Which center channel placement would be best? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-06-2007, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to decide between two possible center speaker placements, and I would like your help.

I have a DLP TV that is not very deep. I have enough room (barely) to place my center channel speaker on my TV stand, in front of the TV. In this position, the front of the center channel speaker hangs over the front edge of the stand a bit, so the center channel speaker baffle is the most-forward part of the whole speaker/stand/tv grouping.

My other option is to place the center channel speaker on top of the TV, with the speaker baffle even with the screen surface. I have always read that it is important that the speaker baffle should be even with the screen, or at least not recessed, for best sound. But I don't know if this recommendation is made because there is something magically good about having the speaker baffle line up with the screen, or if it is just intended to keep people from placing the speaker so that the speaker is recessed from the screen.

I guess the core question here is whether having the center channel in the same plane as the screen is actually better than having the center speaker baffle way out in front of everything. My intuition is that having the center out in front is best, and that the "line it up with the screen" advice is intended mainly to keep people from placing the center back from the screen. But I'm not sure, so I created this thread.

Which one of these two options is likely to be better from an acoustic standpoint?

Thanks,
-Max
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-06-2007, 08:35 AM
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depends on your room, try both.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-06-2007, 08:54 AM
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Also, where is the center speaker in relation to the left/right speakers? You generally want the tweeters lined up, hopefully close to ear level if possible, but lined up in any position.

Best placement is when the center is slighly set back to form an arc from left-center-right. This will give you a better soundstage. When placing a center on top of a tv, the reason you don't want it back to far is that it can mess up the sound quality when it bounces off the top of the tv. This is why people place them right up to the edge of the tv.

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post #4 of 5 Old 01-06-2007, 09:11 AM
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All you guys miss the point of using the speaker distance settings in all receivers and pre/pros.
If you have the center sitting in front of a rptv, as I do, then you either set that distance to your seat in the setup menu. That distance will be shorter than the distances to the main L/R speakers, thus there will be a delay of a few mil sec on the center so that sound will reach the seated position at the same time as the mains.
Or if the receiver uses delay settings instead of distance settings, then you add a few mil sec to the center.
No matter where you put the center, above or below the screen, the baffle needs to be at least flush with what ever it is sitting on. Having it forward an inch is even better. In both cases you eliminate early reflections created by the face of the tv, shelf, table, cabinet or what ever.
Some people prefer to have their center above the screen, others prefer it below. You have to decide for yourself.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-06-2007, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

I have it in front now, with my TV on a piece of plywood with spaghetti sauce cans underneath to elevate the TV a few inches so that the bottom of the screen is not blocked by the speaker. I don't currently have any way to put the speaker above the TV for a test-listen. I need to decide whether to build a support for the speaker to be above the screen, or a more permanent TV riser for speaker-in-front placement. Maybe I can rig something up to test the above-screen placement, hmm... what could I find on sale at the grocery store for that? (jk)

The height of the center channel tweeter is about 12" below the mains with the speaker below the screen, and about 6" above the mains with the speaker above the TV. Advantage: above.

The center baffle is about in the same plane as the mains when placed in front of the TV, and it would be in an arc when placed above the TV. Advantage: above. But I can set the distance in my receiver setup to compensate, as 4DHD points out.

I suspected the "line it up with the screen" advice was mainly about reflections off the top of the TV. Thank you for the confirmation. If placed above, I can have the speaker flush with the screen, but I can't really move the speaker more forward than that (at least not with the stand I was considering making). It seems like putting the center in front of the TV gives the least amount of stuff for reflections. For example, the front edge of the TV stand would be in front of the TV/speaker (even if it is 2 feet down) if the speaker is placed on top of the TV. I suspect having the speaker in front is better for 2-channel listening, too, since the TV and center speaker baffle won't be in the same plane. Advantage: in front.

Conclusion: I'm going to build a better riser for the TV and keep the center in front.

-Max
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