Setting up Surround Sound the Right Way

December 1, 2015 4:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

A home surround sound system is one of those things that’s considered a stepping stone into the world of high end audio—chiefly because its roots are from the high end audio community! Once, home surround sound was considered unattainable, left only for those with deep pockets and catered to exclusively by the world’s superior audio brands. Things have changed, however: these days you can walk into a surround sound store in Chicago and find entire systems from mid-range consumer brands, many of which achieve great quality for what they are!

But, just because surround sound has entered a marketplace that’s accessible by consumers across the board, doesn’t mean people are always familiar with the equipment they’re purchasing and all of the variables that come with it! In fact, despite surround sound being a staple in many homes today, it’s rare to find a setup that’s optimized for the best audial experience.

Take a look at some of the basics when it comes to setting up a home surround sound system and why you should consider these things before walking into a surround sound store in Chicago:

  • First, get to know your speakers and the arrangement they’ll be in. Most setups have five unique speaker placements: front right, front left, back right, back left and front center (woofer). It’s important to define and distinguish each because sound will be positioned based on the speaker—if sound is travelling from your back left to your back right speaker, it’s important that these speakers are in the right place, or your entire 3D audio experience will be null!
  • Calibration is an absolute necessity when setting up a home surround sound system. Optimal calibration is determined by a number of things, however. How far from your seating arrangement is each speaker? What are the acoustics of the room you’re in? What kind of power does each speaker have? All of these things and more will define proper calibration and each needs to be considered. Finding harmony through calibration is the key and it will vary across setups.
  • Test low, mid and high range sounds, to make sure clarity and balance are present. Many surround sound stores in Chicago will actually sell calibration CDs and many calibration audio files can be found on the Internet. These standardizing tests will produce sounds across all ranges and allow you to tweak your setup as you might tweak the color on a computer screen based on a standard.
  • Is each type of sound being produced from your speakers crisp and clean? This is where many systems fall short—they accommodate noises like explosions from a movie, but fall in quality when people are speaking, or they produce pristine sound in regards to background noises, but fall short of ideal music production. Calibrate to master all sounds and be sure to test a variety of media.

Finally, it should be noted that continued and ongoing calibration of your sound system might be required to maintain an optimal audial experience. Things like air humidity, age or even frequency of use can dictate the quality of your audio, so it’s important to keep a close eye on it.

Keep all of these things in mind when you’re tinkering with your home’s surround sound system and you’ll be able to get the true, high-end experience it was meant to deliver!

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