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How to Adjust the Volume of Surround Sound Speakers

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Surround sound speakers draw power from a set of amplifiers built into a home theater receiver. Individual amplifiers drive the left and right front speakers, the center channel and the rear Surround Sound speakers. Each speaker in the system can be set to a different volume level to suit individual listening tastes. On most home theater receivers, volume levels can be adjusted either with the remote control or from the front panel of the component.

Turn on the power to the home theater receiver and press the "SURR" or "Surround" button in the control section of the remote control or on the receiver's front control panel.

Use the left and right arrow keys to select different speakers connected to the system, then use the up and down arrow keys to adjust volume levels for each set of speakers. Most receivers allow volume adjustments in increments from -10 to +10. If you enjoy vigorous Surround Sound effects, you may want to increase the volume of the rear speakers. Movies presented in a mono soundtrack or dramas heavy with dialog may sound better with the volume increased on the center channel speaker, since movies on DVD and Blu-Ray are recorded to direct more of the dialog to the center speaker.

Press the center button inside the arrow keys (usually labeled "Enter") to switch to a different Surround Sound mode. For example, some receivers may be equipped with Dolby Surround Sound, Dolby Digital and DTS (digital theater system) with the capability of storing different volume settings in each Surround Sound mode. Adjust the volume settings as desired, then press "Enter" to advance to the next Surround Sound mode.

Adjust the overall volume of the speaker system using the remote control's main volume buttons. No matter how loud the sound is set with the main volume buttons, the speakers preset to a higher volume will still be louder than speakers preset to a lower level.

Increase or decrease subwoofer volume by adjusting the volume control knob, which is typically located on the back panel of the sub.

Press the "Test" button on the remote control to produce a white-noise audio signal that will move from one speaker to the next throughout the Surround Sound system so the listener can evaluate the volume settings.


Some receivers allow an additional layer of fine tuning for specific types of programming, such as action movies versus dramas. Choose these settings and adjust the volume for each type of programming. The receiver stores the settings in memory.


  • After making adjustments, dial down the volume on the receiver before playing the television, music or a movie to prevent a sudden sonic boom that could damage the speakers--and cause heart palpitations among family members, guests and pets.
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