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Are there disadvantages to very high but angled down main bookshelf speaker placement?

SharpEars

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I need to mount a pair of bookshelf active monitors on a wall for my PC and because the entire front/left/right is covered with a two high stack of 32" computer monitor screens, in a 3 wide x 2 high configuration. I will be forced to use brackets to hold the speakers to walls, about two-three feet above my head, while seated. Roughly, the tweeters will be some 8-12" above ear height while standing, just as another reference point, but I will be listening to them seated, so the two-three feet higher height difference of the speakers is the topic of main concern here.

I do have the ability to angle the speakers down to make up for the fact that they are above ear level, at least up to a point, but am wondering if high speaker placement, but with enough distance from the ceiling (i.e., some 3+ feet) for ceiling reflections not to be of concern, as well as the angling of the speakers down will make any difference vs common ear level high tweeter placement for a simple stereo bookshelf speaker setup (with subwoofer).

Given the use of a subwoofer, frequencies below about 85 Hz will not arrive at the monitors with a pretty steep cut-off slope (don't remember if it's 12 or 18 dB, but it's adjustable on the sub). Frequencies above that point will be handled exclusively by the monitors. Since the lows <85 Hz are non-directional anyways, the fact that a subwoofer is being used doesn't really add much to the discussion/considerations, but I thought I would mention this fact just in case.

Please post your thoughts on any disadvantages of having front speakers mounted 2-3 feet above ear level but angled down vs plain ear level tweeter height positioning for a pair of stereo bookshelf speakers.

My main concern is any effect on stereo imaging or other spatial perception, with any possible changes in frequency response being secondary, because I can correct for frequency issues both on the back of the monitors via high/bass knobs as well as using an equalizer for finer grained adjustment to equalize measurements with them being placed straight in front. I would imagine that correcting for any spatial issues that get introduced by this configuration would probably be far more difficult, if not impossible, assuming these exist in the first place.

What I don't know is the impact on human hearing/perception of this high placement, its effects due to the shapes of our ears/ear lobes with respect to front sound source height judgement, and how noticeable such effects would be. I guess it ultimately boils down to how sensitive our ears/brain are to determining the height of front sound sources, between say zero degrees (ear level) and maybe 45-60 degrees (vertical angle with respect to ear level towards tweeter of speaker), all else being equal. Is this sort of change in height something we can easily discern, with our eyes closed, or is our sense of height in front of us pretty poor, at least within the confines of the 0-60 degree vertical angle range previously mentioned?
 
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Inner Space

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... wondering if high speaker placement, but with enough distance from the ceiling (i.e., some 3+ feet) and angling of the speakers down will make any difference for a simple stereo setup (with subwoofer).
The high angle probably won't be a big deal - you'll get a nice floating soundfield. We're much better at identifying side-to-side locations than up-and-down. For looks and convenience, you could mount them upside down - less of a steep angle to still be "level" or "above" the tweeter axis. The only acoustic problem might be a perception of the mids and highs "up there" and the bass "down there", assuming the subwoofer is on the floor, and depending on how high in frequency it reaches, given its roll-off setting. Maybe you could put the subwoofer on a high shelf too? Best of luck with it.
 

DVDdoug

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High frequencies are directional and tweeters tend to "beam" so of course it's better to have the tweeters pointed down than to have them shooting over your head.

It's only a problem if the sound coming from above makes listening less enjoyable. ;) The tweeters in my living room are at the top of a tall "speaker stack" (pointed down and in) and it doesn't bother me at all!
 

Doodski

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This will certainly make for some interesting imaging floating above your head. I would flip the speakers upside down too as @Inner Space recommends.
 

AVKS

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I need to mount a pair of bookshelf active monitors on a wall for my PC and because the entire front/left/right is covered with a two high stack of 32" computer monitor screens, in a 3 wide x 2 high configuration. I will be forced to use brackets to hold the speakers to walls, about two-three feet above my head, while seated. Roughly, the tweeters will be some 8-12" above ear height while standing, just as another reference point, but I will be listening to them seated, so the two-three feet higher height difference of the speakers is the topic of main concern here.

I do have the ability to angle the speakers down to make up for the fact that they are above ear level, at least up to a point, but am wondering if high speaker placement, but with enough distance from the ceiling (i.e., some 3+ feet) for ceiling reflections not to be of concern, as well as the angling of the speakers down will make any difference vs common ear level high tweeter placement for a simple stereo bookshelf speaker setup (with subwoofer).

Given the use of a subwoofer, frequencies below about 85 Hz will not arrive at the monitors with a pretty steep cut-off slope (don't remember if it's 12 or 18 dB, but it's adjustable on the sub). Frequencies above that point will be handled exclusively by the monitors. Since the lows <85 Hz are non-directional anyways, the fact that a subwoofer is being used doesn't really add much to the discussion/considerations, but I thought I would mention this fact just in case.

Please post your thoughts on any disadvantages of having front speakers mounted 2-3 feet above ear level but angled down vs plain ear level tweeter height positioning for a pair of stereo bookshelf speakers.

My main concern is any effect on stereo imaging or other spatial perception, with any possible changes in frequency response being secondary, because I can correct for frequency issues both on the back of the monitors via high/bass knobs as well as using an equalizer for finer grained adjustment to equalize measurements with them being placed straight in front. I would imagine that correcting for any spatial issues that get introduced by this configuration would probably be far more difficult, if not impossible, assuming these exist in the first place.

What I don't know is the impact on human hearing/perception of this high placement, its effects due to the shapes of our ears/ear lobes with respect to front sound source height judgement, and how noticeable such effects would be. I guess it ultimately boils down to how sensitive our ears/brain are to determining the height of front sound sources, between say zero degrees (ear level) and maybe 45-60 degrees (vertical angle with respect to ear level towards tweeter of speaker), all else being equal. Is this sort of change in height something we can easily discern, with our eyes closed, or is our sense of height in front of us pretty poor, at least within the confines of the 0-60 degree vertical angle range previously mentioned?
Simply put, you're going to perceive it as sound coming from above your head even if the horizontal placement of the sonic image is as it would be on the x-axis. If you're cool with that then go for it, but if not then look for ways to get them closer to ear level.
 

Doodski

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Come to think about it. I have experienced speakers mounted up on the walls in retail stores and pubs and some of them sounded pretty good for the location. What bookshelf speakers are you going to use?
 

skoch

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I need to mount a pair of bookshelf active monitors on a wall for my PC and because the entire front/left/right is covered with a two high stack of 32" computer monitor screens, in a 3 wide x 2 high configuration. I will be forced to use brackets to hold the speakers to walls, about two-three feet above my head, while seated. Roughly, the tweeters will be some 8-12" above ear height while standing, just as another reference point, but I will be listening to them seated, so the two-three feet higher height difference of the speakers is the topic of main concern here.

I do have the ability to angle the speakers down to make up for the fact that they are above ear level, at least up to a point, but am wondering if high speaker placement, but with enough distance from the ceiling (i.e., some 3+ feet) for ceiling reflections not to be of concern, as well as the angling of the speakers down will make any difference vs common ear level high tweeter placement for a simple stereo bookshelf speaker setup (with subwoofer).

Given the use of a subwoofer, frequencies below about 85 Hz will not arrive at the monitors with a pretty steep cut-off slope (don't remember if it's 12 or 18 dB, but it's adjustable on the sub). Frequencies above that point will be handled exclusively by the monitors. Since the lows <85 Hz are non-directional anyways, the fact that a subwoofer is being used doesn't really add much to the discussion/considerations, but I thought I would mention this fact just in case.

Please post your thoughts on any disadvantages of having front speakers mounted 2-3 feet above ear level but angled down vs plain ear level tweeter height positioning for a pair of stereo bookshelf speakers.

My main concern is any effect on stereo imaging or other spatial perception, with any possible changes in frequency response being secondary, because I can correct for frequency issues both on the back of the monitors via high/bass knobs as well as using an equalizer for finer grained adjustment to equalize measurements with them being placed straight in front. I would imagine that correcting for any spatial issues that get introduced by this configuration would probably be far more difficult, if not impossible, assuming these exist in the first place.

What I don't know is the impact on human hearing/perception of this high placement, its effects due to the shapes of our ears/ear lobes with respect to front sound source height judgement, and how noticeable such effects would be. I guess it ultimately boils down to how sensitive our ears/brain are to determining the height of front sound sources, between say zero degrees (ear level) and maybe 45-60 degrees (vertical angle with respect to ear level towards tweeter of speaker), all else being equal. Is this sort of change in height something we can easily discern, with our eyes closed, or is our sense of height in front of us pretty poor, at least within the confines of the 0-60 degree vertical angle range previously mentioned?
If you are worried about imaging you need to make sure the tweeters are not shooting over your head. The frequencies being produced by the tweeters are the most important for imaging. Also if there is a port in the back of the speaker make sure you get a bit of air between the port and the wall to minimize any build up that will change the tonal response. Upside down mounting will allow a lesser down angle which should be good. Are you using any dsp for handling the crossover functions? Remember that different slopes also have different phase problems which will affect the sound of the crossover region, there is overlap in that region, almost an octave of overlap.
Good luck..
 

phoenixdogfan

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Sounds like you are placing them at the perfect altitude for Atmos height speakers. Would appreciate the nitty gritty details (hardware, vendors for the brackets, etc) since at some point some of us may go that route for our own multi channel home theater.
 

jhaider

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I did that for several years in my main system. It didn’t occur to me to raise the TV so LCR (at the time big Tannoy DMT monitors) were identically placed above the TV. I think it works fine, until you move into immersive. Then you want more separation between bed and height. But for 2ch and surround I don’t see a problem.
 

DMill

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I think your contractor may have questions about why you wish to suspend 150lbs of weight from your ceilings support beams, but aside from that it should work. :)
 

Vacceo

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I did that for several years in my main system. It didn’t occur to me to raise the TV so LCR (at the time big Tannoy DMT monitors) were identically placed above the TV. I think it works fine, until you move into immersive. Then you want more separation between bed and height. But for 2ch and surround I don’t see a problem.
I have used angled down conventional bookshelves to recycle old speakers for atmos reproduction. It works quite well but I can confirm, the more room you leave between "ground level" and elevation speakers, the better the sound works, just as you have stated. I guess it had to do with effects, but the separation was more striking on the rear than on the front, so my explanation for that particular case had to do with room reflections, because in theory, I should have noticed the position of the speakers better at the front than on my back.
 

DWPress

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I've been doing this for 30+ years in my main listening environment for lack of space level with the ears but mostly for far-field use at about 5-6 meters. If you have enough separation of space between the speakers the stereo imaging will not suffer but it does make it a lot more difficult getting them properly angled down and towards the listening space - depending on your mounting technique I guess. If you can get your monitors to reach down a bit more to even 75Hz it'll be better for bass localization.

My speakers are quite large, 172 cubic liters takes up a lot of space. They hang with ⅝" steel chain from the ceiling on floating platforms as they are also pretty heavy. Like floor bounce, the ceiling can also play into it but if you are listening near field and there's a few feet above + the downward angle you will probably be fine. I installed a cloud to help with my reflections.

Older picture from before cloud and other room treatments. Those are 15" woofers.

IMG_8133.jpg
 

Chazz6

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At a height of about 7 feet. Tweeter is aimed at the listening position. Horizontal separation is good, which seems to lessen the impact of the elevated origin. You might think listening with eyes closed would make the vertical origin more annoying, but actually it lessens the effect. (Two rubber door stops tilt each speaker.)

tilt.jpg
 
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