Help Setup a 9.2 and/or 11.2 System - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone!

I have been reading this site for a while now, which has inspired my purchase of a Panasonic 50" Plasma. Now that I have calibrated it and it's looking great (thanks to the members here!) I am ready to move on to the audio section.

Last night, I fell victim to a sale at Newegg, and bought 3 sets of Polk RC85i's and 2 sets of Polk RC65i's. I didn't plan on upgrading quite yet, but my fiance' actually urged me to get them, mainly because it would clear the floor of our current speakers.

So far, I am planning on using the (6) RC85's as Front 2, Center and my Rear Surrounds (I'll have 1 left over). I will use one pair of the RC 65's as my Side Surrounds mounted in my ceiling because I am unable to place them on the sides due to doorways and windows in my room. I would like to use the 2nd set of RC65's as my Front Height Speakers. Because of another doorway, I am having a difficult time placing a set of Front Wide Speakers.

Here are my questions:

1. As far as placing the Side Surrounds in the ceiling, Where would be the best place to mount them? Slightly Behind and Wider than the Listening Position? I would prefer not to have to mount them in the ceiling, because I have radiant heat up there, but I have no choice due to the window and doorway. I want to make sure I am placing them in the most optimal spot that I can before cutting.

2. I plan on purchasing the Onkyo TX-NR1008, which is a 9.2 Receiver. Could I use the preamp outputs to power the other speakers, to create an 11.2 system? I downloaded the User Manual, and it has Preamp outputs for the Front Height/Wide, but doesn't specify if using the preamp outputs simultaneously is possible.

-If I can-

3. What size speaker is recommended for the Front Wides? On the Audyssey site, it says that smaller speakers are fine because the sub handles the low frequencies. There is a 4" frame around the doorway that I could place a small cube speaker such as the Polk RM7's. Would those be sufficient? I read that I could place the Wide Speakers closer to the listening position on the side walls, but a large window prevents me from doing that.

I know how important acoustic treatment is (I have a small recording studio), and will eventually be applying acoustic panels/bass traps around the room.

If I left out any other important information, let me know! I can take pics of my setup or draw up a quick floor plan if needed.

Thanks in advance!

Chuck
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kingchong View Post

I am planning on using the (6) RC85's as Front 2, Center and my Rear Surrounds (I'll have 1 left over).

Save the 'left over' RC85 speaker for use as a Top Front Center (TpFC) speaker, when (ok! "when and if"] some next generation speaker configuration supporting IMAX style playback makes inroads into consumer home theater!

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 03:26 PM
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Heights & wides are Audyssey DSX features, so I'll assume you'll be using Audyssey MultEQ (and possibly Dynamic EQ/Vol based on your preference).

#1 - Audyssey's website has good placement guidelines/diagrams. The angle between the speaker and the listening position is the critical aspect, distance is less critical as Audyssey will automatically apply the correct delay for each channel. You can choose your particular setup here and see the correct angles - for the side surrounds, it is a bit behind the LP: http://www.audyssey.com/technology/dsx.html

#2 - 11.X is not possible on any Onkyo product (you cannot do simultaneous heights and wides). Very few products allow this, e.g. Denon 4810/4311/A100. You can use the preamp outputs for any of the 9 channels, but the TX-NR1008 does not have the capability to process more than 9 simultaneous speaker channels.

#3 - It's always best to have speakers that can cleanly extend to 80Hz. If these are the speakers you are referring to, they start to roll off @ 130Hz, which is quite high. This means the subwoofer will be handling high enough frequencies that when sound is played through the wide channels, you may notice some of that sound is coming through the subwoofer. With a larger speaker, you wouldn't have this problem. But, the wide channels are less critical in the scheme of things and don't contain a lot of audio content, so you may be just fine. Consider placing larger speakers closer to the LP - again, the angle is critical, not the distance.

It's difficult to overstate the importance of good acoustic treatment, particularly bass trapping - Audyssey MultEQ auto calibration will do wonders to tame problem frequencies, but only quality acoustic treatment (4"+ thick panels, placed across corners and at first reflection points) can tame the worst acoustic problems.

Speaking of bass ... no subwoofer? You're likely to be disappointed ...

And as for the extra speaker ... you can always give it to me
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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mattsplat,

1. I saw the diagram at Audyssey's website, and it didn't mention anything about the rear speakers being in the ceiling. It just mentioned that they should be on or close to the same plane as the ears, which in my case, is not possible. I am going to try my best at matching the angles for the rest of the speakers though.

2. I figured that there was no cheaper way into an 11.2 system, wishful thinking I guess.

3. Yes, those small Polks were what I was referring to but aren't going to be necessary now, because I cannot do the 11.2 system. I always shyed away from the HT in a box bundles because I don't like the small drivers in the cubes. They never sound good to me. Kind of relieved that I don't need em.

I have a sub already, I probably should have mentioned it. It is an older MTX 12" powered sub, which will do the job nicely until I pick up an in floor sub.

The acoustic treatment really does make a difference! When I first moved into this house, I converted a spare bedroom into a small recording/mixing studio. It sounded terrible, so I researched DIY acoustic treatments. I eventually bought a few bundles of mineral wool, and made 9-2'x4'x4" bass traps, 3-2'x4'x6" bass traps for the back of the room, a 6'x6'x4" "cloud" suspended 4" from the ceiling, and I filled the corners of the room with "superchunks" - 2' triangles of mineral wool from floor to ceiling. Needless to say, you can hear a BIG difference when you walk into the room. I have a little more to do in there, but I'm sold on the importance of treatment.

And as for that extra speaker, I'm sure I'll find a use for it! Maybe something like SoundChex suggested

Thanks for the replies!
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 05:51 PM
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Nice work on the acoustics ... I have to get away with a few microsuede-covered panels, no way I'd be allowed to place that much stuff in a room Especially on the ceiling and the corner "superchunks", which make a big difference.

At first I assumed you had a sub and then realized I shouldn't! Glad to hear you have the MTX, that will do just fine.

So you're putting the side or rear surrounds in the ceiling? Either way, it's best to have them a few inches above ear height if they're in-wall, but if you have to go in-ceiling, it's OK for surrounds - most of that audio is meant to be diffuse/all-around you anyway. Some in-ceilings let you aim the tweeter at the LP, which is a good idea if you can. Otherwise, just get them placed for the correct angles & you've done the best possible. So long as the walls & ceiling are solid I think you'll enjoy it.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-08-2010, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsplat View Post

...
#2 - 11.X is not possible on any Onkyo product (you cannot do simultaneous heights and wides). Very few products allow this, e.g. Denon 4810/4311/A100. You can use the preamp outputs for any of the 9 channels, but the TX-NR1008 does not have the capability to process more than 9 simultaneous speaker channels.

You CAN run wides and heights simultaneously with the 1008. You could not on the 1007, but the 1008 does allow for this. However, you are correct in that it will not process 11 channels simultaneously. I wish it would. Id be all over that! I still would get a 1008 now if I had an extra $799 layin around. Its an awesome AVR from what Ive read about it!
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsplat View Post

So you're putting the side or rear surrounds in the ceiling? Either way, it's best to have them a few inches above ear height if they're in-wall, but if you have to go in-ceiling, it's OK for surrounds - most of that audio is meant to be diffuse/all-around you anyway. Some in-ceilings let you aim the tweeter at the LP, which is a good idea if you can. Otherwise, just get them placed for the correct angles & you've done the best possible. So long as the walls & ceiling are solid I think you'll enjoy it.

I'm putting the Side Surrounds in the ceiling. I'm pretty sure that the tweeters are able to be aimed at the LP. Something that confuses me about the rear surrounds: The Dolby and Audyssey sites recommends to place them spaced apart, but at the THX site, it says to place them close together.
In the manual for the 1008, i think there's a THX setting that you can choose close or wide rear surrounds.

Thanks for the replies mattsplat and chevychad! I ordered the Onkyo last night, can't wait to hear what a difference it makes.

Off to work to pay for this stuff!
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kingchong View Post

I'm putting the Side Surrounds in the ceiling. I'm pretty sure that the tweeters are able to be aimed at the LP.

In that case mount the side speakers in-line with the listening seat (not slightly behind) and spread them apart as wide as symmetrically possible. Surround sound is supposed to come from around you, not above. The wide spread will make your side speakers sound like they are high up on the side walls instead of overhead, which will not only improve envelopment but also give you clearer left-vs-right directionality in the surround field.
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Something that confuses me about the rear surrounds: The Dolby and Audyssey sites recommends to place them spaced apart, but at the THX site, it says to place them close together.

Spread them apart (at least 60 degrees). Whether you listen to 7.1 via surround processing (PLIIx) or a discrete 7.1 soundtrack, the two rear speakers get stereo content. You'll never hear stereo separation behind you (where our hearing is weak anyway) with the two rear speakers placed close together. Better to put them as far back as you can (to anchor sounds firmly behind you) and spread them apart.

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post #9 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 06:18 AM
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Yea, the THX setup advocates that the rears be placed together which is contrary to Dolby and Audyssey. However, there is an option for most THX receivers for the rear speakers to be set apart. The following is from the THX website:

Quote:


If the SBL and the SBR speakers can not be placed together, refer to your THX Certified Pre-amplifier or Receiver’s “THX Set Up” menu for alternative configurations.

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If you use Dolby® TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio™, your back surround speakers should be separated to produce a 60° angle from the main listening position. In addition, you should go to the “THX Set Up” Menu in your THX Certified AV Receiver/Pre-amp and set the ASA Surround Back Speaker setting to “Apart (greater than 48).”

http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-ent...peaker-set-up/

On a side note, just to be clear about my statement of the 1008 being able to run wide and height together- if you choose to do that you will not be able to run the rear speakers. You can only pick 2 of the 3 (wide, height, rear). Hope I didnt confuse you on my first post in this thread...
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

In that case mount the side speakers in-line with the listening seat (not slightly behind) and spread them apart as wide as symmetrically possible...

Thanks for the clarification! I wanted to get a pretty definite answer of where I should put those things, as they're going to be permanent and I really don't want my ceiling looking like swiss cheese.

chevychad, no worries, I knew what ya meant
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kingchong View Post

I wanted to get a pretty definite answer of where I should put those things, as they're going to be permanent and I really don't want my ceiling looking like swiss cheese.

Yeah, no kidding. The reason I recommended the in-ceiling speakers be installed in line with the seating (+/- 90 degree locations) is because you'll have another pair of surrounds behind you. Why have BOTH pairs of surrounds rearward of the listening area? More useful to have one pair of speakers anchoring sounds behind you while the other pair gives you stable imaging at your sides.

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-09-2010, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Yeah, no kidding. The reason I recommended the in-ceiling speakers be installed in line with the seating (+/- 90 degree locations) is because you'll have another pair of surrounds behind you. Why have BOTH pairs of surrounds rearward of the listening area? More useful to have one pair of speakers anchoring sounds behind you while the other pair gives you stable imaging at your sides.
Makes complete sense. Thanks for the input!
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by chevychad View Post

You CAN run wides and heights simultaneously with the 1008. You could not on the 1007, but the 1008 does allow for this. However, you are correct in that it will not process 11 channels simultaneously. I wish it would. Id be all over that! I still would get a 1008 now if I had an extra $799 layin around. Its an awesome AVR from what Ive read about it!

I see what you're getting at ... let me restate that then. You can run heights and wides, but without the rears. That is, you cannot run heights, wides, AND rears simultaneously, but you can run any combination of the two.

Thus, 9.1 or 9.2 only - front/center/sides (5) plus any two of height/wide/rear (4) is the max. (Sorry for assuming you would be running rears.)

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Originally Posted by chevychad View Post

On a side note, just to be clear about my statement of the 1008 being able to run wide and height together- if you choose to do that you will not be able to run the rear speakers. You can only pick 2 of the 3 (wide, height, rear). Hope I didnt confuse you on my first post in this thread...

My apologies, looks like you already cleared that up.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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This is turning into a huge money pit/nightmare.. My fiance' is ready to kill me! I keep telling her that we need to order more stuff

Here's where I'm at so far:

I grabbed my trusty stud finder and started to lay out locations for the speakers. I get the Left Front Channel drawn out, step back and look at it, then proceed to map out a spot for the Right Front Channel. Guess what?! Studs! Definitely not where they're supposed to be.

After much deliberation (5mins) I decide that I'm going to tear down that wall and rebuild it. It's only gonna be 2 1/2 sheets of drywall, no biggie..

Confident it was a fluke, I go to map out the Rear Surrounds, and guess what!? More studs in odd locations. I guess I'm gonna have to rip that wall out too. Here's to a weekend of enjoying my new setup..

Now to the side surrounds that are supposed to go into the ceiling:

Since I have radiant heat in the ceiling, I did a little deeper research, and found out that the cables are spaced 3-4" apart. Bummer.. Now I have to decide if I should say F it and drill through em, then buy a baseboard heater, or wait it out til spring and use my existing bookshelfs for side surrounds on the end tables... I plan on getting a Heat Pump next year, so the radiant heat will be removed then. I just hate to destroy something that's working good when it's time to use it and replace it with something that I'm unsure of.

Tomorrow I'm off to pick up some drywall, mud, screws, tape, 2x4's and some Romex. I figure I better run a new circuit for all the gear that I'm powering now. In the mail, there's a few recessed panels and a bunch of Keystone Jacks, Banana Plugs, and in wall Cables of all sorts..

On a slightly more positive note, the receiver arrived yesterday, and it looks sweeet! It's huge and heavy. Nothing like any receiver that I've ever owned before!

Thanks Newegg, the sale on the speakers ended up costing me a fortune!
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kingchong View Post

This is turning into a huge money pit/nightmare.. My fiance' is ready to kill me! I keep telling her that we need to order more stuff

As you are already intending to cut wallboard for your 9.2/11.2 system, you might consider that next generation in-home sound systems with more than 11.2 speakers are already past the concept stage. Your 9.2/11.2 will very likely do an excellent job of reproducing whatever comes next; however there remains a possibility that someday(!) a significant improvement might be obtained through addition of (e.g.) only a pair of upper layer rear speakers.

Without making any changes to your existing plan for 9.2/11.2 speakers, I would just suggest that when you think about changing a stud or header location, you consider whether you (or someone to whom you sell the house) might ever want to add one or more of the "missing" speakers!
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by kingchong View Post

More studs in odd locations. I guess I'm gonna have to rip that wall out too.

Since you can rip the wall out, I assume it's not bearing.

So why not just cut the offending studs and frame in your desired opening?

Noah
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-12-2010, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

As you are already intending to cut wallboard for your 9.2/11.2 system, you might consider that next generation in-home sound systems with more than 11.2 speakers are already past the concept stage. Your 9.2/11.2 will very likely do an excellent job of reproducing whatever comes next; however there remains a possibility that someday(!) a significant improvement might be obtained through addition of (e.g.) only a pair of upper layer rear speakers.

Without making any changes to your existing plan for 9.2/11.2 speakers, I would just suggest that when you think about changing a stud or header location, you consider whether you (or someone to whom you sell the house) might ever want to add one or more of the "missing" speakers!

Oh God! Please don't do that to me!!! I have been planning on expansion, so I've ordered extra Keystone Plates so I can add cables as I need them. I wasn't expecting to add all those speakers, although I want to now! That stuff can go on the list for when I put the addition on the house and do the real movie room.. This is my test run

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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

Since you can rip the wall out, I assume it's not bearing.

Nope, it's not the bearing wall.

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So why not just cut the offending studs and frame in your desired opening?

That's the plan
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