Seeking help with a crazy desire for my bedroom - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-01-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I made a thread a few weeks ago but received no comments, and that's a good thing. Said post was incoherent and unfocused with no real direction; was more a spur of the moment post. And as such I decided against "bumping" it.
My goal is to upgrade my mancave (bedroom) from 7.1 to 11.2. Why? Because it's there, Sure it's not very practical being so many speakers in this pretty small room, but I have the desire to do so anyways. This will be the beginning of my adventure down the speaker hole. smile.gif
Requirements
I want to be as true (neutral?) to the intended sound as possible with my options of compromises. Not replicating what the mixmaster heard, but instead what that person intended to be heard--If lifelike digital cannons was the target, I want to here that; if a dull lifeless muddled pop song was the end result I want that too. This is why I'm interested in Neo: X, extracting information that's present yet hidden.
I will be using subs with, likely, 80hz crossover, so speakers going deep is not really needed, but having clean low Mids and vocals are more important if it comes down to it.
Timber matched speakers for at least 7.x set. Heights and wides matching is not requred (but prefered).
*Average listening level is between -45dB & -30dB, with Dynamic EQ enabled with a Reference Offset of 0. I will not go past -20dB, so speakers that perform well at lower volumes is very important. What I mean by this is, to my understanding, there are some speakers that play noticably worse at lower volumes. If Audyssey/Dynamic EQ will adjust for this, then disregard this statement.*

Budget
~$2,500-3,000, but will gladly increase within reason if the bang:buck is a bit better. Dosen't have to be significantly different, only noticable.
Planning to focus on the main trio>surrounds>wides>heights>subs>treatment (if possible) in that order.

Obstacles: My ~1,000cft. room (see attached layout). Very large waveless waterbed (it's the only bed I can sleep; tried MANY).
*I'm not totally against moving the bed, but I think doing so would do more harm than good. I'm open to sugestions*

Restrictions
No In-wall and In-ceiling types, as any serious wall or ceiling changes are off limits (for the near future).

Usage
My main source is a Computer (via HDMI), which acts as my Blu-ray, multi-channel audio sources and my primary gaming device along with PS3/X360/Wii U. Display is an LG 55" LM7600.
Receiver is a Denon 4520CI, upgraded from a Denon 1712 as I wanted Neo: X processing and the possibility for 11.2 WITHOUT external amps or processors--space is tight enough.
Mostly discrete multi-channel music ang gaming, mostly gaming. Lots of resolution with a large dynamic range and supurb imaging--this is the type of sound I'm aiming for and will greatly influence compromise choices with said target in mind.

Current speakers
Main L/R are some old Technics SB-A28 towers, and the rest are from a HTIB JBL Cinema 300 package I got for free with a Newegg order few years ago.


I will be auditioning like a good caveman, but I would like some help making a practical selection. Comments on layout, placement or tips on what to look for while auditioning is also appreciated.
Tower, bookshelf, monitor, satelite, horizontal/vertical center, and looks matter not to me. I will get what I must to position the speakers the best I can within the constraints of my room. A new layout would not go unwanted.

Here's the four speakers I've mostly been looking into, especially from how often they are recommended for their price point.
Ascend Acoustics CMT-340, CBM-170
-I was really liking the feedback I've seen on these, however I'm concerned with the CMT-340's being rear ported. If the CBM-170's have matching timber I guess it makes it a non issue for side surrounds.
HSU HB-1 MK2
-Would the horn loaded tweeters be a problem at such close range?
Focal Chorus 700 line
NHT Classic Two/Three

... and others I've got on my list but haven't really researched much these options yet:
Cambridge S30
Infinity Primus P363
KEF Q-series
ARX A1b/A2c/A3c
Wharfedale Diamond 10.1/10.2/10.3
PSB Image

I'm interested in electrostatics/planars/Magnepans, but I don't think the room or 4520CI alone could do a full set of them justice. I'd love to try some out though.

DIY is also an option I'm starting to explore.
I'm no stranger to electronics (a hobby of mine is tinkering with unwanted or damaged electronics, rarely sucessfull but it's fun!), and am confident in my skills to build fairly complex crossovers or what have you...
However, my woodworking skills go about as far as "see stick, apply marshmellow, burn, profit", although I am pretty handy with a battle ax
I've only started looking at some DIY kits to really get my moneys worth. If I do opt for this road, I will be sticking with proven designs, especially those that would work with unassembled baffle kit or tailored to premade boxes.
My biggest concern going DIY is timber matching.
I've seen a fair number of SEOS reccomendations. How do some popular designs compare to my list? Are there any designs that really stand out or ideal for my situation?

Feel free to reccomend some subs if you wish, but that's not the goal of this thread. If need be, I will make a new thread specifically for DIY or subs in the proper section.


Some questions I have...
1) Originally I was exploring Di/Bi/Omni-poles (and the Axiom quads), but stopped fearing I would have issues with discrete channel directionality and annoying pans without timber matching. Should I revert my stance? Would "surround" speakers be a better option for the sides at this distance without really affecting directionallity yet still recognize a sound from the correct side/distance?
2) Is there anything that makes the "speaker" dissapear?
3) What makes one speaker better at imaging than another, aside from the room, location, waveguides/horns and timber matching? Anything?
4) Am I truely asking to much for this room? This sickness is already pretty bad; been having nightmares doing speaker auditions for my ideal room for my ideal house in my ideal future. smile.gif


Layout notes:
This is my room with my current layout, including textbook speaker angles to give myself a visual (colored for each pair).
I have highlighted where I think the best option for placing front wides (green) & heights (purple). The heights would be hanging down and angled towards me at a 45° angle. All other speakers will be toed in, stereo channels will aim at the oposing side ear.
Side L/R surrounds are on boxes AMT, but planning to mount them ~2.5'-3.0' above ear level either on a little shelf or wall mount bracket.
Rear L/R are currently angled more towards the nearby walls, using the reflection to help get stereo seperation. I would like to have them ear level, but the door is an issue. *thinking of removing the bed head and using some kind of up-and-over stand to reach angle and ear height. If that's not possible, mabey a wall mount at angle and pointed downward--afraid this may be worse being basically less than 30 degrees overhead. Any ideas?
The desk is shown, but will be replaced to accomodate speakers as needed. I don't want to wall mount the tv, although it's light I don't trust the studs on that corner of the house after the tree fell--we didn't touch that wall to save money at the time).
*The closet is open, but full of boxes of my childhood and I have thick curtain over it thinking it helps with reflections. The head of the bed goes up about ~4-5 feet from the floor, blocking most of the closet.*


Your advice on this list? Should be crossed off or recommended? Any speakers I should know about that are overlooked or "ideal" for this size or room?

Thanks in advanced.
(wow this got longer than I intended. Hope it's not as bad as the previous thread...)


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post #2 of 9 Old 05-02-2013, 06:04 PM
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the horns will be ok, im running horns on my speakers in my room as well and they sound great and I also have a powered woofer with a port hole facing the wall which I believe creates more bass. here a pic of my room set up.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I figured they would be, but was wanting second opinions. Still I'm worried that using them as my Surround L/R's, at around 3.5' would make them too localizable with the waveguide pointing everything at the top of my head. I'd like to take advantage of a waveguide rear speakers since they will most likely placed near the corner up on the wall close to the ceiling. Which brings me to my next question: How do waveguides or similar affect timber?

If one must use different speakers, aside from the same line, is it possible to timber match? Like say same cone materials and the same driver being used. This is probbably more likely to happen via DIY than between model lines or brand, right? Actually, are there any timber matching speakers outside of the same brands that are not DIY?


I know I'm asking too much out of my situation, so any advice is usefull and much appreciated. Still looking to get general speaker info as to the types or some generalizations specifics that could potentially be useful to know/avoid/seek, similar to how poorly I inquired about the horn/waveguide.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 06:21 PM
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I am not a huge fan of horns, which is irrelevant...just make sure YOU are! I have extensively listened to the aa cmt340s and they are outstanding! Balanced, efficient and capable of getting plenty loud! If you want towers, the EMPtek e55ti is a very good speaker for the money (currently out of stock, but).
Subs, if you want under 300 dollars, the Klipsch rd-12 is very good...at 500 plus, outlaw, svs and nht make great subs!

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess this brings up another question, one that I wouldn't have access to or the means to confirm on my own. What "is" good sound, within the context of being accurate?
I guess what I'm trying to ask now is, how does someone who only "likes" B O S E sound, or any low end strongly colored/non-neutral sound, determine what is "good"? Naturally I assume such a case would heavily bias the individuals opinion, so how would one with a limited and shifted experience decide what a "good" sound is if all they like is "bad".

I understand that alot of this is subjective, which is why it's nessecary to audition potential purchases. Hopefully you can get the general concept of my question, communication is not something I'm good at smile.gif


As for horns, I assume there is a minimum distance and/or angle for each type of waveguide but are they generally applicable to near field space (or just outside 1-2 meters)?



I fear I may continue to go full circle for good while, very indecisive and every new thread I read while doing research is always bringing more questions to my attention. I need to get that important "first" time to calm my nerves, as there will always be improvements to be had smile.gif
... I hate my OCD sometimes, but it's nessecary in some professions to be a nitpicker.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

I figured they would be, but was wanting second opinions. Still I'm worried that using them as my Surround L/R's, at around 3.5' would make them too localizable with the waveguide pointing everything at the top of my head. I'd like to take advantage of a waveguide rear speakers since they will most likely placed near the corner up on the wall close to the ceiling. Which brings me to my next question: How do waveguides or similar affect timber?
...

I know I'm asking too much out of my situation, so any advice is usefull and much appreciated. Still looking to get general speaker info as to the types or some generalizations specifics that could potentially be useful to know/avoid/seek, similar to how poorly I inquired about the horn/waveguide.

With proper level matching you should not have to worry too much about the type of surround or rear speaker. Of course that is assuming that circle in the middle of the room is your listening position and you are not trying to squeeze three or four people in that row. Should someone end up too close to one of the speakers a more indirect radiation pattern might be desirable, but ultimately if one speaker is 1' away and the opposing speaker 6' you will localize the closer speaker unless you calibrate for that listening position only.

First, I ran a system with identical FL/FR/SL/SR (JBL S36II) and a center channel (JBL S-CenterII) with matching high-frequency transducer (and waveguide) and mid-range transducer. I had the same worries you have now: How will they mix together?. Sensitivity, impedance and cross-overs all very similar. All speakers were radiating directly at the listening position, no dipole here. A friend of mine is still using them and the blend is great.

Next, I tried speakers from a single family (Paradigm Studio). The surrounds are the ADP-590 v.5, which are dipoles. Mains are Studio 60's v.4 with a CC-690 v.4. The only thing they share is the tweeter (I cannot hear any difference between version 4 and 5). The woofer configurations are all over the place. Example: The Studio 100's would probably be a closer match to the CC-690. But I cannot complain about the timbre match. All speakers blend perfectly with each other once calibrated, at least for the two central seats in my row of four.

Does that mean you have to get speakers from the same family to achieve this or identical speakers for all positions? Probably not, but you should avoid mixing tweeters/ribbons/compression drivers unless you have somehow established that they will sound similar.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

I guess this brings up another question, one that I wouldn't have access to or the means to confirm on my own. What "is" good sound, within the context of being accurate?
I guess what I'm trying to ask now is, how does someone who only "likes" B O S E sound, or any low end strongly colored/non-neutral sound, determine what is "good"? Naturally I assume such a case would heavily bias the individuals opinion, so how would one with a limited and shifted experience decide what a "good" sound is if all they like is "bad".

Liking is very subjective. Audition as many speakers as you can and see whether anything in particular stands out to you that you like or dislike. You can go to stores with listening rooms, friends or AVS get-togethers.
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Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

As for horns, I assume there is a minimum distance and/or angle for each type of waveguide but are they generally applicable to near field space (or just outside 1-2 meters)?

Most speakers have a minimum listening distance, unless they are a point source (Danley's anyone?). The sound from the various sources in a 2-way, 2.5 way or 3-way configuration needs to combine first. This does not just apply to horns.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-04-2013, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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The circle is indeed MLP, and being a bedroom no one else will need to be taken into account allowing me to play with my options without worrying about others and their preferences.... yet. As mentioned, I plan to. and have been, auditioning speakers around town just trying to get first hand knowledge on various charactaristics ala bright/warm/foward/laid back/etc. And was starting to question my preferences due to my prior experience being a warm muddy sound, which when compared to others is so different that it sounds wrong/bad just because I don't know any better (yet). To make that relative, a similar experience in concept is when I calibrate a friend or family member's TV for them, they think the picture is to red because they're so used to default settings. I'm probbably needlessly worrying at this point, I've not seen much on speakers (within my price range and still in production) that are strongly colored or otherwise shifted from neutral.

Would it be a good idea to seek out some headphones that are very neutral/flat and get accustomed to that sound before or during auditioning speakers?


Thanks for sharing your experience ZeGhostbear.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-04-2013, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

The circle is indeed MLP, and being a bedroom no one else will need to be taken into account allowing me to play with my options without worrying about others and their preferences.... yet.

Good, that makes it a little easier, as my assumptions above hold true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

As mentioned, I plan to. and have been, auditioning speakers around town just trying to get first hand knowledge on various charactaristics ala bright/warm/foward/laid back/etc. And was starting to question my preferences due to my prior experience being a warm muddy sound, which when compared to others is so different that it sounds wrong/bad just because I don't know any better (yet). To make that relative, a similar experience in concept is when I calibrate a friend or family member's TV for them, they think the picture is to red because they're so used to default settings. I'm probbably needlessly worrying at this point, I've not seen much on speakers (within my price range and still in production) that are strongly colored or otherwise shifted from neutral.

Yeah, it's funny what we get used to. Just looking at the Windows environment on a computer trains you to expect a certain look. When you then go and calibrate the monitor everything in Windows or Office looks tinted, at least until you get used to the new look. But I would never trade my calibrated IPS panel while working with photographs. They just look so much more natural and stunning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamikaze_Ice View Post

Would it be a good idea to seek out some headphones that are very neutral/flat and get accustomed to that sound before or during auditioning speakers?

The only reason why I started to become dissatisfied with my compact Sony system was due to a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones that I bought for late-night listening about 15 years ago. These headphones are still around and I highly recommend them. They are relatively affordable. We gave a pair to my brother-in-law a while ago and now he complains that he does not want to listen to his desktop speakers or AKG headphones anymore, because they sound so bad. Your Denon 4520CI should be able to drive them nicely. This could be one way of familiarizing yourself more with music you like. You can then take that knowledge and apply it to the auditions. Just make sure you go with a source as uncompressed as possible. I personally prefer FLAC, but high bitrate MP3s (>160kbps) or CDs will work too. Avoid anything with auto-tuning on the vocals or normalization, so you get the full dynamic range. Are you taking your own program material to the dealers?

I cannot even try and narrow the list of speakers for you as I have not heard any of the ones you mention. Hopefully this general advice will get you to where you want to go.

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Thanks for sharing your experience ZeGhostbear.

You're welcome.
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