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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need a little advice regarding the placement of surrounds in a 5.1 system. This is a living room, not a dedicated home theater, so compromises, compromises...


A picture is worth 1,000 words, so have a look.


A few limitations:


1) I realize in a 5.1 system the surrounds should technically be on the side walls and pointed in toward the main listening position. However, the speaker wire was already run inside the walls and relocating it isn't an option.


2) the speakers are well above the recommended 2-3 feet above ear level. Obvious, it's a very open floor plan and I do not have a back wall and the right wall opens to a hallway.


3) I know in-walls or in-ceilings are probably a better solution, but I already have a matching Ascend 5.1 system and I really love the sound and look of it. Also, I've never heard an in-wall or in-ceiling that I really liked.


Things I've tried:


1) mounting the speakers flush against the wall... I really couldn't hear the surround effects at all. Not good.


2) angling the speakers toward (but not directly at) the main listening position. I haven't had a chance to run Audyssey again, but I can hear surround effects much better now. They are too loud, but I think that's to be expected. Pretty good.


I pointed the speakers at an imaginary point in the center of the room. I call it the optimum listening position. If I form an equilateral triangle with my left and right speakers, it's that point. The main listening position is about 4 feet further back (compromises... compromises). In theory, it's kind of like having the surround speakers shooting 2-3 feet above my head.


I don't want to open a can of worms here, but I've read a lot of debate about ambience vs discrete surround effects. To be honest, I'm not sure what my preference is. After angling the speakers toward the main listening position, movies sound much fuller with more depth and I really can't localize the surround effects - I can just tell right or left and that it's not coming from the fronts. It sounds really good, but some precise effects - like pans - lack a specific location like i think the sound engineer intended.

Any suggestions? What else should I try? What would you do?


Two quick notes: I've been testing with a few scenes from Inception, The Dark Knight, and Kung Fu Panda. I need to get my hands on a copy of Master and Commander! Also, I don't think the tweeter in my CBM-170 SE is aimable.


P.S. don't mind my daughter... She's home sick today
but she is sitting in the main listening position




 

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What does the other wall look like opposite to that window?

My thought is sides about half way up that wall would be a good option if possible.

If not, I think where you have them might be the next best option if you cant do stands. Honestly even if you could do stands, I would probably say I like your current setup better for surrounds and with kids. I think the higher up gives more of a "surround" feel than having to the sides and ear level, but you have alot of space to fill so sides might work well for you.
 

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Re-run Audyssey, and see how it sounds. If surrounds still to loud turn their gain down slightly.


Sometime we can't place the speakers perfectly, and we make a compromise. You didn't make a horrible compromise I feel.


You could invest in speaker stands to lower them and place them on stands, but with a young kid you might worry about them knocking them over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.


The other wall opens to a hallway - no wall at all. It does, however, have the same drop ceiling as the back. I could mount it on the side, but the height would be the same as I have. I also run into the speaker wire issue. I thought about stands, but I agree, I prefer wall mounts with two kids and two dogs.


If where I have them is the best option with my setup, how/where would you recommend pointing the tweeters? I guess that's about all I can mess with.
 

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Maybe another option is spacing them out more and having something come down to bring them down more and point more inward?

With your space, that back ledge might just be the best place to put them. You might just have to play with levels more.

IMHO, you want the surrounds to have a deffinate presence, but not to the point where it takes away from the front stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do have some 6 inch extensions that came with the mounts that I can experiment with.


My only complaint with the setup in the picture is that bullets that should be whizzing behind your head are whizzing above it. I do get pretty decent panning effects, but my surrounds are more ambient than discrete.
 

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What kind of mount are you using?
 

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One thing to try is maybe adding 2 more surrounds behind your seating area. You would have to run additional speaker wires to the rear surrounds. Something like the Polk OWM3's come in the nuetral white color and have many mounting options
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm using these mounts: http://rslspeakers.com/store/accessories/vantage-point-bsme-extended-wall-ceiling-mounts.html


I don't think I can add any more speakers... I really can't add any more wire... That's the true limiting factor here.


I think I might try to mount them on the side wall on the left and the drop ceiling on the right. The height would be the same, but I could angle them down. As is, the surround effects are getting lost in the front sound stage. And if I turn them up to the point where they don't get lost, it takes too much away from the fronts. I should be able to move the wire at least to the edge of the drop ceiling the speakers are currently mounted on, but I'm not sure what will happen at the corners.
 

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Thanks for posting a link to those mounts. I may be looking for some myself. No issues with them sagging at all? Do you know how much your bookshelves weigh?

Are they metal or plastic?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Those mounts are the real deal. All metal. My speakers weigh 14 pounds each. No sagging. The best thing about them is their flexibility - wall or ceiling, 6 inch extension, three different plates, tons of different ways to rotate/angle/aim.
 

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thanks man. I may check those out. Im still trying to figure the best way to mount my surrounds. I have a difficult room also.
 
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