I am excited that you have asked this question. The height of the speakers plays a very important role in the home theater sound experience. A few inches below or above the recommended height can ruin the whole experience. So, how high should each speaker be in surround sound?
At A Glance: As a general rule of thumb, each speaker in the surround sound should be mounted at ear level and pointing straight at the audience’s heads.
This was a general answer to satisfy your question at a glance but stay tuned as we will discuss the height of each speaker in the surround sound. There are a few tweaks that are necessary for each position speaker. Keep reading each section for pro tips.
How high should the center speaker be Mounted?
In-Short: The center speaker should be mounted as near as possible to the screen and its tweeter should be pointed at the audience ear level.
In-Depth: The center speaker is the most important speaker of them all. Almost all of the time that dialogue will come out of this speaker.
That’s why you have to mount it as near as possible to the Display. But most of the time the Display can’t be mounted at a position that can satisfy the general rule of thumb for the center speaker.
So, what to do? Almost all of the wall mounting center speakers can be tilted a little so that their tweeter can match the ear level of the audience. But make sure it is pointed at audience heads.
What if the center speaker is not wall mountable? In this case, you can place the center speaker below the display.
Next, you have to place a cloth or specialized stand below it. This will tilt its tweeter to your ear level. You can buy these tilts for very cheap on Amazon (Link to Amazon choice tilt). However, the stands are a little expensive.
You can also place a towel underneath it. But for doing that you need a boss’s permission. Who is the boss? In my home, my wife is the boss. You identify your boss. I can’t help you with that.
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How high should the Front Left & Right speaker be Mounted?
In-Short: The front left and right speakers should be mounted at ear level or 1 feet above the head of the audience.
In-Depth: The front left and right are the second most important speakers in surround sound. After the center channel, most of the dialogue comes out of these speakers. When a character is in the middle of the screen and talking the receiver will use the center speaker for dialogue but when the character is talking and going from left to right then the receiver will use these speakers for the dialogue delivery.
The front speakers should be at ear level. This one is my recommended height but if any circumstances don’t permit you to do so then you have to mount it at least 1 foot above your head. But don’t go higher than 1 foot.
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Pro Tip: Try to point the speaker at your head. This will give you an accurate sound experience.
Read my this guide about the best satellite speakers. There are many points cleared about it.
How high should the surround side speaker be Mounted?
In-Short: The side speakers should be mounted at ear level or 1 foot above the head but don’t be higher than that and should not be closer to the ceilings.
In-Depth: Why did I say, “Should not be closer to the ceiling?”. Because you don’t want to hear the actual sound less and the sound reflections more.
You can mount it 1 foot above but please don’t higher than that. When it is closer to the wall, a lot of the sound will hit the ceiling and it will produce confusing reflection sounds.
Should I mount it closer to the wall and point it downward? No, please don’t do that. Not every scene in the movie is about Romeo and Juliet. You don’t want every character in the movie to sound like Juliet on the balcony talking to you. By the way, this is also a pro tip. Avoid doing it.
Pro Tip: In 7.1 and above you can place these speakers in line with the audience but in 5.1 it should be a little angled according to the audience. It should be a little angled to the back of the audience. Or it will go completely to the back of the audience and should be turned into rear speakers.
Know more about the best angles and degrees for speakers placement for the best results. I have very easy steps for you to follow in this guide.
How high should the rear speaker be Mounted?
In-Short: The rear should be 1 foot above the audience’s head. There is a general rule for the rear that you can mount it 6 feet above the ground but I don’t recommend following this rule.
In-Depth: There is a widespread general rule of thumb for mounting the rear speakers and that is 6 feet above the ground. I don’t recommend this rule to be a general rule of thumb.
Because two things can play with this rule badly. The height of the seats and the height of the audience itself.
The 6 feet rule may work for one theater room and it might fail terribly in another.
That’s why I recommend 1 foot above the audience’s head to avoid making mistakes completely.
They may or may not be pointed at your head. You can play with straight and at your head pointing and decide for yourself which one is working for you.
Here there is no single pointing technique that should be followed religiously.
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How high is too high for surround speakers?
Too high will be that it is so close to the ceiling. I will never recommend surround speakers to be closer to the ceiling than you.
This rule applies only to mountable speakers. You don’t want their sound to be reflected from the ceiling. This will produce a confusing sound in the theater room.
Does surround sound speaker height matter?
Height does matter, when it is mounted very high then it will sound like someone is on the balcony talking to you but when it is very low then it will sound like a person in a hole talking to you.
Should rear speakers be higher?
Rear speakers should always be 1 foot above the audience’s head. Here the ear level rule doesn’t apply. So, yes the rear speaker should always be higher than the ear level.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- This was my opinion, read more about it here in this discussion on Polk Audio Forum. (Resource for the first answer)
- This was my opinion, know more about it from this cool blog post by SVSound. (Resource for the second answer)