How To Setup and Wire An AV Receiver

Hey Dudes! Home Theatre in itself can be a daunting task, and AV receivers and speakers can have cables running in every direction. Many shops offer professional installation services that can be of use to some. But they can be even more expensive than your new AV receiver. Not to fear DudeDaily is here!

Here Is What You Will Need

  • Wire cutters
  • Large spool of 16-gauge wire
  • Flashlight
  • HDMI Cables
  • Other A/V cables if necessary
  • Cable labels
  • Cable ties
  • Preferably open walls, if not, then nice crown moulding
  • Banana plugs (optional, but preferred)
  • Wire Strippers

The Dude Shop has All you Need to Complete this Installation

Prep Work

First, have a look at all of the components you’ll be hooking up to your new AV receiver (Blu-ray players, cable boxes, gaming consoles, etc.).

For the best audio and video performance, use the highest quality audio and video cables each component will allow (HDMI works best in most cases).

Have your walls opened up if you are completely redoing your cave or your basement is unfinished. If this is not an option, then crown moulding and baseboards can be used to hide the wires (and get the wife to say yes in the process). Let’s make this look nice and clean.

Cable labels or even coloured cables make it easy to keep track of where each cable goes for any further system maintenance down the road. Before you begin, it’s a good idea to plan where all your speakers will go.

When all your planning and prep is complete then move on to the steps below.

 

STEP 1: AV Receiver LOCATION

Pick a spot for your receiver where all your components can easily connect. Preferably near your television or screen for easy control with your remote (unless you have a Logitech Universal RF remote). Additionally, you will need to remember that the AV receiver needs space around it for heat to escape or you risk the possibility of overheating.

Pro Tip: While you are hooking up your receiver , it helps to have the receiver out in the open either sitting on a cabinet or rack pulled out from the wall, or on the floor in front of your cabinet. This allows you to run cables through the back and easily connect them to the receiver.

 

 

STEP 2: SPEAKER SETUP

If your walls are open or the basement is undeveloped then run 16-gauge wire around to where the speakers will be placed. At this point you should have bought your speakers and receiver so power receptacle placement is important as well. We don’t want power cables running across the room if we can help it. HDMI cables can be run in wall as well as long as they are graded as such.

Make sure to: Cut the lengths of the speaker cable to the exact same length. If you do not, you will get an audio delay.

Your towers or larger bookshelves go in the FRONT. The center speaker is in the dead CENTER of where your television/projector will be (either above or below, but never behind a projector screen). In the back left and right will be where your surround speakers go (preferably at ear level). Your subwoofer is best placed on the left or right side of the screen, however it can be placed anywhere in the room. If you have a Dolby Atmos receiver and want the full capabilities then put in some ceiling speakers.

Pro Tip: Ceiling speakers are nice and minimalist looking, however, lack on the sound. They are best used for Dolby Atmos setups and even as back surrounds or used throughout the house for music playing. Opt for in wall speakers if you want the minimalist look, as most are better for home theaters.

Close up your walls/crown moulding and get ready for the technical part. Set your speakers up around the room.

Pro Tip: Put speaker outlets in the spots that you are going to put your speakers.

 

 

STEP 3: HOOKING UP TO YOUR TV

My wonderful Microsoft Paint skills

Connect your TV to the receiver using a high quality HDMI cable.

Connect the cable to HDMI input 1 on the back of the television and HDMI output on the AV receiver. This will allow you to display any setup guides the system might have on your screen.

There may be a label next to an HDMI input on your television that says ARC. ARC stands for Audio Return Channel which means if you use Netflix on your smart TV then it will send the audio back to the receiver.

 

 

STEP 4: FOLLOW THE ONSCREEN MENU

Many AV systems do not include paper manuals in the box anymore. Instead, most of them offer an interactive setup guide.

Denon and Marantz receivers have an awesome On-Screen Setup Assistant built right in. You just connect the receiver to your TV and follow the instructions that appear on the screen.

This is one of the reasons we picked both brands in our TOP 5 AV RECEIVERS OF 2018.

 

 

STEP 5: CONNECT YOUR SPEAKERS

 

 

Before you start making speaker connections, be sure to unplug your AV receiver. Take a look at your speaker wire and note the differences in coloring on both halves. Split the wire down the center at the end, using wire cutters to trim off the insulation from the tip. Keep the ends of the wire separate. The speakers and the receiver should have speaker terminals labeled right and left. Match the colors on the terminals (usually black and red) to the colors on each side of your speaker wire. It’s important to be consistent here to maintain the proper polarity, so if you insert black wire into a black socket, be sure to do this with each subsequent connection.

Next, connect your subwoofer using a mono RCA subwoofer cable from the subwoofer output on the receiver to the subwoofer’s LFE input. Check out our subwoofer setup guide for other types of connections, along with tips on how to dial in the perfect bass for your taste.

 

 

STEP 6: CONNECT YOUR COMPONENTS

Whenever possible, we recommend using HDMI cables to connect your components to your AV receiver. HDMI connections transmit the highest-resolution audio and video signals, often without additional cables. Make sure to connect any 4K components you have to an HDMI input on the receiver that supports HDCP 2.2. Once everything is connected, test each source to be sure you’re getting both audio and video.

 

 

STEP 7: AUDIO LEVELLING AND CALIBRATION

Most receivers come with auto-calibration systems you can use to fine-tune the sound to account for the size of your speakers and the room they’re in. Plug the included setup microphone into the dedicated jack on the front of the receiver, and place the microphone where you’ll sit most of the time. Follow the instructions to optimize your system. You may be able to do this from multiple seating positions, depending on the receiver model.

 

 

STEP 8: NETWORK SETUP

If you haven’t already been prompted to do this by your receiver’s setup guide, now’s the time to connect your receiver to your home network so you can take advantage of online streaming services. Just follow the instructions specific to your receiver model and you should be connected in no time.

 

 

STEP 9: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR AV RECIEVER

Now that you’ve gotten your AV Receiver system all hooked up, have you thought about how you’ll control everything? If you have a lot of components, a universal remote might be useful.

In the coming months I will put in a link for a universal remote guide.

If your receiver offers a good control app for mobile devices, you’ll probably want to check it out. You’ll be able to switch sources and control all your streaming services with one convenient interface. These work from any room in the house, which is extra convenient when your receiver allows multi-room audio and video.

 

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