I apologize for the long post. I am trying to give enough information for knowledgeable people to respond. The gist of my post though is: "I want to upgrade from tiny soundworks II movie speakers to something that will give me great musical sound into a 7.1 system in my living room; I don't have to buy everything at once."
I always listen to music at home. My source of music is iTunes using mp3s/mp4s. I would say that the majority of the bitrate on those is in the 200-something bps. Right now I am using a pair of Cambridge Soundworks MovieWorks II front speakers (http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speaker-systems/cambridge-soundworks-movieworks-ii/4507-7868_7-31291870.html
). I also have, but am not currently using, the matching 8" powered sub, their bipole/dipole surround speakers and their center channel plus (with five speakers instead of the 3 in the original set).
I haven't plugged the sub in in a few years but I remember that transition from the mains to the sub was very noticeable with music, and so I would only use mains (and sometimes center too) for music. The sub was a bit boomy.
I do not listen to music at very high volumes but I listen all the time. I also want something that gives the music more presence than it has with the small speakers I have right now. The music will be amplified by a modern AVR (Yamaha 3010 or 2010 or Denon 2112---whichever one I keep; I'll try them with the speakers I get and will keep the cheapest one that does what I want well if they sound the same---there is $400-$600 in savings going from one of the Yamahas down to the Denon). In addition to music listening, I watch shows or a movie maybe once or a couple times a week, and my kids play Xbox (a lot: they are kids). I want good sound for movies eventually, but can take my time, especially if I can reuse some of my Cambridge for starters for surrounds. Also when I am around, the kids switch to a headset for Xbox and we're back to music on the speakers.
I am putting photographs of the room below (taken as I was moving clockwise to show all sides), as well as the room dimension. Here are some of my considerations:
- Money does matter but I am also fine investing for the future. At a time I was considering the Monoprice speakers for in wall, but I don't know if they'll give me what I want for music or I'll like the in-wall look on that wall (which may apply to more expensive in-walls like the Def Tech RLS series).
- I actually like the look of towers, I just need to size them for my room so they're not obnoxious or in the way.
- I do not know anything. Which is why for example I did not order the $399 Polk RTI A9 on Newegg.com this weekend (now out of stock in cherry and back to $749 for black)
- Since I do not know anything I plan to go and try and audition speakers (Bellevue/Seattle area; any recommendations?)
- I have a small house so I'd like things to not be obnoxiously big (hence my in-wall comment).
- I might/could swap the little bench under the projection wall for the audio cabinet which is right now under the photograph. It would mean less wiring in walls for sure (though I bought what I needed already) and it might be better with towers. But this is the walking path so I am trying to not overload it.
- I could mount the bipole/dipole I have for back surround (right under the ceiling by the wall) or install in-ceiling (and then do sides too for 7.1)... or do both at different times to budget?
- I have not budgeted but up to $1,500 or so would probably be in the right range to start (fronts + a matching center if it's important to match from the start + decent subwoofer if mine is not reusable for now) . It may depend also on which receiver I keep too.
The ceilings are 8' high. The distance from the wall I am projecting on and the opposite wall (windows and fireplace) is a bit over 13'. Sitting is between 6'-8' (closest seats on the couch) to ~11' away from the front wall (chair and far seat of couch), or ~2-3' from the back wall. The long dimension of the room is 24' to the back wall and 14' to the white cabinets off the kitchen. The rail above the wainscoting is at 30" high.
From the couch our seating is low compared to the screen: ear level is level with the bottom of the screen. (Well that's because there is no screen and I am not projecting over the molding!). I also spend 90% of my time in the kitchen and the far black chair which is better for my back, so the speakers will not be facing me at those times; I may use the surrounds to get a bigger sound field (?).
Sorry for the long email. As I said I don't know anything and it's a bit overwhelming given the choices and price ranges. I need some direction
Thanks A LOT in advance!
- The wall I am projecting on (don't mind the big box full of Monoprice cables):
- The hallway and wall to the right of the "screen:"
- Back wall, first half:
- Back wall, second half:
- Right side wall (with couch in foreground); I do sit and listen to music from that far black rather than the couch most of the time.
- View along the screen back towards kitchen