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Using surround speakers for center channel?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Preface: This is my first home theater build. I have been having a 7.1 receiver/amp for about a year, but have only been using 2 front speakers. They produce good sound, but I wanted to take advantage of the surround sound capabilities.

I came across a good deal on some Polk RC60i in wall/ceiling speakers and grabbed 4 of them. I was planning on mounting these in the ceiling as the surround and rear speakers. After I did a bit of research, I learned that mounting speakers in the ceiling for a surround sound application would not yield good sound results. I learned that the speakers should be as close to ear level as possible. I have mounting room in the wall behind the sofa for the two rear speakers, but I have two speakers left. I have not bought a center speaker yet, and was wondering about mounting the other speakers below the tv as the center speaker, wired in series. How does this sound to you?

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 12
First, I wouldn't use more than one centre speaker, since it would defeat one of the main reasons for using a centre (to avoid mono sounds, like dialogue, coming from two speakers).

I also wouldn't use one of these in-ceiling speakers for my centre, unless it matched the sound of my Left/Right speakers. When a truck drives across the front soundstage, you want its sound to remain consistent, not change as it passes through the centre.

Finally, I wouldn't place my surrounds at ear level (too distracting). Instead, I would mount them at least 2-3 feet above ear level for a less direct/more ambient sound.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the quick reply!

Would you say that mounting the speakers in the ceiling would be a no-no?
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pierreboudreaux View Post

Thank you for the quick reply!
Would you say that mounting the speakers in the ceiling would be a no-no?

Depends on what you use for a speaker and how you do it. You can install a center in the ceiling (as a last resort) - it just will not be perfect. One theme you will find on this forum is that you do the best you can and work with what you have whether it is budget, room environment and your specific needs. The main rule is - if it sounds good to you, then you should be happy with it.

I have center speakers in my ceiling, but I purchased in-ceiling speakers with a directional tweeter and angled woofer to help ensure I was directing the sound to my listen position. A simple angled tweeter is not enough angle to direct to a typical listening position 10 - 12' away unless the speaker is installed deep into the room - then it would sound "God like" from above. However, if you can install the center under your TV, this would be the best solution.

Surrounds
To echo the prior poster, I agree, the surrounds should be a good distance away from your ears so that the sound is more ambient. If they are too close they will be distractions and will not perform the intended affect. If you can get them at least 4' away from you, you will be much more satisfied. I'd recommend sides or in-ceiling off to the side rather than rears if your couch is against the back wall like most set-ups.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pierreboudreaux View Post

Would you say that mounting the speakers in the ceiling would be a no-no?
In-ceiling surrounds can work if you're careful with placement. Surround sound is intended to come from around you, not above. With that in mind, I would place in-ceiling surrounds as wide apart as symmetrically possible. Same with the surround-back speakers, spreading them apart well behind you.

This will make it feel more like all 4 surrounds are high up on the back and side walls rather than overhead. Plus it will give you good left-vs-right and side-vs-rear separation in the surround field.

BTW, how far is your main seating location from the side and back walls of your room?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I took a look at your setup...WOW! I don't think I will go as advanced as you have. If you can give me a bit more advice, I would appreciate it before I start cutting holes in the walls smile.gif
First the dimensions of the room: 14X14X10. I have three solid walls and a half wall to the right (IOW - the wall is about 4 foot high with an open space above it) with an entrance to the dining area about 6 foot wide. The TV is atop the fireplace just like yours. My mantle is just 6 inches deep, so I could not mount a decent center channel there. But I do have some room below the TV where I could mount two of the in wall speakers I do have for that purpose.
Did you wire your in ceiling center speakers in series or parallel, or did you have two separate center channels on your amp?
Here are the speakers I bought. I have four of them:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290046
I also have a sub that I will put in a corner somewhere. I currently have it hooked up with a simple RCA cable sitting in front of the HEC. I plan on buying one of these to have it sit in one of the corners. Would you recommend?
http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-feet-Ultra-Series-Connectors/dp/B003P63SP0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Here is the amp:
http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=TX-SR506&class=Receiver&p=i
I have some good, but old speakers for the front speakers, which are bookshelf speakers and have the crossover frequency set to where not a lot of bass gets to them.
Also, all of the wiring will be in wall.

Thanks for input you are willing to share!
post #7 of 12
Thanks for the compliment and I'm happy to help.

What brand are your L&R speakers since your in-walls are Polk?

If I understand correctly, you are looking to use 2 of your in-wall/in-ceiling speakers as your center installed below your TV. You can do this, but it would be nice if the tweeters were still directional where you could angle slightly toward each other - depending on the gap of course. I'd also recommend that you check to see if the speakers are SHIELDED since they could distort your TV picture if too close. Have you looked at on-wall speakers? Def Tech makes some nice stuff these days. If you do decide to go with dual in-wall centers, mine are wired in parallel. I did have an old Onkyo AVR that had 2 center channels, but my current one does not.

A simple RCA cable is all you need for your sub. If looking for longer, you may want to check out Monoprice as well for pricing. 50' seems very long to me.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
The front speakers are some Yamaha speakers that are 22 years old, and still sound great! From the description of the in-wall speakers "metalized soft dome in ball-and-socket swivel", so I am guessing that they are directional. Being shielded, I would have to open the package and read as it is not listed on the site. I thought speakers could not distort LCD screens..I must be misinformed! lol
The reason I was buying the 50'cord was I am not sure where the sub will end up...with 50' it gives me a little freedom of where I can place it, but 35' may be all I need. I have to do the math on the furthest point from where the wiring drop will be.
Thank you for your input!
post #9 of 12
Uh, yeah, you don't care if they're shielded... I don't know what Scout is thinking. Unless you've got a CRT, you're not going to affect the image with the speaker magnets.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Uh, yeah, you don't care if they're shielded... I don't know what Scout is thinking. Unless you've got a CRT, you're not going to affect the image with the speaker magnets.

Sorry - brain freeze. I had helped my brother out a few months back and we had distortion on his CRT to account for. He did not have a plasma or LCD
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout's staff View Post

Sorry - brain freeze. I had helped my brother out a few months back and we had distortion on his CRT to account for.

Can't say I've had to help anyone with THAT problem for probably a decade!!! biggrin.gif
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Can't say I've had to help anyone with THAT problem for probably a decade!!! biggrin.gif

I know, my brother is way behnd the times - I typically donate my old AV equipment to him every time I upgrade. He is now using my old Cambridge Soundworks speakers from the 90s and Onkyo receiver pre HDMI.
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