Please help! Absolute newbie here! - AVS Forum
Speakers > Please help! Absolute newbie here!
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 12:20 PM 01-22-2013
I'm having my new home built and have a dedicated bonus room that I will use for my HT room. It's 19x23x9. My screen will be on one of the 23' walls. I've already purchased the projector and receiver but am clueless on speakers and wiring so I have a few simple questions to start.

1) My builder is pre-wiring for 7.1. I know what 7.1 means but what do I get by pre-wiring? My builder said that they generally put the speakers in the ceiling. Is the wiring just electrical wiring or should any kind of cables be included?

2) I'm assuming that I should be shopping for in-ceiling speakers so I went to my local BB and spoke with the Magnolia staff. Of course they showed me speakers that were about $1200 each which is way more than I'm looking to spend. However, when he used the Martin Logan Helos 20s I could definitely live with that sound and price (about $300 there, cheaper online). My question is what other options should I be looking for for the in-ceiling speakers in that price range or less?

3) I have no idea about what kind of sub (power or otherwise) that I should be looking for. What would you guys suggest?

Sorry if these are pretty basic questions but I'm just looking to get started. I have until May before we move in but want to be ready to go by then. Thanks for any suggestions.

Jay1's Avatar Jay1 12:32 PM 01-22-2013
Tell your builder you don't want the ceiling wired... your center channel should be wired dead center of where the screen will be located, and the left/right speakers around 4-6 feet on each side at the same height as the center. The surrounds should be just above ear level directly to the sides of your seating, and for 7.1 two more centered behind your seating. Do not wire in ceiling.

What's your budget?
commsysman's Avatar commsysman 12:33 PM 01-22-2013
For wiring, get the Monoprice #2821 wire. This is a 250 foot spool of #14 speaker wire with an outer protective jacket for inwall use; around $55.

I would tell your builder that you want the 4" x 4" electrical boxes for the speaker wires to be 4-5 feet above the floor and that you are NOT NOT doing in-ceiling speakers (which suck).

You can either run wire from there to inwall speakers or conventional speakers. Just tell him to leave a foot or so of wire hanging out of each box and you can select the type of wall plate later (screw terminals, 1/4 inch phone jacks or whatever).

For really good sound, you want freestanding speakers, not inwall. Inwall gives you half the sound quality for twice the money IMO. Some people have to live with that, but don't do it if you can avoid it.

A subwoofer needs to sit on the floor for decent output; no exceptions. Forget about any sort of built-in unit.
DonH50's Avatar DonH50 12:39 PM 01-22-2013
Before buying equipment you might consider doing a room build that isolates it from the rest of the house acoustically. Usually means floating walls, ceiling, and floor if not on concrete (bottom level room). Also isolating from the house HVAC ducts that transmit sound everywhere; I used a Fujitsu minisplit unit so the media room is on its own heating/cooling system. You'll also need an external air source for fresh air; I did not do anything special with that since I live in a quiet area with plenty of space between houses (2.5-acre lots). I used Kiinetics Iso-Clips plus 6" mineral wool for the walls and ceiling and the contractors had no problem. After all that I can crank the stereo at 1 AM while my kid is sleeping in the room on the other side of the wall.

Pre-wiring is pulling wires for speakers to where you think they'll be mounted. It sometimes includes outlet boxes. Can also include network wiring, cable wiring, etc. I personally don't pre-wire speakers, as I always seem to need them someplace a little different than I thought, so I just run wires along the floor or ceiling. I did prewire for cable, and included a couple of 20-A drops so I had plenty of power to the media room. I also included a couple of switched outlets for floor lights. I ended up with a single standard 15-A run for lights and "back" outlets plus two 20-A drops along the front wall for all the HT stuff. You may also want to prewire for a ceiling-mounted projector (power and interconnect wiring). You'll need to decide what you want and where.

You might want to hook up with a local audio shop to help design the room and wiring.

Can't help on the speakers. I have Rythmik subs and love them but there are many choices. It's a good-sized room; for HT a couple of FV15's should work nicely.

HTH - Don
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 12:56 PM 01-22-2013
Thanks for the advice so far guys! I'm getting a feeling that you guys aren't fans of in-ceiling speakers. Unfortunately I'm not sure how much choice I have as they won't allow a third party to pre-wire it and I'd rather have something done up front. I'll talk to the builder to see if he will let me talk to the wiring guy so I can try and setup something more custom than they usually do. We had already discussed having the pre-wiring for the projector so I just need to figure out where to place it. The screen will be on the long wall and will have walk-in attic access behind it. The closet on the same side of the room in the corner will house my equipment. The sides will be pretty far from the seating so what would you guys suggest for placement of the speakers that normally go on the side?
commsysman's Avatar commsysman 01:01 PM 01-22-2013
I think you will probably have to have the side speakers out in the room somewhere, either on dedicated speaker stands or some sort of table. Round "occasional" tables (like they park potted plants on) make good speaker stands and are usually more acceptable to the decor supervisor, since they can be any furniture style that matches.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 01:19 PM 01-22-2013
So should I just not have them do the pre-wire if they can't do it the way I want? I'm not crafty nor tech saavy so I'm real not confident in my abilities to do it myself.
Kamikaze13's Avatar Kamikaze13 01:24 PM 01-22-2013
Well if they run the speaker wire and you end up wanting your speakers in a different place, you will just have to run new speaker wire. You're paying them, so they'll pretty much have to put it where you want it.

If you plan on having front speakers then get them to run wire to that area and leave excess so you have some flexibility.
Jay1's Avatar Jay1 02:17 PM 01-22-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangeballer View Post

So should I just not have them do the pre-wire if they can't do it the way I want? I'm not crafty nor tech saavy so I'm real not confident in my abilities to do it myself.

No point in paying them to do something you wont get good results from. They should do what you want, or not do it at all. Can you post a blueprint of the room or something like that, so we can highlight where everything should be?
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 02:43 PM 01-22-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

No point in paying them to do something you wont get good results from. They should do what you want, or not do it at all. Can you post a blueprint of the room or something like that, so we can highlight where everything should be?

Trying to post a pic but am having issues here at work. Will try again once I get home.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 09:18 PM 01-22-2013


Here's a pic of my room: The screen will go on the far right wall and there is walk-in attic access on both sides of the room. My equipment will go in the closet that's pictured in the bottom right corner. Look forward to hearing your suggestions.
Jay1's Avatar Jay1 09:43 PM 01-22-2013
I'm guessing those are windows along the inside wall? You'll have to excuse the poor paint skills, and this is not to scale, but this is how I would arrange that room



Obviously I didnt measure anything out with those locations, you would want everything equally spaced and centered around the listening position, that is just the basic setup I would go with.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 10:08 PM 01-22-2013
The windows are at the top of the room. The bottom is a staircase so there isn't a wall there. Thanks for the help. I'm not familiar with the different power outputs for each of the speakers. What should I be looking for for the front, sides, rear, and sub in terms of that? Also, what's a good value in an "acoustically transparent" screen?
Jay1's Avatar Jay1 10:21 PM 01-22-2013
You'll have to ask about the screen in that sub-forum.

http://www.avsforum.com/f/23/screens

What's your total budget for audio? You cant really go off of the "specs" as manufacturers fabricate them.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 05:20 AM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

What's your total budget for audio? You cant really go off of the "specs" as manufacturers fabricate them.

I'm not sure what my budget is since we're still trying to buy so many things for the house and my "room" isn't at the top of the priority list. I'm all about value so the best bang for you buck is really what I'm looking for. I see myself starting at 5.1 and then adding the other 2 speakers later. If I had to put a price on it I'd like to stay under 2K for my audio but even lower is better. I'm always online searching for deals and just want to know what I need to be looking for. Sorry if this is still too vague. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Jay1's Avatar Jay1 11:06 AM 01-23-2013
Budget's a little tight, but you can still get an impressive high output theater for $2k.

For the L/C/R three of these speakers installed VERTICALLY behind the screen. They're 6" deep, but you may need to sofit mount behind the screen depending on how the screen is installed (cut a recess into wall, fill area around speakers in recess with fiberglass/foam/insulation)

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-Acoustech-PL-28-Center-Speaker/dp/B001VIPUFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1358963385&sr=1-1&keywords=bic+pl28

Surrounds

http://www.amazon.com/America-FH-65B-Bookshelf-Speakers-6-5IN/dp/B002ISTP8K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1

Normally I would go with dual subs, but due to your limited budget, a second sub should be added later.

http://www.powersoundaudio.com/collections/power-x/products/xv15

Receiver

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1912/DENON-AVR-1912-7.1ch-Network-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver-w/Airplay/1.html

That's $2k for 5.1, $3k would allow for dual subs and 7 channels.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 11:26 AM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Budget's a little tight, but you can still get an impressive high output theater for $2k.

For the L/C/R three of these speakers installed VERTICALLY behind the screen. They're 6" deep, but you may need to sofit mount behind the screen depending on how the screen is installed (cut a recess into wall, fill area around speakers in recess with fiberglass/foam/insulation)

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-Acoustech-PL-28-Center-Speaker/dp/B001VIPUFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1358963385&sr=1-1&keywords=bic+pl28

Surrounds

http://www.amazon.com/America-FH-65B-Bookshelf-Speakers-6-5IN/dp/B002ISTP8K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1

Normally I would go with dual subs, but due to your limited budget, a second sub should be added later.

http://www.powersoundaudio.com/collections/power-x/products/xv15

Receiver

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1912/DENON-AVR-1912-7.1ch-Network-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver-w/Airplay/1.html

That's $2k for 5.1, $3k would allow for dual subs and 7 channels.

Thanks for all the help. I actually already have a receiver. It's the Yamaha RX-V671. I hope that one is decent. It's still NIB and I've never owned one before. That puts me below 2K then so that's great.
Kamikaze13's Avatar Kamikaze13 11:31 AM 01-23-2013
It'll be fine. You can always upgrade down the road when you need.
Jay1's Avatar Jay1 11:44 AM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangeballer View Post

Thanks for all the help. I actually already have a receiver. It's the Yamaha RX-V671. I hope that one is decent. It's still NIB and I've never owned one before. That puts me below 2K then so that's great.

Well in that case, you could get a pair of subs like this

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2-mk4.html

The cutoff for good subs is really at about $500-600 ea, so you can just squeeze this in. You could still go with 1 sub and upgrade later, but having multiple subs greatly helps with having a room filling smooth bass response without a bunch of "dead zones".
Kamikaze13's Avatar Kamikaze13 11:50 AM 01-23-2013
How much is your builder charging for the speaker wire? You may be able to save a bundle providing it yourself.

Monoprice is your friend smile.gif

You would also need a y-splitter for 2 subs with that receiver.
Orangeballer's Avatar Orangeballer 12:04 PM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze13 View Post

How much is your builder charging for the speaker wire? You may be able to save a bundle providing it yourself.

Monoprice is your friend smile.gif

You would also need a y-splitter for 2 subs with that receiver.

I'm not exactly sure what they're doing other than "7.1 pre-wire" and the price is around $500. Is that way too much? I'm not handy at all so I'm not real confident in doing it myself.
Kamikaze13's Avatar Kamikaze13 12:33 PM 01-23-2013
Seems a bit high, maybe not outrageous. Others can chime in.

Running speaker wire is pretty simple if your ceiling and walls are open. It wouldn't take too much to learn.
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