Having surround sound speakers is amazing because they give you the movie experience right in the comfort of your own home. But, can you put your surround sound speakers at the front of the room and get this same experience?

Theoretically, surround sound speakers can be placed in the front of a room. However, this type of setup will not produce a true surround sound experience. The best one could get from a setup like this is a semi-surround sound experience, which could leave much to be desired.

Having surround sound speakers is awesome when they are set up properly. But when they are left in front, you are missing out on an immersive experience. If you want to know how to properly set up your surround sound speakers, as well as some tips and tricks to maximize sound quality, keep reading.

Surround Sound Speakers in the Front

Surround sound speakers can be put at the front of the room. There are some Yamaha instructions from as recent as 2017 that show how you can do a surround sound setup that is placed entirely at the front of the room. Other manufactures may have their own instructions too. (The Yamaha instructions can be found in the AVSForum, in which users discussed putting speakers at the front).

Although, you can put the speakers at the front, this does not mean you are going to get the desired surround sound experience. The most common speaker setup is what creates the surround effect – a left and a right front speaker, a receiver in the middle and two surround speakers on either side create the surrounding audio effect.

Essentially, the speakers need to literally surround you to achieve the audial effect of being surrounded by the sound. There are some speakers that are able to achieve this without surround placement, like soundbars for example. Because of this, you will not be able to achieve this audial effect if the speakers are all at the front.  Although, you may be able to achieve a semi-surround sound effect.

Going back to the AVSForm, linked above, most users did not recommend using a front surround sound speaker setup. One user warned others emphatically, urging people not to use this speaker configuration. Some are less critical of this setup, stating that pulling your surround sound speakers out to the sides of you can give you satisfactory quality.

All in all, if you don’t have the room for them, I would not recommend going out and buying surround sound speakers. Just buying a soundbar will do wonders here. But, if you already have them, then there are methods, like those recommended by Yamaha, where you can get a semi-surround sound audial experience.

Can You Use Surround Speakers as Your Front Speakers?

A similar question that you may ask yourself is whether or not you can use surround speakers as your front speakers. That is, can you use them in place of what you’d normally use as the front speakers?

Normally, you will want to use floor standing speakers or even bookshelf speakers as your front speakers. These are the most important speakers besides your center speaker.

Despite this, you can use your surround sound speakers as the front speakers. To do this, you have to swap the speaker’s connections in the back of the AV receiver. You’ll need to rearrange the connections so that the sound that would normally go to the front speaker will now go to the surround speaker(s). Unfortunately, this could decrease the quality of the sound.

There are some things to consider when swapping the speakers:

  • For one, they need to be the same quality of speaker (some people’s surround speakers are of lower quality than the central one).
  • They should have the same range so the sound can reach you.
  • You also need to consider their shape. A smaller shape/size means less sound and power.
  • You also need to make sure they are not dipole speakers since these send sounds to the sides, not straight ahead.

If you feel that your surround speakers match these criteria, then you can go ahead and try using them as the front speakers. If they do not meet the criteria, I would recommend sticking with the front speakers or buying new ones so that you can get the best possible sound out of the system.

How to Set Up Surround Sound in a Small Room

Maybe you are thinking about setting up your surround sound all at the front of the room because you feel that your room is too small to set up the speakers around you. If this is the case, you should at least try to set the surround sound up like normal.  With a little finessing, even small rooms can have surround sound!

There are a few things you can do to see if your small room can accommodate a normal surround sound speaker setup. Read the sections below for tips on how to set up your surround sound in a small space.

Grab the Tape Measure

First off, and most importantly, you need to measure out the space that you are planning on using. Making sure that you set up the speakers and other tech at the right distance and angle from each other is important.

You will be able to find all measurements in the manual that comes with the speakers. There are also instructions you can find online for the type of speaker you have. If you are unable to find instructions online, reach out to the maker of the speaker directly-they should be able to help with the recommended measurements.

Placing the Speakers

Next, you have to make sure that you have the speakers set up correctly in relation to the other items in the room. The sound will be echoed if the speakers are too far from you or if the room is too empty. The sound could also be muffled if you place other objects in front of the speakers.

Since you may be in a small space, you probably don’t have to worry about the speakers being too far away. So, just make sure that the room is not too empty and ensure nothing is blocking the speakers. Also, make sure that the speakers point toward the sitting space of the room.

Mount the Speakers

Mounting your speakers is a great option if you do not have a ton of floor space to work with! When you hook them up, make sure they are angled down towards your sitting space. If the speakers are not angled down, the sound will just travel over your head, which translates to a loss of sound.

Read the Seller’s Instructions

Although this all may seem pretty straightforward, you still should follow the instruction manual for specifics such as how the speakers need to be angled. Every sound system is different, and the manufacturer’s instructions are your best bet.

Setting up surround sound is more technical than it seems, and for an optional setup, you will want to follow all the instructions and advice that you can get from the seller.


Now you know that setting up your surround sound completely at the front of the room is possible, but not the best option.

You also know that installing your back speakers as front is doable with the right speakers, but not probable if these speakers are only meant for surround sound.

You’ve also learned the many nuances that come along with setting up your speakers in a small room, and you’ve gathered some tips for setting up surround sound speakers in the front of your space.

You are now well-equipped to set up your sound system to produce that surround sound experience that everyone wants to have at home. Best of luck and share your results!