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Help!? Surround speaker placement...

317 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  sdurani
Hi all,

Due to the need to 'baby-proof' my living room, I've decided to relocate my left & right surround speakers (they are currently on floor stands). I plan to mount the speakers on the ceiling (more specifically, where the wall meets the ceiling), but I can't decide where in the room is the best location. Any advice would be much appreciated! Please take a look at the image below... The current position of the surrounds are directly to the right and left of the viewer, at ear-level. The other options I am considering are labeled "Option 1" and "Option 2" (again, on the ceiling, pointed down towards the viewer).

What are your thoughts? Is one of these options ideal, or is there a better location for the surrounds altogether? Thanks in advance!!!

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If your surrounds are dipole speakers, then keep them where they are: directly to the sides of the listening area.

For regular monopole speakers, I would go with option 1. This should strike a good compromise between rear and side coverage in the surround field. Too far back (option 2) and you won't get any side wall imaging. To much to the sides and you'll end up with a sonic hole behind you. Somewhere around option 1 seems to be the right balance between side and rear coverage.

Good Luck,


Thank you kindly for the input! Your suggestion makes perfect sense (I'm using monopole speakers btw). In your opinion, is the ceiling-mount a good idea, or would it be wise to try and keep the speakers closer to ear-level, perhaps by mounting them on the wall...?
Mounting the surrounds at ear level will help create a ring of sound along the listener's plane all the way around you. Mounting them higher creates more of a bubble of sound in the rear hemisphere because you've given the sound some element of height.

Placing the surrounds near the wall/ceiling boundries will give you lots of reflections mixed in with the direct sound from the speakers. In the front soundstage, these reflections would be perceived as a muddying of the sound, reducing articulation and dialogue intelligibility. Blech. In the surround field, the added reflections will give the impression of a more diffuse and enveloping sound. Nice!

Any reason your choices are limited to ceiling mount or ear level? I mean, can you mount the surrounds a couple of feet above ear level? This will give a better impression of the sound being around you rather than above you, while still keeping the speakers out of the baby's reach.


Mounting them on/near the ceiling is not a must, I mainly was thinking of the convenience for wiring the speakers (I have a drop-panel ceiling). To mount the speakers on the wall just above ear level I may need to run the wires down through the walls, but it sounds like the benefits are far worth the extra effort.

Thanks again for the advice! :)


One final suggestion if you're willing:

Before you completely commit to a location, do a brief listening test. Use a pair of step-ladders or piles of boxes or whatever you have around that can serve as temporary speaker stands. First try the surrounds a couple of feet above ear level and then at ceiling height.

An hour of experimenting using some familiar DVDs will let you know which height sounds best to you. This small effort is worth the peace of mind, just so you don't keep wondering later on if another location would have sounded better.

If you end up not being able to hear a significant difference, then take the convenient route and mount them near the drop ceiling.

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