Tower speakers

26 Comments on Home Theater Speaker Placement—Where Do I Put My Speakers?

  1. Ryan Avatar

    Thanks for all the tips. I need more!!! I have a receiver that has 7.1 however my media room has is large and my couch is tall, so I have little options for placing the rear speakers directly behind the couch. I have lots of speakers but not sure where to add them. i am currently running 5.1 but wanting to go 7.1 But I may have to get very creative. Please advise

  2. Scott Avatar

    My room is 12×10 so quite small but couch is more than two feet away from rear wall so can do 7.1.
    Question is surround speakers will be close to the ears as eventually want to have atmos 7.1.4 setup but wondered if it would be to much for a small room with surrounds being close to listening position so would a 5.1.4 setup be better?.
    This situation hasn’t been an issue before as the speakers were mounted a few feet above listening position so 7.1’sounded fine but atmos states surround speakers should be ear height to gain effect from ceiling speakers bringing them much closer to the listener!

    • 12 x 10 might get very overwhelmed by 7.1.4 or even 5.1.4. When you jam too many speakers into a smaller area you can get a lot of audio collisions due to the room acoustics. I might suggest trying 5.1.2 and spending a higher dollar amount on the speakers themselves, rather than spreading your dollars thinner on a higher quantity of speakers. Does that make sense?

  3. Al B. Avatar

    Hello, I have a 24 x 12 foot room and I will be running a 7.1 system. Have exactly three feet between back wall and couch with a large window directly behind the couch. Looking for best placement for back surrounds. Was thinking above window centered on the wall. Speakers would be approx. 8 feet from the floor just below the ceiling. Using in wall speakers for all 7 channels. Struggling with how far apart the speakers should be spaced apart. Lastly, was going to place center channel in wall under 65″ mounted tv. This would place the speaker approx. 3″ from the floor. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  4. Hi Clint, great article. I dont have space behind my couch. Would you recommend wall mounted dipoles behind the couch? Mounting them on the side walls is not really an option due to the configuration of the room. I’d be sticking with 5.1.

    The link i provided is an example of the layout of the living room i created using lazyboy’s virtual room creator.

    • You can do dipoles, or you can mount small bookshelf speakers and face them towards each other for a more diffuse sound behind you. It’s a bit more difficult when the couch is directly against the wall. You don’t want the sound directly in your ears or otherwise aimed at your head.

  5. Peter K. Avatar

    Hi Clint. I am adding rear surround speakers to upgrade from a 5.1 to 7.1. in my 20 x 22′ family room. My ‘rear wall’ is the face of a soffit above an open kitchen behind my family room. This necessitates either in-wall or in-ceiling speakers for the rears. At best the in-wall speakers would be about 10′ above the floor and about 4′ behind my listening position. I would use speakers with aimable tweeters. The ceiling is 13′ high so that is how high ceiling speakers would be. What do you think about in-wall vs. in-ceiling speakers?

    • If I understand you correctly, I’d probably go with in-wall (spaced maybe 8-9 feet apart at most) as the surround back speakers are meant to be more directional (called point source) than diffuse. I’d be worried that you’d just get a “wash” of sound (or a distraction) from the 13′ in-ceiling position.

  6. P.O. Avatar

    You have described placement for movies and music, but what about 3D gaming? Will the 5.1 alternate layout or 5.1 music layout work better?

  7. Hans Avatar

    Hi! My sofa is just infront of the rear wall. Im using dipole speakers and they are mounted on the side. It is mounted probably 1 feet away from the rear wall in order to be adjacent to the listener. Will the sound quality be affected? If so, are there any possible resolutions to solve this? Maybe some acoustic panels on the rear wall? Will be greatly looking forward to your advice. Thanks in advance!

  8. New to theater Avatar

    I have Klipsch RP 240S for my side speakers in a 7.2 set up. My wife doesn’t want my sides level with our heads at sitting level in fear someone will knock them off. I called Klipsch. They do not make an in wall speaker with same capabilities. Would it hurt to mount those same speakers just higher on the wall?

    • Ed Avatar

      I too am looking into a 7.2.1 system. Two speakers in back, two on the side, two speakers in front, and one center speaker. Then there are two subwoofers, one on each side. Maybe extra bass from the two subwoofers is too much. Really need to go and see what is available!

  9. Ragnar Avatar

    Hi. Great article. How high should the speakers be? In particular I have a 120″ projection screen and I would like to know how high relative to the screen should I put the front speakers? What about the center speaker, should I place it above or below the screen? For the rear speakers I have the choice of mounting them at any height on the side walls. Any suggestions?

  10. David Avatar

    Hi Clint thanks for your article. We are finishing our basement in the next few months and I need to decide on placement of my in-wall speakers. The front channels and sub are already figured out. It’s the surround that needs attention.

    Because of the shape of the room, my left/right side walls are very far away and different distances to the couch. This presents a problem with typical 5.1 surround speaker in-wall placement (as I do not want speaker stands on either side of the couch). Your alternate placement 5.1 diagram solves this issue by moving the speakers into the back wall and assigning them as rear surround channels. However, I feel this may compromise too much and I’m wondering your thoughts on putting the center surrounds in the ceiling and adding rear surrounds to the back wall for a 7.1 layout instead of your alternate 5.1 layout. Would that work better?

    I know the center surrounds are supposed to be above the listener, so I’m thinking if we added a pair of in-ceiling dipole surround speakers for the L and R center surround and add an additional pair of speakers rear surround speakers in the back wall @ Dolby 60 degrees (go with a 7.1 system) would it create a better surround environment? Basically, a traditional Dolby 7.1 location but with surrounds 5′ above the listener in the ceiling firing downwards? To add further complication, how would this play nice or not nice with a 7.1.4 atmos setup (6 speakers in the ceiling, 2 surrounds and 4 atmos)?

  11. Brandon Avatar

    Hi Clint,

    I have 4 ceiling and 1 center wall speaker plus a subwoofer. Is it okay to place the center under the projection screen? If so where do I place the 4 ceiling speakers? Thanks

  12. rally Avatar

    what is the ideal position of 5.1 speakers for a 246 in. x 125 in. room? the sofa’s at the foot of the bed measuring about 8 ft in lenght…. btw the tv’s at the far end of the room… thanks in advance

  13. Michael Lanteri Avatar

    Hello — I have a question about spacing of the rear surrounds vs the side surrounds? I currently have all 5.1 with all ceiling speakers. My new receiver can handle 7.1 and I have a 20 x 21 living room with an open floor plan to the kitchen behind. I removed plywood from attic above and I have a choice of putting the rear surround speakers 2 1/2 ft or 4 ft behind the surrounds and inward half the distance apart. Would you go 2 1/2 or 4 ft back on the distance between the side surrounds and the rear surrounds? I can’t go any farther back as their are recessed can lights at 6″ back.

  14. Elton Avatar

    Hello. I am setting up a 5.1.4 system. In inchs, how far from the front of the sofa, and the back should I put my celling speakers. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But there must be some kind of general inches between most set up’s. Thank you

  15. Adam Avatar

    We are adding a room to our house that is approx. 27 X 26. About 700 sq ft. with this being a new build I am open to put my speakers wherever I want before the drywall is added. I am looking to do in wall speakers. Would you recommend 5.1 or 7.1 and how would you set up the speakers?

  16. Sam Potter Avatar

    I’m building the audio portion of our new great room home theater which is 36 X 40. Projector and screen already installed. It is in a log lodge with 12ft. walls an open vaulted ceiling with log trusses on 12′ centers at the top of the walls. On one end of the building we have a prow with a 12′ fireplace in the middle and a 12′ set of doors on either side of it. We don’t want to have any kind of center speaker in front of the fireplace so a would like to use two center speakers on either side of the fireplace hearth ( also subwoofer ) rather than on the mantle and the L & R fronts on the other side of the doors 18′ off center. I originally had planned set it up across the room and therefore didn’t prewire for these speakers. I have two questions: I though I could use Klipsch wireless for the center(s) and the front L& R ( or other quality wireless ) and then use the hardwiring I have in place for the balance of a 9.2.4 atmos system. In talking with some other vendors and techs they say that will not work as they will be a sync problem between the wired and wireless units? They also say that a total wireless 9.2.4 system is not available but I think with the size of the room I need that for the best sound quality. Like you recommendation on speakers as well and on what to use for the atmos units which would have to be in enclosures and be mounted on the overhead log trusses. I was planning on a Denon AVR X 6300H to drive the system as I’ve had excellent luck with the Denon equipment I have owned over the years. Thanks for your help and please let me know if this is too much to ask of you?

  17. shane Avatar

    Hi l have a 5.1 speakers in a bed room- l have a double bed with posts- the front -one foot high-the rear posts two feet high-can the speakers be placed on these posts to get theatre sound the centre speaker been placed in between the front post speakers on a rail- another idea is hang them from the ceiling by wire so they are suspended above my bed- any ideas for or against or advice would be greatly appreciated-thanks


    hi clint…!!!
    I’m Antonis and I’m from Greece and I have a question.
    I have 9.2 setup, a THX-certified AV receiver (Pioneer SC-LX57) & a THX-certified 7.2 speakers Crystal Acoustics T3-7.2-UL ( ) and front Speakers height Crystal Acoustics TX-B1 ( )
    The rear speakers they are also Dipole Surrounds ,what distance will be placed on the rear wall?
    Thank you very much…!!!

  19. Jimmy Riddle Avatar

    I’ll be building a new house soon. My front speakers will be in a cabinet. My wife does not want rear speakers in the walls. The couch will be against the rear wall I think. Will it be OK to put speakers in a 9 ft. ceiling and exactly where should they be. It will be a 5.1 system.

    • Rana Avatar

      Hi. I have a 14 ft into 20 ft room where i wanna install 7.1.
      is it possible to install the the two Surround Back Speakers under the ceiling. How do i get optimum performance.thanks.

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