If you're a movie buff, kicking back in your most comfortable recliner and enjoying the latest Hollywood blockbuster probably sounds like the makings of a perfect weekend. To help take your movie-viewing experience to the next level though, you'll need a home theatre setup guide to create the perfect audio system that's able to bring the sounds of your favourite movies and television shows to life. From showing you how to arrange your furniture and speakers properly to tips on choosing the necessary cables and hardware, this guide will help you set up the home theatre system of your dreams. Get that popcorn popping and dim the lights because, after reading this home theatre setup guide, you'll be ready to grab the remote, relax on the couch and soak up the impressively detailed surround sound with your new home theatre system.
Home Theatre Setup Step #1: Selecting the Perfect Room
Deciding which room of your home is best for your home theatre system setup comes down to a matter of available space and personal preference. Whether you're designing a home theatre during the planning stages of a new home or reconfiguring a basement, garage or spare room, there are some important things you should keep in mind.
For instance, you'll want a room that's quiet and allows you to control the amount of light that comes into it. You will enjoy your dream home theatre system much more if you can regulate the lighting and minimize other sounds. The room should have enough space to house your speakers, cables, remotes and hardware, but you don't want a completely empty space since the sounds will simply echo and bounce back.
Home Theatre Setup Step #2: Choosing the Best Seat in the House
One of the most important elements in your home theatre system setup is selecting the perfect seat. Choose seats with low backs, as higher backs can get in the way of audio, interrupting the flow of sound and compromising the sound quality. It's crucial to place the chairs a good distance from speakers and away from the walls, as these positions can disrupt the way audio flows in your room. In order to further minimize distractions, select chairs that provide support and comfort. You don't want to put the action on pause just because a chair is giving you a backache. Look for practical seating that supports your spine.
Home Theatre Setup Step #3: Properly Placing the Speakers
Now that you've selected the perfect spot to view your movies, it's time to turn up the volume. Setting up your dream home theatre system requires proper speaker placement along with sound components that give you crystal-clear listening. Whether you're stationing speakers in a large or small room, envision what your dream home theatre system will look like and who will be using the space. When positioning the speakers, you'll need to decide whether you would like to target the sound in one location for solo streaming or place several speakers around the room to ensure high-quality sound for multiple viewers.
Your centre channel speaker, which provides the majority of dialogue, should be placed dead centre to the main viewing seat and can be situated either above or below the screen. You don't want to miss out on a single important detail or be forced to press rewind, so placing this speaker as close to ear height as your home theatre setup allows is important.
The left and right surround sound channels are responsible for environmental sounds like the cheers and whistles of a concert crowd. For maximum impact, you want these positioned at roughly 90–110 degrees relative to your listening position — in other words, aligned on the same level as your ears. In addition, make sure to place them slightly above your head.
For home theatre system newbies who are unsure of which speakers to choose, consider a wall-mounted sound bar like Sony's HT-NT5. The system's slim three-way speakers and six separate amplifiers are specially designed to surround you in the sounds of High-Resolution Audio, with movies, television, video games and music sounding impeccable. For a larger home theatre system and a true cinematic experience, there's also the Sony HT-ST9 sound bar, which provides cinematic surround sound, powered by Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD.
Home Theatre Setup Step #4: Testing It All Out
Now that the speakers are in place for your dream home theatre setup, it's time to make sure that all of the hardware, cables and technology are in order. The right home theatre hardware is essential in providing a clear, quality picture and sound that will help you follow the action of the football game or hear the highest notes of a blood-curdling scream in a horror flick.
Remember, it's important to take into account the size of your room when considering receivers. Those with a larger home theatre space should consider a receiver with 7.1 channels or more. A receiver with more channels adds more depth to your surround sound experience, giving you a more noticeably immersive sound field in larger rooms. Those with smaller rooms are less likely to notice the benefit of additional channels, and a 5.1 channel AV receiver would meet their needs.
If you do find yourself lost when setting up your home theatre, there's no shame in asking a licensed professional for help or consulting the manual.
Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy
Ultimately, the most important tip to keep in mind when setting up your dream home theatre system is finding the setup that works for you, your space and your entertainment needs. Now that you've learned a little more about selecting the proper room, seating and hardware, you're ready to sit back, relax and enjoy.