help on surround speaker placement

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by supermario, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. supermario

    supermario Auditioning

    Aug 20, 2006
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    I am a newbie to Home Theater and I am not sure I have the right expectations our of my system. I just got and installed the following equipment:

    - 42" Sony rear projection LCD
    - Onkyo TXSR603X receiver
    - Polk Audio Monitor 30 [set of 4 for front and surround L&R]
    - Polk Audio CSM (center channel) and PSW10 sub-woofer.

    I am very happy with the sound quality and the tv. However, the surround effects I get are not what I thought. I tried to position the surround speakers so they are equi-distant from the center of the couch (just 2 feet behind and 3 ft above ear level) as described in the Onkyo manual. I hear these speakers only when I increase the volume but then the main speakers are too lound.

    I think I might not have positioned the speakers correctly or maybe surround effects are supposed to be subtle? My room is not big (approx. 18x11) but open to other rooms. The speakers seem kind of big (bookshelves) and can get really loud, so I don't think the speakers being to small are the problem. Or, does anyone think they may be?

    I used the automatic setup feature in the receiver but did not attempt to override its settings.

    Is there a test DVD to calibrate speakers or any method one can follow?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. jonny h

    jonny h Agent

    Oct 23, 1999
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    There are test DVDs out there. Two DVDs meant specifically for this kind of thing are AVIA and Digital Video Essentials (DVE). They both have sections on sound set-up and video set-up. Also, check out the THX optimizer on a DVD that's THX certified... I think they have the same kind of thing. Finally, your receiver should have the test tones built in. So there are three avenues you can go down.

    The calibration is fairly simple. You play the test tones from what ever source you chose, and make sure each speaker is set at the same level. You can do this by ear, or if you want to get real geeky, purchase a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) meter from Radio Shack. You'll have to dig into your manual to see how speaker levels are set. If your rear speakers are set way too low, it'll be obvious when you hear the test tones.

    Good Luck!
  3. Mark:F

    Mark:F Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 14, 2003
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    A few things -
    Your receiver, in addition to providing test tones, should allow you to boost the surround speakers while not boosting the fronts.
    Also, broadcast 5:1 sound varies greatly in quality...movies are usually ok, live TV 5:1 broadcasts can be fine or terrible. Many TV stations broadcast in stereo, not 5:1 surround, so check the receiver lights to see what sound you're getting.
    Another test would be via a good 5:1 DVD.
    Good luck!
  4. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

    Apr 27, 2004
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    The surround sounds are usually subtle. In some films you never really notice them. Try something that is known for surround effects, and see how it sounds.

    Lord of the Rings has some very creepy surround effects: some subtle, some obvious.

    Secondhand Lions has an off-screen gunshot that makes me jump out of my chair every time.

    Star Wars epis 1 - 3 are good for surround. Try the pod race sequence.

    Flight of the Phoenix (the recent remake) has incredible surround in the storm / plane crash scene.

  5. LUKassZ32

    LUKassZ32 Agent

    Feb 14, 2007
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    I would be leary of that CSM as only god knows why polk made it a 4 ohm center and may put a strain on your receiver. Other than being 8 ohms, the CS1 is timbre matched to your M30's. Just a thought...

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