Specific Inputs and Outputs for Surround Sound Receivers Beginners Must Know

Are you lost on how to connect your AV to a surround sound system? Learn the prevalent inputs and outputs for surround sound receivers here. 

Home Cinema Effect

An AV (audio-visual) receiver has a crucial role in enhancing audio and visual quality. It simultaneously receives audio and visual signals from various sources. This piece of equipment is the reason why you can view videos on your TV and hear sounds from your speakers.

A receiver is connected to the surround sound using a connector. If you own a receiver, notice that it has a myriad of connectors at the back. For a beginner, connecting a surround sound to a receiver can get tricky and confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Setting up a receiver and surround speakers is complex as long as you have the right guide.

Inputs and Outputs for Surround Sound

Before anything else, make sure that your receiver is compatible with your sound system. If you take a look at sound systems, they consist of several speakers, five being the standard. Other surround systems have additional speakers, such as a 7.1 and 9.1, which you’ll learn more about here at Home Cinema Effect.

Each of the speakers will be directly connected to the receiver. Thus, the AV must have the right number of channels to connect each speaker.

An AV receiver has several types of connectors. Here are the most common connections used on this system.


An HDMI is a common connection option in home theater systems. It is applicable for all HD and 4K sources, namely Blu-ray, gaming consoles, cable boxes, Dolby DTS, and many more.

A receiver has an average number of two to four HDMI inputs and outputs. However, the latest version of this connection option – the HDMI ARC – has lesser cables to connect from the speaker to the receiver.

#2 Multi-channel Analog Connection

You can connect a surround sound system to the receiver by using RCA cables. Likewise, these connection options work well with DVDs and Blu-ray. Take note that a surround sound will need input per channel. Hence, expect to use a handful of RCA cables to connect the speakers to the receiver.

#3 Speaker Wires

Any speaker can be connected using a speaker wire. You can buy these connections at local stores.

Connecting each channel to a receiver using wires is easy. All you have to do is follow the label according to each section, such as front, center, and surround. For example, the left and right front speakers must be hooked up to the front-labeled connections, same goes with the other channels. Once you determined each connection, match it with the speaker and connect.

Also, take note that positive wires are red and negative are black. Make sure to connect the right polarity for each channel to make it work.

The only downside of speaker wires is their vulnerability to damages. Likewise, you have to assure the wires are plugged securely on the port.

#4 Digital Coaxial and Optical Inputs

Coaxial and optical inputs can transmit audio and visual signals between multiple sources. These inputs have similar functions to coaxial cables. They also support standard stereo outputs, Dolby Digital surround sound, and DTS as well.