HTPC Tip Of The Day: Set Up Your Receiver

I remembered it like it was yesterday, I broke the seal on my spiffy new Pioneer receiver. Without ever really reading the manual I set it up for the first time and came up with decent enough results. As time moved on, I moved houses and my listening environment changed a great deal.

I had noticed that I now strained to hear the voices from the center channel. Thinking this was an HTPC problem I chased it around a bit until I realized I had not setup my receiver for my new environment. Though I am no "Golden Ears" I can hear the difference of even doing a basic calibration for your receiver. Setting your "speaker size" (small vs large) and cross-over frequencies to your sub can make a huge difference.

Watching movies is a great deal more comfortable now. I ended up bumping the relative volume of the center speaker to +5db just to get a little more oomph from the center speaker.

Update: To reiterate what has been said in the comments –

If you aren’t sure how to set your receiver up when you get it out of the box.. ASK! There is no doubt that the audio part of your home theater is 50% of the experience. It might also be a good time to think about calibrating your TV ;). 

Don’t let yourself think " I spent all of this money for little improvement over my old SD system". With some calibration and the proper source you are going to be glad you spent the extra money.