Arranging your home theater speakers is critical to how your stereo performs and sounds. Placing your speakers in the correct position for a 5.1 system can make even a mediocre sound system sound like a high-end home theater.

Here, we’d like to walk you through the steps to set up your speakers perfectly to optimize their performance and sound. Answering common questions and issues as we go along. Once you’re through with this article, you’ll understand the key differences between speaker positioning and be able to set your own home theater up for the perfect 5.1 setup.

How to Set Up Your System

First things first. Get familiar with your speaker system. Understand the role of each speaker so that you’re able to begin placing them properly. Then, choose a central seating point where you feel you’ll be sitting most of the time. The ideal spot will be central to the television like the image below:

5.1 Speaker Guide

Front Left and Right Speakers

Once you’ve created a focal point that’s central to your viewing (center of the couch in the image above), face your front left and right speakers towards the focal point. Much of the setup process is trial and error depending on the system that you have. We recommend testing the distance of your speakers to your focal seating point until you find the optimal distance. The closer you get to the speakers, the more bass response you’re going to hear. Overall try to position them between 22 – 30 degrees from the focal point.

You can check out some of our Best Floorstanding Tower Speakers or Best Bookshelf Speakers to find the perfect setup for the Front Speakers if you haven’t already purchased them!

Center Speakers

For the center speaker, place it directly above or below your TV. Line it up along the center of the TV and center to your focal seating point. Try to point the speaker towards where your ear level would be while seated.

Surround Speakers

Your surround speakers are best placed to the left and right of your focal seating position. Similar to the front speakers, find the optimal distance for you. It’s recommended that they be within 90 to 100 degrees of the focal spot. Height wise, we also recommend that they be placed 1 to 2 feet above your ear level. This can be done by placing your speakers on speaker stands, mounting them on the wall, or by utilizing Tower Speakers.


The subwoofer is what’s going to deliver the bass for your system. They’re great for action films, games and music. Depending on your room space, placement can be either directly next to your front speakers, or tucked in corners. Most people place it in the front of the room, making connectivity easier. But, if you want to run it behind or to the side, feel free. Subwoofers can be placed nearly anywhere since they don’t need to be focused in any particular direction.

If you’re still in the market to add a subwoofer to your system, be sure to check out our list of top rated home theater subwoofers.

The key to a successful 5.1 system is to find the best combination of positioning and products. Make sure to experiment! Setting up your 5.1 stereo well should be fun, take your time doing it and make it right. Good luck!