Home Theater Library


Home Theater Speaker Placement

Posted by on 4:50 pm in Home Theater Audio, Home Theater Design | 0 comments

You want a great home theater? Then you have to have your room right, and you need to have your speakers in the right location. If you buy some awesome speakers, but you put them in the wrong places in your room, those awesome speakers won’t sound nearly as awesome as they could. In this article, we’ll go through the best practices in setting up your home theater speakers. As an important note, please keep in mind that loudspeaker manufacturers will have specific guidelines for their products, so always follow what the manufacturer specifies. One other note, all the discussions you read tend to be about the single seated position. I’ll be using the same concept here, but realize that the farther away from that ideal seated position, the more out of ‘alignment’ your audio will be. That is where audio calibration comes into play, your audio performance does not stop with where you position your speakers. OK, so let’s get started… Center Channel Placement Your center channel is the workhorse of your home theater speakers, and the placement of this speaker is critical. This speaker is where the vast majority of dialogue is located, and the true ‘center’ of the audio you hear while you are listening to your system. Ideally, the tweeter(s) of your center channel should be horizontally aligned with the tweeters of your front left and right speakers. If you cannot place the tweeters on the exact same height, then you should have the tweeter(s) of the center channel within 12 inches of the tweeters on the left and right speakers. In terms of where to put the speaker, you should have your center channel positioned directly in the middle of your display. Doing so, gives you three options, one is to place this speaker above your screen, the second is to place the speaker below your screen, and the third option is to place the speaker centered directly behind your screen. There are pros and cons to both above and below the screen. When the speaker is below the screen, the tweeter is more likely within that 12 inch range of your left and right speakers, however if you have multiple rows in your theater, then the viewers in the front row are likely going to block the audio from reaching the subsequent rows. When you place your center channel above the screen, a downside is that there is a large difference between the tweeter height of your left and right speakers with your center channel. You can angle it down towards the audience, however you might still pickup that the speaker is well above your left and right speakers. So your best option is to place your center channel speaker directly behind the screen, with the tweeters aligned in a straight line. Of course, if you make the choice to have your center channel directly behind your screen, you will have to be using an Acoustically Transparent screen surface, so that your audio can come right through from the center of the screen. Regardless of your vertical position choice, the center channel speaker is considered 0 degrees from the listening position, meaning it is exactly centered on that seat. Front Left and Right Speakers While your center channel is the workhorse, the other...

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Home Theater Room Dimensions

Posted by on 4:45 pm in Home Theater Construction, Home Theater Design | 0 comments

If you want to build a great home theater, the place you’ll be starting is the actual room itself. The size of the room, and the shape of the room, both will have a significant impact on the performance of your home theater. The room really is the key “component” to the entire project. The room is the most important part of your entire system, which is the core philosophy of this entire site and all the resources available here. You can take incredible equipment and place it in a horrible room, and it will sound way below average – while on the flipside you can take average equipment and place it in an excellent room, and it will sound way above average. In other words, your room is the critical element during the entire process of making your home theater dream come to life. Of course, unless you are building a room addition, you do not have unlimited space to work with, and will have to deal with the constraints and limitations of the space you have available to you. And for most home theaters, the shape will be a rectangle, which is the easiest to work with, so that is a good thing. The Bad Ratios When we start getting into room dimensions, where we are talking about Length x Width x Height, there are some clear ratios that you should avoid, if at all possible. If your only option is to work with a space that is exactly like one of these ratios, don’t let that stop you from building and enjoying your home theater, just do so with the knowledge that you will have to really work on the acoustics inside the space, once it is built. So the worst room ratio, meaning the worst shape, would be a simple cube. For example, if you had a room that was ten feet long, ten feet wide, and ten feet high. That would be bad, very bad. If you have a room where one dimension is an exact multiple of another dimension, that also would be bad (not as bad as a cube though). For example, if you had a room that was 16 feet long, 16 feet wide, and eight feet high, that would not be a good set of dimensions. Related to the above, you should also avoid ratios that are all simple multiples of one another. For example, if you had a room that was 24 feet long, 16 feet wide, and 8 feet high, that wouldn’t be an ideal set of dimensions, because you have exact multiples of 8 in each dimension. Modes, Waves, Peaks, and Valleys The reason for not wanting a theater with these exact multiples is related to how sound actually moves around and resonates inside a room. That will be discussed in depth in another library article, but at the high level, room dimensions can make certain frequencies seem louder, and others softer, which is not something you want to have happening too much in your theater. The Golden Ratio OK, so this part of the discussion can quickly bring out some strong opinions. There is a school of thought that you can build a room with a “golden ratio”, which means the ideal and perfect ratio of...

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