Surround Sound Installation
With the rising interest in High Definition Television, viewing a DVD in your own home is an amazing entertainment experience. The image is vibrant, razor sharp and crystal clear. However, what about the sound? That is one of the main benefits of going to the movies, the wraparound sound that lets you hear everything. So the question is, can I create that kind of sound in my own home? And the answer is, most definitely!
In fact, surround sound has been available for a while, but unfortunately it just never had a platform to bring it into the mainstream before HDTV and digital media became readily available. However, now if you have the right equipment, you can create the movie theatre experience in the comfort of your own home whenever you like.
For the surround or wraparound sound, you will 3 key pieces of equipment as follows:
- a digital source with surround sound already encoded into it e.g. a DVD or a HDTV broadcast
- equipment to decode the surround sound signal
- at least 6 speakers including a subwoofer to take full advantage of the most popular 5.1 surround sound format
Why is is called 5.1? Well the 5 is due to the fact that it uses 5 channels of sound to drive 5 separate speakers. And, the .1 stands for the low-frequency subwoofer.
When you have the equipment sorted, you will then need to establish a surround sound setup that will fit your home. The size and type of your TV will help to decide on the seating area. For example, if you have a typical 40″ (102 cm) HDTV, you can probably be seated approximately about 1.5 – 2.5 metres away and not experience any reduction in the quality of the picture. The best way is to simply test different seating distances and work out which one is more comfortable.
Typically the two front speakers flank the TV. You need to ensure that they are wide enough to form a triangle with the seating area so that all viewers will experience the best sound. Place the 2 back speakers around the seating area and face them to the rear or side wall. The middle speaker should be placed close to the TV. As the subwoofer sends out a low frequency bass that seems to come from everywhere, it can be placed wherever you like in the room.
As each room has varying listening characteristics due to its dimensions, furnishings and configuration, it is best to experiment until you find the best combination of the right equipment and speaker placement that produces the optimum surround sound.