Please help with surround speaker placement

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by MuneebM, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    I need help placing my JBL S36II surround right speaker. My surround left speaker can basically be placed anywhere on my left wall as there are no openings or windows. My surround back speaker can also be placed on my back wall without a problem. Basically, to the right of my couch I have an opening to a stairwell that leads upstairs, so the vertical and lateral placement of my surround right speaker will dictate how I place my surround left and surround back speakers.

    My room is 13' (w) X 23' (l) X 8' (h). I am planning to place my surround right speaker vertically on the right wall just before the opening that leads upstairs. It would be 2-3 feet above ear level when seated on the couch, about 1-2 feet in front of the seating position, and slightly angled towards the back (the wall-mountable base of the S36II is not flat, its angled about 10-15 degrees). I'm not sure this is a good position because of suggestions that the surround left/right speakers should be slightly behind the listening position.

    My other option is to place the surround right speaker horizontally, at ceiling level (there's an overhang in the opening that leads upstairs). This way the speaker would be 4-5 feet above ear level, 1-2 feet behind the seating position, and angled slightly downward (10-15 degrees). I am concerned about this position because I think 4-5 feet may be too high relative to ear level.

    I know people will say to try it out and hear what's best, but I can't really do that without drilling a bunch of test holes into my wall, which is something I ultimately want to avoid.

    Please advise which of the two options you think would be best? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Patrick_C

    Patrick_C Auditioning

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    I have a similar question.

    I was wondering if it would be ok if I mounted my Axiom QS8 speakers forward (by a couple feet) from the seating area. Since these are supposed to disperse the sound, it shouldn't be too noticably different, right?

    Is it ok to move the speaker forward? Should they both be moved forward if one is?
     
  3. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Patrick_C, I think if you move one forward, you should also move the other one forward. If I decide to place my surround right speaker (A) 1-2 feet in-front, 2-3 feet above ear level OR (B) 1-2 feet behind, 4-5 feet above ear level, I will position my surround left speaker similarly.

    So, what do you folks think: position A or position B?
     
  4. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    ^ BUMP ^

    I was hoping to do the speaker installs tonight... doesn't anybody have any input?
     
  5. JoeHard

    JoeHard Stunt Coordinator

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    My couch sits along the back wall in my living-HT room. I have my surronds (Polk) in back corners up close to the ceiling, 3-4 feet above seated listening position. I admit it's not ideal but honestly they sound fine. Remember, the idea of the surrounds is to not call too much attention to themselves or be too easy to locate.
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I would go with the second option. Tilting the speaker down a bit should help with the extra height.

    If you placed the speaker ahead of the listening position you would essentially be sitting outside the field of sound. True, there's not a hard line demarcating where sound drops off (like a non-smoking section), but I think there are strong psychological reasons too. For one, you would know you are IN the soundfield, not outside of it. And if you hear a sound and can see a speaker in your peripheral vision, then there goes the effect.
     
  7. dave_kopacz

    dave_kopacz Auditioning

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    being in kind of the same boat (want to have a 7.1 system while still have the look of the living room acceptable to the wife) ..... could i have all the speakers mounted to the ceiling and aimed downward to the viewing/listening position...
     
  8. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    well, I'm gonna start replacing my 16 gauge wiring with 12 gauge now, and try to play around with different surround speaker positions... its gonna be touch to decide, cuz once those holes are drilled in the wall, I ain't moving them!
     
  9. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Well, I installed my surround speakers last night finally. A friend and I managed to be able to stack them on boxes and place them in various positions. What we discovered is rather interesting and may be useful to many trying to determine where to position their surround left/right speakers.

    When we had the speakers 1-2 feet ahead of the seating position, but only 2-3 feet above ear level, it just sounded weird. Sound was easily localizable and quite distracting. We tried to lower them to about 1 foot above ear level and it improved slightly but was still not good enough, so we had determined that it must be because they needed to be directly to the sides or slightly behind. Directly to the sides was better, but once we moved them slightly behind the listening position, it was much, much better! Once behind the listening position, height didn't affect the sound too much; ideally I wanted it only 2-3 feet above ear level, but given my room conditions the speakers are now 4-5 feet above ear level. Also, moving the speakers a couple of inches too far back made a big difference too: we had to find just the right distance they had to be behind the listening position and once we did it was near perfect, only just a tad too high.

    All that to say that if any noobs like myself are thinking of putting their surround left and right speakers to the sides and slightly in front of the seating position, DON'T DO IT! When the speakers are in front, you are completely outside the surround field and it doesn't sound good at all! I have determined from this experience that surround left and right speakers should absolutely be slightly behind the listening position!

    One user on this forum noted that during the scene in X2 when the X-Men jet is being chased by the fighter jets in the air, if you feel like you're inside the X-Men jet your HT gear is very good, and I felt like I was totally inside the jet [​IMG]
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Glad to hear! I experimented awhile with different positions and came to the same result, though basically I just followed the Dolby recommendations. The results may be different if you're using dipole/bipole speakers. I did have a pair of these initially, but found I preferred monopoles.
     

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