Step by Step: How to Position Your Home Theater Speakers Page 2

Step 3: Position the Center Speaker Placing the center-channel speaker in line with the front left/right speakers will put it closer to you than the other two speakers - something you want to avoid if you can but that you can compensate for by using your receiver's delay adjustments. The ideal arrangement is a front- projection system with a perforated screen so the center speaker can rest behind the screen with its tweeter at the same height as the front L/R speakers. But if, like most home theater fans, you have a flat-panel or rear-projection TV, the best place for the center speaker is directly above or below the screen. If this prevents you from locating the tweeter at ear height, angle the speaker slightly down or up toward the listening position to achieve a similar result.

Step 4: Position the Left/Right Surround Speakers To find the best location for your left/right surround speakers, simply stand at your listening position and raise your arms until they're pointing straight out at the side walls. Locate the speakers anywhere from where your fingers point to as far back as your arms can reach (up to 20°). Unlike with the front speakers, the surrounds' tweeters should be positioned 2 to 3 feet above seated ear level to create a more diffuse sound.

If you can't use full-range tower or wall-mounted monitor speakers, consider in-wall models. If your side walls are too far from the listening position (or there's no wall there at all), widely space the speakers on the back wall. If wall space is at a premium, ceiling speakers can do a great job of creating a diffuse image. Dipole speakers can help create an even more diffuse sound field, but they should be located directly to the sides of the listening position for best results.

If you have a 6.1- or 7.1-channel system (see Step 5), place the L/R surround speakers directly to the sides of your listening position or just slightly behind. If your room is long - about 25 feet or more - and especially if you have several rows of seats, one pair of L/R surrounds likely won't fill the gap between the front and back channels. Consider adding a second pair, placed equidistant between the first pair of surround speakers and the back wall.