Mis-matching left and right rear surrounds - AVS Forum
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Bad idea? (My gut tells me of course it is)

The dilemma I have is this: The room is wide with only half of it being used as HT, with couch abutting right wall and left wall being 10' away, so I can't do in-wall side speakers, but also don't really have room for mounted, freestanding, or bookshelf rears (at least, not on the right side where the wall is)

So my only real options are:

a) In-ceiling rear surrounds (but I am running into some potential difficulties with this, as well -- don't have attic access, walls are funky... I can't find studs with my studfinder, so something is going on. Either something thick and dense is behind the drywall, or it's not drywall at all but actually plaster. My house is 110 years old, but when I stripped wallpaper it really looked far too smooth and even and crack-free to be plaster, so I doubt that. Unless it's drywall laid over plaster or something strange like that; won't be a problem for my front LCR, which are def. drywall on 16" stud spans)

b) Rear wall-mounted speakers behind couch (this does not seem ideal because sound will come straight forward instead of toward listening area)

c) A hybrid setup where I have an in-wall speaker to the right, coupled with a freestanding speaker (bookshelf/floorstand) to the left. I imagine it would be bad for left and right surrounds to be different brands or even models... is it possible to find some that are nearly identical, but with one being bookshelf and one being in-wall version, and would the sound be "close enough for government work" wink.gif?
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:06 PM
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Well I always thought it wasn't a big deal, however. I was wrong. I recently finally got matched rears and sides to my front stage and um yea. I'll never mismatch them again. Luckily for me I have paradigm and they make in walls too so maybe I'd be able to match speakers if I ever ran into this problem. Other speaker makers do too I'm sure.

Rearrange your room setup.

What speaker brand you have. Whats your room layout.

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Don't have speakers yet (well, I have an older budget Sony HTIB which has served its purpose, but time to retire)... trying to figure out my mistakes before I make them.

Room is super difficult to rearrange, honestly. I could do it if I switched from projector to flat-panel TV, but honestly we really love our projector and the huge, crisp image it produces (and it fits perfectly in this specific corner of our room); long-ways the room won't work because it would have the front house door on one side, kitchen opening behind, and window at the other end. Just won't work. We basically have one layout, and as much as I love audio and cinema (you could find my name on IMDB), and I'm normally a function-over-form kind of guy... I have to put room and aesthetics first on this one.

I'm still trying to figure it all out. Getting closer, thanks to a lot of research -- I don't have time nor proximity to hi-fi distributors to do a lot of auditioning (I live in Napa Valley... there might be some good ones in SF area, but it's more than a short drive), so I'm going to have to go on specs, reviews, recommendations, budget, and my gut.

As of right now, I'm leaning toward possibly Polks all around (except for subwoofer, they seem sub-par for that), but also considering other budget lines including Mordaunt Short, Energy, Monoprice, Def Tech... currently investigating Sonance and Boston Acoustics.

I've heard one too many people talk about listening fatigue and harshness of Klipsch for me to think it's all in their heads -- I'd probably be sensitive like them. In fact, I'm tempted to steer towards silk domes altogether, based solely on all the internet research I have done...
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

Bad idea? (My gut tells me of course it is)

It would be less than ideal, but people often have to make compromises of one kind or another.
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

The dilemma I have is this: The room is wide with only half of it being used as HT, with couch abutting right wall and left wall being 10' away, so I can't do in-wall side speakers

Why do you believe that you can't? confused.gif
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c) A hybrid setup where I have an in-wall speaker to the right, coupled with a freestanding speaker (bookshelf/floorstand) to the left. I imagine it would be bad for left and right surrounds to be different brands or even models... is it possible to find some that are nearly identical, but with one being bookshelf and one being in-wall version, and would the sound be "close enough for government work" wink.gif?

This is not going to be a very satisfying answer, I suppose, but it depends on how important the surround channels and speakers are to you. There appear to be quite a few people around here who say, in no uncertain terms, that the surrounds aren't very important at all, and that they would gladly forgo them rather than compromise on the front speakers and subwoofer (when budget is an issue). Then there are those, like me, who insist on having relatively large, high quality, high output surrounds in their own systems, and would gladly pay the premium for this (provided that the fronts and sub are well taken care of). Then of course there are people somewhere in between the extremes. Since you appear to have some experience with home theater already, do you have any idea where you are in this continuum?
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Well I always thought it wasn't a big deal, however. I was wrong. I recently finally got matched rears and sides to my front stage and um yea. I'll never mismatch them again.

In all honesty, this issue has been a long, step-by-step learning process for me; movie soundtracks have changed, too, which makes any standard we shoot for a moving target. In a nutshell, with crappy speakers all around I thought that surrounds added a lot to both movies and two-channel stereo music (with surround processing like DPLII), but did not need to be very capable; with upgraded front speakers, I found the now-unmatched, inferior surrounds to be an unnecessary distraction for two-channel music, which sounded so much better on its own, but my view regarding movies stayed the same; and finally with fully-matched surrounds (matched to each other and the front speakers), I realized to my surprise how "cohesive" and "transparent" the entire sound field could be. By the latter, I mean that I'm no longer even aware of having surround speakers most of the time--the sounds simply come from where they're supposed to, as opposed to the surround speakers calling attention to themselves like they did before. This is why I frankly feel guilty whenever I recommend less capable or mismatched surrounds, which I feel that I'm forced to do because of rather limited budgets. Like I said, most of us must compromise in some ways, and relatively speaking it is more important to have quality front speakers and a good subwoofer. I still timbre-match speakers all around whenever I can, though, as it makes a very noticeable improvement for me (especially with so many modern movie soundtracks having multichannel scores), while others still consider having matched surrounds (or even any surrounds at all) an unnecessary luxury.
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As of right now, I'm leaning toward possibly Polks all around (except for subwoofer, they seem sub-par for that), but also considering other budget lines including Mordaunt Short, Energy, Monoprice, Def Tech... currently investigating Sonance and Boston Acoustics.

Why don't we keep your placement issues in mind while addressing the system as a whole right now? What are your budget, room dimensions, listening preferences, etc.?
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Why do you believe that you can't? confused.gif

By "can't do" an in-wall from an additional 10-11' away... I know that technically you can, but I have a strong feeling it would be very strange; even though I might be able to adjust the delay and volume level accordingly, the other acoustics of dispersion (much more diffused and bounced off the walls and floor from that far away), etc. could introduce some very bizarre effects, I presume. Equidistant, matched speakers angled to listener seems better (and possible with angled in-ceilings)
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This is not going to be a very satisfying answer, I suppose, but it depends on how important the surround channels and speakers are to you. There appear to be quite a few people around here who say, in no uncertain terms, that the surrounds aren't very important at all, and that they would gladly forgo them rather than compromise on the front speakers and subwoofer (when budget is an issue). Then there are those, like me, who insist on having relatively large, high quality, high output surrounds in their own systems, and would gladly pay the premium for this (provided that the fronts and sub are well taken care of). Then of course there are people somewhere in between the extremes. Since you appear to have some experience with home theater already, do you have any idea where you are in this continuum?

I definitely feel like surrounds add to the experience quite a bit. I don't listen to high-def surround/multi-track music, so the surround concern would be primarily for cinema. I feel like the argument is much like the argument for/against 3D movies; sure, the 3D may be unnecessary -- and may sometimes even be annoying or a distraction -- but other times it really adds to suspension of disbelief and immersion in the experience (one example I can think of is the movie Coraline -- the 3D wasn't there to titillate like a cheap gimmick or thrill ride. Instead, it was very subtle but brought the setting/scenery to life really made me feel like I was there)

Same t hing with good surrounds (and good 5.1+ mixing of the audio); they "put you there". For some movies (like romantic comedies, perhaps), completely irrelevant. For others... Saving Private Ryan, Master and Commander, etc. -- they can have amazing effect.

With our last system, they were HTIB bookshelf speakers and the wires created a lot of clutter, so we would tuck them away and then bring them out and wire them up when desired. it got to be cumbersome, so we ended up just doing away with them and watching in essentially 3.1. It usually worked pretty well, but just wasn't quite the same...

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Why don't we keep your placement issues in mind while addressing the system as a whole right now? What are your budget, room dimensions, listening preferences, etc.?

I don't have a precise budget, but I'm aiming at under $2000. Right now to me, it's not about "the best" nor "the cheapest", but the "best bang for the buck"; I don't want to go cheap if it's going to sound like crap, but I also don't want to spend 4x as much for something that is barely better. I'm currently strongly leaning towards Polk RCi/RT series or Monoprice, because they are both inexpensive and offer full sets of matched speakers (but in either case I plan to go with a different brand subwoofer: SVS, Hsu, Outlaw, or Velodyne) I'm also researching and considering Def Tech (in which case I can pair with their own subwoofer), Sonance, or Boston Acoustics.
I like that, for a low price, I can get 3-way silk-dome LCR and angled-woofer (plus pivoting tweeter) ceiling speakers from Monoprice. Otherwise, I'm still researching. Will probably use a Denon 1612 receiver (at almost half the price of 1613, the 1613 doesn't seem to offer much more; I've considered Onkyo, but have seen a lot of bad reviews of power supplies and HDMI going out, and that lack of reliability really concerns me).


I am wary of metal domes and horns due to the listener fatigue I've heard so much about. I'm sure they're great for crisp, bright highs and sensitivity, but I sometimes listen to music all day long, or do movie marathons of 2-3 movies in a day...
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:11 PM
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I am wary of metal domes and horns due to the listener fatigue I've heard so much about. I'm sure they're great for crisp, bright highs and sensitivity, but I sometimes listen to music all day long, or do movie marathons of 2-3 movies in a day...

That is subjective and not a guarantee - I have owned metal dome tweeter speakers, that I can listen to
all day long with no ear fatigue. I have owned speakers with silk dome tweeters, that gave me ear fatigue
and wore me out. It all comes down to the design and engineering, of the specific speaker.
There is no guarantee - that cheaper list price speakers with certain driver materials, are going to be clean
and smooth sounding. Weigh out everything carefully, and do not get caught up in a lot of praise for some
of the poular budget speakers. Buyer's remores tends to happen from time to time, and is not fun.

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Old 06-22-2012, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, of course I am not trying to generalize to that degree. From what I understand, some of the very high-end metal tweeters (beryllium, in particular) can be fantastic. Crisp, clear, dynamic, bright, but without harshness and off-colored ringing/resonance.

But since I am looking at the low-end ones, it seems the soft-domes and hornless ones are more forgiving than the metal ones... in other words, it just seems like a "safer bet" that my ears aren't going to bleed (though I'm also trying to assure that the sounds are not too fuzzy, muddied, or murky, which is the opposite end of the spectrum)
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:51 PM
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I sort of had a similar issue as you in that I could not really have any speakers on the sides. So I put bipoles on the rear wall (Axiom QS8's). They sound fantastic, except they are clearer than my fronts, so there is some difference sometimes when sounds transition from front to rears. But that's probably just because my fronts have a pretty muddy sound which I plan on upgrading. Or it could be because the fronts don't match the surrounds as people say. But that's a whole other issue--having bipole surrounds on the rear wall in a 5.1 system do work great for surround sound, at least for me

Here's a link that convinced me it wouldn't be as bad as I imagined to have surrounds on the rear wall, at least bipoles:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=170720

There, you could see that bipoles on the rear is rated as an excellent option.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I suppose bipoles in the direct rear would be an option. I was partially trying to avoid rear flush-mounts because they will stick out like a sore thumb (even when painted) because they would be the first thing you see when you walk in my front door.

BUT! I think I have found a solution, and I won't even need to hack into my walls or ceiling at all to do so (for the rear -- I will still be cutting the front LCR holes.)

Since I am custom making a shelf over the seating area (about 7' up), I though about ways I can work with (or around) that. At first I thought it would be bad because if I extend the shelf to the end of the wall, then it would block the in-ceilings on both sides (and chances are it would block some of the dispersion towards the middle/sweet spot regardless). I thought about using some brackets to mount some bookshelf speakers on the bottom, aimed to listening area (sort of like gullwing car doors), but that would be very garish and glaring to see.

Then I realized that, since the shelf will be 1 x 12, I can treat it like a "false ceiling" and can just use a ceiling-mount speaker directly in the shelf! So I am going to cut the opening for (probably 6.5") round coaxials and mount them in right on bottom of the shelf ends. The rear of the speaker will stick out, but for this I can build a wood box or maybe just even use some sort of pre-made decorative box to place overtop of the speaker rear and create a camouflaged baffle that just sits on top of the shelf (and maybe looks like a hat-box or something)

Bonus: I will be able to run all of my wires hidden along the shelf (no need to go in-wall) and then down the corner behind a piece of corner molding.


This all came about because when I used my stud-finder on my back wall, weird things were happening... it couldn't find any studs! (or, rather, couldn't find any empty space between studs); my house is over 100 years old, but when I stripped the wallpaper, it looked like drywall underneath (not plaster), so I was very confused. But I measured the wall and it is 7" thick, so it appears they may have taken the original walls (maybe even lath and plaster) and possibly even covered a double-door entrance to the bedroom, and used furring, etc. to build out and attach drywall directly over it. I have no way of knowing, but I didn't want to be cutting into it just to dissect my wall and see what's going on (and potentially hitting a stud, or lath and plaster, etc.)


So, I'm pretty excited about this solution, and I love the fact that it leaves my rear wall (and side walls, and ceiling) completely unscathed, saves me headache and effort by not needed to fish wires, and allows me to easily swap out my surrounds at any time (all I would need to do is buy a new piece of 1 x 12 board and cut new holes, if different size needed), while still giving the aesthetic (ie hidden/minimalistic) benefits of flush in-walls... [this also means I can easily get a timbre-matched 5-piece set]
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

By "can't do" an in-wall from an additional 10-11' away... I know that technically you can, but I have a strong feeling it would be very strange; even though I might be able to adjust the delay and volume level accordingly, the other acoustics of dispersion (much more diffused and bounced off the walls and floor from that far away), etc. could introduce some very bizarre effects, I presume. Equidistant, matched speakers angled to listener seems better (and possible with angled in-ceilings)

OK, I wanted to make sure that there weren't any additional placement issues. While it is true that you are always going to have some strange effects due to asymmetry, if you think about it this is always the case for every viewer except for the one in the very center. In my view, it is a compromise, but possibly a bearable one. In my view, the other option--placing both surround speakers close to the seats--is also a compromise in that now you'd have TWO viewers that are right next to a surround speaker instead of one, which is arguably even more asymmetrical in its own way. With surround speakers, distance is your friend because it generally ameliorates the effects of asymmetry, even if, ironically, your surround setup as a whole is asymmetrical. On top of this, the strange effects brought up earlier should at least partially be taken care of by room correction.
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I definitely feel like surrounds add to the experience quite a bit. I don't listen to high-def surround/multi-track music, so the surround concern would be primarily for cinema.

Ah, but cinematic scores are where you'll find most multichannel surround music these days. smile.gif
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I feel like the argument is much like the argument for/against 3D movies; sure, the 3D may be unnecessary -- and may sometimes even be annoying or a distraction -- but other times it really adds to suspension of disbelief and immersion in the experience (one example I can think of is the movie Coraline -- the 3D wasn't there to titillate like a cheap gimmick or thrill ride. Instead, it was very subtle but brought the setting/scenery to life really made me feel like I was there)

In addition, I think that the feeling of being there is enhanced by fidelity and close timbre-matching, just like with the front channels.
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Oh, of course I am not trying to generalize to that degree. From what I understand, some of the very high-end metal tweeters (beryllium, in particular) can be fantastic. Crisp, clear, dynamic, bright, but without harshness and off-colored ringing/resonance.

But since I am looking at the low-end ones, it seems the soft-domes and hornless ones are more forgiving than the metal ones... in other words, it just seems like a "safer bet" that my ears aren't going to bleed (though I'm also trying to assure that the sounds are not too fuzzy, muddied, or murky, which is the opposite end of the spectrum)

As with so many other things, it's not the materials per se, it's what you do with them that ultimately matters. While there may be some truth to the generalizations among less expensive speakers, you wouldn't want to pick one of the exceptions to the rule, so it is never advisable to choose speakers based on cone/dome (diaphragm) materials.
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I sort of had a similar issue as you in that I could not really have any speakers on the sides. So I put bipoles on the rear wall (Axiom QS8's). They sound fantastic, except they are clearer than my fronts, so there is some difference sometimes when sounds transition from front to rears. But that's probably just because my fronts have a pretty muddy sound which I plan on upgrading. Or it could be because the fronts don't match the surrounds as people say. But that's a whole other issue--having bipole surrounds on the rear wall in a 5.1 system do work great for surround sound, at least for me

This configuration can work well enough when the back wall is fairly close, but for me there is too much reflected sound that makes the speakers sound different (or more so) from the front speakers.
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Here's a link that convinced me it wouldn't be as bad as I imagined to have surrounds on the rear wall, at least bipoles:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=170720

Yikes, I could not possibly DISagree more with the majority of this linked post. eek.gif I consider deliberately striving for an artificially "spacious" sound obsolete--a relic of the Pro Logic (original version) and Dolby Surround days (only a mono surround channel with poor fidelity and separation to work with).
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Then I realized that, since the shelf will be 1 x 12, I can treat it like a "false ceiling" and can just use a ceiling-mount speaker directly in the shelf! So I am going to cut the opening for (probably 6.5") round coaxials and mount them in right on bottom of the shelf ends. The rear of the speaker will stick out, but for this I can build a wood box or maybe just even use some sort of pre-made decorative box to place overtop of the speaker rear and create a camouflaged baffle that just sits on top of the shelf (and maybe looks like a hat-box or something)

That's an interesting idea, and I think that it would work fine for that side, but isn't the other side still an issue, or have you decided what to do with it already?
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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That's an interesting idea, and I think that it would work fine for that side, but isn't the other side still an issue, or have you decided what to do with it already?

Oh, I think you misunderstood my configuration; the shelf will not be on the side wall, but will actually be directly above the seating / viewing area at the rear of the room. The shelf will be 1" thick by 12" deep by 10-12' long -- meaning that I will be able to mount in-ceiling speakers into the shelf at both ends, and they will perfectly surround the viewing area and be located directly across from the front L and R speakers.

The only drawback I can see is that I will have to go with 6.5" in-ceiling, when I was originally planning to do 8" ones (the 8" ones would be a 11" hole in the 12" board)
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:55 PM
 
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I forget your budget but you might want to consider something like Triad. You can get enclosed in wall speakers for the front and surrounds. Mini LCRs with silver (6.5") inceiling sealed rounds would have an MSRP of $2300. If that is too much you could use the Bronze Satellite with mini (4") sealed rounds for an MSRP of $1400. Some options in between as well. All your speakers would be sealed for good consisitent sound plus Triad paint matches the grills for no extra cost. The sealed in-ceiling speakers would be a plus for use with that shelf. Most open back ceiling speakers are in a big cavity and if you build a box around them it will definitely change the sound. I might still build a box around the sealed speakers for aesthetics but at least the sound would be as designed.

Actually the dual tweeter model might be a good option in taht situation. You could use it in Bi-pole mode or use one tweeter for the side surrounds and one for the rears in a 7.1, you are probably too close to do the latter but it is neat if you have the right setup to make a 7.1 system.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:51 AM
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Oh, I think you misunderstood my configuration; the shelf will not be on the side wall, but will actually be directly above the seating / viewing area at the rear of the room.

Yes, for some reason I had thought that there was some distance between the seats and the back wall. If you're right up against it, pretty much, then your solution seems sound, especially since the surround speakers wouldn't be as high up as they would be if they were truly in-ceiling. Note, however, that you cannot completely avoid all of the effects of room asymmetry, as one side wall being closer to the seats will have a more audible effect, I believe, than one speaker being farther away than the other (once the latter is compensated for). It should still work fine, though--few home theaters are ideal in this way, but that doesn't mean they aren't good enough.
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The shelf will be 1" thick by 12" deep by 10-12' long -- meaning that I will be able to mount in-ceiling speakers into the shelf at both ends, and they will perfectly surround the viewing area and be located directly across from the front L and R speakers.

As for surround speaker placement, I still don't have a complete picture of your layout regarding things such as which seat would be the most central, as in right in front of the screen and in the "sweet spot" relative to the front speakers, but in your place I would (and have done so in a couple of HTs, including my own) locate the surround speakers relative to this central seat (as opposed to the seating area as a whole), so that there would be at least one viewing location that has everything, except for the side walls, symmetrical. With this configuration, I think that you should aim the tweeters at the central seat, including slightly forward if possible to minimize reflections off the back wall. That is, unless you want those reflections to spread and "diffuse" the sound, but I think this could sound harsh with the back wall being so close. I'd also recommend staying away from dipoles and bipoles, the former because they only work as intended when pointed straight at the viewers anyway (from the side walls, exactly even with the viewers), and the latter because they would accentuate the asymmetry of the room (since there would be drivers firing straight into a nearby wall on one side).
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Yes, for some reason I had thought that there was some distance between the seats and the back wall. If you're right up against it, pretty much, then your solution seems sound, especially since the surround speakers wouldn't be as high up as they would be if they were truly in-ceiling. Note, however, that you cannot completely avoid all of the effects of room asymmetry, as one side wall being closer to the seats will have a more audible effect, I believe, than one speaker being farther away than the other (once the latter is compensated for). It should still work fine, though--few home theaters are ideal in this way, but that doesn't mean they aren't good enough.
As for surround speaker placement, I still don't have a complete picture of your layout regarding things such as which seat would be the most central, as in right in front of the screen and in the "sweet spot" relative to the front speakers, but in your place I would (and have done so in a couple of HTs, including my own) locate the surround speakers relative to this central seat (as opposed to the seating area as a whole), so that there would be at least one viewing location that has everything, except for the side walls, symmetrical. With this configuration, I think that you should aim the tweeters at the central seat, including slightly forward if possible to minimize reflections off the back wall. That is, unless you want those reflections to spread and "diffuse" the sound, but I think this could sound harsh with the back wall being so close. I'd also recommend staying away from dipoles and bipoles, the former because they only work as intended when pointed straight at the viewers anyway (from the side walls, exactly even with the viewers), and the latter because they would accentuate the asymmetry of the room (since there would be drivers firing straight into a nearby wall on one side).

I essentially have a 3 seater sofa directly across from viewing area; rear/surround speakers will be mounted just above and barely to the side of those 3 seats, so obviously the middle seat is going to be the sweet spot, the two side seats will be much less ideal, but it's just my wife and I most of the time so it won't matter much. Actually, it's a 5 seater corner sectional (3 across, then 2 more like a love seat on the side wall), so obviously those side 2 seats would suck, both for viewing angle and for audio; most likely, we won't have people sit there if we are going to watch something (I would set out a couple of chairs in front of the rear sofa, or maybe just do some floor seating)

I don't really get the hype and allure of the diffuse sound, to be honest. I understand it can fill a room better and be better for multiple seating arrangements, but for a home theater being used by just a couple of people, it seems silly, and seems like it was kill some of the clarity and directionality which are exactly why I want surrounds in the first place, not just for "ambience". So I agree with you that I don't plan on going the bipole/dipole route.

In fact, between the responses in this thread and some of my others, I plan on going with a Speakercraft AIM setup to allow me to get the best directionality possible -- this series allows me to pivot/direct the whole array, both the woofers and the tweeter: AIM 1 LCR for center, AIM Cinema One (which is a 3-way with essentially the AIM 1 LCR with 2 additional woofers) for L and R, and AIM8 One or AIM7 Two ceiling speakers for surrounds.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

I essentially have a 3 seater sofa directly across from viewing area; rear/surround speakers will be mounted just above and barely to the side of those 3 seats, so obviously the middle seat is going to be the sweet spot, the two side seats will be much less ideal, but it's just my wife and I most of the time so it won't matter much.

OK, your solution seems like a good one to me. cool.gif
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Actually, it's a 5 seater corner sectional (3 across, then 2 more like a love seat on the side wall), so obviously those side 2 seats would suck, both for viewing angle and for audio; most likely, we won't have people sit there if we are going to watch something (I would set out a couple of chairs in front of the rear sofa, or maybe just do some floor seating)

Your home theater seems more like mine with each descriptive comment. wink.gif
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I don't really get the hype and allure of the diffuse sound, to be honest. I understand it can fill a room better and be better for multiple seating arrangements, but for a home theater being used by just a couple of people, it seems silly, and seems like it was kill some of the clarity and directionality which are exactly why I want surrounds in the first place, not just for "ambience". So I agree with you that I don't plan on going the bipole/dipole route.

Everything I've witnessed in the evolution of movie soundtracks and experienced in installing multiple home theaters for people I know supports our view. And yes, I sometimes turn off the other speakers and listen to just the surround channels to help develop an understanding of what to expect from the soundtracks and ultimately from the surround speakers. I'm not saying that others couldn't or shouldn't prefer dipoles and processing that make the surround channels more diffuse, but they're throwing out some well-mastered portions of the soundtrack and some pretty bodacious (and intentional) directional effects in doing so. The single surround channel of old Dolby Surround soundtracks may have needed some help to sound big, but those of modern soundtracks, in my opinion, do not (and Pro Logic II does a decent job with older soundtracks).
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

In fact, between the responses in this thread and some of my others, I plan on going with a Speakercraft AIM setup to allow me to get the best directionality possible -- this series allows me to pivot/direct the whole array, both the woofers and the tweeter: AIM 1 LCR for center, AIM Cinema One (which is a 3-way with essentially the AIM 1 LCR with 2 additional woofers) for L and R, and AIM8 One or AIM7 Two ceiling speakers for surrounds.

This seems like a good idea to me. One thing that I wonder about, however, is that the manuals say that the Cinema One has a sensitivity of only 85 dB, while the LCR 1 has a sensitivity of 89 dB, which means that for the same loudness the Cinema One requires 2.5 times the amount of amplifier power. Since you're going to use a subwoofer anyway, perhaps it would be better to go with three LCR 1s instead. Just a thought. As for the surrounds, just install them where you described, and pivot their tweeters toward the central seat, inward and forward (away from the back wall), and you should be fine, I think.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

This seems like a good idea to me. One thing that I wonder about, however, is that the manuals say that the Cinema One has a sensitivity of only 85 dB, while the LCR 1 has a sensitivity of 89 dB, which means that for the same loudness the Cinema One requires 2.5 times the amount of amplifier power. Since you're going to use a subwoofer anyway, perhaps it would be better to go with three LCR 1s instead. Just a thought. As for the surrounds, just install them where you described, and pivot their tweeters toward the central seat, inward and forward (away from the back wall), and you should be fine, I think.

Hmm, where did you find this info, when I check the SpeakerCraft site, it says the Cinema One and LCR 1 both have a sensitivity of 89 dB...
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

Hmm, where did you find this info, when I check the SpeakerCraft site, it says the Cinema One and LCR 1 both have a sensitivity of 89 dB...

You are correct, but the AIM Cinema owner's manual says otherwise (see the specs on the second-to-last page):

http://www.speakercraft.com/productdownloads/doc_download/31-aim-cinema-manual

The data is consistent between the website and manual for the LCR 1, but not for the Cinema One. Perhaps the AIM Cinema manual is wrong, but in any case I thought I'd bring it to your attention.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, interesting. Yes, I hadn't checked the manual yet.

My thought with going with a bigger 3-way system like this was that I would get better separation of lows and mids, and that I could set a lower crossover for the sub, dedicating it to only the lowest frequencies (and meanwhile also having more directional low frequencies from the front)... but it does seem like the manual is probably correct, not the web page. Guess I'd have to contact SpeakerCraft to be sure.

It may be a moot point if I can't find a way to use them.

I am currently also looking at KEF T101 or T301 and Boston Acoustics P430 or P442...
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