7 Tips To Use Bookshelf Speakers as Surround Speakers

You’ve got your home theater almost ready except for the audio. If all you’ve got are just bookshelf speakers, it is possible to use them as surround speakers.

Bookshelf speakers can be placed around the house to provide a surround sound experience. Using a 7.1 or 5.1 surround sound setup, your bookshelf speakers should be able to act as surround sound speakers (depending on power ratings).

Use Bookshelf Speakers as Surround Speakers

Since you’re here, I suggest you read on to get tips on utilizing your bookshelf speakers effectively.

Also read: Can I Use Bookshelf Speakers as Front Speakers?

Tips To Use Bookshelf Speakers as Surround Speakers

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As we have discussed the differences between 5.1 surround sound and 7.1 surround sound, let us now get started with providing you seven tips for a more effortless setup experience transitioning your regular bookshelf speakers into surround speakers.

These tips are not mandatory, but hopefully, they may help you with setting up.

1. Determine what setup you are going to use

After the 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound setup discussion, the choice should be much easier now. Are you willing to sacrifice sound quality for ease and cash, or are you willing to burn a little more $$$ for better sound quality? Your choice.

2. Establish a strong center

When we’re talking about each of the setups, you should note that both the 7.1 and 5.1 surround setup stresses the importance of one area when listening: the center. 

This extreme importance would mean that if you were to choose which speaker channel would be the best to invest in, the center would answer. Putting your most expensive and most impressive speaker in the center is the best choice for an optimal listening experience.

The center speaker is also in charge of most of the dialogue, giving a clearer-cut listening experience to sound effects and background music.

3. Pair the bookshelf speakers with a strong subwoofer

Bookshelf speakers are popular because of their compact form factor, which can save space for homeowners. However, most would recommend pairing them up with a robust subwoofer.

Subwoofers are speakers in charge of the deepest and lowest frequencies, so investing in them would make up a significantly fuller and richer sound.

4. Remove obstacles

This part is crucial whenever you are setting up your speakers, especially for speakers as small as bookshelf speakers. Ensuring that any obstacles that may affect or cover the sound are eliminated is crucial so that each channel is proactive and not muffled.

For example, if there is a huge potted plant on the right channel speaker, the entire sound signature will be off-balanced. The sound from the left would overpower the right.

Additionally, any sound-affecting obstacles such as hard surfaces and walls in front of the speakers are a no-go.

5. Follow your budget

Always, and I cannot stress this enough, always follow your budget. Investing too high-end of front speakers but not affording any speakers at all on the other channels is a lousy way of balancing things.

Additionally, make sure that your multimedia device is as high of a grade as your speakers, which brings me to my next point.

6. Connections and Multimedia device

It is always crucial to associate your multimedia device and the connections. If your multimedia device is Bluetooth capable or capable of any wireless options, you may wonder if you can take that to your advantage.

Knowing what option you’ll use (wired or wireless) is essential so that you can adjust your speaker placement respectively.

7. Match receiver and speaker

If you use a home theater surround sound setup, it is always important to buy a receiver, even if your bookshelf speaker is passive (it has a built-in amplifier). Most people buy the most expensive speakers but a very cheap receiver.

Do know that your speaker’s sound is heavily limited by what the receiver can do.

Another thing you will need to do is to power match your receiver and speaker. If the speaker is underpowered, it may cause irreversible damage and may result in low volumes. Overpowering your speakers may also result in inadequate and distorted audio.

Three Frequently Asked Questions About Bookshelf Speakers

Which is more expensive, bookshelf speakers or soundbars?

Most of the time, bookshelf speakers are more expensive than soundbars.

Are bookshelf speakers or floor speakers better in terms of sound quality?

Bookshelf speakers are mainly used for their ease of setup and compact design. However, floor speakers, most of the time, deliver a better sound. It does not mean that all bookshelf speakers are worse than floor speakers, though.

How long do bookshelf speakers last?

The lifespan may vary depending on the overall environmental condition and care the bookshelf speaker received. However, most last for 10 to 20 years.


  1. https://blog.fluance.com/the-differences-and-benefits-of-floorstanding-bookshelf-bipolar-speakers/

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