Great Room Impact on HT design - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Great Room Impact on HT design

My current home has about 650 sq ft in the great room. The room is carpeted. Their are 9ft drapes on the doors. The furniture is cloth. And this room eats sound.


If I turn up the volume such that a film actually "sounds good" from the couch, I get two consequences:
1) We can "feel" the subwoofer too much and it is distracting. Attempts at balancing this thing have failed.
2) The significant other storms out of the bedroom angry because she can hear the film perfectly from the bedroom, while it is finally tolerable in great room. The speakers and sub are located on the wall between these rooms, and the builder refused to put insulation between the walls.


The home theater has more or less been a complete failure for the family. No one can watch a film with any sound above a "whisper" without irritating bass impacts or without annoying someone in the other room, so why even bother with the gear?


Now I'm moving. The new home has the couch about 12' away from the TV+front speakers and there is another 20' behind us to soak up sound. In addition, at the back of this room is a large carpeted staircase.


I'm having this sinking feeling that this new room will eat sound worse than the last one.


There are literally thousands of pages of material describing how to design a good home theater in about 100 sq ft. They go into great detail about how to manage reflections and other wavelength anomalys. That's all well and good, but for the last 20 years homes have been built in the U.S. with large great rooms and some with 25 ft ceilings.


It has been my experience that the small cube or bookshelf speakers sound terrible in these rooms. And many of the "lessons" from European style home theatres are completely lost in a larger room like this.

I'm also leaning towards not using a sub. Over the last 30 years my friends and I have found them distracting. While we may not be able to directionalize the sound, we CAN FEEL the darn thing. And that is very annoying. I don't think I have ever seen a properly balanced sub.


To make up for that I was leaning towards 12-15" speakers. Sure, there is a dropoff, but in all reality I don't think we are going to miss 30Hz. We are not into "the big bass sound" and if the explosions in films are now spread out amongst five speakers I would be very pleased.


I've found several threads here and on other boards discussing large PA type speakers for bigger rooms. Has anyone tried this before?

Last edited by s2006; 09-21-2014 at 08:41 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 10:48 PM
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Please list off the equipment you own so we can figure out what you have to work with. Have you owned a system that uses a set up mic that comes with the receiver that balances everything from crossover, distance and level matching?
bass is impactful, are you saying that you don't like bass, or have you simply not owned a subwoofer that you knew how to turn down the volume on? I'm trying to understand your knowledge level so that we can begin to educate and make recommendations.
I use large (that's a relative term) PA speakers in my home theater QSC KW122's and I love them.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, my current equipment is probably going to be donated or trashed at this point. Not pleased with it at all.


Regarding my knowledge level. I'm fairly new at working with audio equipment. But I have 15 years experience working in electronics/computer systems.


I'm at the point now where I'm trying to learn something about audio equipment in order to decide if purchasing another one of these "things" is worth it.


The family doesn't give a rip about surround sound. I would personally like to have good surround sound in the house, but the current system (and all of the sytems I have seen at my friend's homes) are pretty much trash.


Thinking back, I haven't heard a good home stereo system since the 80's. Everyone I knew replaced their good speakers with these POS cubes back then. The subwoofers most people get are just junk and most of us (the people I know) find them to be a waste of money and very distracting when viewing media. Many people have a soft spot for hiphop or rap, but that doesn't mean we all want that sound 100% of the time.


So, I'm going back to when speakers were "better", and things didn't sound so "thump thump thump" from your sub and pitchy from these 2" things they call woofers.


The problem is that there are several different camps in this arena. Camp #1 lives in Europe and builds home theater rooms in 100 sq ft block walls with insulated doors and no carpet. Reflections eat these systems alive, so they attempt to minimize and balance these systems.


Camp #2 thinks that's subwoofers are just the "bomb" and want to hear "thump thump thump" even when watching children's shows. They think its "sick" that Dora has a bass line.


The problem is that I'm part of Camp #3 who is looking for good sound in a large room with a lot of carpet and fabric hanging around the room. Reflections will happen, but no where near as much as a Euro cellar. And while some bass is good, I'm not listening to SnoopDog with the kids.


Thanks for the heads up on your speakers. I'll check them out.


I'm also leaning towards Klipsch Heresy. Going old style might be what I'm after. But I've also been looking at some plain PA speakers that use for churches and clubs.


But looking around on web forums you hear from Camp#1 or Camp#2 who claim that you can't sit close to PA speakers because at low volume they have terrible sound. I can understand this from Camp#1 . Sitting in a stone 90 sq ft cellar with 12" speakers blaring away at you could be a bit much. Camp#2 is just likes the thump and the 12" speakers miss things below 90hz, and completely can't hit below 50-60 depending on the model. So both camps might be a bit biased.


This contradicts my own experience from the 70's and 80's, but who knows, maybe they construct 12" speakers differently now.


Is something different in large speakers now than 30 years ago? Or am I just getting hogwash from a large group of people with very different design constraints?


Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 03:37 PM
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Have you thought about some (used) LaScalas or, if you have corners, Khorns?


You can also look at the cinema lineup at Klipsch if you want some bang for your buck. Their cinema lineup with larger format horns kick some serious hiney. (I've owned some 7-8 years as well as owning LaScalas for a really long time)
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 04:10 PM
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What do you want to spend?
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superedge88 View Post
What do you want to spend?
That's undecided yet. I've seen very expensive systems based upon 4" speakers that just look like trash in a pretty package. And then I've seen relativily inexpensive systems with large speakers for 1/4 of that price with VERY good specifications.


So spending money isn't an issue, but spending money on junk is.


It's interesting that there are small "hobby stereo" groups who build their own speakers for a fraction of the price. If I find that buying quality speakers is far too much, I might consider just building my own. That option actually sounds more entertaining.
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 09:16 PM
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So what is "far too much" because without budget we are all just shooting in the dark. Budget range is of utmost importance.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
1) I need help with picking out an HT or stereo setup. What kind of information should I provide?

When creating a new post for help with recommendations for an audio setup, be sure to include

1) Your budget.
2) Your listening interests: movies/gaming/music--and whether or not any of those are your primary concern.
3) Your existing audio equipment (make/models) if any. Include comments about what you hope to improve upon.
4) The size of your room. Please also mention if there are adjacent open areas and how big they are (important for subwoofer choice).
5) Any placement restrictions.
6) Any aesthetic or size concerns.
7) Any equipment you are already considering (or would not consider).
8) Any particular audio sonic signatures you know you prefer (e.g., you are a basshead, you have a preference for bright treble, etc.)

If you are seeking help with configuring or troubleshooting an existing setup, be sure to give the make/model for your entire setup and try to describe the problem with good detail.

Once you have given good, detailed information for what you need help with, provide a title for your post that helps people to understand what you are looking for.
Basic Speaker Setup FAQ
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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So what is "far too much" because without budget we are all just shooting in the dark. Budget range is of utmost importance.
Hmm, like I said, it's kind of undecided. If I can convince myself that spending $X more can really buy me a good system, then I might be willing pay more. But if $X more buys me (for example) the most pure 20-30 Hz sound on the market, it probably won't convince me to part with anymore currency.


I do have somewhat of a musical background (by no means a professional, but still not a course beginner). So I usually can hear a really bad setup, but I can't always pin point what is wrong with it.


So with that as an answer, is there some kind of "rough outline" as to what each price bracket purchases? From my own research I can spend $10,000+ on 2" speakers, and from the look of them, i'll hate them more than the junk I already own. Sure, they are made out of tiger maple with titanium and blah blah blah so they are really worth it!


But I guess that's the problem. I can quote a price, and I can find both garbage and industrial looking hardware near that number. The $ matters, but from my own education, it can also drive a consumer far away from a quality sound system.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by s2006 View Post
Hmm, like I said, it's kind of undecided. If I can convince myself that spending $X more can really buy me a good system, then I might be willing pay more. But if $X more buys me (for example) the most pure 20-30 Hz sound on the market, it probably won't convince me to part with anymore currency.


I do have somewhat of a musical background (by no means a professional, but still not a course beginner). So I usually can hear a really bad setup, but I can't always pin point what is wrong with it.


So with that as an answer, is there some kind of "rough outline" as to what each price bracket purchases? From my own research I can spend $10,000+ on 2" speakers, and from the look of them, i'll hate them more than the junk I already own. Sure, they are made out of tiger maple with titanium and blah blah blah so they are really worth it!


But I guess that's the problem. I can quote a price, and I can find both garbage and industrial looking hardware near that number. The $ matters, but from my own education, it can also drive a consumer far away from a quality sound system.
Since you have not given us an actual budget here is the best speakers you should get

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF for $200,000 a pair.

If you can't afford those than the Wilson Audio MAXX Series 3 at $68,000 are a bargin

Maybe the Sonus faber Fenice are for you at $180,000 pair are your speed

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post #11 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually that's an awesome place to start; the top.


What makes the Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF so good?


I can read their website. Sure, some people are honest when it comes to making money and their claims of quality are always honest.....ok back to reality.


In your opinion, can they really charge $200k for these things? And why? I'm learning here. This is interesting. And thanks again for the help!


EDIT:
yeah...I think they hit the nail on the head on their own website:
" how does the discerning audiophile distinguish authentic value from products merely wrapped in the mystique of exclusivity and high price?"

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post #12 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 10:20 PM
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So since you are so undecided on your parameters it is best to do research first by searching the forum with simple keywords and browsing through posts that pertain to questions you have before asking for help. No one can help you without you first being able to answer some of the basic questions needed in order for us to make recommendations. Best of luck to you.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Fair enough gents. Cheers!
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by s2006 View Post
Actually that's an awesome place to start; the top.


What makes the Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF so good?


I can read their website. Sure, some people are honest when it comes to making money and their claims of quality are always honest.....ok back to reality.


In your opinion, can they really charge $200k for these things? And why? I'm learning here. This is interesting. And thanks again for the help!


EDIT:
yeah...I think they hit the nail on the head on their own website:
" how does the discerning audiophile distinguish authentic value from products merely wrapped in the mystique of exclusivity and high price?"

Wilson's are overpriced. I heard the Sasha and was dissapointed for the price.


from your original post, it does seem like you had a pos subwoofer that just plays loud.
And most importantly, you couldn't implement it well so you heard localized thumps that were annoying as well. Also, I think you were playing it rather HOT if it annoyed so much.

a good well implemented bass is nice to hear. It's not a thump thump thump all the time, I think your sub lacked detail and was dialed in way too hot. There are many different bass sounds.

with the budget you spent on that pos sub and the experience you have in audio, I am guessing 2 grand might be even pushing it.

I recommend going with Paradigm MilleniaOne for your 5.0. It's one of the best measured speakers of all time for 5.0, regardless of price.

A bookshelf + sub will never be implemented as well as a true full range speaker. If you are going 2.0, For a true full range cheap speaker,I recommend the Tekton line. You can grab the Pendragons for 2 grand used if you look around. It goes down to 20hz and You will hear details on the bass for the first time, and you might change your mind about bass in general. Bass should never ever sound annoying if you have a good sub dialed in.

if you don't care for bass, paradigm milleniaone without a sub would be good.

Almost all good speakers usually come with excellent bass btw, it's part of what makes a good speaker if that makes sense..

In your sutuation, from reading your post, you are looking for articulation on sound d rather than a HT experience. In this case, I recommend going 2.0.

Last edited by NAIM101; 09-21-2014 at 10:48 PM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-02-2014, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2006 View Post
Hmm, like I said, it's kind of undecided. If I can convince myself that spending $X more can really buy me a good system, then I might be willing pay more. But if $X more buys me (for example) the most pure 20-30 Hz sound on the market, it probably won't convince me to part with anymore currency.


I do have somewhat of a musical background (by no means a professional, but still not a course beginner). So I usually can hear a really bad setup, but I can't always pin point what is wrong with it.


So with that as an answer, is there some kind of "rough outline" as to what each price bracket purchases? From my own research I can spend $10,000+ on 2" speakers, and from the look of them, i'll hate them more than the junk I already own. Sure, they are made out of tiger maple with titanium and blah blah blah so they are really worth it!


But I guess that's the problem. I can quote a price, and I can find both garbage and industrial looking hardware near that number. The $ matters, but from my own education, it can also drive a consumer far away from a quality sound system.
I totally get your unstated budget. I kind of work that way. I might only want to spend $1,000 but if I can get what I like and it costs $2,500 the so be it, I'll figure out how to make it happen.


So I'll throw this out to you.


Check out the Klipsch Jubilee. It's not going to be found on their website as a standard item (standard item is 3-way and I'm referring to 2-way)


You don't want to use a sub but if you did, look into a Danley DTS-10


You can then upgrade over time and swap out the HF driver from the stock Klipsch K69 to a 2" TAD 4002 (expensive if you get/find them with the Beryllium diaphragms)


I'm near Knoxville, TN. If you happen to be nearby or coming through, you're welcome to stop, listen and smile.
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