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post #1 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Dedicated Home Theater. Audio Advice

Hello All,

I just recently purchased a house with a dedicated home theater room. I am all excited and have started my research process as to how I am going to finish out this room. There is so much information out there and so many different options. I am canvasing multiple sources as to what would get me the best bang for my buck.

Room Description. I have a dedicated theater room that measures 13X19. The ceiling is 10 feet, but on the front wall (where the screen will be) and the two side walls the ceiling is vaulted with the slant starting at 8 feet. The back wall is flat with no vaulting, the door is on the right side of this wall (if you are facing the screen/front wall) The room also has a sound dampening insulation installed in the walls.

The room has been pre-wired for 7.1 surround sound in-ceiling speakers. The LCR speakers are wired on the front wall vaulted slope, with the surrounds wired on the vaulted slope of the side walls. I already have realized the guys who pre-wired misplaced the surrounds. Both surround channels are placed on the side wall with the first location wired way forward of where I will be sitting. I am planing to have the surrounds moved with my surround moved to sitting location and rear locations moved to the back wall. Please see attached pictures.

Budget/WAF background. I am looking to spend $3000-$3500 on my speaker/sub setup. The wife predictably likes the idea of in-ceiling better than towers. With that being said I am not ruling out towers because she is pretty easy going and would be OK with towers if I tell her there is an advantage to having them.

Tower route. I think I have settled on if I am going the tower option I will be ordering speakers through and internet direct company. Looking around I believe I can get a better bang for my buck through ID companies. The ID setups I have been looking at are HTD level 3 system or EMP-Tek e55ti. I would appreciate feed back on this option as far as company quality and especially if there is a better option out there that would fit my budget.

In-ceiling route. As far as in-ceilings go I have been looking at a MartinLogan ElectroMotion IC setup. Quality concerns or better option for budget feed back again appreciated.

Sub. For the sub I am trying to decide between SVS, PowerSound Audio, or MartinLogan.

My main confusion lays with tower vs in-ceiling. Forums tell me that towers are much better, but local home theater stores tell me it is a personal preference issue with a small difference in sound quality. I would really like to find a place to go listen to both options. I live in Houston, any recommendations of places I can go sample different speaker options?

Summary
1. speakers vs towers.
2. quality of ID towers vs MartinLogan in-ceiling.
3. place around Houston I can go demo speakers.

Thanks in advance to everyone that responds. I know this is a bit wordy and un-informed but this is why I am coming to the experts.

-Jacob
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 08:53 AM
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First of all, the people who are trying to sell you those in-ceilings are mis-informing you. There is a huge difference between the sound from tower speakers versus in-ceiling speakers. In-ceiling is always a compromise, and I would only consider them for your surrounds if you had no other choice.

The first thing you need to decide on what kind of screen you will use. I would recommend an acoustically transparent screen, this lets you put the speakers behind the screen and offers a few benefits. First and foremost, you can use three matching vertical speakers, this is the most ideal setup because you will have a consistent sound across the front. Horizontal centers are a compromise in sound quality for the sake of placement convenience. Second, having three identical speakers means you can have the tweeters all on the same level and this will improve dialogue and clarity. Third, you don't need space on the side of your screen and can therefore go with a larger screen. I would recommend this approach and the cost difference is only a few hundred.

EMP is an excellent choice for HT, they offer a very dynamic neutral sound, and it is hard to beat the value they offer. You could go with three towers across the front and it would give you an impressive sound stage.

For surrounds, I would look at something like the Ascend HTD-200 SE, it is a good low profile option that can be wall-mounted. You will however want to have all your surround positions adjusted. The side surrounds should be slightly behind and above the left and right seating on the side walls, and the rear surrounds should be on the back wall. Here is a helpful guide for placement: http://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sur...7-1-setup.html

You could go with the EMP surrounds if you wanted, but the general trend these days seems to be away from bipole surrounds.

I would consider a pair of subs to give you a smooth bass response and the impact you will need in that size room. Given your budget, a pair of SVS PB-2000 would be fantastic. Even a pair of PB-1000 would be a great choice in that room, but it is always good to have more sub than you need (headroom is key). SVS recommends the PB-2000 as a good match to the E55Tis towers.

Lastly you need an AVR to power it all, the Denon AVR-X2000 would be a great choice, plenty of power and Audyssey MultEQ XT. It is currently on sale for $399.99 at Crutchfield and that is a fantastic deal. If you need HDMI 2.0, you will want to go with one of the newer receivers from this year.

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post #3 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I am glad to hear a recommendation for the EMPs I like the look and price of them.

I don't think i would like to go with the three towers route because I cant really picture how it would work in my room. I am having to put a cabinet below my screen to hold all the components and not sure how I would fit in the speakers/screen/cabinet.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacobD550 View Post
Thanks for the advice. I am glad to hear a recommendation for the EMPs I like the look and price of them.

I don't think i would like to go with the three towers route because I cant really picture how it would work in my room. I am having to put a cabinet below my screen to hold all the components and not sure how I would fit in the speakers/screen/cabinet.
If that is the plan then you will need to go with the EMP center. It is however a well designed one and can easily keep up with the towers.

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post #5 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 02:42 PM
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I'd skip the EMPTek or HTD towers and get 3 of these for the fronts
http://www.chanemusiccinema.com/chan...rs/Theater-Ten

or 3 of these when they become available (shortly)
http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/...products/cx-10

and then get some larger more efficient surrounds. There is a JLB model that seems quite popular but I can't recall the model. Or just get 5 of either of the above speakers.

You have a dedicated space you might as well use dedicated theater speakers that are efficient and dynamic. Saves you from needing as much power.

For subs, get as much as you can afford. Your room could use either sealed of ported. Ideally you would want two of whatever you choose.

this- http://www.chanemusiccinema.com/chan...er-Package-Two

allows the amp to be in your equipment rack

or a pair of these for the same $1500
http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/...ered-subwoofer


And YES skip the in ceiling speakers for your front sound stage.

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-21-2014, 05:26 PM
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In-ceilings are almost always a bad idea, but with the coming of Dolby Home Atmos, those in-ceiling jacks might come in handy. Atmos adds height speakers to the soundfield, and uses ceiling speakers for this effect. I would skip tower speakers, by the way, and go with bookshelf speakers and dual subwoofers. Tower speakers don't have that much advantage when you cut out their bass extension, which is exactly what you will be doing by adding a subwoofer to your setup. Dual subs are pretty much a necessity for getting more accurate bass anyway.

If I were you, I would look at system from Hsu or Ascend/Rythmik.

For Hsu, I would get a 7.1 Hybrid 2 or Hybrid 3 package, and add in an additional sub from the same package. If you want to take advantage of the in-ceiling wiring, add on some Hsu HIW in-walls for an Atmos setup. You could substitute HIWs for the side surrounds as well. You can also upgrade the fronts to HC-1s to be used vertically to beef up the front stage. Anyway, all that will give you a 11.2 system (or, in Atmos speak, 7.1.4 system) for between $3 to 3.5K shipped.

For Ascend/Rythmik, I would go for a CMT-340 front stage, with CBM-170 surrounds. I would get a pair of Rythmik LV12r subwoofers with that package, which can be purchased at Ascend's site for a discount. You would have to figure out something if you wanted some height speakers for an Atmos system. I would go with some Klipsch, Hsu, or Boston Acoustics in-walls for height speakers. With your ceilings, you may also want to look at JBL 8320s to see if they would work.

You would need an AVR with Atmos aboard if you wanted to go that route. They don't really start coming out until September. One that can handle a 7.1.4 system will be a bit pricey, probably around $2k. But if you wanted to go that route, you can be the first kid on your block to have a full blown Atmos system, that would be pretty cool.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-22-2014, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys. Great advice.

I really like the idea of hanging on to the in ceiling locations and creating an atmos setup.

Thanks again for all the recommendations and help. The feedback I have received from here as well as audioholics has me convinced that in ceiling is a no go. I am taking the wife to a local audio store this weekend to show her the difference.

A quick question. If I were to go with the HSU hybrid system, how would you suggest I set up the LCR front speakers? If I had a cabinet that stretched all the way across my room could I just set all three on there? I found the attached picture and really liked the look of the setup.

-Jacob
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-22-2014, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacobD550 View Post
Thanks Guys. Great advice.

I really like the idea of hanging on to the in ceiling locations and creating an atmos setup.

Thanks again for all the recommendations and help. The feedback I have received from here as well as audioholics has me convinced that in ceiling is a no go. I am taking the wife to a local audio store this weekend to show her the difference.

A quick question. If I were to go with the HSU hybrid system, how would you suggest I set up the LCR front speakers? If I had a cabinet that stretched all the way across my room could I just set all three on there? I found the attached picture and really liked the look of the setup.

-Jacob
Yes that would work well, and three identical vertical speakers across the front is the most ideal setup.

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post #9 of 9 Old 08-22-2014, 10:24 AM
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In that room I'd definitely be thinking about a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos setup, with in-ceiling speakers that use concentric drivers. But, this with the caveat that your 5.1 should be working great first off, and that you will probably be wanting to add some sound panels behind the couch to prevent too much early reflections from your side surrounds (and even rear heights if you get them), and skip the rear speakers entirely.

My only other input (not that I am an expert in speaker choices), would be to get better but smaller speakers, like bookshelves. If you can buy 5.1 bookshelves that are all identical, that would be the best, especially for the front stage. I was going to do that with B&W by buying 5 x 685s2 speakers, but they only sell in pairs, and besides that, the midrange was muffled when I listened to them and I decided to get pro speakers instead with a huge sound scape (JBL LSR 308s). My room is rectangular and about 20 deep x 13 high x 11 across, so I'll be going Atmos with 7.1.4 next year, however the ceiling speakers probably won't be powered because I'd rather avoid having too many heavy things sitting overhead.

My projector with mount directly over my couch is already scary enough!
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