Starting from scratch, new house and room setup. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-21-2012, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I am at a loss for the way to setup the main room in the new house. In the old house, I had a fairly standard room which made setting everything up pretty easy (it was also a dedicated theater room which left a lot more choices as well for setup), but all of the equipment stayed as part of the house sale.

The new house has a vaulted ceiling and an open floor plan which complicates things.

Sooo... I would appreciate some help/suggestions on the setup for the new house. There is no longer a dedicated theater room, so there has to be a good balance between form, function and aesthetics. I will not have room for any free standing speakers, so for the most part I am limited to speakers that are small enough to be wall mounted.

Only real item I already have is a Sony STR-DG800 receiver.

Items I need to determine:

1. 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound... Is one better suited for the room setup?
2. Location and height of the speakers?
3. Types of speakers, recommendations?
4. Location of subwoofer?

Here is a floorplan of the house. I had to modify it a bit as I could only find the "standard" floor plan on the builders website, but mine was a bit different. The TV is currently a 42" mounted above the fireplace with the bottom of the TV about 5' from the ground (eventually hope to have a 60" up there). The wall on which the fireplace/TV is located is ~7' wide... I believe that should leave enough room for some smaller speakers possibly mounted directly to the side of the TV with the center channel located below the TV on the mantle. The ceiling in the room is vaulted. With the ceiling above the front wall about 8' high and the peak of the ceiling being about 13' directly above the fireplace/TV. The bright red are the 2 seats of the sectional sofa that are used the most and the lighter red are the other seating locations. The blue area is where the cabinet with the AV hardware is located.

2012-11-21

What are your recommendations for my setup giving me a good viewing experience without fully breaking the bank, as well as the speaker placement/setup.

Thanks for helping out.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-26-2012, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts at all?
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-26-2012, 10:34 AM
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Lots of thoughts... just not all what you'd like to hear.

I can see some simple on-wall speakers working on either side of the fireplace. No specific recommendations as I tend to DIY my speakers, but if you've built a theater before, you're not clueless. Then a pair of surrounds high on the walls on either side of the LP. The sub fits nicely in the corner behind the sectional. Not optimal but servicable.

On the other hand, you probably already know that your display is too high and your seating area too far away for that size display. I'll also note that the worst place for sound quality is close to a wall, where you've put all your seats. I'll offer the alternative of putting the screen on the porch wall, where you'll have room for speakers. The sectional flips around, but goes no farther back than the master bedroom doorway so the prime seats are now close to mid-room and close enough to enjoy the big display. Surrounds at teh doorway edges and rears where the TV used to be. Far shorter cable runs, too, and a great place for a projection set-up (screen only covers window when in use).

HAve fun,
Frank
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-26-2012, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your thoughts... As you mentioned I know I am FAR from the ideal layout. When we were originally looking for houses we were hoping for a basement and a dedicated home theater room, but it was not a "must" on the list. This house had all of the "must" items on the home list, so was pretty easy to move past the "want" items (such as basement/dedicated HT).

Your setup for the room "as is" sounds exactly like what I was figuring I would have to do, but I was hoping that maybe someone had some ideas/experience to suggest something that has worked in a similar situation but not the "norm" or even something that works but initially looks like it should not work well. Display is currently small at 42" and I hope to fit a larger size up there soon, but 60" is about as big as I think you can go without looking like you are pushing the limits.

The problem with the "closer to ideal" setup you mention is (first and foremost), I would not be able to sell the wife on it... lol As mentioned above, it is not a dedicated room and flipping the room would just look extremely awkward and unwelcome for a room that must serve as the living/great/family room in addition to basically make the fireplace pointless. I have done the whole projector thing and I feel there would be too much ambient light to deal with (not shown in the floorplan is a sun room back behind the dining room). The projector would then be the only display for regular televisions/casual viewing in addition to movies/theater viewing since there would be no way to mount an decent sized TV to the porch wall as the windows are there.

I am beginning to think that since my setup is so "flawed" it might be pointless to invest too much at all in trying to get a "nice" setup... I just hate to think that I might not really get much better quality out of the layout with decent speaker than I would get if I just slapped some HTIB speakers on the wall. frown.gif
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-27-2012, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben98gs View Post

...I just hate to think that I might not really get much better quality out of the layout with decent speaker than I would get if I just slapped some HTIB speakers on the wall. frown.gif
Don't dis the HTiB... some have nice speakers once Audyssey is done with them...

Life is a compromise; everything has flaws. The question is what flaws matter to you?

Speaker placement can cause linear distortion - bumps in the FR curve - which alters timbre and causes some listeners distress. I'm not one of them... non-linear distortion is my hot button. So while I may perceive differences related to placement, they don't bother my enjoyment near as much as, say, a speaker which crossed to the tweeter at too low a frequency... (an early DIY of mine).

In general, I find a better product will frequently perform better, even if it's handicapped by less-than-ideal placement. Plus, placement can change...

But seriously, try to find something to put behind the couch to your heads aren't so close to the wall. That alone will be worth the time I spent suggesting it!

HAve fun,
Frank
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-27-2012, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fbov View Post

But seriously, try to find something to put behind the couch to your heads aren't so close to the wall. That alone will be worth the time I spent suggesting it!

I had actually been thinking about that. The problem that I see is that the windows are right behind the 2 main seating positions so curtains are about the only thing that can be done there. I could make some type of absorption panel beside the windows... Might just have to buy some speakers and start trial and error testing to see what I can get away with.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-28-2012, 09:36 AM
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You misunderstand me.

Air is what you need, not acoustic treatment... which a window with curtains provides, btw, and in an excellent location.

The room's boundaries are a pressure maximum for all frequencies. Sound quality improves dramatically as you move your ears away from the boundaries. Put your head i the corner of the room and you'll hear what I mean. It's more subtle elsewhere, but the effect is present, and easily addressed by a little shifting of the furniture.

Have fun,
Frank
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-28-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben98gs View Post

The ceiling in the room is vaulted. With the ceiling above the front wall about 8' high and the peak of the ceiling being about 13' directly above the fireplace/TV.
Due to ceiling configuration, ideal setup for acoustics is to have TV and main speakers at where red sofas are. Then, if allowed, have the seats about 3 feet away from fireplace and face towards the front wall. In other words flip it around.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-28-2012, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

You misunderstand me.
Air is what you need, not acoustic treatment... which a window with curtains provides, btw, and in an excellent location.
The room's boundaries are a pressure maximum for all frequencies. Sound quality improves dramatically as you move your ears away from the boundaries. Put your head i the corner of the room and you'll hear what I mean. It's more subtle elsewhere, but the effect is present, and easily addressed by a little shifting of the furniture.

You are partly correct, I do not feel that I misunderstood you, maybe my lack of knowledge/understanding misconstrued my understanding. My thought was that sound deadening was essentially the same as more air and acted in a similar fashion. Again, this might not be the case and that would definitely be why I misunderstood you. Do you have any links or care to explain a little more in-depth as to the reasoning for more air, and not just elimination of reflection, behind the seating? I thought your original intent was to eliminate the "reflection" which sound deadening/absorption panels should accomplish. I could probably get the sectional pulled about another foot forward before the one end starts to get really close to blocking at least part of the entry from the garage/master bedroom. Would one foot really help anything or is it really not even worth worrying about?

This is exactly why I wanted some recommendations from people with more knowledge than me. If nothing else I want to better understand why my current room configuration is not ideal, even if there is not a lot I can do about changing it.


diomania, you are in agreement with fboy, but as mentioned previously, I am not interested in doing a projector setup like I had in my last home/theater room. I am assuming that by flipping the room you were suggesting a display/screen such as a projector, and not something like a TV, is this correct?


Thank you both again for your responses, as you mention in your first post Frank, seems like most of the advice so far is not what I "want" to hear, but hoping I can find some compromise that does not make the room unusable for anything but a "theater"...
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-28-2012, 03:24 PM
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This is something your ears can tell you better than I can find link to explain it. Try listening close to the wall some time and see if it sounds anything like mid-room...

If you want a reference, it's Toole's book. The idea is that reflections are both beneficial and detrimental to sound quality. Our brains interpret early reflections not as a separate source, but as a modifier of the direct sound's quality - the Precedence Effect. The perception is one of a change in spaciousness and envelopment.

But at a wall boundary, the biggest issue is the common node at the wall. No air moves at the wall, so it's a displacement minimum and a pressure maximum for all frequencies. You don't put your ear against the wall, so your ears stay about 6" from the surface. The direct sound is now combined with the reflected sound, and at a 6" spacing, you'd have a big dip at about 565Hz. Here's a plot from Toole showing the effect for a wall mounted speaker. Note the dip at 200Hz as his speaker is deeper than 6".
http://www.htguide.com/forum/attachment.php4?attachmentid=15641

As you move away from the wall, this effect both drops in frequency, due to the added distance, and becomes smeared with all the other reflections because it's no longer a lot stronger than they are (inverse square rule applies, so 6" distance is 9x louder than at 18"...). See why adding 1 foot can make a difference?

Subwoofers will sound better, too!

HAve fun,
Frank
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-30-2012, 11:12 AM
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I can't say this link goes into the reasoning...
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-audio-acoustics/1819-general-no-nos-good-sound.html#axzz2DXKxo0uD

But at least he's a pro....

Frank
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