Try and stay symmetrical
When you go to the cinema, usually you try and sit square on to the screen with the speakers equal on either side. Many movie goers will make the effort to make it to the middle of the seating for the best results. The same goes for movie watching at home, the performance of your system will benefit too. Try to avoid putting your screen in a corner if you can as this will affect speaker positions.
Try to use the same drivers
Following on from symmetry, the best results in a home cinema system will be gained from using the same drivers, especially across the front three speakers. This will allow effects to move from speaker to speaker in a much more convincing way. It doesn't matter so much if the size of the drivers changes if their materials and basic design are the same.
Keep your speakers at a similar height
In the same way a stereo pair of speakers gives the best results at the same height, the same goes for having left and right front and left and right rear speakers at the same height in your AV setup. Even better if you can have all four at the same height! What isn’t easy is getting the centre speaker at the same height, as it usually goes over or under a screen. If you can, try to keep the height difference between the centre and the speakers on each side as small as possible.
Speaker placement matters
When placing speakers for a home cinema system, the basic 'rules' that apply to placement in stereo apply here too (which you can do some extra reading on here). If your speakers have a rear facing bass port, they’ll need a bit of room between them and the rear wall. Avoid being very close to side walls if you can and if the choice is between jamming the speaker into a corner or wall mounting, get them on the wall! (shameless plug for our surround speakers here)
Experiment with your subwoofer placement
If you only have one place for a subwoofer that’s fair enough, but if you do have some flexibility it pays to experiment. Even smaller rooms can give very different results from the same subwoofer used in different locations. One of the most consistently effective places is at the front, between your left or right speaker and the centre. Getting the placement of a sub 'right' in the room can be just as good as an upgrade.
Choose the right speaker for the room
Just like when you’re buying stereo speakers, make sure they’re suited to the room size. We LOVE our Min 12s but using them for a home cinema in a room you could park a bus in just isn’t going to sound too good. The same goes for larger speakers in a tiny room, as they can sound bloated and slow, failing to deliver what they’re actually capable of.
The less work for an auto calibration system to the better
We live in an age where clever setup and calibration software can make fine adjustments to the behaviour of speakers wherever they’re placed. Although handy tools to have (including the software in our CXR AV Receivers), they’re never as good as physically correcting the issues in the first place.
The auto calibration system is not infallible
We’ve tested our CXR AV Receivers with many different types of speakers and in many rooms so the feedback it gives you is as accurate as possible. There’s still a chance you can improve these results with some careful experimentation after running the setup software. If you’re using our Minx or Aero speakers with another amplifier, you may find that the BMR drivers give unusual results (because of their relatively uncommon and unique design) from the auto setup and will respond well to a little creative tweaking to the crossover and delay settings.
The behaviour of every home cinema system will vary depending on the room, the equipment and your own preferences but stick to the basics above, chances are you’ll have a system that can give you some Hollywood magic at home.
Got any more tips for piecing together the best home cinema system? Make sure you share them in the comments section below!