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


Your first post, welcome.  Since AI we have had so many bots posting, so I thought that I would elicit a response.  Thank You..

At mantle height angle the speakers down, unless you are doing stand up movie watching.

I bought this Klipsch R30C, used on eBay (returns accepted)

It has no rear port which is good for center speaker

5" high; 26" wide, 7" deep. Leave a little height clearance in case you want to change.

It is very efficient, make sure your AVR has speaker level adjustments so you can cut it's level to match your FL and FR


Height of Monitor: if too high, you or your mate will get a stiff neck looking up.

Donna is 5' tall, I am 6' tall. We used stacks of books under the monitor to find a height that worked for both of us. 

With the MantelMount, the TV pulls down from storage against the wall and over the mantel, to down to eye level while sitting on the couch. At least that’s the way I understand it. And thanks for the pointer to Klipsch R-30C. Seems like a good option. Bob

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.

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.


I think this center is very well designed and a great value, and they offer a 45-day, risk-free trial including shipping both ways.  What I like about this is it’s got a dedicated midrange placed below the tweeter that not only improves performance but has better dispersion characteristics compared to simpler MTM designs.  And at $399 it won’t break the bank even new.

Best of luck.

I solved the problem of what center channel to buy by getting an R41MB and four R34CBs. Plus I bought a Yamaha RXV385B which I understand will do room correction. I’m familiar with Anthem ARC and was told my new receiver has a similar system. I’d love to hear suggestions on where to cross the sub with the mains, center, and surround?  What about LFE?


did you mean 1 R34CB (center) and 4 R41MB?

My Sub, it has two methods of level adjustment

1. get it basically sounding good, not too strong, using it's volume control

2. next, via the AVR menu, adjust all speaker's levels.

3. Crossover: Using those Klipsch R41MB, I would cross over at the highest frequency setting, get the levels balanced, then a week later mess about to see if you hear any benefit from a lower frequency crossover

Elliott, Of course, you are right about my mixing up the models. Thanks for suggesting a methodology to integrate my new 5.1 system.

While the R41Ms made decent surrounds, I wasn’t satisfied with them as mains so I traded up to the R620F and am much happier now, especially with the treble turned down just a tad. My new system cost $1939 including fronts, center, surrounds w stands, and an inexpensive 5.1 amp that passes 4k video and has rudimentary room correction. This is exactly what I’d hoped to achieve - compromises everywhere but affordable now. Thanks for all your help. Now on to mounting the TV. Bob