Your Fine Audio Equipment and Speakers need to be set up carefully
Getting your speaker placement home theatre setup correct is a ‘must do’ if you want a high performance home theatre system.
Not sure what to do first? Get a Home Theater Book to Help you setup.
Most home theater installers don’t put much time into where those new speakers should be placed
The installers either are not aware, or the education simply takes too much time to justify.
If several installers bid on a project, often they don’t have enough profit margin to warrant taking adequate time for speaker placement.
In order to maintain some level of profitability they must be efficient and get the job done while quickly moving onto the next construction project.
But what will this do for the audio performance in your home theater? Nothing!
The truth is; if you want good sound you will have to take it upon yourself to optimize your in room speaker placement.
6 ways to set up for the Best Home Theater Room Layout
Speaker Placement Home Theatre and room acoustics 101:
1. In order to achieve the best imaging and soundstage you need to sit exactly between the two main left and right speakers. This includes being the same distance from each of the stereo speakers as well.
a. You should also be positioned exactly in front of the projection screen or HDTV set. The main viewing position is precisely in between the main left and right speakers and centered on the screen.
b. If possible your center channel should be in a continuous arc between the front left and right speakers. In other words, if you measure from the tweeters of the stereo speakers you should place the center channel at exactly the same distance (if possible).
2. The distance from the front wall and the tweeter should be different than from the tweeter to the side walls. Even if only by a few inches.
3. The same rules apply for on wall or in wall speakers but these types of speaker systems will not give as large or as deep a sound stage and imaging.
a. In wall and on wall speakers should always be placed at or near the same height as the display screen.
b. The left and right speaker system should be placed exactly the same distance from each side of the screen. You do not want to have a speaker further from the display on one side than the other. Not only will it look silly, this will skew the acoustic center image from the center of the display set or hdtv screen.
4. The home theater seating layout will obviously be affected by the above 3 items and it should be obvious by now that your best seat is dead center between the two stereo speakers. The best way to make sure you get this spot right is to use a tape measure and a point of reference. I set my HDTV stand up square to my exact center spot so that I can look at the sides and tell right away if I am in the middle. But you can also get better at noticing this over time by listening to music and moving your head left to right. The center image will shift from left to right. When it is dead center you should be in the correct position.
5. In addition to this there is much you can do for the balance of your speaker system. Balance being the bass vs. the treble output.
a. By placing the speakers closer to the front wall you will augment the bass
b. This will also collapse your imaging and soundstage, so this too is a compromise.
c. With many home theater system speakers it is better to place the speakers well out into the room for the best imaging and sound staging and use the subwoofer to keep the bass level in check with the rest of the system sounds.
d. Placing your speakers too close to the side or front walls can create an upper bass hump in the response. This can then color all of the media that you play through your system. If possible, place your front speakers 1/3 the total length of the room from the front wall (as measured from the tweeters)
Example: If your room is 21 feet long. Your front speakers tweeter would be 7 feet from the front wall. This is too far into the room in many situations so just get as close to this rule as possible. A good compromise would be 5 feet from the front wall in a 21 ft long room.
6. Surround speakers can be a bit tricky to set up. These speakers can be difficult to mount due to the dimensions and layout of the room.
In a conventional speaker mount situation, it is best to mount the speakers according to their preferred mounting instructions as described in the manufacturer’s manual. There are many different types of surround speakers and they each must be mounted slightly different. Here is a quick breakdown of the preferred mounting methods.
a. Monopole surround speakers can be placed very similar to the front speakers for best results. This can be on stands or as floor standing speakers as well.
b. Bi-polar speaker systems are usually mounted directly to the sides of the main listening position.
c. Di-polar surround sound speakers should also be positioned directly out to the sides of the main listening position. This would be at exactly 90 degrees from your main listening spot.
d. Surround sound back channels should be placed directly behind the main listening position with 6 to 9 feet between the speakers. The larger your listening room the closer to 9 feet apart the back channels would be.
e. For wall mounted surrounds it is best if you mount the speakers 18 to 24 inches (tweeter height) from the ceiling (for an 8ft ceiling).
f. For taller ceilings you may wish to experiment with different mounting heights. A good place to start is a tweeter height of around 7 ft but also at least 24 inches from the ceiling. (for ceiling heights of 9 ft or more)
These are just beginning Home Theater Audio setup positions – Summary for Speaker Placement Home Theatre:
To assemble your best Home Theater Ideas you need an accurate home theater guide. I hope that this simple article helps you achieve better performance from your speaker placement home theatre setup.
Each room will be slightly different and your best results will be achieved by beginning in these locations and listening to some media.
After this make some small changes by moving your speakers a few inches and listening again.
Sometimes you may need to repeat this process many times over the course of several hours or over several listening sessions. I personally enjoy hearing the difference that a small shift in speaker placement can make.
When you get the speaker placement home theatre in the right locations, you will be hooked and really see why I believe this is such a crucial step to the home theatre process.
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