Originally Posted by JPDK
Hi, I am a surround newbie, and I have a small living room where I would like to setup speakers for a small 5.0 home theater system.
Because of the neighbors in the surrounding apartments, loud volume and deep bass from a subwoofer is not possible in any way. I am not interestet in roomshaking bass effects, instead I am looking for realistic reproduction of voices/dialog and surround effects at low-medium volume.
I am thinking of getting four bookshelf speakers and a center speaker, but no subwoofer.
How would such a setup work?
Any suggestions on how to get it to work in the best possible way?
Is it possible to exclude/turn of the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies?
Would it put to much strain on the receiver running all five speakers without a subwoofer?
I have a Marantz nr1604 surround receiver that I want to use in the setup.
This is in reply to some of your question in the Marantz NR-1604 thread.
I've attached the room mode graphic based your room dimensions given of : Length=5m, Width=5m, Height=2.55m in equivalent feet:
As advised previously, if you sit in the middle of the room (due to square foot print) there would be large variations in the bass.
Your room volume is closer to medium size > 2,200 cu.ft. The low frequencies and bass will act as waves and interact with each other within the room boundaries. These low frequencies require significant power to reproduce the signals from your source, else you'll get clipping/distortion. You will need a sub woofer to fill that space if going with satellites/bookshelf speakers or large floor standers + decent amp.
What you want is to do is reproduce clean and low distortion sound from the speakers and minimize room interaction so that at low to medium listening volumes, it is clear. People generally turn up the volume (in particular the dialogue) due to bad room acoustics as they cannot hear the sound track clearly. This is where complaints from the neighbor comes in.
Experiment with your current sat speaker, sub and Main Listening Position locations. Your current speakers are Cambridge Audio Minx Min11 with the x300 sub. For the front sound stage consisting of the Front Left (FL), Front Right (FR) and Center (C) speakers - try the FL and FR speakers located at 0.25L and 0.75L along the front wall. Where L stands for length. Have the center speaker at 0.5L along the front wall and pointed to your ears.
Look at the room modes in the graphic. The Main Listening Position (MLP) needs to be between the peaks and nulls. Try the 38% rule as a starting point. So 38% from the front wall this is either: 1.9 m (6.23') or 3.1(10.17').
For sub location, try placing it at 0.5L along the front wall as this is where a deep null for all axial, tangential and oblige waves interact. I.e. same place as your center speaker. By placing the sub at the null point you are counter acting the waves and helping to reduce the peak to null variation at the MLP. If this initial location doesn't work out for you, try the sub woofer crawl as outlined in Axiom Audio's youtube video.
After you've adjusted speakers/sub and MLP, re-run Audyssey setup on your Marantz NR-1604. You might get a pleasant surprise.
It would be better if you can do an in room frequency sweep it would reveal a lot of the issues you are currently hearing. Try REW (it's a free program) and a calibrated USB mic from Cross Specturm Labs (costs about USD$100). There is step-by-step guide and a dedicated thread to discuss this at AVS.
After doing the above and you're still not happy with the sound of the Min11, maybe time to look at alternatives. Room treatment is a cost effective way to improve sound quality for some additional cost. If room treatments is aesthetically not possible then - be prepared to pay some $$$ on a new front sound stage with better speakers. Maybe a combination of both?