How to Install Your New Stereo System

This article covers how to set up and install a stereo system. Set up will most often include a pair of speakers and an amplifier or receiver as well as any other media devices, like movie and music players.

Place Stereo Speakers and Audio Components

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Unpack and place left and right channel stereo speakers according to these placement guidelines. Unpack and set up the receiver (or amplifier) as well as any other devices in your home media setup.

At this point, make sure your components are not plugged into the wall and are turned off. Open the Owner’s Manual(s) to the pages describing setup and installation for reference, if you run into any issues. Diagrams of your devices fully set up may be useful.

It is a good idea to save all packing materials and cartons in the event of a defective speaker or component you have to return in the future.

Connect Stereo Speakers to Receiver or Amplifier

Speaker wire connections
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Connect left and right channel speaker wires to the Main or Front speaker outputs on the back panel of the receiver or amplifier. This will usually be simple and easy to do, but depending on your personal setup and labels, it can become confusing.

Consult your speaker's or receiver's (or amplifier's) manual if you get stuck.

Connect Digital Output(s) of Source Components to Receiver or Amplifier

Digital outputs
Typical Optical and Coaxial Digital Outputs.

Devices like DVD and CD players often have an Optical Digital Output, a Coaxial Digital Output, or both. Connect one or both outputs to the appropriate input on the back of the receiver or amplifier.

Connect Analog Inputs/Outputs of Source Components to Receiver or Amplifier

Analog inputs
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Many devices, even some DVD and CD players, will come with analog outputs. This connection is optional, except in the event that your receiver or amp has only analog inputs or if you are connecting the player(s) to a television set with only analog inputs.

If necessary, connect the left and right channel analog outputs of the player(s) to the analog inputs of the receiver, amplifier, or television. Analog tape players, such as a cassette deck have only analog connections.

In that case, connect the left and right channel analog outputs of the cassette deck to the left and right channel TAPE inputs on the receiver or amplifier. Connect the left and right channel TAPE OUT outputs of the receiver or amp to the left and right channel TAPE IN inputs on the cassette deck.

Attach AM and FM Antennas to Appropriate Terminals on Receiver

Am loop antenna



Some receivers will come with separate AM and FM radio antennas. Connect each antenna to the correct antenna terminals.

Plug In Components, Power Up, and Test System at Low Volume

Volume knob on stereo


With the power buttons on the components in the OFF position, plug-in components to the wall. With multiple components, it may be necessary to use a power strip with multiple AC outlets.

Turn on the receiver at low volume, and check to ensure that sound is coming from both speakers. If you have no sound from any source, turn off the system and re-check all connections, including speakers. Re-try the system again. If you still have no sound, refer to the Troubleshooting section on this site.

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