High TV and Speaker Placement
So you are stuck with a high TV placement. We’re not going to ask why or suggest you move your TV. It’s clear that you’ve already tried all that and it hasn’t worked. Fair enough. But now it is time to plan for your speakers. Sure, the center speaker will go right under the TV. But what about the other two speakers? Should they go next to the TV or at ear level? What is the best speaker placement for your high TV? Let’s discuss!
If you are wondering why someone would care about how they place their speakers in relation to their high TV, it is about locating the sound. If you read about speaker placement best practices, invariably you’ll come across the “tweeters at ear level” recommendation. They aren’t wrong. Most speakers are designed and tested with the assumption that the tweeters will be at or near ear level. If you install a speaker higher (near a TV mounted over a fireplace for example), the tweeter placement will be much higher than recommended. This could compromise the sound quality of the speaker.
On the other hand, if you place your speakers so that the tweeters will be at ear level, the sound will be coming from far below the TV. The audio might sound like it is disconnected from the action on the screen! That would be distracting and weird. You don’t want to spend all that money on new speakers just to have their placement compromise the experience.
Obviously, the easiest answer is to try it. Even if you are planning on installing in-wall speakers, you can mount your TV, play some content, and have the speakers in both locations. If that means you lean them against the wall or have a couple of friends hold them, it doesn’t really matter. What you want to know is if the audio seems to be coming from the TV or from below the TV.
You’ll have to resist the urge to test this without an image on the screen. Don’t just play some music or sounds without a picture. Your brain is very good at relocating sounds based on what you see. If you test without an image on the screen, you won’t know how your speaker placement actually affects your perception based on the location of your TV.
But What If You Can’t?
Generally speaking, there are three reasonable positions for speaker placement when your TV is too high – flanking the TV, just under the TV, or at ear level. The chances that just under the TV will sound significantly different than flanking the TV is fairly low in our opinion. If aesthetics is what you are worried about, and just below the TV is a good compromise, go for it.
Sonic quality might be your primary concern. Getting your speakers in the best position sonically would require traditional speaker placement putting the tweeter near ear level. If you want to go in this direction, consider a TV mount that will lower your TV closer to your speaker placement. Mantelmount is a good option. This would allow you to lower your TV closer to your speakers when in use.
Regardless, if your TV is high and your speakers are placed with the tweeters at ear level, chances are it will sound just fine. Your brain will make it seem like the audio is coming from the TV and not from a few feet below the TV. If you are still worried, you can follow some of our other suggestions.