Subs drown out my speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Howdy all. I have a unique problem! I have started a couple of other threads thinking there were some settings for my VSX-821 receiver, but I have just come to the conclusion that my 2-18" subs drown out my little polk monitors. No matter what setting I choose, in really bassy scenes, you can't hear words, talking, music, etc, just the explosions and rumble (which is awesome by the way)

As with everyone else, I am budget restricted. I don't really have a set budget, but $2,000 or $3,000 is just not going to be an option. Surely there are some quality speakers for more like $1,000 or $1500 tops if I can build it over time.

I also would like for it to be in a wood texture if at all possible. The black look is ok...but I just prefer a cherry or oak or something a little more matching my tastes. I also don't really want to be back here trying to upgrade again in 6 months because it wasn't that much of an improvement. If I have to piece the system together due to budget I'm fine with that.

I have been following the Klipsch a little bit, I like the look of the Klipsch WF 35 front corners, WC 24 Center, and WB 14 surrounds Newegg has them on sale frequently and I think could all be had for around $1000, and in expresso. I also wouldn't rule out the RF series if they are tht much of an upgrade, but it appears they are only in ash black. I'm also open to other models, I know someone on here always pushes the Bic audio speakers, and like I said don't necessarily care what the brand name is, just want something to match big subs and produce good audio, and for some reason I keep thinking I need a big horn loaded tweeter because these little 1" dome tweeters in the polks are absolutely not cutting it. I know I'm all over the place, but just looking for some advice. Thanks
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post #2 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 07:00 AM
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Before looking at replacing the speakers, have you covered all the bases regarding receiver settings and level matching? Is it possible yours subs are just running way too hot? Do you have a SPL meter to check speaker and subwoofer levels?

Before throwing in the towel with the Polk's, check and re-check everything. If possible, please post your receiver configuration. Be sure the main speakers are set to small and crossed over, and run the test tone built into the receiver and listen to see if the front and center speakers are too soft compared to the subwoofer; using an SPL meter to aid in this listening session is preferred, as it will give you an exact number concerning SPL levels.

If you're set on new speakers check out Salk Sound (SongSurrounds), Philharmonic Audio (Philharmonitors) and Kef.

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post #3 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I do not have an SPL meter, but I wouldn't be opposed to getting one. I had another thread on here where some people were helping me make sure it was set up correctly. I could never get it to go into a dynamic mode or mccac (I think??) I do have it crossing over at 100 hz and set to small speakers. I also boosted the decibles +6 center channel and +4 front corners and heard a slight improvement, but still not really even close.
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post #4 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 07:16 AM
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You may be running the subwoofer way too high in frequency, so that the sub overlaps the front speakers too much and muddies up the sound; that sounds like your problem.

I assume you are using the Polk Monitor 30s, which will go down to 60-70 Hz with no problem, so set them to a lower limit of 60 Hz

Your subwoofer should be set to roll off above 60 HZ; NO HIGHER. Turn its gain way down, also, and gradually and slowly turn it up until you get enough low bass. Limit subwoofer operation to BELOW 60 HZ!

Try that and see if you don't get a big improvement.


For some front speakers that would be a major improvement in sound quality over the Polks, you may want to consider getting a pair of the KEF C3 speakers, which are only $329 per pair at the KEF Direct website.
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post #5 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 08:15 AM
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Agreed. A lower crossover setting may help, depending on what speakers you have. Could you share the specific make/model of all of your speakers and subs?

However, before doing anything else, you should work on getting MCACC working. It will help you a lot for optimizing your setup. Here is the official MCACC thread on AVS. I would recommend reading around in it and seeking help there.

Just in case you haven't done this, be sure that you have your subs set to bypass mode or the crossover is turned on the sub is all the way up. Use the bass management crossover settings on your receiver to handle the crossover with your speakers.

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post #6 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 08:31 AM
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Have you ran a frequency sweep of your subs to see if you're getting a large peak somewhere? My guess would be that is the case around 50-60hz, lowering the crossover like suggested will reduce this somewhat.

If you still are interested in a cheap set of speakers that can keep up with your subs, and likely be superior to those klipsch.

http://speakerdesignworks.com/NS6project_1.html

http://speakerdesignworks.com/StenIIproject_1.html

I'm assuming if you have a pair of 18" subs that they're DIY, no reason not to go this route with the speakers.
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post #7 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You may be running the subwoofer way too high in frequency, so that the sub overlaps the front speakers too much and muddies up the sound; that sounds like your problem.
I assume you are using the Polk Monitor 30s, which will go down to 60-70 Hz with no problem, so set them to a lower limit of 60 Hz
Your subwoofer should be set to roll off above 60 HZ; NO HIGHER. Turn its gain way down, also, and gradually and slowly turn it up until you get enough low bass. Limit subwoofer operation to BELOW 60 HZ!
Try that and see if you don't get a big improvement.

Limiting it below 60hz might work, but it might not; It's going to depend on room interaction. He should set the crossover where it sounds (and measures) best, experimenting with all options.

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post #8 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys I guess I should have given you the specifics up front. Currently I have a VSX-821, Polk Monitor 50's, 30's, and a CS1 Center. I also have dual ED A7s-450 in the front of the room, and two cheap kicker subs right next to and pointing out the couch I sit on for some extra punch in the seats.

I have the cross-over on the subs set to max (I think its 100hz) and then matched it to the receiver and have it set at 100hz as well. I did tinker with the setting on the receiver when I was trying to dial in the system, I think there is a 50hz/80/100/120/150/200 crossovers on the receiver but I may have to double check that as well. I will try it at the 80 hz and 50hz tonight and see if I cant figure out the mcacc settings, hopefully that thread will help.
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post #9 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 09:15 AM
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You should set the subs for 50 HZ max and turn their gain down some and go from there. Your front speakers should be set to go down to 50 HZ.

The definition of sub-bass is frequencies below 30 HZ.
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post #10 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 09:52 AM
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^^^ completely made up info about 30hz....
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post #11 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I mean, I will definately try it, I can understand how it would help with the sound. Just seems like to me there is going to be a lot of bass at 50-100hz that will not be as fantastacially reproduced by the monitors as opposed to the 18's.
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post #12 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 10:15 AM
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I'm a fan of a 80 Hz crossover. But you need to get MCACC up and running before you start tweaking.
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post #13 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 10:56 AM
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Try what others suggested but if it still doesn't fit your needs, Do you want new speakers or would you be willing to get some used ones? Only reason I ask is because you can get an older generation for speakers for a lot less than MSRP of new ones.

Because great sound fills the room, shakes the house, breaks hearts, stirs souls, and always will
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post #14 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

^^^ completely made up info about 30hz....

Yup. Maybe he meant the crossover on the sub should be set to max, as not to overlap with the receiver? It certainly didn't sound like that's what he meant, though.

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post #15 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 11:24 AM
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To the OP, you mentioned you haven't been able to get MCACC to work - is there a specific issue with the receiver you're running into? Do you have the calibration mic that came with that unit? This really should be your starting point. Adjusting settings is fine, but it's best done once from a baseline configuration i.e. once MCACC calibration has been performed.
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post #16 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, Unless someone was just giving away some used ones I think I'd like to go new. I'm definately gonna tinker with it some more tonight first though. I do have the mic, but I was following the directions and just couldn't get it to go into that mode, I don't think it gave me the option to.
It would be like in the manual it said hit this button, and then this button, and then you will have options A B C D E & F.

Well, I'd hit that buttone, and then the other one, but I would only have options A B D & F. It wouldn't even give me the other options. I'll try again tonight, its been a week or two I'm not sure exactly why I couldn't get it except it wouldn't show up.
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post #17 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Howdy all. I have a unique problem! I have started a couple of other threads thinking there were some settings for my VSX-821 receiver, but I have just come to the conclusion that my 2-18" subs drown out my little polk monitors. No matter what setting I choose, in really bassy scenes, you can't hear words, talking, music, etc, just the explosions and rumble (which is awesome by the way)

Isn'nt that reality? Do you think one can hear a soldier talk on the field over exploding grenades???? biggrin.gif

Your solution: Subtitles biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #18 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm getting real good at reading lips!
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post #19 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Yup. Maybe he meant the crossover on the sub should be set to max, as not to overlap with the receiver? It certainly didn't sound like that's what he meant, though.

No. Contrary to what everyone else believes--and there have been heated discussions about this with him---Cman has repeatedly stated that people should not use the bass management on the receiver. The OP is definitely better off following the more conventional wisdom that everyone else offers. LOL

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post #20 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

Oh, Unless someone was just giving away some used ones I think I'd like to go new. I'm definately gonna tinker with it some more tonight first though. I do have the mic, but I was following the directions and just couldn't get it to go into that mode,

Definitely then ask in the MCACC thread I linked to above if you can't get it working. Most likely it's something that has been encountered already, and they can steer you in the right direction.

I think this might have already been mentioned, but if you get MCACC to work, it may set your front speakers to LARGE. Set all your speakers to SMALL so that the bass management will crossover all speakers with the sub. And then don't hesitate to override the crossover if it sets it higher and try 80hz.

BTW: That sounds like a pretty powerful bass setup you have for your room with all those subs biggrin.gif

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post #21 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

Oh, Unless someone was just giving away some used ones I think I'd like to go new. I'm definately gonna tinker with it some more tonight first though. I do have the mic, but I was following the directions and just couldn't get it to go into that mode, I don't think it gave me the option to.
It would be like in the manual it said hit this button, and then this button, and then you will have options A B C D E & F.
Well, I'd hit that buttone, and then the other one, but I would only have options A B D & F. It wouldn't even give me the other options. I'll try again tonight, its been a week or two I'm not sure exactly why I couldn't get it except it wouldn't show up.

You need to run MCACC. The problem with Pioneer remotes with some AVRs is that the way to reach setup is by pushing two buttons: the "receiver" button and the "setup" button. Problem is there are two "receiver" buttons, so picking the most obvious one is going to get you nowhere. Your remote has the two receiver buttons, on the top left corner of the remote. The topmost is the one you don't want, there is one below that also reads "receiver" which is the one you want.

I've highlighted it in yellow, that's the one you want to hit.

146

The sequence that gets you into setup is "remote" --> "setup" . That will bring up the menu for setup, one of the choices is MCACC, which is described in your manual - page 19 is probably a good place to start.

As to the subs overwhelming your speakers, a couple of ideas:

  1. What are the volume dials in the back of the subs set at? I usually set them for about 1/2 total volume.
  2. I set my crossovers at 80 even though my mains can handle to 35 Hz. To me, the subs are just better equipped at that level.
  3. Once you have run MCACC, if you still want to change things, you can modify levels of both the speakers and the levels at different frequencies given what you want to emphasize.

I have two Pioneer AVR's, both suffer from the same issue with the remote, but MCACC is a great tool when you use it.
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post #22 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You should set the subs for 50 HZ max and turn their gain down some and go from there. Your front speakers should be set to go down to 50 HZ.
The definition of sub-bass is frequencies below 30 HZ.
You really have no clue how to set up a modern receiver. The OP's problem is that the sub is too LOUD. That is a level calibration problem, not a crossover problem. His system needs to be calibrated. He needs to run MCACC or get an SPL meter and use the receiver's test tones to balance the levels of his speakers and subs.

OP, see Page 20 of your manual for instructions for running MCACC:
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/Manuals/Home/VSX-821-k_OperatingInstructions020711.pdf
It's very easy... just plug in the mic, place at your listening position, go into Setup, and selct Auto-MCACC. You'll hear a series of chirps, and then MCACC will set your calibration levels, speaker and subwoofer distances and set the crossover points, as well as EQ for your speakers. Just follow the instructions and suggestions in your manual.

You may need to turn your subwoofer down a little before you start, and bypass the sub's internal crossover, (or set it as high as it will go to get it out of the way), and let the receiver's crossover do the job. You don't want to cascade the crossovers; just use the one in the receiver. Also, set the Phase Control to "0" before you start.

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post #23 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

BTW: That sounds like a pretty powerful bass setup you have for your room with all those subs biggrin.gif

Ya think?? eek.gif

Out of curiosity, what is the size and layout of your room?

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post #24 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

I also have dual ED A7s-450 in the front of the room, and two cheap kicker subs right next to and pointing out the couch I sit on for some extra punch in the seats.
FOUR subwoofers? And in different parts of the room. frown.gif Right there is the definite possibility for nasty phase problems and all kinds of weird sub+sub AND sub+room interaction issues.

I'll bet once you get MCACC up and running it's going to be really "confused" because of this situation. So in my opinion depending on the size of your room, personally I would stick with one subwoofer (eighteen inches?!), at least to start with. This way you can get a feel for how these devices work & how highly dependent they are on the shape of the room, their exact location within that room, crossover point, phase settings and their interaction with the satellite speakers you're using with them.

Producing accurate bass has got to be one of the trickiest issues to deal with in home audio, even for experienced hobbyists, and that's just using ONE subwoofer!
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post #25 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

You really have no clue how to set up a modern receiver. The OP's problem is that the sub is too LOUD. That is a level calibration problem, not a crossover problem. His system needs to be calibrated. He needs to run MCACC or get an SPL meter and use the receiver's test tones to balance the levels of his speakers and subs.
OP, see Page 20 of your manual for instructions for running MCACC:
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/Manuals/Home/VSX-821-k_OperatingInstructions020711.pdf
It's very easy... just plug in the mic, place at your listening position, go into Setup, and selct Auto-MCACC. You'll hear a series of chirps, and then MCACC will set your calibration levels, speaker and subwoofer distances and set the crossover points, as well as EQ for your speakers. Just follow the instructions and suggestions in your manual.
You may need to turn your subwoofer down a little before you start, and bypass the sub's internal crossover, (or set it as high as it will go to get it out of the way), and let the receiver's crossover do the job. You don't want to cascade the crossovers; just use the one in the receiver. Also, set the Phase Control to "0" before you start.
Craig
^^^^^^ +1

BTW reading the manual will really help a lot, all you have to do to get to the cal menu is plug in the mic..
You will need to level match each sub one at a time.
So disconnect all but one and run the auto cal,
After the auto cal runs, check the subwoofer channel level.
Since you have twin A7s-450 subs(plus a couple of others), I am going to recommend that you shoot for a subwoofer channel trim level of +3dB after running autocal for each individual sub.
To achieve this... If the sub channel trim is less than +3 after auto cal reduce the volume control on the subwoofer and run the auto cal again.
Repeat this process until the AVR sets the subwoofer channel trim to +3dB.
Even if it seems like the sub volume is barely turned on this is the way to get your system setup correctly.
Disconnect the sub and connect a different one.
Repeat the cal process until you get that sub dialed in then disconnect and move to the next sub.
Do not adjust the volume control on any of the subs once you have completed this process.
Connect all the subs and run the auto cal again.
I would like to know what the AVR sets the subwoofer channel trim to now that all the subs are being used.
Hopefully it will not be much below -3dB, but in any case the system should sound significantly better.

Regards,
Charlie

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post #26 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 04:31 PM
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Out of curiosity, what is the size and layout of your room?

Yes, it would be nice to know that answer.

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post #27 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 04:44 PM
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Well, a little detective work revealed a large room. It also answered another key question, why he has two eD subwoofers and both of them work (he's only had them for about a month)!

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1410094/need-help-deciding-on-new-sub-s

Good luck with that mad.gif My first piece of advice, if eD has a 30 day money back guarantee and you still have time, return them.

Also, he sits about 20 ft away from his front speakers:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1413738/thinking-of-upgrading-center-speaker-to-a-more-dynamic-but-want-it-to-match-the-rest

Personally I would get a Radio Shack SPL meter and then follow Charlie and Craig's instructions.

Good luck.

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post #28 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Also, he sits about 20 ft away from his front speakers:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1413738/thinking-of-upgrading-center-speaker-to-a-more-dynamic-but-want-it-to-match-the-rest
Personally I would get a Radio Shack SPL meter and then follow Charlie and Craig's instructions.
Good luck.

Time to do some re-arranging, the Polks can only do so much.

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #29 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

I do not have an SPL meter, but I wouldn't be opposed to getting one. I had another thread on here where some people were helping me make sure it was set up correctly. I could never get it to go into a dynamic mode or mccac (I think??) I do have it crossing over at 100 hz and set to small speakers. I also boosted the decibles +6 center channel and +4 front corners and heard a slight improvement, but still not really even close.
If you have a iphone of android based phone, you can download a spl meter. Not the real thing, but from the reviews on the one I downloaded, it has great feed back.
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post #30 of 108 Old 06-19-2012, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Man guys sorry, I appreciate the help. I just got home from a fun little 13 hour day and my cousing popped out a baby so i'm not even gonna get to tinker tonight. I did spend 13 seconds and did my room in paint. Yellow are big subs, red are little subs, and blue are the speakers. The tv is up there in black. The 3 couches sit about 20 feet back from the tv.354359

The second picture is obviously before I got the new speakers and subs but may give you a general idea for the layout. be back hopefully soon maybe ill get a chance to wake the neighbors.
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