Surround Sound: Speaker placement and calibration questions

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by TP3D, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. TP3D

    TP3D Auditioning

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    Hello there!


    I just got my first surround system, and although I've read the instuction manual front to back and done my research, I still have a couple general beginner's questions I hope I can get a clear answer for:


    First off, I'm having trouble with speaker placement with my setup. My entertainment center is in the corner of my living room, angled sort of strange, but in a corner none the less. Now, according to the manual and various guides I've looked at, the ideal speaker placement for the front speakers is 45 degrees away from where you sit, but in line with the TV/center speaker, at the level of your ears when you're sitting. However, with my setup being in the corner, when I place my front speakers at 45 degree angles it puts them a good 3 to 4 feet in front of my TV/center speaker. I'm willing to live with this, however when I look at pictures of other setups, I see some people put their front speakers on the actual entertainment center, right next to the TV on each side, a mere foot or two away from the center speaker. This is not abiding by the "45 degree" rule, however they are in line with the TV/center speaker. I was thinking about doing this, but doesn't that make the sound from the center speaker a little redunant? Also, setting them on my entertainment center would put them below where my ears are located when I sit.

    So my basic question here is, do I place my speakers at 45 degree angles, even though they're a few feet in front of the TV that way, or do I put them on my entertainment stand on either side of the TV, which is not 45 degrees out nor at ear level?


    My second question is simple. My system, a Samsung HT-Z320, came with a little microphone do aid in a function called ASC. I assume you are familiar with this calibration option, and if it is useful. Sure, Samsung says its great, but it is necassary to run it? I don't want to fiddle with each speaker level myself, so I'm thinking I should probably do this. I wanted to make sure its not just some gimmick before I run it and change my speaker settings.


    I hope someone here can give me a couple simple answers to my complicated explanations of my questions Just some additional information: I sit about 8 or so feet away from my TV, and I plan on using the surround sound primarily for gaming if that matters at all. Sorry for the long winded post, I can't seem to summarize my question very well, haha.


    -TP
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Only answering #2 - Auto calibration is not a gimmick. Run it. Put the mic at ear level, stand back and run it. I use a tri-pod with my Pioneer's mic rubber-banded to the top so that it stays at ear level.
     
  3. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Have you looked at the Dolby guide for speaker placement? I've not heard of the 45 degree rule - most guides I've seen recommend at most 30 degrees for the front mains.


    As with everything, these are just guidelines. In my experience, symmetry is more important - a symmetric placement of speakers with respect to the listening position will result in the largest "sweet spot" for watching.


    Also, this is where the setup utilities, like the one your system has, come in really handy. These setup programs can automatically compensate for distance variations, room frequency response, and to an extent, help correct any problems caused by asymmetry in speaker placement.
     
  4. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I've never heard of a 45 degree rule either. See Dolby's recommendations here: http://www.dolby.com/consumer/setup/speaker-setup-guide/index.html

    Where ever they are sitting, the calibration should allow for it, so don't worry too much about it. As mentioned, if possible, put the mic on a tripod, and adjust it to ear level when sitting down. The mic should be pointed toward the ceiling, not the speaker.


    I'm not familiar with Samsung's ASC auto calibration software. Mine has Audyssey. It's probably fairly similar. Audyssey works very well. The one quirk Audyssey has is that it sets speakers to "Full band" (Large), most of the time. If you have a subwoofer, and the calibration software sets your speakers to "Large", change that setting to "Small", and leave the rest of the settings alone, and try it. If it sounds good, you're done.........

    Good luck!
     
  5. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Setting your HT in a corner on a diagonal will present problems with placement of both your L & R front and surround speakers. All you can do is try to follow the Dolby sited guidelines as best you can and experiment to find the placement that works best in your room. Use your ears and your receivers speaker calibration to help you.


    I can see where you are a bit confused. As when you go to the Dolby site you will see that the recommendation for the 5.1 system has the front L & R speakers on an an 44 degree angle from the prime listening position. You can also see they place the speakers slightly in front of the TV. This may be easy to do if you have floor standing speakers or small speakers on stands. But speakers on a bookshelf or mounted on a wall will have to be installed further back than the Dolby recommendations. I was faced with that problem as my L & R speakers were to be placed on bookshelves on wall on either side of my 52" LCD. After reviewing the Dolby site, my receiver manual, and speaker manual and much experimentation I found that the best location put the L & R speakers was at about the middle of the screen about 7 feet apart set straight ahead. The Audyssey MultiEQXT that came with my receiver did a great job with room correction.

    To those of you who question the the existence of a so called 45 degree rule. If you look at most speaker recommendations you will see that from the #1 or prime listening spot the L & R speakers will be roughly 40 to 50 degree angle from someone sitting at that position and when looking at the TV. Sit in that position and point you left and right hand at your speakers and you will find they make roughly a 45 degree angle.
     
  6. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Bill,


    In my experience, any time one talks about speaker placement and angles, the measurements are always given relative to the viewing angle rather than to other speakers. Yes, the resultant angle between the left front and right front speaker will be 44-60 degrees according to the Dolby recommendation, but no one really uses the left speaker orientation as the "zero" point when describing a layout. Indeed, if you look closely at the Dolby guidelines, you'll see the "zero" line clearly indicated from viewing position to screen. Likewise, the surround speaker angles (90 - 110 degrees) are given relative to the zero line, not each other or another speaker.


    Since the OP stated, "when I place my front speakers at 45 degree angles" (emphasis mine) I and others naturally assumed the 45 degrees was for each speaker relative to the viewing angle, which would result in a 90 degree difference between left front and right front speakers - an orientation that I think we can all agree is a bit too wide.
     
  7. TP3D

    TP3D Auditioning

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    Hey guys!


    Thanks for the help. I went ahead and ran the ACS, and it does sound considerably different and better afterwards. I'm just going to leave my speakers where they are, at different levels (one is on top of my window air conditioner unit, the other on my DVD shelf). I got the best advice I can think of: Don't worry so much about it, if it sounds good to you, sit back and enjoy! And after a couple movies and some Halo, I'm more than impressed by the surround sound! Bullets are most definitely flying by my head, dropships over my head, and all the greatness in between


    I might invest in some speaker stands to get that perfect symmetry for my front speakers somewhere down the line, but for now I'm perfectly happy with the sound.

    Thanks again for the help guys!
     
  8. Bruce100

    Bruce100 Auditioning

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    The home threater forums are the nice forums and these are the nice topics that are to be posted on to it.

    These topics are good and has a positive effect.


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  9. Bruce100

    Bruce100 Auditioning

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    T%he topic is on the sound systems that are the great demand on the forums by the general public.The topics are also clearly understood.





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  10. shunli

    shunli Auditioning

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    Recently I was anno[FONT= 宋体]y[/FONT]ce of [FONT= 宋体]it[/FONT] , thank you for this act and let me learn a lot, I want to take advantage of it
     

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