Rear speaker placement dilemma - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 12:29 AM
DemRoyer
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Rear speaker placement dilemma

Hi,

This is my first post on this board, and I am hoping some savvy home theater enthusiasts will have some suggestions for me. Here is my dilemma:

I own a bi-level home with a downstairs family room serving as my home theater. Although this is the best room in the house for this purpose, the room layout is not ideal in terms of rear speaker placement. The room is approx. 12'x20', but one of the side walls only runs about 3/4 of the length of the room - the rest of that side is missing as it is the entrance to the room. I have a pair of B&W dipole surround speakers, which should ideally be placed level with the center of the listening position (in this case a couch). Due to the missing section of wall on the right, and due to the fact that the couch only leaves about 18" of clearance on each side, I have the speakers mounted on the side walls about 2 feet in front of the listening position (they are also about 2 feet above ear level when sitting on the couch). Unfortunately, the result of this is that some of the rear sound effects appear in front of the listening position rather than fully enveloping the listening position the way they used to in my previous home (where the speakers were placed properly).

Given the room limitations I think I have two options, assuming I continue using these excellent speakers rather than opting for ceiling speakers:

1. Move both speakers a bit farther toward the rear of the room, but keep them even with each other in relation to their distance from the front wall. Since I am limited as to how far back the right speaker can go, this would still place the speakers about 12 - 18" foot in front of the listening position. I would also have to raise the height of the speakers so that no one bumps into them when walking between the couch and the wall (this would put the speakers maybe 3 feet above ear level when sitting down).

2. Alternately, I could move the right speaker back as far as it can go (same as option 1), but move the left speaker back to the proper position next to the listening area (the height would still have to be raised though so that people can walk between the couch and wall without banging their shoulder into the speaker). This would result in the speakers being an uneven distance from the front wall (a difference of maybe 2 feet or so), which could theoretically have a negative impact on panning effects. Of course, I have a sound meter that I can use to re-calibrate the sound levels no matter where I move the speakers, which may alleviate any unevenness (my receiver also has adjustments regarding distances for each speaker).

I'm sorry that was so long-winded - I guess my question is this: Do either of these options seem likely to result in much of a surround quality difference, given that we are talking about dipole speakers? If so, would it be better to live with the speakers being even but in front of the listening position, or is it OK to make them uneven with each other (knowing that this is not the recommended approach)? And finally, is raising the height likely to spoil the effects any?

Again, sorry to ramble on - just wanted to lay out all the info so that the configuration is clear. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated...
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 02:24 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Hi Dem, and welcome to the Shack,

Neither of your options is ideal, but you have to work with what you have. I would suggest that you try the options and see if the results are acceptable to you. You can also try ceiling mounting, if that would allow both speakers to be behind the listening area. Without knowing what model of B&W dipole you have, some models did have a ceiling mounting bracket as an option. I'll guess you have the DS6 ?



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post #3 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 06:06 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma


Dem,

Anyway you could attach a diagram of your room layout, including furniture and equipment placement? It would sure help us make suggestions if we could better visualize your situation.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #4 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 09:15 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Quote:
Mike P. wrote: View Post
Hi Dem, and welcome to the Shack,

Neither of your options is ideal, but you have to work with what you have. I would suggest that you try the options and see if the results are acceptable to you. You can also try ceiling mounting, if that would allow both speakers to be behind the listening area. Without knowing what model of B&W dipole you have, some models did have a ceiling mounting bracket as an option. I'll guess you have the DS6 ?
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply - you are correct, I am using B&W DS6 dipole speakers, which have both a shelf bracket and a keyhole mounting slot. The manual does not specifically mention ceiling mounting as an option, although I suppose the keyhole slot could be used to do that (I'd be nervous about the speakers vibrating out of the slot and falling though). Do you know if ceiling mounting is an option with these speakers? How does ceiling mounting a set of speakers like this affect their functionality?

Dem
post #5 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 09:18 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Quote:
Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post

Dem,

Anyway you could attach a diagram of your room layout, including furniture and equipment placement? It would sure help us make suggestions if we could better visualize your situation.

Regards,
Wayne
Hi Wayne,

Thanks for responding back - I'll see if I can throw together a diagram today and post it as a bitmap. I wanted to do that last night, but time got away from me...

Dem
post #6 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 10:01 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Since the recommended mounting of the B&W DS6 is 2 feet above ear level, ceiling mounting will have an affect on performance. Do you have the option of building stands and placing the speakers at the recommended position?

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...d=773&pid=1773



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post #7 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 10:36 PM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Hi Wayne,

OK, here is a pretty rudimentary drawing of my layout, which I have attached in JPG format. I hope this helps clarify a bit...

Demian
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Rear speaker placement dilemma-family_room_av.jpg  

post #8 of 18 Old 09-23-07, 10:47 PM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Quote:
Mike P. wrote: View Post
Since the recommended mounting of the B&W DS6 is 2 feet above ear level, ceiling mounting will have an affect on performance. Do you have the option of building stands and placing the speakers at the recommended position?

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...d=773&pid=1773
In theory I have the option of building stands house the speakers at the right location, but with a two year old spending a lot of time in that room and a spouse who wants the AV stuff as unobtrusive as possible, that probably won't be a practical solution for me . The ceiling mount idea has me a bit intrigued, despite the possible performance implications, since the fact that they would be firing downward toward the listener might offset the fact that they are higher than recommended. Not sure if this is really doable or even advisable if the speakers weren't designed for this though. I'm looking around the Web right now to see if anyone else has tried this...
post #9 of 18 Old 09-24-07, 06:49 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

As an added thought have you considered using dipoles instead? Aiming those downwards is prob not going to sound the way you like. If all the speakers are at least within around 24" from being at the same height its ok. Not much of a constraint on how high they go.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-24-07, 07:54 AM
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Re: Rear speaker placement dilemma

Quote:
thewire wrote: View Post
As an added thought have you considered using dipoles instead? Aiming those downwards is prob not going to sound the way you like. If all the speakers are at least within around 24" from being at the same height its ok. Not much of a constraint on how high they go.
Thanks for the suggestion Steven. Actually, I am using dipoles for the surround speakers, but was concerned about moving them higher than the recommendation (2 feet). I think ultimately moving them higher may be the route I have to take if I want them located farther back in the room.
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