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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5.1 set-up. I wish to move my surround left/right speakers from stands, to a bracket mount on the side walls. These speakers are Paradigm Atoms.


However, at the precise place where the left surround should go on the wall (in line with the listeners heads on the couch), there is a closet door.


This leaves me with 3 alternatives:


1. Place speaker on wall ABOVE the closet door frame.


Pros: Speaker can be placed in line with listeners heads on couch (or slightly behind), as recommended by Dolby.


Cons: This would put the speaker (the mid-point of the speaker) at about 7 1/2 feet above the ground (the top of the door frame is just about 7 feet). This is higher than the Dolby recommendation of 6 feet (or 2 to 3 feet above listeners heads).


Moreover, (and perhaps more of an issue) this would leave the top of the speaker only about 4 or 5 inches from the ceiling. The speakers are about 10 1/2 inches tall. And my ceiling is just over 8 feet.


2. Place the speaker on the wall BEHIND (to the left of) the closet door (towards the back of the room).


Pros: Speaker can be placed at 6 feet or any height I want.


Cons. Speaker will be about 3 feet behind the heads of listeners on the couch. Moreover, and perhaps worse, this essentially puts the speaker in the rear corner of the room -- only about 6 inches from the back wall of the room.


3. Place the speaker on the wall in FRONT of (to the right of) the closet door (towards the front of the room).


Pros: Speaker can be placed at 6 feet or any height I want.


Cons: Speaker will be about 3 feet in front of the listener's heads -- essentially firing acoss the front of their laps (or tops of their knees), when seated on the couch. I fear this will substantially impact any sounds that should sound if they are coming from behind the listener and the rear-soundstage in general.



So which of these 3 options is best. I'm leaning towards option number 1.


Please let me know which option you think is best -- and why.


Finally, one last question. When Dolby (or anyone) talks about the height of a speaker off the ground, do you measure that to the bottom of the speaker, the top of the speaker, the tweeter, the center of the speaker, or some other point.


In other words, my speakers are 10 1/2 inches tall. So to place my speaker at, let's say, 6 feet above the ground, should the bottom of the speaker be at the 6 foot mark (so the speaker actually goes up to 6' 10 1/2 inches off the ground at the top of it)?


Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Anybody?
 

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Caesar,


Of your three choices I'd immediately dismiss #3. In a 5.1 speaker layout, placing the surround speakers in front of the listening area will kill the "surround" effect. Instead, the effect you'll end up with is a very wide front soundstage, when what you're really looking for is the side/rear wrap-around sensation normally associated with surround sound.


If I were setting up a 7.1 system, I'd probably choose option #1. With a pair of surround-back speakers supporting the soundfield behind me, I'd want to use the left & right surrounds to establish stable side imaging; not side/rear or side/front imaging, but actual side wall localization. Remember, the rear and front soundfields are already covered by other speakers. With that in mind, it would be important to place the left & right surrounds directly to the sides of the listening area; even if it meant placing them higher than what you'd like.


However, you're not doing a 7.1 set-up. So, for 5.1, I'd definitely go with choice #2. Placing the surrounds on the side walls, three feet rearward of the listening area will yield a good compromise between side and rear imaging in the surround field; you'll enjoy a little of both. The proximity to the rear corners will actually help more than hurt, as the reflections will provide a more ambient rear hemisphere. It's great to have pin-point imaging in the front soundstage, but that sort of localization can prove to be distracting in the surround field. Corner diffusion and a little extra envelopment go a long way to putting you IN the soundtrack, but still keep your attention focused up front (where it shoud be!) This should work well for movie soundtracks, but even better for music in surround.


Hope the explanations make sense.


Best,

Sanjay
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by sdurani
Caesar,


However, you're not doing a 7.1 set-up. So, for 5.1, I'd definitely go with choice #2. Placing the surrounds on the side walls, three feet rearward of the listening area will yield a good compromise between side and rear imaging in the surround field; you'll enjoy a little of both. The proximity to the rear corners will actually help more than hurt, as the reflections will provide a more ambient rear hemisphere. It's great to have pin-point imaging in the front soundstage, but that sort of localization can prove to be distracting in the surround field. Corner diffusion and a little extra envelopment go a long way to putting you IN the soundtrack, but still keep your attention focused up front (where it shoud be!) This should work well for movie soundtracks, but even better for music in surround.


Hope the explanations make sense.


Best,

Sanjay
Sanjay, thanks for the response. I certainly understand why option 3 should be dismissed. However, with regard to option 2 being better than option 1, doesn't that go against Dolby's stated scheme of surround speakers in a 5.1 set-up placed at or slightly behind the sides of the listener? Or do you believe the height I would need to do that in my situation is too much of a detriment -- thus better to go near the back corner at a lower height? Keep in mind, my set-up is strictly for Home Theater and TV watching (not music).


Here is what Dolby recommends:


"Preferred surround speaker placement


The surround speakers should be placed alongside and slightly to the rear of (but not behind) the prime seating position (Figure 8); well above ear level, to help minimize localization effects (Figure 9); and aimed directly across the listening area, not down at the listeners (Figure 10). This arrangement creates a diffuse, enveloping surround soundfield throughout the listening area, like that in cinemas and in the dubbing theaters where soundtracks are mixed. If the speakers are too far forward, you won't get sufficient rearward effect, and if the speakers are too far back, there will be a loss of envelopment and integration of the surround information with the whole soundfield."


So Dolby is saying that too far back can be just as bad as too far forward. They specifically say "not behind".


Here is the link to Dolby's recommendations:


Dolby Surround Speaker Placement in 5.1 set-up


Do you still think my speakers should go towards the back corner? And if so, should the speakers be aimed at each other, not at the couch?


Thanks,


Eric
 

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Eric,
Quote:
However, with regard to option 2 being better than option 1, doesn't that go against Dolby's stated scheme of surround speakers in a 5.1 set-up placed at or slightly behind the sides of the listener? Or do you believe the height I would need to do that in my situation is too much of a detriment -- thus better to go near the back corner at a lower height?
Hate to be an iconoclast but, yes, I prefer opton #2 even though it goes against the recommendations of Dolby Labs themselves. Believe it or not, I don't really see the height as being all that much of a detriment; I mean, it's not like you're planning on using in-ceiling speakers, with the result that the surround effects will (distractingly) appear to come from above.


I chose option #2 not because of the cons of option #1 but because I actually prefer surround content to have both side and rear imaging. In a 5.1 system, I feel direct-to-the-side surround placement leaves too much of a hole behind the listener; moving the speakers slightly rearward of the listening area helps ameliorate this problem without compromising lateral imaging too much.


I also like the idea of rear corner placement, especially if it is only 3 to 4 feet rearward of the listening area. I stand by what I said earlier about reflections creating a more diffuse sound that ends up providing better envelopment. More for movies than for music, I think it is important to not have a surround field that will distract the listener. Keep in mind that all that ambience and envelopment doesn't have to sacrifice important localization cues. The surround field might get very diffuse but, as long as the speakers are on the side walls, you'll still maintain distinct left vs right directionality that's come to be so important to stereo surrounds in the post-ProLogic era.


I can explain the reasons for my preferred speaker placement, but ultimately it will come down to your personal preference. Before committing to a location, why not try some experimentation by placing your two surround speakers on temporary stands (cinderblocks, boxes, step-ladders, etc) and actually listening to hear whether you like the effect of a particular placement? It can't hurt, and you can even experiment with "aiming" the speakers in various directions. After some listening, if you do end up liking how they sound placed rearward of the closet door, then trim your speaker wires to length and mount your speakers there.


Best,

Sanjay
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by sdurani



I also like the idea of rear corner placement, especially if it is only 3 to 4 feet rearward of the listening area. I stand by what I said earlier about reflections creating a more diffuse sound that ends up providing better envelopment. More for movies than for music, I think it is important to not have a surround field that will distract the listener. Keep in mind that all that ambience and envelopment doesn't have to sacrifice important localization cues. The surround field might get very diffuse but, as long as the speakers are on the side walls, you'll still maintain distinct left vs right directionality that's come to be so important to stereo surrounds in the post-ProLogic era.

Thanks Sanjay. I will experiment -- but for a rear corner (or close to the corner, but still on side-wall) 5.1 set-up, do you usually fire the two rears at each other (as Dolby recommends), or angled toward the listening position?
 

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Caesar, why not try the obviously-missed position: mount the speaker ON the closet door? The speaker cone should be light-weight enough to not cause the speaker cabinet to rattle the door.
 

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Eric,


Personally, I'd angle them towards the listening position. But take that recommendation with a grain of salt because I use my surround processor 80% of the time for listening to music in surround, and my set-up reflects this priority. Since you are going to be using your set-up exclusively for movies, it may be better to do as Dolby recommends. If you are going to experiment, try a few movie clips with the surrounds pointed at you and then with the speakers pointed at each other and see what sounds best to you.


Good Luck,

Sanjay
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Fine
Caesar, why not try the obviously-missed position: mount the speaker ON the closet door? The speaker cone should be light-weight enough to not cause the speaker cabinet to rattle the door.
This would be difficult to do and hide the wiring -- which is part of why I want to go with wall mounts (all wiring run via walls from receiver to side walls). Also, opening the closet door could be difficult depending on how the wiring is done.


I can't picture how it could be done and use the closet door and hide the wiring. Then again, I do nothing around the house and hire contractors for everything, except changing lightbulbs.


I was proud when I installed my own digital thermostat though and matched up the color coded wires that had went into the old thermostat ; )
 

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Run the wire into the closet, make a flexible loop to the door, and make a hole through the door behind the speaker. I've seen hinges used as conductor paths, but I wouldn't do that for HT speakers.
 

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What not a speaker stand? I had a similar issue because of a wall of windows, so I built some relatively tall stands (tweaters end up at almost 5 feet). I use stands for rears and side surrounds. It also allows me to move them around to suit different seating arrangements or remove them completely if necessary (hasn't ever happened but it could).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
QUOTE]Originally posted by hmcbean
What about mounting them on the ceiling firing down-wards or firing at each other? Would this be a compromise? [/quote]


Too late. Two days ago, World Wide Stereo installed the speakers at the height right above the closet door (mirrored on the other side). So they are at 7.5 feet. They are also slightly behind the listening position.


I have them pointed downwards at maybe a 20 degrees off being straight up and down -- to compensate for the extra height. They still fire above the listeners heads on the couch (not at the listener). The speakers are aimed at each other.


It sounds pretty darn good. Much better then on stands.
 
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