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Surround speaker height - general consensus on 2 feet above ear level? (close distance, music only)

DjBonoBobo

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Hello,
I am currently building a 5.0 surround setup (3x Neumann KH310, 2x KH80, 2xKH750 as support for L/R). It is supposed for music reproduction mostly (not production and almost no movies). I want to mount the surrounds with wall brackets. Before I now drill holes in the walls I have doubts whether my assumption about the height is correct.
I would be happy to hear opinions on this.

Here is my (bed)room, which is 15sqm (3 x 5 x 2.5m). Distance from L/R is 2 meters from each other. I sit a little further forward, so about 1.8m to my ears. Distance to Ls/Rs is 1.4m. I will use Dirac Live for delays etc.

1642245134279.png


In the book by Floyd Toole I read that rears should be positioned 60cm (2 feet) above ear level. This is also how it is paraphrased here: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-speaker-placement/

I found this thread and looked at some of the materials linked there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/5-1-setup-speaker-placement.20556/

There, it seems to boil down more to the fact that ear level is better, like in the source below.

1642246606189.png

Source: https://download.yamaha.com/files/tcm:39-322579 p. 47

and:
1642246669367.png

Source: https://download.yamaha.com/files/tcm:39-322579 p. 48

However, a perfect circle is assumed there, which i don´t have.
So I am still unsure what is best in my situation. I can still choose the height pretty freely.
 

tifune

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Thanks so much for creating this post. I'm about to do the same, 6.1 with Neumann for nearfield Auro. I have similar confusion. Denon and Auro say floor layer should be at ear level. In my theater, I opted to go slightly higher to ensure no interference from couch back, cushions, etc.

I wonder, does Floyd's recommendation still stand once height layer is added? Depending on distance that could push height speakers outside Auros recommended 45 degree maximum angle (30 = optimal)
 

youngho

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Hello,
I am currently building a 5.0 surround setup (3x Neumann KH310, 2x KH80, 2xKH750 as support for L/R). It is supposed for music reproduction mostly (not production and almost no movies). I want to mount the surrounds with wall brackets. Before I now drill holes in the walls I have doubts whether my assumption about the height is correct.
I would be happy to hear opinions on this.

In the book by Floyd Toole I read that rears should be positioned 60cm (2 feet) above ear level. This is also how it is paraphrased here: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-speaker-placement/

However, a perfect circle is assumed there, which i don´t have.
So I am still unsure what is best in my situation. I can still choose the height pretty freely.
I believe that statements like "Surround loudspeakers should be roughly 2 feet (0.6 m) above seated ear height and mounted so that sound radiates freely over a horizontal dispersion angle that embraces all the listeners" from the first/second edition, as well as pictures like 15.10b in the third edition, suggest that the rationale was to allow for the possibility of direct sound from each channel reaching multiple listeners. He does comment in the third edition, "perhaps higher if there are seats close to the side walls to discourage localizing the loudspeaker."

However, since your room is very small with the surrounds at ear level being significantly closer than your main channels, Toole's last statement may apply, and the Yamaha booklet implies that elevating the surrounds may allow for a more similar distance to the listening position ("monitoring distance"), so you might take that into consideration if you want every channel to be as close to equidistant as possible?
 
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DjBonoBobo

DjBonoBobo

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Thanks so much for creating this post. I'm about to do the same, 6.1 with Neumann for nearfield Auro. I have similar confusion. Denon and Auro say floor layer should be at ear level. In my theater, I opted to go slightly higher to ensure no interference from couch back, cushions, etc.

I wonder, does Floyd's recommendation still stand once height layer is added? Depending on distance that could push height speakers outside Auros recommended 45 degree maximum angle (30 = optimal)
I found another guide for speaker placement: https://www.the-home-cinema-guide.com/surround-sound-speaker-placement.html#surr

Quote:
"It should be noted that since the introduction of Dolby Atmos speaker layouts, Dolby now suggests the surround speakers should be nearer head height/ear level.

This is so there is a distinct separation between the surround and Atmos effects. You might want to experiment with this and see what works best in your room.

If you don’t have Atmos, then anything from head height to one or two feet above should work equally well once the receiver has worked its magic. However, in a small room, I think head height would feel a bit close."

This also seems to match with what @youngho pointed out. However, the guide mainly refers to home cinema.
 

ernestcarl

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"It should be noted that since the introduction of Dolby Atmos speaker layouts, Dolby now suggests the surround speakers should be nearer head height/ear level.

From my own experience of regular 5.1 multichannel tracks, ear level sounds best. But, I raised my side rears a little bit to avoid heads/pillows from possibly getting in the way along the length of the couch. Also, raising them a bit helps minimize the loudness level if you just happen to be sitting very close to either side surround speaker.
 

Sprint

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In my set up I also raised around 10 cm above ear level and am satisfied. It gives a bit more of diffused sound than a direct. Here is the set up
 

tifune

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In my set up I also raised around 10 cm above ear level and am satisfied. It gives a bit more of diffused sound than a direct. Here is the set up

Not sure what you meant to link, but that took me to an imgur video of 2 dogs humping whilst hanging from a play rope. (No I'm not exaggerating)

2 thumbs up!
 

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Sprint

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Not sure what you meant to link, but that took me to an imgur video of 2 dogs humping whilst hanging from a play rope. (No I'm not exaggerating)

2 thumbs up!
:facepalm::facepalm::D:DSorry for that!! I will attach it directly. But when I try the link somewhere else it was opening. Do not know what happened!
 

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tifune

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Quote:
"It should be noted that since the introduction of Dolby Atmos speaker layouts, Dolby now suggests the surround speakers should be nearer head height/ear level.

Such a strange diagram. Surrounds are far below ear level. And, maybe it's a cultural thing, but I don't know a single person that sits with such perfect posture during a movie, nor has this weird couch/chair that only supports your lower back. Even the floor-only layouts are shown this way


@DjBonoBobo i didn't even think about it because Auro3D is upmixer du jour pretty much everywhere; is that what you're using? If so, how did you get around the front height requirement? I haven't found an AVR that will enable 3D without front height, only Auro2D which is not at all the same (for some reason).
 
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DjBonoBobo

DjBonoBobo

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@DjBonoBobo i didn't even think about it because Auro3D is upmixer du jour pretty much everywhere; is that what you're using? If so, how did you get around the front height requirement? I haven't found an AVR that will enable 3D without front height, only Auro2D which is not at all the same (for some reason).

I moved recently and am not finished setting up. I have the RME UCX II as a multichannel DAC. I plan using jRiver with Izotope Ozone + Penteo 360 + Dirac VST plugins for upmixing stereo to 5.0 (or playing 5.1 content). No plans for 3D. I already figured it is not possible to play Atmos content with this setup, only if it comes with an embedded 5.1 track. (Not the case with Tidal – stereo only). It´s mostly for trying out the whole upmixing thing and playing the few surround albums i have. Front height is not an issue, center has the same height as L/R. The upper edge of my display is lower than ear height. It is easier in my case with the speakers well behind the desk.
 

Thomas_A

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I use my own solution with high wall position, tweeter bouncing at the roof, mid/bass against the sofa/listeners. Not according to Dolby, but It works well. Speaker is DIY.

IMG_4874.jpg
 

tifune

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I moved recently and am not finished setting up. I have the RME UCX II as a multichannel DAC. I plan using jRiver with Izotope Ozone + Penteo 360 + Dirac VST plugins for upmixing stereo to 5.0 (or playing 5.1 content). No plans for 3D. I already figured it is not possible to play Atmos content with this setup, only if it comes with an embedded 5.1 track. (Not the case with Tidal – stereo only). It´s mostly for trying out the whole upmixing thing and playing the few surround albums i have. Front height is not an issue, center has the same height as L/R. The upper edge of my display is lower than ear height. It is easier in my case with the speakers well behind the desk.

Have you tested all that yet? What you're describing is precisely what I want to do in-box, but when I added all that up it was only another $200 for a Denon 4700 which stitches it all together with (presumably) far less headache. Far less flexibility as well, of course, but at this stage of life my time is in shorter supply than $ (in this price range)

What need does ozone fill? Seems like a mastering tool, something I know nothing about
 
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DjBonoBobo

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Have you tested all that yet? What you're describing is precisely what I want to do in-box, but when I added all that up it was only another $200 for a Denon 4700 which stitches it all together with (presumably) far less headache. Far less flexibility as well, of course, but at this stage of life my time is in shorter supply than $ (in this price range)

What need does ozone fill? Seems like a mastering tool, something I know nothing about

Sure, if one would build a Atmos/Auro/3D-setup i guess there is no real alternative to buying an AVR like the Denon 4700. I never heard a proper surround-system in my life and own 99% stereo content. I already had the RME and Dirac and i just want to play around with surround options and upmixing a bit, because i am curious about it. And for this, i really don´t want an AVR in my system. There´s a chance i will stick to 2.0 99% of the time.
The Ozone fills the need to have every option available someone ever suggested on the internet :). I read somewhere that using the Ozone image widener made the upmixing results more convincing. So when i saw the black friday deal i could not resist...
I tried out the setup sucessfully, yes. Playing stereo- or 5.1-content with jRiver, running it through 3 stacked VST-plugins and getting correct multichannel output to my RME worked technically. Since i am not finished, i don´t know how good it is yet.
So i am not suggesting anything here.
 

Sprint

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Sure, if one would build a Atmos/Auro/3D-setup i guess there is no real alternative to buying an AVR like the Denon 4700. I never heard a proper surround-system in my life and own 99% stereo content. I already had the RME and Dirac and i just want to play around with surround options and upmixing a bit, because i am curious about it. And for this, i really don´t want an AVR in my system. There´s a chance i will stick to 2.0 99% of the time.
The Ozone fills the need to have every option available someone ever suggested on the internet :). I read somewhere that using the Ozone image widener made the upmixing results more convincing. So when i saw the black friday deal i could not resist...
I tried out the setup sucessfully, yes. Playing stereo- or 5.1-content with jRiver, running it through 3 stacked VST-plugins and getting correct multichannel output to my RME worked technically. Since i am not finished, i don´t know how good it is yet.
So i am not suggesting anything here.

With Denon 3700/4700/Marantz 6015 out of stock currently, I am looking into another option here in EU. https://www.iotaenterprises.co.uk/products/iotavx-avx17. I do not need EQ or room correction. With the balanced output that I need for Genelecs and a no nonsense pre-pro, I am excited to try it. I have ordered it and awaiting for its delivery tomorrow.
 
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DjBonoBobo

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With Denon 3700/4700/Marantz 6015 out of stock currently, I am looking into another option here in EU. https://www.iotaenterprises.co.uk/products/iotavx-avx17. I do not need EQ or room correction. With the balanced output that I need for Genelecs and a no nonsense pre-pro, I am excited to try it. I have ordered it and awaiting for its delivery tomorrow.
Interesting device! Didn´t know that.
 

tifune

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With Denon 3700/4700/Marantz 6015 out of stock currently, I am looking into another option here in EU. https://www.iotaenterprises.co.uk/products/iotavx-avx17. I do not need EQ or room correction. With the balanced output that I need for Genelecs and a no nonsense pre-pro, I am excited to try it. I have ordered it and awaiting for its delivery tomorrow.

If this had Auro3D I'd buy it right now. Im guessing they don't get a lot of requests/feedback for it, but rumor mill suggests Auro practically gives licensing away for free because they're so far behind on market penetration so I wonder if it's on the roadmap
 

Sprint

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If this had Auro3D I'd buy it right now. Im guessing they don't get a lot of requests/feedback for it, but rumor mill suggests Auro practically gives licensing away for free because they're so far behind on market penetration so I wonder if it's on the roadmap
That's right, it has no Auro3D. I spoke to the dealer and he says Dolby Atmos is the one most preferred now a days and is way ahead than Auro3D. No clue if this is a fact or will music directors mix more in Auro3D in the future compared to Atmos. I do not have any ceiling speakers currently (will install them in a year or two) and hence this was not the most important criteria. If I get Atmos, I am fine at this point but may cry if more and more content come in Auro :facepalm::)
 

tifune

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Sure, if one would build a Atmos/Auro/3D-setup i guess there is no real alternative to buying an AVR like the Denon 4700. I never heard a proper surround-system in my life and own 99% stereo content. I already had the RME and Dirac and i just want to play around with surround options and upmixing a bit, because i am curious about it. And for this, i really don´t want an AVR in my system. There´s a chance i will stick to 2.0 99% of the time.
The Ozone fills the need to have every option available someone ever suggested on the internet :). I read somewhere that using the Ozone image widener made the upmixing results more convincing. So when i saw the black friday deal i could not resist...
I tried out the setup sucessfully, yes. Playing stereo- or 5.1-content with jRiver, running it through 3 stacked VST-plugins and getting correct multichannel output to my RME worked technically. Since i am not finished, i don´t know how good it is yet.
So i am not suggesting anything here.

Just curious how it's coming? I thought maybe you had a dedicated thread somewhere but either I'm imagining things or I lost the bookmark. I'm using a 4700 for now, its fine I guess but Audyssey is Audyssey...
 
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DjBonoBobo

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Just curious how it's coming? I thought maybe you had a dedicated thread somewhere but either I'm imagining things or I lost the bookmark. I'm using a 4700 for now, its fine I guess but Audyssey is Audyssey...
Maybe you meant this thread?

Since we moved, I unfortunately have very little time. I have maybe only 1-2 hours "cave-time" every two weeks to play with my stuff. I have therefore tried a few things, but have not yet been able to gain much experience.

That is my current status:
- I mounted the surrounds and hung them about 50cm higher than ear level. I thought that a slightly more diffuse sound image is better at the short distance, but I'm not sure if that was really the right decision. Maybe I should have listened to the advice to hang them only slightly above ear level. Unfortunately, my impression now is already that the sound does not seem diffuse, but comes very precisely from diagonally back above, that is, where the boxes are. As I said, however, I have not yet gained much experience, maybe I still have to get used to it.
- I listened to some music about the Penteo upmixer. With different settings and with and without Ozone. Mostly I leave Ozone out though, it only seems to have a positive effect with some music, mostly it made it worse. The Penteo settings also depend heavily on the music, most of the time I have almost all the power on L+R, the center all the way off and the surrounds at -80%. The center seems to me in my near field setup to be virtually completely superfluous so far. When upmixing it rather interferes. Movies I have not really tried yet.
- For some music, i like the effect of the upmixing, but i am not sure yet. Not quite convinced, but too early too judge.
- Actually, just today I tried for the first time to play a 5.1 video through the Netflix app in Windows 10. But unfortunately, it was unusable because I had lipsync problems.

When i use jRiver, i use the plugins, but with the Netflix app i use the Dirac Live Processor. Dirac corrects only the center though and sets the delays for center and surrounds (because L+R and Ls+Rs are calibrated through Neumann MA-1). As soon Dirac is active, it induces a delay, so without lipsync compensation in the player software, it is pretty useless for videos.
I read it is possible to play Netflix through jRiver and maybe try to compensate the delay there, but didn´t have time to try it out yet. I don´t know if there is a better way for the lipsync thing, but you see: I am still fiddling around too much and getting mixed results.

Today i looked at the hardware options again (IOTAVX AVX17, Denon, ...?), but i think i will look a bit more how to solve the delay-issue. All of this hassle is simply ridiculous. I just want to use my very capable hardware instead of buying everything a second time (TV, AVR and so on), only because of DRM.... No wonder people are still pirating stuff.

Edit: If I had seen the IOTAVX earlier, I might have gone for that instead of the RME UCX II, but now I have the two KH750s connected digitally and the others with jack cables (instead of XLR). No desire to rebuild everything again!
 
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DjBonoBobo

DjBonoBobo

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- Actually, just today I tried for the first time to play a 5.1 video through the Netflix app in Windows 10. But unfortunately, it was unusable because I had lipsync problems.

When i use jRiver, i use the plugins, but with the Netflix app i use the Dirac Live Processor. Dirac corrects only the center though and sets the delays for center and surrounds (because L+R and Ls+Rs are calibrated through Neumann MA-1). As soon Dirac is active, it induces a delay, so without lipsync compensation in the player software, it is pretty useless for videos.
I read it is possible to play Netflix through jRiver and maybe try to compensate the delay there, but didn´t have time to try it out yet. I don´t know if there is a better way for the lipsync thing, but you see: I am still fiddling around too much and getting mixed results.
As a follow up, if someone wants to know: i "solved" this lipsync-issue with Netflix by kicking Dirac and the center speaker out, configuring the RME as 4.1 (without center) and setting the delay for the surrounds via Equalizer APO. Latency is now small enough so sync is no problem anymore. I tried to correct the center with EQ Apo, but it just doesn´t sound right compared to R+L, which are supported by the KH750.

FYI: uncorrected center speaker (blue) vs. corrected L+R+subs (orange)(MMM measurements) - no wonder it sounds better with a phantom center:
center.png
 
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