It is a must for people who enjoy their movies or music to learn how to use digital audio surround sound. By doing so, an audience is treated to an immersive listening experience. To better explain how digital audio surround sound works, it is best to understand digital audio and surround sound as two different yet related terms.

Surround sound enables an audience to experience a movie or music in a theater-like or concert hall-like environment. This is made possible by connecting all speakers and a subwoofer to a receiver. Each of these speakers has their own audio characteristics. The digital audio element of the surround sound pertains to the technique used when encoding. It directs the audio to the different speakers for an accurate playback. Here are tips on proper installation and usage of digital audio surround sound for optimum performance.

Installing the Speakers

Connect the speakers (two front speakers, center speaker and two surround speakers) and the subwoofer to the audio receiver. See to it that all these are connected properly to enjoy the theater-like multi channel surround sound.

The ideal set up is to have the 4 speakers in the 4 corners of the room, with the center speaker in front and center of the room. A subwoofer can be placed in any part of the room, since it does not emit a strong directional signal. Speakers can be installed on a flat surface, speaker stand or wall.

Connecting the Speakers to the Audio Receiver

Prior to connecting the speaker cords to an audio receiver, see to it that the AC power cord is disconnected to avoid any electricity-related accident. Usually the supplied speaker cords have connectors that come in different colors. The same thing goes for speaker jacks. To know what goes where, match the color of the connector with the speaker jack on the audio receiver.

Another way to ensure that the speakers are connected correctly is by knowing the speaker type. This can be accomplished by referring to speaker labels, which are usually located at the rear of the speaker.

Connecting Audio Receiver to Components

Just like connecting actual speakers to an audio receiver, it is also advisable to ensure that the AC power cord is not connected, when connecting an audio receiver to components or audio output device. Components to be connected can be grouped into three: Audio components, components with HDMI jack and video components.

For audio components such as a super audio CD player or a CD player, you will need an audio cord. The component is the output (audio out) and the audio receiver is the input (audio in).

As for connecting components with HDMI jacks, you will need an HDMI cable. HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface facilitates transmission of audio and video signals in digital formatting. A digital audio signal transmitted through HDMI can be an output from the speakers connected to a receiver.

When connecting video components (DVD recorder DVD player and VCR, among others), you may need an optical digital cord, audio cord and coaxial digital cord. Please not that it is not a necessity to connect all the cords. Video cords and audio cords can be connected based on the available jacks of your components.

Adjusting Surround Sound Settings

When all the necessary connections are established, it is time to adjust surround sound settings and select the best sound field that will enhance your listening pleasure. Options available vary depending on the brand of your sound system. Some digital audio surround sound systems have pre-programmed sound fields. These sound fields mimic the effects of a movie theater or concert hall. Also, with some brands, you can actually adjust the distance of the speakers connected to the system or the distance from your listening position, without physically moving the speakers.

For a more detailed instruction on how to use your digital audio surround sound, refer to the instruction manual that comes with your sound system.