Great room wall cabinet design - How to integrate tower speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-05-2013, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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We are currently building a home and we are meeting with our cabinet builder this week to design our great room wall unit. Eventually I will be building a dedicated home theater in the basement, but for now this will be our main TV/Movie watching area. I have a very nice pair of high end Definitive BP7000 speakers that I would like to integrate into the room, but Im not sure how to tastefully incorporate them into the cabinetry. It will be a traditional space, so I don't want to do anything too radical. The wall unit will span the entire width of the wall from floor to 9' high.

Anyone else do something similar and if so can you provide pics?

Thanks!
Eric
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-05-2013, 11:17 AM
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I would recommend "not" integrating them, for a couple of reasons:

1) They're big, and enclosing them is going to require an odd-shaped and placed cabinet. If you ever replace the speakers, you're going to be stuck with a very specific size opening.

2) Those are tall towers, meant to be sitting on the floor. Raising them up to be better integrated is going to change their sound.

3) And most importantly, those are bipoles - enclosing them in any cabinetry will screw up the sound completely. You'd be better off selling them and getting nice bookshelf speakers with that money, which could be more easily integrated.

I was in a similar situation with my great room, and I didn't want to give up my floor-standing speakers. So I had slots cut in under the cabinetry for cable egress, and have the speakers placed out in front of the unit. May not be everyone's taste, but there it is...



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post #3 of 17 Old 05-05-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I would recommend "not" integrating them, for a couple of reasons:

1) They're big, and enclosing them is going to require an odd-shaped and placed cabinet. If you ever replace the speakers, you're going to be stuck with a very specific size opening.

2) Those are tall towers, meant to be sitting on the floor. Raising them up to be better integrated is going to change their sound.

3) And most importantly, those are bipoles - enclosing them in any cabinetry will screw up the sound completely. You'd be better off selling them and getting nice bookshelf speakers with that money, which could be more easily integrated.

I was in a similar situation with my great room, and I didn't want to give up my floor-standing speakers. So I had slots cut in under the cabinetry for cable egress, and have the speakers placed out in front of the unit. May not be everyone's taste, but there it is...



Jeff


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post #4 of 17 Old 05-05-2013, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I would recommend "not" integrating them, for a couple of reasons:

1) They're big, and enclosing them is going to require an odd-shaped and placed cabinet. If you ever replace the speakers, you're going to be stuck with a very specific size opening.

2) Those are tall towers, meant to be sitting on the floor. Raising them up to be better integrated is going to change their sound.

3) And most importantly, those are bipoles - enclosing them in any cabinetry will screw up the sound completely. You'd be better off selling them and getting nice bookshelf speakers with that money, which could be more easily integrated.

I was in a similar situation with my great room, and I didn't want to give up my floor-standing speakers. So I had slots cut in under the cabinetry for cable egress, and have the speakers placed out in front of the unit. May not be everyone's taste, but there it is...



Jeff


Thanks for the reply Jeff. I don't think my +1 would approve of a setup like yours. Kudos to you for standing your ground, but its just not in the cards for me. I'm aware of the bipole issue as well... I'm glad you commented on it because that is the biggest concern I have when trying to integrate. This will be a big room, and I intend to listen to ALOT of music in this space so I really don't want to downgrade to a bookshelf speaker. I really enjoy these speakers and they would really fill this space with sound. I'm wondering if a nicely paneled relatively wide spot from floor to top-of-speaker height may be the best way to accomplish having these be part of the wall. Would putting homasote behind the paneling be a good idea?
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-05-2013, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ecriswell View Post

Thanks for the reply Jeff. I don't think my +1 would approve of a setup like yours. Kudos to you for standing your ground, but its just not in the cards for me. I'm aware of the bipole issue as well... I'm glad you commented on it because that is the biggest concern I have when trying to integrate. This will be a big room, and I intend to listen to ALOT of music in this space so I really don't want to downgrade to a bookshelf speaker.

I didn't mean "downgrade", but rather, opt for a different design. A pair of relatively large "bookshelf" speakers will produce better results. "Bookshelf" is a broad category of speakers that simply means their cabinet isn't tall enough to be floor-standing.
Quote:
I really enjoy these speakers and they would really fill this space with sound. I'm wondering if a nicely paneled relatively wide spot from floor to top-of-speaker height may be the best way to accomplish having these be part of the wall. Would putting homasote behind the paneling be a good idea?

Absorbing half the sound from the speakers - more like "muffling" - or causing close-range reflections is going to, IMO, really mess up the sound. Spend some time shopping for replacements, use the Audiogon "blue book" values to see what a neutral-budget solution might be. :-) Bipoles are simply not built to be enclosed in a cabinet.

Jeff
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 10:41 AM
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Would it be an option to have the speakers hidden in cabinet when not listening and then be able to open the cabinet doors and bring them forward (more into the room) for listening only time? Something like a slide out cabinet base? Not sure if that would defeat your purpose of integration but might be a middle ground.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jmhug View Post

Would it be an option to have the speakers hidden in cabinet when not listening and then be able to open the cabinet doors and bring them forward (more into the room) for listening only time? Something like a slide out cabinet base? Not sure if that would defeat your purpose of integration but might be a middle ground.

Thats a good suggestion and I hadnt considered that solution. I'm not sure they are meant to sit on a sliding drawer though. I remember reading somewhere they should be firmly planted to a solid surface. Im leaning toward building a "Cubby" for them to sit in.

It's possible to leave a decent amount or room on each side of the speaker and make the cubby oversized, possibly mitigating some of the negatives. Another side effect of going that route would be I could add a shelve and possibly cabinet door in the future if I did decide to part with these speakers or sell the house...

Any commentary from anyone regarding the size of the cubby? Jeff what are your thoughts - beyond dont do it (-;
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 02:39 PM
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Any commentary from anyone regarding the size of the cubby? Jeff what are your thoughts - beyond dont do it (-;

I have nothing more to add, but will quote the manual (emphasis mine):
Quote:
In most rooms the speakers should be placed 5 to 36 inches from the rear wall
in order to allow the rear radiated sound to freely reflect offthe back wall. Please
note that they can go closer to, or further from, the wall if desired. Placement
closer to the rear wall will increase the bass output while placement further from
the rear wall will decrease the bass output (which, of course, can be compensated
for with the speakers’ low frequency controls). Sometimes placement further
from the rear wall will increase spaciousness and the sense of depth.
The speakers should usually be placed a minimum of 5 to 7 feet apart and kept
away from the side walls and corners if possible. A good rule of thumb is to place
the speakers separated by one half the length of the wall they are positioned along,
and each speaker one quarter the length of the back wall away from the side wall.
Speakers may be angled in toward the listening position or left parallel with
each other. Angling the speakers in (pointed directly at the listener) will result in a
somewhat brighter, clearer sound with a sharper focus and a more solid central
image (generally, we recommend this), while leaving the speakers parallel with
each other will result in a less bright, more diffuse sound. Try to leave the space on
the sides of the speakers as open and unobstructed as possible so that there will be
no interference with the rear radiated sound.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 03:40 PM
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do you really need more evidence? Seems obvious the manufacturer wouldn't recommend this type of installation, why do you think your speakers will sound the same inside a closet with an open door?
The whole concept of a bipole is lost if you impede the reflected sound from the rear drivers. Sell 'em. Buy a high performance front firing speaker. Build a cubby for a subwoofer into that cabinet while you're at it.

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post #10 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 04:40 PM
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Build a cubby for a subwoofer into that cabinet while you're at it.

A "Front firing" subwoofer! biggrin.gif


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post #11 of 17 Old 05-06-2013, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I didn't mean "downgrade", but rather, opt for a different design. A pair of relatively large "bookshelf" speakers will produce better results. "Bookshelf" is a broad category of speakers that simply means their cabinet isn't tall enough to be floor-standing.
Absorbing half the sound from the speakers - more like "muffling" - or causing close-range reflections is going to, IMO, really mess up the sound. Spend some time shopping for replacements, use the Audiogon "blue book" values to see what a neutral-budget solution might be. :-) Bipoles are simply not built to be enclosed in a cabinet.

Jeff

This.

Bookshelf does not mean poor quality, it means a type of design. Putting great speakers in an application they are not designed for will equate to poor performance. Loudspeakers are designed for different applications, if you need to house your speakers inside a cabinet, you need to get speakers designed for that application.

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post #12 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I know I'm waking up my old thread and I have been discouraged from doing this, but here is what I believe is a decent compromise. I dont want to sell these speakers and would always intend to have a floor speaker in this space, so I believe this design would adequately accomodate the bi-poles as well as a future set of front-firing floor speakers when my budget allows.

Any suggestions given that I will be keeping these speakers and using them in this space? Thanks for keeping this positive.



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post #13 of 17 Old 06-19-2013, 04:25 AM
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Thanks for sharing your progress. This looks like a much better compromise. You're giving your bipoles more of a fighting chance to sound their best. Only other observations are: 1) Did you give yourself enough space under the TV for a comparable quality center channel speaker? Do you have a few models in mind whose dimensions you can use to ensure you can fit what you want? 2) Not sure the vented toe kick is going to release enough sound from your sub location. Any chance of having the door panels in this section fabricated as speaker grilles, fabric, metal mesh, etc? (and probably the mirrored set on the other half of the cabinet, just in case you want dual subs or want it to look symmetrical)

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post #14 of 17 Old 06-19-2013, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weaselfest View Post

Thanks for sharing your progress. This looks like a much better compromise. You're giving your bipoles more of a fighting chance to sound their best. Only other observations are: 1) Did you give yourself enough space under the TV for a comparable quality center channel speaker? Do you have a few models in mind whose dimensions you can use to ensure you can fit what you want? 2) Not sure the vented toe kick is going to release enough sound from your sub location. Any chance of having the door panels in this section fabricated as speaker grilles, fabric, metal mesh, etc? (and probably the mirrored set on the other half of the cabinet, just in case you want dual subs or want it to look symmetrical)

Good thoughts. Im working with the cabinetmaker to increase the tv opening dimension. Im looking at the DefTech 8040HD center which measures just shy of 6" tall. Im back and forth on whether I want a 55" or 60" TV in this space. The room is 20x17 with 11' ceilings so I know the 60 would not be too big, however I have never really been the "biggest tv on the block" kind of guy and I dont want to over do it. Id like to be able to watch sports and movies and be able to see whats going on too, though.

Since this really is not a home theater type space, and the bi-pole deftech speakers I have also have a huge powered sub in each tower, Im not sure I will even have a subwoofer in that cabinet. So the grill at the bottom would be inadequate for a floor-firing subwoofer should I add one in the future? I hadnt considered that. I dont think I want a mesh or fabric screen on the cabinet door, so it may just be as good as its going to be.

Thanks for the comments.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-19-2013, 02:20 PM
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Go with the 60". With a room that big, you'll easily want a 60" screen- and it's not because you need the biggest TV on the block, it's because it's an appropriate size for that space. I have a 46" TV in a 12 x 17' room and wish it was bigger all the time.

Also, while the Def-Tecs do have a subwoofer integrated, in such a large open space you may find having a dedicated subwoofer improves the experience. There are plenty of good front-firing subs out there, no need to limit yourself to one brand.


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post #16 of 17 Old 11-05-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

Here is the final product. I went with a 55" Samsung LED and am very pleased with the results. The listening space is fantastic and really woke up the DefTechs from my previous environment. At the same time I upgraded to a Marantz receiver as well. I included a panorama of the room. Enjoy the pic!


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post #17 of 17 Old 11-05-2013, 08:40 PM
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Nice finished condition.
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