How to Set Up Surround Sound into Cinema Mode? 

surround sound
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One of the main reasons we go out and watch movies in theatres is to live an immersive audio experience. But you can have almost the same experience at home by setting up surround sound into cinema mode.

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And this article can guide you through all the details of doing that. Before that let’s get to know what surround sound is. 

How to Set Up Surround Sound into Cinema Mode? 

surround sound

Surround Sound

Surround sound is a solid sound system that reproduces audio by using an array of speakers and multiple audio channels. Surround Sound’s emulation is way more realistic than the general 2 channel stereo set-ups. The more audio channels are added to the given configuration, the more realism would be for reproducing spatial sound.

The most popular configurations are 9.1, 7.1, and 5.1. These numbers are as follows: The standard speaker units are marked by the number before the decimal and the number of the existing low-frequency channels is marked by the number after the decimal.

It reduces frequencies that are above 120 Hz. Occasionally, there are options with three numbers where the third number indicates the aerial speakers’ use. 

Now, let’s take a look at how we can set up surround sound into cinema mode and produce a home theatre system

Configuration Setup

For home theatre setup, most people use the 5.1 configurations. It consists of six channels where the number of standard full-range speakers is five. The remaining channel is the dedicated subwoofer provided for reproducing low-frequency sound.

You can experience comprehensively immersive surround sound with this configuration without any complications. The overall system has three front channels, one pair of rear channels, and a subwoofer channel.

AV Receivers

The requirement of an audio-visual receiver (AV) varies from system to system, where some do require them then others do not.

AV receivers receive visual and audio signals from several sources and then process and amplify these signals to drive speakers and the TV or monitors. You have to have an audio-visual receiver for surround sound instead of a standard stereo receiver as you’re dealing with more than two audio channels.

And if you can go for the latest systems that do not require any AV support, you are likely to need HDMI ARC. It can be more convenient as you won’t be requiring multiple cables.

However, all devices might not just support it. So you must make sure your Television is compatible with HDMI ARC. Otherwise, you might have to buy an entirely new TV to suit your surround sound system. 


For setting up Surround Sound into cinema mode, another requirement is the compatibility of the decoders. The audio-visual receivers generally come with more than just one decoder. In this case, the best option would be to look for a Dolby Digital-ready receiver.

You will find all the DVDs and the United States’ HD broadcasts using the Dolby Digital. So these receivers will be well-suited to about everything. They feature inputs and amps for the additional channels and make sure the incorporation of Dolby Digital Decoder.

In case of affording a 7.1 setup, reach out for the receiver that supports Dolby Digital Plus.


As discussed previously, HDMI is explicitly suited for the advanced home theatre setups. It can be used for all the HD and the 4K sources, such as Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and cable boxes. Receivers generally come with multiple HDMI inputs and an output (around two to four in number) that goes to the TV.

The best thing about the receiver being HDMI ARC compatible is the requirement for cables to get fewer that need to be connected from the speakers to your receiver box. And a cheap HDMI cable is available anywhere. 

Optical and Digital Coaxial Inputs

Optical and Coaxial inputs do almost the same thing. The difference is only with the cables and the connectors. These connections transmit The Sony or Phillips digital audio interface signals transmitted between various devices. They do support stereo, mono, Dolby Digital surround sound and DTS

Multi-Channel Connections (Analog)

Multi-Channel Connections (Analog)

Surround sound needs dedicated inputs for each channel, unlike stereo setups that assign a general right and left connection. So the dedicated input for right front/back left front/back, and the centre is required.

To connect a Blu-ray or DVD player to the AV receiver, you need this. You will need quite a several RCA cables for forming proper connections.

Optimizing The Room

With a perfect surround sound system for the home theatre setup, you would want your room to be optimized and rearranged for acoustic purposes. You can scrap your room altogether and adequately convert the room into a full-fledged dedicated theatre.

Also, aim at reducing the portion of the reflective surfaces or maybe try countering those with several soft items such as foams or some extra padded furniture.

Arrangement of the Speakers

Finally, this step might require a sort of trial and error approach. If you go for a 5.1 system, then as talked about before, the speakers’ quantity would be like front-channel speakers: three, rear-channel speakers: two, subwoofer: one. Depending on their dedicated channels, you can develop a general understanding of placing the speakers perfectly.

The centre channel speaker will be placed above or under the screen, which must be right in front of the couch. Then, take the side-channel speakers to place them on both sides of your screen, equally distanced from the screen and the viewer. Try to reach a proper 30º angle by toeing them towards your listening position.

Then comes the rear right and the left speakers. These provide spatial awareness, thus these are termed the ‘Surround Channels’. They come with a sharp 90-110º angle. Both of these speakers have to be equally distant from the listener and sit right above the listener’s ear level.


This equipment delivers all the explosions and fantastic impact to the action scenes. You can place this anywhere you like and always change the placement if you require. 

Surround Sound can deliver the best cinematic experience you can expect from staying at home. So if you can’t make time for theatres often and are more into staying home at your weekends then do not wait for purchasing one and turning your home theatre. And hope this article will be helpful for you to set up your surround sound into cinema mode.

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