There are many forms of home surround sound systems but the requirements for setting them up are typically the same. Here we will look at a basement installation.
Home Surround Sound Systems
What you’re about to see from the video below is a total basement makeover from start to finish. This video is recorded in fast motion showing all the previous steps we have already dealt with when completing a basement but also includes the addition of all the wiring required for installing a theater room right to completion.
One of the biggest things you need to do before starting any project is to plan it all out on paper first. This plan will give you a proper understanding of what you may need to do to get what you want. By making a list of what your system will contain will make the process easier to map out.
Things to consider:
- TV or Projector
- Stereo Equipment
- Speaker system
- Seating Arrangement
TV or Projector
One of your considerations that need to be addressed is whether you are planning on having a large screen TV or projector. I have worked in some homes where both have been installed. You need to know the plan for all the components being used so you’ll be able to have all the power requirements available to operate the equipment.
For a TV you will want to have your receptacle located around the TV’s mounting bracket if it hangs on the wall. You will also want to have all your other necessary wiring such as cable, Internet connection, HDMI and anything else your system may also require on the wall by the mounting bracket. This arrangement will allow you to make all your connections and have all the wiring contained out of sight behind the TV.
You may decide to have your TV on a stand. Many times this is done to have all the wiring and connections for everything in one location for the entire stereo and home theater setup. Again if this is the case, then you would want all the connections mounted behind and underneath the cabinetry and TV to hide all the wires but still have everything setup to your standards.
In the case of a projector instead of a TV, to have the ultimate in screen size viewing, your wiring is going to be fed from the ceiling to the projectors location. Your projector will require a receptacle for power, connections for sound and video back to the console area where you’ll have all your components located. The screen itself will be simply mounted to the wall for your viewing.
Now for most places I have worked on, people choose to spend a little more and have drop-down screens. Here’s the big difference with having a drop-down screen rather than a fixed screen. With a fixed screen you have a large section of wall that stands out as a big white blank space when not in use. Most people do not have space for a dedicated theater and use the room for much more. By having a retractable screen from the ceiling, you could have a TV on the wall or a unit against the wall for regular use. When you want the larger screen for movies, sports or games it simply lowers down in front of the TV. These screens can be manual or powered. If it is powered, then you would want to have another ceiling receptacle available for the screen to be powered up when required.
With all great home theater systems, there is a stereo system to deliver the ultimate sound you want to achieve. You will need to decide where this equipment will be installed so you’ll know where to run your wiring. In the case as mentioned above your stereo system could be directly below the TV and all power and wiring for audio and video would be centrally located on the wall or floor behind the equipment.
For some people, they prefer not to see any of the supporting systems for the audio and video. In cases like that, the equipment could be installed in a cabinet, separate booth or room out of site that works from a remote control for all functions. Just how elaborate the theater system becomes or will be is determined by your design and amount of money you want to spend.
The biggest thing is to know where the system will be installed and all what wiring for power, audio and video will need to be connected. All the wiring will need to be run to have them all concealed in the walls, floors or ceilings.
The type of speaker system you use will determine how many wires and for what kind of speaker they will operate. Manufacturers create speaker cables that will work best for specific speaker enclosures. By this I mean you’ll use a different speaker wire for a sub-woofer than you would for your mains or surround speakers. Depending on the function of the speaker you will use a different type of cables for each type.
Sub-woofer wires can carry high-power low-frequency signals for audio reproduction.
The mains will require possible high power full frequency carrying capabilities to give you the full fidelity of music and TV playback.
The center and surround speakers need less power than the mains, so the lines tend to be smaller in most cases.
With all the technology of today, there are a lot of systems being created that work wireless for those choosing not to run wires these days as well.
How many speakers you use will also determine how many lines you need to run. I have seen people run ceiling speakers throughout their entire home that operates from one central source. The type of system you choose to use will determine how simple or complex your wiring will be when you create your home surround sound system.
When you’re considering doing a media room, the seating arrangement should be one of the first considerations. The whole space needs to be taken into account from where you’re viewing the screen from the position of where you’ll be sitting and the placement of each and every speaker you have set up in the room. Everything needs to be set up to maximize the audio and viewing pleasure that you intend to enjoy.
Another reason to have all this planned out beforehand is in the case where many people have been purchasing power recliners for sitting in. When you’re in the planning stages, and you know that you want to have power recliners then you have the opportunity to place power receptacles underneath the location of the chairs. This way you do not need to be located up against the walls and can have your seating placed more centrally located around your screen and create the best possible audio reproduction in the room your using as your media center.
When planning on building a home surround sound system, you need to know all what components you’ll have to work with when piecing it together. The type of furniture if it requires power. From there you’ll be able to design effectively the perfect combination of where the equipment goes for display or not and where to run all your wires and cables to make the system operate the way it’s designed in the space you’re building for it.