Many people pay a great deal of attention to the video quality of their home theater setup, but to really enjoy an immersive and satisfying theater experience, the audio part of the presentation should get just as much attention. Here's how you can take advantage of today's high resolution audio formats to make it your system sound better.
Positioning of speakers
The rule of thumb for positioning is that speakers should be placed on the left and right, equidistant from the listener, and if possible, equidistant from the rear and side walls to achieve the best stereo effect. The center speaker should be slightly behind the left and right speakers, in the front of the room.
It may not be obvious, but room furnishings can have a major impact on the quality of what you hear. For instance, if one speaker is placed close to a bare wall and the other is next to drapes that will absorb sound waves, there will be an asymmetrical and unbalanced audio presentation to the room.
Try to make the room symmetrical, in terms of objects on the left and right side, so that a balanced audio display reaches the listener(s) at the center of the room. If this isn't practical, try moving the speakers slightly to achieve the right effect, and if that doesn't work, try moving your chair while you're listening. A few feet can make a huge difference.
Surround speakers and subwoofers
The most common speaker setup has three speakers at the front of the room - left, right, and center - accompanied by two surround speakers at the sides of the room, and a subwoofer. For best listening, the surround speakers should be positioned at ear-level to create atmospheric sound that immerses the listener in the total experience. The subwoofer provides bass tones for your home theater, but their exact placement can be tricky. Probably the most sure-fire way to place a subwoofer correctly is to experiment with various ear-level locations to see which sounds the best. When you have all this arranged properly, you are in for some great listening!