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Please help with Surround speaker placement and i am not sure if i can do a 5.1.4 Atmos setup ?

Atarioldskool

Active Member
Hi All
I am looking for help and advice on what is the best speaker placement especially for my surround speakers for a bedroom that i have started to convert into a mini cinema / games console room.
I say the word "mini" because (a) the room is small and (b) i am not looking to set up a reference level system, but i do want to achieve the best possible sound stage i can gain with what i have got to play with.

The sound system i am looking to set up is Dolby Atmos but i am not sure whether i can have a 5.1.4 setup due to the size of the room and also to do with the seating position - Sofa being back against the wall with no physical space for any rear back surround speakers.
With this in mind im looking at setting up a 5.1.2 sound system ? - If you believe a 5.1.4 system can be successfully achieved in this room then please do share your knowledge.

I already own the front main speakers L+C+R and a subwoofer as this is all coming from my living room.
Monitor Audio R90 Fronts (series 1)
Monitor Audio R225 / R250 Centre (series 1) can not remember the model, its either one!
BK XXLS400-DF Subwoofer

For the surround speakers i have decided to buy the well reviewed and discussed Cambridge Audio Minx Mini series speaker, I just cannot decide whether to buy the single cubes or the twin cube speakers - I guess this is a discussion for another time!
For the ceiling speakers i am looking at the Cambridge Audio Minx C46, I could possibly look at buy the 6" speakers as an alternative depending on how deep the speakers would be and would they fit in my ceiling ?
(Note that all the surround speakers are small in size - this is because i am having to go down the discrete and minimalist look and due to the size of the room) Ultimately i do not want to compromise on sound quality or accurate sound stage.

I would like to keep it all as close to Dolby's recommended specifications (speaker placement and angles) However speaker angles at this moment in time i am not overly concerned, as i believe i can achieve this.
It is the correct speaker placement that is the priority.

Please see attached of all drawing plans of the room layout including measurements and possibly where i think of placing the speakers.



Kind regards and thank you in advance for your help.

Room Layout with Full Measurements

Room Layout Birds eye view.jpg




Back Wall view with potential surround speaker placement

Room layout Back  wall view SPEAKER PLACEMENT.jpg




Left side Wall view with potential surround speaker placement

Room layout Left side wall view SPEAKER PLACEMENT.jpg



Right side Wall view with potential surround speaker placement

Room layout Right side wall view SPEAKER PLACEMENT.jpg



Front view Layout

Room layout front view.JPG




Were I potentially think the speakers would all go ?

Room Layout Birds eye view.SPEAKER PLACEMENTjpg.jpg
 

mbmapit

Well-known Member
Personally I would go with option B. However, if it was me I would move the sofa to the centre of the room and therefore you would be able to achieve a proper 5.1.2, 5.1.4 or even a 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 setup.

I know you didn't ask but I would definitely go for 75" for the TV or if the budget allows an UST projector for an even bigger screen. If the window is a problem you could get an ALR screen.

Lastly, if your budget allows try to match your new speakers to you current speakers e.g. same brand. Perhaps contact Monitor Audio and see what they recommend as a good timbre match for your existing speakers.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
Personally I would go with option B. However, if it was me I would move the sofa to the centre of the room and therefore you would be able to achieve a proper 5.1.2, 5.1.4 or even a 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 setup.

I know you didn't ask but I would definitely go for 75" for the TV or if the budget allows an UST projector for an even bigger screen. If the window is a problem you could get an ALR screen.

Lastly, if your budget allows try to match your new speakers to you current speakers e.g. same brand. Perhaps contact Monitor Audio and see what they recommend as a good timbre match for your existing speakers.
Hello

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately I am unable to move the sofabed any forward, as there would be hardly any space to walk around the room

To understand why you would go option B for surround speaker placement, please can you explain you're reasons ?

Monitor Audio do not do any speakers that are small as these Cambridge audio minx range the smallest MA do is the R45 I think they are called and for the price they are at, personally it's not worth buying.

As for the screen 75" is most likely I would be looking to get but it's down to price.
I think for a screen if this size I wouldn't want to be paying anymore than £1800 and if I went the projection route it would cost £2000+

Kind regards

PS I'm a little surprised to see only having 1 reply to my post -
Where is everyone gone ? Or is there something wrong with my post ?
 

mbmapit

Well-known Member
Hello

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately I am unable to move the sofabed any forward, as there would be hardly any space to walk around the room

To understand why you would go option B for surround speaker placement, please can you explain you're reasons ?

Monitor Audio do not do any speakers that are small as these Cambridge audio minx range the smallest MA do is the R45 I think they are called and for the price they are at, personally it's not worth buying.

As for the screen 75" is most likely I would be looking to get but it's down to price.
I think for a screen if this size I wouldn't want to be paying anymore than £1800 and if I went the projection route it would cost £2000+

Kind regards

PS I'm a little surprised to see only having 1 reply to my post -
Where is everyone gone ? Or is there something wrong with my post ?
You can pickup a 4K UST projector for as little as £1100.

The reason I would go with option B is because speakers in corners is never really recommended however, if that is your preferred option then go for it. You mentioned that you didn't want to compromise sound quality yet the speakers you are looking at are not great. You would be better off spending your money on better quality small speakers there are loads of choices it just depends on your budget.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
You can pickup a 4K UST projector for as little as £1100.

The reason I would go with option B is because speakers in corners is never really recommended however, if that is your preferred option then go for it. You mentioned that you didn't want to compromise sound quality yet the speakers you are looking at are not great. You would be better off spending your money on better quality small speakers there are loads of choices it just depends on your budget.
Hi
Ok regarding the UST projector I can look at that later on but first let's help me get my speakers sorted.

Yes agree that I did say I do not really want to compromise on sound quality but at the same time I have got to really work with the space that I have got.

I only looked at the cambridge audio minx for surrounds as :
1) gibbsy suggested
2) they have very good reviews and highly talked about
3) most importantly for me is how small they are

I am totally open on suggestions for alternative recommendation but they do have to be small.
So what would you recommend ?
My budget is probably £150-£200 a pair max


To be honest I have another 2 pairs of MA R90's plus my front pair of R90's but I cannot use the R90's for surround as they are just to big for this room and due to the layout, hense the reason why I am looking at getting other speakers that are alot smaller than these.

What do you think of in wall speakers as surround ?
As the back wall where the sofabed is up against is a stud wall so I can cut and for in wall speakers into it BUT they will be facing forward towards the fronts and I guess I won't be able to toe them in towards the listener ?!!

All suggestions are considered as you guys have the knowledge 😉
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I would say your room is too small for a four speaker Atmos layout, certainly it rules out a full 7.1.4. Because of your sofa position and the unlikely move of it's position away from the rear wall I would also rule out a 5.1.4.

Keeping the sofa where it is I would place the Atmos speakers roughly above where your knees would be when seated at the MLP. They will be placed in line with the fronts.

Your surrounds are your only real compromise in the room. I would go with speaker position B, maybe it's a tad too forward but at least it would not put a speaker in the ear of anyone sitting to the far right. Consider the KEF T Series, maybe a T101 which will sit flush against the wall. KEF's wide dispersion would certainly help and as they are designed to work at their optimum fixed to the wall may prove the ideal speaker.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
I would say your room is too small for a four speaker Atmos layout, certainly it rules out a full 7.1.4. Because of your sofa position and the unlikely move of it's position away from the rear wall I would also rule out a 5.1.4.

Keeping the sofa where it is I would place the Atmos speakers roughly above where your knees would be when seated at the MLP. They will be placed in line with the fronts.

Your surrounds are your only real compromise in the room. I would go with speaker position B, maybe it's a tad too forward but at least it would not put a speaker in the ear of anyone sitting to the far right. Consider the KEF T Series, maybe a T101 which will sit flush against the wall. KEF's wide dispersion would certainly help and as they are designed to work at their optimum fixed to the wall may prove the ideal speaker.
Hey Gibbsy

Thanks for your input.

These Kef T101 look absolutely perfect for my needs, they are so thin that they wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb, just what I need!

With option B - I think these kef speakers would look perfect where they have to go.

A bit more than what I wanted to pay but I guess I have too as these are the only speakers that would look perfect and also sound alot better than the Cambridge audio minx !

I thought this would be the case for possibly wanting anything bigger than a 5.1.2 set up due to the size of the room and sofa layout.

Just a thought and not sure if it would work?
I have space for possibly adding a pair of front top speakers in line with my main fronts, but as close to the ceiling as possible.
Would I gain anything if I was to add a pair at the front wall but right up the wall?
Or shall I not bother and just stick to the proper 5.1.2 set up?

These speakers are totally sealed so I could also possible chase 3cm of plaster of the wall and these speakers could also be installed flush ?? I can't see this being a proper as they are front firing and no ports or anything at the back of the speaker?
What you think to this??

As for ceiling (Atmos speakers) what can I use ?
What you think to these KEF CI50R (White)
Or would I be better of getting these instead ?
Or even something else all together

Thanks again
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The whole idea of having four Atmos speakers is to take the sound beyond the MLP, that's why is a 7.1.4 the rear most Atmos speakers are behind the seating area along with the rear surrounds. If you wish to go for a 5.1.4 it's possible, but not with mixing and matching types of speakers. There are a few members on here that use the CA Minx high against the ceiling and angled towards the MLP, thus keep the same speaker format.

There would be far more of an angle in the rear most high speakers but the room correction will easily compensate for this. If anything if you wanted to keep the inceiling KEFs, which incidentally are very good speakers, then I would place those ceiling speakers maybe a foot or so further towards the front and have the high mounted and angled speakers at the rear, taking that Atmos sound past you.

A question I cannot answer for you is can a properly installed and placed 5.1.2 be better than a compromised 5.1.4 layout. Your decision as several holes in the ceiling in the wrong place might just please everyone in the household.

The KEF T101s would be perfect for your needs and perfect for placement. That is your main compromise which will have something of an impact on a 5.1.4 as in that layout they should certainly be behind you.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
The whole idea of having four Atmos speakers is to take the sound beyond the MLP, that's why is a 7.1.4 the rear most Atmos speakers are behind the seating area along with the rear surrounds. If you wish to go for a 5.1.4 it's possible, but not with mixing and matching types of speakers. There are a few members on here that use the CA Minx high against the ceiling and angled towards the MLP, thus keep the same speaker format.

There would be far more of an angle in the rear most high speakers but the room correction will easily compensate for this. If anything if you wanted to keep the inceiling KEFs, which incidentally are very good speakers, then I would place those ceiling speakers maybe a foot or so further towards the front and have the high mounted and angled speakers at the rear, taking that Atmos sound past you.

A question I cannot answer for you is can a properly installed and placed 5.1.2 be better than a compromised 5.1.4 layout. Your decision as several holes in the ceiling in the wrong place might just please everyone in the household.

The KEF T101s would be perfect for your needs and perfect for placement. That is your main compromise which will have something of an impact on a 5.1.4 as in that layout they should certainly be behind you.

Hey Gibbsy
Thanks again for your detailed post.
Yeh I don't think I would want a compromised set up, so I am going to stick with the 5.1.2 Atmos set up. It makes sense to,

Which in ceiling Kef speakers would you recommend to go with ? TheCi50R or Ci130ER or any other ?

For argument sake what would your opinion be if I was to use the Kef T101's for the front aswell ? (Not use my monitor audio R90's)
For the centre I would look at getting a Kef centre speaker not from the T range as I like my centre to be big just like my MA 225/250r

The only downside I can see if I was to use the T101' as fronts is I wouldnt be able to angle them in as per Dolby guidelines

Let me know what you're thoughts are on this

Thank you
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You would be better of with the bigger T301 for front and centre then go with 101s for surrounds. KEF speakers are designed to be placed with no toe in as they have a wide dispersion and in a room of your size I would not worry.

I've never used inceiling speakers my wife just doesn't like my demolition skills using R50 upfiring modules so cannot comment on the KEF inceiling.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
You would be better of with the bigger T301 for front and centre then go with 101s for surrounds. KEF speakers are designed to be placed with no toe in as they have a wide dispersion and in a room of your size I would not worry.

I've never used inceiling speakers my wife just doesn't like my demolition skills using R50 upfiring modules so cannot comment on the KEF inceiling.
£550 a pair now that's alot of money for a mini cinema room! But I guess the more you pay the better it is!

The volume would never be full
It would be medium at best or just a little higher!!

You wouldn't think the T101's would be up to the job then ?

Do you think it would be an upgrade in sound quality for Music and for movies if I switched from my monitor audio R90
series 1 fronts to either the Kef T101's or the T301's for the front ??


Guess I'll have to ask what ceiling speaker for Atmos people recommend in the speaker section.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
Hi Guys,

Im going to start chasing the side walls for the surround speaker cables, but i have a question before i start doing it (dont want to mess it up)
Will be buying the Kef T101's

I will be positioning the speakers at 90 degrees (side walls) as per your recommendation due to my sofa layout. (option B in the diagram)

Does it matter if the surround speakers are slightly behind your head or in front of your head ?
(from the side walls) - basically the dilemma i have got is to do with how we sit on the sofa!

if i was to sit properly, head against the headrest (sit up straight as they say!!) then the surround speakers will be exactly facing my ears. (90 degrees) - this gives me backache if i sit like this for too long!
If i slouch a little (head tilted forward a little) which i mostly do - then the speakers would be firing behind my head.

Now when we play games console - we have the tendency to sit forward our back not leaning against anything - this would make the speakers fire at the back of our heads!
Now if i install the surround speakers a little forward and we sit up straight then the speakers will be firing in front of our faces from the side.

What do you guys recommend or what does dolby say to this ? i know dolby recommendation is between 110-120 degree for surround speakers but i cant install surround speakers behind me as the sofa is up against the wall.

thanks
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I would place the surrounds behind you in a 5.1.2. Every room has it compromises and you have to work out what they are and have them work for you. If the speakers are forcing you to sit badly then you will have to work out their best position for your comfort. It is always going to be a problem with seating against a back wall and in a corner.

After installing them the room EQ onboard the receiver should compensate for those speakers volume wise if you place the mic in the position that your ears would be at your most comfortable seating position.
 
Last edited:

Atarioldskool

Active Member
I would place the surrounds behind you in a 5.1.2. Every room has it compromises and you have to work out what they are and have them work for you. If the speakers are forcing you to sit badly then you will have to work out their best position for your comfort. It is always going to be a problem with seating against a back wall and in a corner.

After installing them the room EQ onboard the receiver should compensate for those speakers volume wise if you place the mic in the position that your ears would be at your most comfortable seating position.
Hi Gibbsy

Thanks for you're reply pal

1 very last question before I start tomz hopefully!

How far out from the corner of the walls should I place the speakers ?

A couple of inches ? Would you suggest ??
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The answer to that has to be where you feel comfortable when seated, six to eight inches perhaps.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
The answer to that has to be where you feel comfortable when seated, six to eight inches perhaps.

Thank you so much for your help so far gibbsy.

Do the surround speakers have to be the same height as the front speakers ( tweeter at ear level when sitting ?)

Could I have the surround speakers slightly higher than the fronts ? Let's say 3-4 inches higher ?

What is best practice for this ?

Sorry to be so anal and asking so many petty questions about the same speakers !!

I just want to make sure that I am doing everything properly and to achieve the best possible sound stage.
I want to do it right first time.

Thank you
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Put your surrounds where they are best for you a few inches isn't going to make much difference as I've said you have to compromise for your room. Mine surrounds are set not at the perfect height simply because of the room and seating arrangements.........and the wife, let's not forget them. You have to keep the peace as well.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
Hi Gibbsy

Hope you're well.

I'm now on my next stage - ceiling speakers placement.

I know these have to be in line with the front speakers and and also a rule of thumb is the ceiling speakers to be in line with my knees when seated!

Based on this, the ceiling speakers would be
23 inches forward from the (tweeter of the surround speakers) infact the ceiling speakers would be exactly in line with my knees.

Is this ideal ? Or would you suggest to move the ceiling speakers a bit more forward ?
Approx 12" further as the ceiling beam comes in the way -

It's either where they are at the minute or go forward a further 12"
This would make it of centre of the room.

The other question that I have which I am a bit baffled of is
How far apart do the front left and front right speakers have to be ?
I know about the Dolby recommended angles but my understanding to this is about how much toe in you can have to the MLP ?

Do I go further away as possible from the screen ? Or is there a recommended distance the front left and right speakers have to be ?

This will also determine how far in my ceiling speakers should be away from the side walls


I'll put up some pics of my progress and where I have initially cut out holes in the ceiling for the speakers

Kind regards
 

gibbsy

Moderator
@Atarioldskool Only now picked up on your questions. If you wish to tag me then do as I have done to your user name mine would be @gibbsy If I don't come across it when moderating then I'll more than likely miss it as the Forums are very busy at the moment.

I'll deal with the front speakers first. Toe in is what a lot of people do to either improve the sound and some manufacturers do recommend some kind of toe in. The idea with some is to get the perfect listening position for stereo listening where the toe in would help make a triangle to that perfect position. Unless your speaker manufacturer recommends it or the room needs it then follow that advice.

As for the ceiling speakers then certainly in line with the front left and right and above your seated knees. If you need to move any of the speakers in any direction because of room constraints then that is a compromise that many have to live with and I doubt there are many layouts outside of a purpose built room that does not have some compromise in some way. The receiver's EQ should take care of any distance balance that may be needed.
 

Atarioldskool

Active Member
@Atarioldskool Only now picked up on your questions. If you wish to tag me then do as I have done to your user name mine would be @gibbsy If I don't come across it when moderating then I'll more than likely miss it as the Forums are very busy at the moment.

I'll deal with the front speakers first. Toe in is what a lot of people do to either improve the sound and some manufacturers do recommend some kind of toe in. The idea with some is to get the perfect listening position for stereo listening where the toe in would help make a triangle to that perfect position. Unless your speaker manufacturer recommends it or the room needs it then follow that advice.

As for the ceiling speakers then certainly in line with the front left and right and above your seated knees. If you need to move any of the speakers in any direction because of room constraints then that is a compromise that many have to live with and I doubt there are many layouts outside of a purpose built room that does not have some compromise in some way. The receiver's EQ should take care of any distance balance that may be needed.
@gibbsy

Thanks for that

Am I confusing myself between toe in of the speakers and Dolby' recommended angle of speakers ? 22-35 degree I think they say ?

I guess in simple terms is how far apart should the LF and RF speakers be from the screen?

Example let's say the distance between the Centre speaker and my MLP is 9 feet
Does that mean the distance from the centre speaker to the LF and RF distance should be 9 feet ?


As for the ceiling speakers would you say if they are exactly in line with my knees when seated this is perfect ?
I'm assuming from what you wrote about the ceiling speakers this position would be ideal ?
 

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