Home Theater Setup - Get the Maximum Viewing Pleasure
Guide to Setting Up
Your home theater setup is all about getting the maximum viewing pleasure from your home theater equipment. This means that where you place the equipment in the room is very important.
When you’re setting up the audio, you’re aiming to create the most realistic sound possible. Surround sound systems do this by, as the name suggests, surrounding you with sound. This is what makes you feel immersed in the action of the movie. However, speaker setup begins with the front left and right speakers – in other words, the speakers you get with a conventional TV.
Imagine an equilateral triangle where your listening position is one point and the left and right front speakers are the other two points. This is a good place to start. You now need to test the position of the speakers by listening to a familiar CD. Adjust the position of the speakers until you get the best sound quality. Then you need to place the front center speaker. Some people don’t bother with a front center speaker. They’re not essential, but they are important for realistic sound. Front speakers should be placed at ear level, because they’re for picking up sounds in the foreground of your soundscape, such as dialogue and other specific noises.
When you’ve sorted out the front speakers (left, right and center), it’s time to place the rear speakers. These are placed behind you and around you, on the walls and at the back of the room. The number of rear speakers varies from system to system, but it’s a good idea to have some of them higher than ear level. Rear speakers are for creating atmosphere, and they deal with background noise such as rain falling or the hubbub of a crowd.
Once you’ve mastered the audio of your system setup, it’s time to turn your attention to the visual aspect of it. If you have a large display screen, one of the important things to figure out is how far away you need to place the seating. The distance you should be sitting from the screen is in proportion to the screen’s size. As a rough guide, if you have a 40-inch display, you should be sitting about ten feet away.
The nitty-gritty of your home theater setup varies depending on the kind of equipment you’ve chosen. For example, an LCD (liquid crystal display) doesn’t have the wide viewing angle of other kinds of display, so you need to consider your angle to the screen as well as your distance from it. (Directly perpendicular is ideal.) If you’ve chosen a front-projection system for your visuals, think about calling in a professional. Projector setup often involves a lot of specialist knowledge, particularly for more expensive models.
Once you have completed your home theater setup, it’s time for testing, testing, testing. You can look at as many diagrams as you like, but you can’t be sure the system is correctly set up until you’ve tried it out for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to keep tweaking, making tiny alterations until you find the ideal setup for you.