Front height speakers

Your recommendation is that front height speakers be at a 45 degree angle up from the listener's ear. Since my listening position is 13 feet away, that would put the height of the front speakers at over 14' up the wall. My ceiling is only about 9 feet. Would it be better to place the speakers as high as possible on the wall or put them on the ceiling in order to maintain the 45 degree upward angle? Thank you.

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18 Comments

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    45° is the ideal placement, but we realize that many home listening rooms don't have high enough ceilings. The recommendation is to place the Heights on the front wall "as high as possible" to maximize the distance between them and the front speakers.

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    Luke Scroggin

    what is actually being sent to the front height speakers in comparison to the standard front speakers?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    The Audyssey DSX algorithm synthesizes acoustical and perceptual information from the content in the surround content and sends it to the Wide and Height channels respectively.  It is a combination of direct and reflected sound extracted from the 5.1 content.

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    Matt

    In a height-limited room, would in-ceiling speakers placed at a 45° angle from the LP produce a better response than speakers placed as high as possible on the front wall?  I'm assuming that, when the LP is far into the room and the height speakers are only a few feet above the fronts/wides, the heights add little or even detract from the soundstage.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    In-ceiling speakers would work great for DSX Heights.  They should be placed in the ceiling near the front of the room and pointed to the listening position (if they can be pointed).

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    S Bail

    Refering back to Matt's question, which would be BETTER - high as possible on front wall OR at 45 degrees on the ceiling (assuming both have directional speakers pointed to the listening position)?

    Also, my Denon manual seems to suggest the heights point slightly down but not directly at the listening position (and so pointed just over the LP) - which is better - pointed at OR just above the LP?

    Cheers

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    It's not recommended to put the Heights on the ceiling to get to 45°.  If the ceiling is not high enough to get to 45° on the front wall then just place them as high up on the front wall as possible.  Yes, they should point to the listener's ears (as should all speakers in your system).

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    S Bail

    Thanks for your quick reponse Chris - in my situation, if I place the heights on the front wall I can only get them about 25mm outside the main fronts in vertical alignment (inner side of heights about 25mm out from the outer side of the fronts).  However, if I mount the heights on the side wall, with their faces sitting about 1 metre from the front wall (front faces of mains sit about 700mm from front wall), I can get the vertical alignment of the mains and heights further apart  (~300mm) - would you still recommend mounting on the front wall as high as possible?

    Also, to clarify - should even the surrounds be pointed down at the LP? - I thought vertically and above the LP by about 600-900mm was recommended for rear surrounds (in 5.1 or dsx 9.1 type configurations)?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    OK, I see what you mean.  In that case, I would suggest going with the Heights up near the ceiling on the side walls as you mention.  As for the surrounds, it's ... complicated.  Surround speakers should ideally be dipoles for movie content.  In that case, the flat surface with no drivers should point to the listener.  That means that the dipole surrounds should be mounted at 90° relative to the Center at 0°.  If you have direct radiators and are trying to make them appear less localizable (ideal for movie content) then it's probably best to point them well above the listener.

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    S Bail

    I should clarify that with the heights - placing them on the walls at the position I stated won't give me the desired 45 degree vertical angle, but I will get them a) as high up as possible and b) very near the front wall and c) outside the fronts - so it seems a good compromise.  Your answer to my original question appears relevant however - I was considering mounting the heights on the ceiling well away from the front and side walls in order to achive the ideal 45 degree height alignment (and 45 degrees on the horisontal plane) - which by your reply appears to suggest is less optimal than my final setup.

    I should also have stated that I have direct radiator surrounds - so it appears that I have set them correctly.

    Cheers Chris - can't wait to get them cranked up!

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    Brent Cook

    Chris,  what's the problem with mounting the speakers on the ceiling far away from the front and side walls in order to maintain the specified 45 degree angle?   Audyssey easily corrects for distance and volume, but angle can't be adjusted for, to my understanding.     I thought I was doing the right thing mounting my speaker at 45 degrees on ceiling, but your answers are giving me second thoughts.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Brent,

    It's not a huge deal to mount the speakers on the ceiling to get the angle closer to 45°.  But, you may have coverage issues especially if you have more than one row of seating.  That's why we recommend the front wall mounting.

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    Ccpcman

    Chris,
    Are smaller satellites good enough for wide and height speakers? I am currently using Mirage Nanosats but wonder if they are too limited in frequency range for the range of sound they produce. The audyssey calibration has a crossover at 150. My mains, center and rears are larger Mirage speakers along with a sub.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Small speakers are fine.  Bass management will take care of sending the bass to the sub just like it does for all other speakers in the system.

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    John P

    Hi Chris. 

    For aesthetic reasons, I would like to use "in ceiling" speakers for front heights. 

    If I mounted them on the ceiling near the front, they would be just about 45 degrees to the one-row only seating position.

    How important is it to get "aimable" in ceilings for this purpose? Should I try to restrict myself to getting "aimable" speakers, or with only one-row seating, could I tweak the position of non-aimable in ceiling speakers to work well as front heights?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi John,

    In general it's a good idea to aim the tweeters of all speakers to the ears.  Most speakers are designed to have their flattest response when listening on their main axis.  It's not what I would consider critical, just a good idea if possible.

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    Lee Collins

    Chris
    My setup only allows for wides OR heights and speaker placement puts speakers 6' higher (40 degrees) AND about 60 degrees wider from center-hould I use wide or height output on my receiver?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Lee,

    Wides offer a much bigger benefit than Heights so we recommend using them whenever possible.

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