5.1 Speakers for PC Gaming (positional audio)
Jul 23, 2020 at 7:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


Feb 3, 2012
Hey guys. I‘ve recently started migrating from my trusty Sennheiser HD 598s to a receiver/passive speakers setup. I first tried a 2.1 setup with Q Acoustics 2020 bookshelves on my desk and a Wharfedale sub and it blew me away, the sound quality is incredible, it’s insanely fun to listen to, and makes my HD598s sound weak and anaemic in comparison. I love the way the sound fills the room.

But it’s lacking compared to my headphones in positional audio. I want to hear where my enemies are in FPS games, and be able to pinpoint them exactly in terms of direction, distance and height. The HD598s were great for this. I mean 2.1 speakers are fine when the enemies are in front, but thats probably the least useful direction to get positional sound when you’re in an FPS :)

So I upgraded to 5.1: namely a matching set of Tannoy Mercury bookshelves, floorstanders and center from the 1990s. My understanding was 5.1 is the pinnacle of positional audio.

However the results are currently not impressive, and I think I’m doing something wrong. Most noticeably rear sound is poor and echoey. Pinpointing enemies is lacklustre. I can often tell direction but not much else. Distance is hard. Vertical placement is non existent.

Has anyone had success with 5.1 positional audio for PC gaming using decent speakers (i.e. not a Z5500)? How did you do it?
How do you position 5.1 home theatre speakers in a room based around a computer desk?

My setup:
  1. All speakers are below ear level (might be affecting vertical placement?)
  2. I have the center right in front of me (a metre away from my head). Might be too close but not sure what else to do without having it behind the monitor.
  3. The fronts are at the edges of my desk, I can move them off the desk laterally but then they’re pointing very sharply inwards. They feel too close too.
  4. The rears are much further back compared to the fronts/center. About 2-3 metres. This is to keep them out of the middle of the room.
Jul 23, 2020 at 8:17 PM Post #2 of 3
Can we assume your using a receiver, with the 5.1 speaker setup?
What is the make and model of the receiver?
Are you gaming with a PC or gaming console?
Jul 24, 2020 at 3:48 AM Post #3 of 3
Yep, receiver is the Sony STR-DH800.

Gaming on a PC - which Is part of the problem as I need to sit at a desk, which doesn’t leave clear space for the speakers. At the moment the desk is up against the wall, meaning the front and centre speakers are very close to me.

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