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Where do you place surround speakers in a small 12' x 14' room?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris PC, Oct 7, 2001.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I am determining the exact location of my surround speakers. Due to the tight constraints of a very small room of 14' x 12' with the TV and equipment along the 12' wall, it is nearly impossible to place the surrounds where they should really go. I can't place them as far back as I would like because they are already reflecting off the back wall as it is. What I might do is move the seating area ahead at least 2 feet while watching movies in order to get the surround speakers behind the listener.
    So here is my question:
    1) How far back can I place the speakers before the reflections off the back wall reduces the quality of the surround effect? (My room is small and the listening area backs up against a wall. I also can't place the speakers any closer to the back wall than 10" away because there is a door on the right side that would open and hit the speaker. The wall on the right is panelling, and I may recess the speaker into the wall about 4" to allow the door to open more. The speaker is deep enough and will still be 8" away from the side wall.)
    2) How HIGH should I place my speakers above the listening area? (I notice many receiver and speaker companies say you should place the speakers 2 to 3 feet above the listening area firing directly at one another. So what I want to know is, where are YOUR speakers and how do they work for you? I would love to hear from people who also have a small room like mine.)
    _______WALL_________
    ````````````````````
    SUB``FL`TV/AV`FR`````
    ````````````````````
    ````````````````````
    LSUR````SEAT````RSUR
    -BACK-WALL--------DOOR
    Thats basically how my room is set up.
    Any ideas?
    I plan to put the surround speakers on 48 to 60" stands about 10 to 16" away from the back wall. Any other ideas? Ceiling mount? I do have a drop ceiling, so I could put them in the ceiling, but I don't know quite how that will sound.
    [Edited last by Chris PC on October 07, 2001 at 11:36 AM]
     
  2. Nick G

    Nick G Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris I have a small room too with a couch right up tight against a side wall facing the TV which is up against the oposite side wall. I have my surrounds facing each other on either end of the couch about 40" high. The side of the surrounds are against the same wall as the back of the couch. It works pretty well with one, two or three people on the couch.
    Regards, Nick
     
  3. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thats cool. So the closeness of the back wall doesn't ruin the surround effect for you?
    So 40" high off the ground you mean, right? How much higher are they than your listning area? Like when you are sitting on the couch how much higher are the speakers than your ears lets say?
    [Edited last by Chris PC on October 07, 2001 at 11:47 AM]
     
  4. LawrenceK

    LawrenceK Stunt Coordinator

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    http://www.dolby.com/ht/sound/sound3.html has a guide for setting up surround speakers. They recommend placing them to the sides of the listening area, and above viewers by about 2-3 feet. I have it set up this way and it really helps to minimize localization effects, which are REALLY distracting when watching movies. I used to have the surrounds set up behind me, at about ear level, which would be about maybe 40" or so off the ground, and it was way too easy to get distracted by panning effects or gunshots and such that were in the surrounds.
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    That's cool too. height is not a problem for me. I could put them on the floor, or 6 feet high. Its just that the seating/listening area is really, er, umm, my bed! So I often put an ottoman or 2 in front of the bed for the veiwers to rest our feet and then I put cushions against the wall and we kinda slump back wards in our recliner movie seats [​IMG]
    Anyways, I checked out that post and the Dolby website mentioned 2 to 3 feet above the listener. I will place the speakers drivers about 2 feet above where my ear level is when sitting on the bed. That way when slumped into movie watching mode, the speakers will then be a little higher.
    So all things being equal, since I can move the bed/couch away from the wall, does it matter much if the speakers are close to the back wall? Nick G seems to not have a problem with it. Anybody else have any comments?
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    So 2 to 3 feet above the listener is for Dolby Surround. Does the same hold true for Dolby Digital and DTS???
    I think the way my setup is, I'm going to put my speakers a minimum of 50" from the ground, perhaps as high as 60". When watching a movie, your ears are between 32" and 36" off the ground depending on how you sit/slump. So I figure 34" plus 24" (for 2 feet) equals 58" or so. Now that's where the tweeter should be, right? Not the bottom of the stand? The midwoofer and tweeter are a ways up the speaker on my PSB Image 2B's.
     
  7. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    Chris, My advice is work with what you have and enjoy it for now. It sounds like this wont be your primary theater for years to come (from what you were saying about the bed etc.) so I wouldn't go to any major pain or expense to perfect the setup. With a drop ceiling I wouldn't go with in ceilings.
    You don't say what type of speakers you have but I am assuming direct radiating. If you can get them back on the side walls at least even with your listening position and facing in toward each other a couple of feet above your ears that would be fine.
    Some reflection off the back walls isn't necessarily a bad thing either, it may help keep you from being able to localize the surrounds. I have even seen some people with less than ideal layouts point the surrounds at the back wall bouncing the sound off and back to the listening poss. Be creative maybe get some adjustable stands to try different locations. If you find a good spot and wall mounting works you could return the stands. The least optimal setup I have seen was someone who had his surrounds on the floor behind his couch pointing up. The couch was pulled just far enough from the wall to allow this. It was far from perfect but it was a temporary situation and it worked for him.
    What I am getting at is be creative and try different things- you might be surprised what sounds good. But if this is not a room layout you will have to live with for years don't stress and go to a lot of trouble and expense.
    ------------------
    Luke
     
  8. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanks for the advice. My speakers are direct radiating. I plan to keep the setup in this room for 1 to 2 years maximum and the audio components like speakers should stay with me for 10 to 20 years!
    OK, here's the thing. I am putting one of the surround speakers kind of recessed into a panel wall. The speaker will stick out about 3 to 6 inches. the reason I am putting it in the wall is because the door can hit the speaker when you open it, so I am trying to allow for the door to open more. I am going to basically try a height and live with it, as I have to make a hole in the panel wall now. If the height was really bad, I could just get another peice of panel for 5 or 10 bucks, so its no big deal.
    So I have 2 options, due to wall studs, I can either A) mount the surround in the wall only 1 to 2 inches from the back wall, or almost right against it (where the bed/couch is along) or mount them 12 inches out from the back wall. The listeners could possibly have their heads BEHIND the surrounds, but if that's a problem, I'll pull the bed out and work it so the surrounds are not in front, but beside.
    So if the surrounds are 12 inches forward along the side wall, is that ok? I know, I know, but I'm just asking to see if someone has a definite "Don't do that!" or "Thats ok" type of answer if they've done the same thing.
    thanks again for the ideas [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Chris PC on October 07, 2001 at 02:21 PM]
     
  9. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanks for the input guys. So far I've got the speakers 54" off the ground and 10 3/4" off the back wall. I think I may put them 60" high to make it an even 5 feet and also I am thinking about placing them right up against the back wall to avoid the listeners head from falling behind the surrounds if they lean back. Right now, its possible that the surrounds end up in front of the listener and I think thats not good, but I was trying to avoid having the surrounds too close to the back wall because of reflections. Like NickG said, maybe thats not a concern or even helps.
    Any more advice from others?
     

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