Can Surround-Sound Be Placed In The Ceiling?


When building a home theater setup, there are many configurations you can go for, this is great as it allows for a large variety of home theater setups. The main idea behind home theaters is to tailor them to your preferences as well as be easily accessible. If ceiling speakers are what you want, then there is a way you can achieve that.

As you can imagine, setting up a home theater can be quite difficult, there are a lot of technical aspects that beginners may struggle to comprehend. So, you can only imagine how much work would go into setting up a ceiling surround-sound setup, if you’re serious about the extra work, you can definitely get it done.

Answer: Yes, it is possible to have your surround-sound speakers located on the ceiling, this is definitely a feat that can be hard to achieve but worthwhile. Ceiling speakers can add to the personality of the home theater by making it more luxurious and aesthetically pleasing, this will increase the value of your home.

What Is Surround Sound?

Surround sound is a method of advancing the level of audio fidelity by locating speakers in a specific configuration. With home theaters, surround sound can vastly improve the immersiveness when watching movies, this is why it’s often seen as a necessary component.

When setting up a surround sound setup, the idea is to project sound into the center of the room, this is why there are speakers located around the seating area. A typical home theater setup will have three speakers in the front and two around the back of the seating area with a subwoofer.

Typical 5.1 setup

The basic surround-sound setup is the 5.1 setup, and it is far superior to the levels of immersion a 2.1 setup can offer. This is mainly due to the 2 rear speakers that give the impression that the sounds are 3 dimensional.

Surround-sound setups can come in different configurations but the basic configuration would have to be the 5.1 setups. This setup is usually ideal for medium-sized rooms around 350 sq ft, this setup is able to increase the level of immersion audio-wise giving the impression of 3 dimensional sound.

A more advanced setup is the 7.1 setup, which usually increases the number of rear speakers by 2, this is usually necessary if your room is larger than 350 square feet. Sometimes 5.1 setups aren’t enough therefore you will need to upgrade to 7.1.

The best thing you can do before implementing a home theater setup is to evaluate the size of your room so you can get the correct configuration right the first time. Nothing is more annoying than having the incorrect surround-sound config.

How To Setup 5.1.2 Surround-Sound?

There are a few things you need to consider before implementing the 5.1 surround-sound setup, it’s very easy to mess up with surround-sound setups. Many people will complain that their surround-sound system doesn’t quite work the way they intended, this is because they don’t implement it correctly.

Since we’re doing a ceiling configuration, the same 5.1 rule placements still apply, except we will have two additional speakers in the ceiling. These are overhead speakers and they usually add another dimension of immersiveness making the setup 5.1.2.

Front Left/Right & Center Speaker placement is pretty important, the general rule of thumb is to place them around 22-30 degrees off-axis relative to the seating area. The center speaker should face you directly with a 0-degree angle, this is the correct front speaker configuration.

Then the 2 in 5.1.2 stands for the two extra speakers which will likely be placed in the ceiling. These two speakers should be Dolby atmos enabled as well as placed in an optimal configuration. The general configuration for the ceiling speakers is to keep them aligned with the two front left and right speakers.

Rear Surround-Sound Speakers should be placed at a 110-120 degree angle relative to the seating area. Ensure there is enough space between the rear surround sound speakers and the seating area.

How To Setup 7.1.2 Surround-Sound?

The 7.1 surround-sound setup is generally reserved for larger rooms, typically bigger than 350sqft, this is so that there is adequate sound being produced in such a large room. 7.1 setups are very similar to 5.1 setups, the only difference is that there are two extra speakers at the back.

Since we’re going to be implementing two ceiling speakers within this setup, it will essentially become a 7.1.2 setup. Everything else should still apply, including the 7.1 configuration rules. Like always, these overhead speakers should add another layer of immersiveness.

Front Left/Right & Center Speaker placement is pretty much identical to how you would set up a 5.1 setup. The goal is to place the left and right speakers at a 22-30 degree angle relative to the seating area, and the center speaker facing directly at the seating area with an angle of 0 degrees.

With 7.1 setups, the biggest difference is the two additional rear speakers bringing the total speaker to count up to 7. Then you will have a subwoofer which accounts for the 1 in 7.1.2, then you have the 2 extra ceiling speakers which account for the 2. You can practically have as many ceiling speakers as you want, there are 7.1.4 setups that you can go with too.

Side Speaker Placement is pretty important, it should be at a 90-110 degree angle relative to the seating area, this is unlike the traditional 5.1 setups where there are no side speakers. The side speakers should enhance the audio fidelity of your setup.

Rear Surround-Sound Speakers should be placed at a 135-150 degree angle relative to the seating area, this is why a larger room is recommended when you’re going for the 7.1 route. The number of speakers can be overkill for small rooms.

How To Properly Place Subwoofers?

The typical subwoofer placement is in the front of the room, this can produce pretty good results as they are able to blend in seamlessly with the main front speakers. When placing a subwoofer, the location should be pretty much unnoticed as the bass should feel like it comes from everywhere as it’s Omni-directional.

If you’re not fond of the center placement of the subwoofer, you can try a corner, this can have pretty good results delivering denser wave patterns in the room. The corner placement of the subwoofer is meant to reduce the chances of nulls which are acoustic cancellation points.

If you’re still having trouble finding the optimal position for the subwoofer, there is a method called the subwoofer crawl technique. This involves playing a loop with a repeating bassline, then continuing to move the subwoofer to evaluate the best positioning, it’s recommended to start in the middle of the room.

Benefits Of Ceiling Speakers

The main benefit of having ceiling speakers is that they blend in seamlessly, they aren’t as messy as speakers that are placed on the floor. Due to this, ceiling speakers’ home theater setups are more aesthetically pleasing, which can benefit you when it comes to adding value to your home.

Ceiling speakers are able to add another layer of immersiveness when watching movies, the ceiling speakers should give the impression that what you’re listening to is actually happening in the room with you.

The goal with home theaters is to try to get the most out of it so there is no point going to actual theaters. This can make your home theater experience more enticing and full, without ceiling speakers your home theater setup can seem quite basic.


In conclusion, speakers can be placed in the ceiling, and they can have numerous benefits such as taking your surround-sound setup to the next level. It can push the levels of immersion further making movies, TV, shows, Music, and video games more enjoyable.

Ceiling speakers can also make your home theater setup seem cleaner and more luxurious, this is pretty important as home theaters are meant to add personality and class to your home. A well-designed home theater setup can add a lot of value to your home.