When I first watched my projector with a soundsystem I was surprised at how enjoyable it was. I felt so comfortable and couldn’t wait to watch it again.
But, setting it up was quite a chore because I hadn’t really done it before. So, based on my experience and research I did, I thought I’d put together this complete guide so that someone out there has an easier time when they connect their sound system to their projector.
So, how do I connect my sound system to my projector? You want to use an AV receiver. A receiver will be the central unit that all of your speakers plug into. The projector also plugs into the receiver. But, if you’re only using a soundbar subwoofer combination or only one speaker then you can plug them into the projector directly.
There is a basic procedure to do when connecting a sound system to a projector using a receiver. So, I’ll go through that. But do keep in mind that each projector and sound system can have it’s own unique quirks. Read on below where I will explain exactly how to connect a sound system to a projector.
Step 1: Start by plugging the speakers into the receiver
The first thing you want to do is to plug the speakers into the receiver. This is because almost all projectors only have a few ports at the back that you can plug speakers into.
If you were to try to connect all your speakers to the back of the projector you would run out of ports. And some of your speakers wouldn’t be plugged in and they would sit there taking up space. Maybe, you could use them as a small coffee table. But, I wouldn’t recommend it!
Anyway, so here’s how you do that:
- Getting a receiver that will work
- Plugging in the speakers
- Testing them out
1. Getting a receiver that will work
|Almost all receivers have the capability to plug in multiple speakers from different brands. But, if you don’t yet have a receiver it is a good idea to double-check that the one you are getting is compatible with your sound system.
You can do this by buying the same brand of the receiver as the brand of speakers. And also, asking in-store, or online. The extra hassle of finding out is worth it, otherwise, you might have to send the receiver back, and buy another one.
You can ask them “will this receiver work with my Sony sound system?”, or whatever sound system you have. Once you’ve got a receiver that will work with your speakers or are going to use the one you already have it’s now time to plug in your speakers.
2. Plugging in the speakers
|Luckily, the cables are color-coded and labeled. Also, they will only fit in one of the ports. So, this step is quite straightforward. Most sound systems have a left and right speaker and a soundbar in the center, as well as a subwoofer. And you might have some rear column speakers as well.
Each of them needs to be plugged in. The ideal way to do this is by looking at the manual for your receiver, and the manual that came with your speakers.
Each receiver is slightly unique. If you didn’t keep your manual you can find it online with a Google search for ‘projector name manual pdf’ or just ‘projector name manual’.
If you still can’t find one then send an email to the support team so that they can send you one.
Once you’ve got all the speakers plugged in now you want to test it out!
3. Giving it a whirl
|Now, you’re ready to test out your speakers. Connect your mobile phone to your receiver using either a cable or a Bluetooth.
Since you’ve been looking over your manual you can follow the directions that will be laid out in it. With Bluetooth, you need to pair the receiver with your smartphone.
With the cable, you plug it in where you would plug in headphones to your smartphone.
Just make sure the volume on your receiver is turned all the way down, and your receiver and speakers have been on for a few minutes so that they are warmed up.
Now play a song or video clip on your phone and see how it sounds. And that all the speakers are playing something. You might need to put your ear close to the speaker to tell if it’s playing anything.
Summing up, you first need to get a new receiver if you don’t already have one. Then you need to plug your speakers into it. Finally, you want to test it out to double-check everything’s set up correctly. In the next section, I will discuss how to set out your speakers so that they give you the best sound
Step 2: Set out all of your speakers
Although you’re ready to plug in your projector to your receiver, you first want to set out your speakers. When you put them in their proper positions and use a few acoustic techniques which I will explain below you create a WAY better sound quality. So, before starting watching your projector using your new speaker set up you should optimize your speaker placement.
Here’s how you do that:
- Put the speakers in their correct position
- Make some tweaks
1. Put the speakers in their correct position
|Each speaker has a position in a room that works better based on the way they work. For example, the soundbar should always go directly in front of you and below the screen. Soundbars most handle the dialogue (people speaking), and environmental sounds, like feet walking on the pavement.
I have covered the placement of a soundbar speaker in detail in a previous article I wrote about the What Is the Best Height for a Soundbar?
Whereas, the subwoofer plays only bass sounds that are boomy, and are used for a scene where two cars crash into each other or a door slams.
Their sound also moves outward from the speaker in all directions. Whereas, smaller speakers and tower speakers send the sound outwards in the direction the speaker is facing.
Exactly where to place each speaker is unique to each speaker. As a general rule:
- Subwoofers. Place them in a corner, anywhere in a room.
- Tower speakers. Behind you to either side.
- Soundbars. Directly in front of you.
- Medium-sized speakers. To the front and sides.
The manual with each speaker will tell you where to place each speaker so that you get the best sound quality. Also, each room has a unique layout.
For example, some are square, whereas others are more rectangular. Or, have a large feature such as a staircase that changes how the sound works in the room.
2. Make some tweaks
|Once you’ve put your speakers in their recommended position you will want to change their position slightly.
So, you will want to get some help from a friend or family member. With them helping sit where you would and have them move around the speakers to find a better placement for them.
You will notice the sound improve or get worse based on changing how close they are to a wall, and what angle you face them. There are two types of sound when you are listening to speakers – direct sound and reflected sound.
Direct sounds are the waves coming directly from your speakers into your ears. Whereas reflected sound is sound that didn’t come directly from the speaker to your ear but bounced off a wall.
Based on what furniture and the shape of your room, you will get different amounts of reflected sound and direct sound so subtle changes in the positioning and angle of your speakers will improve the sound quality you get from your speakers. So, it’s worth the time to tweak them a bit.
Step 3: Connect your projector to the receiver
Now that you have your speakers all set up. Now, you want to connect your projector to your receiver. The receiver ‘receives’ the video signal from your laptop, computer, or DVD player, it then splits up the sound track so that it goes to each speaker.
It does this because each speaker is designed to play a different part of the soundtrack.
It also sends the video signal out, as long as there is a screen or projector plugged into it. So, the next step is to connect your projector to your receiver.
Here’s how to that:
- Locate your cables
- Plug it all in
- Test it works
1. Locate your cables
|Get out the cables you will need to connect your projector to your receiver. The cables will come with your projector. But, some receivers will have some spare ones.
This cable sends the video signal from your receiver to the projector.
When you are playing a movie, or tv show on your projector, the signal has to go from your laptop, DVD player, computer, iPhone, iPad, or similar to your receiver.
The receiver gets the audio and it also gets the video. It then splits if off to whatever you’re using to play the video. Such as a TV or projector.
In this case, we’re using a projector. So, when the projector connects to the receiver, you are sending the video signal only.
So, the cable you use will send the video signal. It can be an HDMI or one of the other types of cables.
If you’re unsure you can always use an HDMI cable as they will work. But, some projectors don’t have an HDMI port. If this is the case with your projector then look at the manual for your projector to see what cable to use.
2. Plug it all in
|Now, that you’ve got the right cable it’s a matter of connecting them together. It doesn’t require anything special unless you want to. Locate the right ends and plug either one into their relevant jack points.
From there you should be good to go.
3. Test it out
|Now, you want to test everything is working altogether. Start playing something using your DVD player, Laptop, Smartphone, or Tablet. Then check if it’s all working correctly. You might have to jigger the settings on your receiver to let it know where the video and sound signal is coming from.
This is known as the source – which is where you tell the receiver what cable is sending the video and sound signal. You should consult your manual if it doesn’t just start working immediately.
You might need to adjust the settings on your projector as well. In either case, the user manual will have detailed instructions about how to begin playing your movies and TV shows through them.
And each has its own unique settings, so it’s best to read through them. You’ll have completed all the steps to getting it connected. If you run into any issues just run back through the steps I outlined above, you might have accidentally skipped an important step.
Now that it’s all set up, there are some additional things you can do to improve the sound quality even more. So, that’s the topic of the next bonus step.
Bonus Step 4. Use sound deadening fixtures to improve the sound quality
There are various fixtures and panels you can use in your room to improve the sound quality. They include acoustic panels and using furniture and decorations that are thicker and more sound-absorbing.
I wrote a recent article about the use of Acoustic panels which you can read here: What Are Acoustic Panels and How Do They Work
In it I discussed the research in the field of acoustics which showed that using deadening materials in a room increases the sound quality and makes it more comfortable.
Reflected sound creates the sound you want to hear twice. One reaches your ears almost instantly. Whereas the reflected sound reaches your ears a bit later.
When this happens it mixes up the signal to your brain. Which isn’t as comfortable as when there is less or no reflected sound. In summary, they absorb reflected soundwaves but put them in strategic places where the waves bounce around the most such as in the middle of the walls, and in the corners.
On top of that you can also put more absorbent furniture and art on the walls. For example, some people have metal or plastic furniture around the room, and these reflect a lot more sound than a bean bag or chair which has fabric on the outside.
You can also move a bookcase into the room because it will stop the sound waves bouncing directly off the walls. And will spread them out which slows down and weakens their energy.
Alright, that’s it for the bonus chapter about using acoustic panels and sound deadening fixtures to further improve the sound quality.
So, I covered how to connect a sound system to a projector which involves: getting a receiver that will work, plugging speakers into it, and then testing it is working.
After that you want to set out all of your speakers, and then adjust their positioning with the help of a friend or family member. Finally, plug your projector in your receiver, and test it all works.
How easy did you find this guide? Let me know in the comments. Also, if the thought of any way I could improve this article leave me a comment. All the best!