How to Set Up a Basic 5.1 Home Theater System

by ELI Isaac


  • 1 5.1 A/V Receiver
  • 5 Speakers
  • 1 Powered Subwoofer
  • 1 Speakers wire
  • 1 RCA Subwoofer cable
  • 1 Optical cable
  • 1 Blu-ray or DVD player
  • 2 HDMI cables if your receiver has HDMI in
  • 1 Wire cutter/ stripper
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    If you have an av receiver or your shopping for one here are the basic features you are going to need. 5.1 speaker connections Left, Right, Center, Surround Left and Surround Right. Also a sub/LFE out

    Step 2

    This is what your typical home theater receiver speaker connections are going to look like.

    Step 3

    The pre out connection labeled "subwoofer" or LFE is where you would connect a powered subwoofer. Note: The subwoofer is the .1 in a 5.1

    Step 4

    Now that you've located the speaker connections. Check the receiver for digital audio connections. There are three types coaxial, optical, and HDMI. The inputs are listed from good to best.

    Step 5

    The HDMI Inputs are far left there are three and way beneath them is the HDMI output. (Tap pic for full shot). HDMI carries the best audio signals and the best video signals in one cable. 😃

    Step 6

    The orange RCA connection is the coaxial input. The two black squares beneath the coaxial input are the optical inputs.

    Step 7

    Let's hook it up! Hopefully you have 5 speakers and a powered subwoofer. When connecting speakers make sure you plug + (red) and - (black) up to the appropriate leads. DON'T GET YOUR WIRES CROSSED!

    Step 8

    This is proper speaker placement for the Front Left, Center, and Front Right speakers. It may be hard, but get your speakers as close to these positions as possible for the best sound.

    Step 9

    ALMOST THERE! Now for the rear/surround sound speakers. If they're small mount them 2-6 feet above the height of your seating position. They can be placed on the sides or behind your seating position.

    Step 10

    This is one of the better sounding rear/surround speaker placement options. The speakers are high and slightly behind the listening position giving you an enveloping sound stage. Pic from Bose.

    Step 11

    Consider placing your speakers behind the listening position. You can use a table, speaker stands, or simply mount your speakers to achieve perfect positioning for your space.

    Step 12

    Time for your powered subwoofer connect it to the subwoofer/LFE pre-out on you receiver. Run the RCA cable to your LFE input on your subwoofer. Make sure your cable is at least 10 feet long.

    Step 13

    This is the back of a typical subwoofer panel use LFE/line in for the best result and there is usually a volume knob to adjust the volume output.

    Step 14

    If you have an HDTV Connect your Blu-ray/DVD player to your A/V Receiver using HDMI (if u can) and run another HDMI cable from the to the HDTV input to the Receiver's monitor/video out

    Step 15

    If you have an HDTV Connect your Blu-ray/DVD player to your A/V Receiver using HDMI (if u can) and run another HDMI cable from the Receiver's monitor/video out to the HDTV input.

    Step 16

    If you only have optical or coaxial inputs on your AV Receiver use one of these to connect your bluray/DVD player and use HDMI to send video from the player to your HDTV.

    Step 17

    Assuming all of this is done and the wires are run neatly around your room. Adjust the speaker/sound settings on your receiver pop in a movie and enjoy. You can thank me later. :)