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Perfect Home Theater Speaker Placement

Feb 2, 2008
When you're attempting to create a great listening environment in your home theater speaker placement is an essential aspect to consider. Most surround sound systems come with five speakers plus a subwoofer.

The smaller speakers are set up in front of and behind the listeners to create a true feeling of immersion in the sound. The placement of speakers can be a very in-depth exercise, complete with calculations involving the physics of sound waves.

However, it doesn't have to be that complicated. If you have the basic idea, you can play around with the placement until you find out what works best in your situation.

Just remember that unless your room has perfect acoustics (and it almost certainly doesn't), you are not going to have a perfect surround sound system. Don't fret too much about it, and don't demand perfection when your room makes it impossible.

You should trust your ears and decide on what works best for your home theater speaker placement. But feel free to use the manufacturer's instruction manual.

Center channel speaker -- The center channel speaker should be centered just beneath the screen. This will output on-screen sound such as conversations, so for the sake of realism you will want it very close to the television.

Front left and right speakers -- Ideally, these speakers should be installed at ear level when you're sitting. Theoretically you could get away with placing them higher by angling them downward, but you won't get the best results this way.

The music will be emitted from these two speakers, which will split the stereo sound of the movie soundtrack. You want these speakers to be place the same distance away from the listener as the center channel speaker. All three speakers should form an arc if you were to look down on them from a bird's eye view.

Surround speakers - Place the surround speakers just behind the listener, to the left and right. Place them at about ear level when standing, so they are a good bit higher than the listener's head when he is seated.

If they are on adjustable brackets or stands, experiment with pointing them at the outside or rear walls. You may be surprised with how realistic the sound is when it's allowed to bounce off the walls before reaching the listeners.
About the Author
Before you Build a Home Theater be sure to check out our Home Theater Set Up and Home Theater Decor .
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