Home Theater Arrangements

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January 31, 2013 by Marc Cunningham

There’s nothing quite like the experience of an action or sci fi movie in a theater; the sound of rich dialogue in front of you, bullets whizzing by your ears, the building crumbling behind you. All of this sounds amazing in the theater, but less than exciting in your home, unless you have the speakers to support it that is.

A traditional home theater system is composed of 5 speakers and one subwoofer or a 5.1 channel surround sound. This has been the industry standard since the arrival of DVD’s and most DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s suport this audio format.

5.1 audio setup

5.1 audio setup (Note- Th Subwoofer is typically beside the center channel speaker) Image via Cedia.org

Some films support a 7.1 channel system in which case 2 speakers are added in between the front and rear speakers. Few movies are encoded in 6.1 channel audio, like the new Star Wars Blu-Ray, in which case a single rear speaker is added behind the listener.

7.1 Channel

Some high-end receivers are capable of processing up to 7.2 or 9.2 channels and even up to 11.2. Very few movies are encoded this way but are up-converted in the receivers processor.


If you want the absolute best in home viewing experience for movies, you need to have a receiver that is capable of supporting at least five speakers and one subwoofer and can decode both DTS and Dolby sound. You’ll also need five speakers to connect to the receiver;  a center channel, two floor-standing or bookshelf speakers, two rear-channel bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer. I also recommend a Blu-ray player not only for the best video quality, but for the latest HD audio as well.

I will give more examples of different arrangements in future posts.


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