How to properly use a laser level for speaker adjustments? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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How to properly use a laser level for speaker adjustments?

Hello all! I’d really appreciate some help.

My two front speaker tweeters are 4-5 inches above my head and I’d like to tilt them down. So I thought I’d use a laser level to be precise. And also use it so my Center (above tv) can be tilted down so they all aim same height.

Problem is, I’m a bit dumb and not sure how to properly use the thing.

It has 2 modes. A self centering mode, and a lock mode. The self centering mode isn’t good because as soon as i tip the speaker the laser level auto corrects, so everything would be tipped way more than needed.

So the proper way would be to use the lock mode? My speakers are are on carpet so they’re not even so should I self Center and then lock in and then tip them? That would work for the left and right speakers, but the Center channel is on a stand that’s kind of wobbly and the trigger used to switch from self Center to lock mode makes it jiggle so i can’t get it to be accurate on the Center channel.

I thought I’d place the laser level on any flat surface, let it self Center, then lock it mode and that would make tilting every speaker easy. But depending on what surface I use (table, floor, kitchen counter) I get wildly different numbers. Putting locked laser from table onto tilted speaker gives me 45 inches. Whereas level locked on kitchen counter will give the same tilt 43 inches.

I just don’t know how to accurately use this thing and the instructions weren’t much help. I’d appreciate any advice. Sorry for rambling
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post #2 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:08 PM
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How far are you sitting from the speakers and have you played around with rough positioning to see if it even makes an appreciable difference?
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post #3 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KSpan View Post
How far are you sitting from the speakers and have you played around with rough positioning to see if it even makes an appreciable difference?
Audyssey tells me my front speakers are about 7 feet away. I can’t tell much of a difference. I just know people say the tweeter should be aimed at your ear. My speakers came with screw things and I just took the front ones off so they’re tipped a bit forward already I just don’t know if it’s enough.

Center channel too, I don’t know how to percisely tilt it down without having it be too high or too low. The Center does have a huge difference depending on how much it’s tilted though from my experience.

Cause I first tilted it with the self centering mode (making me tilt it down way more than needed) and it made it sound really bad. Like I could pinpoint the sound coming from the speaker and not the tv. Readjusting it made it a lot better but it’s still not great.

Last edited by Brucey; 10-18-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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post #4 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:26 PM
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I would not recommend you tilt them, as having the tweeter pointed straight at your ears might be too harsh vs having it point straight and getting a slightly off axis signal.
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post #5 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
I would not recommend you tilt them, as having the tweeter pointed straight at your ears might be too harsh vs having it point straight and getting a slightly off axis signal.
The middle of tweeter is at 40.5 inches. My sitting spot is about 36 inches. Tilting down (again I don’t know how accurate it is cause I don’t know how to use laser level) I supposedly have them around 37-37.5 inches. I’m not noticing that much of a difference. And the audyssey app doesn’t show much change in its graph. What would be considered off axis? I heard 3 inches under is usually on axis but anything more is iffy.
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post #6 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
The middle of tweeter is at 40.5 inches. My sitting spot is about 36 inches. Tilting down (again I don’t know how accurate it is cause I don’t know how to use laser level) I supposedly have them around 37-37.5 inches. I’m not noticing that much of a difference. And the audyssey app doesn’t show much change in its graph. What would be considered off axis? I heard 3 inches under is usually on axis but anything more is iffy.
Vertical on axis frequency response would be based on your particular speaker I believe. I think mine are something like 15% but can’t recall for sure. I have tried tilting mine in the past but did notice a difference in the sound so put them back flat.
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post #7 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
The middle of tweeter is at 40.5 inches. My sitting spot is about 36 inches. Tilting down (again I don’t know how accurate it is cause I don’t know how to use laser level) I supposedly have them around 37-37.5 inches. I’m not noticing that much of a difference. And the audyssey app doesn’t show much change in its graph. What would be considered off axis? I heard 3 inches under is usually on axis but anything more is iffy.
So get something 5" thick and sit on it and see if you notice a difference The horizontal angle is much more important for creating a proper sound stage.
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post #8 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:41 PM
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First of all, you don't need a laser level, you want a laser pointer (preferably flat). Lay it atop the speaker and tilt until the laser points to where your head would be.

That being said, 3" of deviation in height between your mains' tweeters and your ears is not going to have any perceptible effect. Unless your speakers are very unusual (you didn't mention the speakers you are using), the vertical dispersion will have you more than covered at 7' away.

The reason it is usually recommended to tilt the center channel towards ear level is because typically the CC is mounted either above or below the display, making the CC's tweeter well out of alignment with the mains. Tilting it up or down restores this alignment.

Have you experimented with toe-in/toe-out (angling the mains more towards/away the listening position)? Toe-in will make a much more appreciable difference than tilting them, IMO.
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post #9 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
Vertical on axis frequency response would be based on your particular speaker I believe. I think mine are something like 15% but can’t recall for sure. I have tried tilting mine in the past but did notice a difference in the sound so put them back flat.
Thanks for the info, Interesting! I don’t know the right terminology but here’s the spec sheet of my speakers (elac debut 2.0) https://elac-content.s3.amazonaws.co...F6.2_02.18.pdf

https://elac-content.s3.amazonaws.co...C6.2_02.18.pdf

Ok so if I decide to leave my left and right flat I still need to tilt my Center down since it’s above tv. Do you have any advice for the laser level?

Last edited by Brucey; 10-18-2019 at 02:51 PM.
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post #10 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Alan P View Post
First of all, you don't need a laser level, you want a laser pointer (preferably flat). Lay it atop the speaker and tilt until the laser points to where your head would be.

That being said, 3" of deviation in height between your mains' tweeters and your ears is not going to have any perceptible effect. Unless your speakers are very unusual (you didn't mention the speakers you are using), the vertical dispersion will have you more than covered at 7' away.

The reason it is usually recommended to tilt the center channel towards ear level is because typically the CC is mounted either above or below the display, making the CC's tweeter well out of alignment with the mains. Tilting it up or down restores this alignment.

Have you experimented with toe-in/toe-out (angling the mains more towards/away the listening position)? Toe-in will make a much more appreciable difference than tilting them, IMO.
Thanks so much for the reply! Sorry I have the elac debut 2.0 (I linked the spec sheet up higher) . Doh! Your saying I bought the wrong thing? is there a specific brand or type of flat laser level you suggest or should I just pick up something on amazon?

Yeah experimenting with toe in is much more noticeable. I don’t notice much difference being 4-5 inches lower than the tweeter for the fronts. But the Center makes a big impact.

It sounds weird. Like I can always tell it’s coming from the speaker and not the tv. I’d really like to get it lined up perfectly to mitigate its “being able to detect it” issue. Would the flat laser pointer help with this you think?
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
Thanks for the info, Interesting! I don’t know the right terminology but here’s the spec sheet of my speakers (elac debut 2.0) https://elac-content.s3.amazonaws.co...F6.2_02.18.pdf

Ok so if I decide to leave my left and right flat I still need to tilt my Center down since it’s above tv. Do you have any advice for the laser level?
I have a laser for measuring distance and typically just put the butt end flat against a surface and see where it points, then adjust and test again until the speaker is pointing where I want it to.
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
Thanks so much for the reply! Sorry I have the elac debut 2.0 (I linked the spec sheet up higher) . Doh! Your saying I bought the wrong thing? is there a specific brand or type of flat laser level you suggest or should I just pick up something on amazon?

Yeah experimenting with toe in is much more noticeable. I don’t notice much difference being 4-5 inches lower than the tweeter for the fronts. But the Center makes a big impact.

It sounds weird. Like I can always tell it’s coming from the speaker and not the tv. I’d really like to get it lined up perfectly to mitigate its “being able to detect it” issue. Would the flat laser pointer help with this you think?
I know absolutely nothing about laser levels...does it produce a red dot on your wall when you turn it on? If so, it would work just as well as a laser pointer set on top of your speaker...a laser is a laser.

When you say that you can tell it's coming from the speaker not the TV, do you mean the center channel or the main speakers? What AVR are you running? How far apart are your mains? How high is your center?

Some pics of how your room is set up would help us advise you.
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I know absolutely nothing about laser levels...does it produce a red dot on your wall when you turn it on? If so, it would work just as well as a laser pointer set on top of your speaker...a laser is a laser.

When you say that you can tell it's coming from the speaker not the TV, do you mean the center channel or the main speakers? What AVR are you running? How far apart are your mains? How high is your center?

Some pics of how your room is set up would help us advise you.
Yeah it creates a line. The problem is it self centers. Meaning that if I tilt my Center I end up having to tilt it way more cause it’s auto correcting itself. So that mode doesn’t work. It has one other mode called lock.

That mode locks the laser into exact spot where it sat. The problem is my Center is on a stand so it wobbles too much. So I thought I’d just put my laser on a different surface, have it self level, lock it, and then put it back on top my Center and then tilt.

But depending on what surface I put it on to self level and then lock, and then put back on Center to tilt I’d get different results. (Kitchen table 45 inches, floor 43, counter 42 etc) I don’t know how to get my laser level accurate.

I meant my Center channel sounds off. I’m running audyssey xt32 on denon x3400h with elac debut 2.0 speakers. Center is 7.2 feet away. Fronts are 7.2 feet away. Center tweeter is 62 inches off ground. Fronts tweeter 40.5 off ground.

Last edited by Brucey; 10-18-2019 at 03:13 PM.
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post #14 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
I have a laser for measuring distance and typically just put the butt end flat against a surface and see where it points, then adjust and test again until the speaker is pointing where I want it to.
Ok thanks. I just don’t know how to properly work my laser feels like I’m doing it wrong.
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post #15 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
Yeah it creates a line. The problem is it self centers. Meaning that if I tilt my Center I end up having to tilt it way more cause it’s auto correcting itself. So that mode doesn’t work. It has one other mode called lock.

That mode locks the laser into exact spot where it sat. The problem is my Center is on a stand so it wobbles too much. So I thought I’d just put my laser on a different surface, have it self level, lock it, and then put it back on top my Center and then tilt.

But depending on what surface I put it on to self level and then lock, and then put back on Center to tilt I’d get different results. (Kitchen table 45 inches, floor 43, counter 42 etc) I don’t know how to get my laser level accurate.

I meant my Center channel sounds off. I’m running audyssey xt32 on denon x3400h with elac debut 2.0 speakers. Center is 7.2 feet away. Fronts are 7.2 feet away. Center tweeter is 62 inches off ground. Fronts tweeter 40.5 off ground.
Sorry, can't really help with your laser level...you could just eyeball it, that's what I do.

For tilting the center, rubber door stops work great! The further you push it in, the higher the angle.




I can relate on the center channel, when I had a 72" DLP I had my CC mounted on a shelf above the TV and it was very distracting. A couple years ago, the DLP died and I got an LCD. When I mounted the TV to the wall and was able to move the CC below the TV things improved a lot!

At that height, if your CC isn't tilted down at all, aiming it at your listening position is going to help...how much is hard to say. Again, pics of your room would be helpful.
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Brucey View Post
Hello all! I’d really appreciate some help.

My two front speaker tweeters are 4-5 inches above my head and I’d like to tilt them down. So I thought I’d use a laser level to be precise. And also use it so my Center (above tv) can be tilted down so they all aim same height.

Problem is, I’m a bit dumb and not sure how to properly use the thing.

It has 2 modes. A self centering mode, and a lock mode. The self centering mode isn’t good because as soon as i tip the speaker the laser level auto corrects, so everything would be tipped way more than needed.

So the proper way would be to use the lock mode? My speakers are are on carpet so they’re not even so should I self Center and then lock in and then tip them? That would work for the left and right speakers, but the Center channel is on a stand that’s kind of wobbly and the trigger used to switch from self Center to lock mode makes it jiggle so i can’t get it to be accurate on the Center channel.

I thought I’d place the laser level on any flat surface, let it self Center, then lock it mode and that would make tilting every speaker easy. But depending on what surface I use (table, floor, kitchen counter) I get wildly different numbers. Putting locked laser from table onto tilted speaker gives me 45 inches. Whereas level locked on kitchen counter will give the same tilt 43 inches.

I just don’t know how to accurately use this thing and the instructions weren’t much help. I’d appreciate any advice. Sorry for rambling
Do you have a tripod? If so, put a small box on top of it and set it in your main listening position. Adjust it to where the box is where your head would be. Put your laser level on lock so it won't auto correct and place on top of your speaker. If you have a 30-60-90 degree triangle you can use it to make sure that the level is pointing straight. Adjust your speakers to where the laser hits the same spot on the box. This also gives you a good starting point if you want to try toeing your L&R speakers in or out.

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Do you have a tripod? If so, put a small box on top of it and set it in your main listening position. Adjust it to where the box is where your head would be. Put your laser level on lock so it won't auto correct and place on top of your speaker. If you have a 30-60-90 degree triangle you can use it to make sure that the level is pointing straight. Adjust your speakers to where the laser hits the same spot on the box. This also gives you a good starting point if you want to try toeing your L&R speakers in or out.
Great suggestion! Haha I’ve done exactly this. Except I don’t have the triangle. But I have my tv and MLP in the exact Center of my room. So I put a piece of black tape on my back wall in the middle of room and aim my laser at it to know I’m centered.

My question is the lock mode. Depending on what surface I lock it on, and then place on my speakers I get different heights measurements. Do you have any suggestions for that?
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post #18 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 03:40 PM
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Great suggestion! Haha I’ve done exactly this. Except I don’t have the triangle. But I have my tv and MLP in the exact Center of my room. So I put a piece of black tape on my back wall in the middle of room and aim my laser at it to know I’m centered.

My question is the lock mode. Depending on what surface I lock it on, and then place on my speakers I get different heights measurements. Do you have any suggestions for that?
Just to make sure; you mean the center width not length, right? Sitting in the center of the length of the room is a black hole for bass.
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Great suggestion! Haha I’ve done exactly this. Except I don’t have the triangle. But I have my tv and MLP in the exact Center of my room. So I put a piece of black tape on my back wall in the middle of room and aim my laser at it to know I’m centered.

My question is the lock mode. Depending on what surface I lock it on, and then place on my speakers I get different heights measurements. Do you have any suggestions for that?
I can't help you there. My level just shoots a beam straight. No modes.

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Just to make sure; you mean the center width not length, right? Sitting in the center of the length of the room is a black hole for bass.
Yes! Sorry haha Center width not length. I’m near the back of the room .

And thanks your eyeballing thing put me at ease. If your speakers sound satisfactory from eyeballing I shouldn’t be freaking out as much about wether my laser level is off by an inch or 2. Also here’s pics of my fronts plus my Center and how much I’ve had to angle it down. Sorry for the mess, everything is work in progress


https://m.imgur.com/a/1bVod0v
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I can't help you there. My level just shoots a beam straight. No modes.
Do you by chance remember the name/brand of your level? This one is kinda giving me issues.
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Yes! Sorry haha Center width not length. I’m near the back of the room .

And thanks your eyeballing thing put me at ease. If your speakers sound satisfactory from eyeballing I shouldn’t be freaking out as much about wether my laser level is off by an inch or 2. Also here’s pics of my fronts plus my Center and how much I’ve had to angle it down. Sorry for the mess, everything is work in progress
You have a pair of socks holding up your speaker!

Yeah, an inch or two is not going to make much of a difference. When you are listening to your system, do you have your head in a vice? No, you move to the left, to the right and even up and down. Don't get to much into the minutia or it will become an obsession.
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You have a pair of socks holding up your speaker!

Yeah, an inch or two is not going to make much of a difference. When you are listening to your system, do you have your head in a vice? No, you move to the left, to the right and even up and down. Don't get to much into the minutia or it will become an obsession.
It’s an eye glass case with a few socks wrapped over it hahaha. I tried the door stop thing a few weeks ago but needed it to be angled more. Your right there my friend it is kind of becoming an obsession I need to get over it and get it “close enough” it’s ruining my tv watching experience which isn’t good. But I’m a bit OCD like that. I need people to tell me it’s going to be ok. I should probably go to therapy more often haha.
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How about putting the CC under the TV stand on some sort of stand and angling it up? IME, under the TV always sound better than over...

Looks like that is a computer desk with a slide out keyboard drawer which you could probably remove to get the CC up just a bit higher.

Just spitballing here.
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post #25 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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How about putting the CC under the TV stand on some sort of stand and angling it up? IME, under the TV always sound better than over...

Looks like that is a computer desk with a slide out keyboard drawer which you could probably remove to get the CC up just a bit higher.

Just spitballing here.
Trust me I’ve tried a lot of things with the Center channel haha. I had my old entertainment Stand. Put my CC on second shelf pointed up. Still sounded wrong.

I bought one of those tv stand height risers. So the Center sat directly under the tv. Pointed it up. Problem was I think it jutted out 6 inches in front of tv. Still sounded unnatural.

Surprisingly, opposite of your experience it has sounded the most like its “coming from the tv” by placing it above, pointing down. I just need to figure out how much to angle it I think thanks for all your help though friend
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post #26 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 04:25 PM
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Do you by chance remember the name/brand of your level? This one is kinda giving me issues.
I got the 'Channellock 620L 8 1/4 inch Professional Contractor Laser Level' off of Amazon back in 2014. Doesn't look like they carry it anymore, but you can google it and see what it looks like and then find something similar.

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post #27 of 27 Old 10-18-2019, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
I got the 'Channellock 620L 8 1/4 inch Professional Contractor Laser Level' off of Amazon back in 2014. Doesn't look like they carry it anymore, but you can google it and see what it looks like and then find something similar.
Thank you appreciate it!!
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