We're currently in due diligence on a new home, and now that it has cleared inspection my thoughts have naturally turned to maximizing audio quality for multichannel audio reproduction in the living room. In addition to multichannel SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray disks, I usually expand 2-channel music with DPL2 in the living room.
Here's a shot of the living room as set up by the current owners.
To give a sense of scale, the exposed brick section of the mantel is 73" wide and 54.5" high. The actual fireplace cutout is 29" high and 33" wide. The total width of the front wall, the short wall in the room, is a hair under 14'. The mantel is centered on the wall. Unfortunately, I forgot to measure the depth of the mantel during the home inspection. The fireplace is a gas log one, and honestly I'll be shocked if it gets used much. However, the fireplace an attractive feature and we'd rather not conceal it with a TV cabinet.
There is no other wall that can serve as the front of the system. The backwall is right by the front door and as an entrance to the porch in the middle. One sidewall is street-facing and full of windows (which will have acoustically-appropriate dressing). The other sidewall has a large entrance to the dining room and another entrance to an interior hall.
So...we were considering replacing the current mantel cap with one that extends further down the brick and incorporates the center channel at an appropriate height. (It may also extend up a bit, to allow for a TV mount. If there is a TV mount, we'll use felt under the TV to mitigate diffraction.*
The part used for the speaker (as well as left and right, which will be free-standing, and sitting atop flanking sub/stands just like in my current system) will be one of two options:
1) Stock at first, perhaps modified later, Pioneer EX S-IW691L
. See here
for some measurements of the concentric unit in these speakers. (The bass drivers are different.) My current mains in our loft incorporate three of these speakers, and they work very well. See link in signature below.
2) The 12" Dual Concentric driver from Tannoy's System 12 DMT II, with a passive crossover designed in situ.
I already own both, and have adequate power to compensate for the efficiency difference (ATI AT2007), so the choice will come down to the horizontal pattern room I prefer in this room. I will determine that by comparing to stereo pair of each EQ'ed with Trinnov from a Sherwood R-972. Regardless of driver choice, the center will be mounted high. (IIRC my ear height while seated on the center seat of our Herman Miller Goetz sofa is a bit over 40".) While the on-axis nasties in the top octave of concentric drivers are of debatable audibility anyway, they disappear off axis (see, e.g. normalized horizontal response for the Pioneer S-1EX at Stereophile.
) so mounting the speaker a bit high flattens out the the listening axis response.
The mantel cap currently has the TV on top (obviously) and two power outlets on the top surface. (The outlets are connected but not currently used.) So I assume heat off the brick isn't a huge issue even if for some reason we decide we love to use our new fireplace. Is there any other reason not to mount
**Yes, I know the TV will be high. I don't care. Audio quality is extremely important to me. Video is a lesser concern.