As of late, even entry-level A/V receivers are more likely to include some type of auto-setup system that guarantees to make essential speaker-related changes by merely plugging in a microphone and hitting the go button. Sounds interesting, proper? Why would anybody wish to spend an hour studying a guide, busting out a tape measure, and twiddling with a decibel meter when the auto-setup will do it for you, hassle-free?

Sadly, the measurement and crossover settings supplied by these techniques aren’t at all times correct, they usually additionally often make EQ changes that do not at all times enhance sound high quality. In actual fact, utilizing auto-setup can really make your superior set of audio system sound lower than their finest. With a few instruments and a few steerage, nonetheless, even probably the most electronically-challenged can get the perfect sound high quality by performing a guide speaker setup. Here is our plain-language information to doing simply that.

step 1

Be sure you can see your receiver’s on-screen show (OSD) in your TV

Making an attempt to arrange your receiver utilizing its tiny LCD show is a trouble you do not want. As a substitute, be sure you can see your receiver’s show in your TV. Virtually all fashionable receivers will put out the on-screen show through HDMI, however some older receivers (like, greater than 5 years previous) require an old-school video connection. If you happen to do not see a menu pop up in your TV while you press the “menu” or “setup” button in your receiver’s distant, be sure you have at the least an RCA cable helpful for connecting the receiver’s composite video (yellow RCA jack ) output to your TV’s composite video enter.

Onkyo OSD (picture through)

step 2

Know your receiver’s menu

You’ll be able to spend time trying on the guide, positive, however getting a hands-on expertise along with your receiver’s menu by looking and pecking via it along with your distant gives vital advantages. After searching for some time, you will discover that you simply keep in mind the place quite a lot of the menu choices are since you really navigated there earlier than. Don’t be concerned in case you do not perceive what a few of the phrases imply. We’ll clarify a few of them under.

step 3

Place your audio system

We perceive that the room during which your audio system reside can dictate the place the audio system have to be positioned, and placement may differ based mostly on the varieties of audio system you are utilizing. A few of us have leisure facilities with particular locations for audio system, or we solely have a handful of open spots during which to place a speaker. With that in thoughts, do one of the best you may to comply with these fundamental speaker placement guidelines.

First, check out the straightforward speaker location graphic under:

Word that the middle channel must be positioned straight under or above your tv. Since virtually all dialogue comes from this speaker, it must be as near the TV as potential to take care of the phantasm that the voices are coming from the image itself.

Attempt to place your left and proper audio system as far-off from one another as your central listening place is out of your TV, creating an equilateral triangle between your head and the 2 audio system. For many, the central listening place is the seat situated straight in entrance of the TV. If this does not apply, then select the spot within the room the place a lot of the listening might be executed. It additionally helps in case you place the highest of the speaker at about 40 inches off the ground (common ear top).

Subsequent, place your encompass audio system above ear degree (someplace between 48 inches and 72 inches) and simply behind your listening place. If in case you have encompass again audio system (the sixth and seventh channels), mirror them in the identical positions because the entrance audio system, however on the wall behind you.

If you happen to’re including Dolby Atmos/DTS:X audio system (ie top audio system for 3D/object-based encompass setups), you will wish to place upward-firing audio system (people who bounce pontificate the ceiling) straight on prime of every of the entrance left and proper audio system and, in case you’re including again top audio system, straight on prime of the left and proper surrounds. If this isn’t potential for some purpose, Dolby recommends you be sure they’re inside three ft of these audio system at the back and front respectively. Dolby additionally recommends you guarantee the audio system are at or barely above ear degree.

If the audio system are wall-mounted they are often greater, however not more than half the peak of your wall. If you happen to’re mounting them within the ceiling (and in case you’re putting in them your self, bravo), Dolby recommends the perfect top as between 7.5 and 12 ft, with 14 ft as the utmost. If you happen to’re solely including two ceiling-mounted audio system, they need to be mounted straight above the central listening place at an angle of round 80 levels from the highest of your head, as proven on this diagram.

If you happen to’re including 4 ceiling-mounted top audio system, you will need them mounted equidistant from the entrance, again, and sidewalls, and set above the central listening place. The entrance audio system must be set about 45 levels ahead from the central listening place, whereas the again must be about 135 levels behind, as proven on this diagram.

For the subwoofer, keep away from inserting it flush with a nook of the room or inside one other cupboard like an leisure heart. Subwoofers often sound finest positioned a 3rd of the best way into the room from the facet and entrance (or again) wall. It is OK to put a subwoofer at the back of the room, however be sure it’s at the least 3 ft away out of your head. If you cannot discover a good place in your room to stick to those directions, be sure to maintain at the least 1 foot of distance between the sub and any given wall.

Along with your audio system positioned and linked to the terminals, it is time to arrange the receiver to deal with them correctly. Begin by accessing your receiver’s menu and choosing the “speaker setup” choice. Most receivers supply the identical fundamental changes. These embody speaker distance, speaker dimension and crossover setting, and speaker degree. We’ll undergo every setting one by one.

step 4

Speaker distance

Speaker distance refers back to the distance between every speaker and your central listening place, as outlined above. This setting is essential for ensuring that sounds from every of your audio system attain every ear at exactly the identical time. Seize a pen, notepad and tape measure. Measure the space from the entrance of every speaker on to the place your head resides when seated within the central listening spot, then jot every measurement down in your notepad. As soon as all of the measurements are made, add them into the receiver. The receiver will immediate you, speaker by speaker, to enter a distance measurement in increments of ft, half-feet or generally right down to 1/12 of a foot. Spherical up or down as vital.

step 5

Speaker crossover

Maybe probably the most simply misunderstood and important speaker-related setting in an A/V receiver is the crossover setting. On this case, “crossover” refers back to the level at which your receiver stops sending bass to every of your audio system and begins sending it to your subwoofer. The proper crossover setting will rely in your audio system’ capability to provide bass. Most speaker producers present specs that point out the place your audio system cease producing bass. For instance, you may even see one thing like “Frequency Response: 60Hz-20kHz.” On this instance, the producer signifies the audio system can play at 60Hz, however typically the bass is far weaker than its lowest-rated level than it’s in the remainder of its efficiency vary. So, chances are you’ll wish to transfer the quantity up by 20Hz or so to be on the secure facet.

It’s common in speaker setups to have bigger entrance left and proper audio system than encompass audio system. On this case, anticipate to must make totally different crossover settings for every speaker. For these with techniques that use the very same speaker for all channels, set the identical crossover frequency for every speaker.

speaker crossover

Older or cheaper receivers could not enable a selected crossover frequency to be set for every speaker. As a substitute, they typically enable a easy alternative of “massive” or “small” with a single crossover level for all of the “small” audio system. For the needs of this information, a big speaker can be a full vary (typically floor-standing) speaker able to producing loads of low bass. A small speaker can be the rest. Set the audio system as massive or small, then select the bottom bass frequency of your smallest speaker because the crossover level for your entire “small” audio system. For example, when you have entrance audio system that go right down to 80Hz however your surrounds are smaller and solely play right down to 100Hz, you’ll wish to set the crossover level at 100Hz. This may guarantee probably the most uniform efficiency among the many audio system.

Additionally, you will discover a separate subwoofer setting inside the speaker dimension or crossover portion of your menu. Receiver producers all name this setting one thing totally different, however the perform it represents is similar. In case your audio system are set to massive, your receiver will open up the choice (it is often grayed out in case your entrance audio system are set to small) so that you can resolve how the subwoofer is used. You’ll be able to select to have the subwoofer used just for low-frequency film results (the .1 in 5.1 or 7.1) or you may have it reproduce the bass that’s being despatched to the entrance left and proper audio system along with any LFE sign. By selecting “Double Bass: On” or “LFE +Foremost” you might be instructing the receiver to ship bass indicators to each the sub and your predominant audio system thus rising the bass response of your system. These with high-performance audio system could choose to listen to their audio system on their very own when listening to music, so they could choose to go away this selection off or set at “LFE solely.” For extra data, see our full information to subwoofer placement and setup.

step 6

Speaker degree calibration

With the space, dimension, and crossover settings made, it’s time to stability the quantity degree of every speaker relative to your seating place. This ensures that you simply hear every speaker on the correct degree no matter how far or shut every speaker could also be. Whereas this setting could be made by ear, utilizing a decibel meter will get you extra exact outcomes. You’ll be able to or at most electronics shops for a fairly cheap worth. Plus, while you aren’t utilizing it to calibrate your speaker system, you need to use it to be sure you aren’t violating your metropolis’s noise ordinance when rocking out to your favourite tunes.

There are additionally a number of decibel meter apps accessible for each Android and iOS gadgets, in fact. Whereas typically not as correct as a devoted decibel meter, they’re going to get the job executed.

The speaker-level setting will can help you activate a check tone or “white noise” to be able to measure the speaker’s output. As you progress via the audio system, it is possible for you to to maneuver the output degree up or down as wanted.

If performing this course of by ear, do your finest to be sure that every speaker sounds as loud because the one earlier than it. You’ll be able to bounce backwards and forwards typically to make a comparability. If you’re executed along with your first go, return via to verify every speaker is similar degree because the one earlier than and after it.

If utilizing a decibel meter, sit down in your central listening place, flip the meter on, set the dial to 70 dB, the weighting to “C” and the response to “sluggish.” Maintain the meter in entrance of your face with the microphone finish pointed straight up on the ceiling. Don’t level the meter at every speaker. You could select any degree you want to calibrate the audio system to: 70, 75 and 80 dB are common ranges to make use of. No matter you select, regulate every speaker’s check tone in order that it pushes the meter’s needle to the identical decibel degree.

decibel meter

If you attain the subwoofer, you’ll discover that your decibel meter doesn’t learn the subwoofer’s super-low frequency output as properly. There are conversion charts on-line that can information you in utilizing a decibel meter with a subwoofer, however you may obtain good outcomes by setting the sub by ear. First, be sure your subwoofer’s quantity dial is ready to the producer’s suggestions or at in regards to the half-way level. Then, proceed with the check tone and regulate the subwoofer degree output such that the sub simply begins to shake the room. Actual bass indicators might be a lot louder, so do not over-do it.

To check your subwoofer settings, we advocate utilizing a bit of music or a film that you’re conversant in. If whereas listening to the music or film of your alternative you discover you want much less or extra bass, return into the speaker degree portion of your menu and regulate accordingly.

step 7

take pleasure in

Seize some popcorn and relax with an important film. You will benefit from the easy, balanced, and pure sounding efficiency of your speaker system and receiver with the satisfaction of figuring out that you simply did it your self.

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