My "Theater-Room" Build - AVS Forum
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I would like to start by saying that this forum has been a savior! I came here a little bit ago with some simple questions and simple ideas, and have come much further than ever expected. What was once a little kid's bedroom has now turned into a non-dedicated theater room that is very satisfying, and almost completed.

In what seems like a short amount of time, I like to believe I have made quite the progress. Again, this is all thanks to AVS forum. The room is 12'6" x 11'6" and was a kids bedroom for several years. It was quite the mess! Here are some pics of when I first started to "take it apart":



I initially had small plans, which consisted of just cleaning it up a bit and enjoying my 37" Vizio 720p LCD and $250 Samsung HTiB. I painted the room myself, cleaned it out, added a carpet, and then it took off.

After stopping in Best Buy one day to kill time with a friend who was visiting on vacation, I noticed an "Open Box" Sharp LED TV. My interest skyrocketed out of nowhere and I really got an itch to upgrade my room. I didn't end up buying it because I wanted to go home and check the prices/reviews online, to make sure it was a good deal. Sure enough, once I went back to Best Buy later that day it was gone.

I then REALLY started getting into this forum. I quickly learned that for watching movies in a light-controlled room, plasma was going to be my best option. I landed on a 50" Panasonic ST30 bundle which I have been extremely happy with. With it, I also got the BDT110 3D Blu-ray player and the Avatar 3D glasses combo pack. I sold both copies of Avatar 3D on Ebay to help offset the costs of everything else, and figured I can buy it in 2014 or whenever it is released for less than what I sold my copies for.

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Old 02-15-2012, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
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After purchasing my TV I knew other changes needed to be made. I ordered a little 3-shelf entertainment stand and mounted the TV on it. The Samsung HTiB just wasn't cutting it, and I knew I needed something better audio-wise.

A good friend of mine bought a complete stereo system for his house a few years ago, including Paradigm speakers and the JL Audio Fathom subwoofer. He had asked me to go with him to look at the equipment + buy, and I did. He ended up with Monitor 9 towers, 390 center, bipole surrounds (forgot the model) and the JL sub. From that point I kind of got hooked on the Paradigm name - it was the only "big name" speaker company I had the ability to listen to first-hand.

So, I was in search of the Paradigm Cinema 70ct system. It was within my budget (at $700) and it was the brand I trusted. While searching, Cyber Monday had come along and everyone on this forum was posting about the good deals to jump on. I kept seeing threads for the Onkyo TX-NR509 receiver at $199 with free shipping from Newegg, so I bought it. Later that night, the Paradigm system came up online for $300 shipped, so I bought that as well. Here are pics of my TV + Samsung setup...before my Paradigm + Onkyo came in the mail (measurements were for another thread, sorry!):




I don't have any pictures of the room with the Paradigm + Onkyo setup, but it looked the same just with different equipment, of course.

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Old 02-15-2012, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
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The Paradigm + Onkyo combo only lasted a short period of time. While I honestly did think that the Paradigm speakers sounded REALLY good, there was still more to be desired. I wasn't getting that "full," "powerful" theater-like sound I was hoping for. With such a small room, I wanted/expected it to feel like the IMAX, hehe. But, as I learned from the helpful members on this forum, those satellite speakers just weren't physically capable of producing that sound.

So, I searched and searched and found a Polk system for sale on the local Craigslist. It consisted of:
-RTi6 bookshelf (2)
-M10 bookshelf (2)
-CSi5 center
-4 Sanus speaker stands (now have them for sale!!)

Once I received those and set them up, I realized that I was digging deeper and deeper into this theater-room stuff. Consequently, I decided the furniture needed to be changed as well. I cleaned everything out, and sold the futon bunk-bed that was in the room. I originally wanted to replace it with a leather pull-out sofa bed, but the one I purchased was too big to fit through my hallway and into the room! >:-0 So -$20 later and some Craigslist hassle selling it, I purchased and put a regular futon in the room...so we can sleep someone in the room if need-be. Here are some pics (again, dimensions were for another thread, sorry!):




Fortunately, I had a good friend who happened to be in the market for a satellite system for his bedroom, so I sold my stuff to him. I sold the receiver as well, because many people suggested going with something like the Onkyo TX-NR709 since it has preouts for the fronts. Since I was looking for something loud and strong, members recommended giving myself this capability just in case the receiver itself wasn't enough...even with bigger, more efficient speakers.

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Old 02-15-2012, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
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From here, I still wanted more. I ordered my Onkyo TX-NR709 receiver and was looking around for other speakers and subwoofers. My dad had an old Klipsch KSW-100 that he gave me, but after mentioning it in a few threads I learned that it definitely needed to be replaced as well. So, I began searching around for one of those, too.

In the mean time, I came across some more Polk speakers, priced VERY well. I ended up buying:
-RTi8 towers (2)
-RTi4 bookshelf (2)

I sold the M10s from the other set I bought, and contemplated about keeping both the RTi6 and RTi4 and going 7.1 ...after much debate, a lot of reading + researching, and talking with other members, I decided to go with 7.1 even though my room may not have been ideal for it. I figured I had the speakers anyway, so why not? My biggest influence on the entire build can be found here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/membe...s-av-room.html This room is extremely similar in size to mine, and has the style I was going for. I spoke with Dave through several PMs, picked his brain, and took his advice. I cannot thank him enough...Dave I hope you read this thread at some point!

I ordered Pinpoint AM40 mounts for the RTi6 and decided to put the RTi4 on a shelf on my back wall. It took me awhile to decide where everything would go, since there is a closet door on one side of the room and a window on the other. My surrounds ended up being placed a little farther back than ideal (about 6"-1' behind listening position), but at correct ear height.

The rears are currently placed very high (basically at the ceiling), but I still may move them down --> the problem is that they would be in front of a window (they are above it now). I did not know if having a curtain + empty space behind the speaker is a bad thing, compared to having it against the wall. Any help/input on this matter is greatly appreciated!

For now, I am happy with what I have going. I ended up ordering an Outlaw EX subwoofer when they had their $550 shipped sale. They are backordered until Feb 27th, so I am still waiting. I consider myself to be "almost done" at this point. The future will hopefully contain a handful of acoustic panels, and an Emotiva XPA-3 amplifier for my fronts + center. I also need to paint the shelf that my RTi4 rears are on...and again, I may move it down and place the speakers in front of that window, but need opinions on this!

I hope some of you may have been interested in this build/thread. I cannot give enough thanks to this forum. I have probably made so many countless, repeated threads that it annoyed many people, but everyone stayed friendly and helpful. Here are some pics of the room as it sits now...let me know what ya think!


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Old 02-15-2012, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
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=)

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Old 02-15-2012, 03:50 PM
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Nice setup, thanks for sharing. It is amazing how this becomes it's own monster isn't it? Sounds like you have already had a couple of cases of "upgradeitis". If you go ahead and get an XPA-3 I assure you that you will not be disappointed at all. I have one powering my front three and it does so effortlessly. I started out with one so I don't know how they would have done without it, but I am very happy with it.

Enjoy your setup, that is what it is all about.

Regards,

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Old 02-15-2012, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
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^ thanks for the kind words man! I definitely want to get an Emotiva amp in the future...its just a matter of when the funds become available. I have already spent WAAAY more than I planned, ::haha::

I would like to get some opinions on those rear surround speakers though - not sure if I should leave them up that high, or move them down and have them in front of the curtain/window

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Old 02-16-2012, 03:48 PM
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I like what you've done with a small space. I've carved out a small section of my basement, so it's nice to see what others have done on a similar scale.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dph1077 View Post

I like what you've done with a small space. I've carved out a small section of my basement, so it's nice to see what others have done on a similar scale.

Thanks! I just can't wait to get my panels, my subwoofer, and eventually my projector + screen and be "done" with it.

Good luck with your build! And be sure to check out the link I shared a few posts above...Dave's AV Room was a BIG inspiration to me!

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Old 02-16-2012, 04:56 PM
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With regards to your widow/speaker situation is there any way you could try them in both locations? Then you could see/hear for yourself the difference if any. My guess is that they will sound better above the window vs. in front of the window due to the acoustic properties of each surface. I have no science or experience to back that up, just my humble opinion.

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Old 02-16-2012, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

With regards to your widow/speaker situation is there any way you could try them in both locations? Then you could see/hear for yourself the difference if any. My guess is that they will sound better above the window vs. in front of the window due to the acoustic properties of each surface. I have no science or experience to back that up, just my humble opinion.

Regards,

RTROSE

Thanks for the input. In all honesty, though, my ear probably doesn't know the difference anyway. I really was just wondering if one is more "acceptable" than the other - and things like you mentioned with the acoustics of the wall vs. empty space in front of the window.

I was planning on moving them around and trying both, but just wanted to see if one was "definitely better" than the other...

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Old 02-16-2012, 06:58 PM
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In taking another look at your photo I would say the easiest thing to do is to angle your speakers down slightly to "direct" the sound down more towards the listening position. I think that would be the best way to improve the perceived sound.

Good luck.

Regards,

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Old 02-16-2012, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

In taking another look at your photo I would say the easiest thing to do is to angle your speakers down slightly to "direct" the sound down more towards the listening position. I think that would be the best way to improve the perceived sound.

Good luck.

Regards,

RTROSE

It was my initial desire to do so, but it is not really possible - I cannot fit tilting mounts in place of the shelf, and if you look really closely you can see that the front edge of the speaker already hangs off a little bit.

I am afraid that angling them downards would cause them to slide off the shelf and get destroyed...or knock me out as I sit right below them.

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Old 02-16-2012, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KtrainHurricane View Post

It was my initial desire to do so, but it is not really possible - I cannot fit tilting mounts in place of the shelf, and if you look really closely you can see that the front edge of the speaker already hangs off a little bit.

I am afraid that angling them downards would cause them to slide off the shelf and get destroyed...or knock me out as I sit right below them.


Er, ah, yea......Not good. Hmmmmmm...........I'm thinking that leaving them where they are is the best bet. Whadda think? Me thinks that is the best option.

Regards,

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Old 02-17-2012, 08:56 AM
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Perhaps you could try the Auralex mopad studiofoam - some are angled down for some directional help. This may work between your shelves and speakers
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout's staff View Post

Perhaps you could try the Auralex mopad studiofoam - some are angled down for some directional help. This may work between your shelves and speakers

Thanks! I had not heard of/seen those before. Will the slight angle they give really be worth the $40 though?

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Old 03-31-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently started thinking about a new idea for my rear surround speakers - can I lay them on their sides (horizontally)? If you look at the pics I posted above, they are currently sitting very high, above the window in the rear of my room. I have them mounted upside-down so that the tweeters are closer to ear-level (I read on this forum that this practice is suggested).

I was thinking, though, that mounting them sideways could bring both the tweeter and the woofer closer to ear level, and it would look a little better aesthetically since the speaker would no longer be "going through the roof." Finally, mounting them horizontally will also allow me to lower the speaker itself a little bit, and make them level with my surrounds - I would be able to lower the shelf and "wedge" the speaker between the shelf and the bottom of the curtain rod...but if vertical, doing this would bring the speaker itself below my surrounds, and I was told that everything should be on a plane.

So my question is basically this: is it a good idea? Will it impact the sound of my setup negatively, and if so, how much? Thanks in advance, as always...


Here is what I am talking about:


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Old 04-01-2012, 05:23 AM
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In my honest opinion having your speakers vertical or horizontal will not have any major influence in your sound perception. I would even guess if you were to do acoustical measurements the difference would be negligible.

I would do a "blind listening session" just to "see" if you can hear a difference. I would get two or three songs/movie clips that you are very familiar with and listen to the same 25 or 30 second example of each. Now this is where it is a little difficult. You need not to know how the speakers are oriented. Have a friend switch between both vertical and horizontal between the "sessions" and note which of the sessions that you heard was best. Is this scientific? Hmmmm......not really, but it will or should give you an idea what sounds "best" to you, and you might even find (which I'm betting on) that you won't be able to hear a difference so you then can go with what looks best in your room.

I hope this helps.

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Old 04-06-2012, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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So I finally received my Outlaw LFM-1 EX subwoofer today, and am very excited to get my system going! Now that I have all my equipment, I am working on placement.

I have read that the distance from MLP and the front towers should be the distance between the towers themselves. I have also read that by rule of thumb, each tower should be ~3 ft. away from the TV/screen.

Given that my room is so small, neither of the above is really possible. On top of size limitations, I also made a horrible decision in choosing my front wall next to the entry point of the room --> i.e. the left speaker can only be placed so far, otherwise the door will hit it when opened. So, I currently have my front towers very close to the edges of my TV, and they are about 4 ft. away from each other, and each is ~2 ft. away from the side walls. Main listening position is ~9 ft. from the speakers. Here are some pics to help:




Are there any suggestions on what I could do to "better" my situation, other than changing the entire room around and picking a new front wall?

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:22 AM
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That's a tough one. I just rearranged my non dedicated theater space for a similar reason. Now my speakers are more equilaterally placed to the MLP. I feel like I have better imaging and a more balanced response now. Did not get a chance to measure the response yet. The main issue with having Speakers so close to TV is lack of sound seperatoon between left an right in your mains. Can the door open enough if you move the speakers out? Or any possibility to change which way the door swings?
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18837 View Post

Can the door open enough if you move the speakers out? Or any possibility to change which way the door swings?

Well if you look at the last picture I posted you can see the the door doesn't even open all the way with the speaker's current position - so moving it out would obviously not work.

Re-installing the door may work, but I am not sure if it's possible, nor do I want to take the chance putting all the effort in to find out it's not...

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Old 04-07-2012, 12:58 PM
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Yeah I kind of thought that but just wanted to check to see if the speaker could slide over. I guess then I don't have any more ideas given your current setup. You got some nice stuff I am sure it sounds good how it is. But then I know how it is to get this bug. .
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:22 PM
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Have you run the Audyssey routine? I'd bet that using it will be the easiest, most practical, way to deal with your speaker placement issues. I don't imagine it will change the apparent size of your soundstage, but combining that with toe-in changes, you might do pretty well tweaking it to your liking.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

Have you run the Audyssey routine? I'd bet that using it will be the easiest, most practical, way to deal with your speaker placement issues. I don't imagine it will change the apparent size of your soundstage, but combining that with toe-in changes, you might do pretty well tweaking it to your liking.

Yes, I have run Audyssey...and several times at that, and I am happy with the way my setup sounds. I was just assuming that there might be some possibility of placing them differently, thus making them sound even better.

As far as toe-in, though, I was thinking that it is a bad idea in my situation...because doesn't toe-in "close" the soundstage, rather than widen it? By pointing the speakers towards the center of the room/MLP, I am making the soundstage narrower, no?

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Old 04-07-2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KtrainHurricane View Post

As far as toe-in, though, I was thinking that it is a bad idea in my situation...because doesn't toe-in "close" the soundstage, rather than widen it? By pointing the speakers towards the center of the room/MLP, I am making the soundstage narrower, no?

It's not something I know a lot about. It occurred to me that without any acoustic treatments, you may get less reflected sound if you point them in some. I'm not sure how that would play out in terms of perception, but there's only one way to find out.

Just thinking out loud, really.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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The never-ending bug to make my room "as perfect as possible" has lead to another idea that is now bugging me:

I have the possibility of moving my couch forward, and thus closer to the center of the room (would relocate the desk that is currently by the door to the back of the room, behind the couch). I know this is always recommended, but in my case, it may not be the best choice.

My side surrounds cannot be mounted any further forward than where they currently sit (refer to pics above). This is because I have a closet on one side of the room, and a window on the other...and they are staggered. So, moving my seating forward would make the side surrounds further behind me. I know the room setup is not ideal as it currently sits either since the side surrounds are so close to the surround back speakers, but it was the best I could do with what I have.

So, would it be a bad idea to move the couch forward even though the side surrounds would consequently be further behind me? Should I make the move and just aim the side surrounds forward so they point at the MLP? Or would it be better to leave the room as it is now?

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Old 04-08-2012, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
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^To make my above post a little more clear:

Right now, my side surrounds are at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions, about 1ft. behind the seating.
If I move my couch forward, my side surrounds would be at about the 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions, about 3ft. (maybe a little more) behind the seating.


Here are my sad attempts at diagrams.
Now:


After/if moved:



The distances in the "Now" pic are what Audyssey calibrated each speaker to - so it is the distance from the speaker to my actual ear (including height; not just a straight-line distance from the wall to seating position). The distances in the "After moved" pic are therefore my estimated distances of the speaker itself and my ear. I know my math is off and not the most accurate, but I am just trying to give you guys an idea so it's easier for you to give input.

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Old 04-09-2012, 08:56 AM
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I would go for it, but what do I know?
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:56 AM
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Moving the couch forward is a good idea but, to really get the benefits of a 7.1-speaker layout, you need to move your side speakers forward as well. Try to place them in-line or slightly forward of the listening position. This will give you distinct left vs right vs back separation in the surround field.

If you leave the speakers where they are now, then sounds intended to be heard from the back and sounds intended to be heard from the sides will ALL come from behind you. What's the point of that? Might as well have a 5.1 layout. You have two pairs of surround speakers; take advantage of that by spreading them well apart from each other.

Sanjay
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Moving the couch forward is a good idea but, to really get the benefits of a 7.1-speaker layout, you need to move your side speakers forward as well. Try to place them in-line or slightly forward of the listening position. This will give you distinct left vs right vs back separation in the surround field.

If you leave the speakers where they are now, then sounds intended to be heard from the back and sounds intended to be heard from the sides will ALL come from behind you. What's the point of that? Might as well have a 5.1 layout. You have two pairs of surround speakers; take advantage of that by spreading them well apart from each other.

The problem is that it is not possible to move the side surrounds forward. If you look at the pics of the actual bedroom (not the diagram) you will see that there is a closet on one side of the couch, and a window on the other...and they are staggered. Therefore, the speakers would not be in-line with each other (and one would not be in-line with the couch, either) if I moved them forward. The only option would be to point the side surrounds forward towards the "new" listening position, and slide the surround back speakers closer together (almost like 6.1) so that they are farther away from the sides.

In regards to your PM - it is really not possible to rotate the room in any direction. Doing so would not benefit the situation, because of the room design. At least one of the two windows will come into play and not allow the side surrounds to be placed in-line with MLP.

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