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post #1 of 41 Old 02-01-2016, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Finishing basement into home theater. In-wall speakers?

I'm finishing my basement and a section (13ft wide by 15ft long) will be dedicated to a theater. I'm not building a monster HT. Just a decent one. So my expectations are modest.
I'm leaning towards a 100" perforated screen with a ceiling mounted Epson 5030UB projector.

My question is regarding speakers. I don't want to hang a ton of speakers off the walls and take up space with tower speakers. I want to use in-wall speakers for space saving and lack of visual intrusion. I'll be running wires for an Atmos 7.2.4 system. But may not install speakers in all the locations. But since the walls are open, why not. Wire is cheap.

The receiver is undecided (9.2), but I'm looking in the $1500-2000 range (Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Onkyo)

These are my thoughts on speakers so far.
Monoprice
Left and right front - 8-inch Kevlar 3-Way
Center - a Pair of 8-inch Kevlar 3-Ways side-by-side behind the screen center
Left and right surround - 6-1/2 Inches 2-way (eyeball tweeter)
Left and right rear - 6-1/2 Inches Kevlar 2-way (eyeball tweeter)
Ceiling (4) - 5-1/4 Inches Kevlar 2-Way (eyeball tweeter)

Polk makes similar 8", 6-1/2" & 5-1/4" in-wall speakers.

Also, there will be no functional "stud bay" because the ceiling will be screwed into 3/4" furring and the wall studs will not be sealed to the basement wall very tightly. Should I make an effort to enclose the bays that the speakers reside in?

The prices for the Polks and Monoprice speakers are similar enough.

Would you chose one over the other?

Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 41 Old 02-01-2016, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyM View Post
I'm finishing my basement and a section (13ft wide by 15ft long) will be dedicated to a theater. I'm not building a monster HT. Just a decent one. So my expectations are modest.
I'm leaning towards a 100" perforated screen with a ceiling mounted Epson 5030UB projector.

My question is regarding speakers. I don't want to hang a ton of speakers off the walls and take up space with tower speakers. I want to use in-wall speakers for space saving and lack of visual intrusion. I'll be running wires for an Atmos 7.2.4 system. But may not install speakers in all the locations. But since the walls are open, why not. Wire is cheap.

The receiver is undecided (9.2), but I'm looking in the $1500-2000 range (Marantz, Pioneer Elite, Onkyo)

These are my thoughts on speakers so far.
Monoprice
Left and right front - 8-inch Kevlar 3-Way
Center - a Pair of 8-inch Kevlar 3-Ways side-by-side behind the screen center
Left and right surround - 6-1/2 Inches 2-way (eyeball tweeter)
Left and right rear - 6-1/2 Inches Kevlar 2-way (eyeball tweeter)
Ceiling (4) - 5-1/4 Inches Kevlar 2-Way (eyeball tweeter)

Polk makes similar 8", 6-1/2" & 5-1/4" in-wall speakers.

Also, there will be no functional "stud bay" because the ceiling will be screwed into 3/4" furring and the wall studs will not be sealed to the basement wall very tightly. Should I make an effort to enclose the bays that the speakers reside in?

The prices for the Polks and Monoprice speakers are similar enough.

Would you chose one over the other?

Thanks for reading.
As you know, nobody is really going to recommend in walls, but so long as you reinforce those with one or 2 strong subs, one front and 1 rear you should be fine. I would go 5.25s or 6.5s for all surrounds and Atmos though. Also, what's your budget, they do make sealed in walls which would be my first choice. One final comment. I am not sure about using 2 speakers for one CC. How do you plan on wiring that and getting enough power to them.

Lowell


The MarvelAtmos Home Theater: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...e-theater.html
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post #3 of 41 Old 02-01-2016, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LowellG View Post
As you know, nobody is really going to recommend in walls, but so long as you reinforce those with one or 2 strong subs, one front and 1 rear you should be fine. I would go 5.25s or 6.5s for all surrounds and Atmos though. Also, what's your budget, they do make sealed in walls which would be my first choice. One final comment. I am not sure about using 2 speakers for one CC. How do you plan on wiring that and getting enough power to them.
Thanks for the reply.
I realize that the in-walls won't be as good as a set of bookshelf style. It's a trade-off i'm willing to make.

A full set of the Monoprice units (8" & 6-1/2") under $400 (Edited price). That's even a little low for what I was hoping to stay under. I'd like to stay under $1000. A full set of 12 BIC Acoustech HT-8Ws would be under $900.

The dual units as a center channel is an idea I got here. The poster said he powered them with a stereo amp. But I was thinking of just wiring them in parallel. The receivers I'm looking at all support a 4 ohm load. But I haven't really researched it a lot.

If a single 8" in-wall behind the screen will suffice. I'm OK with that.

Is there an in-wall system that will perform well that won't go over $1000? I'm open to suggestions. The dual 10" subs I plan on are not in that $1000.

What sealed in-walls did you have in mind? It would be easier to fudge some numbers in a $30,000 basement finishing project than trying to pry open the wallet afterward.

For reference, I'm using a Sony HT-IS100 in my living room. It works I suppose, but sounds thin.

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post #4 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyM View Post
I want to use in-wall speakers for space saving and lack of visual intrusion. I'll be running wires for an Atmos 7.2.4 system.
I put Monoprice in-walls in my almost done 7.2.4 room. I've got four 4103s overhead, and seven 4881s mounted vertically in the walls. An Atmos receiver isn't in yet, but I have run it with an older 7.1 receiver. I'm not running any backer boxes; the walls and ceiling are stuffed with insulation. I did make mounting brackets for all of them just to stiffen the install.

I have all of them crossed over at 80hz to a pair of DIY 15" sealed subwoofers.

I have zero complaints, and am very happy with them so far.
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post #5 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 03:52 AM
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1. I would recommend in wall with a enclosure.
2. What is your speaker budget, total- if you really are planning on buying a $1500-2000 AV reciever, most would recommend you speaker/sub budget be 2-3 X that. A great AV rec will NOT make mediocre speakers sound good, but great speaker will sound good even with a cheaper AV rec. If possible drop you AV rec budget to under 1000 and spend the saving on better speakers?
3. As pointed out and sounds like you understand, a good bookshelf will best a good in wall, but getting enclosure will minimize that difference.
4. Getting something with a "directable tweeter" can be good, as often studs, windows, etc will make optimal placement difficult.

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only

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post #6 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
A great AV rec will NOT make mediocre speakers sound good, but great speaker will sound good even with a cheaper AV rec.
This is a very true statement. The corollary to that is that a well-designed room can make a cheaper speaker sound really good, but a poorly-designed room will make great speakers sound mediocre.
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post #7 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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The screen wall, due to a large drain pipe, will have about 7 inches from sheetrock to the foam insulation face. I'm building that wall so I suppose I could custom frame it to allow for alcoves into which I could place bookshelf speakers. But, ugh the PITA that would be.
If that is the case I'm looking for shallow bookshelf speakers on a budget.
Infinity Primus P163s are 11-1/2" deep
Polk TSi100s are 10-1/2" deep.
The Polk OMW3s are only 4-1/2 deep but doubt they would make decent LCRs.

And none of them can be rear ported.

The expensive (by comparison) receiver isn't to make my in-walls sound good, it's for the surround processing and number of channels.

I've seen a lot of the HTs here and realize I'm not going to be getting THAT type of performance. I'm looking for opinions of what sort of performance I can get out of in-walls. Like what sort of comparison can be made between an 8" in-wall with a rear enclosure versus a 6-1/2" budget bookshelf.

I know I'm in a bit of a predicament and am not looking to get blood from a stone. I swear.
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post #8 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 05:39 AM
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In wall speakers are a form of a baffle wall speaker and has many advantages over a bookshelf speaker. In fact the only advantage a bookshelf has the ability to toe it in. Which you can do with a baffle wall but most won't do that unless it is a dedicated space. Here is an article on baffled systems.
http://www.pmiltd.com/published%20ar...ed%20Again.pdf
Here are some of Tony's other articles.
http://www.pmiltd.com/articles.html


Your budget is backwards, if you want better sound start with better speakers and go bargain basement with the receiver instead of the speakers. Since you won't be doing Atmos right away get a basic under $500 5.1 or 7.1 receiver and spend more on the speakers. You want in wall speakers with their own enclosure or back box. You can make your own back box and save some money if you know the volume of space for which the speakers are designed. That is the problem with most in wall/ceiling speakers is they can only be designed to work best at a given volume. The better speaker companies will give you this info. You don't want speakers with a directional tweeter, that really messes up the speakers dispersion and is a gimmick. The whole speaker would need to be aimed not just the tweeter.


You can get great performance with in walls and the reason many don't like them is they take very cheap speakers like the ones you are considering and don't install it in a proper enclosure. Get better speakers with an enclosure or back box. Good back boxes will also have insulation in them and aren't just a back box or back can to to give it a fire rating. if you are not using speakers with their own enclosure I would also install or build back boxes for the locations you want to add in the future like the Atmos speakers.


Also, since this appears to be somewhat of a dedicated area, I would factor some of my budget for acoustic treatments. These can be practical items and doesn't have to be panels on the wall. The room and speakers will be the two biggest influences on sound quality. You could put the best speakers in the world in a racquetball court and they will not sound good. I find the room is an often overlooked part of getting good sound.
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post #9 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 06:23 AM
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I think you are a perfect candidate for in-wall speakers and they can sound excellent if done right. I would agree with the above, buy a $300-400 AVR and spend most of that audio budget on your front three speakers. I would wire for ATMOS now, you can always use monoprice or Mica in-ceiling speakers for that down the road.

I have been running these three speakers for about 5 years now behind my perforated screen and love them:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Definitive-T...-/181897184723

Around $1600 nets you those three DefTech's and for around $1K the Axiom and then you can add surrounds and subs later. I know this seems like a lot of money but I would not recommend those monoprice speakers paired with a $1500 AVR. You also need to be careful recessing bookshelf and floorstanding speakers in a wall, you can really get mixed results doing that. Some speakers simply don't sound their best unless they are pulled a foot or two away from the wall, but this varies based on speaker and room design. Some will be fine.

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post #10 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by JimmyM View Post
I'm looking for opinions of what sort of performance I can get out of in-walls.
You don't have your location filled in, but if you're anywhere in the South Jersey area, I'd be more than happy to demo my room.
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post #11 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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You don't have your location filled in, but if you're anywhere in the South Jersey area, I'd be more than happy to demo my room.
I'm in the Boston area, but thanks.
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post #12 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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OK. The DefTech in-walls are pricey but they're in-walls so there's that.
Let's figure I wire for Atmos, but just get speakers for 5.1 for now.
3 DefTech in-walls linked to above. Then what for the side/rear surrounds? They should be from the same DefTech line shouldn't they?

Who else makes sealed in-walls like those DefTechs?

It's a foregone conclusion though that I have to get the pricey receiver when I do the system. Getting buy-in now from the wife will be easier if I'm doing it once.
I'll start with the AVR and 5.1 speakers.

Crap. I was really hoping to do a modest Atmos system right off the bat. You're costing me money here, fellas.

The room will have hardwood with a nearly wall-to-wall area rug over it. Walls are sheetrock of course. I'll have to look into some sort of wall hangings. I can't have a giant echo chamber.
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post #13 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Oops. double post
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post #14 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 08:06 AM
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Great points above about dropping your receiver budget in order to increase your speaker budget. Remember, you're not exactly dealing with traditional speakers in case you ever want to upgrade equipment in the future. Far easier to upgrade your receiver later on down the road than swap out in-wall speakers.

If you can shift some things in your budget around, I'd give the RBH in-walls a SERIOUS look. You have a lot of options with them that range from the very affordable A-609's to the epic SI-6100/R's. Give them a call and pick their brains a bit. They'll line you up with something perfect for your budget and needs.

Some other great brands out there, but personally I wouldn't go as cheap as Monoprice speakers for something that's not so easy to upgrade. Not saying they're bad per se, but I'd rather go RBH or otherwise for the money.
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post #15 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 08:19 AM
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OK. The DefTech in-walls are pricey but they're in-walls so there's that.
Let's figure I wire for Atmos, but just get speakers for 5.1 for now.
3 DefTech in-walls linked to above. Then what for the side/rear surrounds? They should be from the same DefTech line shouldn't they?

Who else makes sealed in-walls like those DefTechs?

It's a foregone conclusion though that I have to get the pricey receiver when I do the system. Getting buy-in now from the wife will be easier if I'm doing it once.
I'll start with the AVR and 5.1 speakers.

Crap. I was really hoping to do a modest Atmos system right off the bat. You're costing me money here, fellas.

The room will have hardwood with a nearly wall-to-wall area rug over it. Walls are sheetrock of course. I'll have to look into some sort of wall hangings. I can't have a giant echo chamber.
Why do you feel you need a $1500-2000 receiver? For $400-500 you can typically find a receiver that will support Atmos, Audyssey, advanced codecs, 4K, 3D, etc. As long as you buy efficient speakers you don't need more than 80 watts per channel really. My philosophy is to never buy a $2K receiver because most of that technology you are paying top dollar for will be in a $400-800 AVR within 12-24 months. The AVR tech is simply changing too fast these days to drop $2K in a receiver. I have done blind comparisons with $3K+ AVR's vs $500 AVR's and you cannot tell the difference as long as you level match and are driving efficient speakers with them. Just my .02 cents.

Totem, B&W, DefTech, Atlantic Technology, Speakercraft, Axiom, Triad, etc all make enclosed speakers. Speakercraft and Axiom will be the cheapest. Enclosed in-wall speakers typically cost more. If you get those Deftech's I linked above you can always use surrounds that are not enclosed and will save cost from Deftech. That same eBay seller (which many of us have bought from since they are an authorized reseller for Deftech) has lots of surround and ceiling options that will match those RLS II fronts. The speakers will still timbre match, and enclosures for your surrounds are not as important and you can save money. For the Axiom lineup you can mix and match the M22 fronts with the M2 surrounds.

Last year I auditioned a bunch of in-wall speakers (Triad, B&W, Totem) thinking I would upgrade my Deftech's and the only ones that impressed me enough to consider an upgrade were the Totem speakers which I preferred over Triad. If you can up the budget look into Totem.

I am very happy with my Deftech's. Keep in mind for any in-wall speaker you will want a good dedicated subwoofer (or two). But this is true of just about any floorstanding tower speaker and bookshelf as well.

Hope this helps.
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post #16 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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This has all been a great help. I'll start doing more research.
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post #17 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 08:34 AM
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Oh, the Totem speakers that really impressed me were the Kin in-walls. They retail for around $900 each (pretty sure you can get discounts). I was very impressed, I thought they sounded better than the Triad Gold's that I was able to A/B comparison in a $100K theater room.
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post #18 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 09:02 AM
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If you want to save some money go with open back speakers but better quality and build your own back box for them. It is not hard to do. I line the box with mass loaded vinyl and loosely fill it with poly-fill or insulation.
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post #19 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 09:06 AM
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If you want to save some money go with open back speakers but better quality and build your own back box for them. It is not hard to do. I line the box with mass loaded vinyl and loosely fill it with poly-fill or insulation.
You can build them, but you need to ensure that the box is properly sized for the sound output. You would probably want to reachout to the manufacturer and get the specs from them to ensure you build a box with the right volume. That does open up a lot of options though for sure. HSU research makes some inexpensive in-wall speakers, if you can build a box for those it would be a nice setup, especially paired with one or two of their subs.

You also have to make sure that if you build the box that you get a perfect seal and no air/sound leaks out.
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post #20 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 09:10 AM
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post #21 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll read that link.
$900 for a single speaker is bonkers for what I'm trying to build. That was almost my whole budget. Now it's looking more like half my budget.
The thing is. I was almost satisfied with my Sony HT-IS100 until I heard my friend's Cerwin Vega 5.1 system.
I've got a lot to think about. Thanks guys. Sincerely.
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post #22 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I find the Pioneer Elite SC-85 for ~$750. Pretty reasonable.
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post #23 of 41 Old 02-02-2016, 10:38 PM
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if your budget is about $2k I would spend $1500 on 5 speakers and less than $500 on a receiver. A Pioneer VSX-45 or equivalent would be more than adequate. At $1500 you will be looking for open back type speakers in the $400 each range with a decent discount. There are a lot of good speakers in that range. It can't be over emphasized, speakers make a much bigger difference in sound quality than receivers.
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post #24 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 12:32 AM
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Believe it or not, if you decide to build some alcoves for some book shelf speakers, I would also recommend using an ACOUSTECH home theater speaker setup. The reason why is because their front towers are very shallow by comparison to other brands.

The Acoustech PL-89 front towers are only 10" deep, which is a great space saver for towers.

The Acoustech PL-980 is their biggest flagship speaker, and it is only 12" deep.

If you really don't want front towers, and truly want to stick to in-wall speakers, then I would also recommend the Acoustech in-wall HT-8W speakers. Very good specs, and to top it off, they are only $150/pair on Ebay.

All in all, I have to admit, I don't know of any reviews on the Acoustech in-walls, and have not tested them for myself. I have tested their PL-76, 89 and the new 980 towers, and they are fantastic. Based on the quality sound of their towers, I would make the assumption that the HT-W8 in-wall speakers would be no disappointment.

I personally just don't like the idea of in-wall speakers though, because once installed, that's it. It is very difficult to ever replace or upgrade them for something better that may not have the exact same footprint. I much prefer having front towers and side surround speakers, because if I ever have the budget for better speakers, I can replace these with little effort. Though I admit, replacing all my Acoustech HT speakers for something that sounds better, will most likely throw me into a very high price bracket.

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post #25 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 06:54 AM
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I personally just don't like the idea of in-wall speakers though, because once installed, that's it. It is very difficult to ever replace or upgrade them for something better that may not have the exact same footprint.
That is precisely my main concern about in-walls. Not that you can't get a rocking in-wall setup, but I sure wouldn't be looking at bottom of the barrel products. If the budget is too limited to do it right, then I'm going with traditional speakers. Simple as that.

Go cheap with in-walls and aren't totally satisfied? Then have fun upgrading those speakers!
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post #26 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 07:35 AM
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That is precisely my main concern about in-walls. Not that you can't get a rocking in-wall setup, but I sure wouldn't be looking at bottom of the barrel products. If the budget is too limited to do it right, then I'm going with traditional speakers. Simple as that.

Go cheap with in-walls and aren't totally satisfied? Then have fun upgrading those speakers!
Actually if you cut a clean hole in your drywall it is pretty trivial to patch the hole and cut another one if you want. There are lots of Youtube videos out there
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post #27 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I think my attraction to the in-walls is that I don't have these wooden or black boxes obviously sticking into the room.
I may have come up with an idea though. Tell me if I'm crazy.

I build the front wall with an alcove in it for a proper center channel (Dual 6-1/2s). It can be as much as 8", maybe 10" deep (that might be pushing it). That's behind the screen. I'm even willing to mount the screen on some short stand-offs if I have to.
For the L & R, I can put a pair of corner shelves in each corner. The bookshelf speaker would sit on the lower one and then an acoustically transparent cloth cover would mounted along/between the front edge of both the shelves, concealing the speakers. The color/design of the shelves & cloth could be made to match the room.
So I can use better speakers without breaking the budget, match with the room, and be able to toe-in the L&R fronts. It'll just take a little woodworking.
The side-surrounds are going to be an issue due to room design, I'll have to cope with less than perfect positioning. The ceiling speakers will probably be 6-1/2" rounds. The rear speakers, will HAVE to be in-walls. No getting around that.

So... Am I crazy?
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post #28 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 08:26 AM
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So... Am I crazy?
That could work. I'd use the same speaker for L, R & C, though. That eliminates any problems with timbre matching.
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post #29 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 08:33 AM
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^^^^

Jim,
Shoot me an email I have an idea you may like.
mmiles442004@yahoo.com

Mike Miles
ICR | Home based AV Business - mmiles442004@yahoo.com
Process Integration Inc. | System Integration - mmiles@processintegrationinc.com
Open Automation Software | SCADA and more mikemiles@opcsystems.com
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post #30 of 41 Old 02-03-2016, 09:14 AM
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So... Am I crazy?
Not at all! I've seen that work out REALLY well. Good thinking.
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