Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.
All speakers should be at ear height and pointed at you. More here:
How to set up a room
Grammy Surround Standards
This is how the mix engineers listen as they create movie sound tracks, so they take into account that your speakers face directly at you.
It's a common misconception that ambience from the room you listen in should be added to the soundtrack playing through your speakers. The problem with that is most rooms are too small to have "good" ambience. Further, all rooms are different, making it impossible to create a soundtrack that sounds excellent everywhere. So the solution is to add absorption at all the loudspeaker reflection points, which avoids adding more ambience. Then you hear only the direct sound, which already contains all of the needed ambience.
It does say there really is no typical consumer surround sound listening experience.creating a surround mix that translates well in the broad range of home theater enviroments is indeed a lofty challenge. This article is for the professional mixer and how he should setup speakers, these mixers take into account that home theatre has different layout as described by most diagrams and mix the sound for it to sound good on a dvd or blu ray with the typical home theatre diagram speaker layout. Most of the article is about mixing for an actual theatre not for home theatre.
I dont know what to think anymore Ethan maybe dolby and all the receiver companies decided not to change there setup guidelines maybe as to not create confusion or something.
Maybe we can email these grammy standard guys and ask them why all the AVR companies recommend placing them on sidewalls and 2-3 feet above ears I want to get to the bottom of this I want a definitive answer
That's easy... Putting speakers on stands at specific angles all around a single seating position is completely impractical for almost everyone outside a recording studio. The AVR recommendations are more likely based on where the speakers *could* go in a reasonable residential environment. Which means next to or on the walls of a rectangular room. The distance "above" is to gain some average distance to the listeners' ears, so someone sitting directly under the speaker isn't blasted while the person in the middle hears much less (exaggerated example)...
All recommendations aside, do whatever sounds good to you.
Having all the surrounds at ear level gives a nice ring of sound around you. Raising the surrounds a couple of feet above ear level turns that ring into more of a bubble of sound around you (bit of height element). You have to decide where your preference falls. So far you seem to be leaning towards a more diffuse, less direct surround field. Which is fine, since that is closer to how you hear movies when you go to the theatre.
I have my surround speakers a bit above ear level, so as not to block the sound for my wife sitting next to me and vice versa as mentioned by jautor. I have them tilted and pointed at us as the on-axis performance of loudspeakers is normally better than the off-axis performance.
If it were for me alone, I'd have them at ear level.
If you listen to classical music, the good surround mixes are incorporating the surrounds more and more directly with a sound stage of 180 degrees rather than "ambience sound"
If you have your surrounds next to you, a recording like Mahler's 9th ( http://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Symphony-Claudio-Jugendorchester-Accademia/dp/B0009JVOIO/ref=cm_cr-mr-img ) will put you in the virtual position of the conductor with a 180 degree sound field. If you move back a bit, it will sound as if you are in the center of row 1. That's what I call "surround sound" and it puts a smile on my face every time.
Of course, your speakers need to be positioned right, you need to deal with the reflections and they need to be balanced for loudness, as Ethan points out.
If you listen to "Master and Commander" in the opening scene, you hear the moaning and squeaking of the ship all around you and it feels like you are on that ship.
Now not all movies or concerts are recorded that good, but for the ones that are, you can't beat loudspeakers pointing at you and the movies will sound a lot better at home than they do in the cinema, imho. And I don't think the not so well recorded mixes will sound better by listening to them off-axis.
The only international standard is from ITU. The music industry is making up stuff that is not based on science. That whole document is full of errors. Please ignore it. The ITU recommendation for 5.1 monitoring is ITU-R BS 775. It says that fronts should be at ±30° and surrounds at ±110° (if they are direct radiators) or ±90° if they are dipoles.
The rest is internet babble...
Thats from Chris Kyriakakis at Audyssey