Speaker Placement?

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Old 04-17-18, 08:06 PM
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Speaker Placement?

Hi All,

We are planning on remodeling part of our house, including our family room. When we do it, my wife is giving me the go-ahead to put speakers wherever I want. So - where should I put them, especially four ceiling speakers (thinking Atmos, especially for the future)? They would be used for both tv/movie and music. My current receiver is 7.2 or 5.2.2, but I want to plan for the future and may eventually move up to 7.2.4 (or even 9.2.4!). (I know the number of subs doesn't really matter; it just happens to be what I have right now - that won't be the deciding factor in the future.)

I am attaching a rough sketch of the room; the tv is going in the bottom left corner of the sketch. The tv would basically point into the room at an angle. At the top of the picture are two support posts running from floor to ceiling. I can put speakers in/on them if I want. Their specific location left/right doesn't matter for building purposes but will basically bookend the couch.

Should the ceiling speakers be at an angle as compared to the walls of the room, because the tv/couch viewing line will be at an angle? Or should I just place them evenly in a square/rectangle configuration and assume that the Atmos technology will be able to compensate?

(The tv must go in the corner because there is a big stone fireplace in the middle of the left-most wall.)

Also, should I go with in-wall speakers or "regular" speakers that I would hang off the wall? Are there any in-support-post speakers out there?

Lastly, I'm assuming that wherever I put the subwoofers is fine, right? they are non-directional, I believe.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-18-18, 06:40 AM
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External box style speakers in my opinion always sound better and are less expensive than in wall or in ceiling speakers. There are some good sounding in wall speakers but you can generally get the same sound quality for a lower price in a traditional box speaker. In wall's sound also can vary depending on whether or not it has a open, sealed enclosure behind it like an empty joist bay versus having it buried in insulation.

If you want to future proof the room I would go with external box speakers. Nothing says permanent like permanently mounting speakers in the walls or ceiling. If you re-arrange or move the furniture in the room you can be stuck acoustically. But, if your wife is like mine she hates external speakers and demands in walls so you might be stuck going that route.

One of the biggest things to help audio quality, especially surround sound is symmetry. It is much easier to provide good surround sound if you can space the pairs of speakers equally from the listener. Unless you have a high end pre-amp or receiver that can alter the delay to each speaker individually odd speaker placement can be difficult or impossible to overcome.

Another thing to consider is power. Your open floorplan will suck up power, especially if you want to obtain THX sound levels. So if you want true movie theater sound levels and quality look for amplifiers or a receiver that can deliver adequate power at low distortion levels. Many tout high wattage capability but when you start going up in power their distortion increases exponentially so they sound like garbage when turned up. You also need speakers that can handle the power without distorting.

The "normal" speakers are somewhat easy but then you get to the subwoofer(s). Everyone thinks subs are easy because it's hard to detect the source which is true and is especially true for small subs. You can stick smaller, lower powered subs almost anywhere. If you move up to something with real power placement and your home's construction and layout becomes a big issue as harmonics can develop. If not done properly you can have one seat with truly room/chair shaking bass while it's merely OK 4 feet away.
 
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Old 04-19-18, 09:54 PM
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Pilot,

Thanks for all the advice.

I'm with you on most of it, but I'm not sure which way you are leaning for the ceiling speakers. (I think wife is going to make me go with in-ceiling speakers.) Would you put the four ceiling speakers in an even manner throughout the room (basically, in a rectangular pattern)? Or would you put them at odd locations in the ceiling so that the person in the ideal couch position will have them at the right places?

I know (I think I know) that Atmos is object-based. If I use the Audyssey setup, wouldn't it take into account where in the ceiling everything is? If so, then I would them in a rectangular/regular pattern for visual aesthetic purposes. If not, then I would go with the odd-looking arrangement.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 04-20-18, 05:04 AM
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For best control of the sound the speakers should be placed in relation to the listening position. In your case with your viewing/listening at a 30-45 degree angle in the room it's going to be a compromise at best. I would just do the best you can to keep things symmetrical and equally spaced in relation to the listening positions. Atmos and Audyssey will help but there is no way around the physics that sound takes time to travel so the closer you can get to optimum speaker positions the better it will sound.
 
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Old 11-25-18, 09:42 PM
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Hi All,

I am revisiting my post from half a year ago. We have now finalized our blueprints, and I am attaching the relevant section with measurements. (I know the measurements across the top don't exactly match along the bottom; it has to do with various different things that don't really matter for the purpose here.)

I have several issues and hoping people here can help. We are still planning on putting the tv in the corner (lower-left in the image), probably in some sort of built-ins or corner furniture.

The first thing is that I am probably not doing in-ceiling speakers. We will have 8 high-hat lights in the ceiling already, and it will start to look like swiss cheese with adding four in-ceiling speakers. So, I am currently planning on using either: (i) 2 front heights and 2 rear heights, (ii) 2 Atmos-enabled (upward-firing) fronts, and 2 rear heights, (iii) 2 Atmos-enabled (upward-firing) fronts and 2 Atmos-enabled (upward-firing) rears, or (iv) 2 front heights and 2 Atmos-enabled (upward-firing) rears. If used, the 2 Atmos-enabled fronts will be very near my front left and front right speakers near the tv; if I go with front heights, I would basically use bookshelf speakers very near to the ceiling (8'10" ceiling) and angled down slightly. For the rears, regardless of which I use, I'm assuming they should go near where I put the purple diamonds in the image, with only the height changing depending on if they are heights are Atmos-enabled.

The RED image is where I am planning on having the couch, with the black circle representing where I will probably be sitting most of the time. The green diamonds represent where I think side surrounds should go. The blue diamonds represent where I think rear surrounds should go. The purple diamonds represent where I think the height/Atmos/DTS:X speakers should go.

My ceilings will be approximately 8'10" in height, and flat (no popcorn or texture, etc.).

So, my questions:
1) would you go with Atmos-enabled (upward-firing) or heights that are very near the ceiling and slightly angled down? I've read in many other places that each are considered acceptable for Atmos and DTS:X. Depending on the author, some people think upward-firing are almost as good as in-ceilings, while others think they are awful and that slightly-angled heights are the way to go. So, thoughts?

2) Am I correct on placement for the rear height/Atmos-enabled speakers, where the purple diamonds are?

3) For the side surrounds (green diamonds), the left (bottom of image) will be an in-wall speaker at just above ear level. The right (top of image) will have to be placed in the header with the tweeter angled downwards. I can't think of any other way to do it. Will this work adequately? (Not actually IN the header, but the builder said he can make the header look thicker so that we can work the speaker into there.)

4) For the rear surrounds (blue diamonds), the right (top of image) will be in-wall at just above ear level, probably with the tweeter angled towards the couch. For the left (bottom of image), I think it needs to be an in-wall speaker, which will also be angled towards the couch. However, will this work? Will it be angled enough so that it will actually work? I'm not sure what else I can do, as my wife has ruled out having a speaker on a stand in that location.

5) For Atmos-enabled - if that's how I proceed - would i get the same effect from putting bookshelf speakers on their backs and then angling them slightly with a rubber pad, so they mimic the angle of Atmos-enabled?

If it matters, the speakers I'm currently planning on using:
-Micca MB42X for front right/left;
-Micca MB42X-C for center;
-Micca M-6S for side surrounds and rear surrounds;
-Micca Covo-S for front and rear heights (angled down), if I go with heights;
-unsure if I go with Atmos-enabled, or if I can just lay them on their backs with a slight angle to get the same effect, then either additional MB42X or additional Micca Covo-S.

Any thoughts? My receiver is currently only 7.2 or 5.2.2 (it can act as either), but I want to future-proof as much as possible, and all the sheet rock is being replaced, so I can do all wiring now very easily.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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