Is it really better to place your center channel under your TV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mindain, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. Mindain

    Mindain Extra

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    I read in a magazine that the best position for your center channel is actually under the television. Is this true? Or is on top a better place?
     
  2. Mathew Shelby

    Mathew Shelby Second Unit

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    I think that it is whatever works better for your particular listening environment. My center works better on top of the tv because I have a sunken living room and the acousitcs suck. Try it both ways-see which works for you.
     
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I read somewhere that the human ear is better designed to hear sound originating from below the ear. I don't know how accurate this is but I recommend you try both ways and see what you like better. Just make sure that you are aiming the speaker to the listening position no matter where you decide to place it.
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    I think whichever position allows for the straightest shot to the ear level would be best. I would think that in most cases, top of the TV placement would result in less unwanted reflections.
     
  5. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Uhhhh guys..
    I've always been a fan of making the tweeter on all 3 front speakers be as close to the same height as possible. This way as effects/dialog move around, they dont change height.
    Trying to follow both theories means you should mount all 3 front speakers below screen height??
    And if this was a general acoustic principle, how come the real audio fanatics dont mount speakers below ear-height for 2-channel music?
    I'm not sure I'm buying into this theory. It sounds (sorry, no pun intended [​IMG] ) like someone took an anthropology class, heard a "ears are sensitive to rustling in the grass" opinion and created this theory. In years of acoustic testing, speaker analysis, sound-field analysis, etc., this has not been discovered before?
    Ok, I might accept that from a dead-silence situation that humans are more sensitive to DETECTING a sound below ear height vs above. But this is very different than hearing subtile nuance/detail in a continous stream of sound. And center-channel sound is NOT designed to be subtle.
     
  7. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    I've always had my center above the TV. I don't think it really makes much difference
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've tried it both ways, below pointed up, and above pointed down (recalibrated each time), and I can't say it made all that much of a difference to me. I've had it on top of my TV for years with no problems.

    I completely agree with Bob though, that getting the mains as close as possible to the same level is the way to go.
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I noticed a huge improvement when I changed my center placement, but I want to stress that it wasn't moved from above to below the TV, but rather from above to below and in front of the TV, and on a real speaker stand.
    It's not hard to understand why the improvement in my circumstance. A television makes for what is, quite possibly, the worst speaker stand in the world, essentially a big plastic box filled with unwanted resonances. Having a speaker sitting on top of such a thing is by no means optimal, to say the least.
    So I got a stand, a Wood Technology 12" one, that put the speaker just below the level of the screen and which also angled it up to the listening position. This resulted in a very noticeable improvement in sound, but was still not quite there. I found the 12" stand, though an improvement over the TV, to be too close to the floor. Although reflections didn't seem problematic, the tweeter was no more in line with my main speakers than before. So I got a new stand for the TV to raise it a bit higher, and switched to an 18" wood tech stand for the center.
    Now, this was really an improvement! While I still didn't achieve a perfect tweeter-to-tweeter height, it was much closer than in either of my previous two attempts and all the unwanted resonances of having used the TV as a stand where, of course, gone.
    For me, it was less an issue of above/below the screen as it was finally putting my speaker on a real speaker stand and finding the best compromise for aligning the tweeters.
    Though I'm not necessarily recommending this retailer (I don't know a thing about them), you can see a good picture of the stand(s) I'm using here: http://www.uniquestylesolutions.com/wmt-ct-series.asp They're not as sturdy, nor do they boast the mass of the Atacama stands I use for my rear speakers, but they were the only center speaker stand I could find at the time (this was about a year ago).
     
  10. BrentPollard

    BrentPollard Second Unit

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    I'm with Bob on this one I think getting all your tweeters as close to ear height and in a horizontal plane with one another is probably the best. Right now I have mine on top of the tv which is sitting on top of an empty 26" console because putting it under inside the console although got it closer to the L&R plane REALLY changed the timbre. The best result I had was what Rich did and had it in front of my tv on a stand, but my 2yr old boy just found it much too "magnetic" so back up she went. So if it's below in a cabinet just listen for any change in timbre.
     
  11. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    I had mine on top of my set, dropped it down and put it on a homemade stand (the weakest link) and noticed a big improvement right away. Along with not having to deal with the TV as a stand or reflections, my center is actually more in line with the mains that way.
     
  12. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    About 3 months ago I made an outstanding stand for my center and placed it just under the screen of my Pioneer53 and I just love it there. I also lowered my mains a bit and in my room the front field is improved.
    I don't angle it up.
    Eric
     
  13. Mindain

    Mindain Extra

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    Does anyone know any other websites I may be able to find some center channel stand options?
     
  14. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    From a director's standpoint, a majority of shots (take all news programs for example) have the head above the middle of the screen. Thus, by having a center channel above the screen puts it closer to where the actual sound is supposed to come from. (the head/mouth)
    Take the average height of an RPTV. You may find that the heads of the ppl on the TV are pretty close to floorstanding mains tweeters, which is also close to the ears of ppl on a couch.
    I think audio/visual works together trying to target most of their products to ppl sitting down on sofas.
    Using a center channel below the screen means it is moved 2/3 the distance of the screen away from the speaking heads. Then it also means it's moved 2/3 below the level of the mains tweeters.
    Given a wall mounted plasma screen or front projector, I see centers mounted below a lot more feasable. Besides, when you're watching a movie, (a good one at least) most ppl forget where the center is and just enjoy the film. [​IMG]
     

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