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post #1 of 6 Old 11-15-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently have a home theater in my living room. Most of the components were in the home from the previous owner. I currently have a 5.1 setup utilizing a ONKYO TX-SR60 receiver with B&W Signature 7 fronts and center channel with B&W CDS'6 for my side speakers. Here is a picture of the general setup for the room:



The room is 23x15. My front left and right speakers are about 1.5 feet above listeners' ears, and the center is directly above the TV about 3 feet above listeners' ears. The side speakers are both near the ceiling and are about 4 feet above listeners' ears. The room has a trey ceiling which peaks at about 13 feet. All speakers are in wall mounted.

The current setup sounds great and we all love it but I feel like there is just a little something missing. I was considering making the jump to a 7.1 system. My plan was the move the sofa forward a little and place the two rear speakers behind the sofa as shown here:



My concerns are this:
  • Will it make a difference in total immersion considering my room size and current speaker set up?
  • If I do make the jump to 7.1 how neccessary is it that I stick with B&W?
  • If I absolutely must stick with B&W would the B&W M-1 be sufficient?
  • If I can go outside B&W what other brands/speakers would you suggest (looking to spend close to $250 but will to go to $500)?

Thanks for the the input!
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-15-2012, 09:38 AM
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You don't have to be wed to the same line of speakers for those locations. Surround speakers don't handle nearly the same workload as mains, so you have lots of options there. That being said, while you'll have a more rounded sound in the room, I don't necessarily know if the addition of those channels will make much difference in that room, mainly because of the proximity to the seating area. If you did go this route though, and were able to move your side surrounds, I would possibly push them towards the front wall a little to open up the soundfield some.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-16-2012, 08:09 AM
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It's unfortunate that you have in-walls because your best case scenario would probably be to rotate the whole rooms set-up so you can take advantage of the rooms length to incorporate the rears in a 7.1 set up..

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-18-2012, 10:02 AM
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Having lived the same concerns you have, there are a couple of observations that may actually help you achieve what you are looking for. First, I agree with the prior poster that adding rears to your set-up does not make sense given your set-up. You should have at least 4' of distance between you and the surround speakers. Adding them would be more of a distraction. I'm also pretty sure you are stuck with the current configuration since they are all in-walls. It would be great to move the front in-walls in closer toward your TV, but that is another project for another day. I think you are looking for the "fullness" of sound. You can play the speakers loud, but they are still missing the body. I had a similar problem with my set-up as well.

Your room is approx 2,800 to 4,500 cu. ft. - That is a rather large room for 2 way speakers that are being under powered. The B&W speakers are rated for 100w 8 ohm, but have sensitivity of only 88 dB - this required more power to drive them (many are rated above 90 these days). You are powering them with an Onkyo that is rated for 100w 2 channel driven at 8 ohms - spread that same power over 5 speakers, you have a lot less power. I experienced somethig similar with a 140w, 2 channels driven Onkyo AVR - I added a multi channel amp to drive the speakers and found a nice improvement on the fullness feeling. Unfortunately, I do not think your AVR has amp pre-outs. Upgrading to an AVR that has pre-outs and adding a 2 - 3 channel amp for your front stage would make a nice improvement. You can buy a used amp to save some $.

I also noticed that you did not list a powered sub-woofer. Do you have one? Adding this would also help take some of the load off your small speakers and add a lot to the experience. Again, given th size of your room - you would want a decent size/powered PSW.

In the long-term, you may want to upgrade your front statge in-walls to an enclosed 3 way speaker as well.

Just my two cents.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-19-2012, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's input. I'm still new to all this so everything is really helpful. As a couple of you have mentioned moving the speakers or rearranging the room, while it would be nice it's really not possible for me.

@Scout's staff - I do have a powered sub: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290034. Not sure if it's the right power or size for the room but I do not feel like I'm lacking in bass.

What you said about a pre-out for an amp you are right I do not have one in my AVR. I believe for a pre-out I would need to go to a: http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR717-7-2-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B007JOO4YS/. Am I correct in assuming that? Let's say I did upgrade to the above AVR that would then be enough to power my two rear speakers, so now you're saying I should get a 3 channel amp (any suggestions here would really help) then power my three fronts through that.

You also mentioned upgrading my front stage speakers. What is the reasoning for this? I know the S7's are old B&W speakers but I thought they were pretty good. The S7's are two-way but my understanding was the 3-way was really reserved for high end speakers and a general rule is that you are better off with a really good 2-way than a mid line 3-way. What 3-way in wall would you recommend? I saw in your set-up you have the Atlantic Technology IWTS-30 LCR but those are quite a bit out of my price range currently. Back to my original question (sort-of) if I did upgrade my fronts can I go outside B&W safely?

So in summary your suggestion is in short term properly power what I have, then in long term look into upgrading my my front stage.

Thanks again!
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-19-2012, 11:21 AM
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Responses below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seditio View Post

Thanks for everyone's input. I'm still new to all this so everything is really helpful. As a couple of you have mentioned moving the speakers or rearranging the room, while it would be nice it's really not possible for me.
@Scout's staff - I do have a powered sub: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290034. Not sure if it's the right power or size for the room but I do not feel like I'm lacking in bass.

Response:
My first thought was that your PSW is too small for the space, but I am a huge proponent of use what you got if you are happy with it. I'm no expert on PSW, but I would think a 100 - 200 watt PSW would make more sense versus the 10" 50 watt you have now. I would check with the more educated folks in the Power Sub forum section. You may also want to reach out to ack_bk (another forum member) who seems pretty knowledgeable on bass and uses in-walls as well.


What you said about a pre-out for an amp you are right I do not have one in my AVR. I believe for a pre-out I would need to go to a: http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR717-7-2-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B007JOO4YS/. Am I correct in assuming that?

Response - correct

Let's say I did upgrade to the above AVR that would then be enough to power my two rear speakers, so now you're saying I should get a 3 channel amp (any suggestions here would really help) then power my three fronts through that.

Response - Yes you would have enough power to drive the surrounds if you added a 2 or 3 channel amp. You could probably get away with a 2 channel for the L&R mains. I think your speakers are rated for up to 150 watts (8 ohm) but you should confirm this. For budget reasons, check out Emotiva (makes a 2 and 3 channel), Outlaw, and Onkyo makes an inexpensive 2 channel (good deal on Amazon), you could also look for used at consignment shops or on-line.

You also mentioned upgrading my front stage speakers. What is the reasoning for this? I know the S7's are old B&W speakers but I thought they were pretty good. The S7's are two-way but my understanding was the 3-way was really reserved for high end speakers and a general rule is that you are better off with a really good 2-way than a mid line 3-way. What 3-way in wall would you recommend? I saw in your set-up you have the Atlantic Technology IWTS-30 LCR but those are quite a bit out of my price range currently. Back to my original question (sort-of) if I did upgrade my fronts can I go outside B&W safely?

Response - Adding more power to your mains/front stage may solve your problem and no upgrade needed. I just thought they may be too small for that size room. I actually like B&W speakers. Another thought would be to pull one of the speakers out of the wall and see if back boxes were ever created/added - I believe the Signature 7s were not enclosed. Adding back-boxes may also help with better sound quality.
If you did decide to upgrade some day, yes you can move to a different brand as long as you replace the entire front stage. Keeping the surrounds would not be a problem since they are for ambient sound. If interested, look at Def Tech, Atlantic, Speaker Craft, and B&W, etc. In-walls have come a long way - buying enclosed is the preferred structure.


So in summary your suggestion is in short term properly power what I have, then in long term look into upgrading my my front stage.

Response - Yes, I'd try the power route first to see if that solves your issue. Even better if you have any friends that have an AVR and amp you could do a demo on to see if there is any improvement in your environment before making the investment.

Thanks again!
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