Rear speaker placement - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Rear speaker placement

Helping a friend out who is finishing his basement and it appears due to the layout that 5.1 is going to be our best option. My question on the rear speakers is that his couch (main listening area) is going to be pushed up against the back wall of his basement. For the rear speakers what are the best options? Do you use ceiling speakers in that instance or do still go with in wall rear speakers? Not sure what to do for the back channel sound and how to handle that. Any help would be appreciated. For the front he is going to go with in wall speakers but the back is a bit of a mystery to me on what's the best choice.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 07:53 AM
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For 5.1, the surrounds should be to the left and right of the couch anyway so he should be good. He will need stands unless he has small tables or somrthing.

For wiring, depends if he wants to run them through ceiling, or base molding etc. If he runs in the ceiling, might be good opportunity to get ceiling speakers for Atmos 5.1.2 or something (I prefer top middle for 5.1.2) and knock two birds with one stone.

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 08:25 AM
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If the seating is centered across the width of the room, then place the surround speakers in the back corners, facing towards the listening area, mounted high enough so that all listeners have clear line of sight to the tweeters.

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
If the seating is centered across the width of the room, then place the surround speakers in the back corners, facing towards the listening area, mounted high enough so that all listeners have clear line of sight to the tweeters.


Let me make sure I understand as the couch will go against the back AND side wall in one of the corners. What you are suggesting is putting the back two channels so they are facing in towards the listening area (in this case, the couch) elevated. Basically the surrounds would be mounted on the side wall, not the back wall, correct? It's mildly complicated as one of the speakers would be directly above the couch and on the other side about 5 feet away from the couch. Would Audyssey help correct that off centered placement?
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 09:38 AM
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Let me make sure I understand as the couch will go against the back AND side wall in one of the corners.
That's why I started my post with "if", since I didn't know whether the seating was centered in the room or not.
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What you are suggesting is putting the back two channels so they are facing in towards the listening area (in this case, the couch) elevated.
Yes, speakers typically sound best on-axis, so pointing them towards the listeners is better than pointing them away from the listeners. Common to see this with front speakers; left, centre, right speakers aimed towards the listening area. This doesn't change just because the speakers happen to be playing back surround information.
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Basically the surrounds would be mounted on the side wall, not the back wall, correct?
Only IF the seating was centered in the room. Turns out it's not.
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It's mildly complicated as one of the speakers would be directly above the couch and on the other side about 5 feet away from the couch.
In that case, mount them on the back wall as far apart as symmetrically possible. Aim each speaker towards the listener at the opposite end of the couch (to compensate for distance).
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Would Audyssey help correct that off centered placement?
Audyssey can adjust levels & delays to compensate for distance, but it cannot adjust for asymmetrical angles. Better to start off with symmetrical placement.

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post #6 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
That's why I started my post with "if", since I didn't know whether the seating was centered in the room or not. Yes, speakers typically sound best on-axis, so pointing them towards the listeners is better than pointing them away from the listeners. Common to see this with front speakers; left, centre, right speakers aimed towards the listening area. This doesn't change just because the speakers happen to be playing back surround information. Only IF the seating was centered in the room. Turns out it's not. In that case, mount them on the back wall as far apart as symmetrically possible. Aim each speaker towards the listener at the opposite end of the couch (to compensate for distance). Audyssey can adjust levels & delays to compensate for distance, but it cannot adjust for asymmetrical angles. Better to start off with symmetrical placement.


Much appreciated. So again, you think speakers on the wall vs. in the ceiling for the back two channels is the better solution. Correct? How high up should they be if they are on the wall. You obviously don't want the rear speaker directly behind someone's ear.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 09:54 AM
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So again, you think speakers on the wall vs. in the ceiling for the back two channels is the better solution. Correct?
Correct. Surround information comes from around you; height information comes from above you. With that in mind, I would mount surround speakers on the wall. Down the road, IF your friend decides to do Atmos, then he can mount speakers on the ceiling.
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How high up should they be if they are on the wall.
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...mounted high enough so that all listeners have clear line of sight to the tweeters.

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post #8 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Correct. Surround information comes from around you; height information comes from above you. With that in mind, I would mount surround speakers on the wall. Down the road, IF your friend decides to do Atmos, then he can mount speakers on the ceiling.


I'm fuzzy on the line of sight part for the height. If I'm sitting on my couch and my ear is 36 inches up from the floor at the seated position, where does the speaker go in relationship to that? If it's directly behind my ear about 6 inches back that's going to get annoying and that's my perception of "line of sight." Explain this part to me like I'm 4. If I'm seated and my ear is 36 inches high off the floor in a seated position, how much higher should the speaker be than my ear? Thanks and sorry for the confusion on my part. This is really helpful information.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hawkmarket View Post
If I'm sitting on my couch and my ear is 36 inches up from the floor at the seated position, where does the speaker go in relationship to that?
If you're looking for a number, there isn't one. Imagine a pair of surround speakers at ear height directly to the sides of the couch. For the listener sitting at the middle of the couch, the sound is going to be blocked by the heads of the listeners on either side. The solution is to raise the surrounds enough so that no one's head is blocking the sound from any of the speakers. There is no specific number of inches or degree of angle for that. It's whatever speaker height allows the listener at the middle of the couch to have an uninterrupted view of the speakers (clear line of sight) with no one's head in the way. This speaker height will be different for each situation.

IF the surrounds are slightly behind the listeners, then no one's head will be blocking the sound. In that case, the surrounds can be mounted at any height, as long as you use common sense. By "common sense" I mean don't mount them so close to ear height that the speakers end up shouting directly into someone's ear from a few inches away, or don't mount them so close above listeners that they end up bumping their head against a speaker when getting up, etc. Again, there is no number for this. Your friend should spread the surrounds symmetrically (relative to the main listening position) and mount them high enough to not be distracting. It doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
If you're looking for a number, there isn't one. Imagine a pair of surround speakers at ear height directly to the sides of the couch. For the listener sitting at the middle of the couch, the sound is going to be blocked by the heads of the listeners on either side. The solution is to raise the surrounds enough so that no one's head is blocking the sound from any of the speakers. There is no specific number of inches or degree of angle for that. It's whatever speaker height allows the listener at the middle of the couch to have an uninterrupted view of the speakers (clear line of sight) with no one's head in the way. This speaker height will be different for each situation.

IF the surrounds are slightly behind the listeners, then no one's head will be blocking the sound. In that case, the surrounds can be mounted at any height, as long as you use common sense. By "common sense" I mean don't mount them so close to ear height that the speakers end up shouting directly into someone's ear from a few inches away, or don't mount them so close above listeners that they end up bumping their head against a speaker when getting up, etc. Again, there is no number for this. Your friend should spread the surrounds symmetrically (relative to the main listening position) and mount them high enough to not be distracting. It doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.


Now I understand, thank you.
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post #11 of 11 Old 09-22-2017, 03:23 PM
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One thing to consider when positioning for height is the relative distance of the speaker to the person sitting closest to that speaker. In general, the closer you sit, the higher you should go. The goal should be to have the sound from each speaker be balanced at every seating position. You don't want one speaker blasting in one ear, drowning out the sound of the speaker on the opposite side.

The key is to experiment with width, height, toe-in, and angle (vertical), until both speakers sound equal at all the seating positions. In addition, if you can dial in a nice center image, that will enhance the experience (connect the rear speakers to your main left and right speaker outputs and play stereo music changing speaker positions until that nice central image is achieved).

Bottom line, there are no hard and fast rules. Every situation is unique in some way or other. Let your ears decide.

Last edited by RayGuy; 09-26-2017 at 12:17 PM.
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