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post #1 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks,

I was hoping for some advice on a setup in a new house. I will preface this by stating I am a beginner when it comes to home theater and after a few trips to best buy, magnolia and the like I have no idea how to select a system. I'm not sure I have the patience to learn about all this stuff so I was hoping for some recommendations from people "in the know" who are not salespeople. Up until now we have always lived in a very small space but finally bought the house of our dreams in which we plan on living long term.

The room is the family room which is about 15 feet deep and 17 feet wide. The TV is mounted above the fireplace in the front of the room. The room itself has no rear wall but opens into the breakfast area and then kitchen so a very long space. I realize it is not best for acoustics but this is what we have. The room is pre-wired for a center speaker which will sit on the fireplace mantle and 2 side speakers, a sub-woofer, and 2 rear in-ceiling speakers. I bought a 60 inch Samsung 7100 series LED tv. I'm looking for a system that will create a rich sound for regular tv viewing, movies, and sports. This will be the primary viewing room in the house until we finish the basement with a dedicated HT a few years down the road.

I'm looking to spend no more than $1500 on a 5.1 setup including receiver. I also need the receiver to power 2 patio speakers outside. I was hoping someone could give me advice mainly on the speakers: center, front/rear, and subwoofer that would be a match. Does not need to be the same brand necessarily. Any advice on a receiver would be appreciated but I realize this is the speaker forum.

Also, I"m limited to a center speaker no taller than 4.5 inches due to pushing the tv to high for comfortable viewing.

BTW, my current surround sound system is a Sony all in one system that I got from Best Buy 5 years back for about $350 so I'm sure anything will be an upgrade.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:12 PM
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First off, I would look for a Denon AVR-1913. This has networking and 7.1, so you can power your 5.1 living room system, as well as your patio speakers with zone 2. www.accessories4less.com is an authorized dealer and they sell manufacturer refurbished products with warranties. It's a good place to save a lot of money on a receiver.

For a sub, I think the SVS PB-1000 is a fantastic entry-level subwoofer and will give you good extension. However, given such a large space, you will probably want to upgrade or add a second at some point. If you are coming from a Sony HTIB system, it will be a huge upgrade though.

This leaves you $700 for speakers. It will be very difficult to find a center with a width of 4.5", the best I can find is 5.5". This Boston Acoustics LCR speaker would probably work well: http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSP442BA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-P442-LCR-Left-Right-Center-Speaker-Black-Each-NEW/1.html#!specifications

Three of these, and then you can pick up a pair of ceiling speakers, www.monoprice.com or www.partsexpress.com have a good selection.

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post #3 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I really like the subwoofer and had no idea you could you the same speaker for the center and sides. Is there any downside to this? I always thought the side speakers functioned differently than the center.

Also, is it is possible to match a 6-ohm center with that particular receiver and 8-ohm side speakers. I ask because I just saw the Yamaha NS-C310BL which is only 3.7 inches high. I have no idea how it sounds or what speakers would match this.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:36 PM
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The rule of thumb is your front speakers should be timber matched at the very least, and ideally identical. I do not know anything about that Yamaha center speaker, but I would not mix and match brands.

Speakers that are designated LCR work well in either orientation. Is an inch going to make a big difference with the TV height? You are limiting yourself a lot with that size restriction.

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post #5 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:36 PM
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Is it possible, and this is a suggestion, of course, to use the adjacent wall for TV and main (LCR) speakers? I know the TV above the fireplace looks nice, but if this is your main TV watching device, it is usually placed too high up. Specially with a center speaker. You are also limiting your audio experience. The center will also be located (I assume) above your ear level, not providing you with optimal sound quality. Just a thought.

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post #6 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdnewbie21 View Post

Is it possible, and this is a suggestion, of course, to use the adjacent wall for TV and main (LCR) speakers? I know the TV above the fireplace looks nice, but if this is your main TV watching device, it is usually placed too high up. Specially with a center speaker. You are also limiting your audio experience. The center will also be located (I assume) above your ear level, not providing you with optimal sound quality. Just a thought.

+1 This also opens up the option of bookshelf or floorstanding speakers, allowing you to get much better sound quality for your money.

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post #7 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately the room is such that the adjacent walls could not be used due to doors/windows, etc... The tv is a bit high as will the center speaker. In fact, I initially mounted the tv up and after a few nights the whole family said this will not work as we felt like we were in the first row of the movie theater. I spent two days breaking down the mantle completely and just rebuilt it (learned a lot of fun carpentry stuff in the process). I was able to lower the mantle 10 inches which is much better but I'm tyring to keep the tv height as low as possible. I suppose the 1 inch difference for the BA center would not be noticeable.

Point taken on matching the center and sides.
Thanks
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:44 PM
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There are some "flat panel" speakers (like the Yamaha you mention) that are meant to be used L/C/R and whose width dimension is around 5". Some of these speakers can be quite good - look at the ones made by Paradigm. Look at the used market if budget is a real problem.

The main downside to MTM (mid - tweeter - mid) LCR speakers (all 3 front identical) is the horizontal dispersion of the sound - especially for the center speaker. For the L/R, the tweeter and the woofers are all lined up vertically so the sound from the different drivers is aligned. When you put that same speaker on its side and sit anywhere in the room other than directly in front of the speaker, the sound from the different drivers arrives at your ears at different times. This is called "lobing" and can cause dialog to be hard to understand - but I had speakers like this for 10+ years and were happy with them.

A dedicated center speaker with a "stacked" tweeter / midrange flanked by the woofers will have superior dialog intelligibility, but for a living room system you will probably be more than happy with the LCR type speaker in the center. Whether you use that same speaker for the L/R is personal preference and whether you have money and space for larger main speakers.

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post #9 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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One other thought I just had, how about if I mounted the center speaker on the wall above the TV and aimed it down toward the seating area. Also, i could do bookshelf speakers for the sides.
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a snapshot for the room. You can see where old mantle height was and new one I reworked. Still needs to be finished of course.
IMG_0482.jpg 1892k .jpg file

I hope that worked. As you can see I would have plenty of space for bookshelf speakers on the side.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0482.jpg (1.85 MB, 30 views)
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post #11 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gteleven View Post

Here is a snapshot for the room. You can see where old mantle height was and new one I reworked. Still needs to be finished of course.
IMG_0482.jpg 1892k .jpg file

I hope that worked. As you can see I would have plenty of space for bookshelf speakers on the side.

I understand aesthetics play a role and I don't know what your adjacent wall looks like or the overall space for that matter. If I were, I'll put a nice big painting above the fireplace wink.gif

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post #12 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gteleven View Post

Here is a snapshot for the room. You can see where old mantle height was and new one I reworked. Still needs to be finished of course.
IMG_0482.jpg 1892k .jpg file

I hope that worked. As you can see I would have plenty of space for bookshelf speakers on the side.

Hard to tell from the picture for sure, but you might get better soundstage if you put the speakers on the shelves to the left/right, but close into the mantel. Looks like the tweeters would be more at ear level as well.

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post #13 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:17 PM
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With only 4.5 inches to play with for the center channel I would strongly suggest you consider running a phantom center channel instead of trying to find a subpar center speaker that fits. The center channel should be timbre matched with your main L/R speakers. A center channel of that size will most likely mean a mediocre set of matching mains.

If you live near a Fry's Electronics and you have places for a bookshelf speaker I would recommend the Infinity Primus P163. If you need to buy stands might as well step up to the Infinity Primus P363 towers. Fry's has the P163 on sale for $57 each and the P363 for $107 each quite often.
If you can mount the Infinity P153 or P143 from the ceiling that would be better (SQ wise) than in ceiling at this price range. Don't let the budget price of these speakers scare you. They are quite good for the money.

The bulk of the money will go to a capable sub since you are mostly interested in movies and TV. Here I would recommend:

HSU Research VTF-2 MK4 for $596
Rythmik Audio LV12R for $589
SVS Sound PB-1000 for $499

Edit: Started typing this response back when there was 0 responses.

You can definitely mount the center above the TV if it's not too high and angle it downwards. You can get the matching Infinity Primus P351 for $199.

So with a Denon AVR-1913, P163 and P143 bookshelves, P351 center and any of the above listed subs you will be just under your budget assuming you have a Fry's Electronics nearby.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion. I've heard some Infiniti speakers in the past (not sure what model) and loved the crispness of sound. What do you mean by "phantom center channel." Does this mean there's no physical center speaker? I didn't know you could do this. Also, I was just looking at the Definitive Mythos Six center which is only 4 inches tall. What do you think of that matched with the mythos 7 sides. Not sure I'm willing to pay that much but maybe if this would be a better setup.
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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As luck would have it I do have a Frys nearby, two actually. I'm starting to think that might be the best way to go. What do you think about the mythos idea comparatively?
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:33 PM
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I'm not a fan of the phantom center but some people swear by it. In your case, to avoid raising the Tv too high, I agreed with the suggestion.

Instead of the Primus, I'd go for a pair of these http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cmt340m/cmt340m.html. and http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/subs/lv12r.html. I think you can get a discount if you order a combo.

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post #17 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Nevermind about the mythos, just realized how expensive they are:eek:eek.gif
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
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As luck would have it I do have a Frys nearby, two actually. I'm starting to think that might be the best way to go. What do you think about the mythos idea comparatively?

Check their site:

http://www.frys.com/template/onad/product_navigation/?site=sa:TOP_BANNER:Spot1

Their weekly sales start on Fridays.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-10-2013, 03:00 PM
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What do you mean by "phantom center channel." Does this mean there's no physical center speaker? I didn't know you could do this.

Right - no physical center channel speaker. You change your AVR center channel setting to "none" and the center channel info is divided between the L/R main speakers. It can work quite well especially if the L/R main speakers are closer together than they should be and your seating is further back - which might work for you. Problem is the "sweet spot" is small and your center information arrives at different times to listeners that are off-axis which makes dialog intelligibility less than a dedicated center channel speaker.

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