Yes speaker placement is important. No Audyssey can't fix "everything", but with the 3808 Audyssey will adjust the sound you hear from the places your speakers are so that saying it "sucks" is probably not the case.
It isn't as hard as many of these posts seem to imply. You go through the Audyssey setup, tell it how many speakers you have, size, etc., and let it test, adjust and set the playback so that it will sound pretty dang good. It will make the most of where your speakers are.
In other words let Audyssey do its thing and then judge whether or not "sucks" is an accurate descriptor.
I just found this thread after making the same mistake in setting up some in ceiling rear channel speakers today. After the installation and the contractor had left, I put on a movie with 5.1 Dolby Digital and couldn't understand why the "rear channel" sound was coming out of the side speakers and not the new ones just installed. I had always thought that 5.1 had a true rear channel.
I tried changing the speaker connection setup on my AVR3808 to see if I could get sound to the rear channel but now know that this would preclude 7.1 in the future (assuming any content ever becomes available).
With regard to the 3808CI connections, can someone say why there are two sets of surround connections (Surround A and Surround B) as well as Surround Rear? What is the purpose of the additional side surround speakers given they are not described by Dolby for 7.1?
Thanks for all inputs.
A 5.1 setup includes "side" surrounds, while a 7.1 setup would add the two "rear" surrounds. When you select DD PLIIx to simulate 7.1 from 5.1 audio, you're not precluding being able to play a discrete 7.1 audio track. Also, the extra "side" surrounds are intended for a dedicated home theater where you might have 2 or more rows of seats, just as you would see the multiple side surrounds at a movie theater. The same "side" surround audio is played out of both sets A+B as well as A+B sharing the same amp.