Is my room too small for 7.1? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Is a 21' by 16.5' room too small to run 7.1? I have a complete Vandersteen surround sound speaker system with an AVR 600. My dealer says my room is too small to run 7.1. Is that correct? My system sounds good, but not very "surround sound". All replies appreciated
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by moondogger View Post

My dealer says my room is too small to run 7.1. Is that correct?
Size doesn't matter. Actually, let me rephrase that. Room size is not the main determinant for whether to go 7.1 or not. Instead, it's seating location.

My first 7.1 set-up was in a small 11x13.5 spare bedroom. My futon was 8 feet from the front wall, which gave me a full 5 feet between the speakers at my side and the speakers behind me.

By comparison, you could be in a larger room, but if your seating is at/near the back wall, then you'd still be a poor candidate for a 7.1 layout (not enough space behind you for the rear speakers).

For your 21' long room, about 7' from the back wall is where the frequency response will be smoothest (smaller/fewer peaks & dips). If you place your main listening position there, then you'll get excellent rear-vs-side separation in the surround field (one of the hallmarks of a good 7.1 set-up). Using 4 surrounds will also give you wrap-around envelopment that really "surrounds" you. Can't get all that from only 2 surround speakers.

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 04:30 PM
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Can you be more specific? I.e. need more than just the Vandersteen brand, i.e. which specific speaker models? Where are the speakers currently placed? This is utilizing what I assume is an Arcam AVR, using its auto eq/room setup feature? Where's your seating in the room? What do you mean by not "very surround"? Too easily identified as to which speaker sounds are coming from? All sources or just movies? Music?

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post #4 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your replies. Well, I think probably the biggest reason that I am not getting an enveloping surround sound effect (at least in the back row) is because – as you mentioned sdurani - my rear seating is up against the back wall. So, obviously that back row is definitely not getting much of the rear channel information. I may need to reposition those speakers? Maybe put them in the corners firing in at an angle? The dealer had me mount the rear speakers flat on the back wall but that certainly is not working for the back row. To answer lovinthehd – My first row is at 15’ from the front wall and again my back row is basically up against the back wall. I have Vandersteen 5A speakers (front left and Right), Vandersteen VCC-5 front center channel and Vandersteen VSM Signature rears. I only use my surround sound for movies and sometimes music DVD/Blue Rays. The dealer did set it up originally with me and we did EQ it with some sort of calibration – not sure exactly what he used. Like I said – bottom line is that the movies/music videos do not envelope the listeners – even in the front row at 15’. I just think some side firing information would help envelope the listeners better – that is what I am trying to achieve. I was thinking about getting another pair of VSM wall mounts to run on the side walls. Thank you for your input.
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moondogger View Post

Well, I think probably the biggest reason that I am not getting an enveloping surround sound effect (at least in the back row) is because – as you mentioned sdurani - my rear seating is up against the back wall. So, obviously that back row is definitely not getting much of the rear channel information. I may need to reposition those speakers? Maybe put them in the corners firing in at an angle?

That wouldn't really help. Your rears will send different info to the rear seat than the sides would get. Granted it is surround info, but it won't help get the enveloping effect. With your rear seat against the wall, it's tough to use any sort of rear surrounds the way you want (and should be) using them.

It would help to see a diagram of the room, but I wonder if you'll get more mileage out of a 5.1 setup, possibly using bipoles or dipoles to spread the surround info around.

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post #6 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Tulpa, thanks for the input. Great idea on the bipole/dipole speakers! i will check that out. Thank you
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 06:33 PM
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So you only have a 5.1 setup at this time? You think it would improve by going 7.1? I didn't get that at first....

I don't see a sub listed, so no .1? Surrounds in a 5 ch system should ideally be to the sides, not on the rear wall, that would probably help in getting more of a surround sound to your current setup, probably mid point relative to your seating. Got pics of your current room?

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post #8 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, yes - I do have a sub - Vandertseen. sorry, forgot that! Yes, I think I will try placing the speakers in a different position. I may try and post pics later. Thank you.
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 07:03 PM
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Just one sub? Was more curious about the sub (or subs) existence mostly, but good sub placement and integration has a lot to do with the total experience as well....no problems with bass in your room?

You'll need to rerun the auto eq/room setup in your avr as you change speaker placement. It should be simple enough if Arcam is similar to other avrs, just follow the instructions. Can't imagine having a dealer setup or recommend anything personally....too much bs involved.

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post #10 of 14 Old 11-10-2013, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moondogger View Post

My first row is at 15’ from the front wall and again my back row is basically up against the back wall.
In that case, there are a couple of things I would do: put a pair of VSM-1 speakers directly to the sides of the first row (mounted on the side walls at least a couple of feet above ear leve) AND re-mount the rear speakers so that they are about 7-8 feet apart on the back wall (again, mounted high up).

BTW, any chance of moving your front row a couple of feet forward?

Sanjay
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post #11 of 14 Old 11-11-2013, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by moondogger View Post

My dealer says my room is too small to run 7.1. Is that correct?
Size doesn't matter. Actually, let me rephrase that. Room size is not the main determinant for whether to go 7.1 or not. Instead, it's seating location.

I see the importance of seating position, but what about room acoustics. My intuition says that a less-reverberent room might benefit more from more sound sources.
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post #12 of 14 Old 11-11-2013, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I see the importance of seating position, but what about room acoustics. My intuition says that a less-reverberent room might benefit more from more sound sources.
The seating location suggestion is mainly to get some meaningful separation between the side and rear speakers. Pointless to do a 7.1-speaker set-up if both pairs of surrounds are so close to each other that it ends up sounding like a 5.1 set-up. Hence getting the seating away from the back wall (which has other benefits as well).

My intuition also says that a less reverberant room might benefit from more sound sources, especially when it comes to providing envelopment. It also works the other way 'round: more sound sources might benefit from a less reverberant surround field, since it will make it easier to hear rear-vs-side separation rather than a cacophonous mess.

Sanjay
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post #13 of 14 Old 11-11-2013, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all. I did try other subs with moderate improvement and didn't think that it was a worthwhile purchase. I wish that I did make my room longer - darn it. I'm resisting tearing down walls - that would be a big deal. I built my room. I can’t really move my front row much further it starts to be too close to the screen. I have diffusion and some absorption. My room is pretty good acoustically. I think I will just buy another pair of speakers and give them a shot on the side walls. I like the bipole idea for the rear. I think that design would disperse the sound better even for the back row. The dealer is a buddy of mine. Yeah he’s full of BS but I can see thru all that. Thank you all.
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post #14 of 14 Old 11-11-2013, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moondogger View Post

I think I will just buy another pair of speakers and give them a shot on the side walls. I like the bipole idea for the rear. I think that design would disperse the sound better even for the back row.
I would stick to the same speakers for the sides and rears, so that sounds remain consistent as they move around the surround field.

Sanjay
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