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Surround speaker placement - does it matter if the distance is not equidistant?

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LouisCypher

Guest
In my current room set up if I want to place the surround speakers on the side walls then one speaker needs to be quite a bit different in distance from the current listening position. I can change the lay out the room so all distances are equal but do I need to do this? The current room layout is attached as an image, green is the listening position (or as we call it at home, the sofa).
 

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clarky78

Established Member
The amp can accomodate this with it's settings, but with the distance being over twice the other, i don't know if you'll still notice.

Look at it this way though, you can sit most anywhere and be in the surround field :)
 

sbowler

Prominent Member
It shouldnt matter, you can configure the channel distances and levels through the amps set up menus. This will compensate for the different distances, also using a sound pressure level meter you can increase the output from the surround back left to balance out the difference in distances.
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
if you can be completely central its going to sound better, but most modern amps will be able to adjust if you want to keep the sofa where it is as people have mentioned by use of things such as setting distances of the speakers, delay settings etc, plus channel level....
 

dazed&confused

Prominent Member
My one rear speaker is much further away from the other and even after compensating with the amp's volume and distance/delay settings, it can still appear quite noticable at times. It can really depend on what you are playing, and be quite off-putting at times.

I would suggest you try to overcome this further by compensating with the distance between the fronts, as I have found that having the one rear speaker further away and at a different angle from the fronts can worsen the effect. You might also find that having the rears quite high up the walls and pointed down and toed in a little, rather than at ear height, will make things better.

Are you interested in SACD? Although most amps allow you to adjust the rear right and left settings separately, this isn't going to help for SACD requiring multi-channel output since you would need to use the player's settings for this. Some SACD players only allow you to set both rear speakers together. Also, some people will tell you that SACD sounds a lot better with all speakers at ear height.

In short, you can overcome some of the problems but not having the rears at equal distances will still be a compromise, at times at least. If you are mainly interested in movies then you might want to consider bipoles or dipoles, to make the sound from the rear speakers less localised and thus reduce the effect of unequal distances.
 

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