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Rear speaker placement (1 Viewer)


Dec 4, 2008
Real Name
Hi all - Been trying to find the answer to this question, and stumbled across this site.

I hope to reconfigure my home theater system ... Correctly, or at least as correct as I can make it.

Currently the layout of the living room dictates where things are... My current configuration is horrible, the center channel speaker is 80 inches off the floor and the rest are on the floor. All speakers save one are to right and in front of the viewing area, save the left surround speaker which is to the left and behind the viewing area. So needless to say anything will be an improvement right?

So with that and still having a lot of real world limitations it's my hope to move to rearrange the living room to improve our home theater.

Doors, Windows, Doorwalls, Ductwork, Pipes, and everything else it seems are conspiring against me!

The problem as I see it is the surround speakers. I have three options-

1. mount them at ear level, on speaker stands behind the viewing area (AKA couch) - speaker stands are non adjustable height.
2. they will need to be at least 87 inches high and on the back wall firing forward from a distance of 7.5 feet behind the viewing area.
3. again at least 87 inches high and mounted on the side walls either pointing at each other or angled towards the viewing area. and most probably JUST behind the viewing area or at least 6 feet behind the viewing area. oh and JUST behind means JUST behind - like an inch.

Bear in mind that none of my speaker stands allow for tilting up and down, just side to side... I may be able to make some angled blocks for the rear wall mount options though, but buying something else is pretty much out of the question.

So onto the main questions:
1. Which option would you think is best? and what impact do the others have? Option 1 would be the easiest, Option 2 probably the best looking.
2. the question i am most curious about, you read about optimal placement, but the stereos have adjustment for volume level for each speaker, ask if it's large or small, etc. do these adjustments help nulify speaker mis-placement? both height and distance??

Oh and on to the equipment:

Onkyo TX-LR552 Review and User Opinions - Onkyo - Home Audio Reviews by Digital Trends Onkyo TX-LR552 6.1 reciever (which brings up one more question -- how much impact would adding that sixth speaker make?? I'm on a budget of nearly $0...)

Product Review Infinity TSS-750 speaker system - And currently two sets of infinity speaker stands.

Toshiba TIVO SD-H400
SageTV® Media Center - PVR, Music and Photos for Windows and Linux PCs and consumer electronics devices SageTV HD-100

and the star of the setup ...
A magnavox 27" TV circa 1985 with composite input!
[/sarcasm] - well hopefully we will be able to replace this

This is my first post so I am hoping to be able to attach a jpg drawing of the room layout. Basically due to windows, doors, walkways, etc. the current layout and the proposed layout are the only options. As always any and all advice appreciated!



Dec 2, 2004
Real Name
If option #2 looks the best, I would go with it. The rear speakers are not as critical as the fronts. If you have a sub woofer, set all your speakers to "small". The speaker distance should not matter if you set your sound levels and speaker distances from your primary seating. Get a SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter (under $50) and use your receivers test tone to set each speakers level equally at your primary seat. The SPL meter measures the "volume" of each speaker. As far as I know, most DVD movies are in 5.1 and I believe the new blurays are using the 7.1. I have a 6.1 receiver and I am quite happy using only 5.1 speakers.

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Hi Jeff - yes, most rooms fight being good for home theater equipment placement. We feel your pain.

And dont let that TV stop you from learning and enjoying this hobby. We have all started out with this type of equipment. Use a setup DVD to calibrate the display, the sound, etc. You will have lots of fun learning and adjusting while you plan for your next upgrade. This is a hobby - not a destination.


You actually have a situation better than most: your rears may be the same distance to the couch as the fronts. For most people - I would recommend ceiling placement for the rears to create some distance, but for your room - ear level would be cheaper, easier and superior.

All Dolby Digital receivers will have offset for the center and each rear to help level adjust things. Get an SPL meter and a copy of Digital Video Essentials or Avia (check NetFlix if you dont want to buy) and you can compensate for the different distances.

Good luck and let us know how it works.

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