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Surround Height Different Than Front Ok? - Page 2

post #31 of 71
I have been using the Nanosat system for jus tover a year. If I am not mistaken it isn't actually a dipole speaker, it is just the way the speakers are designed give the sound a wide dispertion. For a whole 5.1 setup it isn't too bad. Granted it may not be prime setup but it works rather well. I personally like the omni directional speaker sound for my surrounds. Really fills in the surrounds like I am sitting in a movie theater. May not be up to THX specs or Dolby, but does it really matter if it works that well in ones house? Now I can't wait to finally get my new floorstanders and new center in place, like I said they work ok but....after a while it is time to upgrade to something a bit better. I don't care for them as a center channel for sure.
post #32 of 71
As for mounting them at different heights I don't think I would recomend that. If I remember right even the manual mentions something to the effect.
post #33 of 71
My first 4.0 system, with small satellite speakers, allowed me to position them in many spaces and places. Since my initial setup, I have found the rears higher works best in MY room

However, I think it only matters the distance from the ears to the rears that dictate how high they should be placed. In my space I have the rear surrounds (and the normal surrounds) a good eight feet or more away from the listening position about 2 feet higher than the mains. If they were closer, as I have done, I would position them differently.

In a 6.1 surround I have placed the rear on the floor behind the couch, aimed up, and that worked well. In 7.1 I have aimed the near ear level surrounds at the back wall.

As others have said, find out what works best where you can close your eyes, and the sound creates its magic. You are no longer aware where the sound is coming from, but the sound surrounds you.
post #34 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

My first 4.0 system, with small satellite speakers, allowed me to position them in many spaces and places. Since my initial setup, I have found the rears higher works best in MY room

However, I think it only matters the distance from the ears to the rears that dictate how high they should be placed. In my space I have the rear surrounds (and the normal surrounds) a good eight feet or more away from the listening position about 2 feet higher than the mains. If they were closer, as I have done, I would position them differently.

In a 6.1 surround I have placed the rear on the floor behind the couch, aimed up, and that worked well. In 7.1 I have aimed the near ear level surrounds at the back wall.

As others have said, find out what works best where you can close your eyes, and the sound creates its magic. You are no longer aware where the sound is coming from, but the sound surrounds you.


Yours is a nice suggestion for someone who is experienced and who has messed around with speakers many times but not for someone who is doing this the first time. I don't know OP's comfort level, but if this is his/her first system, I would recommend picking either Dolby or THX school and then following it to the T, as allowed by the room shape.
post #35 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

All speakers should be the same height, with the tweeters at ear level.

And the "standards" mix engineers follow (which you should follow too) are here:

Grammy surround standards

A careful reading of the Grammy document states: >> there are often physical conditions (such as room size or dimension) beyond the control of the engineer that dictate speaker placement in the professional mixing environment, and there is certainly no way to control how a consumer listening to surround sound situates their speakers. For these reasons, there is no intrinsically "correct" way to position speakers for surround sound production.<<

>> Some surround mixing engineers prefer to raise the rear wall speakers slightly higher than the front wall.<<

If there is no intrinsically correct way to position speakers in a production studio, then there’s no basis to conclude they should be at ear level at home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by surap View Post

The problem with tweeters at ear level is that if you are sitting at the edge on a sofa, the person who sits nearest a surround, that persons head is in the way for treble to propagate towards Me, who sits at the other end of the sofa.

Hope you understand what I mean. Im not against the idea of surrounds at the same level as the fronts, I just disagree that the tweeter will be heard properly.

Exactly! Homes with a row or two of people is rather a different situation to that of a mixing engineer alone in his 5.1 cocoon. Movies are mixed in dubbing stages—that is perhaps the more apt reference for a home theater.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Also, the idea that the rear of a home theater room should add its own ambience to that of the surround channels is misguided. DVDs are mixed in rooms that are mostly dead, with the speakers setup as described in the Grammy doc I linked above. If you want to hear what the mix engineers intended, you should set up your room the same way.

Did you read in there something saying the room should be dead? It actually states: >>The goal of creating the best average presentation across the main speakers in a surround sound environment can best be attained by having more diffusion in the mixing environment rather than less. A neutral, as opposed to absorptive, monitoring room is optimum.<< >>There should be as much diffusion as a budget will allow. From simply deploying everyday furniture and artifacts (shelves and bookcases, marble statuettes of one's significant other, etc.) to full-on quadratic residue diffusers, increasing diffusion helps flatten the spectral response of a room. To summarize: the more uniform (diffuse) the ambience in the professional mixing environment, the more site-independent the resultant mixes will be.<<
post #36 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

"there are often physical conditions (such as room size or dimension) beyond the control of the engineer"

Sure, but it's a leap to conclude from that comment that "If there is no intrinsically correct way to position speakers in a production studio, then there’s no basis to conclude they should be at ear level at home."

There is indeed an intrinsically correct way to position speakers. The reason to have them at ear level is to ensure a flat response by being on-axis with the tweeters. It's not like any random height will give the same result. The higher the speakers are for a given distance from your ears, the worse the HF response will be. At least for the normal box speakers that most people use.

Quote:


Did you read in there something saying the room should be dead?

No, that's my personal opinion. Small untreated rooms sound small because of all the reflections from nearby surfaces. When the walls and ceiling are near, the reflections are strong and also early. So by minimizing those reflections the room is made to sound larger than it really is. This is a Good Thing IMO.

Quote:


There should be as much diffusion as a budget will allow.

I totally agree with that! Unfortunately, good diffusion costs a lot more than good absorption, whether one buys commercials diffusors or makes their own. For this reason I often suggest absorption in smaller rooms, and at reflection points I find absorption to be superior to diffusion. But there are many other places in a listening room where diffusion is great, such as the rear wall behind the listeners.

--Ethan
post #37 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Sure, but it's a leap to conclude from that comment that "If there is no intrinsically correct way to position speakers in a production studio, then there’s no basis to conclude they should be at ear level at home."

I thought you were referencing the Grammy doc to justify ear level surround speakers. My mistake.

Quote:


No, that's my personal opinion. Small untreated rooms sound small because of all the reflections from nearby surfaces. When the walls and ceiling are near, the reflections are strong and also early. So by minimizing those reflections the room is made to sound larger than it really is. This is a Good Thing IMO.

Not at issue. I thought you were referencing the Grammy doc to justify dead rooms. My mistake.

If you do agree that there should be as much diffusion as budget will allow in a home theater, and "there are many other places in a listening room where diffusion is great, such as the rear wall behind the listeners," is that not rather opposite your other statement: "the idea that the rear of a home theater room should add its own ambience to that of the surround channels is misguided"? Isn't a diffuse soundfield a form of ambience?
post #38 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Isn't a diffuse soundfield a form of ambience?

Yes, but it's a very different sounding ambience than what you get off bare reflecting walls. With diffusion, the sound is scattered around the room rather than reflected directly back at you. So it travels farther before getting back to your ears, and the longer distances help to avoid that small-room sound.

My own preference for listening rooms is to be more on the dead side, but I understand that some people prefer more live sounding. That's fine, as long as many/most of the direct early reflections are avoided or at least redirected.

Again, the main point for me is that having speakers with their tweeters at ear level avoids the lost highs you get when they're above your head.

--Ethan
post #39 of 71
Maybe I am missing something here. Seems like everyone is seeking a "dead" room, yet there are professional sound mixers who say your room should not be dead. Is this what I am seeing here? I can understand why one woul dwant some reflection in a room, but could never understand why you'd want a "dead" or "flat" room. Anytime I hear music live the room is certainly not "flat" or "dead", is is full of good reflective sound. If the intent is to create a life like sound why kill the reflections? Even in nature there is reflection!! Like I said maybe I am missing something here.
post #40 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Again, the main point for me is that having speakers with their tweeters at ear level avoids the lost highs you get when they're above your head.

A small loss in HF due to raised surrounds is not only a reasonable tradeoff for better lateral coverage of multiple seats, but it mitigates the need for "timber matching" HF shelving EQ as needed due to the direct "into the ear" side HRTF vs front L/C/R HRTFs.
post #41 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbare View Post

Maybe I am missing something here. Seems like everyone is seeking a "dead" room, yet there are professional sound mixers who say your room should not be dead. Is this what I am seeing here? I can understand why one woul dwant some reflection in a room, but could never understand why you'd want a "dead" or "flat" room. Anytime I hear music live the room is certainly not "flat" or "dead", is is full of good reflective sound. If the intent is to create a life like sound why kill the reflections? Even in nature there is reflection!! Like I said maybe I am missing something here.

Agreed. IMHO a room needs both hard and soft materials to sound natural. The "dead room" concept follows along the idea of the ideal in "flatness". A flat speaker in an anechoic chamber is a testing method, not a listening method.

An engineer wants to put x+y into their black box and always get the same z result. An artist puts x+y in and hopes for a thru z.
post #42 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

A small loss in HF due to raised surrounds is not only a reasonable tradeoff for better lateral coverage of multiple seats

As soon as the word "trade-off" is introduced, then it becomes a matter of opinion rather than science. I prefer all speakers at ear level for the reasons I stated, but if you do not that's okay with me.

--Ethan
post #43 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbare View Post

Maybe I am missing something here ... Anytime I hear music live the room is certainly not "flat" or "dead", is is full of good reflective sound. If the intent is to create a life like sound why kill the reflections?

Yes, you are missing something. A recording made in a venue already contains the natural ambience of that venue. Or, if the recording was made in a studio, all desired ambience was added electronically. Either way, the point is that the sound as intended by the engineers is already present in the recording. Adding more from the room you listen in can only degrade the sound. Especially if the listening room is small and adds a "small room" sound.

--Ethan
post #44 of 71
Well I agree that this is true sometimes what about a solid soundboard recording of a show or performance? I highly doubt that they add ambience into a recording direct from a mixing board at a show. There are some who have done a matrix as it was once called, not sure now, but they used the soundboard recording and added in a single mic above the board to introduce some crowd and "room" ambience. However that mic was not always in the mix or very far back in the mix. However I personally like the effects a room can have on music as well as movies. Just my personal choice, not saying anyone is right or wrong just depends on your ears I suppose. However I do thank you for the input as to why one wants a "dead" room.
post #45 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Yes, you are missing something. A recording made in a venue already contains the natural ambience of that venue. Or, if the recording was made in a studio, all desired ambience was added electronically. Either way, the point is that the sound as intended by the engineers is already present in the recording. Adding more from the room you listen in can only degrade the sound. Especially if the listening room is small and adds a "small room" sound.

--Ethan

I would agree, that a high end jazz, blues, or similar recording at a live music venue includes room ambiance. But, few studio recordings are mic-ed for ambiance. The recording engineer MAY have added reverb or other effects to enhance the sound to match a larger room, but natural room reflections sound best to me. They should be tamed, but not removed completely.

Take a look at the walls, and rugs, at Meyer's Pearson Theater in SF. Maybe the best architecturally designed theater. There is a combination of wood and acoustically absorbing material on the walls. x+y = a thru z.

http://www.meyersound.com/pdf/brochu...brochure_a.pdf
post #46 of 71
My front speakers are 9' high (above my projector screen). The L/R speakers are also mounted horizontally. All 3 speakers are angled directly toward the seating area (they're mounted to an angled wall that takes the ceiling height from 8' high to 10' high). The room is used exclusively for HT (no music). The sound seems to come directly from the screen.
I've actually had guests over that have asked if I had inwall speakers behind the screen (the speakers are black and the whole front wall is black, so they're not very noticeable up there).

If you look close, you can see their shadow on the screen in this pic (I don't use the overhead cans when watching a movie, so those shadows aren't usually there).



And here's a construction shot with all the lights on where you can actually see them.



They work very well there.
post #47 of 71
The bottom line is that if you are going to be the only person sitting in your room then having the surrounds and fronts at ear level would be best. Since your room will probably have more than one person in it watching movies you'll be better off having the surrounds above ear level but pointed down towards the listening area.

This thread has turned into an argument of semantics. No feature film mixing stage I have ever been on has surrounds that are at ear level.
post #48 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

Take a look at the walls, and rugs, at Meyer's Pearson Theater in SF. Maybe the best architecturally designed theater.

Uh, well, okay. But who has a home theater like that?

--Ethan
post #49 of 71
I agree with MLK on the fact that the room should be tamed some but not "Dead". I do believe that even though one's home theatre may not be exactly like the link the concept and ideas can be reproduced within ones home if they so choose. I also have to agree that if there are more than one person watching in a room that they speakers should be raised above and angled down. When was the last time you attended a concert of any type that was ampliphied that had all the speakers at ear level of the audience? I can't think of any. MOst have actually been raised above the audience and then aimed gradually downwards to the "floor" seats. Have to imagine they kinda know what they are doing, at least I would hope so if they are doing it for a living.
post #50 of 71
having proper acoustical treatments at the proper reflection points is NOT what defines a "dead" room. Those are required for proper in room response and proper control of response decay. "Dead" rooms are the ones with treatments everywhere and very little reflection exists.

Someone can "like" none treated rooms but its because they have limited experience with properly treated rooms and they have zero knowledge about in room measurements. Sometimes its a good thing to have ignorance about the science behind audio because once you learn about the science there are SOOOOOO many things you will scratch your head about and you will wonder what the heck have you been thinking for all these years.




You are not alone, BOSE owners love their speakers and have never seen a speaker measurement
post #51 of 71
I don't think anyone said that a room shouldn't be treated to aid in sound reproduction. I believe someone stated that they like a more "dead" room. I would have to agree that room treatments can make a large impact on sound reproduction so long as it isn't "dead". My room has yet to be treated as I have much bigger fish to fry but at higher volume you can tell that is needs some. I have heard rooms with little treatment that sound much better than before they were treated. One day I will have the time to devote to taking care of mine but the house calls for much bigger repiars than room treatments.
post #52 of 71
Love how everyonepicks on BOSE owners. It's not their fault they can't hear well!!
post #53 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

As soon as the word "trade-off" is introduced, then it becomes a matter of opinion rather than science. I prefer all speakers at ear level for the reasons I stated, but if you do not that's okay with me.

Putting the surround speakers at ear level is also a tradeoff--it reduces the size of the sweet spot, causing off-center listeners to have a less enjoyable experience. It's a question of which tradeoff one wants--the one that favors a single viewer, or the one that favors a group.
post #54 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Putting the surround speakers at ear level is also a tradeoff--it reduces the size of the sweet spot, causing off-center listeners to have a less enjoyable experience.

My HT is mostly for my wife and I, and sometimes two more people visiting. I've never noticed any trade-off, though we also have a second row behind the main large couch, and that seating is a step down in quality. But only because my side-wall RFZ panels aren't large enough to cover the second row. But in the front row the sound is amazing. Not just my admittedly biased opinion, but everyone who visits including my friends, most of whom are professional musicians and/or pro recording engineers. They all bring their new movies and concert DVDs to my house to watch and listen.

Whatever, to each his own. I had my say, and I'm not so arrogant as to think my way is the only way. I'm almost that arrogant, but not quite.

--Ethan
post #55 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

My HT is mostly for my wife and I, and sometimes two more people visiting. I've never noticed any trade-off, though we also have a second row behind the main large couch, and that seating is a step down in quality. But only because my side-wall RFZ panels aren't large enough to cover the second row. But in the front row the sound is amazing. Not just my admittedly biased opinion, but everyone who visits including my friends, most of whom are professional musicians and/or pro recording engineers. They all bring their new movies and concert DVDs to my house to watch and listen.

The fact that tradeoffs exist in a system do not necessarily mean that the results cannot be amazing (no system is without tradeoffs on some level). The subjective experience you report simply proves that there's more than one path to nirvana, and that's all I am trying to establish. It's not just a choice between right and wrong, science vs opinion. It's about how it sounds.
Quote:


Whatever, to each his own. I had my say, and I'm not so arrogant as to think my way is the only way. I'm almost that arrogant, but not quite.

Glad to see this shift to a broader perspective.
post #56 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

It's about how it sounds.

Yes, but what do you say to someone who prefers the sound of a 30 watt toob power amp with 30 gauge speaker wire?

BTW, there really are people who prefer that. And they'll argue to the death that they're right.

--Ethan
post #57 of 71
Hi Ethan,

In case if its not feasible to keep 2 (or 4) surrounds at the ear height (the best case), in a typical living room, what will you suggest between the two when surrounds are placed at a height , angled towards LP or firing straight ?

Also if one places fronts at ear height and rear surround at near ceiling height, and one has an option to match side surround height to either fronts or rears, what would be preferable ?
post #58 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

In case if its not feasible to keep 2 (or 4) surrounds at the ear height (the best case), in a typical living room, what will you suggest between the two when surrounds are placed at a height, angled towards LP or firing straight ?

Also if one places fronts at ear height and rear surround at near ceiling height, and one has an option to match side surround height to either fronts or rears, what would be preferable ?
Surrounds should not be at ear height. That never happens in a cinema. 2-3' higher in a typical room, or elevated ~15 degrees. It's not all that critical, though. No need to tilt/aim them, but it depends on the speaker's directivity pattern and the seating area.
post #59 of 71
I think that the whole idea is to allow the speakers to produce an illusion of a continuous sound field behind the listener. This means that being able to localize the speaker by listening is NOT the main objective and the opposite of what's supposed to happen.

In my home theater setting(living room with Monoprice in wall speakers) I've run it as both a 5.1 and now a 7.1 setup. I find that the 7.1 arrangement works much more effectively because it makes localizing on the speakers themselves much more difficult and the surround sound field is a lot more continuous behind the listening position which is about 8ft forward from the rear wall. Speaker placement is interesting and far from any sort of exact science.
post #60 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

what will you suggest between the two when surrounds are placed at a height , angled towards LP or firing straight?

The goal of surrounds in a home theater is different than in a large venue. Soundtracks mixed for HT already contain all the ambience the producers and mix engineers want you to hear, and the frequency response is also as they want you to hear. You get the flattest response with speakers directly on-axis, so that means at ear height and pointed toward you. The quote below from my Audio Expert book addresses this.
Quote:
Also if one places fronts at ear height and rear surround at near ceiling height, and one has an option to match side surround height to either fronts or rears, what would be preferable?

Again, I'd rather have all speakers at ear height. If that's not possible for some speakers, at least put them as close to that ideal as you can. You could angle those speakers up or down toward the listeners, though that's still not as good IMO as being at ear height.

--Ethan
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Audio Expert 
Note that the tweeters in the rear surround speakers should also be at ear height. Some home theater enthusiasts place the surround speakers high up on the side or rear walls, mimicking the setup of some commercial movie theaters. But that's a throwback to years past, when a single rear channel contained the surround information rather than separate channels as in today's 5.1 soundtracks. Back then, some movie theaters placed one or more speakers high up on the rear wall to increase ambience by including the room's natural reverb. But that was long ago, and in theaters much larger than anyone's living room.
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