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post #1 of 18 Old 06-05-2020, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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All ceiling mounted mains, where do I put the center speaker?

I have a new house with a media area that's at one end of a great room, and for practical reasons I can't use ear level speakers; they all have to be ceiling mounted. The one exception to this is the center speaker, which I can put either on the ceiling or on the same wall as the TV.

Any recommendations on how I might place the center speaker? Should it go on the ceiling or on the wall? And if on the wall, should it go above or below the TV? One possible issue with it being above the TV is that the TV is on an articulating wall mount, and it may sit between the listening area and the speaker. That wouldn't be an issue if it was on the ceiling. Obviously I'm not looking for the perfect listening experience, I just want it to be functional enough that the center stage isn't going to sound like it's not coming from the TV or otherwise does anything else that feels awkward.

So far my mains speakers are all Polk RC80i with an aimable tweeter.

Oh and if anybody is wondering why I can't have anything ear level: To the right of the listening area is my back door, which is a 15 foot sliding glass door that takes up the whole wall, and the left side has no wall at all, so zero options for placing speakers other than the ceiling. Behind the listening area is an exterior wall at the edge of the roof frame, so there's no way I'm running cables down it. The wall that the TV sits on is far too short to mount the left and right speakers on either side of it, in fact it barely fits the TV, so the left speaker actually has to sit in a somewhat open area. The way the builder positioned it is awkward, but that's just how it is.
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-05-2020, 09:45 PM
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Above the TV.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-05-2020, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Above the TV.

Is that relatively common in this situation? And does the center channel need to be aimed downward somehow, or should that even matter?
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf View Post
I have a new house with a media area that's at one end of a great room, and for practical reasons I can't use ear level speakers; they all have to be ceiling mounted. The one exception to this is the center speaker, which I can put either on the ceiling or on the same wall as the TV.

Any recommendations on how I might place the center speaker? Should it go on the ceiling or on the wall? And if on the wall, should it go above or below the TV? One possible issue with it being above the TV is that the TV is on an articulating wall mount, and it may sit between the listening area and the speaker. That wouldn't be an issue if it was on the ceiling. Obviously I'm not looking for the perfect listening experience, I just want it to be functional enough that the center stage isn't going to sound like it's not coming from the TV or otherwise does anything else that feels awkward.

So far my mains speakers are all Polk RC80i with an aimable tweeter.

Oh and if anybody is wondering why I can't have anything ear level: To the right of the listening area is my back door, which is a 15 foot sliding glass door that takes up the whole wall, and the left side has no wall at all, so zero options for placing speakers other than the ceiling. Behind the listening area is an exterior wall at the edge of the roof frame, so there's no way I'm running cables down it. The wall that the TV sits on is far too short to mount the left and right speakers on either side of it, in fact it barely fits the TV, so the left speaker actually has to sit in a somewhat open area. The way the builder positioned it is awkward, but that's just how it is.
I would forego the whole mess and get the best soundbar you can afford. It too is a compromise, but a better one than in-ceiling L&R with a wall mounted CC.

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post #5 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 07:02 AM
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I'd recommend ceiling mounting the center so that you have all of your fronts on the same plane. Aim the center at the listening position.
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post #6 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf View Post
I have a new house with a media area that's at one end of a great room, and for practical reasons I can't use ear level speakers; they all have to be ceiling mounted. The one exception to this is the center speaker, which I can put either on the ceiling or on the same wall as the TV.

Any recommendations on how I might place the center speaker? Should it go on the ceiling or on the wall? And if on the wall, should it go above or below the TV?
I'd put it below the TV on a low cabinet, with rubber doorstop wedges tilting it upwards so that the tweeters point towards ear level where you sit. And I'd go for a 3 way one, as big as you can afford. Emotiva C2 for example.

Or, as Craig suggested, you could use a soundbar---I'd go with a 3-channel soundbar like this, $10 flat rate returns:
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-yuHb83...P-440D-SB.html

If mounting directly to the wall, this comes with free return shipping:
https://www.htd.com/VERSA-HTS1

Lastly, if you are adventurous and have a 60" wide stand underneath your TV, you could use a trio of these 3-way center speakers:
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud.../airmotiv-c1-2
The advantage of this is, if you move to a different space, you can repurpose the L/R ones as vertical speakers.

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post #7 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 07:59 AM
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When you say ceiling mounted do you mean "in-ceiling" pointed down, or boxes hung from the ceiling? In the past I've done two surround systems with the speakers wall-hung above the display with all speakers aimed down toward the sweet spot. The speakers were all point source "boxes" on-plane (same height) and actually threw a pretty convincing surround sound stage but never as good or accurate as Dolby prescribed speaker positions...It didn't take long for me to get sick of hearing sounds from above that should come from beside and around me. Regardless of what you do, you always want your center speaker on-center and as close as possible to your display because it's the aural anchor that makes your brain think the sound is coming from what you are watching. As Craig John points out, you always want your L/C/R on-plane with each other to keep your sound stage as intact and accurate as possible. As you start using in-ceilings and point source speakers you loose all sound stage accuracy. As LCR speakers that are off-plane with each other get further apart and/or unequal distance from center the sound stage accuracy falls apart. Mix the two and you get an inaccurate mess. In that case I agree that a good sound bar will give you much more coherent surround sound and effect. A simple reality of Dolby surround sound is very good speakers improperly placed will not provide an acceptable surround sound stage while mediocre speakers properly placed can provide a spectacular surround sound stage. Good Luck
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
If mounting directly to the wall, this comes with free return shipping:
https://www.htd.com/VERSA-HTS1
You just recommended speakers with passive radiators!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Lastly, if you are adventurous and have a 60" wide stand underneath your TV, you could use a trio of these 3-way center speakers:
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud.../airmotiv-c1-2
The advantage of this is, if you move to a different space, you can repurpose the L/R ones as vertical speakers.
With the laterally displaced woofers, these *could* have off-axis lobing, which would make them less than optimal in the L/R positions. The fact that they have a vertical orientation of the MT's makes lobing less likely, depending on the crossover frequency from the mids to the woofers, but it's likely not completely eliminated. A trio of these might work better:
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud...rmotiv-b1-pair

Craig
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:00 AM
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Changed my mind. Go with the three channel soundbar solution, mounted below the TV.

Ceiling speakers for the front three channels are problematic, at best, and downright horrible, at worst. Vertically oriented speakers project sound to the ground. Unless you are sitting under the speakers, you most likely will not hear the majority of the sound, except as reflected off the floor and other surrounding items in the room. Depending on your seating distance from the speakers and your ceiling height, you may be required to invest in highly angled in-ceiling speakers, which are generally quite expensive (~ $500 each). Specify the ceiling height and seating distance and i will do the calculation.

That said, if you intend to use the system for general music listening, as well as just seated HT, then horizontally oriented speakers make a lot more sense, perform better, and are probably less expensive than the in-ceiling option. Using a three channel passive soundbar (three speakers in one cabinet driven by a standard receiver, not an active soundbar with internal amps, bells, and whistles) will allow you to better cover the entire space with sound. Take a look at some options from Phase Tech, Golden Ear, HTD, PSB, Totem, Triad, James. Triad and James can even custom create a perfect match to your TV, by size and color.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 06-06-2020 at 11:35 AM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm...problem with a soundbar now is I've already cut some of the holes for the speakers

My inspiration for this project was when I saw a neighbor's house with a setup similar to this, and noticed my own house also had the wiring in place for these speakers in a 7 speaker configuration, so figured I'd take advantage. I could patch them up, PITA but I've done similar patch jobs before, however I'd prefer to just go forward with it, even if it isn't optimal.

That said, any comments on these?

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Ticket-Ceiling-Pivoting-Adjustable/dp/B0176SKBPM

Paired with these:

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Ticket.../dp/B0176SKEAO

and some of these:

https://www.amazon.com/82C-Silver-Ticket-Ceiling-Pivoting/dp/B00LGYOU7S

Nice thing about those is they'll fit into the holes I've already cut, and the whole thing is dirt cheap. My neighbor's house simply has another circle speaker in the ceiling where the center speaker should go, but I want to do just a little better than that.

Last edited by AlphaWolf; 06-06-2020 at 10:25 AM.
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Changed my mind. Go with the three channel soundbar solution, mounted below the TV.

Ceiling speakers for the front three channels are problematic, at best, and downright horrible, at worst. Vertically oriented speakers project sound to the ground. Unless you are sitting under the speakers, you most likely will not hear the majority of the sound, except as reflected off the floor and other surrounding items in the room. Depending on your seating distance from the speakers and your ceiling height, you may be required to invest in highly angled in-ceiling speakers, which are generally quite expensive (~ $500 each). Specify the ceiling height and seating distance and i will do the calculation.

That said, if you intend to use the system for general music listening, as well as just seated HT, then horizontally oriented speakers make a lot more sense, perform better, and are probably less expensive than the in-ceiling option. Using a three channel passive soundbar (three speakers in one cabinet driven by a standard receiver, not an active soundbar with internal amps, bells, and whistles) will allow you to better cover the entire space with sound. Take a look at some options from Phase Tech, Golden Ear, PSB, Totem, Triad, James. Triad and James can even custom create a perfect match to your TV, by size and color.

This room is mostly for entertaining guests and having a big view of the pool outside, with people mostly using it to watch streaming TV, with the occasional movie, and on occasion we'll fully open the sliding door which literally exposes the entire room to the outside, and angle the TV on its articulating mount to be viewable from the pool. I actually already have a soundbar with a few rear channel speakers but because the area is such high traffic the wireless speakers I had kept getting knocked around and disconnected from the power outlet. The setup was already really crappy as the surrounds were always overpowering the front stage. Basically anything I do with ceiling speakers will be an improvement, I just don't want it to be totally crap in that I want the center channel to not sound like it's coming from the land of make believe when the TV is in front of you.


I actually have a better room than this for watching movies and listening to music, which I've already completed. However what I'm working on now is just for super casual use.


Oh, and the ceilings are 9.5ft, and the seating area varies. One other thing I've considered is mounting the TV higher up as well, only problem is the builder put the media outlets at about the level that it currently is. One advantage to putting it higher up is that the light switches behind it can be exposed, which is something I'd prefer.
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post #12 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:40 AM
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I see an LCR soundbar in your future.

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post #13 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:51 AM
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I am recommending a three channel PASSIVE soundbar. No connection issues, no crappy rear speakers, no money spent on licenses, amps, Bluetooth, remotes. etc., etc. etc., just money spent on the speakers themselves. It hooks up to a receiver, just like three separate speakers would. If you attach it to the bottom of your TV, the sound would move with the TV when you orient it towards the pool area, which would be a very nice bonus.

You failed to give me the ceiling height and distance from seated ear to speakers, so I can look at what in-ceiling speakers would be appropriate for your set-up.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #14 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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You failed to give me the ceiling height and distance from seated ear to speakers, so I can look at what in-ceiling speakers would be appropriate for your set-up.

I put it in an edit there, but for the most part it's variable. If I had to pick a number, I'd say ears are going to be 10ft from the front wall at about 4ft height, and 9.5ft ceiling.
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 11:16 AM
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I put it in an edit there, but for the most part it's variable. If I had to pick a number, I'd say ears are going to be 10ft from the front wall at about 4ft height, and 9.5ft ceiling.
OK, so you can just barely get away with a 30 degree angled speaker, minimum. Paradigm, Golden Ear, and quite a few other speaker companies have options with this angle available. Be sure your speakers have that angle or greater. Also, be sure it's the full set of components, not just the tweeter that is angled. No experience with Silver Ticket speakers, so can't really advise in that area except to say you generally get what you pay for.

These are relatively inexpensive (as angled in-ceiling speakers go) and of good quality. The bass driver is angled at 18 degrees and the tweeter can be pivoted an additional 15 degrees, so you just barely get into the 30 degree overall angle you will need for your front 2/3.

https://www.htd.com/HDX-R65AIM

These are a bit more expensive, but should provide a good experience, even at high volume (when the glass door is open and you are listening outdoors) More adjustment range, to help with projecting the sound farther:

https://www.inwallstore.com/Angled_C...p/hd650_1a.htm

Maybe attach a center channel to your TV and you are set up for both in-room and outdoor sound.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 06-06-2020 at 11:54 AM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll look at that, thanks! Oh and the silver ticket speakers are apparently the same as what monoprice uses, just different brand. Monoprices usually get decent reviews for budget speakers.


Also, aesthetically speaking, I really don't think I'll get away with a soundbar unless it's doing what my current soundbar is doing, sitting on a cabinet that is probably going away soon, (as I mentioned earlier, this stuff tends to be in the way and people knock it over when walking to the back yard) unless they make in-wall mountable soundbars. I think in-ceiling or in-wall speakers is all I'm going to get away with. The problem is the soundbar would need to be either directly above or directly below the light switches that are slightly below the TV. It would just look ugly.


BTW this is definitely a rare case where I prefer form over function. If this were a dedicated media room, it would be a whole other story. As it is, the lighting from outside is already very bad in that it causes a big glare on the TV unless you angle the TV inward during the day (in fact I wish the builder made the room slightly different for this reason.)

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post #17 of 18 Old 06-06-2020, 03:47 PM
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Well, then consider getting some separate speakers for your outdoor area. As to glare, can't help you there ... Pergola, fence, awning ... ????

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-07-2020, 02:04 PM
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skimmed over the thread - lots of good advice. however, from what stood out for me is the articulating wall mount. you could get a bracket that allow you to hang a sound bar off of the wall mount/TV, so when it swings, the bar swings. I would also recommend a Sonos playbar - not as good SQ as some other recs above, but very decent and solves the placement issues. and can be wirelessly expanded.

neither the cheapest nor most expensive solution, but solid nonetheless.


Another solution is the LCR "Flanking" set up from Artison USA www.artisonusa.com


good luck

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