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Great home theater tips to help you design and setup your basement home theater!

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Home theater setup

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home theater setup

In a perfect world, with a perfect room, you'd know exactly where to put your speakers. Unfortunately, as homeowners we are often forced to compromise on things like seating arrangement and speaker placement to meet the restrictions of the space they're occupying.

You may not be able to put your sub in the 'perfect' location in the room, and you may not be able to put your center speaker exactly where you want it.

Below are some general rules to help with layout and speaker placement in your room. Whether you have a dedicated space or you're creating a multi-purpose media/rec room, these general guidelines should help you get the most from your home theater system.

5.1 Surround speaker placement

5.1 surround sound speaker layout

Speaker placement tips

Left/right front speakers

  • About the same distance apart as the distance from the viewing position. (I.e. If you're 10 feet from the screen, your speakers should be 10 feet apart.)
  • Should be in an arc from the display (see diagram).

Center speaker

  • Should be directly above or below the screen
  • Same distance from the viewing position as the screen (or as close to it as possible).


  • Since your ear has trouble localizing low bass sounds, you have some flexibility in placement.
  • Should be near a wall a few feet from a corner.
  • Experiment with placement for balance of deep bass without it being too 'boomy'.

Surrounds (5.1 system)

  • Should be placed a few feet above the listening position.
  • Placed either astride of listening position or up to 30 degrees behind. (Facing your display, with arms out, extend arms backward as far as you can. That's about 30 degrees.)
  • Approximately the same distance apart as your front speakers.

Back surrounds (6.1 & 7.1 system)

  • Should be placed the same height as side surrounds.
  • In a 6.1 the back surround should be centered with the display.
  • In a 7.1 system, the back channels should be about the same distance apart as front left/right speakers.

Seating placement

  • Should be centered in front of display.
  • Primary seating position should NOT be against the back wall of the room.
  • Primary seating should ideally either 1/3 or 2/3 distance into the room (from the front).
  • There should not be any obstructions between any speaker and the seating area.


Home Theater Topics

Setting your budget

Selecting components

A/V receivers

How big should the screen be?

Display technologies

Front projectors

HDTV shopping tips

Speakers and subwoofer

DVD players

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD

How to buy a Blu-ray player

Top Blu-ray players

Lutron dimmers: Custom home theater lighting

Lutron Spacer System: Custom programmable scene lighting

Cables and accessories

Buying home theater systems

Buying home theater speaker, Blu-ray players, and accessories

Home theater setup



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