7.1.4 setup and speakers placement suggestion - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Question 7.1.4 setup and speakers placement suggestion

Hi everyone,

I'm planning to move to a bigger apartment and evaluating to build my first home theatre setup. I've been studying the dolby/atmos speakers placement guide and reading quite a lot setups on this forum, and finally did some drawing to understand which setup fits better in my room.

The room (33 ft. by 14 ft.) is a living/dining/kitchen room, so it will not be fully dedicated to the home theatre. Considering the size of the room I would setup 7.1 speakers, but I would not discard the possibility for a 5.1 setup.

A couple of restrictions/preferences from my (and my wife) side:

1) I can't have rear surround speakers always in place (they will stand too close to the dining table); I will position them when a 7.1 movie requires it (one or two times a week). Most of the content I watch are still in 5.1.
2) I would rather prefer a compact/stylish speakers setup (for surround and rear surround speakers, I have 3-way floor stand speakers to use for L and R channels) vs a better sounding/bigger bookshelf speakers.

As you can see at the end of the document attached, I'm evaluating 2 options:
1) free-standing speakers. PRO: setup is very close to what Dolby suggests for a 7.1.4 Atmos speaker placements. CONS: rear surround speakers will be placed only when 7.1 content requires it
2) wall-mounted compact speakers: PRO: setup and forget kind of placement. CONS: different distances among different speakers and lower sound quality.

Here a couple of questions for you:
1) do you see any major mistake in the placement?
2) do you see any major concern with the wall-mounted compact speakers setup (e.g. different distances among speakers)?
3) would you rather advice the free-standing solution considering placing 2 speakers every time a 7.1 content will be watched is not a big deal?
4) would you rather advice for a 5.1 setup to avoid placing rear surround speakers every time?

Thank you so much for you help, any advise would be much appreciated.
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Last edited by sundonak; 09-02-2019 at 02:58 AM.
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post #2 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 09:59 AM
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For your setup do not do 7.1 stick with 5.1. The rear channels are really not needed and are used very little in real 7.1 content. Focus on a good 5.1.4 setup. Your wall mount option is a little too far back so stick with the stands.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
For your setup do not do 7.1 stick with 5.1. The rear channels are really not needed and are used very little in real 7.1 content. Focus on a good 5.1.4 setup. Your wall mount option is a little too far back so stick with the stands.
Hi Blacklightning, thank you very much for you reply. Is your suggestion to stick with 5.1 based on my restrictions, namely to position rear surround speakers every time, or you just don't believe 7.1 is worth it?
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post #4 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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For smoother frequency response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips), place the listeners' ears at 1/3rd room length from the front wall and place the L/R speakers 1/6th room width from the side walls. Overhead speakers should be around 45 degrees elevation (measure from your ears to the ceiling, same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation).

I would wall mount all 4 surround speakers: Rears around 150 degrees from centre, Sides slightly forward of the listeners (around 80 degrees from centre). This will give you wrap-around envelopment and side-vs-rear separation in the surround field that is not possible with only 2 surrounds.
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post #5 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
For smoother frequency response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips), place the listeners' ears at 1/3rd room length from the front wall and place the L/R speakers 1/6th room width from the side walls. Overhead speakers should be around 45 degrees elevation (measure from your ears to the ceiling, same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation).
Hi Sdruani, thank you for your suggestions. listeners' ears are more or less at 1/3, L/R speakers I can definitively move to 1/6 from side walls. Overhead will be at 45 degrees, so I don't see any issue is in positioning.

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I would wall mount all 4 surround speakers: Rears around 150 degrees from centre, Sides slightly forward of the listeners (around 80 degrees from centre). This will give you wrap-around envelopment and side-vs-rear separation in the surround field that is not possible with only 2 surrounds.
So you don't see any problem having the rear-surround so distant from the listening position? While I see the point of positioning the L/R surround at 80 degrees, I'm not sure how they will sound in 5.1 content... are those the speakers used as surround channels in 5.1 content, not the rear surround speakers, right?
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post #6 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:30 AM
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Both, any one that studies how human hearing works knows that we have a hard time with sound coming from behind us. Audio companies know this too so I place 7.1 in the gimmick category. Audio engineers also know this and that is way you see more 5.1 tracks on Blu rays, well until people started demanding more 7.1 tracks. Most people can get better sound from HT systems if they focused on a 5.1 setup vs spreading out the same money into a 7.1 system.

I'm not saying 7.1 is bad, just that it is not needed. If you are in the sweet spot and have the side channels set up correctly you will get sound directly behind you any way. 6.1 with a center rear speaker was an okay option for a short while but people do not like buying or selling one speaker. For 7.1 THX did a lot of research and I think they had a better setup for how human hearing worked with the rear speakers directly behind you as close together as possible.



Dolby's setup is really just 2 sets of side speakers which is not needed.
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post #7 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
For smoother frequency response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips), place the listeners' ears at 1/3rd room length from the front wall and place the L/R speakers 1/6th room width from the side walls. Overhead speakers should be around 45 degrees elevation (measure from your ears to the ceiling, same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation).
Good info

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
I would wall mount all 4 surround speakers: Rears around 150 degrees from centre, Sides slightly forward of the listeners (around 80 degrees from centre). This will give you wrap-around envelopment and side-vs-rear separation in the surround field that is not possible with only 2 surrounds.
What the hell are you talking about! This setup makes perfect sense if this was a new format and I wish this was how they did 7.1 as this is 3 speakers up front with 2 front wides and 2 side/rear speakers. But movies are not mastered for the sides to be in front of the LP. Plus the 80% of Movies that the OP will be watching in 5.1 will just not be right unless he uses his rear speakers as sides.
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:40 AM
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Option #5 : Get a dedicated theater/media room.
It's always interesting how these posts come up where someone is trying to shoehorn some set audio layout into a room that's not conducive to that setup. And yet we always oblige them with suggestions instead of telling them to just get a dedicated room or stick with 2.1.
And yes, I agree, 7.1 is overkill.... unless you're doing Atmos.
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Both, any one that studies how human hearing works knows that we have a hard time with sound coming from behind us. Audio companies know this too so I place 7.1 in the gimmick category. Audio engineers also know this and that is way you see more 5.1 tracks on Blu rays, well until people started demanding more 7.1 tracks. Most people can get better sound from HT systems if they focused on a 5.1 setup vs spreading out the same money into a 7.1 system.

I'm not saying 7.1 is bad, just that it is not needed. If you are in the sweet spot and have the side channels set up correctly you will get sound directly behind you any way. 6.1 with a center rear speaker was an okay option for a short while but people do not like buying or selling one speaker. For 7.1 THX did a lot of research and I think they had a better setup for how human hearing worked with the rear speakers directly behind you as close together as possible.



Dolby's setup is really just 2 sets of side speakers which is not needed.
So based on your last reply, probably a 5.1 setup would be a better option in my position.
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaterofpain View Post
Option 5: Get a dedicated theater/media room.
It's always interesting how these posts come up where someone is trying to shoehorn some set audio layout into a room that's not conducive to that setup. And yet we always oblige them with suggestions instead of telling them to just get a dedicated room or stick with 2.1.
And yes, I agree, 7.1 is overkill.... unless you're doing Atmos.
Unfortunately I don't consider viable to set up a dedicated room. As stated in my post, I'm willing to come up to some compromises, and asking for some advice. Finally, I'm considering a .4 Atmos setup.
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
So you don't see any problem having the rear-surround so distant from the listening position?
During initial calibration, levels & delays will make all speakers appear the same distance away.
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While I see the point of positioning the L/R surround at 80 degrees, I'm not sure how they will sound in 5.1 content... are those the speakers used as surround channels in 5.1 content, not the rear surround speakers, right?
With an Atmos set-up, 5.1 content is almost never played back using only 5 speakers (would be like watching Blu-rays using only a 1080x1920 grid of pixels in the middle of your 4K display). Instead, the audio is typically scaled to your speaker layout, so all speakers are engaged (just as all video sources are scaled to your display). Sounds that would have normally phantom imaged between/behind the two Side speakers are extracted and sent to the two Rear speakers. Keep in mind that surround speakers extend well forward of listeners in a commercial movie theatre and soundtracks are mixed with that in mind.


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post #12 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
During initial calibration, levels & delays will make all speakers appear the same distance away. With an Atmos set-up, 5.1 content is almost never played back using only 5 speakers (would be like watching Blu-rays using only a 1080x1920 grid of pixels in the middle of your 4K display). Instead, the audio is typically scaled to your speaker layout, so all speakers are engaged (just as all video sources are scaled to your display). Sounds that would have normally phantom imaged between/behind the two Side speakers are extracted and sent to the two Rear speakers.
Atmos is marketed this way but it does not work this way for HT. If you read the White paper for Atmos you will see that HT Atmos is a 5.1 or 7.1 bed that follows the regular standards with 10 objects that can be placed anywhere but a few of those objects are used for the height channels only.

The way Atmos was marketed your setup would be great. Just tell the AVR where your speakers are placed in your room and the whole sound track gets scaled to your setup. Unfortunately Cinema Atmos is a lot more flexible than home Atmos. We were promised the ability to place speakers were ever we wanted but no we still have to follow guide lines.

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Keep in mind that surround speakers extend well forward of listeners in a commercial movie theatre and soundtracks are mixed with that in mind.
I wondered about this also a while back and I also wondered why a Movie would be 7.1 in the cinema but a 5.1 track is mastered and used for Home use. If you watch some video’s from Home Theater Geeks with Movie sound engineers. They openly say the master for Cinema is very different from Home theater masters. The front sound stage for Cinema is used as all on screen sound so voices come out of the right speaker if the actor is on the right side of the screen. In HT the center channel is used for everyone on screen and the left/Right is used for off screen sound. They also went into detail about the sides and rear channels as mastering for an array is very different than the standard mono poles used in HT. A lot of sounds are redone and sometimes new sound mixes are used. Mixes are done with a standard 5.1 or 7.1 setup which have the side channels behind you. They even go into wides and how they do mix in sounds that are played with both the right front and right side speaker. They spend a lot of time mastering to the Dolby setup. Your setup is great and I wish that was the standard but movies are not mixed that way.
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Brian Vessa is the guy I was talking about with a white paper on this. But this is also repeated but a few guys on the same show.

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Quote:
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If you read the White paper for Atmos you will see that HT Atmos is a 5.1 or 7.1 bed that follows the regular standards with 10 objects that can be placed anywhere but a few of those objects are used for the height channels only.
The home version of Atmos always has 7.1 channels, never 5.1. It can have a maximum of 16 objects at any given time, though 12 objects is the default setting on home Atmos encoders.
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They openly say the master for Cinema is very different from Home theater masters.
Re-mastering for home is basically re-equalizing for nearfield listening and doesn't change the location/direction of any of the sounds or dialogue. Besides, it varies by studio. Sony re-masters their theatrical soundtracks, Paramount ports their theatrical soundtracks with no re-mastering, Lionsgate actively re-mixes soundtracks (often creating home Atmos mixes for their theatrical soundtracks that were not originally in Atmos). There's no way to make a blanket statement because theatrical-to-home translation is all over the place.
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-02-2019, 01:02 PM
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All new information for me. I guess since the OP has stand speakers they can test a few different setups.
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-04-2019, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Brian Vessa is the guy I was talking about with a white paper on this. But this is also repeated but a few guys on the same show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f5gf6MyfoM
Very interesting video, thank you for sharing it.
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Do you guys know any brand that has tilting in-wall speakers? I'm thinking of concealing surround speakers in-wall... is there any speaker with 20/30 degree angle?

Thank you
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post #18 of 33 Old 10-19-2019, 07:27 AM
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Can you explain what angle: a or b should I use for 7.1.4 dolby atmos setup ?
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Can you explain what angle: a or b should I use for 7.1.4 dolby atmos setup ?
From point of view. Try to have 45 degrees if you can.
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From point of view.
don't understand, sorry. Please point at my picture: A or B angle ?
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don't understand, sorry. Please point at my picture: A or B angle ?
Either. Aim for 45 degrees, which would make both A and B 45 degrees.

You have 10 degrees tolerance either way, using either A or B.

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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
From point of view.
don't understand, sorry. Please point at my picture: A or B angle ?
Angle A
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Angle A
In what number of coordinates should the angle be calculated, in two coordinates XY or in three-dimensional measurement (XYZ)?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad G View Post
Can you explain what angle: a or b should I use for 7.1.4 dolby atmos setup ?
Angle a. When you see recommended angles for height speakers, it's always angles of elevation. So if the recommendation is 35-55 degrees, that's 35-55 degrees above seated ear height.

In this particular case, figuring out 45 degree elevation angle is easy: measure from your ears to the ceiling, that same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation.

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Quote:
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In what number of coordinates should the angle be calculated, in two coordinates XY or in three-dimensional measurement (XYZ)?
2 dimensions.

So, the 45 degree angle is to determine how much closer to the screen the front atmos speakers are compared to the main listening position (where you're sitting).

If your ear height to the ceiling is 2m, the atmos speakers should be 2m closer to the screen than your ears (in the direction perpendicular to the screen).

The horizontal location of the atmos height speakers should be in line with your front L and R speakers.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
For smoother frequency response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips), place the listeners' ears at 1/3rd room length from the front wall and place the L/R speakers 1/6th room width from the side walls. Overhead speakers should be around 45 degrees elevation (measure from your ears to the ceiling, same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation).
Question @sdurani , or anyone else, I am about to install some front ceiling speakers for my new Atmos setup to add to the existing rears, and before I move the seats and hack up the ceiling drywall I have a question regarding this 45 degree angle. The picture below doesn't quite explain it: is it 45 degrees from the MLP to the speaker directly? or is it 45 degrees from the MLP to a centre point in the plane line between either front or back ceiling speakers, ie: in the centre of the room?



Thanks,
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The picture below doesn't quite explain it: is it 45 degrees from the MLP to the speaker directly? or is it 45 degrees from the MLP to a centre point in the plane line between either front or back ceiling speakers, ie: in the centre of the room?
The former. It's 45 degrees elevation relative to the MLP, regardless of where the MLP is in the room.
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The former. It's 45 degrees elevation relative to the MLP, regardless of where the MLP is in the room.
I believe that is what @Vlad G was alluding to regarding the XYZ reference, and the answer seemed to be the latter, so just to confirm, as a picture is worth a thousand words... the angle shown below should be 45 degree angle suggested by Dolby, yes?
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

In this particular case, figuring out 45 degree elevation angle is easy: measure from your ears to the ceiling, that same distance forward & rearward of you is 45 degrees elevation.
Because this answer seems to imply this angle: And it makes a difference, because with my angle in the post above at 45 degrees this angle is 15 degrees steeper: 60 degrees, which is too steep for Dolby specs.
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post #30 of 33 Old 10-23-2019, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watsco View Post
I believe that is what @Vlad G was alluding to regarding the XYZ reference, and the answer seemed to be the latter, so just to confirm, as a picture is worth a thousand words... the angle shown below should be 45 degree angle suggested by Dolby, yes?
It can be. Or the two Top Front speakers can be on a line in front of the listener that is 45 degrees elevated. Either one will work. The goal is to hear those sounds above you, with left-vs-right and front-vs-back separation. Specific angles aren't important.
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Because this answer seems to imply this angle: And it makes a difference, because with my angle in the post above at 45 degrees this angle is 15 degrees steeper: 60 degrees, which is too steep for Dolby specs.
The Atmos decoder doesn't use angles when rendering objects, which is why Dolby suggests ranges (rather than specific coordinates) for speaker locations. For example: the Top Middle speakers can be anything from 65 to 100 degrees elevation according to Dolby. That's a 35-degree range. Anywhere in there will work.

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