Rear speaker placement

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Allan, Aug 27, 2001.

  1. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,
    I am about to move and thus confronted with a new room design and I am not sure where to place the rear speakers. There is a ledge running along the back wall directly behind the couch. (There is no way to wall mount the rears.) Would it be better to place the rears on the ledge (about ear height) facing forward OR facing each other (which will be behind the listener). I will try both and decide which I like better.
    However, I am thinking about upgrading my rears to Studio 20s (to match my mains (60s)). However, I don't feel like spending the extra money to get better rears if both of these placements will mean that the speaker upgrade won't really result in such an upgrade. Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Allan
     
  2. Christian Sonntag

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    Allan,
    I think the general consensus is that the rears should face each other rather than forward. Wendy Carlos' website has a great tutorial on surround sound and speaker placement theories. She suggests that the rears should essentially face each other, but be angled "slightly" toward the listeners (5 degrees, if I remember correctly).
    As for the upgrade question, I believe any upgrade is worth the expense. Whichever one you choose, they will both be placed in the same location and direction, taking this variable out of the equation. I say "go for it!".
    Cheers,
    Chris
    ------------------
    Christian A. Sonntag
    "The world owes you nothing. Take responsibility for your own actions!"
     
  3. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris-
    Thanks for the reply. What is the website that you mentioned (Wendy Carlos' website)? Also, is it still better that the rears face each other (vs. forward) even if the speakers will be located behind the listener?
    Regarding whetehr the upgrade is worth it -- I am not sure how I feel about spending the $ to buy studio 20s for rears unless the sound will really improve. (I understand you arg that the problem will be constant and thus a wash, but if the sounbd doesn;t really sound great -- even if better than current -- I don;t think that I will pay for it.
    Allan
     
  4. Steve T

    Steve T Stunt Coordinator

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    Allan,
    I have my surrounds placed on stands against the rear wall about ear height, behind the couch, and facing forward. Actually, the fronts and the rears are facing each other and are the same distance from the side walls. I did this mainly for music, but also enjoy the realism that it creates for movies. If your surrounds are going to be close to the rear wall I would not face them at each other. I tried this for awhile (although they sat on stands against the side walls) and much preferred the speakers facing forward.
    Try them both to see which you prefer. If you use your surrounds for music I think you'll prefer the speakers facing forward.
     
  5. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Another school of thought on rear placement is that you aim them towards the primary listening position, ideally located along an arc such that they are equidistant and equiangular compared to the other speakers {although this will be manufacturer-dependent, as some speakers aren't supposed to be aimed directly in this manner[/i}. Picture a "circle of sound" with the center channel at 0 degrees, mains at 30 degrees (+/- relative to center), side surrounds at 110 degrees, and rear surrounds at 150 degrees (or 30 degrees off rear center). The rear angles are endorsed by THX. If you check out recent issues of Widescreen Review you will see that this is how they designed their new reference theater. You will also want to consider distance from room boundaries. Not always a practical solution, but one to consider nevertheless.


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    --Jay

    "No one can hear when you're screaming in digital."

    My Home Theatre Pictures...

    "You're no messiah. You're, you're a movie of the week. You're a ... t-shirt, at best."
     
  6. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    I prefer my speakers 2 feet behind the (LOW BACK) couch, off to the sides at a 35 degree angle from center, facing each other. The 5 degree recommendation works well also, but seemed to make them a little "brighter" than the fronts because they were so much closer to the listening position. Is it possible that more distance from the listening position requires (also taking into account that not all speakers are made the same) that they begin to be facing forward. I stopped at a friend's house just last night. His speakers were angled in tward the listening position, about 5 feet behind the couch, and only about 4 feet off the ends of the 3 seat couch. Pointing his tward each other made the whole room come alive!! Pointing forward also made the room come alive, but the sweet spot was moved forward by about 7 feet. You'll probably just have to experiment with every combination to see what you prefer in your room with your system.
    Just my 2 cents!!
     
  7. Jimmy Gonzalez

    Jimmy Gonzalez Stunt Coordinator

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    I have my rears pointing at my ears and placed about 2 1/2ft over my head. I found that the rear phantom image and pans are much better then when I had them in the back facing the fronts. I never heard them in the "Circle" formation. Hmm I think its time to break out the trusty SPL meter...=)
    J.G.
    [Edited last by Jimmy Gonzalez on August 27, 2001 at 07:36 PM]
     
  8. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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