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Height or Ear level Surround and Surround Back Speakers


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Hi all my first post.

 

I have been playing at home theatre for almost 15 years now but never with the house or funds to be serious with the hobby. As it turns out as you get older you get higher paying jobs but with higher bills to fund lifestyles so excess funds still seem to be scarce.

 

Funds are still a little tight caused mainly by the inhouse bank manager, but finally have a home with a dedicated space 4.9m W x 4.8m L. Living in WA the room is on the 1st floor. The room construction is concrete slab floor with carpet, the 2 outer walls double brick and the other 2 single brick so I'm limited on how much I can chase speaker cable around.

 

So to my point I have decided to go the 7.2.4 route and have so far picked up the KEF Q950's and a KEF C650 for the front sound stage, currently running my old Monitors BRFX's and BR5's as surrounds and surround backs. I'm toying with the idea to minimise cable chasing in the walls to mount KEF Q50a's as surrounds and surround backs towards the top of the wall as close to the ceiling as possible firing down with minimal exposed wiring, my original intent was to run with 4 x Q350's on stands but dreading having to chase the cables around in the walls.

 

Will using the KEF Q50a's in that position detract/get muddled with the atmos effects coming from the inceiling speakers that will be installed in the not too distant future, or would it be better to just suck it up make some mess and use the Q350's on the stands minimising the compromise. The other thought that I had was to run the cables close to the walls under the carpet, but I think 4 pairs of 12 gauge speaker cable may be a little noticeable under the carpet.

 

Any help in this area would be appreciated, cheers guys. 

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You would probably be better off running 5.1.4 in your room - it is not really big enough for 7 ear level speakers. I compared 7 vs 5 in my 6.25x4.3x2.7m room and thought the 7 were better it was by maybe 5%. There was more ambience (the "background" sounds filled the room a bit better) but the discrete effects of bullets whizzing around etc were exactly identical. Vy going 5.1.4 you will save money on AVR/Amps, speakers and installation hassle.

 

Your surrounds must go at, or just above, ear level or they will adversely affect the height effect channels.

 

You can run surround speaker cable down each side of the room under the carpet (you can also buy flat cables and you certainly don't need 12 guage - 14 or even 16 is good enough - google speaker wiring size chart) or behind skirting boards (if you haven't already got skirting boards down), or come down for the ceiling right in the rear corners where it will be easier and neater to hide them behind some PVC channeling etc

 

Having all speakers being identical is the ideal setup so if you can get all matching Kefs or at least from the same series.

 

And use bookshelf speakers mounted on ceiling for your heights - aimed at Main Listening Position (MLP) will give best Atmos setup - again matching Kefs if you can afford them.

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Thanks niterida

 

I’m running a Marantz SR6014 at the moment so yes a 5.2.4 is supported out the box. My thoughts were to back the SR6014 up with an external 2 or 3 channel amp to get the 7.2.4 and power the front sound stage with that.

 

So using the atmos Q50a at height in the same angles from the MLP that Dolby suggest would not create the same effects as ear level speakers being used as surrounds and surround backs.

 

I suppose going the 5.2.4 route can be my initial setup and if i feel its lacking I can always get some more speakers later. So your saying stay away from inceiling speakers and go the bookshelves instead. If you’ve gone this way can you suggest some brackets that could be used on the ceiling. Although the KEF Q350 is a big bookshelf speaker.

 

Thanks for the ideas on hiding the cable down the rear corners of the the walls. I’ll have a look and consider how they would look painted.

 

 

 

 

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My situation is almost the same.

Room dimensions are ... 4.1m x 5.4m take a few cm each way.

AVR is Marantz SR 6011.  Speakers are Kef 950q fronts, 650c centre, Q50a upfiring atmos and rears are 350q on wall brackets angled down to the listening chairs.

I only have a 3 seater recliner set up which is about 1.8m from the rear wall.

 

With cable runs I ran cable up the front wall accross the ceiling and then down to the rears. Used a bit more cable this way but everything is completely hidden. The rear speakers are a bit higher than optimum "suggested" but by angling them down and running them a bit hotter I have found no loss in effects or immersiveness.  I've had them on stands over the years as well slightly higher mounted and a few other variables over the past 20yrs and find this to be a happy medium for all in the home and the room of course YMMV.

 

The brackets I used from memory were videosecu I sourced them from Amazon (found em)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X9O8SI/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=basheaspe02-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B000X9O8SI&linkId=453535ff095472f43311774cc1e0de95

* run a strap over the speaker for added security too. I got this idea from a HT channel on YT review of wall mounting rear speakers.  I went to spotlight and got some of that strong nylon then added like a bag clip to it which is ontop.  Speakers are rock solid.  Due  to the weight of the 350q I would only recommend mounting to stud though, no other wall anchor will be secure IMO.

 

With HT I think there is a little more flexibility once you calibrate to tweek the channels to taste.  You will need to take into account reference volume setting but its pretty rare I run a movie at 75db so a small bump in rears or atmos to taste has never negatively impacted any movie.  Matter of fact, Audyssey can sometimes get things a bit wrong IMO so always check the settings once calibrated and make your own adjustments using a SPL or an app on your phone.

 

Once you are up and running you'll soon know if you need to make any adjustments anyway,  Some people prefer really hot rear speakers others prefer ambient noises.

I will say the Q50a sitting ontop of the 950s are not a major enhancment and will add some ambiance on certain movies but dont expect full wow factors.  I run these quite a bit hotter to get the most out of them and am happy with what what they do.  With movies that are NOT atmos just select dolby digita + surround on the AVR and these will kick in, if you just select the main soundtrack and its not atmos nothing will come through these.  If you use them as surrounds then it wont matter.

 

Good luck with the set up and enjoy the movies!!!

 

 

 

 

20201222_155229_HDR_resized.jpg

20201222_155243_HDR_resized.jpg

Edited by 08Boss302
added link and pics
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If you find a 5.1.4 lacking, it won't be from missing back speakers. Instead it will be lacking power, 9 channels from a 6014 is a stretch. I know because I'm running 9 of a 6014. I added a multi channel amplifier to handle the floor level speakers.

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Ear level speakers (surrounds and rear surrounds) should be at ear level.

Height speakers should be at height.

And never the twain shall meet

Otherwise you will not get as good an atmos effect as you could.

 

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I had asked a similar question. My problem is I am unable to put my surround speakers at ear level, so I put them close to the ceiling. I set them to 'height' speakers, but that cause a problem as only overhead (top) sounds would come through them. I had to set them to 'surround' speakers for them to work ... but they don't work very well.

In my case, it might be I'm using different and much smaller speakers, but I find it's almost not noticeable having surrounds at ceiling height.

 

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Thanks for the replies guys.

 

I have a clearer understanding of how to tackle the room. I think I will head down the 5.2.4 route initially and see how it performs before I go the whole 7.2.4 setup, as was said earlier it may not be required once everything is set up correctly in the room I have.

 

08Boss302, nice one with the link to the wall brackets, they look pretty tidy and look as though they hold the Q350's nicely, I think for the price I will order some whether I decide to go on the wall or not. I have solid brick walls so with the correct fixings I should be ok, some big Dyna bolts come to mind. 

 

SGS, I reckon your correct, the amp may struggle which is why I have always in the back of my mind wanted to add a multi channel amp, that was always going to be the last piece of the puzzle. I'm not sure how long I can keep up the "this stuff doesn't cost that much" line to the missus, so far I have managed to get the Amp, Speakers, Projector Screen and Sony 4K projector past the wife with the above statement, I managed 3 years of buying 4WD parts before she got wind of what got spent with that hobby. Just hoping to get the room finished before the gig is up.

 

Before I commit to final positions ear level or higher I think I going to try and temporarily fit them in different locations and see what goes best in the room sound wise and aesthetically.

 

 

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10 hours ago, puunda said:

I had asked a similar question. My problem is I am unable to put my surround speakers at ear level, so I put them close to the ceiling. I set them to 'height' speakers, but that cause a problem as only overhead (top) sounds would come through them. I had to set them to 'surround' speakers for them to work ... but they don't work very well.

In my case, it might be I'm using different and much smaller speakers, but I find it's almost not noticeable having surrounds at ceiling height.

 

Yes never set rear or side surrounds to height as its a different soundtrack the amp will send to them and you will not get the "whizzing" type effects but moreso ambient sounds and background effects.

If your rears are not audible enough for you and you have run calibration then try running them a bit hotter to your taste. Increase their volume via the independent channel volume or direct by the setting post calibration (this might be avr dependent)

There is always rules and restrictions that you can get caught right up in but as most peoples rooms are not perfect theatre rooms making changes to suit your room and preferences wont send you to a fiery audio hell.  Your speakers might also be firing direcly over your head too, this is a problem obviously.  If you have to have them mounted higher than ear level consider that they are firing down toward you as best as possible, this should also assist.   Audyssey or similar should account for any additional timing delay on their position but you also have the capacity to alter the volume for ANY of the speakers in your set up to preference. 

 

 

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On 22/12/2020 at 2:49 PM, 08Boss302 said:

My situation is almost the same.

Room dimensions are ... 4.1m x 5.4m take a few cm each way.

AVR is Marantz SR 6011.  Speakers are Kef 950q fronts, 650c centre, Q50a upfiring atmos and rears are 350q on wall brackets angled down to the listening chairs.

I only have a 3 seater recliner set up which is about 1.8m from the rear wall.

 

With cable runs I ran cable up the front wall accross the ceiling and then down to the rears. Used a bit more cable this way but everything is completely hidden. The rear speakers are a bit higher than optimum "suggested" but by angling them down and running them a bit hotter I have found no loss in effects or immersiveness.  I've had them on stands over the years as well slightly higher mounted and a few other variables over the past 20yrs and find this to be a happy medium for all in the home and the room of course YMMV.

 

The brackets I used from memory were videosecu I sourced them from Amazon (found em)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X9O8SI/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=basheaspe02-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B000X9O8SI&linkId=453535ff095472f43311774cc1e0de95

* run a strap over the speaker for added security too. I got this idea from a HT channel on YT review of wall mounting rear speakers.  I went to spotlight and got some of that strong nylon then added like a bag clip to it which is ontop.  Speakers are rock solid.  Due  to the weight of the 350q I would only recommend mounting to stud though, no other wall anchor will be secure IMO.

 

With HT I think there is a little more flexibility once you calibrate to tweek the channels to taste.  You will need to take into account reference volume setting but its pretty rare I run a movie at 75db so a small bump in rears or atmos to taste has never negatively impacted any movie.  Matter of fact, Audyssey can sometimes get things a bit wrong IMO so always check the settings once calibrated and make your own adjustments using a SPL or an app on your phone.

 

Once you are up and running you'll soon know if you need to make any adjustments anyway,  Some people prefer really hot rear speakers others prefer ambient noises.

I will say the Q50a sitting ontop of the 950s are not a major enhancment and will add some ambiance on certain movies but dont expect full wow factors.  I run these quite a bit hotter to get the most out of them and am happy with what what they do.  With movies that are NOT atmos just select dolby digita + surround on the AVR and these will kick in, if you just select the main soundtrack and its not atmos nothing will come through these.  If you use them as surrounds then it wont matter.

 

Good luck with the set up and enjoy the movies!!!

 

 

 

 

20201222_155229_HDR_resized.jpg

20201222_155243_HDR_resized.jpg

Ah geez are we related? I even have that Moffat Cobra...

 

I have a 7.1.4 setup, keft q900s front and side, 650 center, and my rears are Q300s on angled brackets slightly above ear level  (or ear level if I was 8" taller...)- sort of so they aren't as muffled by the rear of the couch. My 4 uppers are all mounted to the ceiling itself (brackets bolted to the joists), and are q300s on angled directed brackets aimed at main listener position.

 

Works very well.

 

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On 23/12/2020 at 8:45 AM, 08Boss302 said:

Yes never set rear or side surrounds to height as its a different soundtrack the amp will send to them and you will not get the "whizzing" type effects but moreso ambient sounds and background effects.

If your rears are not audible enough for you and you have run calibration then try running them a bit hotter to your taste. Increase their volume via the independent channel volume or direct by the setting post calibration (this might be avr dependent)

There is always rules and restrictions that you can get caught right up in but as most peoples rooms are not perfect theatre rooms making changes to suit your room and preferences wont send you to a fiery audio hell.  Your speakers might also be firing direcly over your head too, this is a problem obviously.  If you have to have them mounted higher than ear level consider that they are firing down toward you as best as possible, this should also assist.   Audyssey or similar should account for any additional timing delay on their position but you also have the capacity to alter the volume for ANY of the speakers in your set up to preference. 

 

 

Are are on the same wavelength here.

In my case I have done all your have suggested. They are aiming down towards the listener. Calibration has been run which has set both level and distance.

In a 'test' or one of those demo clips, you can hear it clearly.

In most movies/tv which you watch, there's not a lot happening. I may be the content of what I'm watching. It may be I'm just expecting too much. But I think it's as good as it can get with this setup, and I'm happy enough with it at the moment.

I had though about bipolar speakers for the surround speakers ... but not sure if I want to spend the money not knowing the results, so haven't taken the plunge.

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IMO, speaker placement is more paramount than even matching speakers.

Getting that and the levels right will give you a far better envelop of surround joy.

You can see what I'm using for my setup, and the fronts are quite different from the rears..

Using speaker stands, running cables by the side of the walls, or under carpets are potential WAF friendly solutions.. 

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On 23/12/2020 at 1:33 AM, Stankoj said:

 

SGS, I reckon your correct, the amp may struggle which is why I have always in the back of my mind wanted to add a multi channel amp, that was always going to be the last piece of the puzzle. I'm not sure how long I can keep up the "this stuff doesn't cost that much" line to the missus, so far I have managed to get the Amp, Speakers, Projector Screen and Sony 4K projector past the wife with the above statement, I managed 3 years of buying 4WD parts before she got wind of what got spent with that hobby. Just hoping to get the room finished before the gig is up.

 

Before I commit to final positions ear level or higher I think I going to try and temporarily fit them in different locations and see what goes best in the room sound wise and aesthetically.

 

 

I don't have one of those wife things anymore. My purchasing now is what I can afford. Unfortunately it is a bit of a never ending journey. After purchasing 6014 and setting up 5.1.4, I needed the amp. But this then highlighted how weak my sub was so I have started looking for a replacement for my Thor.

 

However the amp I purchased wasn't right and now in for repairs, so waiting to see cost of repairs before committing to sub. Was looking at Polk hts12 and rel 1205 but think the answer will be a second hand SVS.

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