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Speaker Setup Guide: Getting The Most From Your Home Theatre

Your home theatre is in itself an instrument that must be finely tuned. To get the most out of it, you need to know how to treat each component and know what to listen for once you think you have got it right. That all sounds somewhat ambiguous, which is why we are here to help.

At Paulmoney hifi, we have handled hundreds of home theatre installations for our clients, so we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to make the result that much sweeter.

For this blog post, we will be featuring Dynaudio loudspeakers for their exceptional sound quality and design. The goal of this guide is to help you place your speakers and calibrate their sound frequencies to perfection so you can experience a large breadth of sound with a wide “sweet spot” where the listening is absolutely on point from your seated position.

So how do we get there? Take a look at some of our top tips for setting up your home theatre!

Placing Your Speakers

The key to speaker placement is understanding the shape of your room and then optimising the location of each speaker for best surround sound. The ideal location for speakers may vary depending on the speaker and room size, but trust that no matter the shape of your lounge, you will be able to find the optimum configuration.

You should arrange your speakers so that:

  • The front three speakers are at least 1m apart, to provide a good front sound stage with distinct front left, centre and front right.
  • The centre speaker is close to the television or screen, speakers in home theatre emit different sounds depending on the content being played.  A centre speaker is designed to handle dialogue, so placing it close, above or below to the TV/ screen makes it feel like the characters are talking directly to you.
  • The rear speakers are ideally situated, as Dynaudio puts it, “the rear speakers should be exactly where you don’t want someone to stand while you’re reading: over the shoulder to the side, just above ear level”.
  • Atmos speakers – Atmos is a surround-sound technology that was originally developed in 2012, it expands upon the current 5.1 and 7.1 surround-sound set-ups with surround channels coming from overhead.. The point of Atmos is that you can place speakers in the ceiling, enveloping the listening position in a dome of sound. With the addition of two or four ceiling speakers in your system; installing add-on speaker modules on top of your existing main front left/right speakers to beam sound up and reflect off the ceiling downwards towards the listening position (one set for a “.2” configuration or two sets front & rear, for a “.4” configuration, ie 7.1.4 surround sound). Each speaker in an Atmos system has its own discrete feed or channel, enabling front, surround and ceiling-mounted height channels. With a Dolby Atmos system is installed, the room receives a complete calibration, allowing the sound track to precisely ‘place’ sounds and voices at exact points and move them within the soundfield.
  • Subs, not wub dubs. A lot of people would be tempted to crank the bass, but to create a well-balanced sound you should keep your bass low (both in frequency as well as in location). A Subwoofer compliments your speakers, by enriching the sound, creating a more vibrant soundscape. On multi-channel sound tracks, such as movies with 5.1 or more, the ‘point one’ is “LFE” or Low Frequency Effect – a discrete sound channel only for the subwoofer.  A Subwoofers location in the room will influence it’s output, placed in a corner helps to increase output, placed by a wall in different locations can increase or decrease output level and the listening position. “Crawling for bass” is where the subwoofer is placed in the listening position with a test tone output while you move around the room listening for the most volume, this spot is then the best location to place the subwoofer. Two subwoofers can distribute bass through the room more thoroughly, negating standing waves and bass dead spots in the room.

The golden rule is this: When in doubt, think about where you are going to be sitting. In the solar system of your speakers, you are the sun, and they should orbit around you to create the best listening experience.

Calibrating Your Speakers

Once you have got your speakers in the places you think work best, the next step is calibrating the system. Because every room is different (that is, not a perfect rectangular space), all modern home entertainment systems come with built-in calibration. The calibration maps out the placement and types of each speaker in the room relative a microphone you set up in your “listening position”, then adjusts the frequencies of each speaker to the ideal configuration.

While a microphone calibration is incredibly helpful, make sure to test out the end-result thoroughly. Your listening experience and immersion in the final soundscape is crucial, so take your time! Adjust & tweak with the settings until these are exactly how you want them, then sit back and enjoy entering another world with every click of the remote.

Pick up the latest home theatre technology.

Paulmoney hifi stock the latest and greatest home theatre systems in New Zealand, and our friendly staff are always keen for a chat about cool entertainment technology. So, if you are ready to immerse your home in incredible sound, shop Dynaudio online or come on in to see us today!

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