What is the "THX size" of my room? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 09-14-2012, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I was looking into THX Select2 and Ultra2 gear for my living room, which is big open floor plan. The TV is going to be over the fireplace at the red oval. LCR speakers are going near the TV; surround LR will be ceiling mounted above the 2-seater couch. There is a drop floor in the living room area which creates an approx 9.5' ceiling; everywhere else it's approx 9'.

When approaching THX gear, how should I account for my space? Should it be a room the size of my living area? E.g. 15.5' × 16.3' × 9.5' = 2400 square feet. Or include the kitchenette/kitchen area? E.g. 2400 s.f. + approx 2150 s.f. = 4550 s.f.

I'd like to hear TV/music clearly while eating in the kitchenette or working in the kitchen. I don't expect it to be "surround sound" outside of the living room sitting area. Basically, should I go for Select2 for living area and add background speakers to the kitchen ceiling, or lean towards a Ultra2 setup instead? This is affecting how much I really need to spend on gear and how big of speakers do I need to install.

Any thoughts?


I'm assuming I wouldn't include the dining/entrance area in the calculation since I don't primarily intend to listen to main TV/music there, but it is open area that has to affect sound somehow. Does the lack of "left" wall space negatively affect the sounds in living room?


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post #2 of 30 Old 09-14-2012, 10:47 PM
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The THX certifications are predicated on achieving "Reference Level", which at full volume is 105 dB from each speaker and 115 dB from the subwoofer as measured at the seats. Reference Level is VERY loud. If you don't need or want to listen that loud, (and most people don't), then the lower level certification, THX Select, should work just fine for you. Just be sure you use high(er) sensitivity speakers, (90 dB or higher), and you'll be fine.

OTOH, if RL is important to you, in your sized space and at your seating distance, Ultra2 would be a better choice.

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post #3 of 30 Old 09-15-2012, 12:06 AM
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Hi Vivatech,

I don't know if it matters, but I thought I should correct some math, in case it does matter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

When approaching THX gear, how should I account for my space? Should it be a room the size of my living area? E.g. 15.5' × 16.3' × 9.5' = 2400 square feet. Or include the kitchenette/kitchen area? E.g. 2400 s.f. + approx 2150 s.f. = 4550 s.f.
The living area is 15.5' × 16.3' = 253 square-feet. The volume of the room is 2400 cubic-feet. If you include the kitchenette/kitchen area, the volume is 4550 cubic-feet.

I don't know what numbers matter for THX, square-feet or cubic-feet, but I wouldn't be surprised if both matter.

I'm sorry I can't be of more help.
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post #4 of 30 Old 09-15-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Vivatech,
I don't know if it matters, but I thought I should correct some math, in case it does matter.
The living area is 15.5' × 16.3' = 253 square-feet. The volume of the room is 2400 cubic-feet. If you include the kitchenette/kitchen area, the volume is 4550 cubic-feet.
Yes, cubic feet, not square feet.
Quote:
I don't know what numbers matter for THX, square-feet or cubic-feet, but I wouldn't be surprised if both matter.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help.
Quote:
Which THX Certification is Right for You?
THX Ultra2:
THX Ultra2 Certified products bring the cinematic experience to larger home theaters, 3,000 cubic feet in size, with a viewing distance of 12 feet or greater from the screen.

THX Select2
THX Select2 Certified products are for medium sized rooms, up to 2,000 cubic feet in size, with a 10-12 foot viewing distance from the screen.
http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/home-theater/thx-certification-performance-categories/

Cubic feet, not square feet. But note that listening distance is also important.

Craig

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post #5 of 30 Old 09-16-2012, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the replies! I meant to use cubic vs square feet. Thanks for pointing it out though.

I don't think I'll be playing stuff at Reference Levels, at least not towards the kitchen area. But, I might like my upgrade so much it will probably be played much louder more often! biggrin.gif

Viewing/listening distance is at least 16'. I want to make sure the speakers throw the sound at least as far as I need- maybe Ultra2 would be best?

The cost of certified receivers really jumps from Select2 to Ultra2. Unless I see a great deal on an Ultra2-certified AVR, I'll probably stick with the Select2 for now. Does it matter if you pick an Ultra2 speaker but a Select2 AVR?
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post #6 of 30 Old 09-17-2012, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

I appreciate all the replies! I meant to use cubic vs square feet. Thanks for pointing it out though.
I don't think I'll be playing stuff at Reference Levels, at least not towards the kitchen area. But, I might like my upgrade so much it will probably be played much louder more often! biggrin.gif
Viewing/listening distance is at least 16'. I want to make sure the speakers throw the sound at least as far as I need- maybe Ultra2 would be best?
The cost of certified receivers really jumps from Select2 to Ultra2. Unless I see a great deal on an Ultra2-certified AVR, I'll probably stick with the Select2 for now. Does it matter if you pick an Ultra2 speaker but a Select2 AVR?

With a 16' viewing distance and an open area of 4,550+ cubic ft. you'll need some serious horsepower to fill that space to Ref Level. In fact, even Ultra2 gear might not get it done. You'll want high sensitivity, high power handling speakers and significant power to drive them. You'll also want multiple, high output subs. I suggest you contact Jeff Permanian at JTR speakers: http://jtrspeakers.com/

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post #7 of 30 Old 09-23-2012, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the JTR suggestion. I had never heard of them. I was looking for fully enclosed speakers and the short list of manufacturers I was considering were Triad, Axiom, and Atlantic Technology. All were above 90 dB. I agree with concern over about not having enough bass- I may go with a 5.2 setup.
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post #8 of 30 Old 09-23-2012, 11:23 AM
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Craig offers up some solid advice. Jeff, and JTR is a great option.

What is your budget total and what exactly do you include in that budget? 5.2?

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post #9 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll spend up to $4,000 total for speakers and a new AVR/amp. At a minimum I need a 5.1 system; if it's reasonable to do so and meets WAF I'll do 5.2.

Some constraints:
  • The ceiling LR surrounds have to be fully enclosed due to living space above. The large ceiling joist spaces will fit about anything.
  • LCRs can be in-wall or on-wall. LR can also be bookshelf. Can't do in-ceiling LCR due to a large ceiling fan.
  • Exterior walls are standard 4" and insulated.
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post #10 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 11:32 AM
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The LCRs "can be in-wall or on-wall. LR can also be bookshelf."

Can the LCR approach encompass any style? Small bookshelf, larger bookshelf, etc? I'm thinking three identical 8" two ways across the front. Sub, TBD, the surrounds, do they need to be in-ceiling?

Your $4k is for sub(s), and sub(s) amplification, LCRs, surrounds, and AVR or Pre/Pro, correct?

Thanks

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post #11 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Can the LCR approach encompass any style? Small bookshelf, larger bookshelf, etc? I'm thinking three identical 8" two ways across the front. Sub, TBD, the surrounds, do they need to be in-ceiling?
Your $4k is for sub(s), and sub(s) amplification, LCRs, surrounds, and AVR or Pre/Pro, correct?

Yes, up to $4k is what I'd like to spend for speakers, subs & amps, and AVR or Pre/Pro.

Below is a picture of the application (perspective view of OP picture). I'd like to get a shelf of some sorts between the fireplace and TV for a Xbox Kinect sensor, which is not shown.

Surrounds need to be in-ceiling. Pedestal speakers are not an option due to my kitchenette furniture and routy kids.

With the TV over the fireplace I'm limited in center channel solutions so I've conceded to an in-wall or on-wall solution. I've toyed with building a center channel in-wall speaker into a simple mantle. The TV is not mounted yet so I have some flexibility with the height. Actually I'm having issues with my TV so I might wind up getting a new one.

The LR can be bookshelves sitting on the floating wall cabinets and alternatively there's a pretty big wall to install in-walls or on-walls. The floating cabinets haven't been built yet either so there's some flexibility there, too.


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post #12 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 02:01 PM
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Before we get to specific recommendations, are you sure you want to pursue an above the fireplace set up?

I don't intend to offend, please don't take offense but this type of an approach really sucks for enjoyment of video. the only aspect that it's well suited for is for static appearance, magazine ad style,..that's it.

Also, immediately upon seeing your layout I see the un-balanced audio environments on the left and the right. The left is open, the right is boundary adjacent. This is problematic from the start and can't be overcome. Yes, many set their systems up this way, and everyone of them possess this problem. Is it at all possible to place the display at proper eye level, and in the corner, firing directly across the space. That way the acoustic environments are uniform left and right. You can corner load the subwoofer behind the display, and have your primary LP in the area between the two columns.

This is the way I'd set up the room.

Is this possible for you?

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post #13 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I'm definitely sure about the over-the-fireplace location. Long deliberations have taken place over that topic and there's no going back. smile.gif

It came down to looking slightly up (15° from the couch to top of TV) and having slightly poor acoustics vs. having zero straight-on view of TV and requiring left/right head tilts, blocking the window, requiring the curtains to be always drawn due to south-facing sun, not having a clear shot to the kitchen. The fireplace wins in my current house and my next house will not have one to avoid this situation altogether!

This was my comparison:

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post #14 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

Yes, I'm definitely sure about the over-the-fireplace location. Long deliberations have taken place over that topic and there's no going back. smile.gif
It came down to looking slightly up (15° from the couch to top of TV) and having slightly poor acoustics vs. having zero straight-on view of TV and requiring left/right head tilts, blocking the window, requiring the curtains to be always drawn due to south-facing sun, not having a clear shot to the kitchen. The fireplace wins in my current house and my next house will not have one to avoid this situation altogether!

I understand, and i hate to even contemplate "re-engineering the wheel" as it were. However, it's not just the viewing angle, and slightly worse acoustics. The asymmetry can't be overcome properly, so I'd be remiss if I didn't point it out. All said, I fully understand your quandary. The right image isn't acceptable to me either, I intended to have a primary listening/viewing position in between the columns.

But no prob moving forward with the fireplace wall approach.

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post #15 of 30 Old 09-24-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well... for argument's sake, where would you place the speakers if it were like you suggested?

:
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post #16 of 30 Old 09-25-2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Yes, cubic feet, not square feet.
http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/home-theater/thx-certification-performance-categories/
Cubic feet, not square feet. But note that listening distance is also important.
Craig

Excellent points by Craig. The trend toward large open floor plan "multipurpose" media rooms presents a number of challenges. Don't make any decisions based on how it will sound in the kitchen area. If the system is sized, chosen, and executed properly, you'll have the potential to hear in the kitchen area just fine. The bigger challenge is to have adequate broad spectrum response in the listening area, but as Craig points out, the volume and distance have to be considered. I strongly believe that a lot of modern "hi-fi" speakers really do a poor job in doing the critical mid-ranges properly (meaning accurately, in balance with the highs, and with smooth, wide directivity). All those factors are very important in larger rooms. It is easy to find speakers that are fatigueingly bright. Finding those that will do the mid-range really well in a large room without being physically quite large is not easy today.

It may be out of you budget range, but JBL Synthesis does a tremendous job of delivering in spades in larger rooms.
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post #17 of 30 Old 09-25-2012, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

Thanks for the JTR suggestion. I had never heard of them. I was looking for fully enclosed speakers and the short list of manufacturers I was considering were Triad, Axiom, and Atlantic Technology. All were above 90 dB. I agree with concern over about not having enough bass- I may go with a 5.2 setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

I'll spend up to $4,000 total for speakers and a new AVR/amp. At a minimum I need a 5.1 system; if it's reasonable to do so and meets WAF I'll do 5.2.
Some constraints:
  • The ceiling LR surrounds have to be fully enclosed due to living space above. The large ceiling joist spaces will fit about anything.
  • LCRs can be in-wall or on-wall. LR can also be bookshelf. Can't do in-ceiling LCR due to a large ceiling fan.
  • Exterior walls are standard 4" and insulated.

There isn't much in the Triad line in your price range that will come close to providing enough output for your space. The best speakers with enough output to be useable in your space would be the Gold LCR's, and they're over $2K per speaker. The Silver LCR's will get loud, but they won't get all the way to Ref Level. They're ~ $900 per speaker. I would not suggest anything below the Silver LCR's. All of Triad's in-ceiling speakers have integral enclosures, so they could be good candidates for the surrounds.

There are some Axiom speakers that will meet the price point, but they have some quirky characteristics, such as dual tweeters at opposite ends of a horizontal CC.



Not exactly my idea of a great speaker design. rolleyes.gif

The Atlantic Technology in-wall THX Ultra2 speakers will eat up all your budget and then some. Also, in order to meet their THX spec, they need to be used with an enclosure. The enclosure supplied by AT is only for "new construction". If you want to use them in an existing wall, you need to craft some kind of enclosure for them. I would not suggest any of their other in-walls because they do not have integral enclosures, which, IMO, are *required* for high output, high dynamic capability. Their THX Select speakers are potentially within budget, but I'm not sure they'll have the output you need. They're spec'd for 2,000 cubic foot spaces and your space is over double that. Still, if you can acept less than full Ref Level, they could work well for you. (This forum sells the AT speakers. They offer a discount and an in-home audition period. If you are considering AT speakers, contact Mike Garrett: 585-671-2968 or mike@avscience.com

The JBL Synthesis line suggested by Cam Man will, similarly, eat up your whole budget and then some. They will do a fabulous job in your room, but you'll need to up your budget substantially if you want to consider them. Ditto for the JTR's I suggested earlier.

Bottom line, it is going to be very difficult to do a high output system capable of THX Ref Level in your space, at your budgetary price point, and especially if you are considering dual subwoofers. If the budget is fixed, then you'll need to reduce your expectations to something below THX levels.

Craig
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post #18 of 30 Old 09-26-2012, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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OK. Considering the dish of reality that was just served, I don't mind investing in better gear but my concern about going over budget is that I might be moving next summer. The next house I'm in may not have a need for such a expansive system. I wanted the THX for my personal enjoyment and possibly as a selling point. But I suppose most people don't know anything about THX and there's the possibility of having to rip everything out to bring with me.

So it seems the best approach is to audition some gear and see how it sounds in my space to my ears. I like the open floor plan, but as mentioned above, it has been a complete media compromise... so I hope I'm less critical of whatever I do audition.

I agree on getting fully enclosed/sealed speakers for in-wall/in-ceiling. Unfortunately, there are not too many solutions (I did way too much market research), and even then I'm limited with my old construction and 4" walls.
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post #19 of 30 Old 09-29-2012, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I spoke with Mike at AVS. I'm going to go with Klipsch KL-7800-THX for in-wall LCR, KS-7800-THX or KS-7502-THX for in-ceiling surround, and two in-wall RW-5802 for the LFE.

I'm really not sure what AVR yet. Toying with the idea of an Ultra2 unit as well, but not sure if I need it. Any thoughts?
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post #20 of 30 Old 10-01-2012, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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And now it's off to Atlantic Technology: IWTS-155 Ultra2 for LCR, TLC-8.3 for surround, and I'm now considering the ICTS-6LCR for surround back. Not completely sure about surround back yet. All boxed, though.

While I wanted an in-wall sub for aesthetics, the price/performance is pushing me towards an in-room. Can anyone recommend a near-reference good sub for my room above? As much as I would like it, I do not need/can't justify price of ridiculous bass. I was initially looking at a Klipsch SW-112 and open to all suggestions up to $1k.
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post #21 of 30 Old 10-03-2012, 01:16 AM
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What FOH mentioned for corner placement vs over the fireplace is what I did for my family room 5.1 set-up, see below
IMG_3562.JPG
(in my case I was forced to place the RH speaker far on the other side of the fireplace, not the optimal but it works
I have a solution planned just "life" with 4 kids keeps getting in the way, http://www.avsforum.com/t/1391600/possible-to-make-new-cabinets-for-my-at350s-drivers-for-placement-issues ..)

However, since you want in wall speakers this layout may not work for you since you'd be hard pressed to place them firing towards your MLP zone.

My friend just did exactly what you did, TV above fireplace, and we were there for big labor day party.
sitting on the couch I did get a little neckstain, but I'm 50 and all that so maybe for younger folks no problem.

Your sub, for $1k I'd go internet direct, or heck a basic DIY solution for $1k would kick butt over anything else!
Post in the DIY sub forum, the gang there will take care of you, http://www.avsforum.com/f/155/diy-speakers-and-subs.

btw, Atlantic Technology is a great company, I'm using their old AT System 350 in my family room set-up and love them.
Back then, circia 1996 design, they were rated THX Ultra, then they started getting into the "good-better-best" marketing thing and came up with "select-Select2-Ultra2".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THX#Certifications
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post #22 of 30 Old 10-03-2012, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mike. I haven't really ventured to the DIY forum. I don't mind building myself a sub- my wife wants a good looking cabinet now that the sub is not in the wall.
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post #23 of 30 Old 10-03-2012, 12:11 PM
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The idea behind the corner centric method I suggested was for dramatically increased acoustic symmetry across the front soundstage. It is the only way to achieve it.

The reason, for those that aren't fully aware, is so that the left and right loudspeaker's reflected energy, both from the direct output, and the omni-directional energy, encounters the adjacent boundaries in a similar fashion. And perhaps more importantly, the reflected energy from the primary frontal radiation, hits the sidewalls and the resultant angle directs it away from the primary listening position. This is a technique implemented in nearly all studio designs, facilitating a higher degree of image specificity. And yet the redirected energy encounters the LP eventually, but ideally not within the critical first 20msec. The later arriving energy creates a natural imersiveness we all psychoacoustically crave, yet retains the highly coveted imaging characteristics contained in the direct sound.

Simple, and effective. Also, a corner loaded sub-woofer will benefit greatly from the acoustic loading inherent to the 1/8 space environment.

Quote:
As much as I would like it, I do not need/can't justify price of ridiculous bass.

For $1k, you've got some interesting options. The diy sound group, posseses some killer, phenomenal deals, that put reference bass within reach of many. These subwoofer kits are high performance, off the chart value items.

I think the stock answer is two or three of the vented Klipsch subs you mentioned. But these sealed kits offered are just great (their superb two-way mains are even better if you're interested). The 10" powered Titanic, in multiples is great. Or, the unpowered versions powered by the ubiquitous Behringer would be a not-miss combination in multiples. Four 10" subs and a Behringer amplifier would be about $1100, and would be well suited to that space.

If you went powered, three would be fine. Unpowered, three doesn't work amplification wise, so a fourth would be in order. The cnc milled boxes are very nice. As is well documented, multple subs yields much greater sound quality for a variety of reasons. You get a smoother response over a larger area, and clearly, the added headroom capability is a bonus. One would have lower distortion, deeper extension capability, smoother response over a larger area of enjoyment.

If the thought of all the diy is too much, give consideration to multiple Klipsch (the version mentioned above), you have a higher level of success to the overall sound of the new system. Additionally, be mindful of Epik seled subs, newcomer PowerSoundAudio and their offerings.


Best of luck, and enjoy the entire experience. Think how nice it'll be that first "good" listen. cool.gif

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post #24 of 30 Old 10-03-2012, 05:34 PM
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Good reply FOH, I bet you did NOT thumb type that in a smartphone smile.gif


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post #25 of 30 Old 10-04-2012, 12:58 PM
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Good reply FOH, I bet you did NOT thumb type that in a smartphone smile.gif
Sent from my iPhone4 using Tapatalk

My telephone, isn't very smart. However, it's made right here in my hometown, possessesses crystal clear sound. It has both a full sized microphone and full sized speaker that are placed appropriately for use. smile.gif Western Electric, ..... does your cell phone mfr make vacuum tubes? tongue.gif

I'm not mucwhippingippin' out some quick contribution, padding my post count. Hell, of all the forums I follow, Seaton's, The Cult, The Shack, Ethan's, others etc, I'd guess my average post is several paragraphs. Oh well, I enjoy it. I stay busy answering a lot of PMs too.

Mike, your posts are typically equally informational.

Thanks

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post #26 of 30 Old 10-07-2012, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I was reading the Atlantic Technology specs and they stated to keep the speakers within 18" of each other vertically to ensure a flowing front stage.

Not sure how they measure 18" but I have more than a few choices. What's the best location for the speakers- closer to a vertical line or more even with the TV?

Also, I went with 10' outside edge horizontal separation. Is that the maximum I should go?


Higher:



Lower:
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post #27 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivatech View Post

I was reading the Atlantic Technology specs and they stated to keep the speakers within 18" of each other vertically to ensure a flowing front stage.
Not sure how they measure 18" but I have more than a few choices. What's the best location for the speakers- closer to a vertical line or more even with the TV?
Also, I went with 10' outside edge horizontal separation. Is that the maximum I should go?
Higher:

Lower:

The measurement is from tweeter center to tweeter center. Ideally all 3 tweeters should be at the same height, but an 18" offset of the CC is acceptable.

I prefer a vertical line for the speakers instead of surrounding the TV. Personally, I would go with an above-TV placement rather than below. If going above the TV, aim them down at the listeners ears.



The recommended angle is 22 to 30 degrees. A 10' spread at 16' listening distance is about 17 degrees, so it is not wide enough. However, these are just guidelines and I prefer a placement that is "scaled" to the size of the video display rather than to the listening angles. IOW, although it's not within the guidelines, IMO, it should be fine. The right sided chair and the left sided sofa will not be good seats for audio.

Craig

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Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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post #28 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, Craig!! I like the new setup.

If I place the center channel above the TV and aim down, I'll have to go back to the Klipsch KL-7800-THX series. There would be too much customization and too many calculations recreating the Atlantic Technology's IN-BOX-155 speaker box.

Actually, placing the center channel KL-7800-THX in it's own speaker box works out quite well. If I had installed it in the wall I would have to have done some significant reframing since the 20" cutout doesn't fit within a standard 16" joist when oriented horizontal. With the speaker box, the center 7800 doesn't require any reframing. Plus, I was generally fearing installing the AT speaker boxes in old construction! I preferred the fully enclosed Klipsch THX series for their easier installation.

I called Klipsch yesterday and they said the above-the-TV center setup would work fine. They also said that with the center channel aimed towards the LP I could space the tweeters more than 18" apart. The 18" would be more if the speakers were firing on the same plane. Klipsch also recommended using two SW-110 for LFE.

In the photos the center speaker box front is angled 15° down to the LP. The speaker box will be 1/2" MDF.





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post #29 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

The recommended angle is 22 to 30 degrees. A 10' spread at 16' listening distance is about 17 degrees, so it is not wide enough. However, these are just guidelines and I prefer a placement that is "scaled" to the size of the video display rather than to the listening angles.

I would be able to fit 22° LR channels, but then the left speaker would be right up against the left column. I would have to build speaker boxes to toe them in to avoid reflections from the column. I've really debated if that's really worthwhile- I would do it. That was the point at which I started looking at on-wall/bookshelf speakers...

This process is very cyclical in nature. rolleyes.gif

I kinda like this setup, though, using in-walls in custom boxes... also very clean. Speaker boxes and speaker grills could be same color as the wall, or oak boxes with black speakers.




I could always toe the LR speakers down a bit, too:





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post #30 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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This is my space with a 7-channel Dolby speaker specification highlights:

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