5.1 Under a Grand - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 09-28-2014, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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5.1 Under a Grand

There are a few threads like this but everyone seems to have different needs so I'll list mine and maybe some of you can bestow your wisdom upon my noob soul.

I am finishing my basement. There really won't be a "theater" area per-se but I will have an area about 15' x 18' for TV watching with the family. I will put in a sectional and then mount a 65" TV over a row of 35" tall cabinets. I included some pics below for reference. I am looking for something a little better than a HTIB but I don't plan on becoming an audiophile and building some incredibly expensive setup. The number of blu-rays in my collection is probably less than 25 as I only collect my favorites but it would be nice to spend a couple evenings a month enjoying a good movie with some awesome sound.

As for the setup, I would like to keep the budget for the 5.1 (woofer included) under a grand and then spend up to $500 on the receiver. Maybe I don't need to spend a grand on speakers and a sub alone (because I don't watch tons of movies nor plan on listening to a lot of music down there), but maybe I do for what I'm looking for?

Also, for whatever is recommended, can you tell me the best location to mount the L&R speakers? If I sit them on the counter they will be lower than the TV. Maybe this isn't an issue? I have seen some pretty mean bookshelf speakers but I don't know if the height would become an issue. Almost forgot, I would like to attach some mounts to hang the rear speakers to the ceiling (not in the ceiling). I have young kids so floor stand speakers are out of the question.
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post #2 of 26 Old 09-28-2014, 08:46 PM
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5 NHT super zeros and an SVS pb1000 or reaction audio bps212.
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post #3 of 26 Old 09-28-2014, 11:16 PM
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EMP Tek E5Bi Bookshelf speakers for your front stage: http://emptek.com/e5bi.php
Andrew Robinson review: http://hometheaterreview.com/emp-tek...aker-reviewed/

Cost = $225 for the pair. Add a third E5Bi for the center channel (if standing it upright interferes with the TV you can turn it on its side) and you're at $337.50 (including shipping).

EMP Tek E3b Mini-bookshelf for your surrounds: http://emptek.com/e3b.php

Cost = $125 for the pair (including shipping).

Now you're in for a total of $462.50.

Because your room is open and the total volume appears fairly large, the minimum subwoofer would be those described by Kini62 (and I would consider adding a second sub when funds are available).

SVS PB-1000 for $500 (including shipping, plus free shipping back to SVS if it doesn't work out for you): http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000
or
Reaction Audio BPS 212 for $500 (including shipping): http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/...ered-subwoofer

Total cost for your 5.1 system (not including AVR, cabling and any mounting brackets) = $962.50.

All the above companies give you a 30 day in-home trial period (45 days for SVS), however, return shipping is on you (except SVS).

You would like your front stage speakers high enough where the tweeter is within reasonable ear height at your seated location. Doesn't have to be exact but within 6 inches would be best. Obviously, the L/R speakers would be on each side of the TV with the front of the speakers at least even with the edge of the counter. Since these are rear ported speakers, the rear should be at least a foot away from the wall. One tries to have the distance between the speakers to be about equal to the distance from the listening position to the speaker (an equilateral triangle), but rarely can one do this. Hopefully the distance between the two front speakers are at least 6 feet apart.

Another speaker option: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR at $127 / pair ($200 for 3 and $327 for 5): http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS2...oneer+speakers

I haven't heard the Pioneers, but people seem to like them. I own the EMP Tek E5Bi speakers and you can read my review here: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/dbtrev...4850&ri=review
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post #4 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
There are a few threads like this but everyone seems to have different needs so I'll list mine and maybe some of you can bestow your wisdom upon my noob soul.

I am finishing my basement. There really won't be a "theater" area per-se but I will have an area about 15' x 18' for TV watching with the family. I will put in a sectional and then mount a 65" TV over a row of 35" tall cabinets. I included some pics below for reference. I am looking for something a little better than a HTIB but I don't plan on becoming an audiophile and building some incredibly expensive setup. The number of blu-rays in my collection is probably less than 25 as I only collect my favorites but it would be nice to spend a couple evenings a month enjoying a good movie with some awesome sound.

As for the setup, I would like to keep the budget for the 5.1 (woofer included) under a grand and then spend up to $500 on the receiver. Maybe I don't need to spend a grand on speakers and a sub alone (because I don't watch tons of movies nor plan on listening to a lot of music down there), but maybe I do for what I'm looking for?

Also, for whatever is recommended, can you tell me the best location to mount the L&R speakers? If I sit them on the counter they will be lower than the TV. Maybe this isn't an issue? I have seen some pretty mean bookshelf speakers but I don't know if the height would become an issue. Almost forgot, I would like to attach some mounts to hang the rear speakers to the ceiling (not in the ceiling). I have young kids so floor stand speakers are out of the question.

As far as seating, you want to sit in middle between your fronts and rears. For 2.0 system, middle is bad, but for 5.1 it's the best.

I would go with Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers.
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post #5 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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For LCR, what's the difference between the E5Bi versus super zeros? Is it entirely subjective or is there some other type of difference between the two? They both look good.

Last edited by kiger990; 09-29-2014 at 06:46 AM.
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post #6 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 07:18 AM
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Or just a subwoofer and a pair of decent fronts.
http://www.svsound.com/speakers/ultr...ltra-bookshelf
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000


Then when the economy allows it you can expand. IMO it's better With a good 2.0 or 2.1 setup than a not so good 5.1 setup.
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post #7 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 07:19 AM
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The Pioneer modded AAL speakers is a good clear step above the Pioneer stock speakers
You get a 5.0 package for $540
http://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html

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post #8 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 07:32 AM
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I have owned the Pioneer Andrew Jones speakers (not his subwoofer, though) for about 15 months, and while the sound is great, I've had two issues. One, the cheap veneer is peeling in the corners on the center channel and both mains (I got the towers for my mains, bookshelves in the rear). This didn't happen on my 14 yr old Onkyo HTIB speakers yet, which I still have, and I baby my speakers, gently dusting them every weekend (including yesterday), they rarely get much exposure to sunlight, and I use blackout curtains. Also, about a week ago, the right mid on the center channel quit playing. They both meter the same, so I'm guessing the crossover failed; it's hard to tell b/c the wires are so tightly bound inside that I can barely get in there to loosen anything up without damaging something. The warranty is only 1 yr through Pioneer, so I'm just S.O.L. I'm using one of my old Onkyo HTIB mains (makes a great center channel) and it sounds great. So in summary, they sound great, the mains have great bass response (even when I was out of a sub for a while, I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would), but be wary of the cheap veneer used, and you may want to get the extended warranty just in case. I now wish I had, but speakers I've never had a speaker die on me, and I don't abuse mine.
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 12:47 PM
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^^ And warranties are something many people overlook. There is no reason that speakers can't come with a fairly generous warranty. EMP Tek has a 5-year warranty as do many other speaker companies. When I see warranties of 1 or 2 years, that tells me that the manufacturer feels he will lose money if they extend the warranty further. Not a good sign.
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 01:04 PM
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I have owned many, many speakers - and it is rare for a speaker to have problems.
I do not buy based on warranty alone - I buy based on overall sound quality.

There are a lot of speakers out there still running after 20 years - and a lot of them
were made by Pioneer.

I would not fear the Pioneer speakers - they sound better than a lot of speakers that
cost more, with their 5+ year warranty(s)

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post #11 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 01:13 PM
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^^ I didn't mean that one should just look at warranty, and sound quality is of the utmost importance. I meant only that it is often overlooked. And speakers should last for a very long time, while it's the electronics that often fail prematurely.
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post #12 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
For LCR, what's the difference between the E5Bi versus super zeros? Is it entirely subjective or is there some other type of difference between the two? They both look good.
First thing I would recommend is to spend half of your AVR budget for your AVR - $200 to $300 is enough to get a very capable AVR. I would recommend Denon - there are new clearance items or refurb units that cost less than $250 and that will give you more budget to spend on your speakers.
DENON AVR-X1000 5.1 Channel Networking Receiver w/ AirPlay - $230 Free Ship
Amazon discounted Denon AVRs

One of the main differences is the "sound" of the speaker. Hard to compare because the EMP is mail order only (I've never listened to them) but most say that they are slightly bright (lively / slightly emphasized high frequencies) like Polk, Paradigm and many other speakers. I have a couple of pairs of NHT and they are very smooth and easy to listen to but I like more highs from my Paradigms in my main system - though the highs do get fatiguing after a while. The NHT are more toward the neutral / "warm" side and don't have emphasized highs. The Pioneer speakers are even warmer and some complain they don't have enough "dynamics" or "punch".

Another difference is the EMPs are rear ported speakers and the NHT are a "sealed" acoustic suspension design which is much less picky about placement. I would suggest either a front ported speaker or a non-ported acoustic suspension design so that you have more flexibility on placement. The NHT bookshelf speakers can actually be placed on a bookshelf and still sound good. I like the NHT Super Zero for surround duty, but they only have a 4.5" woofer and response down to 85Hz. You would be well served to have larger speakers for the Left / Center / Right and the Super One is only $50 more. A budget horizontal center speaker under $300 probably isn't going to sound as good as the Super One so I would recommend three of them for the front and Super Zeros for the surround - $650 for the 5.0 speakers.
NHT Super One 2.1 Bookshelf speakers

The Super Zero has a 1/4” #20 threaded insert mounting point built into the back of the speaker - you can search Amazon and find ceiling mount brackets that will work.

The other speaker you might consider is the Polk RTi series directly from the Polk eBay store - the Polk RTi6 / CSi5 / RTi4 would be a very competent system and would be about $630 for the 5.0 system. Don't buy a Polk sub - better to get an internet direct sub that others recommended (SVS, HSU, Outlaw Audio, etc):
Polk Direct Store - RTi line of speakers

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #13 of 26 Old 09-29-2014, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
You would like your front stage speakers high enough where the tweeter is within reasonable ear height at your seated location. Doesn't have to be exact but within 6 inches would be best. Obviously, the L/R speakers would be on each side of the TV with the front of the speakers at least even with the edge of the counter ... One tries to have the distance between the speakers to be about equal to the distance from the listening position to the speaker (an equilateral triangle), but rarely can one do this. Hopefully the distance between the two front speakers are at least 6 feet apart.
+1 - These comments about speaker placement are right on. Most of us care most about the sound, but in a shared room like this, how the speakers look can also make a big difference. The comment about placing the speakers at seated ear height is very true - but your cabinets are only 36". Also the comment about placing them at the very front edge of the counter is very true - any further back than that and you will get a lot of reflections from the counter in front of the speaker and these reflections can really mess up the sound of a speaker. You may be able to solve all these problems by adding small shelves on the inside (near the TV) of the bookshelves - the speakers could be moved to the front edge of these shelves without getting comments from the significant other. The center is going to be an issue if it must be placed on the counter below the TV and can't be placed at the front edge - in that case you may want to build a platform for the center to sit on - to get it closer to the TV, closer to seated ear height, and as far away from the reflective counter surface as possible.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #14 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome comments and tips guys!

@mtn-tech
I didn't notice the porting. Thanks! Also, if I go the super one route, must I mount the center vertical? I'll have to mount above the TV and it's going to be a very tight fit. Will there be any interference with the TV if the bottom of the speaker is 1" away from the top of the TV? The specs say it's not mag shielded...

As for the placement, I talked with my wife and she agreed we can make the height of each shelf in the shelves on the left and the right of the TV over 12" tall each. That way I can fit a speaker in each shelf at the same vertical height with the TV but now spaced 8 feet apart from each other, and directed diagonally in to the listener.

Do I have to worry about my surrounds and back (going full 7.1!) being higher than my left and right? They may be 14" higher than the height of the left and right since I am forced to mount my left-surround on a soffit and causing the others to be adjusted accordingly...

Last edited by kiger990; 09-30-2014 at 04:16 PM.
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post #15 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
There are a few threads like this but everyone seems to have different needs so I'll list mine and maybe some of you can bestow your wisdom upon my noob soul.

The number of blu-rays in my collection is probably less than 25 as I only collect my favorites but it would be nice to spend a couple evenings a month enjoying a good movie with some awesome sound.
Well if you are looking for some awesome sound - then placing speakers in the shelf, that is on
top of the cabinets will be a negative - due to reflections, and will hurt imaging and soundstage.

You will have a better chance if you place the speakers in front of the shelves and to the front edge.
If you do this then you can get away with rear ported speakers.

NHT is a nice option

EMP is a nice option - and most people do not complain about a bright treble/tweeter.

Philharmonic AA speakers are a real nice option - and they are clean, open, smooth and
detailed with good definition. Also, he did rework the center to get an all around good
sound from it.

Your option, choice and call - I would still work on the front placement thing.

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post #16 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:10 PM
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A few issues with putting a bookshelf speaker on or inside a bookshelf. Make sure there are a couple inches of height clearance to whatever speaker you choose. Bring the speaker out far enough where its front is at least equal to the outside of the shelves. Make sure your speaker isn't in a cubbyhole (narrow shelf). You need decent space on each side of the speaker. If your speakers are rear ported, you may need 6, 9 or more inches behind the speaker.

There are plenty of diagrams on the internet to show you 5.1 or 7.1 setups. Normally, all speakers are on the same plane height-wise, but many people prefer the rears a couple of feet higher. It may have to do with the limited audio information for the rears, plus higher frequencies being more noticeable. All this means is experiment and find out what works best for you. All rooms are different and your location preferences may be different.
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post #17 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Well if you are looking for some awesome sound - then placing speakers in the shelf, that is on
top of the cabinets will be a negative - due to reflections, and will hurt imaging and soundstage.
I attached a hacked up photo for reference. So you are saying that putting the speakers on the shelves in position A would be bad. Like, noticeably bad for $150 speakers, or noticeably bad for an enthusiast with $1000 speakers?

If it's a no-go in position A, then what about position B? It would be on the side walls 12' apart angled in towards the listener. How much "better" would you think this would be? If not that much better then I might just stick with putting them on the shelves because I can't think of a better idea given I don't want floor stands... (asking my wife to forgo the cabinets won't work).

Also, just so my questions about the center speaker directed to mtn-tech (or anyone else) doesn't get lost, I'll repeat it here slightly edited: If I go the super one route, must I mount the center vertical? I'll have to mount above the TV and it's going to be a very tight fit. Will there be any interference with the TV if the bottom of the speaker is 4" away from the top of the TV? The specs say it's not mag shielded...
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post #18 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
I attached a hacked up photo for reference. So you are saying that putting the speakers on the shelves in position A would be bad. Like, noticeably bad for $150 speakers, or noticeably bad for an enthusiast with $1000 speakers?

If it's a no-go in position A, then what about position B? It would be on the side walls 12' apart angled in towards the listener. How much "better" would you think this would be? If not that much better then I might just stick with putting them on the shelves because I can't think of a better idea given I don't want floor stands... (asking my wife to forgo the cabinets won't work).
When you are sitting down - you do not need speakers real high - the goal is for the tweeters
to be near your head level when you are sitting down.

Placing speakers inside the white cabinet - will rob you of good sound, regardless of speaker cost.
The sound will reflect off the top of the cabinet that the shelves are placed on.

If you have permission - then I would place the speakers in front of the white shelves on the cabinet.

Your call
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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #19 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post

Also, just so my questions about the center speaker. I'll repeat it here slightly edited: If I go the super one route, must I mount the center vertical? I'll have to mount above the TV and it's going to be a very tight fit. Will there be any interference with the TV if the bottom of the speaker is 4" away from the top of the TV? The specs say it's not mag shielded...
NHT now has a Super 2.1 center channel - it will not be bad and not the end of the world.
NHT does nice work.
http://www.nhthifi.com/

http://www.nhthifi.com/SuperCenter-2...&category=3774

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post #20 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome! Thanks.
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post #21 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Is it okay to have a different brand LCR (ex., NHT) than my backs and surrounds (ex., E3b mini-bookshelf to save some money)?
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post #22 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
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Is it okay to have a different brand LCR (ex., NHT) than my backs and surrounds (ex., E3b mini-bookshelf to save some money)?
The front 3 should be by the same brand and series.
You can use a different brand for your surrounds.
Plus, you can use a different brand subwoofer.

One option for budget surrounds - NXG Pro 4.1 (sold each)
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ix=nxg+p%2Caps

Also the small EMP would/could work for you

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post #23 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 06:54 PM
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For the rears, I see no problem going with different speakers, just because of the limited audio information. For the sides in a 7.1 setup, I'd stick to the same brand as the fronts.
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post #24 of 26 Old 09-30-2014, 07:38 PM
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I have always liked Energy as a value deal. There are times when they go at 50% off. Get the larger center ($200 when on sale), CB-5s ($100 on sale) for surrrounds, and CB-20s ($200 when on sale). Prices not including tax. If you are near a Best Buy take a listen. That leaves you some nice $ to buy a good sub.
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post #25 of 26 Old Yesterday, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
Also, if I go the super one route, must I mount the center vertical? I'll have to mount above the TV and it's going to be a very tight fit. Will there be any interference with the TV if the bottom of the speaker is 1" away from the top of the TV? The specs say it's not mag shielded...
The speaker is designed to be placed vertically, but it probably can be used on its side as well. This particular speaker doesn't mention it, but some of the NHT bookshelf speakers have claimed that they can be placed vertically or horizontally (but I can't find it right now). In my opinion, the Super One on its side would be superior to a dedicated center channel speaker with a MTM (Mid-Tweeter-Mid) configuration. The spaced out mid drivers will interfere with each other if you sit anywhere in the room other than the exact center and makes dialog hard to understand. A two-way Super One will only have that issue at the crossover frequency where both drivers are both playing the same frequency - unlike the MTM speaker that will have this issue for ALL frequencies the Mid drivers cover.

In my opinion the best center is a WTMW (Woofer-Tweeter-above-Mid-Woofer) design (like the NHT TwoC center speaker - but it is $450), the next best would be an identical to the L/R speakers placed vertical, next best a two-way on its side, and the worst being a MTM "design" center speaker. Poor dialog intelligibility is not a good situation for a home theater - you end up cranking the volume or just boosting the center so you can understand center channel dialog. And if it is mounted high above the TV, don't forget to angle it down toward the listening position.

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As for the placement, I talked with my wife and she agreed we can make the height of each shelf in the shelves on the left and the right of the TV over 12" tall each. That way I can fit a speaker in each shelf at the same vertical height with the TV but now spaced 8 feet apart from each other, and directed diagonally in to the listener.
As others have said, the best placement would be on the countertop hanging over the front edge a little - all three speakers. If you can't do that, and decide to place them on a bookshelf there are some things you can do to minimize refections. I have my NHT Classic Two bookshelf speakers on a bookshelf (imagine!) and they sound great - even when I turn them up. They sound pretty much the same when I put them on the stands in my main room. I wouldn't put them too close to the side walls though, I would sacrifice a foot of separation on each side (only 10' apart?) to get them away from the side wall - again those reflections. And since they are up on a shelf, you should now be able to slide them to the front of the shelf.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
Do I have to worry about my surrounds and back (going full 7.1!) being higher than my left and right? They may be 14" higher than the height of the left and right since I am forced to mount my left-surround on a soffit and causing the others to be adjusted accordingly...
Dolby Labs actually recommends that the surround speakers be 2' - 3' feet above seated ear height, between 90 degrees (directly to the sides) and 110 degrees (slightly behind) - I wouldn't worry about that. It makes a more diffuse sound field and limits the directional cues (good for movie soundtracks) and the distraction of speakers pointed directly at your ears. With the 7.1 comment it sounds like the budget got increase some - have you chosen an AVR or sub yet? Good luck and tell us how it turns out!

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #26 of 26 Old Today, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiger990 View Post
If I go the super one route, must I mount the center vertical? I'll have to mount above the TV and it's going to be a very tight fit. Will there be any interference with the TV if the bottom of the speaker is 4" away from the top of the TV? The specs say it's not mag shielded...
It is never ideal to have a speaker flush with a large reflective surface, that is one of the challenges of a center channel speaker. But if it is on a shelf above the TV and is moved to the front edge of the shelf and this places the front of the speaker in front of the TV, issues will be minimized. You will know when you run the test tone calibration - if the three front speakers sound similar you are OK. Since they are identical speakers they should sound identical, but any difference in placement will change the sound.

Don't need to worry about magnetic shielding unless you are using a direct view or rear projection CRT television - which you aren't. Magnetic shielding was add specifically to prevent interaction with CRT technology.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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