surround speaker placement question



When my surround speakers were pre-wired and installed into the walls of my new house, the technician put three in front (L,C,R) and two in back, and the sub close to my listening position in the middle of the room (with the back of sub against one wall).

My listening position is exactly in the center of the room. I thought the setup described above was a "typical" 5.1 setup, but the more I read and tinker with my new receiver, the more I realize the surround speakers should be placed on the SIDE not the BACK of the room for a 5.1 system. Is this correct?

Does it make a big difference??

I cannot change the speaker configuration because everything is built in, and I didn't know squat about home theater set up when the house was built, so I just trusted the technician to know what he was doing.

So is this not a good set up? Should the surround speakers be on the side? I always thought "surround" meant speakers in front and in back, not in front and on the side. Although I have noticed than I strain quite a bit to hear the surround coming out the back, and I have the db level on those speakers as high as it will go (+10db from the others).

What has been other peoples' experiences? Is my set up less than optimal for a 5.1 system? Maybe in the next house I will go to 7.1, or who knows maybe we'll be up to 10.1 by then. :)

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