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Home Theater Speaker Placement

Rohit Bandri Apr 17, 2019
Understanding acoustics is needed if you want to take full advantage of your home theater's sound system. Here are some tips for the placement of your speakers to enhance the experience.
There can't be one particular arrangement of speakers that will give the best performance. Usually a home theater system consists of a central speaker, two surround sound speakers, a front left speaker and a front right speaker. Some also include an optional sixth speaker, called the subwoofer.

Central Speaker

This speaker is used for listening to movie dialog. Placing it on the television set at the center is the best position for this speaker. To utilize the acoustics better, make sure that the speaker and the TV are facing the area where the audience will be seated, so that the sound is directed in a straight line towards the audience.

Front Left and Front Right Speakers

These speakers are meant for optimizing the experience of hearing sound effects and background music in a movie. The distance of these speakers from the audience should be the same as the distance of the central speaker from the audience.
If you plan to watch a movie with a large group, place the front left and front right speakers in line with the central speaker. They should be in one straight line, exactly parallel to the front row audience.
In case you plan to watch a movie alone on the home theater, place these two on your respective sides, such that a semicircular C-shaped arc will be formed by the three components.
Ideally, the front left and front right speakers should be at a distance of about 6 feet from each other. Another detail that you should consider while placing these, is that the front left and front right speaker should be at an angle of about 45° from the central audience.

Surround Sound Speakers

Surround sound speakers create an envelope of sound around the audience, which makes them feel as if they are almost a part of the movie. For the best experience, place them behind the main seating area, about 3 feet above the audience's ear level. If possible, place these speakers on the side walls. Use stands to place them properly near the side walls.


This speaker generates low frequency sound waves, and is responsible for producing bass sounds. The trick to deciding the placement of this speaker is that the audience should not be able to judge, from the sound alone, where this speaker has been placed.
If the audience is able to guess the location of the sound, then it means that the volume of the subwoofer has been set too high. Ideally, one should use two subwoofers, and place one in the front of the audience and one at the back.
Although this design will give you a reasonably good performance, one must remember that different rooms and different equipments have different acoustics. An optimal performance from a home theater can only be experienced if the right combination of room acoustics and design is achieved.
So considering the aforementioned design as a reference, you can try other positions and determine which placement suits you best. You can evaluate the acoustics in different rooms if you have the time.
Usually, the room that you use for the home theater should not be too big; bedrooms are generally suitable for a home theater. Once you are done with all the permutations and combinations and have got the equipment placed in the optimal position, sit back and enjoy the movie.