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Need advice on speaker placement (1 Viewer)

Miranda Jones

Sep 12, 2000
We are hopefully going to be buying a receiver (Denon 3802) and a set of speakers soon, and are probably looking to get a set of Paradigms (Titans for the fronts, CC-170 for the center, ADP-170s for the surrounds, and PDR-12 for the sub...basically their System Three recommended setup).
My question is about the surrounds. Due to trying to fit a large computer desk and the couch/home theater stuff into the same living room, our TV is in a corner, and the couch is sort of diagonal in the middle of the room. There is actually a 3-D Home Architect image of the room at http://www.thefruitbowl.org/images/misc/livingroom.jpg. Our friend has suggested that we could mount the surrounds in the corners of the room (in the picture, over the desk and over the recliner) and use a sound meter to balance it properly, or we could mount them on the ceiling above and behind the couch.
Which setup would be a better placement...up on the ceiling near the couch, or on the sides but relatively far from the couch?

Neil Joseph

Senior HTF Member
Jan 16, 1998
Real Name
Neil Joseph
Let me first say that corner placement is always a tricky setup, for the front speakers and also for the surrounds. You will find many different opinions on my recommendation for surround setup in your case but the bottom line is what sounds better to you.

I was always a fan of rear placement for rear/surround speakers. The best way I can illustrate this is as follows...

If an object on the screen moves from the front to the rear (eg a plane that flys over you from the front to the back), it sounds better (to me) if the sound travels from the front to the back, rather then the front to the sides. For this reason, I would mount the surround speakers off the ceiling a few feet behind the plane of the listening position. Of course, your next challenge would be to get the wires to the speakers without "showing" too much. There are wire channels that can accomplish this task. Some of the members here can give you specifics if you want.

NOTE: Give your surround speakers room to breathe. For the same reason you would not want your front speakers 1 foot away from the couch, I believe the imaging is better if you have the surrounds not too close ehind the couch either.

Chris PC

Senior HTF Member
May 12, 2001
I agree. Your situation looks as though it would be best served with ceiling mounted speakers. Since the room orientation is diagonal to the walls and there is lots of space around the rear area, I would not mount the surround speakers completely "inside" the ceiling facing down. At the very least, if you mount them "inside" the ceiling, I would mount them sticking out. Try to mount them high near the ceiling. Experiment and try to work towards the normal dolby location. For instance, measure and locate where the "correct" dolby suggested location for surround speakers would be, about 3 feet above the listeners, and approx 6 inches to one foot back from the center line of the viewers/listeners heads. Try to mount your speakers roughly there. Since that might be too low, and would call for speakers stands, which you probably don't want to use, then push the surround placement higher up, closer to the ceiling such that they can be mounted off the ceiling. To compensate, experiment with aiming the speakers down towards to the listener. Because of the space back there, I actually think you will achieve good surround effect results. It beats having surrounds mounted on a back wall, which can often suck all the spatial qualities out of the surround effects. Experiment and enjoy.

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