Home Theater System Setup Essentials: A short Home Theater Plan

This is a subjective hobby to be sure.

However, getting the best home theater system setup in your own home can be quite a thrill.

And, to be fair to any self respecting audio manufacturer -the

design process behind building the speakers or components should be anything but subjective.

Goldmund loudspeaker picture

Take Goldmund for example: Here is a Swiss audio company that designs its products from start to finish without ever listening to the product.

Sound crazy?

It’s not!

Only when research and development is complete do they allow themselves to listen in on what they have created. They build the fully functioning prototype that is production ready prior to listening.

I think that this approach has some merit. It certainly flies in the face of what most of us have heard from the audio community and reviewers over the last 30 years.

If you took the position of Goldmund for example: measurements would be essential to the design process.

Measurements must play a vital role in the development of your home theater or speakers because our ears just cannot be trusted.

For this reason, measurements are a way to gauge whether or not our theory about a new design carries any merit.

Your Home Theater System setup is just as critical as a well thought out speaker design

If you use the wrong methods and materials when connecting your equipment – the components will not be able to do their jobs correctly. Use a properly assembled home theater layout and perform a home theater calibration after you have finished.

Today, the home theater system setup is really easier than ever.

The primary reason for this is the use of the HDMI protocol and HDMI switching. In many situations the HDMI inputs and outputs can be used on nearly all of your sensitive audio and video equipment.

For for nearly all video equipment I advise the use of the HDMI connections.

Audio Inputs and Outputs: Your Home Theater Audio Setup Guide


1. Audio components will vary as to the best method of connection. If you do not have HDMI outputs on your audio equipment you may have several good options.

2. Determine if your components have a digital output. This may look like a basic RCA connector. It usually will say “digital output” and is often orange in color.

3. Some digital outputs are the Toslink outputs. Some components have one or the other or both for the home theater system setup. These connectors are small black square holes. Often they are covered with a black plug that can be easily pulled out revealing a red light when the unit is turned on.

4. Analog Multi channel inputs and outputs. These are sometimes the best method to connecting your equipment. It really depends on the quality of the DAC in your blu ray player and your surround processor/ receiver. If you have better quality DACs in the Processor then run a digital AC3 or DTS stream out of the player and into the surround processor.

5. If you are using a cheap receiver it is sometimes best to use the multi channel analog outputs on the blue ray player instead. The only way to find out is to listen both ways and see which you like better for a better home theater system setup.

Video Inputs and Outputs: Home Theater Guide to Video Connections


1. In some cases the HDMI outputs on a cable box will react very slow to commands. I have heard of this being an issue from a friend of mine who is an installer. He uses the component video cables from the cable box instead of HDMI for most of his home theater system setup installations.

2. The component cable connections are second best from HDMI.

3. The s-video connections is third best from HDMI and second from component connections. These connections are nearly obsolete.

4. Coming in dead last is the composite connections. These are rarely used anymore and basically obsolete.

The Signal Flows as Such for Audio:

The audio path works like this: Your signal flow will begin with the component that is playing the disc. This may be your blue ray player or a CD player. It really does not matter what the source is – you stick the disc in and hit play.

1. Signal flow will be present from the outputs on the back in one of two ways (when you play a disc).

Digital signal or

Analog signal

If you need help determining which type of signal you wish to use – read the above labeled “Audio Inputs and Outputs”.

2. This signal will then enter the Home Theater Processor or Home Theater Receiver where it will process the incoming sound. It will add volume control and effects such as separating the bass from the main speakers and sending the bass to the subwoofer or bass speaker. If you sent a digital signal into the receiver this is also where the Digital to analog conversion takes place.

3. If you are using a receiver, the corrected and now analog signal will then be sent into the amplifier built into the receiver. The signal will be given enough power to drive most speakers.

4. The amplified signal will then leave the receiver from the speaker cables and enter the loud speaker cabinet. The signal will now enter the electrical passive speaker crossover where the signal is broken into parts. These parts or pieces of the signal are sent to the individual speaker drivers within the speaker.

You hear music…

The signal Flows as such for Video:

Video basically works the same way as audio except that all the receiver really does is channel the correct video signal to the right location.

1. Hook your Video inputs to the corresponding input as your audio is routing from. In other words: If you have digital audio coming from a blu ray player attach the digital output from the player to DVD. Then attach the video output from same blu ray player into the corresponding DVD video input. Usually they are located in the same cluster of connections.

2. The receiver will have a video output which you will route to the projections device in which you are using. (such as the HDTV)

When you press the DVD button on the receiver remote, it will switch to that input and read both audio and video. Then send back out to the correct location.

If you have done everything right with your home theater system setup, both audio and video should be working properly. If not, study your connections and imagine the audio stream like the flow of a river starting at one location and moving to another.

If your connections don’t line up, the electrical flow will not make contact. Post questions to the “Contact Us” page if you have more to add or post to the form below.

The end result should be a balanced and coherent sound from the home theater setup that is near real or at least believable.

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