As you construct your home theater surround sound system and begin pulling out your bookshelf speakers, tower speakers, and more, you might begin to wonder how these will mesh together to form a cohesive unit. One of the questions that may come to mind is whether you can use any speakers for surround sound.
Fortunately, any speaker can be used for surround sound with the proper connection to a receiver with matching impedance ratings (ohms) and appropriate placement in your home theater space. You can establish a wired or a wireless connection between the speakers, but follow the equipment specs.
Particularly, as you begin to construct your surround sound system, it can be difficult to ensure that all of the connections are appropriate between pieces of sound equipment.
When hodgepodge together, a soundbar is a long thin bar-shaped cabinet that has multiple speakers embedded inside. It works as a surround sound system can be a disaster. But, if you know what you are doing and can establish an appropriate and secure connection between your speakers, then you can use just about any speaker for your surround sound system.
Also read: Do Surround Sound Speakers Need to Match?
What Speakers Do I Need for Surround Sound?
While dreaming up your new home theater, you will want to focus on the visual and the audio equipment that you place into your space.
Of course, you will want comfortable seating, nice designs, and other eclectic items to make the space your own, but what makes this room distinguishable from the other rooms in your home is the ability to stream high-quality media with equipment that is hard to match.
With that said, you will want to make sure that you choose the right speakers to do the job. For a surround sound system, you will need at least a front left, right, and center speaker. Then, you can add rear and side speakers as well as additional front speakers. You will also need a subwoofer (or two) to highlight the bass.
While this can seem intimidating at first, you will be thankful to know that there are plenty of options available on the market today.
There are many different surround sound systems that are sold as a package deal- something that makes the entire setup process a bit easier if you are just beginning.
However, if you already have several pieces of sound equipment and are just wondering if you can use what you have to make a high-quality surround sound system in your home theater, then you are in luck. Fortunately, this is possible.
The main thing that you will have to pay attention to is the impedance rating on both your receiver and the speaker you plan to use. Then, you will need to establish a connection between the two devices, but you can worry about that later.
For now, you need to remember that the specifications of the two devices are the most important because it will change how effective (and appropriate) the connection is.
When you choose to disregard these connections, you risk damaging your equipment and will experience distorted audio not worthy of even listening to.
Which Speaker is the Most Important in a Surround Sound System?
Still, as you pay attention to the ratings and specifications on each speaker that you use with your surround sound system, you might wonder which one you should pay the most attention to investing in.
And, while there are many mixed opinions out there, when you take a look at the functionality of each speaker in your surround sound system, it truly becomes clear.
The center speaker is the most important in a surround sound system in terms of functionality as it is the audio channel responsible for deciphering most of the dialogue and giving a more clear-cut audio experience with sound effects and soundtracks. Next, the subwoofer is an important addition to the bass tones that it covers.
Of course, you can have a surround sound system without the subwoofer, but it will not sound as full or robust in terms of high-quality sound.
But, having a surround sound system without a center speaker will seem pretty ridiculous to almost any audiophile that you speak with.
With that said, you can choose to invest your time, money, and energy into establishing a high-quality set of front speakers (including the front left, right, and center speakers) as you begin constructing your perfect home theater.
Then, add on rear or side speakers using surround-specific speakers (or any other speakers with the appropriate connections), and you should be good to go.
For example, you could use bookshelf speakers or even tower speakers for your rear surround sound speakers and be just as (if not more) pleased as if you had purchased speakers specifically designed for a surround sound effect.
What is important here is that the placement of the speakers and the connection with the receiver that will truly influence the overall sound quality in your home theater room.
Considering that you are working with the laws of physics when you set up your home theater surround sound system, it is really more important to have the perfect setup for your various speakers than to have speakers that are specifically designed for one part of the room.
Although this will obviously have an effect on how you are able to pull off an appropriately-sounding surround sound system.
How Do I Choose the Best Speakers for Surround Sound?
When it comes to setting up your home theater, it could take a true professional to discover the perfect system for your unique space.
However, there are many different ways that you can make sure that the surround sound speakers that you choose to use in your home theater are optimized and selected to perform at a top-tier level.
So, in choosing your surround sound speakers, you will want to pay attention to the room specifications, natural acoustics, receiver specifications, media-streaming device, and your budget. Ideally, you will select a solid set of front (left, right, and center) speakers complemented by at least two rear speakers and a subwoofer for a 5.1 surround sound system.
Of course, there are many different ways that you can construct a surround sound system with the above example being just one of them.
Truly, it will take work to figure out what the best setup for your home theater surround sound equipment is in your unique space, but there are plenty of templates to get you started along the way.
Along with that, there are some general rules of thumb that you can follow as you set them up. As mentioned above, you will want to pay attention to the room specifications.
For example, if your room is longer than it is wide, this will naturally alter the placement of your speakers compared to the alternative option.
Or, if there are any strange angles that jet out in your room (such as a funky wall or strange piece of furniture), then this will naturally influence your home theater setup, too.
So, you will have to think about the room specifications in terms of all of the sound equipment that can fit cohesively into the space.
Read my article on the best home theater sizes and dimensions.
Along with the specifications of the room, you will have to think about the natural acoustics that come with it. Just like the funky wall or strange piece of immobile furniture would change the placement of your sound equipment, it will also change the acoustics.
You will need to think about how the audio signals will bounce from wall to wall and stream from your equipment to your ears.
Ideally, you want to remove any obstacles that would distort the audio as it streams. In addition to this, be sure to pay attention to any muffling that could occur with carpeting, rugs, curtains, or other sound-absorbing pieces of furniture or decor in your home theater room.
As you select the speakers to use with your surround sound system, you will need to pay attention to the specifications of the receiver.
For example, if the receiver has an impedance rating of 8 Ohms, then you need to make sure that your speaker does as well. This will help to ensure an appropriate connection between the two devices.
Your other option here is to use a complete surround sound equipment set sold all in one package from your favorite manufacturer.
There are many options available, so it is up to you to choose one. But, if you opt to use your own equipment, which is totally fine, then just be sure that the bookshelf speaker, tower speaker, or another type of speaker that you plan to use can be effectively connected to your receiver.
Along with paying attention to the specifications on your receiver and surround sound speakers, you will also want to make sure that you check the specifications of your media-streaming device. For example, be sure to check whether a wired or a wireless connection is preferable, and make adjustments accordingly.
This, along with many other specifications, can help influence the type of surround sound speakers you end up choosing.
Finally, but likely one of your top priorities, you will need to pay attention to your budget. Sure, we would all love to win the lottery or have endless spending money, but if this is not the case for you, then you will need to be selective about the equipment you choose.
Perhaps you can find a few high-quality speakers worth investing in and then add to your collection along the way. Quality over quantity is an important rule to remember when it comes to building your surround sound system in your home theater.