Where to place surround speakers


Unregistered guest
I have a 5.1 set up but im not sure where to put the surround speakers. My room is only 12' x 15' and im restricted to sit at maximum distance of 3ft from rear wall. Which is the best location, at the back facing front or along the side facing the listener. Im using a direct radiating speaker.

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 239
Registered: 12-2003
I would say at the back, and angled in to be on an axis with the ears the listener, or with a point a little in front of him/her. This is on the principle that you really want a complete, good stereo sound stage behind you.

Unregistered guest
Thanks John A.
But im confused. Did you mean the speaker at my ear level, or higher and tilting it down, pointing the tweeter at ear level, and how high?
Where specifically at the back... at the corner or what? Ill be sitting at the shorter side (12') of the room.
Thanks again.

New member
Username: Salemdoom

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
With rear speakers its a user prefrance, every listener has a different preference. So it would be hard for someone to say "this is the best way"

Some people prefer them above ear level, some people at ear level, angled, non angled, it all depedns on the room, and the listener.

So my best advie is just mess around with the speakers, if you have the toy story dvd , it has a great bit of surround at the beggining (THX-TEX) to test the set up on.

I know this has not been much help, but try!

Doom :-)

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 252
Registered: 12-2003

salem is right in the sense that your personal preference is what matters. But speakers are directional. The best frequency response and imaging are always on-axis or up to say 15 degrees off (depends on the model) - look at the specs.

But the surrounds are less critical, and some people prefer to have them pointing "down the walls" (side or back, I don't know) to give sound that just fills the room.

The best place for front speakers, and for stereo, is with tweeters at ear level (when listening), and angled in a bit, so their axes intersect a little in front of the listener. Then you get a good stereo effect even if you move your head and sitting position a bit.

A center speaker should be looking straight at you (on an axis meeting the intersection of the axes of the mains), and not too much higher or lower than the mains, if possible.

Surrounds are best a behind you, if possible, even if just a little; that is the effect they bring.

A sub can be almost anywhere in the room (but its effect is greatest when it is in a corner): bass is not directional; treble definitely is.

Hope this helps!

Unregistered guest
Okey. Thanks to both of you guys.

Bronze Member
Username: Heff

Post Number: 88
Registered: 12-2003
Surround speaker placement can make a difference, so use your ears and different source material, try a few suggestions, then go with what makes you the happiest. Your preferences may change if you primarily listen to movies or multi-channel music like DVD-A or SACD.

Check out some interesting articles on speaker placement!
Here's what makes good sound Þ The Best Things in Life Are Free: Speaker Placement.
Also this Dolby Labs article, The Dolby Guide to Home Theater Sound is a good read.
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