Mounting speakers above (ceiling), bad idea? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-04-2006, 04:38 PM
For my surround sound setup, would having my speakers (left&right, back left&back right) mounted on the ceiling and facing down at me sound worse than having them mounted at the same level as my head? Or would it be the same? I was afraid it would sound too much like it was coming from above when watching movies.

I am currently using a projector+screen for my home theater setup. I am moving it to another room in my house, and I would like to keep the surround speakers off the ground and off any shelves, which is why I ask. I don't mind having the 2 main floor speakers or center speaker on the ground, but I would like to have the left+right and both rears mounted above me on the ceiling (angled at me) to keep them out of the way.

06-05-2006, 04:54 PM
head level is ideal. Mounted above (ceiling mount) is probably the worst position available, but still better than not having the speakers at all. Do ceiling mount as last resort.


06-05-2006, 05:31 PM
I'm seeing more and more new homes now sold with ceiling cutouts for speakers, and that's just the worst possible placement for a set of speakers. I can see the use for in-ceiling speakers for background music, but not for a 5.1 surround setup. The worst part is that these ceiling cutouts are often in the wrong alignment.

The problem with in-ceilings have less to do with the height and more to do with the angle pointing straight down. It puts you in a severe off-axis position from the direct sound, and the first reflection is straight down on the floor. When I was looking at model homes a few months ago, I saw a few homes with Polk in-ceilings and h/k receivers. The system sounded really bad -- muddy, unfocused, with very little in the way of good surround imaging. Similarly, I heard an A/B demo with some Speakercraft in-ceilings compared with several Definitive Technology bookshelf and tower models. Absolutely no question that the bookshelf and tower speakers delivered far superior performance.

If you're absolutely wedded to going in-wall, at least have the speakers pointed towards the listening position, rather than straight down to the floor. I would suggest that you look at on-wall speakers if floor space is a concern. They still don't sound as good as a good set of standmounted speakers, but they're a good compromise compared to an in-ceiling installation.