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Noobio2's Avatar Noobio2
07:47 PM Liked: 11
post #1 of 7
01-22-2013 | Posts: 53
Joined: Jan 2013
Hi folks -- I'm really agonizing about which surround speakers to get for my budget 5.1 system and where exactly they should be placed. I would love to provide a few details about my room and get some expert advice. I've got the TV (Panasonic TC-L55ET5), the receiver (Marantz NR1403) and the front speakers (2x Pioneer SP-FS52, 1x Pioneer SP-C22) all set up. The subwoofer is ordered (SVS PB-1000) and should be here by the end of the week. Now I need the surrounds, and I'm a little lost.

First off, the surrounds need to be pretty small, due to room and wife constraints. I mocked up out of cardboard something as big as the NHT SuperZero 2.0 (9"H x 5"W x 5.5"D) and got it wife-approved, but I can't go bigger than that, and smaller would be even better. But I realize that which surrounds to choose goes hand in hand with figuring out where exactly they should go, and I am unclear on that also. Here is a diagram of the basement, with speaker positions shown:

And here are a couple of pictures showing the couch and the wall space I am working with (please forgive the mess, it is mostly new HT boxes that I don't want to dump till everything is up and running perfectly):

The arrows are pointing to the top corners, where I have been assuming I'll hang the surrounds. As you can see, unless I go with an in-wall solution (which I am not excited to do), they will have to be mounted pretty high up to be out of the way. For reference, that drop-down beam running across the ceiling there is 9.5 inches tall (down from the ceiling) and 6 inches wide.

The possible surrounds so far on my list to explore further are:
NHT SuperZero 2.0
Axiom M0 v3 On-Wall
Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800
Energy Veritas V-Mini
NXG Pro 4.1
Polk TL3

1) Am I barking up the right tree? Are these the types of surrounds I should be looking at? Or can I get away with some tiny doohickeys like those Orbs or those tiny cubes that Bose makes? Any other recommendations?

2) Assuming that these are the right types, will my near-ceiling placement be ok? Will I mount them flush with the wall so they are pointing straight out, or do I aim them down towards the couch? Or do I need to put them someplace else entirely?

3) Are they likely to sound ok? Will the surround sound be good for the folks that are NOT sitting in the center of the couch (at the sweet spot)? The guy at the end of the couch is going to have his head almost directly underneath the thing -- will the sound be lousy for him?

4) Any other thoughts / ideas / recommendations?

Thanks so much in advance!

Jay1's Avatar Jay1
08:02 PM Liked: 134
post #2 of 7
01-22-2013 | Posts: 4,199
Joined: Aug 2002
Boston Soundware's are perfect for your placement. Being coaxial they wont have weird nulls with less then ideal angles, and they're intended to go into corners.

The 4.5" model is available for dirt cheap, so really no reason not the try them

The 6.5" version goes for a lot more, but it will have greater dynamic capability
Noobio2's Avatar Noobio2
06:49 PM Liked: 11
post #3 of 7
01-23-2013 | Posts: 53
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks Jay1 -- those look like they could work.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

davboy's Avatar davboy
04:36 AM Liked: 13
post #4 of 7
01-25-2013 | Posts: 166
Joined: Sep 2008
Noob...several years ago I accidentally came across dipole/bipole surround speakers as Emotiva had several models they were closing out. When I first got them I wasn't quite sure how to set them up, but once I got some feedback from folks here at AVS and corrected my mistakes, it made a world of difference. The advantage of dipole/bipole surrounds is that a dipole/bipole switch lets you position the Speaker on the rear or side walls of your home theater room — you'll get great results either way. If you place them behind your listening postion, set them to bipole mode for distinct, directional sound. Or set them to dipole mode for side placement, and they'll create a more diffuse soundfield for convincing wraparound effects.

I have a 7.1 setup, so have directly to the side of my listening position, which I think makes a big difference. NFL games in particular are stunning, sounds like you are sitting in the stadium. Alas my beloved Emotiva's are no longer available (though occasionally I've seen them pop up on ebay or Adiogon...ERD-1)

However,something like the Polk FXi A4 may do the trick.

Don't skimp on the surrounds now that you have the nice fronts, center and sub. I'd suggest if you want to go lower cost, get the Pioneer bookshelves, put them on some cheap side tables from Walmart to the side of your listening position, then repurpose them as bookshelves when you spend more on the surrounds. The sound terrific as surrounds, just not wall mount friendly! Just my 2 cents, avoid the cheap plastic cubes, no surrounds and the virtual setting on your AVR is better than those.
davboy's Avatar davboy
04:47 AM Liked: 13
post #5 of 7
01-25-2013 | Posts: 166
Joined: Sep 2008 other thought, you should not ave to worry TOO much about placement, other than trying to get them at ear level or slightly above if possible, as you AVR's Audyssey MultEQ automatic speaker calibration will compensate for any room or sitting position issues. It samples from three primary sitting positions, so whichever surrounds you choose, once set up run Audyssey and you'll be in that AVR, had not seen it before. all the boxes for resale...helps fund the addiction
Noobio2's Avatar Noobio2
08:24 AM Liked: 11
post #6 of 7
01-25-2013 | Posts: 53
Joined: Jan 2013
Thanks for the suggestions, davboy -- good stuff. Unfortunately, tables or stands are just not an option. Both of the surrounds need to be placed in high traffic areas, so I need to wall (or ceiling) mount them, and I need to put them kind of high up.

That is why I am looking for stuff that is on the smaller side, such as the Polk TL3, the Def Tech ProMonitor 800, or the Energy Veritas V-Mini. I'm having trouble visualizing exactly how they would best be mounted, however. If they are, say, seven feet up and just a bit more than 90 degrees from primary listening area, I assume I should angle them down towards the couch. Or is that wrong -- even at that height, should they be mounted flush with the wall, so that they project straight out?

Or is you point that I should mount them however works best, and Audyssey will make it work?

(I'm really tempted to try something like these, but they seem best for mounting flush rather than angled down, and I worry about sound quality.)

Thanks again!
davboy's Avatar davboy
01:04 PM Liked: 13
post #7 of 7
01-25-2013 | Posts: 166
Joined: Sep 2008
I think in terms of placement directing the sound as best as possible towards the primary listening positions, then letting Audyssey work it's magic will have a good result. At the end of the day it is the quality of the speaker design rather than the form factor that will yield the best result.

The Axiom's look interesting. When I was putting together our theater, I bought my fronts and center from a company called The Speaker Company, which was an internet only retailer similar to Axiom which is now defunct. My Pioneers will eventually replace them, but they are still going strong and sound great!

I would think if you could mount them on the side walls at 6.5 to 7 feet slightly behind the primary position Audyssey will yield an acceptable result. Did you see they have B stock in lack at $266 a pair? Folks also seem to love the Energy's. I've been close on those a couple times.

One last pitch for the bipole/dipole design...will give you the most long term flexibility...bust comes at a cost....
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