Originally Posted by fbov
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...