Surrounds (rears) speaker height?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Kevin C Brown, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I used to think I knew the answer to this one. 2-3 ft above ear level and dipoles for (older) DPL era soundtracks (with mostly ambience in the surrounds), but then maybe only 12" above ear level and direct radiators for more discrete (and newer) DD/DD EX/DTS/DTS-ES film scores with more spatially relevant elements in the back.

    That's the route I went, and I got to be honest, I feel the surrounds specifically (the rears are OK), have become too localizeable on some elements of some soundtracks. Becomes a distraction.

    The reason why I theoretically don't like dipoles, is the crappy on axis freq response, and the fact that if you put them 2-3 ft up, you get massively rolled off highs.

    But maybe that is exactly what you want for less localization? I'd be curious as to others' experience and specifcally if you've tried various types of speakers at different heights.

    Direct radiators 12" above work great for multichannel music, but not so great IMO for films.

    And one more (!) question is, OK, do I keep the monopoles and just raise them up, or potentially try bi/di/omni-poles and keep them at the same height. Or something in between?
     
  2. AndrewKC

    AndrewKC Agent

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    I use monopole surrounds about 2' above ear level, with the speakers facing out. They are mounted on the back wall, roughly 4' behind the seating position. I had them at that same spot, with the speakers facing the back of my head, but that seemed to be too easily localized on movies (I don't have multichannel music). So as an esperiment, I rotated them 90 degrees out, and it worked well enough for me to leave them that way. You might want to try changing the direction of your own current speakers and see what you find before going out and drilling new holes in your wall, or buying new speakers.
     
  3. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin -

    I just finished installing my rear centers yesterday. My wife didn't want them "too low" because she was afraid of people banging their heads on the shelf they're sitting on.

    Here's what I ended up with: http://apl.jhu.edu/~llama/ht/rear_center1.jpg

    The bottoms of the speakers are 68.5" off the ground, making the centers of the speakers roughly 3' above ear level. Perhaps a tad high, but marriages are often full of compromises. [​IMG]

    I used to have ADP-170's for L/R surrounds, and found they were too diffuse. I replaced them with 2 pairs of atoms; 2 Atoms for rear L/R, and 2 for the rear center channel. At ear-level height, the Atoms were maybe a tad localizable for my tastes (strictly movies, no music). At 3' above ear level, I find they're a bit more diffuse. I'll evaluate them at this position for a while before deciding whether they need to be lowered a bit.

    BTW, I used to just have one Atom for the rear center channel. I decided to put my other Atom up there with it, and angle them out slightly to achieve a broader, more diffuse rear stage. Here's a couple closer looks to see how I angled them:

    http://apl.jhu.edu/~llama/ht/rear_center2.jpg
    http://apl.jhu.edu/~llama/ht/rear_center3.jpg

    The angle between them is about 60 degrees, and I'm pretty happy with the improvement over a single Atom.
     
  4. Jason Brent

    Jason Brent Second Unit

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    I only have limited experience with 5.1, haven't tried 7.1 yet.(currently using the back channels of my HK for Aura's)

    In my previous setup, I had crappy bose cubes up very high, behind the listeners. I'm pretty sure the reason this sounded bad was because of the speaker itself.

    In my current setup, I have Atlantic Tech 374 dipoles. At my last home, I had the tweeters well above ear level, probably a good 3 feet. This obviously sounded better, but still not quite right.

    Now I have them positioned where the tweeters are maybe about 12" above the ear and very slightly behind the main listening position. Freq response seems better and it is perfect for movies. I get pretty good rear phantom imaging. It sounds good for DVD-A too, but the bass response is a little lacking in the rears (only 5.25" drivers).

    If you have access to a pair of bi/di/omnipoles, I would suggest you try them, keeping the tweeter close to ear level, and see what you think then.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Josh and Jason- You both kind of confirmed what I'm thinking: either stay with the direct radiators, but raise them up, or maybe put omnipoles where I have the monopoles now. Cool... One simple thing I want to try, is just to tilt them up. (You know, the "old CD case under the front of the speaker trick".) Andrew, also a good idea, in that right now, I have the surrounds pointed directly at the main listening position. Will have to try angling them forward too. Good ideas! [​IMG]
     

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