Speakers > Are ceiling speakers ok for Surround Sound?
border411's Avatar border411 07:50 AM 01-23-2011
So I am a total rookie when it comes to setting up a surround sound that is actually somewhat worth of being considered acceptable (other than the Sony HTIB that I have had for 10 years now). Here is my dilemma. I live in a townhouse with fire rated wall between the units (I live in the middle). It appears that the only way that I can get the speakers "hidden" for my living room home theater system would be to put in-ceiling speakers in for the fronts and rears. I have decided that the Pioneer VSX-1020-k receiver will be powering all of it, with the 6 1/2" in-ceiling speakers from monoprice for the surrounds (my inlaws have them and they are amazing). I would then have to figure out a wall mounted center channel which would go below my TV, but above the fireplace that the FIOS box, Soony Blu-ray, and receiver will sit. I know that this isnt the IDEAL set-up, especially since the in-celing fronts will be about 16 feet away from the listening position (couch will be on the other side of the room), but I am hoping the set-up feature for the receiver with its mic can correct any audio issues I may have. Do you all think this will be a problem, with having the in-ceiling speakers for the fronts 16' away, and having the rears almost right above me?

crazyrob425's Avatar crazyrob425 08:48 AM 01-23-2011
I am strongly against using in ceilings for the front sound stage.... For surrounds it's ok nut the front sound stage to me must face the seating area

Might want to try some wall mounted speakers for the front. Axion makes some good thin ones
http://axiomaudio.com/wallspeakers.html
border411's Avatar border411 08:54 AM 01-23-2011
Trying to make the look as clean as possible. That is why I am looking into in-ceiling as in-wall is not an option. Do you think the receiver could set-up the speakers to sound good even though they are in-ceiling?
crazyrob425's Avatar crazyrob425 08:57 AM 01-23-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

Trying to make the look as clean as possible. That is why I am looking into in-ceiling as in-wall is not an option. Do you think the receiver could set-up the speakers to sound good even though they are in-ceiling?

Honestly I don't think it could work well enough to recommend as you are sitting so far away from the tv

Look at the thin on wall speakers they don't take up much space and you with be far far better off

http://axiomaudio.com/wallspeakers.html

Minimumly the center needs to be facing the seating area directly above or below the tv
65Cobra427SC's Avatar 65Cobra427SC 09:45 AM 01-23-2011
You could consider something like the Def Tech UIW Reference RCS II ceilings which have the speakers mounted at an angle within the enclosure. I've also seen other ceilings which let you change the angle of the speakers but can't recall the names off hand. Hope that helps some... good luck.
sptrout's Avatar sptrout 09:46 AM 01-23-2011
I am in total agreement with crazyrob that ceiling speakers are a really, really bad idea for any of the front speakers. Even for surrounds and rears, ceiling speakers are at best questionable (but sometimes no other choice).

Your front speakers should be at ear level. If I was you, I would consider any other possible solution to accomplish this. Did I understand your original post to say that your TV will be above the fireplace? Another idea that is really not recommended, but I know that the way homes are designed these days it is hard to get away from this. (We had to custom design our living room to get the fireplace out of the way.)

Your comment "but I am hoping the set-up feature for the receiver with its mic can correct any audio issues" is probably wishful thinking. With the speakers in the ceiling, there is really nothing that can correct that problem - you see straight ahead and you hear from the ceiling. Even your brain will have a problem with that.
border411's Avatar border411 12:07 PM 01-23-2011
Let me clarify. The TV will be over the fireplace, however it is electric (looks outstandingly real) and is really just for show, and we dont use it EVER for heating, so damaging the TV wont be an issue. My wall that it will be on is 10feet wide.

I do have a change to my plan: What I just talked to my wife about is that I am going to build out 2 "columns" on either side of the tv in the corners, 30" wide x 12" deep, from floor to ceiling. I am also going to build a "header" that will extend from both columns along the ceiling and that way, I can get an in-wall center channel directly above the TV, and 2 in-wall speakers firing directly towards the sitting area. This will solve all my issues and for the fronts, still putting the rears in the ceiling directly above/slightly behind the sitting area. All I need is some 2x4's, some sheetrock, and my air tools. Also need to relocate some electrical as the boxes are tucked into the corners, but that is all easy as I am a contractor as well. I should be all set to go now.

The only question that I have left is, the center channel should go between the front surrounds correct? If I have the fronts about 4 feet up form the floor, and the center channel above the TV at around 7.5', will it sound weird, or wont I notice it from that far away?
crazyrob425's Avatar crazyrob425 12:51 PM 01-23-2011
I suggest you inform yourself here
http://dolby.com/consumer/setup/index.html
sptrout's Avatar sptrout 01:01 PM 01-23-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

The only question that I have left is, the center channel should go between the front surrounds correct? If I have the fronts about 4 feet up form the floor, and the center channel above the TV at around 7.5', will it sound weird, or wont I notice it from that far away?

Yes, the center channel speaker goes either directly below, or above the TV. It is very typical that the three front speakers are not all the same height above the floor. My center channel speaker is 6 1/2' above the floor with my L&R speakers being standard towers (~4' tall). I do have my center channel speaker tilted down so it points at my head level at our main seating area. (BTW - - The left and right front speakers are not called surrounds, that term is reserved for speakers 4 & 5.)

(I see that crazyrob425 beat me to the send button. The Dobly site is excellent. THX & DTS have very similar sites.)
border411's Avatar border411 01:10 PM 01-23-2011
I checked out that site, but honestly that is stuff that I sort of already knew and didnt really say anything about above or below and the relationship with the fronts. Thanks for the link though. The center channel (in-wall) that I am also going to get from monoprice doesnt tilt to aim, so I am going to have to mount it at an angle to get it to fire directly towards me, which should be just a matter of making a box to mount it to, with a slight angle built it. It will be about 2 feet higher than the fronts, but I can angle all of it over the 20 foot distance that you probably wont be able to decern any difference. I will just move the fronts up a little (say around 5' off the floor) and all should be good. Thanks for all your help.
coytee's Avatar coytee 01:22 PM 01-23-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by sptrout View Post

I am in total agreement with crazyrob that ceiling speakers are a really, really bad idea for any of the front speakers. Even for surrounds and rears, ceiling speakers are at best questionable (but sometimes no other choice).

I totally agree with the others that are in total agreement.

I doubly agree with regard to the fronts... DON'T do it. You might be able to slither by with the rears in the ceiling but not the fronts.

My neighbors have a nice house, maybe 10K sq/ft or so. Living room has 14' ceilings or something near that. (they have an elevator..... )

Anyway, I was over there once and she got ALL excited..."come in here and listen to the surround sound"

Turns out it was all in ceiling. As it happened, the local news was playing and the weather man was talking. The TV was in front of me yet the voices were coming from above.

It was rather erie. Much like the Voice of God from above, telling me it WAS going to rain tomorrow....

Knowing the budget they spent on their land and house, it would not surprise me that they put 10/15K into this setup. Frankly, I would not pay $500 for what I heard.

I think you could probably get away with the REARS being in the ceiling and some ceiling speakers can also be aimed. Just give it some deeper thought first regarding the front speakers. Better yet.... if you can get to my neighborhood, maybe I could get you an audition over there and you could hear first hand what I'm talking about.

Either that would be enough to make you committed to avoiding in ceilings for the front or, you put more importance on asthetics than the sound. (which is perfectly acceptable as long as you understand/accept the trade-offs)
Raymond Leggs's Avatar Raymond Leggs 01:31 PM 01-23-2011
In ceiling speakers sound horrible no matter the brand nor price, too hollow!
holt7153's Avatar holt7153 01:40 PM 01-23-2011
One thing to think about if you're planning to buy an in-wall center is that most are designed to fit in between wall studs. If your dwelling is a modern type with drywall and studs every 16" you're a bit limited to where you can install the center, unless you plan on cutting into studs.
Jacksmyname's Avatar Jacksmyname 01:53 PM 01-23-2011
I also agree that in-ceilings for the front 3 are the last resort.
But I'm using in-ceilings for my side and rear surrounds and they sound great.
Mine are the Mirage Omnican 6.
border411's Avatar border411 03:34 PM 01-23-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

One thing to think about if you're planning to buy an in-wall center is that most are designed to fit in between wall studs. If your dwelling is a modern type with drywall and studs every 16" you're a bit limited to where you can install the center, unless you plan on cutting into studs.

That is why I am making my own wall to house the fronts and center! Got to love the carpentry skills! The center that I am going to get from Monoprice is a bit wider than 16", but I can account for that when I make the framing up for the "soffet". I have decided that only the rears are going to be in-ceiling because that is the only option I have with the type of wall and location that the sofa HAS to be in. If the back of the sofa is about 5 inches off the wall, would it be best to have the in-ceiling speakers aiming straight down, or should I try to aim the speakers so that it bounces off the rear wall so accoustically it seems that the sound is coming from in back of you as much as possible?
holt7153's Avatar holt7153 06:16 PM 01-23-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

That is why I am making my own wall to house the fronts and center! Got to love the carpentry skills! The center that I am going to get from Monoprice is a bit wider than 16", but I can account for that when I make the framing up for the "soffet". I have decided that only the rears are going to be in-ceiling because that is the only option I have with the type of wall and location that the sofa HAS to be in. If the back of the sofa is about 5 inches off the wall, would it be best to have the in-ceiling speakers aiming straight down, or should I try to aim the speakers so that it bounces off the rear wall so accoustically it seems that the sound is coming from in back of you as much as possible?

I think the less sound you have bouncing around the better, but someone else should weigh in on this.
sptrout's Avatar sptrout 06:14 AM 01-24-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

That is why I am making my own wall to house the fronts and center! Got to love the carpentry skills! The center that I am going to get from Monoprice is a bit wider than 16", but I can account for that when I make the framing up for the "soffet". I have decided that only the rears are going to be in-ceiling because that is the only option I have with the type of wall and location that the sofa HAS to be in. If the back of the sofa is about 5 inches off the wall, would it be best to have the in-ceiling speakers aiming straight down, or should I try to aim the speakers so that it bounces off the rear wall so accoustically it seems that the sound is coming from in back of you as much as possible?

"That is why I am making my own wall to house the fronts and center! Got to love the carpentry skills!" Must be nice, I can draw a straight line with a very good ruler (most of the time).

Just to be clear; you mentioned "rears" above. Do you mean speakers 6 & 7 of a 7.1 system, or are you really referring to "surrounds" (speakers 4 & 5)? (These terms are often confused.) Surrounds should be mounted at 90 to 110 degrees from your main listening area, and rears should be mounted directly behind the seating area. If you are mounting your surrounds on your side walls, and rears as you mentioned directly above your seating area, then IMO speakers 6 & 7 will not bring much to the party unless your room is very wide. With your carpentry skills you probably do not have much to lose by installing speakers 6 & 7 above your seating area, but I would not expect to hear a great difference between a 5.1 & a 7.1 speaker array.

I will use my speaker array as an example of how NOT to do a 7.1 system. My 6 & 7 channel speakers are ceiling mounted (long story on how that happen), and they are mounted about 2' behind my two main seats, but are about 15' apart (almost directly above my stand-mounted surround speakers). The ceiling speakers are very poor to begin with, and since they are not properly located (should be directly behind my two seats about 2 -4' apart), I cannot even tell if they are on or not. For several reasons I am stuck with this poor arrangement, so really I have a 5.1 system with 7 main speakers.
CoreAVConcepts's Avatar CoreAVConcepts 07:02 AM 01-24-2011
Make sure you contact monoprice and get the actual speaker parameters so you can build proper enclosures for each model within the wall.

A recommendation I make to most of my customers is to put your surround sound system in an unused bedroom (if you have one). The room may be smaller than the family room/great room but the performance will most likely be superior for both picture and sound.

I would NEVER place my primary TV over a fireplace. The TV is too high, speaker placement options are usually limited and the sound usually suffers (especially if you have 12' or higher ceilings. If you want it so you can view from the kitchen with background audio go for it. I still don't like placing TV's over fireplaces because you end up with two focal points.
mekkerl's Avatar mekkerl 08:19 AM 01-24-2011
I put my TV over our fireplace...a project we did about two years ago. Best decision we made. Love the height of the TV and all the viewing locations it creates being that high.

Also, putting the TV over your fireplace creates ONE focal point in the room. If you were to put the TV on another wall...there is your second focal point of the room!

Keep with your idea and put it where you want...just make sure you test the height with a piece of cardboard, etc...
CoreAVConcepts's Avatar CoreAVConcepts 09:26 AM 01-24-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mekkerl
I put my TV over our fireplace...a project we did about two years ago. Best decision we made. Love the height of the TV and all the viewing locations it creates being that high.

Also, putting the TV over your fireplace creates ONE focal point in the room. If you were to put the TV on another wall...there is your second focal point of the room!

Keep with your idea and put it where you want...just make sure you test the height with a piece of cardboard, etc...
Just because I've done this for 20 years doesn't make always right. You are correct that the sight lines can be excellent, especially with today's open floor plans. For a primary home theater/surround sound location it's awful.

Out of hundreds of jobs (flat panel specific) I have yet to see one that wouldn't have performed better in an unused bedroom. I say this for a number of reasons.

1) lower tv height = easier to watch
2) less ambient light = better image
3) better speaker locations = better sound
4) improved sound isolation (close the door/heavier door/solid door/sealed door = better sound & less likely to disturb/annoy other family members

TV's often take away from the cozy, relaxed environment that a fireplace creates. It's almost like going to a theater to watch a movie in the lobby/concession area. Convenient yes, ideal no.

There are a number of other reasons.

At the end of the day I do what my customers request. Additionally, I always recommend what will perform best first. I provide alternatives that may not have been considered. I rarely tell a client not to do it (unless for safety or cost reasons). I simply think it's RARELY the best choice though it's always an obvious one.
border411's Avatar border411 02:39 PM 01-24-2011
My TV is a 47" Vizio 1080P LCD. The center of the TV is about 5.5 feet above the floor. The TV is also tilted down so the TV is totally "flat" to the viewing area.

Sptrout: The rears that I am talking about are speakers 4 and 5. This will only be a 5.1 set-up, and Zone 2 on my new pioneer VSX-1020 will be for outdoor speakers (once I get a deck on the back of the house). They will be 8 feet above the floor in the ceiling (5 feet above the listeners ears) and about a foot to 2 feet behind the listener. I am going with the 8" in-ceiling 2-way speakers from monoprice, their 8" in-wall's for the fronts, and their 5 1/4" center channel for, well, the center channel! The room is about 20 feet by 10 feet, and is open almost the whole side with the dinning room. I dont have any room to put the rears directly behind me, hence the in-ceiling route that I have to take. The spread of the in-ceiling (rears) and in-walls (fronts) will be about 9 feet. The in-ceilings will also be about 110 degrees to the sides from the listener, just a lot higher.

I have listened to the monoprice speakers, and bang for the buck they are simple outstanding. Of course anything is better that the SONY HTIB that I have been running. My in-laws just bought the 8" inwalls for their house, and they blew me away when I heard them. Are they the best speakers I have ever heard, no---my friends B&W's were, but I am a cop and dont make that kind of money! I am not an audiophile, so I dont see spending that kind of money. I mean, even with building the columns and soffet, I am looking at under $600 for the whole system (speakers, CL2 rated 14AWG wire, and amp). This is also not our dream home, and dont plan on staying here for more than another 5-7 years, so I am not going to invest huge sums of money into something the next owner may not give a [email protected] about.
sptrout's Avatar sptrout 06:00 AM 01-25-2011
Border411, it looks to me that you have your system well designed and thought out, so you should be happy with the results. As with most of us, the actual room layout has the final say in how we can design our HT speaker array.

Remember that speakers 4 & 5 are called surrounds not rears. (Actually, all speakers, with the exception of the subwoofer, are now called satelllites by many, but that is another story...) Several days ago I got in on a thread where the OP was writing "rears" (really meaning surrounds) and that misstatement took the whole thread off in the wrong direction.
border411's Avatar border411 06:36 AM 01-25-2011
Thank you good sir! So rears are 6 and 7 then?
sptrout's Avatar sptrout 06:40 AM 01-25-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

Thank you good sir! So rears are 6 and 7 then?

Yep! I guess that speakers 4-7 are all really surrounds, but to keep things a little less confusing, 6 & 7 are referred to as the rear speakers.
cybrsage's Avatar cybrsage 06:59 AM 01-25-2011
Speakers 5 and 6 are side surrounds and speakers 6 and 7 are rear surrounds.
Anonymous123 12:00 AM 03-04-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post
I suggest you inform yourself here<br><a href="dolby.com/consumer/setup/index" target="_blank">dolby.com/consumer/setup/index</a>
This URL is pretty old
crazyrob425's Avatar crazyrob425 06:47 AM 03-04-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous123 View Post
This URL is pretty old
This thread is from January 23, 2011. We are in 2015 so of course that link is old...
dkfan9 09:54 PM 04-07-2015
Necro of the week. Good thread though, insightful all around
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