Head hurts trying to pick new 5.1 setup. Need advice and recommendations. - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 44 Old 01-26-2015, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Head hurts trying to pick new 5.1 setup. Need advice and recommendations.

I need help choosing a 5.1 system for my lounge. This is my situation:

- budget £400 to £1200
- lounge is 3.8 m wide by 5m long, so average size and reasonably square
- the couch is at the back of room just away from the wall, tv is front and centre
- I don't play games, this is for tv, films and music
- tv, films and music are played from a dreambox media centre (DM800SE)
- I don't have an AV receiver (not sure if I definitely need one or if a decoder might suffice)
- I have a bungalow with cable routing channels routed behind the wall so I can send wires up to the attic out of sight, and then drop them down from the ceiling
- Floor is tiled so cannot go under floor boards or hide cables around skirting boards or carpet

If possible I'd like to find a 5 satellite speaker setup with speakers dropping down from the ceiling, one in each of the top corners of the room (plus centre front) angled down towards the couch. My concerns are:

a) what satellite speakers, if any, will be appropriate for my room size;
b) if it is okay to place them in the top corners of the room, angled down;
c) whether I need an AV receiver bearing in mind I only have 1 input from dreambox via optical out

I have been using my dad's BOSE single unit system (one with an ipod dock) which actually sounds great, but now I need to get my own and I'd really like 5.1 surround sound. I've recently tried out a Sonos Playbar but I didn't like it, it's gone back.

Any advice muchly appreciated.
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post #2 of 44 Old 01-26-2015, 05:30 PM
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Q Acoustics 2020i should fit in your budget. Don't put speakers in the corner though.
You need an amplifier unless you're into silent movies. You won't get any sound from the speakers with no amp
I wouldn't recommend tiny satellites btw just sound tinny and rubbish. I'd look into speakers that reach down to 80hz minimum and have 5" woofers

If your floor is tiled you need some rugs, otherwise it'll just sound bad

This is american site, checkout british avforums.

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Last edited by fatbottom; 01-26-2015 at 05:34 PM.
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post #3 of 44 Old 01-26-2015, 05:41 PM
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oh the problem with small speakers is sensivity, small speakers require more power to get the same spl level compared to bigger speakers!

These require DOUBLE (and a little bit more in fact) the power of my speakers, which are 1.4m tall, 40cm deep, and 35cm wide.

http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/2010i-stereo-speaker.htm

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post #4 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that.

I like the look of those speakers actually. The white gloss one's in particular would fit well with the room (white painted walls).

So are you saying I can compensate for having smaller speakers to some extent by having an extra powerful amp? Either, what specs do I need to look for in the way of a suitable amp for that room size? I found a Pioneer VSXS31 at £220 / $330. It says the power is 65 watts per channel (x5). I'm not sure what "RMS into 8 ohms" means or if it's significant.

I was hoping to put them in the corners to hide the wires, but from what you're saying that's not clever so I'll need to figure out how I'm going to hide all those wires in my room.
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post #5 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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afterthought..... would it be okay to have recessed ceiling mounted speakers for the 2 rear speakers? The wall behind the couch is one big window so they can't be wall mounted behind the couch. They could, however, be mounted on the side walls to the left and right side of the couch.
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post #6 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:19 PM
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Bipoles will work fine on the side walls. But you really need to sort that room out, it's like a bathroom.

I would not recommend ceiling speakers.

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post #7 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Q Acoustics 2020i should fit in your budget. Don't put speakers in the corner though.
You need an amplifier unless you're into silent movies. You won't get any sound from the speakers with no amp
I wouldn't recommend tiny satellites btw just sound tinny and rubbish. I'd look into speakers that reach down to 80hz minimum and have 5" woofers

If your floor is tiled you need some rugs, otherwise it'll just sound bad

This is american site, checkout british avforums.
Second the 2020i recommendation. Give them a listen.

Alternatively, if you are set on smaller speakers they make a really good one (but mount on the wall at ear level ... http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/q7000i-h...ema-system.htm

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post #8 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Haha, I know. This is the other side to give you an idea. That plant will have to go!
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post #9 of 44 Old Yesterday, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Will that Pioneer AV receiver I mentioned work okay with the speakers? I don't really need all the inputs so I'd prefer my money to be going into power/quality if possible. Am I okay to ask here on same thread or is that best off in the AV part of the forum?
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post #10 of 44 Old Yesterday, 02:30 PM
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I'd get a better quality amp tbh, those Q Acoustics are quite insenstive so you need more power. Especially those smaller Q Acoustics like I said you need DOUBLE the power to get same spl as these speakers!!
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post #11 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Beasts! I suppose I could get some bad ass floor standing speakers like those for front left and right, then get a floor rug to cover the wires.
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post #12 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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So is it mainly the "power output" I need to look at with the AV units? This Sony does 140 x 5, if that can be trusted:

http://www.richersounds.com/product/.../sony-strdh550

So does 140 sound good? Or should be looking at other specs?

If I were to get a 7 channel AV receiver, could I route 2 channels into my bathroom on a separate stereo output?
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post #13 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:48 PM
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And you will want a rug to reduce reflections...Still going to get a lot of audio reflections from the walls, but a rug will help with one area!

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, EMP 10i10i sub
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post #14 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:50 PM
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If that Sony has 140W X 7, I'm the queen of England. If you want multi-room you'd need a AV receiver with zone 2 outputs, but usually these are limited working with analogue inputs, if you send digital it doesn't work. Pretty stupid really...I guess a ADC and DAC for zone 2 is too much to ask...

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post #15 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Parkinson View Post
So is it mainly the "power output" I need to look at with the AV units? This Sony does 140 x 5, if that can be trusted:

http://www.richersounds.com/product/.../sony-strdh550

So does 140 sound good? Or should be looking at other specs?
How much power you need is dictated by the sensitivity of the speaker and your preferred listening level.

Say you get some speakers with a 90db/1W/1M rating and you want to listen to them at "reference levels" which puts average level at 85db and peaks at 105db. You would need

90db=1W
93db=2W
96db=4W
99db=8W
102db=16W
105db=32W

I'd get a 65W amplifier.

Now if you want to listen to ABBA at 115db ()

108db=64W
111db=128W
114db=256W
117db=512W

I'd get a 1000W amp and speakers that could handle that much power RMS. not peak


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If I were to get a 7 channel AV receiver, could I route 2 channels into my bathroom on a separate stereo output?
No, you will need a AVR with a second zone.
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post #16 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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If that Sony has 140W X 7, I'm the queen of England. If you want multi-room you'd need a AV receiver with zone 2 outputs, but usually these are limited working with analogue inputs, if you send digital it doesn't work. Pretty stupid really...I guess a ADC and DAC for zone 2 is too much to ask...
Ha, well that one is supposed to be 140 x 5 actually.

This one is more expensive and claims to do 145 x 7 ($450 USD)
http://www.richersounds.com/product/.../sony-strdn850

Upping the price again and this one claims to do 165 x 7 ($630 USD)
http://www.richersounds.com/product/...sony-strdn1050
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post #17 of 44 Old Yesterday, 03:55 PM
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not a chance. A proper 140W x 7 amp will cost a couple of thousand pounds. And that's just a power amplifier.

To get REAL 140W x7 AV receiver you need to spend about £2500-£3000

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post #18 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:04 PM
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btw the Arcam AVR750 is only 86W x 7. That is a very expensive av amplifier. Those £200 AV amplifiers will probably have 50W maximum per channel x7.

I would recommend you go for the larger Q Acoustics speakers as they are several more dB efficient.

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post #19 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quite. It seems part of my problem here is not being able to believe what the manufacturer says. I've read elsewhere that this is a common problem. Is there a website somewhere that gives you the rear power outputs?

What if I were to mix up the standard Q "5.1 cinema pack" with these for front left and right channels...
http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/2050i-stereo-speakers.htm

Is that a done thing? or would you only use those as part of a separate stereo music setup?
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post #21 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:11 PM
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Sound & Vision do bench tests.

You can have Q Acoustics floorstanders, if you don't mind spending the extra. They probably are more efficient than the 2020i- 92dB is very efficient.

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post #22 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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btw the Arcam AVR750 is only 86W x 7. That is a very expensive av amplifier. Those £200 AV amplifiers will probably have 50W maximum per channel x7.

I would recommend you go for the larger Q Acoustics speakers as they are several more dB efficient.
Do you mean go for the 2050i as opposed to the 2020i? or go for the 2020i as opposed to the 2010i?
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post #23 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:21 PM
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Go for 2020i or 2050i depending if you want standmounts or floorstanders. I'd avoid the 2010i as they need a lot more power. All of them need a good amp though as they drop down to 4 ohm.

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post #24 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Go for 2020i or 2050i depending if you want standmounts or floorstanders. I'd avoid the 2010i as they need a lot more power. All of them need a good amp though as they drop down to 4 ohm.
Well I think the floorstands would look better, and it would minimise having to mess about with cabling (I could stick a sound dampening rug over floor cables).

Presumably I'd still need a sub even with those big floorstands?

Still not sure about the amp though. What kind of $ would you recommend I spend?

Thanks for all your help.
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post #25 of 44 Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM
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I'd get a large rug and place it in front of the speakers. I'm not really into AV amplifiers as I don't think much of them tbh (main system gone av pre-power) I do have a Yamaha 671 but it's just used for a PC audio system.

Cambridge Audio are supposed to be quite good, but their room EQ is basic- in fact just the lowest form.

You will need a subwoofer for movies with those floorstanders.

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post #26 of 44 Old Today, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Me again...

In terms of speaker placement, do you think this would be okay as per the picture below with front speakers near the side wall? If not what would you say the best position is:

a) centre point between tv and side wall;
b) closer to the tv than centre point
c) closer to the wall than centre point (but not as close as my pic)

Bear in mind that the tv is 17cm from the wall, so I figure it can't get too close otherwise it might mask the sound.
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Me again...

In terms of speaker placement, do you think this would be okay as per the picture below with front speakers near the side wall? If not what would you say the best position is:

a) centre point between tv and side wall;
b) closer to the tv than centre point
c) closer to the wall than centre point (but not as close as my pic)

Bear in mind that the tv is 17cm from the wall, so I figure it can't get too close otherwise it might mask the sound.
You generally want the sides to be an equilateral triangle with the main listening position so if you sit 9ft from the TV they should be ~10ft apart. Right in the corner of the room should work better than a distance from the wall as far as side reflections go. Give it a try, you can always move them if it doesn't work.
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post #28 of 44 Old Today, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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You generally want the sides to be an equilateral triangle with the main listening position so if you sit 9ft from the TV they should be ~10ft apart. Right in the corner of the room should work better than a distance from the wall as far as side reflections go. Give it a try, you can always move them if it doesn't work.
I see. I'm sat 4m from the tv, so the speakers should be about 2m either side of the centre of the tv. There is only 1.8m either side of the tv, so like you say my speakers end up in the corner up against the wall. That suits me fine, making it relatively discreet to drop wires down the corners.

Thanks.
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You're welcome
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post #30 of 44 Old Today, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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What about rear speakers? I was thinking side walls rather than rear wall, right in the corner mid-height as below. Plant might have to move.
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