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Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Hi there!

I am new and hope to post in the right section, if not, don' stone me. 
Well, I bought the Creative GigaWorks ProGamer G500 5.1 sound system a few days ago
and now I am thinking about, how to position the speakers in my room.

size of room: 16 m² (4m x 4m)

Because there was no guide how to do it, I would like to know the following things (recommendations)

1. In what height I should assemble the front and rear speakers for perfect sound?
(preferred: 1.40 - 1.60 m)

2. Which distance should the front left and right / rear left and right speakers have?
(preferred: front speakers probably less than 2m, rear speakers: 2m)
Should the distance between front left and right and rear speaker left and right the same?

3. Creative uses some strange way of cabling. The cables from subwoofer to each speaker uses on the one side a RCA plug (to subwoofer / terminal block) and on the other side lace (to speaker).
Unfortunately I didn't find a retail cable, which offers these to "plugs" at its ends.
Do you know, where to get such kind of cable?
The other possibility is to extend the original cable by RCA cable (male to female).
What are the differences between standard and high-quality RCA cables?
How long can they be? (I need for rear speakers up to 12m)

Thanks for your help!

Regards
knoxy

Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Reply #1
I am new and hope to post in the right section, if not, don' stone me. 
Well, I bought the Creative GigaWorks ProGamer G500 5.1 sound system a few days ago
and now I am thinking about, how to position the speakers in my room.
You are attaching the speakers to a computer, right? If so, how is the computer positioned in the room? That will make a lot of difference. If the place where you normally sit is on the center of one of the room's walls things will be pretty easy.

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1. In what height I should assemble the front and rear speakers for perfect sound?
(preferred: 1.40 - 1.60 m)
Front speakers should be at head level (when head is in the position you normally listen to them). If you are putting the center channel above your head, like on top of your monitor,  you can move the front l/r down a bit to compensate.

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2. Which distance should the front left and right / rear left and right speakers have?
(preferred: front speakers probably less than 2m, rear speakers: 2m)
Should the distance between front left and right and rear speaker left and right the same?
Front speakers should be positioned so that two lines connecting from the speakers to your head meet at a 45-60 degree angle. They should be as close as possible to the same distance from your head. How far apart will depend on the above -- if they are further away they will be further apart.

Rear speakers should be at a larger angle and thus further apart -- they are surround as well as rear.

To visualize this setup a bit, think of an 'X'. All the front left, right, and center speakers are in an arc within the top legs of the X. The rear left and right are on or slightly outside the lower legs of the X.

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3. Creative uses some strange way of cabling. The cables from subwoofer to each speaker uses on the one side a RCA plug (to subwoofer / terminal block) and on the other side lace (to speaker).
Unfortunately I didn't find a retail cable, which offers these to "plugs" at its ends.
Do you know, where to get such kind of cable?
The other possibility is to extend the original cable by RCA cable (male to female).
What are the differences between standard and high-quality RCA cables?
How long can they be? (I need for rear speakers up to 12m)
By "lace" you mean bare wire? It would be easier and a whole lot cheaper just to purchase a spool of standard speaker wire and extend from the bare ends. You can get some crimp or twist style solderless connectors to mate them... Or solder them together, then tin the ends -- that can be very helpful if you plan to move the speakers around.

Speaker cables can be quite long before you have to worry about interference.

Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Reply #2
Thanks Klyith for your detailed answer. 

Okay, I will describe my positioning situation.
My desk is about 75cm high. There is my TFT screen and my center speaker located.
From my Laptop (also standing on the desk) I go by optical cable to a digital receiver (Creative DDTS-100 decoder) and send digital data over SPDIF or as PCM.
The Creative digital decoder has a connection to the subwoofer standing on the floor under my desk.
From my subwoofer every speaker is connected.

How can a computer effect the audio situation? Yes, as I mentioned, it is in my room.
Currently right in front of me.   

Usually I am sitting directly in front of it and my ears are in a height of about 1.20m.
The front wall is about 1m away in straight direction from sitting place. The disctance between front wall and center is about 0.40m.

Personally I prefer lieing on my couch when watching movies and the height from ground to me ears is only 0.85m. The front wall (where I want to assemble the front speakers) is then 2.5m to 3.0m away.
For optical reasons, I won't place them below 1m although it's still higher as lieing on the couch. 
First time I thought placing them in a height of 1.50m, but this seems to high.

By the way, if I would place them in a height of 1.50m the front left speaker would come across a barrier, if it emits sound waves. How much influence has this, if there is a barrier (a printer on a shelf) to the sound?

To continue my thoughts, I would like to know, if a height of 1.2m - 1.3m (measured from ground to ground of shelf, where speaker stands) will be good, especially if I lie on my couch? The height, when sitting on the couch is the same as sitting in front of my desk - 1.20m.

The center speaker is lower positioned (0.75m) in opposite to the other speakers. I wanted to keep it next to my TFT and not directly at the wall (0.40m away).
Will this make trouble or should I assemble it at the wall like the others?

Will I notice anything sound difference, if speakers are above my head (0.1m - 0.4 / 0.5m)?

I found a nice illustration on Wikipedia, which describes how to position the speakers as you did.

The big question is, will there be a signal loss on 12m, i.e. if I solder the two bare wires or use a luster terminal? How can I notice it?

But there's another solution.  I can confection my own cable using bare wire and a RCA plug.
On the one side is already bare wire (to speaker) and on the other side is the soldered RCA plug.
Unfortunately a RCA plug has only one pole, but the bare wire to speaker is a dipol?
I didn't know how Creative "designes" cables, but looks proprietary.

And if I repeat me, but do you have an idea, on which distance you notice interference on audio cables?

That's all. 
Hope you are still willing to help me. 

Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Reply #3
I'm spliting my reply into two posts to deal with the two subjects, positioning vs wire...
Usually I am sitting directly in front of it and my ears are in a height of about 1.20m.
The front wall is about 1m away in straight direction from sitting place. The disctance between front wall and center is about 0.40m.

Personally I prefer lieing on my couch when watching movies and the height from ground to me ears is only 0.85m. The front wall (where I want to assemble the front speakers) is then 2.5m to 3.0m away.
For optical reasons, I won't place them below 1m although it's still higher as lieing on the couch. 
First time I thought placing them in a height of 1.50m, but this seems to high.
Having the setup work with two different listening positions is more difficult. When on the couch and further away you probably want the front L & R further apart, for a nice wide soundstage. But when sitting at the computer close up the speakers will then be too far apart.

One thing: the goal of the speaker setup isn't to have everything exactly like some diagram. The goal is to make it so that you have a smooth and unbroken sound field. One important way to judge is that you should not hear any one speaker in particular, or be able to localize the speakers. (Except for center channel in movies, that should be distinct.) So if you don't have a perfect geometric setup, if you can set each speaker's volume independently that can compensate.

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By the way, if I would place them in a height of 1.50m the front left speaker would come across a barrier, if it emits sound waves. How much influence has this, if there is a barrier (a printer on a shelf) to the sound?
Any barrier in a direct line between your the speaker and ears is bad. It will be very harmful to the sound.

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Will I notice anything sound difference, if speakers are above my head (0.1m - 0.4 / 0.5m)?
Speakers above your hear a bit is fine... When you're lying down your brain will expect it and subconsciously compensate.

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However, I think I will position the front speaker a little closer together than the rear ones.
That's perfectly fine and fairly common in many setups. A true audiophile might put a speaker in the middle of the floor to get the distance equal to the inch, but I'd rather not knock things over in the dark.

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Can you explain these two sentences a bit more?
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How far apart will depend on the above -- if they are further away they will be further apart.
Rear speakers should be at a larger angle and thus further apart -- they are surround as well as rear.
The angles are more important than the absolute distance. So that means that the distance between the various speakers is dependent on how far they are from you.

Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Reply #4
Yes, I think, I mean bare wire (audio speaker cable).
Well, using a luster terminal or soldering the bare ends together isn't that perfect solution for me.
I called a technican and he told me, every connection (soldering two wires or using an extension cable plug to jack) will have a bad influence on the signal, meaning interferences. He couldn't tell me percentages on loss of signal quality, but it occurs!
<snip>
The big question is, will there be a signal loss on 12m, i.e. if I solder the two bare wires or use a luster terminal? How can I notice it?
There will be no signal loss. The only time that having unbroken wire is important is in the most high-performance, signal-to-noise critical connections. Speaker wire is not that. And there lots of times you don't want to put a solder join to extend a wire, as that will do things like break the shielding, or mess up cat5 twisted pairs. Again, not a worry for you. Also interference is not something that will affect you (see below).

Solder joins won't cause any problems for speaker wire if you do them right. The point of a solder join is to have the most wire to wire contact that you can get, and the solder is just to lock the join in place. An improper solder join is one where the solder is what makes the electrical connection, which is bad as solder is actually not the best conductor.

I've never heard of a luster terminal, but looking in google makes me say that this is not what you want. You want to either solder if you already have a solder iron, or get a little packet of wire nuts or butt connectors to make the join. Butt connectors will be better -- they're a straight join, the crimp holds better, and if you want to remove the connection you can just cut the wire and strip new ends. (Wire nuts are good for ease of removal.)

Here is a good page with instructions on how to do the solder or properly crimp a butt connector.

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High quality RCA cables are very expensive and only available with RCA plug / plug. So I need to buy an extra RCA jack / jack adapter. Meaning at the end three separate connections. 
You don't want to do that, but not because of the number of connections. Audio wire with RCA terminals attached is generally meant for line level, not speaker wire. It generally won't be a heavy enough gauge for speaker wire. You simply want to extend the bare wire end of the cable with more plain speaker wire. This is a better idea than buying a RCA extension and cheaper too.

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But there's another solution.  I can confection my own cable using bare wire and a RCA plug.
On the one side is already bare wire (to speaker) and on the other side is the soldered RCA plug.
Unfortunately a RCA plug has only one pole, but the bare wire to speaker is a dipol?
I didn't know how Creative "designes" cables, but looks proprietary.
It's not proprietary, just something that is a bit silly and not done by other people.

The RCA has two connections - the center pin and the outer cylinder - so it can do bipolar. Normally the center pin is hooked to the wire carrying current and the outer part is just ground and connected to the shielding foil. This is obviously not the case for your wire, it must be center to positive outer to negative or visa versa. But if you ignore that end and concentrate on the wire end things are much easier.

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And if I repeat me, but do you have an idea, on which distance you notice interference on audio cables?
It depends what type of audio cable, and whether the cable is shielded. A line level, or component interconnect, cable is the most susceptible to interference. They should be shielded if possible. A high quality cable with proper shielding can go 10 or 20 meters without problems.

Speaker cable is not very susceptible to normal quantities of EMI / interference. The speakers need more voltage than most EMI will generate. This is why speaker cable is seldom if ever insulated. It can be used in quite long runs without worry, though it may need increased gauge of wire. Think of speaker wire as a power wire, just a big tube for carrying electricity.

Creative G500 5.1 sound system - positioning and cabling

Reply #5
I am right back! Sorry for the little delay.
Thank you so much Kylith! I absolutely appreciate it sharing your knowledge.     
It's a pleasure for me reading your attentive posts.
So I see, I can go ahead and fulfill everything as I want it.   

Only want to mention, I will assemble the complete cables by myself.
Slited the plug of a RCA cable today...
That's the best method for me, because I can decide the length of the cable,
the color and the material used (gauge of speaker cable and type of RCA plug)
Thanks for the information regarding the RCA cable.
It's as you told. 

Well, there is only a last unanswered question, you maybe forgot:
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The center speaker is lower positioned (0.75m) in opposite to the other speakers. I wanted to keep it next to my TFT and not directly at the wall (0.40m away).
Will this make trouble or should I assemble it at the wall like the others?

Would be an honour to hear from you soon. 

Thanks!

 
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