5.1 speaker placement in a "stereo" type arrangement

djp108

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Aug 31, 2012
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Right now I have a 5.1 capable receiver playing output as stereo since I cannot set up surround speakers in the proper place, I would like to use the center channel speaker to enhance the dialog from movies etc.. Is it at all worthwhile to connect the surround speakers and place alongside the "stereo" setup to have full 5.1 surround output so I can use the center channel? ex: One right channel and one surround on the right and one left channel and one surround on the left.
 
If your receiver has a set up mic you can just connect the center and run the set up, It will hear the center and balance the front speakers.
If not then manually set your receiver to a 3.1 system.
Small front
Small center
no surround
yes subwoofer
Adjust the level of the center speaker with the test noise to sound the same volume as the other two fronts at your chair.
Now set the surround mode. For TV and cable use Dolby and the receiver should switch between Dolby Digital and ProLogic so the center will work all the time. For DVD/BD use auto which will follow the surround mode on the disc. The receiver will fold the surround channels into the fronts.
 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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You don't need to have the surround speakers plugged in to use your receiver in 5.1. Depending on the receiver, you may have the option to turn off the surround output or if not, you'd simply turn them down as far as they'll go. Either way I wouldn't hook them up unless you are using them as surrounds.
 

djp108

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Aug 31, 2012
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Thanks for replying, I had always assumed that if I set the receiver to 5.1 and did not use all the speakers I would lose some of the signal/sound from the surround speakers ...if I only hooked up the center channel and two "stereo" speakers in 5.1 mode would I still get full sound from the two speakers even tho it is set to 5.1?
 

ien2222

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I assume you mean the front two speakers in which case minus the content that is now being played in the center channel, for the most part you'll have everything else. There could be a little loss depending on how the stereo was mixed vs multichannel, but realistically I'd doubt that you'd notice. I should point out that if you don't have a sub, switching to 5.1 you will probably have to change some settings on the receiver so that your main speakers get the full frequency range.
 

djp108

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Aug 31, 2012
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Yes my set-up now is two front speakers and a sub in 2 channel stereo mode.
 
If your receiver has a set up mic you can just connect the center and run the set up, It will hear the center and balance the front speakers.
If not then manually set your receiver to a 3.1 system.
Small front
Small center
no surround
yes subwoofer
Adjust the level of the center speaker with the test noise to sound the same volume as the other two fronts at your chair.
Now set the surround mode. For TV and cable use Dolby and the receiver should switch between Dolby Digital and ProLogic so the center will work all the time. For DVD/BD use auto which will follow the surround mode on the disc. The receiver will fold the surround channels into the fronts.
 

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