AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bushnell's Basin, NY
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If you're an experienced woodworker, you can make anything look good. The goal here is to make it sound good as part of an overall viewing experience. To that end, you may want to reconsider a couple elements.
Over the mantle is good for pictures, maybe moving pictures, but not long-term viewing. You want the screen eye level when seated, and you want to be 2-3 screen diagonals away when seated for optimum viewing. No hard and fast rules, of course, but expect the high placement to cause neck pain, and beyond 3.5 screen diagonals viewing distance, you can't resolve standard def, so your HD screen is just a big, low-res display.
I have no issues with a CC in the mantle, under the screen, just treat it as an in-wall speaker. My biggest concern here is home value if you screw it up... but your a woodworker, and it's your house.
You will have audible issues with "standard enclosures placed in the bookshelves flanking the fireplace." The only locations where speakers have predictable response are free-standing and in-wall. If hung on a wall, or put on a bookcase shelf, the wall reflection is both strong and audible, causing unpredictable peaks and dips in response at frequencies corresponding to 1/4 wave and larger wall spacings. Toole has a great example.
Note this is nothing to do with bass, standing waves, etc., save for resulting form the same principles. It's all about edges and the distance to reflecting surfaces, and which surface is reflecting. And the effect will be in the upper bass, low midrange, so expect vocals and most instruments to be affected.
It's not hard to eliminate all this by building the L/R into the bookcase, rather than sitting them on a shelf. In most cases this will also require the in-wall design to get proper tonal balance.
Lots to think about, and not all in line with your wishes, but hopefully aligned with best practices and what works. To learn more, I recommend Floyd Toole's book, Sound Reproduction.
Oh, my! I was writing while you posted pictures...
And don't discount options like horizontal MTMs as there are some, a very few, that address all the issues properly.