speaker type and placement 7.2 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-27-2013, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone. I'm really excited about this phase of my basement finish. Framing is complete finally and electrical is nearly done. I'm running speaker wire now and a suffering in a dilemma on placement of my rear and surround speakers.I do not have a dedicated media room, my wet bar area is attached to the media room and on the other side, I have a game room. It's an open floor plan. My media area dimension is 18' wide and 20' deep. Out of that 20', the front 12' have 9' ceiling and the rear side have a little less than 8' ceiling. I've attached some drawings of my room layout below.









as you can see in the last image that I'll have my front speakers concealed in the cabinet, I'm thinking of placing the rear speakers on the back wall or right above(ceiling) the back-row seating. the ceiling is 9' on the front part of the room and in the back area it's 14" lower plus I have a seating platform which is almost 7" high which makes the rear ceiling ~85" after drywall. my initial thought was to put the surround speakers towards the front edge of the soffit but I'm concerned that the front seating area will not get proper audio coverage. So I'm thinking of putting the surround speakers about 8' from the screen.I can take a video for more clarification.

Where would you place the speakers in a room like this one?

Appreciate any input.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-28-2013, 03:07 PM
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In your place, with the layout set the way it is, I think that I would give each row of seats its own pair of left & right surrounds (two channels, four speakers total), placed directly to the sides of each row with as much lateral separation as possible (i.e. as wide apart as possible), and on the ceiling (for lack of a better place to put them), oriented horizontally (i.e. such that they would appear wider than tall when viewed from the seats) and angled toward the far viewer on the opposite side. Then I'd place the back surrounds near the top of the back wall, angled downward toward the front row.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-29-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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not sure if I got a clear picture of what you're suggesting. Are you suggesting 9.2? I'm not sure if I have the budget to add 2 extra surround speakers. I do plan to place the surround speakers on the ceiling and the rear speakers on the back wall.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-29-2013, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by spider9 View Post

not sure if I got a clear picture of what you're suggesting. Are you suggesting 9.2?

9.2 speakers for 7.2 audio channels would be the most ideal option, yes.
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I'm not sure if I have the budget to add 2 extra surround speakers.

In that case, with such a deep seating area you'll have to choose from among several different compromises:

1) If the front row has priority, in your view, then you could place the surrounds directly to the sides of the front row (on the ceiling). The back row will simply have to settle for the surrounds coming from in front, albeit from wider and higher than the front speakers.

2) You could place the surrounds to the sides of the back row (on the ceiling), which would improve things for the back row but obviously compromise the front row. Then you'd have to decide which row gets the proper surround levels, or maybe you could calibrate for the front row and direct the speakers toward the front row in order to reduce the effective loudness for the back. With the latter, both rows would be compromised in different ways--the front row will effectively have four back surrounds, while the back row will have less fidelity in the surrounds.

3) You could place the surrounds just in front of and inside the columns, directed toward one another. This would be less of a compromise for the front row than #2, but the surrounds would be in front of the back row, just like with #1, so I'm thinking that you might as well go with #1.

4) You could buy less expensive surrounds so that you could have an extra pair of left & right surrounds (playing the same two surround channels, either using an additional stereo amplifier or simply wiring them in series), and each row could have their own pair, as I had recommended earlier. There would be some compromise to surround sound quality, I suppose, but whether it would be significant depends on what speakers you intend to use and what the potential alternatives are.

5) You could go with #1 or #2 for now, but put the wiring in for both rows while you're at it, allowing you to buy an additional pair of surround speakers later, if you feel by then that it is necessary. The total cost would be more, but you wouldn't need to buy everything right away.

By the way, I realize that recommending two pairs of side surrounds must seem a bit unorthodox, but it's not unlike commercial movie theaters using multiple surround speakers (playing the same content) for their deep seating areas. I've experimented (as in hands-on) with many speaker configurations and types (including bipoles and dipoles) for two separated rows in the course of helping others in the past, and in my opinion nothing works better than using an extra pair of surround speakers. I'm not saying that you couldn't cope with more of a compromise, but this is the best configuration that I can recommend. About the only other recommendation that I could make, besides this one and the others above, is for you to experiment for yourself, temporarily rigging up speakers (borrow them from somebody if you have to) in any manner that you can--use ladders or tie a string to them and hang them from something (I've done both before).
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-29-2013, 08:33 PM
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In your situation, I would put the Side speakers directly to the sides of the first row, high up on the side walls. This means one of them will be on the curved arch, with the other directly opposite. If the speaker mounts allow you to aim the speakers, I would tilt them down towards the listening area.

As for the Rear speakers, I would mount them on the back wall, close to the ceiling (like the sides), separated about 60 degrees apart (measure distance from main seat to back wall, multiply by 1.2 to get spread). It might be helpful to toe in the rear speakers towards the listening position, partially because it will reduce the intensity of distracing reflections bouncing off the columns and reaching listeners in the back row.

Sanjay
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-30-2013, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

In your situation, I would put the Side speakers directly to the sides of the first row, high up on the side walls. This means one of them will be on the curved arch, with the other directly opposite.

You know, I completely ignored the curved arch. If you could mount the surrounds on that, then this would be best--I like this idea better than mounting the surrounds on the ceiling. cool.gif
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If the speaker mounts allow you to aim the speakers, I would tilt them down towards the listening area.

Probably the best overall spot to aim them, if possible, would be the far viewer on the opposite side, as this should result in a better overall left-right balance across the seating area, due to the radiation pattern of the speakers. If these will be your only pair of side surrounds, and they are of the common single tweeter + single midwoofer configuration, then orient them vertically with the tweeter below the midwoofer and aim them as described--this should give wider horizontal dispersion for the benefit of the back row. On the other hand, if the back row will have its own pair of side surrounds, or you just don't care as much about it and wish to optimize for the front row, then orient the speakers horizontally if possible for the widest vertical dispersion, which benefits the front row.
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As for the Rear speakers, I would mount them on the back wall, close to the ceiling (like the sides), separated about 60 degrees apart (measure distance from main seat to back wall, multiply by 1.2 to get spread).

That's what I was thinking, too, which in this case probably places them such that roughly one-third of the back wall is between them, with another third on either side of the speakers. However, if the back row is not going to get its own side surrounds, then what do you think about placing the back surrounds on the back wall in the corners instead? With the large distance between the front row and back wall, this should work fine for the front row while possibly improving the situation for the back row; maybe not all the way into the corners in order to avoid reflections from the columns, but at least closer to the sides.
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It might be helpful to toe in the rear speakers towards the listening position, partially because it will reduce the intensity of distracing reflections bouncing off the columns and reaching listeners in the back row.

That's a good idea, and this often helps with balance, as well, which is why I sometimes recommend cross-firing the back surrounds, as described for the side surrounds above--aim them at the far viewer on the opposite side instead of the central viewer.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-30-2013, 06:40 PM
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However, if the back row is not going to get its own side surrounds, then what do you think about placing the back surrounds on the back wall in the corners instead?
Are there two corners at the back of the home theatre area? Hard to tell by the drawing whether there is no wall rearward of the arch (i.e., to the left of the back row) or whether the wall is there but has been omitted for the sake of the drawing.

I don't think there will be a problem placing the rear speakers further apart, up to maybe 90 degrees. But the wider the rears are spread, the less rear-vs-side separation you hear in the surround field. At some point, those sounds won''t appear firmly behind you but instead at some side-ish, rear-ish location.

60 degrees is a good compromise for me: wide enough apart to provide envelopment, close enough together to anchor rearward directionality. If you feel there are benefits to spreading them wider, then the OP should consider it.
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With the large distance between the front row and back wall, this should work fine for the front row while possibly improving the situation for the back row; maybe not all the way into the corners in order to avoid reflections from the columns, but at least closer to the sides.
For this particular situation, I wasn't really concerned with improving things for the back row if it meant compromising the experience for the front row. The back row is already compromised by being against a room boundry, not being centered in the room, and having none of the speakers time aligned nor level matched for those seats.

With all that in mind, I think that moving the rear speakers "closer to the sides" will compromise rear-vs-side separation in the front row in order to get negligible benefits in the back row. Given the choice, I'd rather have one row optimized and one row compromised than both rows compromised. YMMV.

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post #8 of 16 Old 03-30-2013, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Are there two corners at the back of the home theatre area? Hard to tell by the drawing whether there is no wall rearward of the arch (i.e., to the left of the back row) or whether the wall is there but has been omitted for the sake of the drawing.

I'm not sure whether both sides will have walls, either--let's just say the edge of the wall, then, or close to it.
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I don't think there will be a problem placing the rear speakers further apart, up to maybe 90 degrees. But the wider the rears are spread, the less rear-vs-side separation you hear in the surround field. At some point, those sounds won''t appear firmly behind you but instead at some side-ish, rear-ish location.

Exactly, which is why I've described them in other threads as sort of being dual center back surrounds rather than corner surrounds (something to that effect)--I actually prefer placing them a bit closer together than the usual 60 degrees in many cases, but this may be an exception because there is a second row of seating and it is right up against the back wall (not ideal for doing 7.1 at all, although the front row will benefit, so we'll do what we can).
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60 degrees is a good compromise for me: wide enough apart to provide envelopment, close enough together to anchor rearward directionality. If you feel there are benefits to spreading them wider, then the OP should consider it.

There is no way to know in a case like this without experimentation. Since 90 degrees of separation is within the usual guidelines (e.g. Dolby), I think I would recommend trying that in order to place more of the back row in the central area of the surround soundfield, or else 60 degrees would be a good overall compromise, too. This is driving me slightly nuts--I think I'll try it as soon as I get a chance. wink.gif
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For this particular situation, I wasn't really concerned with improving things for the back row if it meant compromising the experience for the front row. The back row is already compromised by being against a room boundry, not being centered in the room, and having none of the speakers time aligned nor level matched for those seats.

That's a valid point, and if the OP is thinking along the same lines, then this would be the way to go. Personally, I'm stubborn about solving problems, though wink.gif--I'd try to find a way to give both rows the best possible experience with the least amount of compromise, hence the extra pair of side surrounds that I originally recommended (verified experimentally in the past). But we all have different priorities.
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With all that in mind, I think that moving the rear speakers "closer to the sides" will compromise rear-vs-side separation in the front row in order to get negligible benefits in the back row. Given the choice, I'd rather have one row optimized and one row compromised than both rows compromised. YMMV.

That's a fair assessment, which is exactly what I asked for. I agree that 60 degrees is generally better than 90 degrees for the front row, and I'm uncertain at this point what the benefits would be for the back row, if any.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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your responses are overwhelming and I really appreciate all the great ideas. in the meantime, I was trying to finalize the arch.

I'll take a video tonight of the area to give you a live tour of my basement so you get a true picture of the room as I think the drawing isn't very clear.
I don't think I'll have enough room to mount a speaker in the arch area as it's a very narrow arch. the whole purpose of that arch is to divide the ceiling area so I can have different ceiling colors.

as for the 2 pairs of surround speakers, do you suggest I plug-in the second surround in zone 2 of my receiver and both zones run at the same time? how does that work with DTS or other audio modes as I'm not sure how 9.2 would work out in terms of throwing the right sound at the right speaker.

my primary focus would be the front row but I didn't want to compromise sound on the back row either. I have in-wall speakers and these are not the round types (it's rectangular with one tweeter), I was thinking of placing them at the edge of the soffit to cover both listening areas but with the height being low concerns me on the spread.

I hope with the room video, it'll clear up and give you a much better picture of the room.

Thanks again. Stay tuned.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 10:47 AM
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my primary focus would be the front row but I didn't want to compromise sound on the back row either
It's already compromised: the seating is against a room boundry (so you'll get a bass boost that isn't in the recording), the seating isn't centered (so people on one side of the row will be way off-centre while people on the other side will be slightly off-centre), if you set speaker delays for the front row then all your speakers will be mis-timed for the back row, if you set levels for the first row then all speaker levels will be mis-matched for the second row, if you toe in your speakers for... well, you get the idea.

Since the back row is compromised anyway, you have to ask yourself how much you're willing to ruin the sound in your primary listening seat to gain small improvements for the overflow seating.

Sanjay
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post #11 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 02:52 PM
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as for the 2 pairs of surround speakers, do you suggest I plug-in the second surround in zone 2 of my receiver and both zones run at the same time?

It depends on what Zone 2 capabilities your receiver has. What make and model is your receiver?
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how does that work with DTS or other audio modes as I'm not sure how 9.2 would work out in terms of throwing the right sound at the right speaker.

The two additional surround speakers at the sides of the back row would simply mirror what is played in the surrounds belonging to the front row. Since the front row has priority, you should calibrate the system for the front row, and the back row will simply have to take what it can get, which would still be better than using surround speakers just for the front row, in my opinion.
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my primary focus would be the front row but I didn't want to compromise sound on the back row either. I have in-wall speakers and these are not the round types (it's rectangular with one tweeter), I was thinking of placing them at the edge of the soffit to cover both listening areas but with the height being low concerns me on the spread.

I wouldn't worry about the height being low, as many if not most people mount their surround speakers even lower than that, but the back row would still be compromised with the surround channels' content coming from in front, while the front row would be somewhat compromised by having the side surrounds so far to the back. That said, maybe you would like this better, despite it being different from the intended effect, which is why I suggested experimenting for yourself with temporary placement (if that would be feasible).
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally cleaned up the area a bit to take this video to give you guys a tour of the actual basement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XDCGaFtldY

Please look at it and let me know what you think.

Thanks so much again.
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-03-2013, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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It's already compromised: the seating is against a room boundry (so you'll get a bass boost that isn't in the recording), the seating isn't centered (so people on one side of the row will be way off-centre while people on the other side will be slightly off-centre), if you set speaker delays for the front row then all your speakers will be mis-timed for the back row, if you set levels for the first row then all speaker levels will be mis-matched for the second row, if you toe in your speakers for... well, you get the idea.

Since the back row is compromised anyway, you have to ask yourself how much you're willing to ruin the sound in your primary listening seat to gain small improvements for the overflow seating.

You've hit it right on the spot. I was leaning towards the front row and maybe I should focus on the front row and not compromise that at all. The back row seating is primarily for kids so they can relax on the back area.
inspired by this theater. look at the right side seating area of this


so with the front row in mind, what can I do to achieve the best audio experience? I will also drop some cables for a second pair of surround for the back row and will speakers down the road.
I have an old Denon 7.1 AV receiver
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-03-2013, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by spider9 View Post

I finally cleaned up the area a bit to take this video to give you guys a tour of the actual basement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XDCGaFtldY

Please look at it and let me know what you think.
Locations for the Rear speakers look fine, as long as listeners in the front row have a clear line of sight to those speakers (columns shouldn't be in the way).

I would spread the Side speakers as wide apart as symmetrically possible to maintain left-vs-right separation in the surround field. From looking at your video, those speaker locations appear to be more overhead than to the sides.

Sanjay
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-03-2013, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Locations for the Rear speakers look fine, as long as listeners in the front row have a clear line of sight to those speakers (columns shouldn't be in the way).

I would spread the Side speakers as wide apart as symmetrically possible to maintain left-vs-right separation in the surround field. From looking at your video, those speaker locations appear to be more overhead than to the sides.

Do I need to point them inwards once I spread them out more?I have them 12 ft apart just like the two front speakers. they're aligned with the left front and right front. I'll be dropping cables for two more speakers for the back row just in case.

As for the rear speakers, someone told me bipole dipole would be a good choice. what do you guys think?
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-17-2013, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Before drywall goes in, I was wondering if I should build enclosures or block the studs and joists where the speakers will be placed.

any advice?
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