Centre speaker positioning advice

darrenhaken

Active Member
I'm looking to position my centre speaker the best I can given my constraints and I was hoping some of you may be able to offer advice.

I have media cabinet with 2 shelves and I'm trying to decide if to have it on the top one with a smaller angel of elevation (using door stops) to the listening position or to go lower and use this stand I've found:

Amazon product
Here are photos of both positions below. Fyi the cabinet has doors but I plan to take them off.

Top position

A keen eyed person will spot this position is causing sagging. I am getting a carpenter to build a sturdier shelf.

20210715_075524.jpg


Bottom position - I would use the stand I showed earlier to increase the angle to the listening position.

20210715_075453.jpg


What do you all think?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Please buy floor tv stand from Amazon and put the speaker on top & front edge of your av-cabinet, not inside where it will sound poor! You are hiding the most important speaker in your system. :(

So as you can see this is height adjustable and the bottom part goes under your unit and behind it. Then your tv looks like it would be wall mounted. Just need to check which of these has the most height.


PS. Your front mains look to be placed quite narrow, i spread them apart more (same distance each side from center channel). So if you sit 3meters away, then do spread them and listen again. Most people won´t go back.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
Please buy floor tv stand from Amazon and put the speaker on top & front edge of your av-cabinet, not inside where it will sound poor! You are hiding the most important speaker in your system. :(

So as you can see this is height adjustable and the bottom part goes under your unit and behind it. Then your tv looks like it would be wall mounted. Just need to check which of these has the most height.


PS. Your front mains look to be placed quite narrow, i spread them apart more (same distance each side from center channel). So if you sit 3meters away, then do spread them and listen again. Most people won´t go back.
The LRs are 250cm apart, is that not wide enough? They are the same distance apart as the seating position to the centre - equilateral triangle. Do share your thoughts 🙏

I'll take a look at the stand you said and get back to you in a second...
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
Please buy floor tv stand from Amazon and put the speaker on top & front edge of your av-cabinet, not inside where it will sound poor! You are hiding the most important speaker in your system. :(

So as you can see this is height adjustable and the bottom part goes under your unit and behind it. Then your tv looks like it would be wall mounted. Just need to check which of these has the most height.


PS. Your front mains look to be placed quite narrow, i spread them apart more (same distance each side from center channel). So if you sit 3meters away, then do spread them and listen again. Most people won´t go back.
So you're saying place the centre speaker on top of the media cabinet and then use one of these stands to raise the TV above it?

This would in fact make the centre speaker pointed directly at the listening position. However, it will also mean the TV is raised higher than eye level (it already is by about 5cm). Is that a worthy trade off?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
So you're saying place the centre speaker on top of the media cabinet and then use one of these stands to raise the TV above it?

This would in fact make the centre speaker pointed directly at the listening position. However, it will also mean the TV is raised higher than eye level (it already is by about 5cm). Is that a worthy trade off?

For me it would be worth it, but your call. No one is going to recommend you keeping center channel inside cabinet though.

The photo taken so close probably just made it look they were closer so all good if you have 2,5m - 2,5m. For some reason i also remembered you sitting further away but all good.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
For me it would be worth it, but your call. No one is going to recommend you keeping center channel inside cabinet though.

The photo taken so close probably just made it look they were closer so all good if you have 2,5m - 2,5m. For some reason i also remembered you sitting further away but all good.
I did have the LRs too close together tbh - they were touching the media cabinet.

I moved them apart and they are now 2.4m which is also the distance I am from the centre speaker. Do you think I should go even wider, say 3m or is reaching some sort of equilateral triangle for the sound field desirable?

The Dali Vokal actually has the front-firing ports and says it's designed to be put into a cabinet

From DALI OPTICON VOKAL MK2 - A centre speaker with front firing bass reflex ports:
"The twin letterbox style reflex ports face forward to enable the OPTICON VOKAL MK2 to be enclosed in furniture units"

"The enclosure dimensions and proportions are specifically configured to enable its installation in audio-visual furniture units, and its front-facing reflex ports mean that even fully enclosed mounting is feasible."

Do you think that's just marketing nonsense?

If you think it's still worth having the centre on top I could also explore the TV being wall mounted. The concern was mostly about it feeling too high when I did that.

Thanks for all the help @Gasp3621 as usual!
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
You can place it on top without the Amazon stand, just to see whether you can tell the difference.
My wife can’t tell the difference when the sound comes from the wrong side of the room, her hearing is horrendous.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
You can place it on top without the Amazon stand, just to see whether you can tell the difference.
My wife can’t tell the difference when the sound comes from the wrong side of the room, her hearing is horrendous.
That is a good point. It's quite a large speaker so I am worried it won't get approval to have it there...we could see.

My greater concern is how much higher that would make the TV - I don't have an acoustically transparent screen :D
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Yea I couldn't have the TV that high. I'd need a lower TV stand or a centre that wasn't so small. I went from Monitor Audio BX Centre to their Apex A40 for that very reason.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I did have the LRs too close together tbh - they were touching the media cabinet.

I moved them apart and they are now 2.4m which is also the distance I am from the centre speaker. Do you think I should go even wider, say 3m or is reaching some sort of equilateral triangle for the sound field desirable?

The Dali Vokal actually has the front-firing ports and says it's designed to be put into a cabinet

From DALI OPTICON VOKAL MK2 - A centre speaker with front firing bass reflex ports:
"The twin letterbox style reflex ports face forward to enable the OPTICON VOKAL MK2 to be enclosed in furniture units"

"The enclosure dimensions and proportions are specifically configured to enable its installation in audio-visual furniture units, and its front-facing reflex ports mean that even fully enclosed mounting is feasible."

Do you think that's just marketing nonsense?

If you think it's still worth having the centre on top I could also explore the TV being wall mounted. The concern was mostly about it feeling too high when I did that.

Thanks for all the help @Gasp3621 as usual!

Good marketing story always helps to sell more products, but that doesn`t mean it will sound optimal. Far from it. We do what we can.

Don´t spread them wider if you sit equal amount back.

If you can get your hands any sturdy box or some item which would raise the tv the amount of center channel under it then use that and give it a week or so to see will your eyes get used to it or do you feel it´s too high.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I agree with the others, inside the cabinet is probably the worse position. You acknowledge the cabinet is sagging and that makes me think it is also prone to vibration and resonance. Making a sturdier is a good move.

I had the same issues as you and had to put a fat centre on top of my cabinet. My solution was to have a bespoke bridge made so that the TV could sit on top of the bridge. Raised the TV considerably and it took a couple of days for us to get use to viewing it at that new height. My standmounts may be considered too close but that's life and room I have to use.

169014423.3oX2AMVS._DSC4302.jpg
 

Zombie Twin

Well-known Member
For my centre, I picked up the biggest, bastardliest tempered steel "L" brackets I could get, stuck them on the wall and put a piece of MDF across them. I got some silicone door-stoppers and put them under the centre speaker, angling it up enough to fire directly into the listening position, whilst isolating any errant frequencies.

Works a beaut and cost bugger all. Obviously, this is for wall-mounting, but if you can change your approach, it's great for saving space.

1626344935676.png
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
@Gasp3621 would you say, optimised for home cinema/TV purposes and not hi-fi, that equilateral triangle is the best for FL and FR?
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
I agree with the others, inside the cabinet is probably the worse position. You acknowledge the cabinet is sagging and that makes me think it is also prone to vibration and resonance. Making a sturdier is a good move.

I had the same issues as you and had to put a fat centre on top of my cabinet. My solution was to have a bespoke bridge made so that the TV could sit on top of the bridge. Raised the TV considerably and it took a couple of days for us to get use to viewing it at that new height. My standmounts may be considered too close but that's life and room I have to use.

View attachment 1542146
Did you get a carpenter to build the bridge?

I'm curious how you managed to get them to match the wood? I asked a carpenter about this and he said you'd never match woods.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
@darrenhaken some people view the balance of the system sound and the system aesthetics differently. And many of us, the aesthetics is not just our opinion but the views of others in the household!

So, back to your original question. Your unit looks great!

1. In my experience of various centre speakers in many different setups etc plus a variety of EQ results too, I would say the lower shelf position would sound better. And
2. Aesthetically, whilst it could affect the sound a minor amount, would you consider the doors on? I.e. open them when using it.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
@darrenhaken some people view the balance of the system sound and the system aesthetics differently. And many of us, the aesthetics is not just our opinion but the views of others in the household!

So, back to your original question. Your unit looks great!

1. In my experience of various centre speakers in many different setups etc plus a variety of EQ results too, I would say the lower shelf position would sound better. And
2. Aesthetically, whilst it could affect the sound a minor amount, would you consider the doors on? I.e. open them when using it.
Hey, I was considering removing the doors on the unit fully actually. Here is an example online of someone else who's done this:

 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
If you normally sit like you are in the photo (can see you in the reflection) you have your head against the sofa (supported) so I think you probably have no issue with raising up the TV (as has been proposed).
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
If you normally sit like you are in the photo (can see you in the reflection) you have your head against the sofa (supported) so I think you probably have no issue with raising up the TV (as has been proposed).
In order to fit my centre speaker the TV would need to be 25cm above the unit.

Handy to see where I'm sat through the reflection actually!

I tend to slouch a little but currently I'd say my eye level is about 1/3 up the TV. With a 20cm centre speaker I imagine my eye level would be the bottom of the TV.

Thoughts to that?
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
Most advice is always the natural eye level etc.

In my case, I've previously had a TV atop a tall cabinet in a previous house. Works fine (in my opinion) if you have the kind of head rested sofa seating position.

We're moving ours to a chimney breast where we live now:


So, I may not be the right person to comment!

Also, I've always been a bit "sound over picture". E.g. when I first got "surround sound" about 1998, I had a 14" CRT!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Did you get a carpenter to build the bridge?

I'm curious how you managed to get them to match the wood? I asked a carpenter about this and he said you'd never match woods.
The cabinet is natural oak and I had HiFi Racks to make the bridge, again natural oak. It has turned out to be a very good match. Not intentional just went for the nearest we could get.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
The cabinet is natural oak and I had HiFi Racks to make the bridge, again natural oak. It has turned out to be a very good match. Not intentional just went for the nearest we could get.

What's your plan when you want a bigger telly? Or is the plan "not get a bigger telly"? :)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
What's your plan when you want a bigger telly? Or is the plan "not get a bigger telly"? :)
It's a 65'' OLED. Think I'd be pushing my luck if I said 'Yes dear, I've ordered a 77'' TV'. ;)
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
I like it! But you know what I mean, we all used to think a 20" 4:3 looked big! And, in fact, I think I was five before I saw a colour TV.

In a few years time, that 70+ inch TV may be half as much cost as you paid for the one you have.

I only wondered out of interest - particularly your front speakers.

In my case, for example, the 65" will leave an inch either side narrower than the chimney. So, I got sign off "Yes dear if the next TV is bigger I don't mind it overlapping the chimney breast" up front!
 

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