Does My TV Need to Be Centered Between My Speakers?
When we plan our living rooms or home theaters, we always plan on centering our TV between our speakers. Every marketing photo or promotional image you can find has the TV centered between the speakers. Obviously, this must be the best way to place your speakers in relation to your TV. But real life rarely works that way. You’ve found yourself in a situation where you can’t perfectly center your TV between your speakers. What should you do? Will this be a problem? Let’s discuss!
Having your speakers off-center in relation to your TV looks weird. When you first set up your system, it is probably going to bug you. There really isn’t much we can do about that. But there is certainly a reason you must place your speakers this way.
Over time, you are likely to “forget” how much having your speakers off-center bothers you. You’ll get used to how your room looks and won’t really think much about it. It’s hard to think of that as you’re setting up your system but trust us. It’ll stop bothering you sooner than you think.
From a performance standpoint, the placement of your TV isn’t really what is essential for the placement of your speakers. What is important is the relation of your speakers to your seat. If your speakers are properly set up for your seats, then your brain will do a good job of moving the audio to line up with the picture on the screen. Even if the screen isn’t perfectly centered between the speakers.
Sometimes the issue is that one speaker is too close or too far away from the TV because of obstacles in the room. This can certainly happen and each presents its own challenges. Let’s pretend that your TV is in line with the center of your couch. One speaker is properly placed but the other has compromised placement.
If that placement is too close to the TV, it means that it isn’t placed as far to the side as would be optimal. Sonically, this will reduce the width of the soundstage on that side of the room. Depending on how you use your system, you may or may not notice this effect. If it is bothering you, then try using our cross-firing speaker setup. This will minimize the effect of having one speaker closer to some seats than the other.
If your problem is that your compromised speaker is farther away than preferred, you have less to worry about. When your AV receiver sets up your speakers, it will boost the trim level of that speaker to compensate for additional distance. You may need to adjust the toe-in of that speaker as well. If it is very far away (greater than 12 feet), then you may need to add an external amplifier.
We’ve never been big believers that having perfectly symmetrically placed gear is important for your home theater. Having your TV not perfectly centered between your speakers can look funny, but it isn’t something that has to affect performance. Sure, it will trigger people on Reddit, but it’s not their room or their homes. Plus, if it doesn’t make your system sound weird, who cares if your speakers are off-center? The lights are off when you are using it anyhow. Just enjoy your system and ignore the haters!