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Need assistance on speaker placement

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello All,
This is my first post on this forum. I am setting up a home theater system in my media room and I need suggestions on speaker placement. I have the following equipment:

AVR: Marantz 6008
Disc Player: Oppo BDP-105
Speakers: JBL Studio 1 series
- JBL 190 Floor standing speakers x 2 for FL and FR
- JBL 130 Bookshelf speakers for SR, SL, SBR, SBL
- JBL 120c Center speakers
- JBL SUB150P Subwoofer (300 Watts)

The media room is on the second floor with a walk in attic that provides easy access to the back of the room, the sides (half way from the back) and the top of the room. The floor plan is per the attachment Media Room.png 73k .png file . My idea is to place the projector on the ceiling above the back sofa, the rest of the equipments on the rack and run the power and video cables from the rack to the projector. The ceiling height of my media room is 10 feet.

However, I am not sure how to place the speakers. More specifically:
  1. I have seen many people suggest that the speakers should not be close to the walls or the corners unless specifically designed to take advantage of these locations. What is the suggested distance from the walls for these speakers / or any such speakers in general. I know that there is no formula or a set place but I am looking for a decent starting point from which I can work to get the "right" speaker location for my layout.
  2. Since this is a projector display how do I place the center speakers and the surrounds? Should I have a shelf, wall mount or have a stand for the center speaker?
  3. What would be a good place for the subwoofer? The sides of the media room or by the back wall?
  4. The speaker wires are going to be in wall from the closet to the media room and I would have face plates with speaker binding posts on my wall. What is the typical way to run the wires from the wall to the speakers esp., if the speakers are going to be a few feet from the wall. I am concerned about someone in my family tripping on the wires.

I also have some general questions
  1. Are the components listed above a good choice and a good match?
  2. I plan to go with 12 AWG cables (BJC Twelve White 5000UE) for my speakers from Blue Jeans. Is this a good choice or should I go with?


And for all you gurus out there please forgive my ignorance.
post #2 of 6
Can you reverse the layout so the door is in the rear of the room rather than the front? An opening in the rear will improve the bass a little, and not having your gear at a side-wall reflection point lets you put absorber panels in the correct places. As for speaker placement, this short article should help:

How to set up a room

This short article answers your other question:

Subwoofer Placement

This article is mainly about home recording, but all the same principles apply to hi-fi and home theater too:

Acoustic Basics

As for speaker wire, 12 gauge is probably overkill for those short distances. I'd use 14 gauge or even 16, and plain old zip cord is just as good as "speaker" wire.

--Ethan
post #3 of 6
Ethan offers good advice.

The gear will likely be ok, I believe I opt for something other than the JBL (even though I own some JBL, and am a fan), but if you like them go for it ... they'll be fine.

I'd strongly recommend at least two subwoofers, this will allow you much more flexibility and higher sound quality, smoother bass response (a huge factor is overall subjective appeal of the system).

Also, I commend you for asking about placement. Loudspeaker placement, and their interaction with the room's acoustic characteristics is the single biggest determining factor in the sound of your system.

Take your time, you may approach this a bit differently. Perhaps you could post a total budget for everything, or particular segments of the HT (speakers, subs, etc), then inquire and proceed accordingly.

Also, give some thought to some basic room treatment, as this is of paramount importance.


Best of luck and welcome to AVS
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello Ethan and FOH,
Thanks for your replies. I have added an updated version of the layout. There is a door at the left end of the rear wall and there is also a closet near the room entrance where I keep my movies etc. The rear door leads to the walk in attic. The problem I see with the reversal of front to back is that the rear end of the room has a raised floor like a single step. If I reverse the layout, then the front sofa will be at a higher level than the rear, viewing the screen would be awkward.

Media Room.png 82k .png file

Thanks for the advice on speaker cables. One of my concerns was that being in Houston (Read Heat and Humidity) and with In-Wall wiring, I needed cables that are NEC certified. Blue jeans seems to pop up frequently when I search for speaker cables and they only have 10 or 12 AWG. I am not a fan of monster cables. Would you guys suggest some other brand that has a reliable speaker cables.

My budget is at 5K which was the only reason I settled for JBL and one sub-woofer at present. The whole setup has cost me ~3900 and once I get the cables, connectors and faceplates I will know if I can afford another subwoofer. If I had 2K more then I would have gone with different brand.

I have been reading the real traps site and the information is amazing. The only issue is that they don't talk about a 7.x setup and I don't believe that it would just be an extension of a 5.1. two more speakers are definitely going to cause different dynamics.

Also, the formulas and maths are nice to see but then in reality I have multiple people sitting in the room at different distances. So in this case how to you normalize the varying listening points to a single point of reference? second read on the real traps site answered this question smile.gif.
Amidst all this I still have one question. Does everyone have the wire from the speaker to wall not concealed in any way?
Edited by mganapa - 7/24/13 at 1:38pm
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Having read many articles, I now have two other questions.
  1. Is it better to have rear surrounds (surround back left/right) or front wide left/right or front height left/right?
  2. Should I use a different cable for subwoofer wiring?

As for the speaker placements, this is what I have gathered so far:
  1. All speakers - better to have them 2-3 feet away from the front/rear walls and 1 feet away from the side walls.
  2. All Speakers - Better to have the tweeters at ear level but if this is at the mid point of the room height then we should either raise or lower this by about a feet. For instance if the ear height is 5' and the half room height is also 5' then try to place the speakers at 4' or 6' with a toe in and at an angle so that it's axis is in alignment with the main listening position.
  3. Front speakers 6 - 10 feet away from each other and in an equilateral triangle from the main listening position. The main listening position would be the center of the front sofa.
  4. Surround (Left/Right) speakers in my case are direct radiating monopole type and it is better to have them either on the side (close to the viewing position) facing the front wall or set back by 2-3 feet angled towards the listening position. These are not the surround back speakers.
  5. Center speaker is to be placed at the same height as the front speakers in a wide arc to have a smooth listening experience on the front channels.
  6. Based on this placement, Identify the first reflection points for EVERY listening position and use traps at these locations.
  7. To achieve all this, it is better to have center and surrounds on a stand rather than a wall mount/shelf arrangement.
  8. Finally use Audyssey to calibrate the AVR settings for the speakers.
  9. Fine tune this calibration to suit your taste.

Have I missed anything on the placement?

For the speaker stands (bookshelf speakers and center speaker) can someone suggest a good brand? I have been considering VTI BL Series 34-59 inch Adjustable Height Speaker Stands (Black) BLE101B for surround speakers and VTI RFC for the center speakers. Please advice.

On the aesthetic and safety side I still have the following questions
  1. How do you secure the wall to speaker cable to prevent tripping?
  2. How do you anchor the speakers to prevent them from tipped over?

Please bear with my ignorance and flood of questions as I have never been into setting up a home theater till now.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by mganapa View Post

[*] Is it better to have rear surrounds (surround back left/right) or front wide left/right or front height left/right?
[*] Should I use a different cable for subwoofer wiring?

I don't understand the first question. A powered subwoofer uses regular RCA cables, versus a passive sub that uses suitably thick lamp cord or Romex etc from the power amp.
Quote:
[*] All speakers - better to have them 2-3 feet away from the front/rear walls and 1 feet away from the side walls.

The only way to know for sure which distances give the best results is to measure the room's low frequency response at high resolution as you experiment. The ideal place for loudspeakers is inside the walls, with the front baffle flush with the wall. Most people are unwilling to do that, but the notion that "farther away is always better" is incorrect.
Quote:
[*] All Speakers - Better to have the tweeters at ear level but if this is at the mid point of the room height then we should either raise or lower this by about a feet.

Tweeters should be at ear height, but woofers should not be. But this is not always a problem, and again measuring is the only way to know for sure.
Quote:
[*] Front speakers 6 - 10 feet away from each other and in an equilateral triangle from the main listening position. The main listening position would be the center of the front sofa.

In a room that size I think ten feet apart is better than six feet.
Quote:
[*] Surround (Left/Right) speakers in my case are direct radiating monopole type and it is better to have them either on the side (close to the viewing position) facing the front wall or set back by 2-3 feet angled towards the listening position. These are not the surround back speakers.

It's not so much the distances as the angles. My Room Setup article linked above shows the proper angles. In your case things are confounded by two couches. I have two also, but everything is optimized for the front couch since it's rare to have so many visitors that people sit in the rear. And when that does happen, my wife (bless her) is glad to back sit there so the guests get better sound.
Quote:
[*] Center speaker is to be placed at the same height as the front speakers in a wide arc to have a smooth listening experience on the front channels.
[*] Based on this placement, Identify the first reflection points for EVERY listening position and use traps at these locations.

Yes and yes.
Quote:
[*] To achieve all this, it is better to have center and surrounds on a stand rather than a wall mount/shelf arrangement.

Again, what matters most are the angles, though it's best for all five speakers in a 5.1 setup to be the same distance from the prime seat.

I'll let others address your speaker mounting questions.

--Ethan
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