Narrow stage - small bookshelves - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Basically, I have a narrow sound stage (about 6'), and an interior designer for a wife.  I can't fit floorstanding speakers to the side of the TV, they would have to be bookshelves that sit on the cabinet that runs under the TV, and they can't be bigger than say 10"x6".  I have less than 6" above the cabinet and the bottom of the TV.

 

Also I should point out that my wife and I sometimes have a hard time understanding dialog, so that is a priority for sure (right now we have an ancient Infinity center, C1 I think).

 

So, I am wondering if we should go with a relatively bigger center (though slim), compared with the sides? For example a BA RS 223 or Yamaha NS-C310BL with small matching bookshelves.  Or am I better off with the bigger sides and a smaller center?  The 3 speakers will all be so close together, I know I don't want 3 large speakers there.  The viewing are of the space is about 13' deep by 20' wide.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

 - John

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post #2 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 04:34 PM
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If you have trouble hearing dialog getting a more cohesive front sound-stage (aural "sound-stage", not furniture sound-stage) would very likely help - this means getting a center speaker that is timbre matched to the RL main speakers.

Three of these might make a good LCR in your setup - their somewhat unique form factor might be tailor made for your situation. http://www.htd.com/Products/flat-panel-speakers/flat-panel-speaker

They also happen to come in white. The LR mains can either stand up on the cabinet or be mounted on the TV wall. They have a better, richer sound and are deeper than most "wall mount" speakers.
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 04:41 PM
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It looks like your center channel speaker is sitting on the bottom - that is one of the problems

You can buy 2 pair of the Focal Sib, use one as center - and have a spare. They use to sell
for $399 a pair
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCALSIBPRWHT/FOCAL-Sib-5-2-Way-Satellite-Loudspeakers-Pair-White/1.html

Another option, Boston 3-channel passive SoundBar - a real good price - put under the TV
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSP400BA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-P400-Soundbar-Speaker-Black-NEW/1.html

What subwoofer do you own?

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post #4 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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A better picture of the setup perhaps:

 

...this is the Infinity C1 center, and 2 satellites just because I don't have anything else that fits yet.  We used to have a bigger wall and we had some BIC bookshelves and a LCR for the center, though we never felt dialog was clear with that setup either (music was great).

The sub we have is also an old Infinity...  I figured that didn't matter too much.

 

I definitely want to timber match the fronts and center, and assuming the generally the same brand will do that.

 

I guess another way to ask is, does it make sense to have a center bigger than the sides?

 

Thanks for the suggestions, will look into those tomorrow.

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post #5 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 08:04 PM
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Take a look at NHT speakers.

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post #6 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 08:06 PM
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Well, it looks to me that you have room for L/C/R speakers - like the Boston P442
They come with 2 grills in the box - you have a choice of silver or black
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSP442BA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-P442-LCR-Left-Right-Center-Speaker-Black-Each-NEW/1.html

http://www.accessories4less.com/mas_assets/cache/image/1/4/f/4/5364.Jpg

Put 2 vertical on the white wall L/R - and the other horizontal, under the TV

http://a248.e.akamai.net/pix.crutchfield.com/ImageHandler/fixedscale/400/300/products/2005/065/x065P442-o-1.jpeg

If budget permits, I would upgrade your subwoofer.

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post #7 of 22 Old 02-05-2014, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtroxel View Post

I guess another way to ask is, does it make sense to have a center bigger than the sides?
Yes, that works out OK and should help with dialogue clarity.

But with just 6" of height, I'm not sure you're going to find much.

Couldn't you have a tall speaker on either side of the TV? This kind of thing? or something like this?
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 04:25 AM
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That picture is very tiny and hard to make out, but it looks as if your L and R speakers are pointed out, they need to be toed in slightly towards the listening position. Try this first and see if dialog improves at all. As was mentioned earlier, I would recommend the looking at NHT as well, specifically the Absolute Zero. It fits your size requirement, comes in white, and would offer great clear dialog. I think just a pair would work fine, a good pair of bookshelves will have no problem with dialog.

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post #9 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtroxel View Post

I guess another way to ask is, does it make sense to have a center bigger than the sides?
No. It's OK for the center to be the same size or somewhat smaller, though it's hard to timbre match when they're not identical. The main issue as I see it is that all of those speakers are way too small. Where good sound is concerned size does matter.

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post #10 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 12:39 PM
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+1 ^^^ Bigger, timbre matched speakers will be a big help!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtroxel View Post

...I definitely want to timber match the fronts and center, and assuming the generally the same brand will do that....
Same brand and same model line. Most manufacturers have a "matching" center for each LR main bookshelf or tower speaker model lines.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtroxel View Post

...I guess another way to ask is, does it make sense to have a center bigger than the sides? ...
Not really. Try not to think of the front three speakers as separate sound zones, but all three working together to create one cohesive sound zone.


The Cambridge Audio S series is on close out sale right now (at http://www.accessories4less.com/) and it's center should fit your space.
Pair of S30 bookshelves with the S50 center speaker (only 4.5" tall). Should be a big improvement over what you have now.

If you can fit a 7" center a KEF Q100 set will fit your space. They are front ported and would accomplish Bill F's suggestions. (Also at accessories4less, more expensive than the Cambridge Audio set.)
Pair of KEF Q100 bookshelves with the Q200c center (7" tall).
Or, three KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers using one laid on it's side as a center will give you three identical speakers LCR (also 7" tall). The Q100 uses a single concentric driver so unlike most speakers you can lay it on it's side without affecting the sound quality/signature.
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

No. It's OK for the center to be the same size or somewhat smaller, though it's hard to timbre match when they're not identical. The main issue as I see it is that all of those speakers are way too small. Where good sound is concerned size does matter.
That's daft. There are lots of centers that are bigger than the sides, meant to be used when audio quality isn't the only goal being balanced. Not to mention that, in the real world it can actually work when there are tradeoffs to be made.

But again, it's not going to work here because you don't have room - there's more space at the sides.
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post #12 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

That's daft. There are lots of centers that are bigger than the sides, meant to be used when audio quality isn't the only goal being balanced.
Is there any other goal? confused.gif
While centers do carry most of the load in terms of content per listening minute, when the L/R do kick in at full volume they run louder than the center, so one would not want them smaller than the center. Ideally the three would be identical, but if you can timber match them the center can be smaller. My L/R run the same drivers as the center, but the L/R each have eight midbasses and twelve tweeters, the center has six midbasses and six tweeters. This allows all of them to have the same headroom when each channel is reaching peak output.
Quote:
Same brand and same model line. Most manufacturers have a "matching" center for each LR main bookshelf or tower speaker model lines.
Same drivers. Some manufacturers think that matching is a cosmetic issue. rolleyes.gif

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post #13 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

That's daft. There are lots of centers that are bigger than the sides, meant to be used when audio quality isn't the only goal being balanced. Not to mention that, in the real world it can actually work when there are tradeoffs to be made ...

True there are always trade-offs and compromises in any home theater - this is how the notion of a "dedicated" horizontal speakers came to be. Horizontal center speakers were created/designed to accommodate space limitations in the average home theater, not for improved sound quality or to somehow be "optimized" for center channel content (dialog or otherwise). Almost all theaters have identical speakers LCR across the front, and movies soundtracks are mixed on identical speakers LCR (most often even with identical speakers all the way around).

Choosing your trade-offs/compromises is part of setting up any home theater system wink.gif
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all, you've got me busily researching several options.  This forum is awesome.

 

Right now I am thinking identical LCRs or at least boxes (can I call them that?) that have the same drivers.  Seems like wall mount enclosures have the best chance of fitting for me.  Paradigm Cinema 200, BA P442 would work, though a width under 5' would allow the TV to swing out.  Our couch is off-center in relation to TV, silly split-level layout.  I also an very intrigued by the HTD Flat Panels and Middys, I like that I can kick the tires with little risk there.

 

Thanks again for all the advice so far...  I think I am headed toward a solution.

 

 - John

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post #15 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtroxel View Post

 Seems like wall mount enclosures have the best chance of fitting for me.  Paradigm Cinema 200, BA P442 would work, though a width under 5' would allow the TV to swing out.  Our couch is off-center in relation to TV, silly split-level layout.  I also an very intrigued by the HTD Flat Panels and Middys, I like that I can kick the tires with little risk there.

You do not want to swing out the TV, to where the sound would come from behind the vision/sound plane.
That can be a distraction, that can also lead to an annoyance with dialog.

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post #16 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 09:48 AM
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The HTD Flat Panel, to my ears, does sound better than most flat-panel wall mount speakers (some costing 4x more). But to be fair it has the advantage of not really being flat - it's a 4" deep wood cabinet smile.gif

Good luck!
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 10:26 AM
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The HTD Flat Panel is good for the money, and better than some. However, not as transparent,
open and clear as I would prefer - and somewhat lacking in detail and definition. However, I do
prefer it over the likes of Bic and the Infinity that you own. Still a nice option for the price.

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post #18 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 02:59 PM
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+1 Standard bookshelf speakers would be preferable to any flat-panel (or satellite) speakers - you can't circumvent physics wink.gif

The 6" height restriction on your center speaker is one of your biggest limitations. The Cambridge Audio set will fit your space and IMO would sound better than the HTD Flat Panel speakers. (I'm sure there are other speaker sets I'm not familiar with center speakers 6" or less ...)

If you can increase that space to accommodate a 7" or 7.5" tall center speakers your options increase dramatically.

Again - Good Luck!
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 05:06 PM
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I wonder if you can fit an Arx A2 by putting it on the front edge of the cabinet and covering the bottom frame of the tv? The Arx bookshelf and center would be good and the center is just over 7.1 inches. Although, not sure that would pass the WAF.
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 05:22 PM
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Did you look at NHT?

On Wall - 13.8 H x 5.7 W x 4.6 D
http://www.nhthifi.com/Home-Theater-Absolute-On-Wall-Speaker-White?sc=12&category=7166

Absolute Zero Center - 6.25" x 19" x 7.375" - will that fit in front of the TV or in the cabinet?
http://www.nhthifi.com/Absolute-Center?sc=12&category=3774

You could re-mount the TV, there's room.
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post #21 of 22 Old 02-07-2014, 10:30 PM
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Another option could be psb imagine minis with the mini center.. Not cheap but I love the minis in my office and have heard them in larger rooms- quite impresssive.
Also , is there a way to adjust the hanging bracket on the TV so that the display raises an inch or two?? Most brackets have such adjustability.
You may have to remove the bolts and reinstall in a lower position to raise the TV .
Cheers, Mac
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-10-2014, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I am adding the NHTs to the short list.  Sadly the PSBs are out of my range.

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions.  Now for the negotiations with my wife :)

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