How to Hook Up Wireless Surround Sound

By Joe Fletcher

While wireless surround sound is easier to set up than traditional speaker wire, it can still be a bit confusing if you've never done it. Don't worry though, dropping the wires is meant save you trouble and with a couple of connections, you'll be ready to enjoy your system. An added bonus is that because the speakers are wireless, you can easily move them around without being locked into placement.

Hook up the transmitter. The transmitter is the wireless component that connects to your audio source such as a TV, DVD player or home theater receiver and sends the audio signals to the speakers. Whenever possible, use digital cable to connect the digital output (coaxial or optical) on your source to the transmitter. You may also need to connect with speaker cable, analog cable or a headphone jack depending upon your equipment.

Set up the receiver. You may have a separate receiver in your wireless surround system. The receiver picks up the transmission from the transmitter and powers your speakers. Other systems use built-in receivers inside the speakers themselves and no extra set-up is necessary. Place the receiver near the rear surrounds, then connect the speakers to the receiver using speaker cable. The receiver is powered and will need to be plugged in.

Check the power supply on your speakers. If you are using a wireless system that doesn't operate with an external receiver/amplifier, your speakers will be powered. They may use batteries or may need to be plugged in. Before setting up the speakers, consider where you will be able to plug them in.

Set up the speakers. Set up will vary by room, equipment and preference. A good place to start is to put the front speakers on either side of the TV with each speaker equidistant to the TV and the listening position. You may need to wire your front speakers directly to your home audio receiver with speaker cables as wireless speakers are often limited to the rears. If you aren't using a home theater, you can use the speakers on your TV as the fronts. The rear speakers can be set up several feet behind the listening position at an even distance with the fronts. Center channel can go on top of the TV. If using 7 surrounds, the other two go on either side of the listener. Remember that moving the speakers around once they're set up is easy, so don't be too worried about getting this perfect right away--you can listen and adjust over time.

Verify a clear path. If your wireless surround system is infrared-based, the speakers and transmitter must have a clear line of sight so that the transmitter can send a signal to the speakers. Systems that use radio frequency don't require a direct line of sight.

Plug your components into electrical outlets, turn on, play some source material and test out your system. Adjust volume and settings as needed. Play with speaker placement for better sound.