How Far Apart to Place Speakers With This Setup?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brent_N, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    With the following setup, how far apart would you recommend placing my front speakers? I'm finishing a basement and will be building-in a RPTV and front speakers into the wall, so I need to determine this now.
    Main seating position: 13.5 to 14 feet
    Speakers:Paradigm Mini-Mk3 fronts
    CC-300 center
    Titan rears
    Display: Toshiba 65HDX82
    Here is my layout...
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Which progam did you use to draw that?

    I need one that is cheap.
     
  3. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    I used 3D Home Architect which works pretty well - not perfect, but good enough. It looks like there is a new version out (see www.broderbund.com and click on "3D Home Design").
    So...
    Any advice on speaker placement? [​IMG]
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, that is a really cool drawing!

    Where is the equipment going? either side of the TV?

    I would go as wide as you want, but make sure that left speaker doesn't get too close to the left wall. Being in the corner will reinforce its output more than the right speaker. You can adjust for this, but it's best to just not have it right in the corner. I would say at least a foot out from that wall and you're fine.

    If you want the speakers equidistant from the TV (you probably do), the right speaker will place itself.
     
  5. Pete H

    Pete H Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you are going to have to play around with this a little bit. Generally you want to form an equilateral triangle between the fronts and your listening position. If mini accurately describes your speakers you will probably have a hard time getting them to image if they are 14 feet apart. I would start with them 14 apart and two feet from the back wall. Move them closer together until they sound good. Then experiment with the distance to the back wall. This will change the sound and you may have to increase the distance between the speakers.

    If you could get your sofa out into the room a little you would get better sound.
     
  6. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Note that this is intended to be an "Entertainment Room", thus not for super critical Home Theater, although I would like it to sound as good as possible. I realize my setup is not ideal for Home Theater, but is best for what I was trying to achieve - namely, to be able to build-in the RPTV flush with the wall.

    The front speakers will actually be on bookshelves set into the wall, so I need to define the exact location now.

    To get close to the "equilateral triangle" that you speak of, I should place the speakers as far apart as possible, but not too close to the side walls and consider moving the seating position forward.

    So what is the farthest apart the speakers should be placed and how close is too close to the side wall?
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    With the surrounds, I would move the couch away from the wall and put the surrounds behind. Surrounds on the wall with the couch on the wall is just about the worst setup possible, IMO. I would definitely move the seating position closer, maybe in the 9-10' range. Right now, I am approximately 8' from my mains and 5' from my surrounds (behind, also Titans).

    With that setup, going by rule of thumb, you will want the speakers roughly 15' apart, and that does not look possible. Putting them that far apart would not be an awful issue for imaging, but it will also not be ideal.

    I WOULD NOT put the speakers into recessed areas. This will certainly hinder imaging and limit your ability to account for room effects. If I am not mistaken, and your mains are like the current Mini Monitor, the Minis are rear ported, which will also create a problem with putting them in a recessed area, unless you plug the ports.

    Too close to the wall is a relative thing, as you are trying to minimize first reflection (speaker to side wall). To handle this, you will want to point them away from the wall (toe in) toward the center and/or just behind the seating position.
     
  8. Pete H

    Pete H Stunt Coordinator

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    All things considered I would try to maintain the equilateral triangle even if it put the speakers a little too close to the side walls. IMO the best solution is to move the sofa out into the room a bit which would allow the fronts to be spaced a little closer.

    John's comments about the rear surrounds is exactly right. My previous setup was similar.

    It looks like you are going to a nice setup. Enjoy!
     
  9. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Come to think of it, you are correct about the Mini-Mk3s being rear ported.

    Would it be OK to build them in if they are just sitting on shelves behind the wall which are open to the "Unfinished" area (see my layout)? In other words, from the front, the speakers appear to be trimmed out, flush against the wall, but in reality they are open to the unoccupied utility area behind.

    I hope this will work because I really do want the clean look across the front stage (i.e., no speaker stands).
     
  10. Greg Kennedy

    Greg Kennedy Agent

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    Can't offer any more advice on the speaker setup, but I wanted to let other people know about Visio. It's a great program for doing drawings like the one that was initially posted. If you get a chance, check it out. I highly recommend it.

    Greg
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  12. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Now that I am reading up on speaker placement, it appears that my fronts do not have enough separation. Based on my layout, I could achieve maximum separation by using speaker stands.

    I have read that it is actually a good thing for the fronts to be slightly forward of the center channel. So... How far is too far forward?

    I ask this because the farther I move the speakers forward, the more I can spread them apart (due to the angled wall)... but then there is the darn pole getting in the way. sigh
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Would it be possible to reorient your room, so that the TV is against the left wall in your diagram (pointing across the room toward the staircase)? I think this would give you more options acoustically and a better overall layout. For example, do you plan to mount your right surround speaker on a stand and just place it out in the middle of the room next to the couch? Also, having the windows behind the TV will reduce glare and likely obviate the need for blackout curtains in the daytime. Something like this:
    -------------------------(RS)------------------


    RF



    C



    LF


    ---------------------------(LS)-------------------
     
  14. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    All good suggestions in trying to work with the space you have. In regards to center speaker, it appears it will be placed atop the tv console box. Once here, rest the forward edge flush with the front of the monitor on a 12-in wrist pad such as that at a computer desk, or similar dense foam, and a coupla old-fashioned door stops from the hardware store to angle the speaker's front to point at the listeners.

    As you may have seen, the classic Dolby speaker layout suggests a circle design, which if adhered to, places the CC 2-3 feet behind the fronts. One techno-adjustment for this -- should your receiver offer it -- is the Center Delay in milliseconds (ms). Each ms in delay electronically places the CC one foor farther away, or "behind."

    While you are attempting to plan this in advance, it will take listening to the mains and CC and rears to get the full surround sound that's best to your ears in this room.
     
  15. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich,
    I agree that the layout you suggest would probably be better for home theater and provide more options, but...
    I am pretty set on the idea of building the RPTV into the wall as shown. The plan is to trim it out, masking the bottom half of the TV to give the plasma look (at the rear projection price [​IMG] ). Also, I like the idea of having access to all connections in the "Unfinished" area shown in my layout. Note that the plan is to also have my components recessed into the same wall. Here is the look I am going for.
    So, with this in mind, I am trying to determine the best speaker positioning to work with this layout.
    Now I am leaning towards putting my Mini-Mk3s on speaker stands (since they are rear ported) and placing them a foot or so in front of the wall spread as far apart as possible with consideration for the wall on the left and the pole on the right. The CC-300 center channel (front ported) will be on a shelf just above the TV. This will mean the fronts are at least a couple of feet forward of the center channel.
    Will this work? What about placement of surrounds - dipolar vs. direct, back wall vs. ceiling vs. stands (I have not purchased the Titans yet)? I really want the couch against the back wall, but I can probably move it forward a little.
     
  16. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Brent, if you can move that couch forward a lot, then I think you can make it work quite well with that orientation. I'd move the couch near to the middle of the room, leaving a good deal of space behind it (enough for foot-traffic). You'll also be set, layout and space-wise, should you ever go 6.1/7.1.
    FWIW, placing furniture like couches and chairs flush against the wall is one of those interior design "no-no's" that my mom always use to harp about. Instead of putting the couch back there against the wall, put a nice, narrow table behind the couch and against the wall, leaving enough space for rear-couch foot traffic. Then hang a nice, heavy, dark tapestry above it and tell your wife you did it to make the room look nice for her (but you and I know it's for sound absorption purposes only). [​IMG]
    Since you really don't have a right wall in this setup, I think you'll have to use stands for your side-surround speakers (at least the right one, but I'd recommend you "mount" each speaker in an identical manner). Moreover, having one surround speaker essentially against the wall and the other open into the room will alter the sonic characteristics (bass/mid-bass will likely be more pronounced in your left surround and your right surround might put up a noticeably bigger soundstage, laterally and deeper, with better imaging).
    Alternately, you can do a surround setup that more closely resembles a "surround music" setup, with the surround channels nearly against the back wall and toe'd in toward the listening position (sorta like a reverse image of your front left and right speakers), but understand that this will not be ideal for movie soundtracks.
    ----(L)-------(C)-------(R)----
    ..............[ couch ]..............
    ..(LS).......[table].......(RS)..
    ---------------------------------
     
  17. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your input.
    The couch position all depends on how close is too close for regular cable/sat on my 65 inch Toshiba (which the store is holding for me until drywall dust is gone!). To allow foot traffic behind the couch, I would think that 2.5 feet is a minimum, that would leave my eyeballs about 11 feet.
    What about using something like Paradigm AMS-250 speakers in the ceiling for surrounds?
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I agree 100% with having the unfinished axcess area, it is a great thing to have.
    I have my 5s ~1ft in front of my center and after calibration, the blend of the front stage is excellent. 11ft from the TV should be OK. My friend has a 61" and sits a little closer than that, and it looks fine.
    I have all of my speakers, except for the center, on stands at roughly the same level. The rear center is in front of a sliding glass door, so it has to be moved often [​IMG] I just move it out of the way when not in use.
     
  19. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    For my surrounds, I am leaning towards the alternate recommendation on the Dolby site as follows:

    Move the couch forward a little, then place the speakers a foot or so off the ground just behind the couch, pointing up at the ceiling.

    I think this may be my best option, but since I want to stick with Paradigm (probably Titans), this presents a problem since they are rear ported.

    Has anyone used this arrangement successfully? Any ideas for supporting a rear-ported speaker laying on its back. I can imagine building my own custom stands that support the speaker in this configuration, while not blocking the opening.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    everyone's already nailed the speaker placement issue.
    don't forget to consider the height of your front speakers. you want them level with your head.
    i've also got to echo what someone said about having the rear speakers flush against the wall with the couch. i had that setup until last night and was never really satisified with it.
    i decided to move my rears down to couch level and have them fire upwards. not sure if your SAF will allow that though. i haven't done any critical testing yet, but i think i'll be at least as happy as i was before.
    it sounds like you already checked out the dolby site?
    http://www.dolby.com/ht/Guide.HomeTh....html#chapter3
     

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