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Help with tricky speaker placement


Established Member
Right, I need some help with speaker placement for my first surround sound set up. I've spent too much time on trains recently and put together a SketchUp model. There are a couple of screenshots below.

Front speakers
If I put them on the shelves they will be behind the screen and centre speaker, will that sound bad? Should I bring them forward a bit on stands?

Rear speakers
The sofa fits neatly into the bay window and I see a couple of options of rear placement:
1 = Green speakers in picture
The speakers are behind the sofa, quite close together (1.5m) and close to the main seating position (<1m).

2 = Red speakers in picture
The speakers are out wide but in front of the seating position (just out of eye line) and one will be right in front of a radiator.

Neither is ideal but which will sound better?

As you can probably tell I've been thinking about this for a while but really need some expert help please. :lease:

So far I have picked up an Onkyo 805 that I have since found is too big for the furniture we have chosen which is why the hardware is probably going to live on custom build shelves to the right of the TV :rolleyes:. Speakers are probably going to be KEF 3005s or B&W M1s because their looks have been passed by my wife! Main bit of room (excluding bay window) is just under 4m square.


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Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Personally I'd put the fronts on the shelves, they're hardly behind the screen at all and will sound fine. Some minor tweaking like upping the volume on them a little should fix any gripes you might have and IMO seperating them like that is better than having them right next to the screen as the sound will fill the room much better.

As for rears, the ultimate best solution would be to run 7.1. If thats not an option I'd go with the red speaker placment as this will give a wider sound field which will ultimately sound better on films. Perhaps bringing the sofa forwards when watching a film is the best solution as long as the misses doesnt mind :rotfl:


Established Member
Thanks for the reply. Would I notice a significant improvement by running 7.1? If it sounds good then I should be able to get away with it as long as the speakers are relatively discrete.

If I go down the route of speakers on shelves I will probably opt to improve the stereo performance and use bookshelf speakers. Being on a shelf I presume that I should go for something with the bass port on the front?

Would a pair of Kef iQ10s integrate with a set of Kef KHT3005 to give 7.1 or should the centre be an exact match i.e. Kef iQ60C?

What other front ported book shelf speakers might fit the bill (similar price range to the iQ10s)?

For the rears I've seen Anthony Gallo Micros online which look good on stands but not found anywhere to demo them, does anyone know how they compare to B&W M1s and Kef KHT3005 (which I have tested)? Come to think of it, are the 3005s worth the extra money over the 2005s?

So many questions!! :eek:


Standard Member
My first thought was to bring the sofa forward but the position of the doors would prevent that unless you got rid of the rest of the seating. The arrangement you have allows for several people to enjoy the system. So... I would leave the seating as it is and I would go with the red speakers. However, I would not have them on stands. I would mount them on the side walls as you can then have them higher than they are on the stands and they would look nicer and disperse the sound better. I have not looked at the specs on the speakers you but bipole or dipole surrounds would disperse the sound well and you would be less aware of their position.

I also like the 7.1 idea but not if the green speakers will be too close to your head. In the picture they appear to be rather low as though they might be too close to the ear. You can always add them later if you feel you need them but I would first want to hear what it sounds like with nice wall mounted side surrounds.

Will there be a sub? You will want a sub with bookshelf speakers. You can always add one later but you need to think about where you can put one and what one you would get. I agree with Moonfly on the placement of the fronts. They will be fine on the shelves. There should be settings in your amp to help bring them in line with the center if necessary.

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Running 7.1 would mean the entire listening area is catered for. You could even put a single speaker in the center of the window bay and run 6.1 and for me this would be the best solution to make sure there are no gaps in the sound stage. I think running the greens only would leave the sideways motion of the surround sounds a bit lacking and the red position solves this at the expense of not having the rears behind you, but its not uncommon for the rears to be level with your listening position. You just have a slight dissadvantage of you listening position being slightly behind the rears and 6 or 7.1 would fill the gap behind you perfectly. Personally I'd probably run 6.1 if I was in your position because the rear two are so close together anyway.

As for bookshelf speakers, theres a bit of buzz around here at the moment about XTZ speakers and I think its well worth you checking these out, Badger 0-0 has a pair and has a reveiw thread on them. With your rears I agree wall mounting is a good idea, but if you go 6.1 I dont think you would benefit from dipoles, especially with the red speakers being so close to the corners. A di/tripole in the window bay may be of benefit though.
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Established Member
Sounds like 6.1 is the way to go!

Forgive my ignorance but not knowing any better I would have just used another satellite. I've heard of di-pole but not tri-pole - what is the is tri-pole all about and what is the advantage of using di/tri over a normal satellite?

As ever I bow to the forum's superior knowledge!

Now to read the XTZ reviews...

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
A regular speaker has a single driver and fires the sound i one direction. A dipole has 2 drivers or sets of drivers firing in two different directions and a tripole has 3. If the space between your speakers is large or their positioning isnt ideal then these kind of speakers can be a good solution, filling in gaps in the sound or accounting for less than ideal positioning.
I would highlight your sitution as an example of this, although di/tripoles arent always a neccessary solution and sometimes can lead to worse results. Putting dipoles hard up against a corner for example,(i.e the red speaker positions) might lead to sound bouncing directly of a wall and the result being worse than what your trying to acheive. Of course different di/tripoles speakers fire sound off in different directions so there will be a speaker design out there to fit the bill if thats what you really want to try, but I'd suggest only the rear single window speaker if any needs to be a di/tri.

This is an example of a dipole


This is an example of a tripole


For a bit more info click this link. It takes you to the manual for my AVR. Look at the bottom of page 21 and you will see a good diagram of how to use the different speakers and why.
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Established Member
Thanks for the explanation, much appreciated. :clap::thumbsup:

The plan is to buy 5.1 but borrow another normal speaker and a bi-pole to test in-situ. I'd better finish the decorating now!!


Standard Member
Sounds like a sensible plan :)


Prominent Member
hi all

sorry to hijack the thread but my situation is very similar (with regard to the rears)

(using in a loft )

how high on the wall should the speakers be?

at the moment the speakers are just below ear level for myselve when standing

and the speakers are just in front of the listening position too
if the speakers are in front is it worth angling the speakers towards the listening position ?

(Although i tested ratatouille and it still sounds great but maybe it could sound better?)

Bald Monkey

Distinguished Member
AFAIK, rears should always be behind the listener if poss. Or at least level with their ears. The height I think is less critical ie. doorways etc may limit your choice. But I think 1-2Ft above head height when seated is the norm..

Presuming they are not di/tripole then I would try directing them towards the listening position, you might hear an improvement?


Prominent Member
AFAIK, rears should always be behind the listener if poss. Or at least level with their ears. The height I think is less critical ie. doorways etc may limit your choice. But I think 1-2Ft above head height when seated is the norm..

Presuming they are not di/tripole then I would try directing them towards the listening position, you might hear an improvement?

ill give that a go - just wish i could put them behind :-(

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