Surround Speaker Design for a Small Home Theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Guys,

I am interested in building some surround speakers for the side and back surrounds of a 7.1/7.2 system in a very small room. The room width at the listening position is 10' with a ceiling height just under 8'. I have a 110" AT screen with 3 Cheap Thrills and a MartySub variant behind the screen. The listening positions are ~10' from the screen and ~3' from the side and back walls. In wall speakers would require structural changes for some of the walls and are therefore an undesirable option.

It seems to me that surround speakers nestled in the corner of the wall/ceiling intersection offers a good compromise between the many challenges presented by this space. In-ceiling speakers are an option, but would require a full enclosure to prevent sound leakage upstairs where my wife with bionic hearing spends her time reading. eek.gif

Here are a few pictures to show what I have now:





And this is what I am considering:




The speaker design is described here at the DIY soundgroup forum and includes a Celestion TF0818 Woofer, an EOS-8 waveguide with the DNA-150 compression driver. The dimensions of the enclosure I'm planning aren't final yet but should yield ~0.6 ft^3 to compliment a design tune around 80Hz. I am considering either a single slot port (as shown in the diagram) or two round ports, one on each side of the proposed enclosure. The enclosure face is 45 degrees from both vertical and horizontal, and the side panels are angled outward 30 degrees to increase the internal volume of the enclosure.

I don't know what I don't know about room acoustics and speaker design, so I thought I would present this design study to the group for feedback and suggestions.

Thanks in advance,
Mike
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post #2 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 10:31 AM
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Mike, I have a couple thoughts, but no expertise. More/better modeling may be worthwhile if you go with a SEOS/OES in that position, as the vertical lobes might be in weird spots. You may get better results for even coverage by going with some angle other than 45 degrees. For that reason, I've been thinking about coaxials for a similar spot in my small room (12', not 10' for me). I think most coaxial designs have a slightly wider dispersion pattern than the SEOS/EOS. Do you have more than one row of seats?

I've very interested in how this works out for you, since I'm in a similar boat. I have slightly different goals (sealed) and requirements (different height) but this conversation is totally germane to lots of theater designers and DIY speaker builders, so thanks for posting. I hope you get lots of good feedback and discussion.

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post #3 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Fred.

I really have just one row of seats. There may be times when we try and cram a few more bodies into the room, but there will always be just one row of seats that matters. wink.gif
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post #4 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:28 AM
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I've been thinking about the A/V-1RS from GR-Research for my 13'x13' living room to use with my Deltalite 12/ SEOS-12.
http://gr-research.com/av-1rs.aspx
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post #5 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:31 AM
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lots of different approaches to this one.

thx home use to spec dipole speakers mounted on the walls with one driver firing forward and another driver firing rearward in order to create lots of reflections off the front and rear walls. big diffuse "surround" sound.

there is a picture of this part way down this page on the right:
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-3.html

imax still uses something like 5.1 +1 'god channel'. horn loaded, one in each corner and the center. precise directivity control. like this:

AppleMark

one problem with speakers that fire into the seating positions from surround locations is that if you are sitting next to the speaker, you can hear it, and that can be annoying. not really a problem if you are in the middle, but if you are on the far right seat the surround speaker(s) could be noticeable and annoying.

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post #6 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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That's an interesting concept, Louis. It looks like the tweeter is meant to reflect off of the ceiling and down into the listening area...hmmmm.

I also like the recessed speaker terminals and french cleat to hide all signs of wiring and mounting hardware. For sure I will incorporate some of these features.

Thanks, man! wink.gif
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post #7 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:34 AM
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"I've been thinking about the A/V-1RS from GR-Research for my 13'x13' living room to use with my Deltalite 12/ SEOS-12."

yeah...that is another decent solution. +1

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post #8 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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So I guess with the dipoles, the null is aimed at the seating area, so in principle you would only here reflected sounds. It seems like this would just smear the sound in the time domain and would essentially eliminate any localization of the surround sounds. That doesn't seem desirable to me.

I also note that you said "use to" - is that to imply dipoles are no longer spec'd, potentially for the reasons above?
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post #9 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 12:11 PM
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I think erich has a new design coming out that can be used in a small enclosure for a surround.  



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post #10 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 12:20 PM
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"So I guess with the dipoles, the null is aimed at the seating area, so in principle you would only here reflected sounds. It seems like this would just smear the sound in the time domain and would essentially eliminate any localization of the surround sounds. That doesn't seem desirable to me.

I also note that you said "use to" - is that to imply dipoles are no longer spec'd, potentially for the reasons above?"

it kind of depends on what you are trying to accomplish. in a small room, the distance from listener-to-listener to speaker-to-speaker is large so precision pin point surround is tough unless you are the guy in the middle seat. people end up firing the surrounds over the heads of the people sitting near the surround speaker as another solution. you could say that isn't ideal either.

as for "use to", thx seemed to have let out some specs a while back, but then either cancelled the specs or changed them or both. but in any case, there doesn't seem to be a way to view any "thx spec document" which is ludicrous given that it is supposed to represent some sort of performance standard. of course, the reason is economic. no standard means everybody who wants to pay for the label can get in with a wide variety of speakers, subs, avr's, and the rest of it. for example, it is silliness to spec an amp as "thx certified" without any knowledge about the sensitivity of the speakers that will be used and that alone can vary by 10db or more...

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post #11 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 01:10 PM
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I have a room that is going to be 11.8ft wide when finished. I am going to make the surrounds with the Beyma 8cx300ND coaxial. The rear wall I will mount as you have suggested (as unfortunately I'll have a row of seats right up against it). The side surrounds will be at regular height, 60 degrees forward of the MLP, toed in and pointed down to the MLP.

The coax has the advantage of being smaller and a single point source. My experience with the Seas coax drivers is you can sit closer to them as opposed to a two way.

...just my 2cents

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post #12 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 01:14 PM
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thx home use to spec dipole speakers mounted on the walls with one driver firing forward and another driver firing rearward in order to create lots of reflections off the front and rear walls. big diffuse "surround" sound.

That sounds more like a description of bipoles; aiming the null at the listening area requires that the angle half way between the drivers face it.

Dipoles were originally used to minimize localization of surround info, which was more or less synthesized or generated (imperfectly) from front channel info.

I believe that with the advent of discrete surround channels the big guys of surround sound (at a minimum Greisenger of Lexicon, I forget who else) recommend monopoles.

As for listeners being too close to the surrounds, pointing the speakers at the listeners on the opposite side of the room will help.

That works out to angling them down about 25 deg.

Noah
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post #13 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I believe that with the advent of discrete surround channels the big guys of surround sound (at a minimum Greisenger of Lexicon, I forget who else) recommend monopoles.

As for listeners being too close to the surrounds, pointing the speakers at the listeners on the opposite side of the room will help.

That works out to angling them down about 25 deg.

Thanks, Noah.

So is the theory of aiming the speakers at the opposite side listener trying to achieve the same result as toeing in your Controlled Directivity mains, the difference being that we are in the vertical plane rather than the horizontal plane? In other words, the diminished off-axis response is offset by the near-side listeners proximity whereas the far-side listener receives the stronger on-axis signal which is offset by the greater distance, thus resulting in an even SPL soundfield across the whole row of listeners.

Am I right in saying that for this approach to be most effective, the speaker would need a frequency-independent polar response? Do waveguide speakers, in general, most closely approximate this goal?
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post #14 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 02:41 PM
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"That sounds more like a description of bipoles; aiming the null at the listening area requires that the angle half way between the drivers face it."

well, whatever you want to call it. a box with two mid-drivers. one facing forward. the other facing backward. moving in phase.

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post #15 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 02:44 PM
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"So is the theory of aiming the speakers at the opposite side listener trying to achieve the same result as toeing in your Controlled Directivity mains, the difference being that we are in the vertical plane rather than the horizontal plane?"

yes.

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post #16 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, LTD.

Piece by piece, I am getting a clue.

Are any of these sorts of issues discussed in the Toole book, that so many people have referenced elsewhere in this forum?
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post #17 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:09 PM
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not sure. i don't have his book, but based on a review of the table of contents, it appears to cover a broad array of topics and looks to be a good introduction, so i have and continue to suggest it. i've just read a good deal of his technical papers and presentations that are scattered all over the internet. you and chaluga have both asked about where to get started with respect to all this stuff and unfortunately there isn't a really good resource that links it all up. that toe-in strategy for example was discussed by klipsch in one of his "dope from hope" technical papers back in the 70's. parham wrote up a version with some content that i created and posted it in his thread on audiocircle. geddes discusses it in various ways, but i forget where. jbl discusses the concept in the user manual for one of their Everest speakers with asymmetric horns and somebody (forgive me) wrote a good article that i linked up in the first page of the "rallying..." thread. and that is just one topic of hundreds! i wish that there was a more satisfying answer.

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post #18 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:18 PM
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not sure. i don't have his book, but based on a review of the table of contents, it appears to cover a broad array of topics and looks to be a good introduction, so i have and continue to suggest it. i've just read a good deal of his technical papers and presentations that are scattered all over the internet. you and chaluga have both asked about where to get started with respect to all this stuff and unfortunately there isn't a really good resource that links it all up. that toe-in strategy for example was discussed by klipsch in one of his "dope from hope" technical papers back in the 70's. parham wrote up a version with some content that i created and posted it in his thread on audiocircle. geddes discusses it in various ways, but i forget where. jbl discusses the concept in the user manual for one of their Everest speakers with asymmetric horns and somebody (forgive me) wrote a good article that i linked up in the first page of the "rallying..." thread. and that is just one topic of hundreds! i wish that there was a more satisfying answer.

I believe it was Bwaslo who wrote the toe in article in the rallying thread.


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post #19 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
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So is...

As LTD said, yes to all.
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"That sounds more like a description of bipoles; aiming the null at the listening area requires that the angle half way between the drivers face it."

well, whatever you want to call it. a box with two mid-drivers. one facing forward. the other facing backward. moving in phase.

I want to call it what it is.

If the drivers are out of phase it's a dipole with nulls, and if the drivers are in phase it's a bipole w/o nulls.

Noah
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post #20 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:28 PM
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Are any of these sorts of issues discussed in the Toole book

Yep, see Chapter 16, there is a whole section on it. I also understand he gave a talk at Cedia? recently.

Have a read of this thread - http://www.avsforum.com/t/1488704/having-four-speakers-as-surround-for-two-row/60#post_23811153

As an aside, in real small rooms like this, Dennis Erskine has stated they use dipoles, mount them upside down under soffits....I dont get this, something to do with localisation (or avoiding localisation)

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post #21 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I have that article. Bill refers to the concept as "Time-Intensity Trading"
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post #22 of 99 Old 11-06-2013, 03:47 PM
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There's a design that Bwaslo and I worked on a couple months ago that uses the Vifa DX dome tweeter and the Beta-8 woofer. Some people thought those would be great for surrounds. They fit in the same size enclosure as the current 8" models.

There's also a couple new designs coming from MTG90 with 6" woofers and a smaller waveguide in a .35cuft box.


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post #23 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 09:53 AM
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There's a design that Bwaslo and I worked on a couple months ago that uses the Vifa DX dome tweeter and the Beta-8 woofer. Some people thought those would be great for surrounds. They fit in the same size enclosure as the current 8" models.

There's also a couple new designs coming from MTG90 with 6" woofers and a smaller waveguide in a .35cuft box.

a
Also Wayne's 1pi...Alpha 8 and Vifa DX-25 if I recall........
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post #24 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems that Time-Intensity Trading offers a significant advantage in this small space with regards to achieving a good surround image despite wide variation in seating position relative to the surround speakers (distance between right and left surround speaker varies by a factor of 2). Therefore, it would seem that a Controlled Directivity surround would be a good choice. Furthermore, it would seem that a vertical alignment of the long axis of the waveguide would diminish extraneous horizontal spread of reflections, especially in this setting where there is only one row of seating.

Upper diagram shows narrow horizontal sound field from vertical orientation of waveguide
Diagram below illustrates seating positions and on-axis (heavy lines = louder) vs. off-axis (thin lines = quieter) sound intensity.

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post #25 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:13 PM
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listening to them like that will cause comb filtering cancellations, as the distance from the horn and woofer to the listening position approaches 1/2 wavelengths and is why it is generally advised not to use two way horn loaded speakers positioned horizontally.

not saying that it won't work, but just more of a 'heads up'....

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post #26 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:20 PM
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"If the drivers are out of phase it's a dipole with nulls, and if the drivers are in phase it's a bipole w/o nulls."

it seems that tom holman refers to drivers in phase as 'dipoles', unless the author of the article mis-referenced him.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-3.html

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post #27 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:34 PM
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good,If the drivers are out of phase it's a dipole with nulls, and if the drivers are in phase it's a bipole w/o nulls.thanks

BcF6ID

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post #28 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The main problem I see with the above approach, is that the intensity falloff, as we go further off-axis, is quite frequency dependent (I am very new to waveguide speakers and thus have a very limited experience in this realm). Therefore, the near-side speaker, which is 20 or more degrees off axis to the listener, will have a gradual downward slope to the upper frequencies, whereas the far-side speaker will have a flat frequency response.

How great a problem is this "coloration" in the surround channels and how audible/distracting is this likely to be.

Would a different speaker choice/configuration, such as dome tweeters or dipoles offer a better off-axis frequency response yet still allow for Time-Intensity Trading?

I believe that with more and more discreet sound channels, sound engineers are moving away from broad/diffuse surround mixes to a surround sound stage with pinpoint localization and pans of surround sounds. Therefore, I want a set of surround speakers that can not only accomplish this feat, but do so in my little theater! biggrin.gif
Am I headed in the right direction or have I gotten lost in a blind canyon......

Mike
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post #29 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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listening to them like that will cause comb filtering cancellations, as the distance from the horn and woofer to the listening position approaches 1/2 wavelengths and is why it is generally advised not to use two way horn loaded speakers positioned horizontally.

Is this just at the crossover frequency, or across all frequency bands?
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post #30 of 99 Old 11-07-2013, 07:55 PM
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I don't know what I was thinking...comb filtering only occurs when both sources are playing the same content, so yes, pretty much only around the crossover frequency where both sources are playing similar content. sorry for the confusion.

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