Center Speaker height in relation to Mains?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Todd Pricer, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. Todd Pricer

    Todd Pricer Auditioning

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    Hi Everyone,
    I just recently started visiting this site as I was interested in getting a HT setup. I've found a lot of valuable advice which led me to getting this setup:
    54" Akai television
    Samsung DVD - N501
    Onkyo 595
    HTD Level Three 5.1 setup with Tower mains
    My question is this: Does the front stage have to all be equal height as well as equal distance?
    I read somewhere that the speakers should be the same height, however the towers place the drivers on my speakers about halfway in the middle of the screen as far as height goes. If I place the center speaker on top of the TV, will this throw the sound out of whack? Do I need to get stands for my towers to raise their height so a center speaker mounted on the TV will be equal height? Or should I try to angle the center speak down slightly so the sound will hit the approximate level that the towers are projecting to the listner?
    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    hey Todd-

    when placing the center, you need to make sure the tweeters in the speaker are angled down towards your listening position. i dont think it really matters where the center is placed so long as it's: 1) about halfway between the speakers and 2) adjacent to the TV. i say adjacent b/c many people prefer (or require) placement in other spots than directly on top of the TV. i've seen centers below the TV (angled up of course), centers to the side (stood on end), and centers stood on their end above the TV. just mess with it and figure out what sounds best to you.

    good luck!
     
  3. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Hey Todd,

    Welcome to HTF.

    I agree with Thomas that you should just try and tilt your center speaker down to face your listening position. A lot of people just use those cheap rubber wedge door stops.

    Also don't forget to set a slight time delay in your center speaker. Chances are your center speaker is closer to your listening position than your front mains because most people set them up in a straight line instead of an arc.
     
  4. Todd Pricer

    Todd Pricer Auditioning

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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll try the door stop wedges...I would think that that would be enough to prevent the speaker from coupling to the TV, right? Must be if many people do it.
    I never thought about a slight delay for the center. However, I think the speaker placement will be in an arc since everything will be geared towards me as the primary (and usually the only one) listener. I'll make sure the speakers are equal distance and the tweeter is angled towards the "sweet spot".
    One other question, I read that Dobly recommends that the surrounds be two to three feet higher than the listner. How important is this? The speakers stands (nice oak ones)stands I purchased are 28" which puts my surrounds at ear level. Should I seriously consider investing in more stands to raise the surround speaker level (I can't mount them to a wall because I live in an apartment)?
    Thanks again! [​IMG]
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Todd. Welcome again to HTF!

    First, there are lots of guidelines for speaker placement. But dont get over-obsessed. Each one adds a little, not doing it exactly right only subtracts a little.

    Music tries to create a phantom image with 2 speakers. Small adjustments mattered. For a Home Theater system, you have an array of speakers to create the experience - this means less sensitivity to small changes, and less power requirements.

    Ideally: the tweeters on all 3 front speakers should be the same height. My center is on the TV so the tweeter is about 8" higher than the L/R - sounds fine.

    Pulling the L/R forward so they are an equal distance to the listener as the center is also a great idea. Speakers DO sound better with some room behind them.

    Rear Speakers: There is no obvious right answer to the ear-level vs 2-3 feet above ear level.

    The Dolby guidelines for rear speakers have not changed since the ProLogic days (when the 2 rear speakers both got the same signal, and was only limited to diffuse/ambient effect sounds).

    More and more movies are sending specific sounds to one or the other rear speaker. Frankly it sounds funny for a street scene when a car drives past the scene and the sound shoots up over your head.

    But for every one of these movies, there are 5-10 others that only send diffuse sounds to the rears so placing them 2-3 feet above your head sounds better.

    So there is not a clear-cut answer to this question.

    In your case - go with stands for the rears and put them at ear level. This is more flexable and stable. You can now play with positions/angles without messing up the walls.
     
  6. Todd Pricer

    Todd Pricer Auditioning

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    Very informative, Bob. Thanks, I will definitely heed your advice. [​IMG]
     
  7. James Wong

    James Wong Auditioning

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    Hey Guys,

    I apologise if I'm asking a silly question... but what if the 2 fronts speakers are satelite speakers which are ceiling mounted (7.5')? Would it be ok then if I were to ceiling mount the center speaker and angle it down to the listening position or would it be better off for me to just place the speaker on top of the TV?
     
  8. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Hi James,

    Welcome to HTF.

    Where you mount the speakers is not really important as long as you point them at your listening position. However as I mentioned above, you want your front 3 speakers to be acoustically equidistant from your listening position. Most receivers have a center channel time delay setting to adjust for the likely scenario where the center is closer than the mains.
     

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