How to Add Surround Sound to a Hi-Fi System

Updated February 21, 2017

Adding surround sound to a hi-fi (high fidelity) system requires a receiver equipped with a surround sound processor for decoding the separate audio signals on DVDs, Blu-ray discs and television programming. The existing stereo speakers in a hi-fi system can probably be used in addition to other speakers that must be connected to fill out the surround sound. Add a powered subwoofer to deliver booming bass and the surround sound system will fill the room with multichannel audio.

Connect each hi-fi component to the jacks labelled for it on the back of the surround sound receiver using a standard stereo cable with white and red plugs on each end. The white plug connects to the left audio channel; red to the right. Most receivers have jacks for connecting numerous hi-fi components, such as CD players, turntables and tape decks. The "AUX" (auxiliary) jack can also be used to connect a hi-fi component, such as a reel-to-reel tape deck.

Attach the two existing hi-fi stereo speakers to the left and right speaker terminals on the back of the surround sound receiver by stripping 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of each wire and connecting them to the positive and negative terminals on the receiver. The wire attached to each speaker's positive terminal must connect to the positive terminal on the receiver.

Connect the centre speaker to the terminals labelled "center" on the receiver and the left and right rear speakers to the LR and RR terminals on the receiver.

Insert the plug on one end of the subwoofer cable into the Sub OUT jack on the receiver. Plug in the other end to the jack on the rear of the sub.


Unplug the receiver from the electrical socket while hooking up speakers and hi-fi components.

Things You'll Need

  • AV receiver
  • Stereo cables
  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Center channel speaker
  • 2 rear speakers
  • Subwoofer
  • Subwoofer cable
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.