How to Make All Speakers Work on Surround Sound [Best Tips]

Struggling to immerse yourself in a movie or a game because your surround sound system isn’t functioning at its best?

You might be wondering how to make all speakers work on surround sound.

You’re not alone—and the solution is easier than you think.

how to make all speakers work on surround sound

Surround sound can elevate your home entertainment experience from “good” to “cinematic,” but only if every speaker does its job.

When even one speaker fails to contribute, the magic is lost.

In this concise, beginner-friendly guide, we’ll offer a step-by-step process to ensure each speaker in your surround sound system works flawlessly.

By the end, you’ll know exactly how to configure your setup for an awe-inspiring audio experience. Ready to dive in?

Understanding Surround Sound Basics

Surround Sound System

What is Surround Sound?

Surround sound is more than just multiple speakers; it’s an audio system designed to immerse you in a 360-degree sound experience. Think of it as creating a sound “bubble” around you.

Components of a Surround Sound System

A standard surround sound setup includes:

Front Speakers: Positioned in front of you, these handle most of the dialogue and on-screen action.

Center Speaker: Placed directly in front, this speaker takes care of dialogue and provides depth.

Rear Speakers: Located behind you, these create a sense of space and atmosphere.

Subwoofer: Responsible for the low-frequency sounds, like explosions and deep bass.

Receiver: The “brain” that connects everything and manages audio signals.

Why All Surround Sound Speakers Might Not Work

Sometimes, you might find that one or more speakers aren’t delivering sound. This could be due to several reasons:

Incorrect Setup: Maybe the wires aren’t connected to the right ports.

Wiring Issues: Damaged wires can be the culprit.

Receiver Settings: Sometimes, the settings on your receiver might be off.

Preliminary Checks: Essentials Before Getting into the Details

Surround Sound Speakers Placement

Check the Speaker Placement

Before diving into wires and settings, make sure your speakers are positioned correctly. They should surround you, creating a circle or oval shape.

Inspect the Wires

Take a moment to examine all wires connecting the speakers to the receiver. Look for obvious signs of wear, tear, or damage. If you find a damaged wire, it might need replacement.

Verify the Audio Source

Lastly, test your audio source—be it a Blu-ray player, game console, or TV—to make sure it’s working properly. Sometimes, the issue could be as simple as a muted setting or a problem with the source itself.

Quick Check: Try connecting your audio source to another system or use a different source with your surround system to isolate and identify the issue.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make All Speakers Work on Surround Sound

Home Theater and TV screen in the living room. Big wall screen TV and Audio equipment use for Mini Home Theater with Surround Speakers system.

Step 1: Prioritize Safety—Power Off and Unplug All Components

Your safety should always come first. Before diving into the technical aspects, ensure that you power off and unplug all elements connected to your surround sound system, including the receiver and all the speakers.

Expert Tip: Always unplug from the wall socket first to minimize the risk of electric shock.

Step 2: Inspect and Securely Reconnect All Wires

Identify Each Wire: Trace each speaker wire back to its respective port on the receiver.

Check for Proper Connections: Verify that each wire is snugly connected to the right port. Most modern receivers come with color-coded or labeled ports to simplify this step.

Expert Tip: Ensure that the polarity (+/-) is correctly aligned; this is crucial for optimal audio performance.

Step 3: Navigate and Adjust the Receiver Settings

Power your receiver back on.

Open its settings menu, specifically the audio or speaker settings section.

Consult your receiver’s user manual to properly adjust the settings so they match your specific surround sound setup.

Expert Tip: Some receivers have preset configurations for different types of audio experiences like “Movie,” “Music,” or “Game.” Choose the one that suits your needs.

Step 4: Conduct Individual Speaker Tests

Before declaring the setup complete, validate that each speaker is functional.

Use your receiver’s built-in speaker test function if available.

Listen for a sound or tone from each speaker in sequence.

Expert Tip: Keep the user manual handy; some models have unique procedures for testing individual speakers.

Step 5: Execute a Full System Sound Test

Once each speaker has been individually confirmed to be working, it’s time for a full system test.

Play a high-quality movie clip or video game that you know utilizes surround sound.

Listen carefully to confirm that every speaker is actively contributing to the overall sound experience.

Bonus Step: System Calibration for Optimal Performance

If your receiver includes a calibration feature, utilize it at this point to fine-tune the audio output for each speaker. This process often involves using a microphone to capture sample sounds from each speaker, which the receiver then uses to adjust various audio settings automatically.

Expert Tip: Manual calibration is also an option, but it is usually more time-consuming and requires a keen ear for sound details.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Surround Sound

Incorrectly Wiring Your System

Getting lost in a web of wires is easier than it seems, and it’s a pitfall that can compromise your sound experience. When you’re wiring your speakers to your receiver, ensure that each wire is connected to its corresponding port.

This is crucial for maintaining sound fidelity and ensuring that your surround sound operates as intended. A helpful tip: color-code your wires and ports for a hassle-free setup.

Overlooking Receiver Settings

Neglecting to configure your receiver settings is like buying a high-performance car and never taking it out of first gear. Failing to align the settings with your specific speaker configuration means you won’t get the optimal sound experience.

Take the time to read the manual or look up tutorials to guide you through this process, as different systems have their unique quirks and features.

Skipping the Individual Speaker Test

While it might seem tedious to test each speaker individually, this step is vital for diagnosing any issues that might be lurking in your setup. Ignoring this test could lead to an unbalanced sound field, where certain channels are louder or softer than they should be.

Utilize the test tones provided by most receivers to ensure each speaker is working at its best. Make adjustments as needed for a balanced and immersive sound experience.

Troubleshooting Tips If Things Still Don't Work

Check for Software Updates

Believe it or not, even your high-tech audio gear needs regular software updates. These updates often include bug fixes, feature enhancements, and other improvements that can resolve common issues. Visit the manufacturer’s website or navigate through your receiver’s settings to see if there are updates available. Follow the installation instructions carefully.

Revisit All Steps

It’s all too easy to overlook a small but crucial step when setting up your surround sound system. Take a few moments to review each step of the installation process. Make sure all cables are securely connected, settings are properly configured, and you haven’t missed any steps that could affect the performance of your system.

Consult Your Manual

If all else fails, consult the manual that came with your receiver or speakers. It’s tailored to your specific setup and can offer helpful tips.

Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried all these steps and things still aren’t working, it might be time to call in the experts. There’s no shame in seeking professional help for a complicated system.


How to Make Surround Sound?

To make a surround sound system, start by placing the front, center, and rear speakers along with the subwoofer around your room. Connect these speakers to a receiver, making sure to match the polarity and labels on the ports.

Turn on your receiver and navigate to the audio or speaker settings section. Calibrate the system using either an automated or manual process to fine-tune the audio levels for each speaker. Finally, test your setup by playing a high-quality audio source that utilizes surround sound.

Can I have a home theater system using surround sound speakers only, without a center speaker or subwoofer?

Yes, you can set up a home theater system using surround sound speakers only, without a center speaker or subwoofer. However, this configuration may lack the depth and richness that a center speaker provides for dialogue and that a subwoofer offers for low-frequency sounds. But you can still enjoy an immersive audio experience by carefully calibrating your surround sound speakers.

How to Play Music Through All Surround Sound Speakers?

To play music through all surround sound speakers, go to your receiver’s settings menu and look for an option like “All Channel Stereo,” “Multi-Channel Stereo,” or similar.

Activating this feature will ensure that the audio is output through all speakers, rather than just the front ones. Some systems also allow you to individually configure each speaker for this purpose.

What should you do if your Vizio surround sound speakers are not working?

If your Vizio surround sound speakers are not working, start by checking the connections between your speakers and the receiver. Ensure that the wires are intact and properly connected to the corresponding ports.

Examine the receiver settings to make sure that they are correctly configured. Also, try updating the software if an update is available. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional help or contacting Vizio’s customer service.

Can you put surround speakers in front of the listening area?

While it’s possible to put surround speakers in front of the listening area, it defeats the purpose of creating a 360-degree sound field.

Placing surround speakers in front will limit the immersive experience that surround sound systems are designed to provide. Ideally, surround speakers should be placed behind or to the sides of the listening position.

What should you do when 5.1 surround sound rear speakers are not working?

If your 5.1 surround sound rear speakers are not working, start by checking their connections to the receiver. Verify if the wires are correctly plugged in and are not damaged. Navigate to your receiver’s audio settings and ensure that it is set to a 5.1 audio configuration.

Also, perform an individual speaker test to confirm whether the rear speakers are operational. If all else fails, consult your user manual or seek professional help.

What are the best surround speakers systems available for home theaters?

The best surround speakers systems can vary based on individual needs, but popular options often include brands like Sonos, Bose, Yamaha, and Klipsch.

Features to consider include audio quality, ease of setup, wireless options, and compatibility with your receiver and other devices. It’s recommended to read reviews, consult experts, and even experience the system in-store if possible before making a purchase.


This guide has walked you through the essentials, from grasping the foundational principles to performing the necessary initial checks and then diving into a comprehensive step-by-step walkthrough. The result? You’re now well-equipped to transform your audio setup into an all-encompassing, immersive experience.

We’re eager to know how your journey went. Share your stories and insights in the comments section below. Your experience is invaluable, not only to us but also to our community of fellow surround sound enthusiasts.

Should you have any queries or need further clarification, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re committed to helping you attain audio nirvana.

You can also find other useful guides on our site, such as: How to connect 4 speakers to a 2 channel amp and What are full range speakers.

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