How to Set Up Surround Sound Speaker Wires

Written by nichole liandi
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How to Set Up Surround Sound Speaker Wires
Take care to install your surround sound speaker wires properly (speakers image by Sergey Galushko from Fotolia.com)

A surround sound system relies upon multiple speakers to create a lifelike sound environment. To achieve this effect in your home theatre, the wires in your system must be set up properly or sounds will be heard coming from the wrong area. There's nothing difficult about installing the speaker wires, but care must be taken when doing the job. Whether your system is a 5.1 (five speakers and a subwoofer), 6.1, or 7.1 speaker system, proper set-up is critical to good sound.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Speaker wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Masking tape
  • Pen
  • Wire strippers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Position your speakers. For a 5.1 system, place the centre channel speaker directly below or above your television. Place the front right and front left speakers to either side of the television. Place the right and left surround speakers to the right and left of area where the listeners will be seated. Put the speakers at the height of the listeners' ears for best results. For a 6.1 system add the sixth speaker directly behind the listening area, and for a 7.1 place the two rear speakers behind and facing the listeners, spaced apart much as the front speakers are. The subwoofer is non-directional, so placement is flexible—a corner typically works well.

  2. 2

    Cut five lengths of speaker wire, one for each speaker. Make the wires long enough to run from the speaker location to the back of the receiver, taking into account the route the speaker wires will follow.

  3. 3

    Tag each speaker wire at the receiver end of the wire with the name of the speaker it will connect to. A small piece of masking tape and a pen will do the job.

  4. 4

    Remove 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of each wire with your wire strippers. Pull apart the two leads of each wire with your fingers so they're separated for an inch or two.

  5. 5

    Connect each speaker wire to the speakers using the following method. Loosen the terminals of the speaker by turning the knobs on the terminal to the left until a hole appears in the terminal. Slide the bare end of the wire into the hole and tighten the terminal. Be sure the positive lead of the speaker wire (marked with "+") is matched to the red terminal, and the other lead to the black terminal.

  6. 6

    Connect each speaker wire to the receiver using the following method. Loosen the terminals of the receiver by turning the knobs on the terminals to the left until a hole appears in the terminal. Slide the bare end of the wire into the hole and tighten the terminal. Be sure the positive lead of the speaker wire (marked with "+") is matched to the red terminal, and the other lead to the black terminal. Match your speaker wire masking tape labels to the correct terminals; e.g., the speaker wire marked "Right Front" attaches to the receiver's "Right Front" terminals.

  7. 7

    Plug a subwoofer cable into the input jack of the subwoofer. Connect the other end to the "sub out" or "LFE" output of your receiver. Consult your receiver's manual for the specific nomenclature and placement of this output.

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