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tonyBagadonuts 03-19-2012 08:57 PM

7.1 Speaker location
I am building a new family room so it is all open... I am pulling bundled coax & an extra cat 5e for the HDTV... the froint speakers will be about 1 foot to each side of the TV @ 44" above the floor... Seating is 13'6" from the screen. The sub woofer will be cnetered under the TV... the side speakers are ceiling mounted, 5' to each side of the center of the tv and about 1' behind the seating.... the rear speakers are PLANNED to be ceiling also about 3' behind seating and about 2' apart, center on the tv.... Now, I have much more room if I need to go wider, farther back, etc..... I have read many articles and looked at diagrams but just cannot get a good handle on how far behind and how far back to install the rears..... Any suggestions greatly appreciated :)

gregzoll 03-20-2012 07:38 AM

The only way you are going to get an answer, is either meeting with a company that does a/v installs, or look through the multitude of information over at The way I look at it, Left & right front flanking either side of the screen, Center Above tilted down, sub underneath, then your side speakers above the listening position, aprox 5-7 feet above the seat. More people are going with 9.1 & 11.1 systems. And really, you will not know how it sounds, until you get the room finished, and equipment installed and tweaked out.

But really, your answer can be found over at

ktkelly 03-20-2012 11:33 AM

AVS forums.

More people there will tell you more things than you'll ever need to know.

Most will be wrong, but it won't matter, since you'll be so thoroughly confused....:laughing:

You might not like this but the ideal speaker locations are not in ceiling.

Yes, you will see in ceiling speakers used, but a pro will do that if there is absolutely no other choice.

No chance of placing the speakers in wall/on wall where they should be?

hyunelan2 03-20-2012 11:45 AM

With a 7ch, you also have the option of using Front-High speakers (Dolby PLIIz) instead of additional rears used in DTS. Might be something to consider early on in your build - or future-proof for 9.1.

Here is a diagram that shows the proper angles for a 7.1 DTS setup.

Your left surround and right surround should be about even with seating, but 1' won't matter. Subwoofers tend to do better (louder) in a corner of the room vs. dead center. Subwoofer placement is not as critical, as the low frequency is not directional to your ear - it's hard to tell where it is coming from. You could put it behind you and get a similar result.

Ironlight 03-20-2012 02:10 PM

The surrounds should be directly on either side or a bit back of your seating, and the rear surrounds should be a few feet back.

Since every room is different, it makes more sense to look at how surround sound works and then design/install based on your individual circumstances.

70% or more of your sound is going to be coming from your fronts and center. The surrounds just give you effects, and in many movies they are hardly used at all. The separation of sounds that come from them are A) sounds that should seem to come from the side, and B) sounds that come from slightly behind. The latter is to give some effects an "enveloping" quality, not to literally make the sound seem like it is coming from behind you, which would subvert the illusion.

If you have both both the side surrounds and the rear surrounds substantially behind the listening plane, you're going to undermine the separation between the two and flatten out the sound space. If at all possible put the side surrounds directly to the side or just a bit in back of the listening plane. Then put the rear surrounds 45-65 degrees back from perpendicular. Just think of it as enough difference from the sides to give you a rounder soundstage.

Also as far as the sub goes, you should stay flexible about placement until you have tested it. As you may have read, subs can perform very differently based on placement due to how the sound waves interact with the structure. In one spot they can be almost worthless while in the right spot they can really perform well. Doing the "sub crawl" is the best way to find out where to put it. If you can wait to run the sub cable until you've done that test, you'll potentially save yourself some disappointment.

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