Microphone placement?

When calibrating my system with MultEQ, where should the microphone be placed?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    The MultEQ algorithms require acoustical information from multiple locations within the listening area in order to create the appropriate room correction filters for each loudspeaker and subwoofer in the system.  The first measurement is used to determine the distance and level of each speaker and it should be taken in the center-most position of the listening area.  After that, it is recommended to take 6-8 more measurements throughout the listening area.

    1. The order of the measurements after the first one does not matter
    2. It is very important to avoid extreme positions including up against the back wall or too far outside angle spanned by the front Left and Right speakers.  Taking measurements in these positions will cause MultEQ to make unnecessary adjustments
    3. Measurements should be at ear height with some small vertical variation

    Check out our How to MultEQ guide

    Download measurement locations PDF

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    Dathon

    Chris, I have read conflicting things about the mic placement and Audyssey set-up on several forums. Maybe you could please clarify?

    1. Your PDF shows mic positions 1-3 on the seats of the couch. I assume you should use a boom arm for the mic and not place the tripod directly on the couch?
    2. How sensitive is the mic? Will a boom arm or small tripod interfere with the measurements? Is it necessary to cover the tripod with a light piece of cloth?
    3. If the couch back is slightly higher than ear level, should you raise the mic above the couch back so reflections from the back wall are captured?
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    Chris Kyriakakis
    1. A boom arm or a tripod on the couch will work fine

    2. As long as the boom arm is not placed between the mic and the speaker it's not a problem. Smaller (rather than big bulky) tripods are better. There could be some issues with reflections at very high frequencies from the tripod especially if it is the type that has a large head for big cameras

    3. Yes, I would recommend raising the mic above the couch back to avoid reflections from the couch back that could interfere with the measurements

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    Sonny O'Hara

    Chris: I have just looked at the pdf for 8 position mic measurements for the multi eq. The pdf does not show the relative distances between the mic positions. Are we talking 2 feet, 3 feet?

    Please advise.

    Thanks.

    Sonny

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Sonny,
    The exact distance is not critical. Somewhere between 2-3 ft (1 m) is what we recommend.

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    Wdmoore123

    Hi Chris,

    Regarding your comment  "Yes, I would recommend raising the mic above the couch back to avoid
    reflections from the couch back that could interfere with the
    measurements".  This appears to somewhat conflict with a response I received earlier from you a while back as follows:

    My Previous Question:

    |
      I have a leather chair located at the principle seating location and have located the microphone on a tripod at ear level.  Should I:

    A.      Position the microphone at the seated position on the chair at ear height.  Note: The microphone is positioned such that it is approximately 10 inches horizontal from the back of the chair.   Secondarily,
    should the back of the leather chair remain bare or covered perhaps
    with sound absorption material (thick towel for instance).
                                                                  OR
    B.      Remove the chair and place the microphone at ear height at the seated position where the chair would normally be.
    |

    Your Previous Response:

    "You
    should measure with method A and the chair in place.  After the first
    measurement, put the tripod on the floor and take measurements about 2'
    to the left and right of the central position.  Then take three more
    measurements about 2' forward of the first three.  The final two can be
    taken about 1' from the first measurement.  Other than the first
    position that must be in the center, the other measurements don't have
    to be precisely placed.  Just try to surround the listening seat so
    that the algorithm has enough info about what's going on in the
    listening area.  Don't go too far off axis or near walls."

    At this time I am now wondering if it may be best to remove the chair to avoid the chair back reflections for the first measurement and perhaps place the chair back for the remaining measurements.  I am concerned with the option of taking the initial measurement when locating the mic several inches above ear level to clear the chair back height .  I believe the mic location may conflict with the proper distance measurement and introduce potential spatial frequency errors due to a higher than normal ear height mic location.  I can add that my current measurements performed with Option A above have resulted in precisely accurate distance measurements (within an inch or two).

    Please comment and thank you again for your help.

    Sincerely,

    Wayne

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Wayne,

    I don't think there is any conflict in the responses.  The importance of the chair reflections has been blown a little out of proportion in some of the online forums.  The effect (if any) is at high frequencies.  The distance estimation method that MultEQ uses relies on low frequencies and doesn't even see the reflections from the back of the chair.  Removing the chair, however, will most influence the low frequency measurements and so it's better to leave it in place.

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    Wdmoore123

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for the response.  Just want to verify that
    you are recommending in my situation that while leaving the chair in place, the
    microphone should remain at ear level elevation and a few inches from
    chair back (per Option A above) as opposed to locating the mic above the back of the chair (though it appears that the mic would only require to be raised approximately 3 inches to clear the chair back height).  My speakers are position sensitive for precise time alignment though I wonder with the microphone being pointed at the ceiling, perhaps microphone height placement may not be as critical in terms of achieving precise ear level height frequency response.

    Also when you state regarding chair reflections that "the effect (if any) is at high frequencies."  How would this typically affect the calibration result (i.e. more high frequency response or less high frequency response than expected , or other?).

    Thanks for your time again,

    Wayne

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Wayne,

    What I was trying to say is that you will not see much difference between the two mic placements you are asking about.  It's not worth worrying about it.  The reflections from a nearby flat surface can have an effect on the smoothness of the very high frequency response.  But, I don't think this will be an issue in your case.

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    Sonny O'Hara

    Hello Chris:

    This is in regards to 8 position calibration of 3808. My room size is 24 by 18 ft and I sit at about 10.5 ft from the centre speaker and 7 feet from the rear wall. For measurements 8 and 9, whish of these would you recommend?

    • 1 foot forward to the front and side *of the main sitting position *

                                             versus

    • 1 foot backward and to the side of the main sitting position.

    Could you please explain why you would recommend one over the other.

    Thanks again.

    Sonny.

     

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Sonny,

    I would recommend taking the last two measurements (7 and 8) as shown in the diagram above.  This will give MultEQ more information about the area around the main listening position.  

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    Sonny O'Hara

    Hello Chris:

     

    Thank you for your response.In the diagram above, it looks like the surround speaker set up is as follows:

    Dipole/Bipole for side surrounds and

    Direct radiating speakers for the back surrounds.

     

    In your opinion, what surround speaker set up works best for the Audyssey Multi eq with the Dynamic Volume? I am currently using same type speakers for both side and back surrounds. They are dipole/bipole switchable and I am currently using them in the dipole mode. If I have to, I can switch any of them to bipole mode. In addition I have 4 direct radiating book-shelf speakers that I am not using. I can wall-mount any of these and incorporate them into the surround system. All these speakers are from the same manufacturer and have the same tweeters. Your suggestion will be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Sonny.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    MultEQ and Dynamic Volume do not depend on the type of loudspeaker used for surrounds.  The choice for these speakers is usually dictated by the content.  Most film content requires ambient and diffuse surround.  In movie theaters this is achieved with a large array of direct radiators on each side playing the same content.  But, in home theaters this is not practical and so dipole speakers are often used to achieve the same effect.

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    Don Price

    Chris:

     

    First of all, thanks much for providing your input here.  I am trying to figure out the ideal locations for microphone placement. I have 5 Niles Audio ceiling speakers that were custom installed for best location based upon my primary listening position (and are therefore fixed in place). My room is 21 ft. long X 11.5 ft. wide, with my center speaker being located above the TV, which is approximately where the FR speaker is in your diagram. My primary listening position is on the couch (which is along the wall (the 21 ft. dimension) in position 3 in your diagram. Should I place the microphone at position 3, with additional measurements to the left of right of position 3, and corresponding measurements in front of the first three positions?

    Also, in an unrelated question, my receiver has Audyssey MultEQ. I am thinking about upgrading to a receiver with MultEQ XT. Do you think I would notice much difference in sound?   Thanks much for your advice.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    I would recommend starting in the center most position of your listening area and then distributing the measurements around that point.  Try to avoid placing the mic too close to the wall as that will influence the low frequency measurements because of the bass build-up against the wall.  Since your speakers are in the ceiling it can be beneficial to tilt the mic back slightly so that sound from the speakers hits the mic at a grazing angle.

    The main difference between MultEQ and MultEQ XT is the resolution of the filters that is much higher in MultEQ XT.  That becomes evident in the low frequency correction of the satellite speakers.  They have identical performance in the subwoofer channel.

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    Rick Ponti

    Hi Chris -

    I am new to this website / forum.  I recently bought a Marantz AVR (SR5003) that came with the Audyssey mic equipment (MultiEQ).  I am using Paradigm speakers (bookshelf, surrounds, and 10" sub)  I am in the midst of tweaking and trying different settings out to make sure I get the "best" sound possible.

    I have downloaded and read several Audyssey articles that pertain to the setup and position of the mic.  I am running into conflicting reports of where to place the mic ... or I am just not understanding what is meant in the articles (different terminology).

    What I have seen and read consistently states that you want to place the mic in the "center" of the "listening position".  I have also read that you want to place the mic in the "sweet spot" of the "listening area".  One Audyssey article I read states that you want to place the mic in the "sweet spot" regardless of where you will actually be sitting.  The "sweet spot" is being defined as the mic (and tripod that it sits on) forms the tip of an imaginary equal-lateral triangle with the front speakers forming the base of the triangle.

    The reason I am posting to this forum is that I have a family room that is 15' wide x 19' long.  There is a half wall that divides the family room from the kitchen.  This is the wall my surround speakers sit on.  However, they are a little off axis to the front speakers.  In other words, they don't face the fronts dead on; they are shifted over a bit.  I would say that the left surround ends up facing the mid-point of the front speakers and the right surround is approximately 4 - 5ft off axis.

    So, last night, I re-ran the Audyssey auto speaker setup.  My first position was in the "sweet spot" of the "listening area".  I did not place the tripod in the center of the couch where we will be sitting (listening position).  Instead, I placed the mic in the middle of the listening area ... forming a equal lateral triangle with the front speakers.  If you can visualize this, this meant that the surrounds were a bit off axis in relation to the front speakers and subwoofer. 

    For the other five measurements, I went two feet to the right and two feet to the left of the first measurement and then took three measurements two feet in from of the first three (which meant I ended up being like 4 - 5ft away from the fronts and the sub).

    So, what is the preferred method here?  Do I take the first measurement in the center of the couch for the first measurement and then work around that.  By the way, the couch is up against the half-wall which again is where my surrounds sit at approximately one foot above listening level.  Or, do I take the first measurement in the "sweet spot" with the mic (tripod) forming the tip of the triangle?

    Finally, does it hurt to place some couch cushions or pillows on some of the reflective surfaces in the room (i.e. wall, glass doors to fireplace, etc...)?  Will that confuse the Audyssey speaker calibration?

    Any advice and assistance will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time!

    Thanks,

    Rick

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Rick,

    The delays and levels for each of your speakers are calculated from the first mic position.  So, we always recommend starting with the mic in the center of the listening area .  That position is usually defined as you mention above: at the tip of the triangle with the base of that triangle running through the two front speakers.  In an ideal system the triangle is equilateral (60° angles) and your speakers are at ±30° from the center.  But, in most home situations that can't always be the case.  So, it's best to start with the mic in the center of your seating area and then follow the pattern shown in the diagram above.

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    Rick Ponti

    Thanks Chris!

    To follow-up, I re-ran the Audyssey setup last night ... with the first mic position in the center of the couch.  All seemed to work well.  I measured six different positions.

     

    The following are the measurements I received from the Audyssey calibration:

    Speaker Distances:

    Front L = 15.9 ft.

    Front R = 14.6 ft.

    Surr R = 3.5 ft.

    Surr L = 3.8 ft.

    Sub W = 17.9 ft.

     

    Speaker Levels:

    Front L =  +5.0 dB

    Front R =  +3.5 dB

    Surr R =  -0.5 dB

    Surr L =  -0.5 dB

    Sur W =  -7.0dB

     

    Additional settings that I made include:

    1. In the Manual setup, I changed the Front speakers from Large to Small;  The surrounds were already set to Small;

    2. The LPF/HPF was originally set to 100Hz but I changed to 120Hz (should this remain at 100Hz);

    3. For the HT-EQ, I have this set to OFF;

    4. For the LFE Level, I have this at 0 dB;

    5. Under Preferences, I have Audio = Main + Sub

    6. For EQ Mode, I have that set to Audyssey.

     

    So, again, this is a Marantz SR5003.  So, some of this is specific to it 's menu setup. For the speakers, I am using Paradigm Atoms, PDR-10 sub, and ADP-190  surrounds (di-pole).

    I was wondering if any of this looks odd to you or if I need to change anything?  Should I adjust anything one way or the other?

    Thanks again for all your help and advice.

    Thanks,

    Rick

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Rick,

    This all looks fine.  I would leave the LPF/HPF at 100 Hz where it was found.  I know the notation is confusing, but in Marantz speak this is the crossover between your speakers and the sub.

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    Rick Ponti

    Hi Chris -

    Thanks for all your help on the setup of the Audyssey mic, placement, and resulting measurements. 

    One thing that I wanted to confirm with you is the REV reading I get for my sub and right surround speaker.  Every time I run the Audyssey setup, the resulting display output shows a REV next to one the surround speakers and the sub.  I originally thought  I had the surrounds reversed on the rear of my Marantz AVR.  I was trying to determine what is left and what is right for surrounds.  I was told that you determine left and right for surrounds by facing the fronts ... so what is the left front speaker is the left surround.  Is this correct in determining what is left and what is right for surrounds ... or does it matter?  I know it seems like a simple question ...

    Anyway, do I need to be concerned with the REV result?  All my speakers are set to the right polarity.  I have read that sometimes these readings can be ignored.

    Again, thanks for all the help and info.

     

    Rick

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Rick,

    The polarity warning is just that: a warning to check the wiring.  If it's correct on both the back of the amp and the speaker then you can hit skip and proceed.  Some speakers have a driver with intentionally reversed polarity by design.

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    Juan Javier Esquivel

    Dear Chris,

     

    I am new Audyssey fan and I am waiting for my Installer Kit soon, I live in Mexico City and I wish to be a good installer and also to be a dealer here in Mexico City because no one now. I have some quesions, my english not good enough sorry, I have the same lay out for my home theater that you show us in yours, but It's not clear for me the follow:

     

    a) If my back couch it higher than the listening position I have to put the mic with my tripod on the seat above the back couch or put the mic solo on the back couch?

     

    b) Why all those measurement are only in the center and don't near to the chair besides?

     

    c) The only difference with your lay out versus mine it's that, in the middle there is a table the couch or chiar are besides, If the first position it's critical and have to be taken in the center-most position of the listening area in my case where I have to put the mic on the table as the center position or the seat where I use to be seat more common or where?

    d) I have an ONKYO 805 7.1 in a small room.

    As my english it's not good, let me know maybe I can do it better next time.

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    Juan Javier Esquivel

    My seat or furniture where I seat are leather.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hello Juan,

    The mic should be placed as close as possible to ear height.  If the back of the couch is high then reflections could affect the measurements if the mic is placed too close to it.  You can raise the mic a few cm to make sure it is just above the seat back or just keep the mic at ear height and move it forward so that it is not too close to the seat back.

    The measurements are designed to collect information about the response of your speakers in the room.  It's best to avoid placing the mic in extreme off axis positions because that can give it misleading information about the off axis response of your speakers.

    The first position should be in the center of the listening area.  Usually, that is where the main seat is.  If the seat is off to the side, we still recommend taking the first measurement in the center.

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    Owen Heuston

    I have a question about the Audyssey 2EQ w/ Dynamic EQ & Dynamic Volume that is used in my Onkyo tx-sr608.  When I run the calibration of the speakers it, the distance is a little off,(after measuring the 3 seating positioins) say the left speaker distance is 1ft more than the right.  Is this down because it is taking into consideration the 3 listening positions that it calibrates for?  Also, if I want most of the bass frequencies to handled by paradigm PDR-12, what would I choose to set my speakers at say, so that they are considered small?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    The distance is calculated from the first microphone position.  So, if it's not in the center of your listening area you may see differences between the L and R speaker distances.

    If you want the bass to be sent to the subwoofer (a very good idea!), then you should set all your speakers to Small.  Onkyo doesn't use that term.  Just make sure that none of your speaker are set to Full Range and that each has a crossover frequency assigned.  80 Hz is a good starting point.

    Make sure that the frequency knob on your subwoofer is turned all the way up so that it doesn't interfere with proper bass management that is best performed in the AVR.

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    Owen Heuston

    Thanks Chris, I think my questions have been redundant and I apologize.  I really appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions, no matter how lame they are.

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    Argifotini1992

    Hi Chris

    I use the potitions from your pdf , sound it is OK , but I got no bass , why?

     

    rgrds argi greece

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Argi,

    I need a little more info.  What do you mean by "no bass"?  Is there no signal at all from the subwoofer?  Or is the signal too low for your preference?

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    Argifotini1992

    Hi Chris

    I mean in stereo program, and there is no bass with unit on, when I make bypass the signal  I got enough bass.I hope this help

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