Optimum speaker height for bookshelf speakers on stands? (need stand advice)

Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
13
#1
Hi Guys.

I have my sights set on building a Polk LSiM 5.1 or 7.1 system. I bought the 703s (book shelves),and I am impressed with them so far. My plan is to eventually move them to surround duty, and purchase 707s as mains. However, right now the 703s are my mains.

My question is... what is the optimum height to set the 703s at? I need to buy some speaker stands pretty quickly.

When I measured my ears at my regular listening position, they are between 36" and 38" off the floor, depending on my posture.

After taking some measurements, I computed how far the 703 tweeter would sit off the floor. Here's a handy chart I made for the 703s:
  • Stand height 24" = Tweeter height 34.5"
  • Stand height 26" = Tweeter height 36.5"
  • Stand height 28" = Tweeter height 38.5"
  • Stand height 30" = Tweeter height 40.5"
  • Stand height 32" = Tweeter height 42.5"

Most commonly, I see people using 24" stands for main bookshelf speakers... but that doesn't quite make sense to me, as that would put the 703's tweeter way below ear level. Also, for what it is worth, it would cause the 703 to sit substantially lower than the Polk 707 towers, which use basically the same tweeter and mid-range driver.

I assume that Polk engineers put some consideration into tweeter height when they were designing the 707 towers, and that tweeter sits 43" off the floor. I would hope they would have engineered it to be optimal... Or at least, not set it so high to cause problems.

Here are my conflicted thoughts:
  1. The official 703 Polk manual states that we should buy a 30-36" stand for the 703s... but anything over about 30" or 32" seems a tad high?
  2. The same manual then goes on to say that the tweeter should be close to ear level.... however, setting the 703s on a 32" stand would mean that the tweeter would sit 42.5" off the floor, which is above most people's ear level.
  3. Conversely, a 32" stand would make it sit the same height as the LSiM 707 towers.
  4. The flagship of the Polk series, the LSiM 707 has tweeters sitting at 43" off the floor.
  5. The other tower, the Polk 705, has tweeters that sit 39" off the floor.


One last consideration, is that whatever stand I buy now for mains, I will hopefully be able to be used later when i move these 703s to surround duty.

I was thinking 32", to match the height of the LSiM 707. Is this a good idea, or the wrong line of thinking?

What is the current state-of-the-art thinking when it comes to the height of main speakers, and surround speakers for DTS:X and Dolby atmos?


Any kind advice would be appreciated.
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
13
#2
I was looking at the TransDeco 32" stand on Amazon (cannot post a link),primarily because I liked the way it looks, and it supports alot of weight. Sadly, it only comes in a 24" and 32" variety.

It looks like it would stylistically match the base of the 707 speakers, and it also go well with the entertainment furniture I already have.

Thoughts?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,682 20 47
#3
I think with your speakers you may want to experiment with various heights...generally tweeter/ear height match is suggested but it's your preference in the end. Adjustable stands perhaps? Something temporary/diy before you buy something?
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
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#4
I think with your speakers you may want to experiment with various heights...generally tweeter/ear height match is suggested but it's your preference in the end. Adjustable stands perhaps? Something temporary/diy before you buy something?
I have played with it a bit in my room. I set the speakers on 24" end tables, then stacked books beneath it to make 30", and 32".

  • 24" puts the tweeters at 34.5" off the floor, and it sounds fine, but leaves a closed-in feeling soundstage without much height.
  • 30 and 32" puts the tweeters at 40.5 and 42.5" off the floor respectively, and it opens up the whole soundstage. It seems to give everything a feeling of more spaciousness. I can't help but feel like it's missing a little something down low, but that could be because I'm not running any subwoofers with them.

I have 10 foot ceilings in my room, so that is somethign to consider, if it matters.

I was looking at just getting 32" stands for now, and putting the bookshelves on them as mains. I'd buy the 707 towers soon, and move the 32" stands with bookshelves to surround duty. That way, all 4 tweeters would be at the same height. Is this a good idea, or bad idea, for modern surround mixes?

My receiver does Atmos, Neural:X, DTS:X, etc.
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
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#5
Regardless of whatever height I choose, I wanted to get something that
  1. Looks nice in my living room
  2. supports 30lbs+ easily, and is stable
  3. doesn't negatively impact the sound quality. (no weird resonances, or reverberations, etc)

I was hoping to spend less than $200 on the pair (new, or used),since I have alot of other gear to buy, I didn't want to spend a fortune on stands. If anyone has a good recommendation, that would be appreciated.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,682 20 47
#6
I have played with it a bit in my room. I set the speakers on 24" end tables, then stacked books beneath it to make 30", and 32".

  • 24" puts the tweeters at 34.5" off the floor, and it sounds fine, but leaves a closed-in feeling soundstage without much height.
  • 30 and 32" puts the tweeters at 40.5 and 42.5" off the floor respectively, and it opens up the whole soundstage. It seems to give everything a feeling of more spaciousness. I can't help but feel like it's missing a little something down low, but that could be because I'm not running any subwoofers with them.

I have 10 foot ceilings in my room, so that is somethign to consider, if it matters.

I was looking at just getting 32" stands for now, and putting the bookshelves on them as mains. I'd buy the 707 towers soon, and move the 32" stands with bookshelves to surround duty. That way, all 4 tweeters would be at the same height. Is this a good idea, or bad idea, for modern surround mixes?

My receiver does Atmos, Neural:X, DTS:X, etc.
Seems the 30-32 height works better for ya! Subs with these speakers I'd think is a requirement, tho (but I'm a bassaholic).

My current main setup has towers where the tweeter height is 42"...while I can sit up that straight, I often don't :) My surrounds are towers from the same series but different model and their tweeter height is only 36" so I built little risers for them to make the tweeter height 48"....my couch is a bit high-backed and wanted them more above than at the same heights as the fronts. Not the best couch, but what I have and like for various reasons other than audio :). DIY stands can always of course do exactly what you want....
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
13
#7
Alright. So what is the the textbook layout these days?

According to engineers and such, if you could make it all perfect?

My ear height is 37" in my current chairs.

How high do I want my mains, surrounds, etc, for the latest formats, or multi-channel music?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,682 20 47
#8
Have you reviewed suggested placement/angles/heights as per the Dolby or DTS sites?

Personally I use in my main setups last few years surrounds raised up above ear height, particularly rear surrounds, try to get them a bit higher but with some option for aiming towards ear positions. Had the same couch for a while and it has somewhat high back-side, too (not audio ideal). Currently in my bedroom my surrounds are on stands and essentially ear height as other options are limited and that works really well but for a reclined position (no rear surrounds, tho, small room).
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
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#9
Have you reviewed suggested placement/angles/heights as per the Dolby or DTS sites?

Personally I use in my main setups last few years surrounds raised up above ear height, particularly rear surrounds, try to get them a bit higher but with some option for aiming towards ear positions. Had the same couch for a while and it has somewhat high back-side, too (not audio ideal). Currently in my bedroom my surrounds are on stands and essentially ear height as other options are limited and that works really well but for a reclined position (no rear surrounds, tho, small room).
I have not really studied the suggested heights. And I wondered if it varied between the different surround formats. In other words, does it vary between formats, and/or is it subject to change, based on the next generation of format to come out?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,682 20 47
#10
I have not really studied the suggested heights. And I wondered if it varied between the different surround formats. In other words, does it vary between formats, and/or is it subject to change, based on the next generation of format to come out?
Well mixes definitely vary as to a mix of mains/surrounds, and movies can be quite different from an audio only mix. I do like multich audio as well as movies, tho, and want my gear to be be as capable of anything I want to play, my ideal would be identical speakers of whatever shape in every position, but my room/aesthetc/display is only so cooperative. I do try and keep the speakers fairly close in capability but with substantial help from subs on the low end so towers/bookshelves don't matter so much.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,206 6 1
#11
I have not really studied the suggested heights. And I wondered if it varied between the different surround formats. In other words, does it vary between formats, and/or is it subject to change, based on the next generation of format to come out?
Well, yes. It does matter, to a point. Since any new formats are way out for the foreseeable future we’ll ignore that.
In a traditional 5/7.1 channel based system the standard procedure, and what worked best for me was with my surrounds about 6’ tweeter height. I think that was about 30-35° above ear height. L/R tweeters at about 39”.
For immersive audio, the guidelines(they are just guidelines, not hard fast rules as Atmos for example is fairly forgiving) say that the surround speakers should be at about 1.25 times the height of the Mains. See below

That image(side view) is modified from Dolby’s literature to show a slightly higher surround speaker height. This is to get the tweeters above the heads of other listeners if you normally have a couch full of people. My side and rear surrounds are at H1 x 1.47. That places them at about 57”. Slightly higher than I wanted but that height works and I didn’t want to relocate a 3 gang light switch box.
Here’s Dolby’s much more in depth literature than what you’ll find on their site currently.
https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technol...tmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf
The reason Atmos works, and how it was designed is to use the height differential between the bed and height layers to phantom image the “objects” into the room. This also helps create an “Atmosphere” of sound. Legacy setups like 5/7.1 benefitted from higher surround speaker placement by kind of splitting the difference. Being able to convey sound effects that would be higher, and at ground(ish) level too.
FWIW, IMO if you’re considering atmos, go for it. Even older titles can benefit from DSU and DTS-NueralX. I’m currently watching Bourne Ultimatum with dts-NX and it’s fantastic.
In that case I would recommend your current path of finding stands for ear level surround tweeters, as that will carry you toward atmos later. Even if you don’t do atmos, the lower surrounds can work just fine as lovinthehd has enjoyed that as well as many others.
 
Phase 2

Phase 2

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
372 1 33
#12
Well, yes. It does matter, to a point. Since any new formats are way out for the foreseeable future we’ll ignore that.
In a traditional 5/7.1 channel based system the standard procedure, and what worked best for me was with my surrounds about 6’ tweeter height. I think that was about 30-35° above ear height. L/R tweeters at about 39”.
For immersive audio, the guidelines(they are just guidelines, not hard fast rules as Atmos for example is fairly forgiving) say that the surround speakers should be at about 1.25 times the height of the Mains. See below

That image(side view) is modified from Dolby’s literature to show a slightly higher surround speaker height. This is to get the tweeters above the heads of other listeners if you normally have a couch full of people. My side and rear surrounds are at H1 x 1.47. That places them at about 57”. Slightly higher than I wanted but that height works and I didn’t want to relocate a 3 gang light switch box.
Here’s Dolby’s much more in depth literature than what you’ll find on their site currently.
https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technol...tmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf
The reason Atmos works, and how it was designed is to use the height differential between the bed and height layers to phantom image the “objects” into the room. This also helps create an “Atmosphere” of sound. Legacy setups like 5/7.1 benefitted from higher surround speaker placement by kind of splitting the difference. Being able to convey sound effects that would be higher, and at ground(ish) level too.
FWIW, IMO if you’re considering atmos, go for it. Even older titles can benefit from DSU and DTS-NueralX. I’m currently watching Bourne Ultimatum with dts-NX and it’s fantastic.
In that case I would recommend your current path of finding stands for ear level surround tweeters, as that will carry you toward atmos later. Even if you don’t do atmos, the lower surrounds can work just fine as lovinthehd has enjoyed that as well as many others.
Nicely done William! You see @Landmonster, great guys up in here! AH has Old Timers on here that will share the knowledge. You have come to the best Forum for getting your learning on!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
914 7 27
#13
As for stands,
Regardless of whatever height I choose, I wanted to get something that
  1. Looks nice in my living room
  2. supports 30lbs+ easily, and is stable
  3. doesn't negatively impact the sound quality. (no weird resonances, or reverberations, etc)

I was hoping to spend less than $200 on the pair (new, or used),since I have alot of other gear to buy, I didn't want to spend a fortune on stands. If anyone has a good recommendation, that would be appreciated.
As for stands, if you want stability, I don't know if there are 32 inch ones available made of tubing and which allow you to fill them with sand. In my opinion, those are ideal and sturdy.
I have a pair of 24 inch stands which I can fill with sand or other heavy filler, but I'm not using them at present.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,559 3
#14
Late to the party! ;)
I measured my ear-hole height! When I sit. For me, about 49". I bought Tall VTI stands for my temporary mains so that I can have them at proper above-ear height when I move them to surround. I have monitor pads stand-top with my speakers on them... tweet height will be ~53 inches once in place as surrounds.
Right now the are far from optimal, but have the pads reset to tip the tweets toward my ears... spot on there, though I don't know if I'm suffering some other sonic malady (like time-alignment) because the tweet is further in front on the woof yet strangely more in line with the mid... *sighs I digress.

:cool:

In short, I propose that the Gentleman OP, @Landmonster, measure his ear-hole height when sitting before his rig.
;)

Cheers!
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,559 3
#15
As for stands,


As for stands, if you want stability, I don't know if there are 32 inch ones available made of tubing and which allow you to fill them with sand. In my opinion, those are ideal and sturdy.
I have a pair of 24 inch stands which I can fill with sand or other heavy filler, but I'm not using them at present.
How ya doin' Verdi!
(Been meaning to ask... which is your favorite work?) :)

There are tall stands. Fillable. Good weight.
https://www.displaythisway.com/VTI-...MI7r2YxZak4gIVguNkCh3IVAgyEAQYAiABEgJxWvD_BwE
This is what I use. Two legs are fillable with sand and I'm going to fill the other with gravel when I move it to the new position and thread the cable through the tube. (Ya... glutton for punishment.)
Other VTI stands are fillable too.

When stand shopping, I also urge the consideration of such matters as:
Speaker Platform Dimensions
Base Dimension
Weight Supported
Total Weight
Spike Feet for carpet

Landmonster, you should be able to find Kiln Dried Sand at any good hardware store. (Or Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) Usually near concrete mixes, playground sand, etc. Lead Shot is actually better, but toxic AF. Brass BBs/Shot is great, too, but expensive AF. Assuming you end up with metal stands, do not use any medium that may contain water (rust),or salt (corrosion).

Cheers!
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
13
#16
Late to the party! ;)
I measured my ear-hole height! When I sit. For me, about 49". I bought Tall VTI stands for my temporary mains so that I can have them at proper above-ear height when I move them to surround. I have monitor pads stand-top with my speakers on them... tweet height will be ~53 inches once in place as surrounds.
Right now the are far from optimal, but have the pads reset to tip the tweets toward my ears... spot on there, though I don't know if I'm suffering some other sonic malady (like time-alignment) because the tweet is further in front on the woof yet strangely more in line with the mid... *sighs I digress.

:cool:

In short, I propose that the Gentleman OP, @Landmonster, measure his ear-hole height when sitting before his rig.
;)

Cheers!
Hello, I did, as I mentioned earlier in post #1. My ear is about 36 to 38" off the floor, depending on how I sit in the chair. (FYI: I'm 6'0" tall, and sit in a regular LaZBoy recliner chair. )

Are you sure your ears are 49" off the floor?? You are either super tall, or have a tall chair, or both.
 
A

awdio

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
4 6
#17
Hi Guys.

I have my sights set on building a Polk LSiM 5.1 or 7.1 system. I bought the 703s (book shelves),and I am impressed with them so far. My plan is to eventually move them to surround duty, and purchase 707s as mains. However, right now the 703s are my mains.

My question is... what is the optimum height to set the 703s at? I need to buy some speaker stands pretty quickly.

When I measured my ears at my regular listening position, they are between 36" and 38" off the floor, depending on my posture.

After taking some measurements, I computed how far the 703 tweeter would sit off the floor. Here's a handy chart I made for the 703s:
  • Stand height 24" = Tweeter height 34.5"
  • Stand height 26" = Tweeter height 36.5"
  • Stand height 28" = Tweeter height 38.5"
  • Stand height 30" = Tweeter height 40.5"
  • Stand height 32" = Tweeter height 42.5"

Most commonly, I see people using 24" stands for main bookshelf speakers... but that doesn't quite make sense to me, as that would put the 703's tweeter way below ear level. Also, for what it is worth, it would cause the 703 to sit substantially lower than the Polk 707 towers, which use basically the same tweeter and mid-range driver.

I assume that Polk engineers put some consideration into tweeter height when they were designing the 707 towers, and that tweeter sits 43" off the floor. I would hope they would have engineered it to be optimal... Or at least, not set it so high to cause problems.

Here are my conflicted thoughts:
  1. The official 703 Polk manual states that we should buy a 30-36" stand for the 703s... but anything over about 30" or 32" seems a tad high?
  2. The same manual then goes on to say that the tweeter should be close to ear level.... however, setting the 703s on a 32" stand would mean that the tweeter would sit 42.5" off the floor, which is above most people's ear level.
  3. Conversely, a 32" stand would make it sit the same height as the LSiM 707 towers.
  4. The flagship of the Polk series, the LSiM 707 has tweeters sitting at 43" off the floor.
  5. The other tower, the Polk 705, has tweeters that sit 39" off the floor.


One last consideration, is that whatever stand I buy now for mains, I will hopefully be able to be used later when i move these 703s to surround duty.

I was thinking 32", to match the height of the LSiM 707. Is this a good idea, or the wrong line of thinking?

What is the current state-of-the-art thinking when it comes to the height of main speakers, and surround speakers for DTS:X and Dolby atmos?


Any kind advice would be appreciated.
Tweeter at ear level is most often not correct. In a standard arrangement' between the midrange and tweeter is optimal and perhaps even a little higher..
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
13
#18
Alright.

I'm just gonna order some 32" stands, and get the layout to match the 707s as close as possible. Those will be my future towers, so that way they will all be vertically aligned.

I assume the engineers who builk the Polk 707s knew what they were doing as far as height, since those are the brand's flagship speakers. (They share the same midrange and tweeters as the 703s)

I played around with make-shift stands, and they sound more natural at 30 or 32, vs 24 in my room. Once I add a sub, it will sound even better I am sure.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,559 3
#19
Hello, I did, as I mentioned earlier in post #1. My ear is about 36 to 38" off the floor, depending on how I sit in the chair. (FYI: I'm 6'0" tall, and sit in a regular LaZBoy recliner chair. )

Are you sure your ears are 49" off the floor?? You are either super tall, or have a tall chair, or both.
Ha! I missed that.
*blushes
I'm a nutjob... Today, at least. Work sucked the last two days! :p (not an excuse) Please forgive if my irreverence is inappropriate,

6'3", sit super upright, no reclining.
:)

I actually have my incoming mains set up so I can raise them up a little above the normal height.

Ok... beside that, it's been discussed before we all have to adjust for our rooms and environments. This is no different. I did what I can for my situation and particular level of neurosis (6.785 on a 10pt scale). It seems you can easily do the same for you.

If you have measurements for vertical polar responses to reference, then you will be able to see what a typical performance might be for your speakers and adjust accordingly. Perhaps your speakers have an acoustic tilt to account for.
If you don't, no worries... it seems a pretty safe practice to sit within 15 degree off axis in any direction. In fact, one study of distortion indicates that you likely won't even hear a difference unless its about 4dB of impact to the SPL or more.

With adjustments, my mains will have the top of the cabinet at about 49.5"H... tweets will be centered about 45"H. I am not concerned about that 4" difference.

I also have my Rear Surrounds wall mounted above a closet instead of on level with my Bed Layer. Acoustic Center is ~85"H. They sound fine. Work Great. I will add Atmos within the next few months and will call current Rear Surrounds Rear Heights, Top Rears... or keep them as they are in a possible 7.3.4 set. Or 5.3.4.

I have also been told I overthink things.

Cheers!

:cool:
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,559 3
#20
Alright.

I'm just gonna order some 32" stands, and get the layout to match the 707s as close as possible. Those will be my future towers, so that way they will all be vertically aligned.

I assume the engineers who builk the Polk 707s knew what they were doing as far as height, since those are the brand's flagship speakers. (They share the same midrange and tweeters as the 703s)

I played around with make-shift stands, and they sound more natural at 30 or 32, vs 24 in my room. Once I add a sub, it will sound even better I am sure.
Nice timing. :)
Good choice!
 

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