Tips: Surround Height

QS8 Surround Sound Speakers

When it comes to determining at what height the main surround speakers should be mounted, “above ear level and to the sides of the listening area” goes only so far. Because each Axiom QS8 or QS4 uses four drivers, for a total of eight, they are remarkably forgiving of less than perfect placement, in part because there is lots of multi-directional energy being radiated into the room. Nevertheless, if you have a few minutes and a couple of assistants (or a pair of stepladders), some experimentation is always worthwhile. Try placing the QS surrounds at different heights and listen to them. Depending on your particular room's acoustics and surface angles, as well as the ceiling height, you may hear differences.

In my experiments, I've certainly heard differences, and while they are quite subtle, you may find that you have a preference for having the QS surrounds at a certain height. In my installation, what seems to occur is a slight shift in focus of the surround-sound field. You can't really say that one height is better than the other—it's just different. I found that with some DVDs or music recordings, the spatial presentation—the “space” which the music inhabits—changed somewhat when I increased the height of the surrounds. As to details, the bottom of my right surround is 5 ft. 10 inches above the floor; the left surround is one foot lower. If you are able to locate both left and right surrounds at the same height, I would advocate that. My installation didn't permit it, but I didn't hear any difference worth commenting on when the two surrounds were not at identical heights.

The point is to experiment before you install the brackets for the surrounds. Differences may emerge in your particular room and you may prefer a particular height.– A.L.

Read the next tip: "How to Manage Video Connects"

Alan Lofft

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