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The Beginner’s Guide to Surround Sound Systems

All You Need to Create an Immersive, Cinematic Experience

The Beginner’s Guide to Surround Sound Systems

Is your home theater really a home theater without surround sound?

Sure, internal TV speakers may promise to sound better than ever, and soundbars are marketed to include “3D surround sound.” But unless you have a system of speakers arranged around seating, you won’t achieve the depth and detail true surround sound provides.

If you’re new to surround sound, you may be unsure where to start. Can you find any old speakers and place them around the room? There’s more to it than that. Audio is both a science and an art, and below, we’ll share how you can build a surround sound system for your home in the Palm Beach and South Florida area.

SEE ALSO: Architects, ‘Wow’ Your Clients with These Custom Home Theater Ideas

How Many Speakers You’ll Need

Most surround sound systems include five loudspeakers and one subwoofer. Do you need a subwoofer? We’d recommend it. Their large internal drivers play low, rumbling bass notes, bringing energy and excitement to both action scenes and music. With low sound frequencies dedicated to a subwoofer, the other speakers will play mid- and high-range sounds more clearly.

In the industry, a five-speaker, one subwoofer setup is labeled 5.1. The first digit represents the number of speakers, while the second digit is for subwoofers. You can expand to seven speakers in a 7.1 setup, add another subwoofer for 7.2, or even get up to 11.2.2, the third number identifying Dolby Atmos upward-firing speakers. The possibilities are endless! 

Where Each Speaker Should Go

In a 5.1 arrangement, you’ll want to mount two speakers at the front of the room, one on the right and the other on the left side. A center channel speaker, which delivers most film dialogue, should be placed either above or below the screen.

Next, add two speakers on either side of the seats at ear level. Then place the subwoofer on the floor near the front or side of the room. Ideally, your subwoofer should not be flat against the wall, as it might cause harsh, muddy sounds. Six inches away from the wall should suffice for quality sound.

If you go beyond a 5.1 system, we’ll add two speakers to the back of the room, making a 7.1 setup. Dolby Atmos speakers are mounted on the ceiling or high on the walls, creating a dome of immersive audio all around you. With Dolby Atmos, sounds aren’t restricted to a single channel or speaker. Instead, they’re treated as independent objects that can move freely about the room. So, whether a spaceship is flying through the galaxy or a wizard whizzes by on a broom, your surround sound speakers will take you along for the journey.

Hidden Surround Sound Speakers

Does the idea of five, seven, ten, or more speakers sound daunting to you? Not sure if you have room for it all? You can reduce hardware clutter with hidden in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Your home theater installer can place speakers inside the theater walls before they’re finished over. That way, you won’t see a single wire, and the audio will still sound impeccable!

If you’re ready to upgrade your entertainment, contact Definitive Electronics to bring surround sound to your Palm Beach, FL area home. We look forward to assisting you!

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