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Welcome to the Cables For Less5.1 Surround Sound Set Up Guide Are you looking to take your home entertainment experience to the next level? If so, there are many options and getting your bearings can be a challenge. Creating the right audio atmosphere will ensure you get the entertainment results you desire. Two popular standards for at home entertainment audio support are 5.1 surround sound and 7.2 surround sound- both options are guaranteed to transform your home theater. We at Cables For Less are here to help guide you through your setup process. Here, we will walk through the complete installation of a new home theater system with 5.1 surround sound, from your television and Blu-Ray/DVD Player to your receiver and speakers, offering selections from our catalogue for your cable connections and exploring your options to wrap up the project with a clean, professional look. If you are setting up 7.2 surround, click here . Putting together your entertainment experience will vary greatly depending on what type of equipment you have. In this guide we will be focusing on setting up 5.1 surround sound on current mid-market equipment, this will be your average new TV, speaker set, Blu-ray/DVD player, and receiver. However, there are many higher-end and lower-end options that exist and we will touch upon these along the way. Before we hook up anything at all it is strongly recommended that you unplug all of your devices from electrical sources completely. This not only ensures the safety of your equipment; it ensures your own safety and the safety of your house and home.Connecting Your Visual Input Let’s begin by hooking up your Blu-Ray/DVD player to your television. This connection will establish your visual information feed only, your audio will run directly to your receiver and we will get to that shortly. You have a few options for visual connections; let’s explore them in this list which we have fashioned ranking from highest recommendation to lowest. It is important to note that our first two selections are capable of supporting the highest resolutions available, but your source materials (Blu-Ray or DVD disc) and the capability of your television itself will determine what you are actually able to view. For more information on picture quality, click here .
Connection Instructions for HDMI visual feed- One highlight of HDMI technology is the ease of connection. Here, you will simply connect one end of your cable to the HDMI port on the back of your Blu-Ray/DVD player to any HDMI port on your television. Note that if there are multiple HDMI ports on your television that you’ll need to toggle through HDMI channels to find the appropriate feed you are viewing, for example if your Blu-Ray/DVD player is in HDMI port 1, you’ll be viewing this player on HDMI channel 1.
Connecting your Audio Input So, now that we have visual input taken care of, let’s begin setting up your audio! We’ll begin by talking about your receiver- this is the device that will serve as the control depot and central connection point for your entertainment center. We will be using your receiver to run audio from your Blu-ray/DVD player to your speakers. This means we’ll run audio information directly from the Blu-Ray/DVD player into the receiver and then run separate audio lines (speaker wires) from the receiver to your speakers. Because the receiver is central to your entertainment center it is important to understand what kind of technology it supports- you can determine this by simply identifying the ports on the back of the receiver. Look at your receiver to identify what kind of technology you can utilize and see the following list to decide which audio cable works best for you. For more information on receivers, click here .
Speaker Placement Before we move on, let’s talk briefly about speaker placement. Speaker placement will essentially and quite literally shape your surround sound experience and because sound is a science, there is a plethora of information regarding speaker placement.
In-Wall Wiring, Wall Plates, and Cable Ports
5.1 Surround Wall Plate
In-wall wiring is a do it yourself task of moderate proportion and can be a fun and fulfilling project if you have the experience and working knowledge, however if you are not comfortable with a project that involves drywall cutting and working with electric wires, we recommend you hire a professional to get the job done.
And remember, if in-wall wiring is not the right choice for you, we also offer a variety of Cable Management Solutions such as cable clips and ties to clean up your cable runs, take a look at our catalogue for alternative solutions.
Speaker Wire and Speaker Connectors Now that we have audio information running to your receiver and you have thought about speaker placement and in-wall options, we need to push audio out to your speakers with some speaker wire. Two important considerations with speaker wire will be the gauge (thickness) of the wire and your connection types. Gauge- will directly affect the quality of sound being carried to your speakers, depending on the power of your speakers, the distance you will be running your wire, and the level of detail you are seeking in your audio experience, you will need a certain gauge. For high power speakers, longer wire runs, and super high quality sound, thicker gauge is required. For home entertainment purposes we recommend 14 gauge, it strikes a nice balance between wire that is too thin to support your surround sound experience and wire that is so thick that it becomes inconvenient. However many gauges do exist and the decision is ultimately up to you. The table below gives suggestions for wire gauge in relation to the power of your speakers and the distance you need to run your wires. To learn more about speaker gauge, click here . To shop standard speaker wire, click here .
If you are purchasing Speaker Wire from us, we can label the wires themselves or provide custom made labels, making your wires easier to install and use. Just give us a call when completing your order. A small additional fee will be charged for wire labeling.
Binding Post Terminal
Spring Clip Terminal
Connecting your Speakers to your Receiver So, with all of these considerations and decisions behind you, actually connecting your speakers is fairly simple. Regardless of the selections you have made with the above variables, you will ultimately be connecting five speaker wires to five speakers, and running an additional and totally different, sixth line for your sub-woofer (we will get to your sub in a bit).
It is a good idea to label your wires before you begin connecting them, assigning each of the two lines in your wire as positive or negative and assigning the wire itself to a speaker- speaker connectors, markers, or label makers work great or, if you are purchasing your wires from us, call in your order and we will label your wires for you or provide labels at a small cost! Notice that your terminals are each assigned to a speaker, generally you will see “front left, front right, center, surround left, surround right, and sub-woofer”, if there are additional terminals to these six they are designed for other kinds of audio set up and you needn’t worry about them. Now simply select one of your wires and connect it to its appropriate terminal, e.g. if you are hooking up your center speaker, connect the wire at the terminal marked “center” and connect the opposing end of the wire into your center speaker.
One important aspect of connecting your speaker wires is to ensure you are connecting the positive and negative lines into their assigned ports on both sides of your connection- standard speaker wiring has two lines in one wire and these lines are actually identical but it is extremely important to make sure that the line connected in the positive port on your receiver is connected at the positive port on your speaker and the line connected to the negative port on your receiver is connected in the negative port on your speaker. This is where our above mentioned labeling or connectors can save the day. Repeat this process with your remaining four wires.
Now it is time to step back from the project and take a deep, satisfied sigh of relief. You have created a home theater experience for you and all your guests, congratulations and enjoy. And pass the popcorn. Do you still have questions regarding your surround sound system connections, speaker wires, or cable connections of any kind? Give us a call at (800) 273-9556. Our team of locally based professionals is available to answer any questions you may have Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM Eastern Standard Time. Contacting us is always totally free of charge, and we will be sure to get you headed in the right direction with all of your cable connection needs! If you prefer, you can also contact us via e-mail or fax.
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