The Best Home Cinema Design & Speakers
There are specific design criteria that a home cinema system must meet to reproduce films precisely as the director intended. These standards are rarely met which is why so few home cinemas provide the quality they should. If you’re looking for the best from your home cinema, reproducing the speaker layout used in the studio is the best way to start.
The distance between your home cinema speakers and the main listening position is often ignored but is one that is critical for playback of films at they were intended. Films should be capable of being replayed at a fixed reference volume level so that a gunshot for example will sound truly lifelike. Even at just 4m, few speakers are capable of these volume levels so where possible we recommend sitting no more than 4m from your front speakers for optimal results.
Centre Speaker Placement
The starting point for any surround system is the centre speaker. This speaker plays far more of a movie soundtrack than any other while also reproducing the majority of speech - the sound that humans are most familiar with.
Where a projection system will be used, the perfect location for the centre speaker is upright behind a woven projection screen. The centre speaker should be placed centrally, half way to 2/3 rds of the way up the height of the screen. Higher speaker placement allows all listeners to have a clear line site to the speakers if rows of seats will be used.
Where a plasma or flat screen TV will be used, the centre speaker should be placed on its side immediately above or below the screen. Be careful not to place anything between the front of the speaker and the listener and where possible the speaker should be pointed to face head height at the main listening position.
Most centre speakers place the tweeter between two mid-range drive units. This layout compromises performance unless the speaker is placed upright. All MK speakers avoid this layout and so are suitable for placement on their side.
To read more go to http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs
Left & Right Speaker Placement
Once the centre speaker has been placed, identical left and right front speakers should be used at the same height as this speaker. Place the main left and right speakers at a 45 degree angle to each other.
In projection based cinemas when the correct size of screen is used, this will mean that the main left and right speakers will should be placed a little wider than the width of the screen and where possible toed in to point towards the listener.
Rear Speaker Placement
When using MK Tripolar surround speakers in 5.1 systems, the rear speaker should be placed at right angles or just behind the listening position.
In 7.1 systems side speakers should be placed directly to the side of the listener, with rear speakers separated to give a 60 degree angle from the listening position.
Sound quality will typically be improved by "toeing in" or aiming all speakers towards the principal listening position if aesthetics permit.
It is critical that all listeners should have a clear line of site to all the speakers in a surround system. Often this will require the surround speakers to be placed 1.8 - 2.2m off the floor level. This will not compromise the sound quality of Tripolar surround speakers due to their wide off axis response.
Optimal sub locations are impossible to guarantee in advance. The only way to achieve the best bass response with any subwoofer is through experimenting with all practical locations when the system is being installed.
Typically a subwoofer will give the best results when placed against a solid wall or corner. The use of multiple subwoofer locations will give more predictable results whilst adding considerable headroom or power to a system.
If in doubt, always pre wire for as many locations as possible and choose the more powerful subwoofer - no one ever complained that a correctly calibrated system had too much power!
You can read more about subwoofer placement here - The Best Place for Bass
For help with your system, contact us on 080 744 6257.
You can download the following guides to help you when setting out your home cinema system:
Bass Management & Room Modes (PDF, 2.4mb)
Home Cinema Systems
1. Soundbar – Shown with 50" TV
- MP 9 Soundbar - R8 050
- MP9 Soundbar + SB8 Subwoofer - R16 380
- MP9 Soundbar + SB12 Subwoofer + M4T Tripoles - R24 710
2. Flat On Wall MP7s Shown with 50" TV
- 3 x MP7 + SB8 Subwoofer + M4T Tripoles - R30 478
- 3 x MP7 + SB12 Subwoofer + M4T Tripoles x 2 - R41 608
- 3 x MP7 + X10 Subwoofer + MP7 front width + M4T Tripoles x 2 - R70 420
3. In Room LCR 950 – Shown with 50" TV
- 3 x LCR950 + SB1250THX - R38 290
- 3 x LCR950 + X10 Subwoofer + Surround 95T’s - R69 020
- 3 x LCR950 + X12 Subwoofer + Surround 95T’s - R76 020
4. Flat On Wall MP 150s – Shown with 50" TV
- 3 x MP150 + SB12 Subwoofer - R52 920
- 3 x MP150 + X10 Subwoofer - R72 520
- 3 x MP150 + X12 Subwoofer + S150T Tripoles - R100 450
5. On Wall Flat MP 150s – Shown with 100" Wide Projection Screen
- 3 x MP150 + SB12 Subwoofer + M4T Tripoles - R61 250
- 3 x MP150 + X10 Subwoofer + S150T Tripoles - R93 450
- 3 x MP150 + X12 Subwoofer + 2 MP150 front width speakers + S150T Tripoles - R128 310
6. In Room S150 Studio Monitors – Shown with 120" Wide Projection Screen
- 3 x S150Mk2 + X10 Subwoofer + S150T Tripoles - R97 650
- 3 x S150Mk2 + 2x X10 Subwoofers + 2 MP150 front width speakers + S150T Tripoles - R156240
- 3 x S150Mk2 + 2x X12 Subwoofers + 2 MP150 front width speakers + 2 x S150T Tripoles - R191170
7. Flat On Wall MPS300s – Shown with 140" Wide Projection Screen
- 3 x MPS300 + 2x X10 Subwoofer + 2 x S150T Tripoles - R187 110
- 3 x MPS300 + 2x X12 Subwoofers + 2 MP150 front width speakers + S300T Tripoles - R229040
- 3 x MPS300 + 2x X12 Subwoofers + 2 MP300 front width speakers + 2 x S300T Tripoles - R298970
8. In Room S300 Studio Monitor – Shown with 160" Wide Projection Screen
- 3 x S300 + 2x X12, 2 x X10 Subwoofer + 2 x S150T Tripoles - R270970
- 3 x S300 + 4x X12, 2 x X10 Subwoofers + 2 MP300 front width speakers + S300T Tripoles - R402360
- 3 x S300 + 6x X12, 2 x X12 Subwoofers + 2 MP300 front width speakers + 2 x S300T Tripoles - R533750
9. Stacked In Room S300 Studio Monitor – Shown with 180" Wide Projection Screen
- 3 x Triple S300 + 2x X12, 2 x X10 Subwoofer +2 MP300 front width + 4 x S150T Tripoles - R511210
- 3 x Triple S300 + 4x X12, 2 x X10 Subwoofers + 2 MP300 front width + 4 x S300T Tripoles - R628670
- 3 x Triple S300 + 6x X12, 2 x X12 Subwoofers + 3 MP300 front width speakers + 6 x S300T Tripoles - R815920