Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

I have seen conflicting or confusing suggestions regarding the height of side and rear surround speakers. DTS and Dolby people have the overhead placement (angles from front and center) identified. However, height from listening ear position has several different descriptions - from ear level to 1 meter above. My Onkyo AV Receiver says about six feet from the floor. Others say it depends on program material music vs. movie and whether the system is 5.1 vs. 7.1.

Is the there a best speaker height for the surround speakers?
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post #2 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 06:36 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

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My Onkyo AV Receiver says about six feet from the floor.
That's the generally accepted position for surrounds..

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post #3 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

What I find confusing is the fact that if you carefully look at the pictorial diagrams from DTS and Dolby Labs they seem to indicate speakers that are at the same vertical height (about seated ear level). However, they really don't state or specify an actual speaker height.

Then where do the AV receiver manufacturer's get their recommendation of 6 feet?
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post #4 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 10:27 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

Well if you think about the main type of sounds you're going to hear in the surround speakers..namely jets and helicopters flying overhead, or thunder overhead..even the ambient sounds of birds..These types of sounds dictate that the speakers need to be fairly high above your head when seated..
This why most people set their speakers at the 6' position..It sounds more realistic..

Also DTS states that the rear speakers should only be a couple of feet apart..but many people prefer them to be more like 6'-8' apart..

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post #5 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 10:37 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

Additionally, our brains have a harder time locating (pinpointing) sounds from above, so it's best to have sides and rears a couple of feet above the ear position. Surround sound should be enveloping, not locate-able.
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post #6 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 10:44 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

Ideally we need both..
General background ambient sounds should not be locatable, but something like a door closing to the side of you, needs to be more direct sound..

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post #7 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 10:58 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

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Ideally we need both..
General background ambient sounds should not be locatable, but something like a door closing to the side of you, needs to be more direct sound..
Yes, but a speaker placed anywhere from 2' - 7' high would accomplish the same thing in terms of localizing a door closing. Most sounds that would need to be "more direct" from a surround sound standpoint would not be dependent upon the height of the speaker (location on the vertical plane), but would rely on the correct horizontal plane placement.
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post #8 of 34 Old 05-15-11, 11:14 PM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

It also depends on the type of surround speaker you're using as well..
Monopoles tend to give more direct sound than bipoles or dipoles..
I have found tripoles give the best of both worlds..

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post #9 of 34 Old 05-16-11, 02:13 AM
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

This might sound crazy but why not have 8 speakers that separates those sounds (birds, jets, etc.) from doors, people talking and the likes? I understand it becomes a really complicated business when you have that many audio channels being separated-especially when making a movie-but is this a plausible possibility?
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post #10 of 34 Old 05-16-11, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Best 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Speaker Heights

So it seems that from the prior comments that there are no official speaker height specifications from the surround sound developers - DTS and Dolby Labs. It really is difficult enoughsetting up a system with all the known technical details. It bothers me that they don't tell anyone what's the best setup for their own systems!
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