Surround sound setup help w/ pictures of room! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-10-2013, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Above are two pictures of where I would like to set up a surround sound system. These are taken from the realty website so it's not our actual decorating and arranging. We will be moving in to our new (and first!) home in February. I've been doing ungodly amounts of research on receivers and speakers, but it won't do me much good if I can't put it anywhere.

I obviously have the hurdle of the fireplace being in the middle, and thus am forced to have the TV off to the left which has the built in stand. I'm guessing the room is about 14x18. I was hoping to get the Jamo S 426, but I'm worried that there would be no room for floor standing speakers. My less exciting, alternative choice would be the Energy Take 5.0, and then purchasing the BIC F12 sub woofer.

Based on what you guys notice, do you have any tips when setting up my system? Do you agree that floor standing speakers would be a wasted effort in this room? And for the surround speakers, do you suggest mounting each one on the opposite walls? And for a room this size and it's shape, do you recommend any other speakers?

Thank you so much in advance!
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 10:56 AM
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First question is your intent. You say "set up a surround sound system" and talk about a TV interfering with a fireplace. How open are you to alternative arrangements? What's going to get priority when tradeoffs appear, sound quality or appearance? Will speakers be hidden like a nuisance or displayed like works of art?

Your room is very similar to mine, save for the open ceiling and all those windows. Mine's 22x15, and this looks larger. I have biased my room for sound quality, but it's not a dedicated HT. Here's your analog to what I did.
- TV mid-wall between windows, opposite French doors.
- 7.1 audio using "front wide" speakers
- 4 very capable, freestanding bookcase or towers across the front,
- a purpose-designed, on-wall center channel speaker likely above TV
- Surrounds are a pair of wall-mount speakers, one next to the fireplace, the other next to the smaller doorway, mounted fairly high.
- a pair of subwoofers placed somewhere near the L.R speakers, so they're out of the way. You'll have lots of latitude in placement in this room.

And given your room design...
- one or two 2'x4' acoustic absorption panels in each of the bays formed by ceiling rafters.
Non-parallel sides make for odd acoustics... but don't go wild until you've moved in. Furnishings have acoustic effects, too., so choices of floor coverings and window treatment can incorporate desirable acoustic properties, without looking out of place.

This does a couple good things.
- audio and video axis can be aligned easily
- no bad seats, since you'd need space for the door to swing, you won't sit near the wall.
- big sweet spot due to wide front stage

As to the gear, given the vaulted ceiling, I would recommend a somewhat directed loudspeaker. MTM's are the simplest speakers with a radiation pattern that reduces energy toward floor and ceiling. Controlled dispersion speakers (aka horns) do the same over a wider frequency range, but I think they sound different; YMMV.

For electronics, "front wide" signals are provided by Audyssey processors, so I'd look for an AVR with Audyssey; Denon and Onkyo come to mind.

Got to run...

Have fun,
Frank
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

First question is your intent. You say "set up a surround sound system" and talk about a TV interfering with a fireplace. How open are you to alternative arrangements? What's going to get priority when tradeoffs appear, sound quality or appearance? Will speakers be hidden like a nuisance or displayed like works of art?

Your room is very similar to mine, save for the open ceiling and all those windows. Mine's 22x15, and this looks larger. I have biased my room for sound quality, but it's not a dedicated HT. Here's your analog to what I did.
- TV mid-wall between windows, opposite French doors.
- 7.1 audio using "front wide" speakers
- 4 very capable, freestanding bookcase or towers across the front,
- a purpose-designed, on-wall center channel speaker likely above TV
- Surrounds are a pair of wall-mount speakers, one next to the fireplace, the other next to the smaller doorway, mounted fairly high.
- a pair of subwoofers placed somewhere near the L.R speakers, so they're out of the way. You'll have lots of latitude in placement in this room.

And given your room design...
- one or two 2'x4' acoustic absorption panels in each of the bays formed by ceiling rafters.
Non-parallel sides make for odd acoustics... but don't go wild until you've moved in. Furnishings have acoustic effects, too., so choices of floor coverings and window treatment can incorporate desirable acoustic properties, without looking out of place.

This does a couple good things.
- audio and video axis can be aligned easily
- no bad seats, since you'd need space for the door to swing, you won't sit near the wall.
- big sweet spot due to wide front stage

As to the gear, given the vaulted ceiling, I would recommend a somewhat directed loudspeaker. MTM's are the simplest speakers with a radiation pattern that reduces energy toward floor and ceiling. Controlled dispersion speakers (aka horns) do the same over a wider frequency range, but I think they sound different; YMMV.

For electronics, "front wide" signals are provided by Audyssey processors, so I'd look for an AVR with Audyssey; Denon and Onkyo come to mind.

Got to run...

Have fun,
Frank

Thanks for the reply, Frank. So are you suggesting that the TV be placed where the large piece of colorful artwork is displayed and have it not be near the fireplace? If so, are you then suggesting that the back of the couch face the doors to the outdoor patio? I just want to make sure there will be space to move around. If I choose to do this, would you recommend having speaker stands for my surrounds, or hang them from the wall? I'm planning on getting the Polk Monitor 30's for my front speakers and a CS1 for the center channel. I'm very new to this so forigve me in advance. I don't plan on putting speakers in the wall as I would prefer to display them. Any other thoughts or recommendations from others?
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-13-2013, 02:57 AM
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Glad to help if I can; we all start somewhere. Yes, that's how mine's set up, down to a sliding glass door 3' behind our chairs, that keeps the seats out in the room where the sound's best.

It's why I mentioned intent, as my intent was to tradeoff aesthetics in favor of a symmetric layout with a common audio and video axis with each set up as close to optimum as I could, without turning the room into a theater. For some folks, the TV " belongs" above the fireplace... it's up to you and what you want.

Let me explain what I mean by "freestanding" and "on-wall." It's a choice made by the crossover designer regarding low end performance. It's called "baffle step compensation" or BSC. A freestanding speaker radiates into a spherical volume, and BSC is added to get balanced frequency response - equal bass and treble - from a speaker that's not getting any help from boundaries, and in fact, only sounds really good when place 2-4' from the nearest wall.

Put a "freestanding" speaker on the wall, and the wall reflects half that energy back into the room, making the resulting sound quite bass heavy - on-wall doesn't need any BSC. It's the first lesson I learned by listening, once I started making speakers (again; I played with it as a teenager). I put a freestanding design on a shelf under the TV and the TV screen acted like a wall and reflected bass, resulting in tubby sound. Thankfully I built a design that had options... the in-wall XO works quite nicely. You've got a rear projection TV (built in stand)? Center won't fit below the screen, so perhaps this isn't big issue for the CC.

I suggested wall-mounting the surrounds only so no one trips over the one by the doorway. Looking at Monitor 30's, they seem to be a wall-mount design, meaning they'll have anemic bass if placed far from walls. I'll note as well that I did all my early speaker work with an older AVR. Modern units have room correction capability (Audyssey, YPAO, MACC) which should compensate for these kind of frequency response anomalies. It's one reason some people swear by room correction....

Sorry if I'm rambling...

Have fun,
Frank
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-21-2013, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
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So my wife is throwing away the idea of putting the TV where the colorful canvas is located. I thought moving the TV there and shifting the furniture around would help with speaker placement in the room. However, she quickly erased that idea because "the fireplace is where the furniture should be around."

So, I'm facing an uphill battle here and not sure where I begin. As you can see, there is only room for a TV on the stand. To the left is a seated windowsill and to the right the fireplace. Any thoughts or ideas on how to set speakers up in this room? I don't even know where to begin of what to do. I have a pair of RTi4's and a CSi3. No subwoofer yet. Please help! Thanks!!
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butie120 View Post

So my wife is throwing away the idea of putting the TV where the colorful canvas is located. I thought moving the TV there and shifting the furniture around would help with speaker placement in the room. However, she quickly erased that idea because "the fireplace is where the furniture should be around."

Too bad. I hate to sound sexist but there seems to be a special magnetism between females and fireplaces. What they don't realize is that a fireplace is a black hole in the wall unless it has an active fire burning in it. Gas logs reduce the emotional pay back by about 80%. What you end up with is something that is great on cold days when you have the time to load it, start it, and stoke it to keep it burning. But on just those days.

Compare that to a HT system that basically needs someone to operate its power switch.

Other than that I'd say go with a sub and bookshelf speakers, instead of betting the farm on floor standers. The numbers and the actual experience favor the sub.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Too bad. I hate to sound sexist but there seems to be a special magnetism between females and fireplaces. What they don't realize is that a fireplace is a black hole in the wall unless it has an active fire burning in it. Gas logs reduce the emotional pay back by about 80%. What you end up with is something that is great on cold days when you have the time to load it, start it, and stoke it to keep it burning. But on just those days.

Compare that to a HT system that basically needs someone to operate its power switch.

Other than that I'd say go with a sub and bookshelf speakers, instead of betting the farm on floor standers. The numbers and the actual experience favor the sub.

Thanks for the response. So how would you guys go about setting it up? I plan on doing a 2.1 or 3.1 (ideally a 3.1 since having a center speaker I hear is ideal). I'm looking at a few different options:

1. Place the TV above the fireplace and place one speaker on the stand to the left of the fireplace and the other on the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace. The issue, however, is where would I put a center speaker being that it would not be at ear level if it was placed on the mantel with the TV?

2. Keep the TV where it is, but then I don't know where I would put my bookshelf speakers. I could put one on on the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace and one on the seated windowsill area to the left of the TV. But I'm curious if these speakers are too far apart and if they then wouldn't work well together.

Any thoughts?
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by butie120 View Post

Thanks for the response. So how would you guys go about setting it up? I plan on doing a 2.1 or 3.1 (ideally a 3.1 since having a center speaker I hear is ideal). I'm looking at a few different options:

1. Place the TV above the fireplace and place one speaker on the stand to the left of the fireplace and the other on the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace. The issue, however, is where would I put a center speaker being that it would not be at ear level if it was placed on the mantel with the TV?

2. Keep the TV where it is, but then I don't know where I would put my bookshelf speakers. I could put one on on the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace and one on the seated windowsill area to the left of the TV. But I'm curious if these speakers are too far apart and if they then wouldn't work well together.

Any thoughts?

You can put your center below your TV (on the mantle) and angle it down, works almost as well as being at ear level. Most folks centers are definitely not at ear level as they must usually go above or below the TV/screen.

Corner placement of the TV (on the existing stand) seems troublesome for speaker placement. What I'd do is wait until you're moved in and try different set ups. I know when I moved into my house, I musta rearranged the furniture 20 times before I was happy. smile.gif

Y'know, tell your wife that IF you were to follow others advice and put the TV on the wall where the large artwork is now (IMO, the best option), AND you had a sectional similar to what's there now - half of the seating would STILL be facing the fireplace. wink.gif

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post #9 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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You can put your center below your TV (on the mantle) and angle it down, works almost as well as being at ear level. Most folks centers are definitely not at ear level as they must usually go above or below the TV/screen.

Corner placement of the TV (on the existing stand) seems troublesome for speaker placement. What I'd do is wait until you're moved in and try different set ups. I know when I moved into my house, I musta rearranged the furniture 20 times before I was happy. smile.gif

Y'know, tell your wife that IF you were to follow others advice and put the TV on the wall where the large artwork is now (IMO, the best option), AND you had a sectional similar to what's there now - half of the seating would STILL be facing the fireplace. wink.gif

Thanks for the tips. It's worth a shot explaining that to my wife. I just wish women were more on board about all this stuff. She could honestly care less about any of this. When I told her about how I wanted to get a surround sound system for the new house, she said, "Will it be all that better than the TV speakers?" >>>>crickets chirping<<<<<<<<br />
I may have to keep it on that stand, but my wife is ok with me putting it above the fireplace on the mantel. I guess I will just have to play around with it.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 07:02 AM
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Compromise can take many forms... if the fireplace is the centerpiece of the room, put a small TV where ever she wants, and a big TV with the surround system in a different room.

Boom mounts let you store and view in vastly different locations, but they don't carry speakers well, and sound relative to the screen is the goal of surround sound. Putting LCR on the stand with the TC at least gets relative position right....

HAve fun,
Frank
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post #11 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Compromise can take many forms... if the fireplace is the centerpiece of the room, put a small TV where ever she wants, and a big TV with the surround system in a different room.

Boom mounts let you store and view in vastly different locations, but they don't carry speakers well, and sound relative to the screen is the goal of surround sound. Putting LCR on the stand with the TC at least gets relative position right....

HAve fun,
Frank

That's what I'm thinking I may have to end up doing. The basement is my second option of where the surround sound system could go, but I thought having it upstairs would be more ideal when having people over for music, watching movies, ect. Plus, there's more room for people to gather and sit. The basement option looks like this:

This would be a fun room to have it in, but not ideal by any means. 13 days until closing so I can play around with it then!
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post #12 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 07:27 AM
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Now, that basement looks like the perfect place for a home theater! I'd go with that - if the wife is willing to give up the entire space, that would be a great theater room. Do you know the dimensions?

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post #13 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Now, that basement looks like the perfect place for a home theater! I'd go with that - if the wife is willing to give up the entire space, that would be a great theater room. Do you know the dimensions?

Yeah, I'm possibly thinking of putting it down there. I just wonder if there will be enough room for furniture and such to make it worth while. In the pictures I provided, imagine the stairs split the picture in two. So, as you walk down the stairs, the area with the TV would be on your left and the picture with the desk would be on your right. I don't know the actual dimensions, but the length is probably around 26 feet and the width around 12 feet. I wouldn't mind having this be the "theater" room, but with the limited space furniture options become an issue.

Any thoughts of how you would go about organizing the room? Keep in mind this picture is not our setup or furniture. It's off the realty website when they were selling it.
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Well, I'm no professional - I know just enough to be dangerous about how the sound will interact in a room of those dimensions. But, from a mostly aesthetic viewpoint, I'd put the TV on the bare wall in the second pic with your seating in a "L" arrangement. Surround speakers to the sides of the MLP and rear surrounds on the back wall, or hanging from that soffet back there. I would try to get your MLP at either 1/3 or 2/3 the length of the room for best acoustics. 1/3 would be 8', 2/3 would be 16' and which to choose would depend a lot on the size of display you're planning.

What are the two doors in the first pic? Are those both closets, or rooms, or...?

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post #15 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I'm no professional - I know just enough to be dangerous about how the sound will interact in a room of those dimensions. But, from a mostly aesthetic viewpoint, I'd put the TV on the bare wall in the second pic with your seating in a "L" arrangement. Surround speakers to the sides of the MLP and rear surrounds on the back wall, or hanging from that soffet back there. I would try to get your MLP at either 1/3 or 2/3 the length of the room for best acoustics. 1/3 would be 8', 2/3 would be 16' and which to choose would depend a lot on the size of display you're planning.

What are the two doors in the first pic? Are those both closets, or rooms, or...?

Lol, I have no idea what you mean when talking about MLP. I'm new to this whole thing.

The door on the left is just a closet, and the other door is where it leads back to the unfinished part of the basement, such as washer/dryer, furnace, drain tiles, etc.. The picture with the TV is where my main focus would be.

I agree that having the TV on the bare wall would be the best setup. People have mentioned that I could have a nice 2.1/3.1 system to start off with.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 06:21 PM
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MLP means Main Listening Position

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post #17 of 17 Old 01-24-2013, 12:58 PM
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A blank canvas is so inviting...

There are pro's and con's for long-axis theaters as well as short axis, but this looks like a better long-axis room assuming those double doors have stairs behind.

The biggest disadvantage is that you're now below grade, so room modes will be a major issue. (Divide 565 by dimensions in feet to find the lowest modes in each direction.) There's no place for the bass energy to go, so you have to add absorption. Plan on a little acoustic testing when you get speakers down there, and save some space in the corners for absorbers. I will wager that a simple frequency sweep will reveal some problems that you can pinpoint with a frequency generator and your ears. If you can add a mic, more's the better. Once you identify a problem, there are acoustic devices available to address it.

As you might guess, corner bass traps are among the choices, as well as some absorption at higher frequences that will be highly dependent on other room furnishings. Always furnish first, then treat any residual issues.

Have fun,
frank
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