7.1 in-ceiling/wall surround speaker placement


Active Member
Due to shape and orientation of my great room and WAF, I must use in-ceiling/in-wall speakers for all surround speakers. I am building a house and don't have any experience with a 7.1 systems, but am looking forward to the future and would like to have one. The house framing starts in a week.

Please see the attached image for the 3 possible arrangements for the 4 surround speakers. Any other suggestions are welcome.

a: 2 rears in the ceiling behind the couch and 2 in-wall sides a couple feet forward of the couch. (I fear that having the side speakers in front of the listener is bad, and that the archway will block some of the sound to the listener.)

b: 2 in-ceiling speakers to the sides of the couch and 2 in-ceiling speakers slightly behind the couch. (This to me seems ideal for this room?)

c: All 4 surrounds in the ceiling a few feet behind the couch with 2 immediately behind the couch and 2 more towards the edge of the room but still in line with the 2 behind the couch.

Unfortunately I can not place any in wall side speakers directly to the sides of the couch because it is an arch entry that my wife doesn't want anything on. I understand this is not an ideal dream cinema layout especially since the TV is off centered a bit, but any help is appreciated.

Thanks, Johnny


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You are correct that side speakers in front of the listener are bad so I would rule out a.

Problem with b and c is the the middle speakers in the ceiling are going to reduce the directional effect of the surround material. (Your brain processes sound direction info using amplitude difference between right and left ear. Overhead sound hits both ears at about the same time so not much directional effect)

I would say option b is your best bet but move the middle speakers as close to the walls as you can and move the back speakers as far back as you can and also well apart.

Also note that side speakers should be to the side of the head (at or just behind the back of the couch) not at the side of the couch (which would be forward of your head).