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


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.

Sounds like it's going to work.

I would be tempted to build a box full width of the TV, and put the center channel speaker in that full width box, Then you have many locations in the back to attach the box.

IF you are tempted by any used speaker, i.e. that little bose, or the Klipsch for instance. you can search for ’buy it now’ and ’free returns’

order it now, try it, keep it, work with it’s size, or return it

As I mentioned, the little Bose sounds surprisingly good, however, notice the top has some slots for sound dispersion, which negates boxing it in too tightly. That was the primary reason I changed to the Klipsch, to have it under a glass shelf below the TV, and no rear ports

It’s a lousy photo, but the 3rd photo shows my HT setup*1h50sbc*_ga*MTI4MDg3OTI2OC4xNjc0NDkxNTU3*_ga_SR0PMVVEN1*MTY4NjU2NTg4Mi40NTUuMS4xNjg2NTcxNDY5LjUuMC4w

I modified a tall unit, then built a C shaped riser of matching wood, placed a slab of glass on the riser, the TV on the glass.

Above the TV is a piece of art my brother made, not a speaker.

That photo is 'beyond lousy'.

Elliot, I’d love to see the photo of your setup but got a 500 error, which I’ve reported to Audiogon. Maybe they will advise me how to access it.

Thanks for suggesting I buy from an ebay seller that accepts returns, which will enable me to audition a center channel speaker. I’m going to some stores today to check out what used speakers are available locally.

I searched for info and opinions on the Klipsch R30C you mentioned a few days ago. It’s attractive, efficient, and only 5" tall but I’ve read that some find it overly bright. I’m curious what you think about this reaction. Also, I found a used pair of Monitor Audio Radius 225 Speakers. If you’re familiar with this speaker, would one work as well as the Bose or Klipsch for my center channel?

I do not find mine bright.

The Klipsch Center Speaker is VERY efficient. Unless you tell your AVR to cut it’s volume relative to the front speakers, it will be dominant, call too much attention to itself.

I would say people are translating ’Prominent’ to ’Bright’.

And, the front speakers may not be toed in enough, thus the highs (narrowest dispersion) of the front speakers may be diminished.

I bought these DBX-Soundfield 100’s new WAY back when from 6th Ave Electronics original store

They are specifically designed to produce wide imaging, (left/center/right of a sofa for instance) and contain 3 tweeters to compensate for high’s narrow dispersion.

Left speaker is angled more to right position, but left person is closest to the left speaker. Thus direct dispersion from right mixed with closer proximity of left gives darn good imaging, Opposite side opposite.

Main music System: I use this alternate toe-in when I have a friend over, both of us off-center. Left aimed at right person, right aimed at left person.

Very decent imaging is produced for both positions. Many of my friends systems, if off center, lousy or no imaging.