Speaker placement for HT: HOW FAR APART for separation & good imaging?

Hey Guys,

So in a HT set-up, what is the ideal front left and front right speaker placement? Is it at 60deg(30deg each) in respect to MLP or 45 deg(22.5 each)?

Also, how far apart the surround back right and left speakers should be apart?

I ask this because all the while I thought the FL & FR should ideally be 30 deg each from the MLP and ideally also should be the same distance to the MLP as the centre speaker is to the MLP, and this should be the same distance between the FL & FR too for good front imaging and separation (though the distance is not critical because of receivers ability to set delays and what not).

I ask this because for the past few days I have been watching & reading a lot of Anthony Grimani stuff about HT and he swears by the 45 deg separation for FL & FR, he also recommends the rear surrounds to be way closer to each other than I have ever seen anywhere else, and a lot of people seem to have tried it and liked it a lot, anyone have their rears close to each other, I think he recommends them at 165 deg.

And this guy knows his stuff and was one of the first ones to go against Dolby recommendations and suggested that TFL, TFR, TRL, TRR dolby atmos speakers to be much closer to MLP & narrower to each other, others like Home Theater Guru etc are now after 3 years suggesting the same.

So anyone here have them this close?


My speaker setup is almost identical to the one in the diagram except I toe-in my Mains (L + R) abit toward the listening position (MLP). My pair of Surround Backs is about 1m apart.

My subwoofer layout a little different. I have 2 huge M & K Sound X12 subwoofers in between the Mains and JL Audio subwoofers at the rear right corner (depicted in the diagram).

I have the exact same seating distance - about 1/3 of the length of the room. The room in the diagram also looks exactly like mine (squarish). I don’t have Wides though.

And yes, I have great surround sound steering and panning from where I sit.


Oh wow. So your rear surrounds are 1m apart from centre of tweeter to tweeter?

How far out & apart are your dolby atmos height channels?

I’m using Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. No physical speakers on my ceiling.

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My layout is hybrid of Auro3D, DTSX and Atmos for heights.

7 bed layers, with mains about 2.8m apart. MLP distance about 3m to center spk. Back surround to MLP about 1.5m and back surround tweeter to tweeter about 1.4m

Heights circled in red highlights. :smiling_face:

The layout you shown about same as mine, except for the heights


Nice! What is the width of your HT space?

3.3m width by 5m depth by 2.6m height so to speak, but there’s some open space, you know typical 5 room HDB

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How far apart the mains should be placed somewhat depends on a few factors.
Firstly, they should clear the screen . 45deg is a perfectly good starting point and is no coincidence Grimani recommends it.

For any speaker, there comes a point where they are too far apart, and the center image falls apart. This will be the main consideration. It has to do with the directivity and diffraction of the speaker. As a general guide, The better behaved, the better they can handle a wide placement. Coax like kefs, waveguide speakers do well here. For any speaker, there will be a threshold where it is too far apart.

Here’s a link that talks about toe in, which goes hand in hand with the placement angle.



Correct. Depending on the speakers and your room. Definitely not too far, general guide + experiment, trial and error until you have the sweet spot. It can take day to weeks to months to find.

I rem I took a few weeks to find the spot for my previous model spk :sweat_smile:

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Strangely Grimani also recommends the Dolby Atmos top speakers to be installed in the midpoint of FL & CC and FR & CC. HT Guru recommends 0.7 x listening level height to ceiling height…which is slightly wider apart.

The atmos channels location are more determine by angles than dimensions.

The further away the speaker, the longer the dimensional distance for the same angles.

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I would say I have pretty much nailed the placement of Atmos speakers since 2015 till date. In short, I have already come to the realization that angle, height, and MLP are the “key” factors that determine the effectiveness of Dolby Atmos effects. Back then, I am the “crazier” bunch that was intrigued by sound coming from the top but I am not prepared to drill holes for the sake of getting Atmos. I came across KEF R500 Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker that GP Acoustics allowed me to do a home trial and the rest is history. Of course, there are limitations for Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, and most definitely NOT for everyone. Still, installing physical speakers on the ceiling is still the way to go but your MLP will dictate where you placed your speakers above you. DO NOT ever make the mistake of installing the physical Atmos speakers based on the dimension of the length and width of your entire listening space, instead focus on WHERE your seat is, and from there, you decide where to install the physical speakers and the angle that works for you.

Installing physical speakers requires you to know EXACTLY where to place them as it is not as easy to move them AFTER you cut or drill holes in the ceiling.


That is exactly my predicament! I need to pre determine the spots for the in-ceiling speakers during reno stage itself. HT Guru recommends 0.7 x (Ceiling height minus distance between listening level height)…so that in my case would be 0.7 x 155cm = 108cm, so 108cm forward & back from MLP & 108cm left & right from MLP for the 4 in-ceiling speakers.

Grimani recommends to align the top speakers in the mid-point of FR/FL & Center channel. That would place them speakers much closer to each other than 108cm. Distance he recommends is a 30 deg angle, that too is much closer than what HT guru’s 0.7x would give me.

Meanwhile the Dolby Spec Sheet recommends a 45 deg angle, meaning in my case I would be mounting them 155cm forward & backward to MLP and 155cm left and right from MLP if I were to target their ideal 45 deg recommendation. :joy:

I definitely won’t be going the Dolby spec sheet way, so thinking if I should just follow HT Guru’s 0.7x.

Have you seen this video? Based on the target angles, calculate the location on the ceiling.

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There is also this Studio setup document, which is more detailed than the home Atmos setup guide.

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Yeah i saw this. That’s ehere I got my 108cm distance from. :grin:. Problem is Grimani recommends an even closer grouping. Like Grimani says align the top in-ceiling speakers exactly midpoint of FR/FL & center speaker channels - so that sorts the width of the top in-ceiling speakers. Then for distance forward & backward from MLP…Grimani recommends a 30deg to 20deg tolerance, again this would bring the distance narrower than what HT Guru’s 0.7 multiplier method gives.

So based on HT Guru i would have my TFR, TFL 108cm forward from MLP & 108cm left & right of MLP, similarly for top rear behind MLP.

Based on Grimani, I would have my TFR, TFL about 90cm in front of MLP & 60cm to the left & right of MLP respectively.

I am leaning towards HT Guru’s recommendation, but yeah not :100: sure about it.

*Note Grimani & HT Guru orient their angle readings differently

You mixed up the angles.

The 108cm dimension is for 35deg from vertical, 55deg up from. Horizontal.

What you sketched, the angles are swapped. 108cm is for 55deg (not 35deg) from horizontal, which is what HT guru recommends.

Looks good, great starting point.

Need to go look a Grimani recommended placement again…

If you are referring to this page. I think Grimani’s angles are from vertical. Ie 30 deg forward from vertical = 60deg elevation from horizontal.
60deg vs 55deg is very close.

What angle you choose to use I think depends on the actual speaker. If it’s like a kef coaxial, then it can handle a wider separation, so 55deg, which means 35+35= 70deg gap from front to back atmos.

If less capable, then go with 60 deg, 30+30 separation front to back atmos.

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No I calculated the verticle angle on purpose cause I wanted to see if HT Guru’s 0.7x(55 deg horizontal) is within Grimani’s recommended verticle angle tolerance of 30deg to 20deg, it’s slightly outside of that at 35deg.

Here is Grimani’s longggggggg presentation series:

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I see. So it just a 5 deg difference between HT guru and Grimani recommendation.

Yeah both their recommendations in terms of how far forward the top in-ceilings should be is pretty close, it’s how far wide they have to be is where they both recommend different things. Based on HT Guru mine would be 7 feet apart, based on Grimani’s they would be only slightly less than 4 feet apart.