Front LCR Placement Compromises and Tradeoffs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-02-2011, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I've read several speaker placement guides for the new HT system I'm planning, and while I now have a grasp on the "ideal" placement, they say very little about which deviations from that ideal, if it's not achievable in the real-world space, would have the least impact on sound quality. Basically, I want to find the right intersection between SQ and WAF -- I have the go-ahead from my wife to start planning a new system, but want to have a concrete set of answers for how it will be set up to present to her, and don't want to suggest or agree to an arrangement that looks nice, only to find out that it ruins the sound.

A picture of our viewing area is attached. The cardboard box in the picture is almost exactly the size of the speakers I'm planning to get (Infinity Primus P163).

The SQ ideal would supposedly be to add a shelf or table on each end of the credenza for the mains to go on so they're at ear height and spaced a couple of feet from the TV. This probably isn't going to fly for aesthetic reasons and the fact that they'd be in easy reach of our toddler.

A) The simplest option would be to just put the speakers on the sides of the credenza where the speakers are now. That would leave them only 60" apart, and touching the TV bezel, so I'm concerned it would damage the sound stage separation.

B) Building little shelves for them on either side of the TV, halfway up the wall, wouldn't be too hard. This would give them more separation, but would be a couple feet above the listening position, and there's no way to have the center channel at the same height.

C) I could build a big shelf running the length of the wall just above the TV and put all three speakers on it. This gives separation and puts them all on the same level, as well as being out of the way and aesthetically pleasing, but that level is way above the listening position.

The center channel causes its own problems. It's just a bit too tall to fit in the center under the TV, and moving the TV up enough to fit would be a less comfortable viewing angle. So if I went with option A or B, I'd then have to either:

1) Lay the center on its side. Again, the simplest option, but it seems like it might be worse for sound quality.

2) Get the PC-351 center channel instead, which would go over budget, take up a huge chunk of the credenza space, and not be as perfectly matched SQ-wise as using three identical speakers.

3) Build a little shelf for just the center channel above the TV, but then of course it would be both high above the listening position and at a different level from the mains.

As you can see, there are quite a few different ways this could go. I'm slightly leaning toward C), whose only sacrifice from ideal would be the height above the listening position, but if it turns out that total height has a bigger impact on sound quality than channel separation, unequal speaker heights, or one of the other tradeoffs in the mix, then I could go with a different setup.

Thanks a lot for any advice.
LL
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-02-2011, 10:40 AM
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C

Angle all three mains directly at primary LP utilizing Mopads or similar. You'll be fine. However, I do see an issue regarding acoustic asymmetry, wrt L&R acoustic environments,... any pics showing more room detail,..ie sidewalls and their proximity?

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-02-2011, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I attached a couple more pictures of the room.

I know it's not great to have it asymmetrical like that, with a wall on the right and an open floor plan leading to the dining room on the left. We already tried placing the TV on the other wall, and weren't happy with the usability of the way that made us set up the furniture, so it's not changing. I'm making sure to get a receiver that has the Audyssey automatic calibration to hopefully partially balance out that asymmetry -- any other steps I should take?

Thanks again.
LL
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 10:52 AM
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Yikes. That looks hard / impossible to me.

I don't think there's really a good solution for that room. So many reflections, so many awkward angles.. not a good HT room at all.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 11:00 AM
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You definitely don't want the speakers sitting on top of that desk, or whatever it is. Wall-mount the L/R on either side of the TV. Put some sort of treatment, even if it's just a painting, on the wall near the TV to cut down on reflected sound on that side.

Then get rid of the desk and replace it with a component rack of some sort. Place another P163 or a PC251 on top of it, or wall-mount just below the TV.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 04:08 PM
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How about a sound bar instead of three separate speakers
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 06:11 PM
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That's a good idea.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I know the room is far from ideal, but I'd rather have a somewhat compromised HT system than none at all.

As for the soundbar, that was actually the first thing I looked at when deciding to get a new system, but everything I read indicated that soundbars fall far short of a decent set of bookshelf speakers in terms of sound quality. Is that not the case? Are there any that are particularly highly recommended?
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-03-2011, 10:03 PM
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Definitely not the case. There are a bunch of good ones. Home theater magazine had a shoot out awhile back. Atlantic tech, definitive tech, polk all have good ones off the top if my head. The Yamaha ysp's sound good too. And that might slovenly all you problems since its powdered.

Anyways good luck with whatever you buy!
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-04-2011, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galoot View Post

And that might slovenly all you problems since its powdered.

Damn you autocorrect!
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-04-2011, 08:14 AM
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Haha. Too funny. Its hard to type on these so called smart phones!
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-06-2011, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boojum42 View Post

Thanks for the input. I know the room is far from ideal, but I'd rather have a somewhat compromised HT system than none at all.

As for the soundbar, that was actually the first thing I looked at when deciding to get a new system, but everything I read indicated that soundbars fall far short of a decent set of bookshelf speakers in terms of sound quality. Is that not the case? Are there any that are particularly highly recommended?

You have theory, and ideal, and then cold hard reality.
I exactly feel for ya.

My basement HT is dedicated, etc.

However, for family room HT to have 5.1 had to make all sorts of compromises.
My biggest issue is RH speaker is so far from the HDTV, see pict below.
But you know what, it works and sounds pretty decent, and definitely there is a soundstage to it.
Perfect? No. By the "book"? hardly. Life is full of compromise.
Key is pointing the 3 LH/CTR/RH to your MLP, for the family room the green chair on 45 deg.
I'd take separate RH/CTR/LH speakers over speaker bar any day - more flexibility, but that's just my opinion.


someday I might get a thinner HDTV, instead of the 2005 14" slimline here, and thin-thin RH/LH then can mount next to HDTV, but for now this set-up is paid for and works.
(those are Atlantic Technology system 350's, vintage 1996, pretty deep)

good luck.
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