

5 – Subwoofers can also be hidden out of sight. Low frequency sound carries a lot of energy so can be heard through objects like sofas and other furniture

6 – Rear surround speakers should also be placed at ear height, directly opposite the front pair (or 15 – 20 degrees outside of them if possible). Sound will come from these to enhance effects such as moving vehicles, fast action or explosions

7 – Samsung 3D sound can further improve your surround sound experience. This is a Samsung technology that enhances the surround effects based upon the 3D effect being shown on the TV. The result is total immersion in the films picture and sound

Did you know?

So you’ve got it all in place, it looks good and you’re ready to watch and listen. But is there anything you can do to enhance the experience? Well, soft furnishings, such as cushions, sofas, rugs etc can actually help to improve the sound quality, especially if your room has hard floors, plain walls and lots of windows.

Soft surfaces won’t reflect the sound, reducing any potential echoing, giving the listener better clarity and able to hear more details.

Gerald Lynch
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  • Well, soft furnishings, such as cushions, sofas, rugs etc can actually help to improve the sound quality, especially if your room has hard floors, plain walls and lots of windows.

  • You saved me. I was planning to put home cinema surround sound system. You put me on a right track.

  • Dont laugh at me but my ex wife set up our sound system by herself and I was clueless to repair the wiring when it was popped

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