So guys, I finally did it.
Last weekend I managed to get my secondary HT setup working in the basement -- it will be used as a kid's playroom and a training room, etc.
It all began when my GF asked if we could buy a small TV to put in front of the threadmill. "But," I said, "we *already* have a small TV". That's how I ended up buying a larger 60" TV for our living room and we put the 46" in the basement. Of course I had to complement the TV so I accrued stuff in the past months -- 4 x CB-10, 1 x CC-10, I already had an Onkyo 818 laying around (don't ask), a small Ikea furniture to put the sources (mostly my gaming consoles). Somehow I ended up buying a PSA XS15se to take care of the heavy lifting. The past week was dedicated to hanging the fronts and surrounds and wire them all.
Now I'm a notoriously bad handyman. Even accounting for my own lack of skills, mounting the 4 CB-10 was a *huge* pain. In the end I tried 3 different mounts and used 2 different kinds and I'm not even sure I'm 100% satisfied. Being 10-lbs speakers they fall in the uncomfortable crack between 10-lbs max mounts and much more expensive mounts made for heftier speakers.
I first tried two of these unbranded mounts
, since they were rated for 15 lbs and specifically mentioned compatibility with Energy speakers. I'm wrapping spoiler tags around the images below because they're gigantic and I'm unsure how to resize them in my post.
The unbranded mounts had a single redeeming quality on top of their low price: they extend far from the wall, allowing a great deal of movement for large speakers. However, the steel screw on steel ball friction mechanism means it's about impossible to tighten the mount sufficiently to hold up the CB-10s. In fact I wonder if they can even be made to hold up their own weight. I guess using something like LockTite could work. Another problem was that the mounting plate had no hole for the CB-10's threaded insert. The only supported mounting option was to use 4 wood screws in the speaker cabinet. I instead made a 1/4" hole in the plate but it was less than optimal.
I then tried two Omnimount 10 mounts, which are the option most recommended on this thread it seems.
The Omnimount 10.0 is of higher quality but is much more expensive. But, it's so small that it allows very little movement of the CB-10 before the speaker hits the wall. You also have to tighten the hex bolt with ludicrous torque for the CB-10 speaker to hold up. I'm sure the upcoming Omnimount 15 will be much better for the CB-10. In my case, I used the Omnimount in a hard to reach location and had to mount it sideways, which is probably not recommended but works well enough. I had lots of trouble tightening the bolt. Furthermore, the second Omnimount package (which is an *unsealed* plastic clamshell) was lacking the hex nut that allowed tightening. This nut holds the whole thing together and fits into a hex-shaped hole which allows tightening the bolt without using pliers to hold the nut. It's a #10-24
nut but smaller than the standard 3/8" diameter -- I couldn't find a replacement in my local hardware stores. Omnimount still haven't answered my help request and the order is too old for a return (notwithstanding the fact that a lost nut is an easily contestable return). So I simply ditched that mount.
Next I bought two pairs of B-Tech BT332 mounts
rated for 5 kg / 11 lbs:
I replaced the brand-less mounts in the front with those, which allowed the use of the threaded 1/4-20 insert on the CC-10. These are quite sturdy and while tightening by hand using the wheel on top is useless, tightening with a flat screwdriver allows enough torque to (barely) hold up the CC-10. However as with the Omnimount, this mount is pretty small and the range of movement is limited by the speaker hitting the wall. In particular this poses a problem in my case since I can't toe them in enough to point toward the main listening position.
I also used one of the B-tech mount for my surround right speaker instead of the Omnimount with the missing nut. It was slightly easier to mount and tighten than the Omnimount in my opinion.
I'm especially proud of my solution for mounting my left surround speaker. Since the ceiling is really low (6' 6") and the surround left speaker is basically in the entry way to the HT zone, there was the possibility that someone would smash his face on the speaker eventually. I managed to cut a hole in the ceiling and recess the speaker to help clear the way. In the attached picture, we clearly see the acoustic insulation beyond the ceiling but this is because of the flash -- it's basically a black hole in person.
I also learned lessons the hard way, such as, always pull the wires before mounting the speakers (duh). Also connecting the speakers before mounting them would have helped tremendously. On the second attached picture you see that I've chosen to hide the cables using plastic ducts. This is because the walls have horizontal bracing at mid-height and I didn't want to punch holes and patch them later. There's a few feet of cable showing on the ceiling above the TV -- it's just that I'll have to remove the TV to be able to staple them properly.
The end result though is phenomenal. While there is a bit of reverberation due to the small room and hard surfaces, it just sounds *great* after Audyssey has done its job. The sub is perfect for the job (it's hidden underneath the table on the left), the sound is crisp and dynamic. Even my GF commented on how good the setup sounded. And here's the weird thing. I've got people congratulating me on the setup, even one of them said "I know this was your goal all along", as if they hadn't noticed my RC and dual sub setup with the 60" TV in the freakin' living room. My GF said she was looking forward to watching movies on the new setup! "But but", I stammered, "the setup upstairs is much better, this was for the kids and training". It looks like it doesn't matter much -- the fact that it's in the basement, without any window, and it's kind of cozy, is just the winning combination.