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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still designing my theater and audio layout. Are there any compelling arguments against in ceiling surrounds and rears? I am thinking about building conventional speakers (ZA5 tm) with zero baffle step compensation, and mounting them in the ceiling, possibly aimed slightly simply by tilting the baffle towards the listening position. Is this as bad a solution as some make out? It's not easy to make a home theater user friendly, and surrounds mounted at 6' on two walls is not user friendly, especially in the dark. Will sound quality and imaging be compromised significantly?

thanks for your help.
Kadijk
 

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Are there any compelling arguments against in ceiling surrounds and rears? Will sound quality and imaging be compromised significantly?
Yes. In my world there would be a compromise in sound quality. However, we do what we have to do. So do what you gotta do:T
 

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kadijk, it isn't ideal to put speakers in the ceiling, but if that's what works for your room, it's not like you won't be able to enjoy watching movies by making the compromise. Think of it this way... perfectly placed free standing speakers would be better than ceiling mounted, which would still be much better than no surrounds at all. Unless you plan on doing a lot of critical listening I don't think you'll be too disappointed. Maybe you could find some with tweeters you can aim (I think Monoprice has some for a reasonable price) and you can improve the imaging a little bit.

Out of curiosity, is it because there's no wall to use, or because it would be too hard to mount and wire speakers on the wall?
 

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Thanks guys. I do have walls, although there are doors very close to a couple of speaker locations, so the position of the speaker will be closer to the ceiling than I would consider ideal. That compromise is less of one than to use in ceiling speakers, I think, and I found a design, by Zaph, that is smaller, sealed, and definately workable for my situation. Like I said before, I have very little to complain about working with a 20 x 20 room dedicated to theater and gaming. I want it to be somewhat aesthetic and user (wife) friendly as well though, and so large speakers hanging on walls at head height( or sitting on stands) isn't always practical...especially when the kids(teens) and there friends invade and overtake. I just want to create the best sounding most practical space I can.

Thanks again for your input...by the way, and this is a new question...

are di-poles or bi-poles desirable for surrounds? There seems to be a few schools of thought on this. And if they are, are you aware of any reliable diy designs? Zaph doesn't seem to have any.

Kadijk
 

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OK, I think I have a little better picture of what you're doing now. I would guess that the theatre is a section of the larger room and some walls are just too far away to be practical (not to mention the doors). In this case I don't think you'd have any problem with ceiling mounted speakers to keep the room open and usable. Take a look at something like these ones from Monoprice that are reasonably priced and have a tweeter you can aim at the listening area.

Regarding DIY bi/dipoles, I built one from the design in the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook (see my sig).
 

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Lets look at it this way, if you place speakers in the ceiling where will the sound go? it will fire straight down into the floor. This is not going to be ideal if the seating is not near that location. Wall mounted speakers will at least fill the room with sound and that is what the surround channels are designed to do even if they are by a door it is still a better location than in a ceiling.
 

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Still designing my theater and audio layout. Are there any compelling arguments against in ceiling surrounds and rears? I am thinking about building conventional speakers (ZA5 tm) with zero baffle step compensation, and mounting them in the ceiling, possibly aimed slightly simply by tilting the baffle towards the listening position. ...
Think about requirements for a minute. This is an HT, used for movies I assume, not primarily for multi-channel audio? If so, then surrounds and rears are carrying mostly ambiance program, not main program. This changes things, making this proposal an imminently reasonable one.
- lower frequencies are omnidirectional, and the 4.5" cone of a ZA5 will only start beaming at ~1.5KHz
- higher frequencies are more directional, so tweeter off-axis roll-off should reduce localization. Of course, Zaph's Vifa is only down 8dB at 60* at 10KHz, so you're not losing much, and room correction SW will bring most of that back.

In fact, beyond putting seats under these speakers, the only bad idea is to tilt the baffle out of the plane of the ceiling. You create lots of diffraction edges that the in-wall XO design doesn not comprehend - edge diffraction issues are at the root of BSC, and present additional challenges to high frequency response.

Have fun,
Frank
 
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