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Will there ever be a consensus on Surround speaker placement (1 Viewer)

Robert Mayrand

Stunt Coordinator
Oct 4, 2001
I've been reading a lot about this for the last two months. And still can't decide. It seem that there are as many people that say surround speaker should be 2-3 feet above ear level, as there is saying that they should be at ear level. Main argument seem to be that above ear level provide a more envelopping sound to all listener with less directional effect and more subdued rear channel sound. At ear level the effect of directional sound is more present, wich some think more interesting but it can also be more distracting. Concerning different manufacturer it seem that many popular brand like sony recommend ear level surround..............Is there really some pertinent information somewhere about this that would settle it for good.


Michael Lomker

Stunt Coordinator
May 17, 2002
Well, I haven't ever been to a movie theater that has the speakers at ear level. That being said, my rear surrounds are at ear level for pragmatic reasons (my living room floorplan isn't conducive to other approaches).

I tried many different rear speaker angles and delays until I found something that sounded good to me. Relatively few people can afford a dedicated home theater so the rest of us make livable compromises.

Rich Malloy

Senior HTF Member
Apr 9, 2000
I think the standard is that rear surrounds should be above ear level, on the side wall directly next to the listening position for dipoles, or on the back wall angled toward the listening position for monopoles.

As for the ear level thing, I'm running two dipoles on either side of the listening position and I find that they sound best between 1-2 ft above ear level (lower or higher than this disrupts the soundfield in my room, making it sound like individual speakers rather than a single, immersive sound field). Also, I'm running a single, monopole speaker in the center-rear at the exact same height and distance from the seating position as the side surrounds.

Allen Longcor

Supporting Actor
Oct 21, 2001
The problem with 2-3 feet above ear level is that you can't always wall mount your speakers. I believe the highest stands I have seen are 36" high, and that is hardly 2-3 feet when you are sitting on a couch. Plus at that height the surface area on top of the stand is pretty measly. I have my current surround speakers wall mounted because the model (Energy eXL15) allowed me to very easily mount them. It has a place in the back to screw in the thingamabob, and then clamp it to the wall. Sorry for the technical term there. :) In the future I'm probably going to have to use stands because I can't put another hole in the wall, and I can't use my current ones. I'll just have to live with ear level or perhaps a few inches above.


Stunt Coordinator
May 8, 2001
It's been my experience that about 2' above ear level to the sides of the listening position worked out best (for my dipoles). After considering using stands, I finally had to run the wires down the wall from the attic and wall-mount the surrounds. In most cases, this does take a bit of work. The benefits are great though.

I would *strongly* suggest you temporarily mount the speakers in the positions you think you'll eventually want them to go, calibrate, and try them out on different material to see how it sounds before running the wires through the walls and mounting the speakers permanently.



Stunt Coordinator
Jan 16, 2002
as to whether there is a consensus, the only consensus is that you should pick what you like. you should try out positions for the surrounds before you do anything permanant.

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