How to set up 5.1 surround sound speakers

Updated July 20, 2017

5.1 speakers are 6-channel audio speakers, which means they use six different speakers to provide surround sound. These speakers are front right, front left, front middle, rear right, rear left and the subwoofer. Surround sound speakers can be used for a variety of things, from home entertainment centres with your TV to your computer set-up. Surround sound can make your audio experience a more enjoyable activity. Speaker set-up is a key element to maximising your audio and entertainment experience.

Plug all speaker cables into the volume control unit or the subwoofer. Each speaker will be marked, as well as the sockets that they plug into. Some cables in 5.1 speaker sets are coloured. Match each speaker with the correct socket and plug in the subwoofer in the same manner.

Plug in the power cable which is connected to the subwoofer or the volume control unit.

Plug your 5.1 surround sound system into your computer or amplifier. 5.1 compatible computers, which all new PCs are today, have a green "line out" socket, a "rear out" socket that is black or blue and a "centre out," also called a "subwoofer out," socket that is orange or yellow. An amplifier will have labels for front right, front left, front centre, rear right, rear left and subwoofer that you can connect each corresponding speaker into.

Plug the green tipped PC connection wire to the green "line out" socket, the blue or black tipped wire into the "rear out" socket and the subwoofer into the orange or yellow "center out" socket if using a the surround sound system with a computer.

Plug the amplifier into your audio device, tv or other electronic equipment with serial ATA connectors.

Set up the front left and right speakers at a 45-degree angle and at ear height from your main seat. The centre speaker should be set up above or below the screen if there is one and pointed at the main seat. Rear left and rear right speakers should be set up between 90 and 110 degrees to the side of the main seat two feet or more above the listener. Place the subwoofer in the middle of the wall or between the front left and right speakers.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with 5.1 compatible sound card
  • Amplifier
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About the Author

Ziggy Thomas started writing professionally in 2010, specializing in fitness, business and technology, among other topics of interest. He works as a financial analyst in Austin. Thomas holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in finance and economics from the University of Nevada, Reno.