Minimum Sound Bar Height

My wife and I just moved into a summer home and I want to set up a 5.1 system for watching movies.  A top-quality system is out of the question for this place; reasonably high-quality consumer-grade level (preferably, used) will have to do.  I plan to hang the TV over the fireplace using a MantelMount, which also hangs the center channel speaker.  Since the bottom of the speaker must clear the top of the mantle, I need its dimensions before I can mount the TV on the wall.

A low profile speaker would have some advantages but I question whether small drivers can produce even reasonably good quality.  I'd love to hear opinions re how tall a sound bar needs to be to produce decent sound, or if this line of reasoning is completely wrong.  (The mains will be a pair of old Magneplanar MG-I after I re-cement the tweeter voice coils, which occasionally rattle a bit.)  Does anyone have a specific suggestion for a center channel speaker that I might find used?
Bob Simon


I have a home theater in our living room… using a center speaker in the cabinet… which I angle up. It works well. So they can be placed high or low, just angle towards head level. The initial equalization routine will adjust volumes on each speaker to the appropriate sound level.


I assume you are not actually buying a sound bar. But 5.1 discrete channels. They are best the same brand… and centers are made for virtually all brands of speakers these days.

ghdprentice, thank you for pointing out that I meant to say center channel speaker when I wrote sound bar in my initial post. And speaker height refers to  the speaker's vertical dimension rather than its elevation.

Better coordinate the depth of the Mantle and the various positioning of the moving parts of the movable bracket.

You might need to add some blocks behind the bracket to push the monitor/brackets out to make it work.

Buy the most heavy duty bracket, I put a common one in our Apt in NYC. Pulls out a bit, then angle it sideways to sofa. Straight when pushed against the wall, pull it out, it’s not quite level.

The bracket holes on the monitor are centered, but the weight of the monitor is not 50/50, so the off center weight of the monitor and the slightly flexible pivot joints of the bracket when extended let the right side sag a little bit. Many don't notice, I am an Interior Architect, have a good eye for level, pi---s me off!

And if monitor lowers, you need more clearance down to top of center.

I used this Bose Center Speaker for years, sounds surprisingly good, smaller, less clearance needed below monitor

or center speaker lower, angled up as someone suggested.


Has anyone used the TV’s speakers for Center Channel?



Don't forget the ergonomics of putting a TV over the mantle.  If you are too close it forces you to keep looking upwards.  Also, a soundbar can be under the TV as well.  Another alternative is to forego a sound bar and use L and R speakers built into the walls next to the mantle, along with matching surrounds.

Lastly, some TV's have really decent sound built in.  For your use it may be just fine.

Elliot, Mounting the center channel lower puts it in front of the wood burning fireplace. Wife vetoes this approach on aesthetic grounds. (We have great memories of burning logs last Xmas when we purchased the house.)

Erik, The TV mount is a MantelMount 540. It pulls down 27", which puts the center of the TV right at eye level while sitting on the couch, assuming a 5" high center channel speaker hanging below the TV.

The TV is an OLED65C2PUA. If I had considered possibly not using a receiver before I bought the LG, I probably would have purchased the Sony Bravia instead, and just added a sub.