Determining The Right Height To Mount Your Surround Speakers

Posted by Pin Point Mount on 7/31/2014

Most sound aficionados will recommend that front soundstage speakers should be mounted/placed at ear level, with the tweeter of the surround/rear speakers about 2-3 feet above ear level, unless you plan on doing more multichannel audio listening than movie watching. If that's the case, all speakers should be at or slightly above ear level.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Dolby suggests placing them 2-4 feet above ear level for the rear speakers, however those guidelines were set in the ProLogic days where only ambient noises (wind, rain, thunder) and not specific, locatable sounds went to the rear. Ear-level placement ends up being the most often chosen, as more and more movies are putting specific sounds to one rear or the other and it will distort the sound, messing up the illusion if the sounds shoot up over your head. Others argue that the 2-4 feet above placement makes things more 'transparent' which some movies program for.

Visual Vs. Auditory Aesthetics

in theory, if your tweeters are directional, you should be able to get away with a higher mount, You would need to actually hear them to be able to say for sure if it really "works" that way. You'll rarely see a rear speaker setup four feet off the floor on stalks mainly because it looks bad. It really would be optimal from an audio point-of-view.

Other Options

One option is to have the satellite fronts ideally separated and wall mounted close to the ceiling and pointing down toward the listening area. Another option would be to have the satellite fronts at the same level as the center channel (right above the TV) but only separate the left and right speakers as far out as the outside edges of the screen, and not past them. Neither option is ideal, so at this point you will need to try both and let your own ears decide for you. Other factors to take into consideration will depend on the actual room size and shape, along with the layout of furniture and type of flooring used. This is why it remains a mostly individualized choice, in the end.