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Can I Place Front Speaker Horizontally?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Instead of placing front speaker in the traditional way ( Stand ), Can i lie the front speaker down? The reason i ask this because i just want to maximize the Projection Screen Size..
post #2 of 32
You can but the speakers are designed to be used standing up unless they are centers which are designed to lay on their sides. I think if you lay them on their side the sound quality suffers.
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirsty View Post

I think if you lay them on their side the sound quality suffers.

Why!? Does the sound spill out?

So long as the dispersion of your loudspeakers is "conical", meaning equal in both vertical and horizontal directions, and the drivers are similar distances from walls, etc., as they were in the vertical position, you should have no problem at all. Generally "dome" type tweeters are OK in this regard.

However, if your tweeters have "horns" or mechanical "lenses" on them to direct the sound, you could remove the mounting screws and rotate the tweeter 90° and remount it.

The logos on some speakers will actually rotate as well so that they are in the correct orientation.

Make sure you mount the L/R speakers in a mirror image format ... ie. the tweeters both to the center or to the outside ... not one of each!
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

Why!? Does the sound spill out?

So long as the dispersion of your loudspeakers is "conical", meaning equal in both vertical and horizontal directions, and the drivers are similar distances from walls, etc., as they were in the vertical position, you should have no problem at all. Generally "dome" type tweeters are OK in this regard.

However, if your tweeters have "horns" or mechanical "lenses" on them to direct the sound, you could remove the mounting screws and rotate the tweeter 90° and remount it.

The logos on some speakers will actually rotate as well so that they are in the correct orientation.

Make sure you mount the L/R speakers in a mirror image format ... ie. the tweeters both to the center or to the outside ... not one of each!

I know you just want to argue but speakers laying on their side will probably not image as well.

The OP should contact the manufacture and ask them....then the OP can get back to us with their opinion.

I guess alot would depend on what speakers we are talking about? Are we talking about laying towers on their side? What make are they?

A simple forum search helps also. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=speakers+side
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

So long as the dispersion of your loudspeakers is "conical", meaning equal in both vertical and horizontal directions, and the drivers are similar distances from walls, etc., as they were in the vertical position, you should have no problem at all. Generally "dome" type tweeters are OK in this regard.

Big if. The dispersion patterns of speakers is very rarely symmetrical in both vertical and horizontal planes due, not to the dispersion of the individual drivers but, to the interaction of the radiation from the drivers around their crossover points. That is one reason why almost every decent loudspeaker system in the world has its drivers arranged vertically. This optimizes the horizontal dispersion (permitting a wider sweet spot and more happy listeners) at the expense of greater vertical dispersion (stand up and the sound changes). Now what do you think would happen when you put such speakers on their sides?

Quote:
However, if your tweeters have "horns" or mechanical "lenses" on them to direct the sound, you could remove the mounting screws and rotate the tweeter 90° and remount it.

Not a bad idea but not sufficient in most cases.

Quote:
The logos on some speakers will actually rotate as well so that they are in the correct orientation.

Loose attachments or is that the cure for the radiation disparities?
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Now what do you think would happen when you put such speakers on their sides?

Well, Kal, I guess those speakers wouldn't have the necessary conical dispersion pattern I specified and therefore wouldn't fit in my conditions. Was I unclear?

IAC, I agree that line arrays generally have a wider dispersion pattern in the horizontal plane.

People here make big assumptions about loudspeaker formats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That is one reason why almost every decent loudspeaker system in the world has its drivers arranged vertically.

I've been designing professional studio monitors for forty years and believe I have the basics down. Thanks though. Here's one series I did 30+ years ago; they were used by the JVC Cutting Center amongst others. But even these were generally mounted upside-down in the soffit! (I still have a pair of the LS/4 models in my listening room.)
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

Well, Kal, I guess those speakers wouldn't have the necessary conical dispersion pattern I specified and therefore wouldn't fit in my conditions. Was I unclear?

Not unclear but the speakers you are referring to, implicitly above and explicitly below, are not typical of the vast majority of direct radiator systems used by the vast majority of consumers.

Quote:


IAC, I agree that line arrays generally have a wider dispersion pattern in the horizontal plane.

I was not speaking of line arrays but of the ubiquitous use of a vertical alignment in consumer 2 and 3 way speakers.

Quote:


People here make big assumptions about loudspeaker formats

Yup. And to assume that a conical dispersion pattern is typical is a, generally, unwarranted one.

Quote:


I've been designing professional studio monitors for forty years and believe I have the basics down. Thanks though. Here's one series I did 30+ years ago; they were used by the JVC Cutting Center amongst others. But even these were generally mounted upside-down in the soffit! (I still have a pair of the LS/4 models in my listening room.)

Nice but they would look silly on their sides.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by supercop View Post

Instead of placing front speaker in the traditional way ( Stand ), Can i lie the front speaker down? The reason i ask this because i just want to maximize the Projection Screen Size..

Supercop, I was in the exact same position 2 years ago that you are in now.

After reading through this forum, I was scared senseless about positioning my speakers too, especially after reading all the technical jargon about speaker placement.

In the end, form won out over function, as I reaaaalllllly wanted my speakers under my projector screen. While I am definitely no audiophile, the horizontal placement of my B&W bookshelf speakers sounds just fine. Dare I say, amazing.

All I can say is, try it and if it sounds good, then be happy with it.
post #9 of 32
Be aware though that dialog will sound like everyone is laying down - or if they're laying down already it will sound like they're standing up.

post #10 of 32
Well, I'm not an expert though, but I've been pretty much happy with my new "full horizontal" front array and even if necessary, I'd somehow sacrifice a little bit in terms of audio performance, as you can see by the photo below, as I got no choice at all, but to place the LCR array horizontally.

Not sure how much that would be, though, but I think nothing relevant anyway

Regards, Chuck

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

Supercop, I was in the exact same position 2 years ago that you are in now.

After reading through this forum, I was scared senseless about positioning my speakers too, especially after reading all the technical jargon about speaker placement.

In the end, form won out over function, as I reaaaalllllly wanted my speakers under my projector screen. While I am definitely no audiophile, the horizontal placement of my B&W bookshelf speakers sounds just fine. Dare I say, amazing.

All I can say is, try it and if it sounds good, then be happy with it.

Of course. When someone asks a question like this, we assume he is asking if there are downsides to it and we tell him what they are. I also tell him to try it if, in fact, he already has the speaker(s) in house. Not everyone cares (or hears) what some of us care about and we each have to find what compromises work best for us individually.

As for me, I have my speakers under my screen, too, but they are vertical floorstanders, nonetheless.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avliner View Post

Well, I'm not an expert though, but I've been pretty much happy with my new "full horizontal" front array and even if necessary, I'd somehow sacrifice a little bit in terms of audio performance, as you can see by the photo below, as I got no choice at all, but to place the LCR array horizontally.

Not sure how much that would be, though, but I think nothing relevant anyway

Regards, Chuck



Yeah but that looks like three center channel speakers that were intended to be horizontal.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hicks View Post

Yeah but that looks like three center channel speakers that were intended to be horizontal.

Looks don't necessarily make it right but......................could be.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Of course. When someone asks a question like this, we assume he is asking if there are downsides to it and we tell him what they are.

Very true. Hence my phrasing "scared senseless."



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

As for me, I have my speakers under my screen, too, but they are vertical floorstanders, nonetheless.

In retrospect, I could've had my LR speakers vertically if I had built my front wall correctly. I intended to have a larger screen which would've put the screen lower on the wall, so that's why I built my wall with the intention of placing my speakers horizontally. Oh well, it sounds good to us so we're happy.

post #15 of 32
I think it comes down to priorities. I am not particularly interested in video or, at least, my interest in video is subsidiary to my interest in audio. Hence, I optimize for audio and fit the video in. Most people here do the opposite.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

I think it comes down to priorities. I am not particularly interested in video or, at least, my interest in video is subsidiary to my interest in audio. Hence, I optimize for audio and fit the video in...

... which makes sense considering where you work.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

... which makes sense considering where you work.

??? New York University School of Medicine?

Stereophile work is for fun.
post #18 of 32
Would it make a difference if you like to listen/watch while lying across the couch?
post #19 of 32
True LCR designs are a strange breed - do they optimize for horizontal or vertical placement I wonder.

I for one would not recommend low speaker placement at any cost. When I hear music play in any system like this I feel like I am listening to a 3ft tall Sade or Diana Krall playing the piano sitting on the floor instruments are also more difficult to localize and the sound stage is smeared. Shoot, when I changed my speakers from high end Focal to Martin Logan Montage and Mosaic, it made the Focal towers have this very same effect. Like wise high speaker placement makes instruments artificially tall during surround music. Once you get a feel for sound stage height - it becomes extremely hard to go back. Towers or stand mounted bookshelves all around is sound perfection - perhaps the surround backs could be higher for better movie playback. If you only care about movies having an impact then forget all I said.
post #20 of 32
Well,

my LCR fronts are layed down on a rack, at 33" high (as you can see by the picture posted above) and honestly they sound just owesome to me, family & friends though.

Furthermore, before purchasing the SCS's I used to have another LCR front array, horizontally placed as well ( JBL S38II's ). Perhaps I got used to the LCR stange breed sounding, but so far, no complaints at all

Regards, Chuck
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Would it make a difference if you like to listen/watch while lying across the couch?

It depends upon what one is doing while on the couch.

OP....as Kal suggests...try it!
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avliner View Post

Well,

my LCR fronts are layed down on a rack, at 33" high (as you can see by the picture posted above) and honestly they sound just owesome to me, family & friends though.

Furthermore, before purchasing the SCS's I used to have another LCR front array, horizontally placed as well ( JBL S38II's ). Perhaps I got used to the LCR stange breed sounding, but so far, no complaints at all

Regards, Chuck

There are many factors that affect sound quality. In your case the room is the limiting factor. It is simply too narrow to support a proper soundstage. Before one can take advantages of better speakers one must be able to take the room out of the equation as much as possible.
post #23 of 32
You're right Apodaca,

most definetely, the room is my limiting factor, indeed. If I had a wider room (currently 9' wide), the sounstage would be even better, though.

Anyway, as I said before, no complaints whatsoever

Regards, Chuck
post #24 of 32
Often, I think posters on this forum will post about their systems, and the compromises they've made, and then express the opinion that "It sounds great.", or "I love it." While those systems may sound fine to their owners, they are subjective opinions. To give advice based on one's subjective opinion is a disservice to the person asking the question. It would be better to offer the "ideal" solution, then describe the effects of the compromises that are less than ideal. I think this is the type of advice Kal usually gives, and it is more helpful than, "I laid my speakers on their sides and it sounds great."

So, let's start out with the "ideal". The very best front speaker arrangement is 3 identical speakers across the front soundstage, evenly aligned horizontally and placed behind an acoustically transparent screen. Anything other than that is a compromise of one sort or another. (Some would argue that an acoustically transparent screen is a "compromise" in and of itself, and it is hard to disagree with that. However, with the new woven screens, the acoustic transparency is greatly enhanced, and the addition of an Audyssey EQ makes it a complete non-issue.)

It is a compromise to place the L/R's on either side of the screen with the center below, (or above) the screen. The CC will sonically image above or below the video image. Also, "pans" will change "height as they move between the speakers. Even Kal's arrangement with 3 vertically aligned speakers below the screen is a compromise for AV, (although it probably is not for audio-only applications.) Using a speaker in an orientation that it was not designed for is a compromise. Laying most speakers designed for vertical alignment on their sides is a significant compromise. The dispersion characteristics will be changed. This will be more significant with some speakers than with others; however, it will be an issue for almost all speakers designed to be vertically oriented.

Then there is the issue with lobing of an MTM, (midrange-tweeter-midrange, or the D'Appolito array.) These types of speakers exhibit comb filtering off-axis of the tweeter. This lobing will occur above and below the front axis when the speaker is aligned vertically. Since these speakers are meant to be placed with the tweeter at ear level, the lobing is not "heard" because it is above and below ear level. However, if you place three of these speakers horizontally across the front soundstage, every listening position will be off-axis of at least 2 of the front speakers. Then lobing does come into play. Here is an article that describes the audible effects of lobing:
http://www.audioholics.com/education...peaker-designs

This problem affects many horizontally oriented speakers, even if they are specifically designed as "Center Channel" speakers. If both the midrange drivers are reproducing the same sound, they will reinforce and cancel each other at various point off-axis.

Some manufacturers have gotten around this problem using ingenious techniques. Klipsch uses their "Tapered Array", which crosses out one midrange speaker before the lobing occurs. Other manufacturers offset the tweeter and mount the mids close together to reduce lobing. Some manufacturers use a 3-way design with the tweeter and midrange stacked in the middle, and the mid-woofers on the sides. KEF uses a coaxial midrange/tweeter with mid-woofers. All these designs attempt to allow the mid-woofers to be crossed over below the point of lobing. Still, since crossovers are filters with slopes, there will still be some interaction between the outside midrange/woofers, even if it's at a reduced level.

Overall, if one cannot achieve the "ideal" of 3 identical speakers behind an acoustically transparent screen, (and obviously many or most cannot), then one should simply be aware of the compromises involved. If those compromises are acceptable, then one should not look back.

Personally, I have lived with many compromised systems in the past. I went from using the speakers in my RPTV cabinet as the CC, to placing a horizontal CC on top of the RPTV cabinet, to placing a horizontal CC below a projection screen, to placing an identical speaker behind an acoustically transparent screen. Each system sounded good and each upgrade was a little less of a compromise. However, it wasn't "ideal" until the last upgrade. Before, I could always tell that the imaging wasn't quite right, the timber-match wasn't quite right and the off-axis response wasn't quite right. Now, with 3 identical speakers behind the screen, the sound locks up perfectly with the video image and the timber-match is near perfect. I can sit anywhere in the front row and the front soundstage is virtually the same, (I've also EQ'd with Audyssey MultEQ XT.)

Bottom line, one can make most any system sound "pretty good", "good" or even "great". However, there is only one "ideal" system and anything less is a compromise.

Craig
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Often, I think posters on this forum will post about their systems, and the compromises they've made, and then express the opinion that "It sounds great.", or "I love it." While those systems may sound fine to their owners, they are subjective opinions. To give advice based on one's subjective opinion is a disservice to the person asking the question. It would be better to offer the "ideal" solution, then describe the effects of the compromises that are less than ideal. I think this is the type of advice Kal usually gives, and it is more helpful than, "I laid my speakers on their sides and it sounds great."

I couldn't disagree more.

Whether the advice is given "subjectively" or "objectively," the point of this forum, I believe, is to offer advice. Period. Whatever kind it might be ...

Home theater is often full of compromises. The majority are not able to afford or achieve the "ideal" setup.

Could I have built the perfect home theater? Absolutely not with the space I had to use.

Is my soundstage perfect? No, not by a mile.

Am I happy with my setup? You betcha. Is there anything wrong with saying that? I don't think so.

So, to the OP, try it and if you like it, don't worry about it. But if you have "money to burn," do what Craig John recommends. I wish I could have, but I couldn't, so I didn't.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

I couldn't disagree more.

You're entitled to your opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

Whether the advice is given "subjectively" or "objectively," the point of this forum, I believe, is to offer advice. Period. Whatever kind it might be ...

I couldn't disagree more. I don't think it's appropriate to encourage someone to do things that are less than optimal. If you do a search for my username and look at my posts, you'll find that I often tell people what is "ideal" or "optimal" and let them make their own choices from there. When people ask about compromised surround speaker placements, I point them to the Dolby website and show them the "ideal" surround placement. When people ask about in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, I point them to the CE-Pro article about the compromises involved in in-wall/in-ceiling speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

Home theater is often full of compromises. The majority are not able to afford or achieve the "ideal" setup.

True, but that doesn't mean we should encourage them to pursue less than "ideal" setups.

I was at CEDIA last week. I visited at least 10 demo rooms. NONE of the high-end demo rooms at CEDIA had the speakers behind the screen. Even the Runco room, which had a mega-dollar Krell speaker and electronics system (~$300K by my estimate) and a quarter million $$$ video projection system, including a Screen Research acoustically transparent screen, had the speakers sitting on the floor below the acoustically transparent screen. The Integra room had a set of Atlantic Technology THX Ultra2 speakers. The horizontal CC was underneath the screen. (I have these same speakers at home except with the horizontal CC replaced by a 3rd L/R.) They were playing a song by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The first two voices came from the L and R speakers, and they imaged perfectly. The 3rd voice, the lead singer, came from the CC which was mounted below the screen and lower than the other two. It was so obvious that the CC was mounted below the horizontal plane of the other two speakers that I was immediately distracted by it and never got past it the rest of the demo. Yet, the guy sitting next to me didn't even notice it until the demo was over. When I pointed it out to him, he recalled the same effect.

CEDIA is a show for "installers and "designers". It is because these people are not encouraged to pursue the "ideal", even in mega-dollar demo rooms, that we have so many marginal installers. I was in a house last year valued at $1.8M during the local Parade of Homes. The HT was in a large room above the 5-car garage and the HT installer was there showing off his design. This room could have been an outstanding HT. The installer had installed 2 seats up front, one in front of the left speaker and one in front of the right speaker, separated by an "aisle". There was also a riser in the back right corner of the room, (that's right... in the corner!), with two more seats. When I asked him which seat was supposed to be the "sweet spot", he said, "When I'm finished with a theater, every seat is a sweet spot". I didn't stay for a demo; I just left.

My brother has an HT designed and installed by an "installer" in Phoenix. It's junk... and he paid at least 3x what I did for mine. He ended up with in-walls without enclosures, (the CC is mounted below the display and the L/R's on the left and right), a sub in a cutout alcove in the wall, a Pioneer plasma that was outdated when he got it, and a DirecTV dish that has never worked right. His Pronto remote was "programmed" by the installer, but my brother was never instructed in how to use it or reprogram it. It's now in a drawer and my brother uses 6 different remotes to control his system. he's disappointed with the picture quality, the sound quality and the usability of the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

Could I have built the perfect home theater? Absolutely not with the space I had to use.

Is my soundstage perfect? No, not by a mile.

Am I happy with my setup? You betcha. Is there anything wrong with saying that? I don't think so.

So, to the OP, try it and if you like it, don't worry about it. But if you have "money to burn," do what Craig John recommends. I wish I could have, but I couldn't, so I didn't.

If you're happy with it, that's fine. You seem to be aware of the compromises you've made. If they don't bother you, or at least you can accept them, then don't look back. However, it's less than "ideal" to tell someone else to accept those same compromises.

BTW, it's not about how much you spent on your system, or how much I spent on mine. I looked at the link in your sig to your room and system, and it's very nice, in some ways nicer than mine. I certainly doubt that I spent any more on my system than you spent on yours. (The red velvet curtains in my room are *behind* my screen, instead of in front of it. ) My screen was $1,300 from SeymourAV, and it's a motorized, drop down screen. (www.seymourav.com) It allowed me to get my speakers behind the screen. As soon as I put them back there, it became immediately obvious how much better this arrangement is.

Also, Kal was the one who pointed out to me the lobing issue with my then-horizontal CC, a Klipsch RC-7. This was about a year and a half ago, in another discussion about center channel speaker designs. I had never heard the lobing issue in my room, and at first I didn't believe it existed (mostly because I always sat in the "sweet spot" where lobing is not an issue). Then Kal told me what to listen for, and I sat off-axis of my CC, and sure enough, I heard it.

Going forward, when people ask questions on this forum, I will continue to point out, (as does Kal), what the "ideal" arrangement is, and let them decide for themselves from there. And when other people suggest that something less than ideal is acceptable, I will point out again what is "ideal".

Craig
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Going forward, when people ask questions on this forum, I will continue to point out, (as does Kal), what the "ideal" arrangement is, and let them decide for themselves from there. And when other people suggest that something less than ideal is acceptable, I will point out again what is "ideal".

Craig

Craig, I think we'll just have to agree that we disagree with each other on this one.

Obviously it's not ideal to have the speakers horziontally. On that we can agree.

On the other hand, my reply to the OP that my setup sounds fine to me is not irrelevant or "a disservice" as you seem to suggest. At no point did I say this was ideal ... of course it's not. Offering my first-hand experience (with the exact same issue that he's facing) is a disservice?!?! If so, then it seems that I should not be contributing my opinion to this topic, so I'll gladly sign off and you'll hear no more from me on this one.

Anyways, no worries.

Good luck, supercop.
post #28 of 32
supercop -- Thanks for starting this thread. It has provided some very interesting reading.

craig john -- Thank you for the very informative posts. You have put some very important information into your post #24. It provides important information on the trade-offs from "ideal" into one concise mini-article. The link to the Audioholics article was good, too. It really makes clear why my existing CC is not working very well.

I am in the process of upgrading my center channel speaker. The information on "lobing" and the compromises that are inherent in a MTM CC are very timely. I am going to re-examine the choices I have for my "less than ideal" system to make it closer to "ideal".
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by CT_Wiebe View Post

supercop -- Thanks for starting this thread. It has provided some very interesting reading.

craig john -- Thank you for the very informative posts. You have put some very important information into your post #24. It provides important information on the trade-offs from "ideal" into one concise mini-article. The link to the Audioholics article was good, too. It really makes clear why my existing CC is not working very well.

I am in the process of upgrading my center channel speaker. The information on "lobing" and the compromises that are inherent in a MTM CC are very timely. I am going to re-examine the choices I have for my "less than ideal" system to make it closer to "ideal".

CT,



Craig

PS. Here's another article about lobing in horizontally arranged CC's:
http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index...Id=28&blogId=1
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hicks View Post

Yeah but that looks like three center channel speakers that were intended to be horizontal.

Actually typical horizontal MTM center channel speakers such as those pictured are not designed to lay on their side...at least not acoustically. They are cosmetically and practically intended to lay on their sides despite the acoustic disadvantages.

There is a fix for the lobing problem of horizontal arrays but it requires very unique crossover transfer functions that can not be done practically using analog (especially passive) crossovers. This crossover design approach developed by Ulrich Horbach and Don Keele for Harmon International can very successfully control the dispersion pattern across the array through the crossover frequencies with no lobing issues. In fact, it's amazing how well it works and how much sense it makes mathematically. What's really amazing is why no one thought of it before. It absolutely works perfectly! I'm planning a horizontal W-LM-HM-T-HM-LM-W horizontal array that will be over six feet wide for my HT using this crossover technology. I will locate it behind the screen.

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14199

Now, from the practical standpoint...lobing at the crossover frequencies causes narrow band notches in the frequency response. Depending on where you sit in the room, you will or will not fall into one or more of these notches in the direct sound. Because it will be filled in by reflected sound it will not be as noticeable as you might expect. So, if you are not an overly critical listener, you could put typical two or three way speakers intended to be vertical on their side and not notice any major problems. If you do comparisons going back and fourth between vertical and horizontal you probably will notice the difference but your listening position will have a large effect on how significant it will be. Especially if you are sitting on center, you're probably going to be fine with them on the side. Personally I don't like having them sitting low such as below the screen but if it's not a problem for you then having them on the side should be ok.

Monte
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