Home audio advice for an open floor plan (2.1 vs 3.1 and product recommendations) - AVS Forum
Audio Theory, Setup, and Chat > Home audio advice for an open floor plan (2.1 vs 3.1 and product recommendations)
MLJones's Avatar MLJones 10:02 AM 12-31-2012
Hi All.

It's been a year since I've purchased and mounted our 46 inch TV on the wall... and its time for some new audio. I'm looking for suggestions from setup type to individual products.

Budget: $600 - $1,000
Typical Audio: Daily TV, 1 Movie Night a week, Music on Friday's while entertaining, and NFL Sunday gatherings.

The room layout is open with 10ft ceilings, a couch centered off the TV (yet, unless its movie night the TV is typically always angled slightly toward the kitchen, my spot "the man chair," and then an open island that people often gather around. At first I thought a sound bar would be optimal; however after visiting the big box stores and sampling some audio, I'm leaning towards a 2.1 or 3.1 setup w/ a receiver. The L&R could go on either side of the entertainment console or on top and center could positional sit on the entertainment console by pending size may have to sit horizontally
.


What setup would you recommend 3.1 or go phantom with 2.1? Also do you recommend a particular product? Currently, we have a very cheap DVD player and if my receiver housed a BlueRay/DVD player bonus points would be applied.... however not necessary.

Note: I was impressed by the Bose Cinemate speakers at the big box store - which ultimately led me to the below recommendations.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1448489/need-suggestions-2-1-or-sound-bar-for-my-bedroom

fbov's Avatar fbov 01:12 AM 01-01-2013
Two things...

Put something behind the couch to move it a bit farther from the back wall. There are no good listening positions near walls...

Consider 5.1. Football is announcers in the CC, field action across the front and crowd sounds in the surrounds. This kind of layout (wide/shallow) also benefits from wide-front speakers, available in most AVRs with Audyssey. It spreads out the front sound stage, so the island occupants would be the primary beneficiaries.

There are a lot of reasonably good options in that price range. I would just recommend a mainline AVR from a reputable brand. Bose would not be on my list - sorry!

Have fun,
Frank
sdurani's Avatar sdurani 04:02 PM 01-01-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLJones View Post

unless its movie night the TV is typically always angled slightly toward the kitchen
Can the TV be moved to the adjacent wall (on the right side of the drawing), so that it is across the island?
MLJones's Avatar MLJones 06:44 PM 01-01-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

Two things...
Put something behind the couch to move it a bit farther from the back wall. There are no good listening positions near walls...
Consider 5.1. Football is announcers in the CC, field action across the front and crowd sounds in the surrounds. This kind of layout (wide/shallow) also benefits from wide-front speakers, available in most AVRs with Audyssey. It spreads out the front sound stage, so the island occupants would be the primary beneficiaries.

Hi Frank thanks for the input. I will definitely move the couch forward after putting something together and see how the sound differs. How far off the wall does one normally notice a difference?

I'm not certain I can put together a good 5.1 system that will please the WAF with regard to aesthetics and my wants within my budget. Thus I was hoping to start small with a chance of 5.1 down the road.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Can the TV be moved to the adjacent wall (on the right side of the drawing), so that it is across the island?

Unfortunately, this is not possible due to the front door. The front door is centered in this wall. Although, I can see how the picture presents this move as a great option.
MLJones's Avatar MLJones 11:01 AM 01-03-2013
After reading some product reviews over the last week, I'm leaning towards starting with a 2.1 setup and over time building to a quality 5.1.

I think I'm beginning to settle on the following receiver.
- YAMAHA RX-V473BL 5.1-Channel Network AV Receiver $399.95


Then I'm considering one of following two subs:

- JBL Studio 1 Series SUB150P Sub $239.00
or
- Klipsch Reference RW-12d 12" Sub $349.90

My concerns: I've read the reviews that the Klipsch is miles better (w/ some newer Quality Concerns); however, I'm really unsure if I really need a 340 watt sub and if I can afford speakers to to compete with this type of wattage.

I haven't quite settled on a pair of book shelves or floor speakers yet (L/R). The Polk 45B's, RTI A1's and Definitive Tech's 350 Bookshelf Speakers are all currently appealing.

What do you all think? Do I need the better sub? If going that route do I need the better speakers, i.e. RTI A1's or similar class? I know none of this equipment is professional grade but I think it could be a suitable entry level class for myself. Or maybe I should search for a cheaper AVR and look at starting with a 3.1?
commsysman's Avatar commsysman 12:02 PM 01-03-2013
I personally find the sound quality of the current crop of Yamaha and Pioneer receivers to be rather poor.

I recommend that you consider the Onkyo TX-NR616 or 515 (around $350).

The KEF C3 speakers are very good for only $329 per pair (at KEF Direct), and they are front-ported, which allows placement near rear walls or whatever; very flexible placement with these. I think you will find their sound quality to be better than comparable products from Polk and Klipsch, and the Def Tech 350 is not one most people would be happy with IMO. The Def Tech Studio 55 is excellent, but they are $600 per pair.

The Klipsch RW12D is one I would recommend for under $500. Decent low bass requires a lot of power; you have a volume control on the sub, so if you really want to turn it down, that is the easiest thing in the world to do...lol.
MLJones's Avatar MLJones 07:48 PM 01-03-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I personally find the sound quality of the current crop of Yamaha and Pioneer receivers to be rather poor.
I recommend that you consider the Onkyo TX-NR616 or 515 (around $350).
The KEF C3 speakers are very good for only $329 per pair (at KEF Direct), and they are front-ported, which allows placement near rear walls or whatever; very flexible placement with these. I think you will find their sound quality to be better than comparable products from Polk and Klipsch, and the Def Tech 350 is not one most people would be happy with IMO. The Def Tech Studio 55 is excellent, but they are $600 per pair.
The Klipsch RW12D is one I would recommend for under $500. Decent low bass requires a lot of power; you have a volume control on the sub, so if you really want to turn it down, that is the easiest thing in the world to do...lol.

Hey Comm - I appreciate the feedback on the AVR. Problem is... the Onkyo's have had a string of bad reviews as of late 2012. It appears most attribute this to a weak HDMI board. While I currently don't know this as fact, it definitely makes me nervous. I value the opinion and will keep this positive opinion in my mind.

As stated, I haven't settled on speakers and I'll add the KEF C3 speakers to the research list. I guess the real problem I'm having is being certain I won't be disappointed with the speakers I purchase. As the room is 13 x 13 with an additional 15 x 15 (open kitchen) right along side all with 10ft ceilings. I'm not necessarily trying to wow the neighbors while their inside their own home, but I don't want to disappointing myself or my guests that are hoping for some game day sound or music from the kitchen either.

Again, I may start with a simple 2.1 and transition to a 3.1... but I want to be certain my L&R have a matching center available if I decide to put more $$ into a 2.1 now, with room to grow later.

For the sub - I know the Klipsch is one of the better entry level speakers and I'm leaning towards it and of course hoping for a Newegg price drop.

Cheers.
fbov's Avatar fbov 10:14 PM 01-03-2013
Two comments....

My rule of thumb for subs is ~4x the power capability of the mains RMS rating, and some recommend 10x. Infrasonic content tends to be extended passages of high levels, not short transients. Normal transient overhead calculations don't apply.

Onkyo HDMI board issues are isolated to older models and exacerbated by thermal stresses. I have a 707 for 2.5 yrs with no issues, but I also keep it cool. Don't let this kind of concern make your decision.

HAve fun,
Frank
arnyk's Avatar arnyk 06:18 AM 01-04-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLJones View Post

After reading some product reviews over the last week, I'm leaning towards starting with a 2.1 setup and over time building to a quality 5.1.

I think I'm beginning to settle on the following receiver.
- YAMAHA RX-V473BL 5.1-Channel Network AV Receiver $399.95


Then I'm considering one of following two subs:

- JBL Studio 1 Series SUB150P Sub $239.00
or
- Klipsch Reference RW-12d 12" Sub $349.90

My concerns: I've read the reviews that the Klipsch is miles better (w/ some newer Quality Concerns); however, I'm really unsure if I really need a 340 watt sub and if I can afford speakers to to compete with this type of wattage.

I haven't quite settled on a pair of book shelves or floor speakers yet (L/R). The Polk 45B's, RTI A1's and Definitive Tech's 350 Bookshelf Speakers are all currently appealing.

What do you all think? Do I need the better sub? If going that route do I need the better speakers, i.e. RTI A1's or similar class? I know none of this equipment is professional grade but I think it could be a suitable entry level class for myself. Or maybe I should search for a cheaper AVR and look at starting with a 3.1?

Given your relatively tight budget, you seem to be stuck with a sub in the < $200 range.

I don't see either sub mentioned above as being outstanding price/performers given your tight financial situation. The Polk PSW 505 seems to be getting a lot of nice comments over in the subwoofer forum - currently < $200 at Newegg. Frankly it looks to me like the RW12d minus some fancy-schamncy that you can easily do without.

For econo-mains I recommend Infinity Primus P163s. A little more than half the price of the KEF C3s, but with more oompf in down to the crossover with the subs. If you mix a good 5.1 AVR with the Polk sub and the Infinity fronts, you're looking at $650 which is well within the lower end of your budget. If the extra bucks are buring a hole in your pocket one approach would be to add a second sub for better uniformity of bass throughout the room. Another good direction to go with the extra $350 or so would be room acoustics treatments.
MLJones's Avatar MLJones 10:39 AM 03-02-2013
Hey all,

I just wanted to post an update.... thanks to all the help within this forum this is what I settled on:

Denon AVR 1913 (refurb)
Infiintiy Primus P163s
Polk PSW 505

Its been a few months since the equipment has been setup and I am very satisfied. The Denon AVR provides the book shelves with plenty of power and clear sound, not to mention that it also provides plenty of room for growth down the road. Soon I hope to take advantage of the second zone with speakers going in the basement and long term hope to upgrade to full surround. In addition the AVR controls my blue ray player, apple tv, and DirecTV w/o a hiccup. I've recently also taken advantage of the Roomie Remote App and can control everything from the iphone and ipad... pretty cool.

Although the polk sub may be considered sub par by many audiophiles, it is more than your average joe is ever going to need. The gain on the sub stays at 50% and I find myself turning it down later in the evening to not upset the nearby neighbors. In the suburbs this would have never been necessary, but in the city its probably a must.

Thanks all!
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