Speakers for an "Over the Fireplace" Setup - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 26 Old 02-27-2013, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hello everyone. I'm a newbie and need a little advice.

I have the dreaded "TV over the fireplace" setup in my 16x20 living room which does open to my kitchen. Since the fireplace is involved (and I really had no choice) I have limited for space for my front LRC speakers. I would like to build towards a 5.1 over time but the front speakers are giving me fits.

I would like to keep the speaker budget under $400 (at least for now). Plan on going with a Denon or Onkyo receiver.

I've read a ton on the forum and am interested in the MartinLogan MLT-2 system (especially due to the size).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882981013&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=6146852&SID=19jjp3weak409

I've also read a lot of good stuff about Cambridge Audio, although a bit more expensive.

Would it be a mistake to try the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS in a room of my size? I guess I like the idea of being able to mount them on the wall so I could aim them down more toward the listening area.

Thanks a million for any advice you folks have!
Tripp McNealy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 Old 02-28-2013, 12:12 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I have the dreaded "TV over the fireplace" setup in my 16x20 living room which does open to my kitchen. Since the fireplace is involved (and I really had no choice) I have limited for space for my front LRC speakers. I would like to build towards a 5.1 over time but the front speakers are giving me fits.

Here is another active thread that involves a similar situation:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460266/ht-speakers-receiver-and-subwoofer-under-1000/0_100

Neither thread should be "hijacked" but you may find some good information in there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I would like to keep the speaker budget under $400 (at least for now). Plan on going with a Denon or Onkyo receiver.

So that's $400 for just the LCR? Could you bump it up to $468 for three of the following (I'd highly recommend it)?
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/htm200/htm200.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I've read a ton on the forum and am interested in the MartinLogan MLT-2 system (especially due to the size).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882981013&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=6146852&SID=19jjp3weak409

They're nice for what they are, and the price is a bargain, but in my view these speakers are too puny. Even in a much smaller room, you'd still have to cross them over to the subwoofer at a high frequency, maybe even higher than 120 Hz (reportedly), and this is bad for several different reasons. For one, most people would be able to locate some sounds, including deep male voices, as coming from the direction of the sub. Another is that most subs don't sound very good at these relatively high frequencies. Maybe in some cases the supplied sub is designed to play that high, but if you ever upgrade it, then most higher-end subs just won't play well (they're typically designed for low-frequency extension and impact).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I've also read a lot of good stuff about Cambridge Audio, although a bit more expensive.

The S30 in particular is very well regarded, but it's quite deep at 9.25" and is more challenging to mount on the wall, if you plan to do that. The S20 is another possibility, although I haven't heard much about it, and it would be on the somewhat small side; on the other hand, it is less expensive and easy to mount.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Would it be a mistake to try the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS in a room of my size? I guess I like the idea of being able to mount them on the wall so I could aim them down more toward the listening area.

Frankly, yes, they're puny--try to do better if you can, for your own sake. smile.gif You could also mount larger speakers fairly easily, such as the HTM-200 SE and the S20, neither of which are exactly huge.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #3 of 26 Old 02-28-2013, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks so much for the suggestions. I have been following the other thread all day and finding it helpful.

I guess what makes my situation different than the other threads is that I have a limited amount of space available for my center channel speaker. I have about 5" between the mantle and the bottom of the TV. Consequently, the HTM-200 SE's will not fit (as a center). I have had to eliminate many of the LCR options due to this 5" handicap.

I've read a lot about the importance of keeping the LCR's the same brand/type and understand how critical the center channel speaker is. I've considered an In-Ceiling center speaker, as well as going with a Phantom Center, but neither seem to be recommended approaches. I'd be very curious to get your thoughts on these options (Mismatching LCR vs In-Ceiling Center vs Phantom vs Smaller Matching Set).

In my search for a matching pair I did come across these Energy Veritas 5.0's that would fit my size requirement and can get the set for $350. Would they be a considerable upgrade to the MartinLogan MLT-2 system?

I'd love your advice. Go with one of these smaller speaker sets or try to mismatch the LCRs?
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #4 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 01:00 AM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I have about 5" between the mantle and the bottom of the TV. Consequently, the HTM-200 SE's will not fit (as a center). I have had to eliminate many of the LCR options due to this 5" handicap.

Bummer! frown.gif Is that 5" from the bottom of the screen itself, or 5" from the bottom of the bezel? Either way, you cannot accommodate an HTM-200 SE center because it would undoubtedly block part of the screen due to its non-zero depth and the angle at which you would be viewing the screen, but I want to make sure that even a 5" high center speaker would not do the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I've read a lot about the importance of keeping the LCR's the same brand/type

They at least have to sound very similar, and usually the best way to do that is to use the same speaker or one very much like it from the same manufacturer and series.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

and understand how critical the center channel speaker is.

Well, the center channel is usually the most important because it carries the vast majority of the dialogue, and in many cases effects and parts of the musical score as well, which often places the greatest burden on the center speaker--in this sense it is the most critical speaker of all. On the other hand, another way to look at it is that you don't even need to have a dedicated center speaker at all, being able to reproduce the center channel's content through the left & right front speakers (as you already know)--from this perspective, the center speaker is only as important as the benefits it offers over a "phantom center" configuration. In other words, if you have an actual center speaker, then it had better be a good one that makes your system better overall, otherwise forget it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I've considered an In-Ceiling center speaker,

eek.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

as well as going with a Phantom Center, but neither seem to be recommended approaches.

Phantom centers are not all that uncommon, even around here--after all, that's what I and many others effectively use when we listen to two-channel stereo using only our left & right front speakers (and in some cases our subwoofers). The main issue is that outside of the central sweet spot, the two speakers can interfere with one another when playing the same content (e.g. movie dialogue), since the sound from one will reach the ears of off-axis viewers sooner than the sound from the other, which can partially cancel out certain ranges of frequencies and therefore hurt sound quality and the intelligibility of dialogue to some degree (the same thing happens even with the on-axis viewer due to crosstalk and the space between our ears, although it's far less pronounced). The main purpose of using a center speaker is, of course, to virtually eliminate this issue, at least for the content of the center channel. But regardless, many people are quite satisfied with phantom centers--more than they generally would be with in-ceiling center speakers, I would guess.

By the way, the other major purpose of a center speaker is to make sure that the content of the center channel does not shift to one side or the other when a viewer is off-axis, which is to say that it helps stabilize the soundstage and imaging, three speakers being able to do a better job of this than two. For most people, especially non-critical viewers, this is probably secondary to the other purpose described above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

I'd be very curious to get your thoughts on these options (Mismatching LCR vs In-Ceiling Center vs Phantom vs Smaller Matching Set).

Generally, I'd rather use a phantom center than a center speaker that is mismatched due to being too small to get the job done--that's if the latter is the case and the negative effects of the phantom center are tolerable, which in turn depends on the characteristics of the individual system. I'd also rather use a phantom center than an in-ceiling center, again with the caveat that it must actually provide better overall system performance, as I expect it to. Now as for a phantom center vs a smaller matching set, that depends on how small we're talking about, and if it's just big enough then aesthetics can play a part in the decision, too (not so much for me, but for many people), in addition to cost in some cases.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

In my search for a matching pair I did come across these Energy Veritas 5.0's that would fit my size requirement and can get the set for $350. Would they be a considerable upgrade to the MartinLogan MLT-2 system?

I sure think that they would be an upgrade, although honestly I haven't auditioned either personally (the Energy Veritas series is generally of high quality).

What I was going to recommend (tentatively) was a system based on the following speakers:
Left & right fronts: Cambridge Audio S30 or Cambridge Audio S20
Center: Cambridge Audio S50

Comparing their specifications, frankly I'm skeptical of a number of things. I'll need to do more research before making up my own mind (which would then only be a suggestion for you).
Robert Cook is offline  
post #5 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 02:12 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
OK, I looked up as much information and read as many anecdotes about the speakers being considered as I could find, and did some testing with a phantom center to refresh my "audio memory" as to its practical effects. Hopefully this will answer at least as many questions as it raises. wink.gif

First let's go over the phantom center option and its ramifications. I watched (and rewatched and re-rewatched) a few center dialogue-heavy scenes from several movies, some with just dialogue and others with action going on simultaneously--all the while shuffling slowly from side-to-side like a crab. smile.gif To cut to the chase, it wasn't at all difficult in most cases to hear the "comb-filtering" effect, even after moving a foot or less to the side of the central sweet spot. Interestingly, at least to my hearing perception the intelligibility of some people's voices were affected the most at different positions from other people's voices, which implies different frequency ranges. Sometimes they sounded a bit muffled, and in other cases a bit quiet and/or recessed in the midrange, any of which could potentially cause intelligibility issues when the overall volume is sufficiently low. As I moved outward, farther off-axis, things sometimes actually got better, then worse, then better, then worse--how textbook! Note that I was listening critically, but at the same time it was easy to detect--in some spots it gave the impression that my speakers were noticeably lower in quality than they actually are, or that the soundtracks were more poorly recorded/mastered than they are. Also note that things cleared up quite a bit as I got way off-axis (I tested out to about 45 degrees) because at that point I was hearing mostly just the left or right front speaker (makes sense).

For the sake of comparison, I watched the same scenes using my vertically-oriented center speaker (the ideal configuration), and it was of course no contest. Nothing noticeably changed until I got quite far off-axis, at which point the higher frequencies were starting to drop off (my speakers' tweeters are of the ubiquitous 1" dome type), but there was still no effect on dialogue intelligibility or how the speaker sounded otherwise. By 45 degrees, the sound naturally wasn't nearly as "airy" as it normally is, but dialogue was essentially unaffected. From memory, with a horizontally-oriented MTM center (the most common type, which is sort of like two speakers placed closely together), typically the negative effects on dialogue intelligibility are more gradual out to about 15 degrees or so (give or take according to the specific design), by which point they really start to have a significant effect--this often yields (from, say, 10 feet away) one really good seat in the middle and one pretty decent seat on either side, with every other seat being a bigger compromise. Keep in mind that this is all relative, and that all of these configurations can work--some are just superior for off-axis viewers than others, and while you could ignore the negative effects on sound quality or compensate for them by turning up the volume (and probably "riding" the volume control the whole time), they can in fact be more pronounced than the differences between many makes and models of speaker, which implies that if you paid a lot for higher quality speakers and don't always watch movies alone, then it behooves you to try to accommodate a center speaker of comparable quality and capability if at all possible.

Alright, now let's look at the speakers in question. From nearly everything I've read about the Energy V-Mini in action, they are decidedly small speakers, unfortunately. Their specs look somewhat impressive for a small speaker, with a 4.5" midwoofer (or two in the center speaker) and extension down to 78 Hz (-3 dB), but the truth is that their midwoofer is no larger than the 3.5" ones in the Cambridge S20 and S50, and the vast majority of people who use the V-Mini have to cross them over higher or else they start to sound thin real quick. That's about all we have a right to expect from speakers this small, but I was sort of hoping they'd be a little more "butch" wink.gif given their series pedigree, normal price, and their alleged 4.5" midwoofer. This system probably can work for you, but it's definitely small, with all of the tradeoffs and limitations that go along with this.

As for the Cambridge Audio speakers, the real standout is the well known (by now) and respected S30--it's larger than the V-Mini but still fairly small, and for its size this speaker is remarkably "butch" in its bass extension and "punchiness." Normally I'd recommend using a third S30 as a center--I practically sermonized on this here, banging my fists on the pulpit and everything wink.gif--but in your case, you may be forced to settle on the S50, in which case you may have to cross over your center to the sub at a frequency higher than 80 Hz (probably 90-100 Hz), which would be a compromise in at least a couple of ways. I don't know firsthand which of these two systems would have "better" sound quality, the Cambridge or Energy systems, but personally I'd go for the Cambridge system because at least you'd have S30s as your left & right fronts, and they'll play like bigger speakers (to a point). Unfortunately, there are some additional issues. For a smallish speaker the S30 is not well suited for mounting--you'd either have to drill into them, for which there is little space on the back panel, or install a shelf or a visible mount like the VideoSecu MS56B for each of them. It's doable, but it's more of a hassle and a compromise to aesthetics. You could also use the S20 instead, which can mount directly up against the wall on a single screw, but then you'd lose the advantages of the S30. Another potential issue is that the S50 is 8.7" deep and needs an additional inch or two, at the very least, of depth to give its rear ports some clearance (the V-Mini-C has the same issue, but its cabinet is only 5.5" deep), so I hope that your mantel can accommodate this.

Obviously I'll need more feedback from you at this point (also ask any questions that you may have about what I've said here). If you end up deciding to go with a phantom center, for one reason or another, then obviously more options will be available for your left & right front speakers, but there is a price to pay for this, as described above.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #6 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 04:48 PM
AVS Special Member
 
chashint's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,667
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Can you post a picture of the fireplace/TV ?

Regards,
Charlie

chashint is offline  
post #7 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 05:25 PM
AVS Special Member
 
commsysman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,176
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Liked: 239
The Martin-Logan MLT-2 is hard to beat for under $600 IMO.
commsysman is offline  
post #8 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 07:44 PM
AVS Special Member
 
chashint's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,667
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 38
I don't know about $600 for mlt-2, but $300 does not look terrible
http://www.amazon.com/MartinLogan-MLT-2-Theater-System-Black/dp/B0049P2000

Regards,
Charlie

chashint is offline  
post #9 of 26 Old 03-02-2013, 05:55 AM
Member
 
rapper58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I am in the process of redesigning my family room, including fire place positioning. I'm curious about your comment regarding the "dreaded TV over the fireplace" problem. What are the issues you're referring to with this phrase? Thanks.
rapper58 is offline  
post #10 of 26 Old 03-02-2013, 11:20 AM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapper58 View Post

I am in the process of redesigning my family room, including fire place positioning. I'm curious about your comment regarding the "dreaded TV over the fireplace" problem. What are the issues you're referring to with this phrase? Thanks.

Generally, in terms of setting up a home theater system, it forces you to place the TV up high, when for most people (at least I would think) eye level would be the most comfortable, and it also frequently imposes limitations on speaker size and placement, especially when--as is common these days--the fireplace is located in a corner of the room, since corner placement brings its own issues with regard to speaker placement (including the surrounds now). Sometimes it's not that difficult to deal with, depending on the specific layout of the room and the severity of the WAF, but other times...YEESH!
Robert Cook is offline  
post #11 of 26 Old 03-04-2013, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Sorry for the delayed response as I've been out of town. First off, thanks SO much for the advice. My wife and I are so grateful for the thoughtful advice we could not find talking to the "experts" at the various stores around town.

As intriguing as the Ascend Acoustics look, it sounds like we should eliminate them since the phantom center would be the least desirable approach. As for the Cambridge speakers, I think our 10" deep mantle would accommodate the center speaker. However, aesthetics are in play here and I'd really like something that would look good (and perform well) mounted on the wall. I am a bit concerned with the depth of the depth of the S30 since I will be trying to mount them on the wall on the left and right of the our low profile 60" TV. As you can see on the grainy picture that I've attached, I also have the ability to set the Left and Right speakers directly on the mantle. Since said mantle is almost 5' high, wouldn't they be above our "listening area" when seated on the couch? My thought was that by mounting them I could aim them down toward the couch...? Thoughts?

Now that you can see my current setup I wonder if any other options come to mind. For instance, do you have any recommendations for in-wall left and right speakers (w/ aimed tweeters) with a similar center channel that can rest on the mantle (obviously < 5")? Or perhaps should I consider mounting a center channel above the TV and aim it down? Again, aesthetics would have to be considered (WAF).

If all recommendations have been exhausted, I'm leaning towards the Cambridge series you described above and setting them directly on the mantle. (My wife really likes the MartinLogan MLT-2 system.) If I choose the Cambridge front LCR, I assume I'd need a sub with specific abilities to compensate for my "smaller" front speakers. Do you have any recs for that? I guess its worth noting that given the price of the Cambridge series, I'll be butting up against my current speaker budget.

Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #12 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 01:32 AM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

As intriguing as the Ascend Acoustics look, it sounds like we should eliminate them since the phantom center would be the least desirable approach.

It think so, too, especially after the results I just got from testing a phantom center in earnest for the first time in many years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

As for the Cambridge speakers, I think our 10" deep mantle would accommodate the center speaker.

Ah, good. Now just to make sure you have the proper clearance, put something at least 4.6" high (the height of the S50 center speaker, about 4 5/8") at the front edge of the mantel, sit in each of the potential seats, and check whether it blocks the view of the TV. I'm thinking probably not, but I don't like taking unnecessary chances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

However, aesthetics are in play here and I'd really like something that would look good (and perform well) mounted on the wall. I am a bit concerned with the depth of the depth of the S30 since I will be trying to mount them on the wall on the left and right of the our low profile 60" TV.

Yes, they're deep and also present some difficulty in mounting--even if you screwed into them, it would be near the top or bottom edge, which may not conceal the mount.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

As you can see on the grainy picture that I've attached, I also have the ability to set the Left and Right speakers directly on the mantle. Since said mantle is almost 5' high, wouldn't they be above our "listening area" when seated on the couch?

Yes, unless your family and/or couch are freakishly tall wink.gif, but it would be no worse--actually, better--than if the speakers were mounted on the wall beside the TV. Aesthetically, I personally think it would look better to have all of the speakers at the same height on the mantel, and in terms of sound quality this would be the best way to go as well (the soundstage and panning effects seem more natural to me this way, as I feel that their vertical displacement from the TV is more easily compensated for by our brains than the speakers' displacement from one another). I guess the Magic 8-Ball says "Signs point to yes." wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

My thought was that by mounting them I could aim them down toward the couch...? Thoughts?

Tilting the speakers downward would help the sound quality of the left & right front speakers because most are limited in vertical dispersion, so we should find a way to do that on the mantel. First we need some metrics--how far away are your seats and how high is your nominal ear level (approximately)?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Now that you can see my current setup I wonder if any other options come to mind. For instance, do you have any recommendations for in-wall left and right speakers (w/ aimed tweeters) with a similar center channel that can rest on the mantle (obviously < 5")?

Without delving into great detail (that's a first), generally it is better to stick with regular speakers unless you strongly feel the need for using in-walls.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Or perhaps should I consider mounting a center channel above the TV and aim it down? Again, aesthetics would have to be considered (WAF).

That might work with a TV mounted this high, but for reasons of sound quality I'd prefer to keep the speakers--especially the center--away from the ceiling, even if they're tilted down toward the listeners.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

If all recommendations have been exhausted, I'm leaning towards the Cambridge series you described above and setting them directly on the mantle.

I like this option, too. As for other recommendations, I'll think about it and get back to you in a little bit (gotta get to sleep now smile.gif).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

(My wife really likes the MartinLogan MLT-2 system.)

I don't blame her, but I strongly feel that you'll like having "large" speakers more, even though that's a relative term. Out of curiosity, are those speakers around the TV in the photo? Which are they?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

If I choose the Cambridge front LCR, I assume I'd need a sub with specific abilities to compensate for my "smaller" front speakers. Do you have any recs for that? I guess its worth noting that given the price of the Cambridge series, I'll be butting up against my current speaker budget.

We can talk about subs if you want (and there is a whole forum on this site devoted to them), but no special capabilities will be required with the Cambridge speakers. The S30 can definitely be crossed over at 80 Hz (the ideal frequency for most systems, in my opinion), and the S50 will probably not need much higher. It's when you go over 100 Hz that most subs begin to falter, and tiny satellites often need 150 Hz or even over 200 Hz.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #13 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 02:00 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Bond 007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 11,788
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked: 821
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Martin-Logan MLT-2 is hard to beat for under $600 IMO.
The Energy Veritas Vmini package will destroy this in sound quality and is better than the Cambridge too imo. For $350 the energy are a steal. If they have not sold out, GET THEM. Especially if you say they will fit ok. Its a no brainer. You can get a decent sub for $150-$200 and have an excellent system for very little money.

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!
Bond 007 is online now  
post #14 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Geez, it does look like I can still get the Energy VMINI 5.0 for $350. What is the best way to audition them against the Cambridge set?

To answer the questions about the distance, we sit about 13 feet from the TV. If its relevant, we do have a large couch so it would not be uncommon for one of us to be viewing from outside the width of the mantle (thus outside of either the Left or Right speaker).

Those are speakers you see in the picture. They are from a 5 year old Samsung HTIB. We really just hung them to hide the exposed speaker wire and to give us perspective when shopping for new system.
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #15 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 09:25 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Geez, it does look like I can still get the Energy VMINI 5.0 for $350.

That is a pretty sweet deal for a full set of speakers at this level of quality....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

What is the best way to audition them against the Cambridge set?

Unfortunately, the best way is in your home, properly set up with a decent subwoofer (not what you wanted to be told, I know). The main point in going with the Cambridge system would be that they're larger speakers (in the case of the S30, even "larger" seeming than their actual size would suggest), and size does have its advantages, especially when you're sitting 13 feet away (or more like 12 from the speakers). If you auditioned a pair of S30s against a pair of V-Minis, it would not be a fair competition, because while it's possible that you would prefer the midrange and treble of the V-Minis (or maybe not, as they're both good), the S30s would wipe the floor with them with regard to bass. The difference will not be as pronounced when a subwoofer is used, of course, especially if you cross over the V-Mini at a higher frequency, but when movie soundtracks get exciting, that's when some differences can show up in mid-bass dynamics and impact.

Having said all that, the V-Minis are nicer looking, quality speakers, and this deal is really good. So I looked up as many references as I could pertaining to their capabilities in home theater. The consensus seems to be that while they are definitely small speakers, they don't have all the limitations of micro-satellites. It looks as though they work pretty well when crossed over to the subwoofer at 100 Hz, which is a reasonable compromise on the whole, and something that you may quite possibly have to do with the S50 center, as well. You'll still give up something because of their size, but most of the time they should sound great, and their relatively high efficiency (if this is true, as some of its other specs are very much in question) sure doesn't hurt. Here are some of the references that I managed to find (the RC-Mini is basically the same speaker relabeled):
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1317293/small-system/0_100#post_20052891
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/20900_100#post_19180289
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/20900_100#post_19190233
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/35400_100#post_21409505
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/2400_100#post_12830957
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/43700_100#post_22869190
http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread/39500_100#post_22084353

As long as you know what you're getting into, you'd have my "stamp of approval" for the V-Mini system, for whatever that's worth (more than you paid for it, if I'm lucky wink.gif).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

To answer the questions about the distance, we sit about 13 feet from the TV.

OK, I'm concerned now because after doing some quick geometry, the center speaker (either the S50 or the V-Mini-C), when placed at the front edge of the mantel where it belongs, may appear to be 6-6.5 inches tall, depending on your eye level when seated. Could you have somebody hold a ruler vertically against the front of the mantel and the shortest person in your household look at the TV screen when it's on to find out at what point the picture is no longer obstructed (move the ruler up or down)? Whatever length is above the mantel would then be the true maximum height requirement of your center speaker.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

If its relevant, we do have a large couch so it would not be uncommon for one of us to be viewing from outside the width of the mantle (thus outside of either the Left or Right speaker).

While this is obviously less than ideal, even if somebody is sitting 4 feet to one side (your mantel looks to be a bit over 7.5 feet in total width), they'd still be within 20 degrees of the center speaker, so that's not too bad.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #16 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
It sounds like I may need to raise my TV. If I have to place the Center speaker on the edge of the mantle then it will block part of the TV.
eek.gif

So as I see it, I have 3 options:

1. Phantom Center - Ascend Accoustics?

2. Energy V-Minis - Since the center speaker is 5.5" deep, I could rest it on the middle of the mantle (instead of on the edge) so it doesn't interfere with the TV.

3. Raise my TV a couple inches - I guess this option brings about another question. Obviously, I do not want to go any higher than I have to, but is there a far superior center channel speaker out there that you have refrained from recomending (due to my 5" height limit) that I should now seriously consider?
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #17 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 12:20 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Bond 007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 11,788
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked: 821
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

It sounds like I may need to raise my TV. If I have to place the Center speaker on the edge of the mantle then it will block part of the TV.
eek.gif

So as I see it, I have 3 options:

1. Phantom Center - Ascend Accoustics?

2. Energy V-Minis - Since the center speaker is 5.5" deep, I could rest it on the middle of the mantle (instead of on the edge) so it doesn't interfere with the TV.

3. Raise my TV a couple inches - I guess this option brings about another question. Obviously, I do not want to go any higher than I have to, but is there a far superior center channel speaker out there that you have refrained from recomending (due to my 5" height limit) that I should now seriously consider?
Your front 3 really should match so its not as simple as just buying a superior center.

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!
Bond 007 is online now  
post #18 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Understood, but if I am now no longer limited to center speakers that are < 5" in height, perhaps there is another "superior" speaker series that I should be considering.

The better question I am really asking is, how important is it to have the center speaker come out to the edge of the mantle? If it is critical, then I may need to consider raising my TV a couple inches.
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #19 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 01:43 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

It sounds like I may need to raise my TV. If I have to place the Center speaker on the edge of the mantle then it will block part of the TV.
eek.gif

Did you actually measure it, as I described? I can't tell for sure just based on the photo and some other measurements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

So as I see it, I have 3 options:

1. Phantom Center - Ascend Accoustics?

The Ascends in this case are larger, more capable speakers that will sound better when pushed hard. On the other hand, they would cost more than the Energy system in question, and they don't look as nice, for what it's worth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

2. Energy V-Minis - Since the center speaker is 5.5" deep, I could rest it on the middle of the mantle (instead of on the edge) so it doesn't interfere with the TV.

Regardless of its depth, you'll want to place the center speaker at the forward edge of the mantel, or else there would be a nasty reflection (early and strong) that would degrade sound quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

3. Raise my TV a couple inches - I guess this option brings about another question. Obviously, I do not want to go any higher than I have to, but is there a far superior center channel speaker out there that you have refrained from recomending (due to my 5" height limit) that I should now seriously consider?

Well, if you could do that, it would undoubtedly open up more possibilities, but then again you probably wouldn't want to raise it much higher than needed even for a 5" tall speaker.

As for a superior center for the price, I didn't have anything in mind other than the HTM-200 SE. I could try to find one that is better by virtue of being larger, but in the interest of aesthetics, I didn't think you'd want one much larger than this.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #20 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 02:33 PM
Senior Member
 
vivatech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: VA
Posts: 212
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 15
  1. Do you even use the fireplace?
  2. You can mount a center speaker on the fireplace header (right below the mantel), which looks 10-12" high. This can allow you to lower the TV and gives you a lot more options since you're not so space constrained.
  3. Can you block the fireplace altogether with a media center? My TV is currently above the fireplace at 44" at 15' viewing distance and I find it too high. I'm planning to just block the fireplace and rid myself of this evil.

vivatech is offline  
post #21 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 02:39 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Understood, but if I am now no longer limited to center speakers that are < 5" in height, perhaps there is another "superior" speaker series that I should be considering.

There isn't one that would fit within your budget that I know of. It's difficult enough to find any really good small speakers in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

The better question I am really asking is, how important is it to have the center speaker come out to the edge of the mantle? If it is critical, then I may need to consider raising my TV a couple inches.

Well, it's less than ideal in theory, but you may be able to get away with it as long as the speaker isn't too far back. People use speakers on desks and things like that all the time, after all. The effect of early reflections seems more pronounced outside of the near-field, however, and even reflections from the floor can sound harsh, in my experience, so I was trying to play it safe. I guess the only way to know for sure would be to try it, like I did with the phantom center. I may be able to do that later today. You could also try it yourself with any speakers you happen to have.
Robert Cook is offline  
post #22 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 03:49 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Bond 007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 11,788
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked: 821
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Understood, but if I am now no longer limited to center speakers that are < 5" in height, perhaps there is another "superior" speaker series that I should be considering.

The better question I am really asking is, how important is it to have the center speaker come out to the edge of the mantle? If it is critical, then I may need to consider raising my TV a couple inches.
As far as the center coming out to the edge I would say that it is important but not critical. I would place it at the edge if you can.
If you want superior speakers to the Energy, be prepared to spend a lot more. Dont forget that they usually sell for $1000.

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!
Bond 007 is online now  
post #23 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Okay, I've pretty much decided on the Cambridge set. The center speaker will fit under the TV at its current height and I may re-mount the TV with a swivel mount if I need to pull the TV out from the wall to avoid screen interference.

My last concern is the depth of the S30 (9.5"). Will this pose a problem with my 10" mantle? ...the fact that there will only be a 1/2 inch between the speaker and the wall?
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #24 of 26 Old 03-06-2013, 10:06 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

My last concern is the depth of the S30 (9.5"). Will this pose a problem with my 10" mantle? ...the fact that there will only be a 1/2 inch between the speaker and the wall?

Its depth is more like 9.25" if the specs are accurate, and given the fact that your S30s will (eventually) be crossed over to the sub at 80 Hz (that's what I'd recommend, anyway), there is not going to be a huge amount of bass coming from the ports, anyway. If you could move the S30s forward past the mantel 0.5-0.75 inches or so, then it should be fine, even before you get a sub. If the bass seems somewhat "muddy" or "bloated," then move them a little farther out, and then move them back when you get your subwoofer.

On the other hand, the S50 will be relying on its ports far more, even if you cross it over at 100 Hz, and it's only about a half-inch less deep. I don't feel all that concerned, to be honest, but if you do, then there is the V-Mini system, while the deal lasts (whatever you feel more comfortable about).
Robert Cook is offline  
post #25 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Tripp McNealy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Do you have any thoughts on the Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2's? It appears they are nearly the same as the S30's but have front facing ports.
Tripp McNealy is offline  
post #26 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 04:24 PM
Advanced Member
 
Robert Cook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: San Diego County, CA, USA
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp McNealy View Post

Do you have any thoughts on the Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2's? It appears they are nearly the same as the S30's but have front facing ports.

Well, this should be a quality speaker if you wouldn't mind that it's 12.6" tall (I had thought of it at one point, but put it aside due to its size in favor of the S30). The Carnival 5 is the center designed to work with it, and it sure resembles the S50, doesn't it? It has the same height but is only 7.1" deep, so that should help alleviate the other placement issue. I haven't heard either of these speakers myself, but I've only heard good things about them, especially at the prices they're going for these days. If you'd be happy with what you know of them, then I'd say go for it! What do you need us for? biggrin.gifwink.gif
Robert Cook is offline  
Reply Speakers

Tags
Tv Above Fireplace

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off