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Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Home cinema speakers mounted to walls
Consider speaker positions

No matter how great your loudspeakers may be, poor positioning will have a detrimental effect on the listening experience. 🔇

As experienced AV Distributors working with leading audio brands in the custom install space, here are some common speaker positioning mistakes you should avoid during your next custom installation...

🔉 Keep Side Surround speakers, at the side!

When laying out a simple 5.1 system, the Side Surround speakers (numbers 4 + 5) should be more towards the sides of the listener rather than at the back of the room. Then you'll experience a full 360° effect around you, it's the bedrock of surround sound. If the Side Surrounds end up at the back, you'll notice a big hole in the sound to your sides.

👂 Ear level is the place to be.

Surround speakers in an immersive system should be at or around ear level, not in the ceiling. The surround effect really falls apart otherwise! If you're going to add 'Top' speakers, for playing back Dolby Atmos, then you really don't want those Surround speakers in the ceiling too. Get the ear-level layer right, then progress to add Atmos!

🔉 Soundbars are not shelf speakers!

A centre speaker or soundbar, under a TV, for example, should not be pushed back towards the wall with a shelf below. If this happens, then the sound leaves the soundbar or speaker straight ahead, but it also rebounds off of the shelf and mixes with the original sound. This creates comb filtering, which sounds awful! If there is a shelf, bring the speaker forward, to the front edge if possible.

🗄️ Speakers don't belong in furniture.

Avoid placing speakers in voids such as within the shelves of cabinetry. The surfaces around the speaker cause a funnel or cupped-hands effect, which robs the good sound of your speaker!

🔉 Subwoofer placement matters too!

Experiment with different positions of the subwoofer, even if the room is empty and still a building site! There's no harm in moving the subwoofer around to discover the best-sounding spot for it to be placed, as this will vary from room to room.

For additional tips on speaker placement or to have our expert term design your speaker system for you, please get in touch with CAVD today.


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