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Would really appreciate speaker advice for 7.1 with built-in front cabinet

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am looking to design a surround system in the family/media room of our new house. The room is approximately 18' wide and 24' long. At the front of the room I am trying to design a built-in cabinet to fit a TV, the center channel, subwoofer, and the left and right front speakers. I think I would like to go with bookshelf speakers for the FR and FL because I don't think floor speakers would fit/look right in the built-in. (BTW, if anyone has any built-in setup ideas, please let me know as well.)

For the side surround and rear speakers, I would like to go with either in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. I know that the sound will not be as good as other options, but this will be a family/media room so the primary goal is for everything to be hidden/uncluttered without any wires or anything mounted externally.

I would like suggestions for what speakers would work the best for my 7.1 setup. Again, in the built-in I would like center, FR, FL, and subwoofer. For the side surround speakers I think using in-wall speakers would work best, and for the back speakers I am thinking either in-wall at the very back of the room--which may be up to 10 feet behind the seating area, or in-ceiling speakers slightly behind the viewing area. I am looking for surround speaker placement/locations suggestions as well.

My use of the speakers will be almost 100% sports, movies, TV so I don't care about music or gaming performance at all. I don't have an ear for fine audio yet so I am just looking to get the best-performing reasonably-priced system out there. I am not going to be able to listen to anything before I purchase so I will just have to trust the recommendations I receive. Aesthetics are a concern as well.

For budget, I was thinking maybe $1000 total for the seven speakers, but if I needed to spend up to say $1250 or $1500 to move up to something vastly better than what I could get for $1000, I would certainly consider it. I know usually the subwoofer and front speakers are the most expensive and the surrounds cost a bit less, but if I need to buy more expensive in-wall/in-ceiling surrounds to bring up the performance level, I am fine with that. I have read that the right in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can produce acceptable sound.

I have not purchased my receiver yet, but it seems that the Pioneer VSX-1021 offers the best value. If I need to get something better/higher end for the speaker setup I purchase, I am open to that.

As a totally beginner, I have read through the forum a bit and have seen suggestions for Infinity Primus, Polk Monitor II, and Monoprice in-ceiling/in-wall speakers, but I am open to anything.

Any suggestions for my setup would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
post #2 of 19
Attachment 236899

Here is a pic of what i built a few months ago, hope this gives you an idea of what you can do. The speakers are mirage floor standing. I have pics of the build if you would like me to post them as well. I went with this style as my house was built in 1863 so i wanted to keep the vintage look. I spent less than 600.00 on all the materials. It all backs up to my mudroom so i have rear access as well as building custom racks for my a/v equipment.
LL
post #3 of 19
Forgot to say that i built a Meridian m2500 sub below the fireplace to the right that has the stacked stone.

Attachment 236900
LL
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
That looks great. Nice to see just how integrated the speakers can be with the rest of the cabinet. Are the racks for the equipment out of sight and controlled by RF or IR?
post #5 of 19
Have the cavities for speakers lined with rockwool or rigid fiberglass. 1 " thick is fine. Its very easy to cut and you can just place it in there with a tight fit. This will cut down on resonances and improve the overall sound. For a nicer look the cabinet openings could have acoustically transparent cloth (Guilford of Maine) seems to be the best. I would place the L/R speakers about half way up the TV. If the TV ends up being a little high you can tilt the speakers down so you get more direct sound. Subwoofer should be placed as low to the floor as possible for best performance.
If the receiver etc. will be built in make sure there are good ventilation holes. Allow some extra room for your components (wiring) depth. There's nothing worse than trying to shove a receiver in a cabinet & having wires pushed too tight. A sliding shelf is an installers dream come true.

HSU has an amazing speaker for a very good price. I believe there is a package 5.1 including powered sub. I would pre - wire for 2 subs even if a second sub is way off. Internet companies give way more bang for buck.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hb-1.html
post #6 of 19
I am using a harmony link via my iphone and ipad, here is a photo of the rack in progress.

Attachment 236904
LL
post #7 of 19
I have no real experience in carpentry but i figured i would give it a shot. Let me know if you want any of the build pics and i will email or post them, and let me know if you would like details on the materials that were used.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Seadaddy,

Very impressive for not having any experience in carpentry. I will send you a PM and you can get me the pics and plans. Thanks so much.

Genelec Man,

Thanks for your response and recommendation.

Besides HSU speakers, any other recommendations for the front, center and surround (in-ceiling/in-wall) speakers?

If the seating area is approximately 12-14 feet from TV, would in-wall speakers on the back wall work if they are 24 feet away, or 10 feet behind the back of the viewing area? Or should I go with in-ceiling above and slightly behind the viewing area instead?
post #9 of 19
just a few suggestions

2-ascend acoustic cbm 170se

1- ascend acoustic cbm 170se center- all ascends 3 for $508

2- polk audio rc85i in wall $150

2- polk audio rc80i in ceiling $143

hsu vtf-2mk4 sub $520

total $1321

or

2 -ascend acoustic cmt 340se
all 3 ascend speakers $838
1 ascend acoustic cmt 340se center

2-polk audio rc85i in wall $150

2- polk audio rc80i in ceiling $143

bic pl200 sub $280

total $1411
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
smasher50,

Thank you for your recommendation.

Do you think it is better to go with in-ceiling above and slightly behind the viewing area, or in-wall 10 feet back from the viewing area? Also, could I use the in-wall speakers in the ceiling?
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucky24 View Post

I am looking to design a surround system in the family/media room of our new house. The room is approximately 18' wide and 24' long. At the front of the room I am trying to design a built-in cabinet to fit a TV, the center channel, subwoofer, and the left and right front speakers. I think I would like to go with bookshelf speakers for the FR and FL because I don't think floor speakers would fit/look right in the built-in. (BTW, if anyone has any built-in setup ideas, please let me know as well.)

For the side surround and rear speakers, I would like to go with either in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. I know that the sound will not be as good as other options, but this will be a family/media room so the primary goal is for everything to be hidden/uncluttered without any wires or anything mounted externally.

I would like suggestions for what speakers would work the best for my 7.1 setup. Again, in the built-in I would like center, FR, FL, and subwoofer. For the side surround speakers I think using in-wall speakers would work best, and for the back speakers I am thinking either in-wall at the very back of the room--which may be up to 10 feet behind the seating area, or in-ceiling speakers slightly behind the viewing area. I am looking for surround speaker placement/locations suggestions as well.

My use of the speakers will be almost 100% sports, movies, TV so I don't care about music or gaming performance at all. I don't have an ear for fine audio yet so I am just looking to get the best-performing reasonably-priced system out there. I am not going to be able to listen to anything before I purchase so I will just have to trust the recommendations I receive. Aesthetics are a concern as well.

For budget, I was thinking maybe $1000 total for the seven speakers, but if I needed to spend up to say $1250 or $1500 to move up to something vastly better than what I could get for $1000, I would certainly consider it. I know usually the subwoofer and front speakers are the most expensive and the surrounds cost a bit less, but if I need to buy more expensive in-wall/in-ceiling surrounds to bring up the performance level, I am fine with that. I have read that the right in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can produce acceptable sound.

I have not purchased my receiver yet, but it seems that the Pioneer VSX-1021 offers the best value. If I need to get something better/higher end for the speaker setup I purchase, I am open to that.

As a totally beginner, I have read through the forum a bit and have seen suggestions for Infinity Primus, Polk Monitor II, and Monoprice in-ceiling/in-wall speakers, but I am open to anything.

Any suggestions for my setup would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

I would make a recommendation that you go with a 5.1 system. Why do I feel that?

1) It is better to have 5 great speakers than 7 okay ones.

2) Very little programming is in 7.1.

Aside from that, I personally like my Primus system, although I would never say it is the only choice. I do, however, find it to be a great choice for me.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
bladerunner6,

Thanks for your response.

I think 5.1 would be harder to work into my setup though because I need to use in-wall or in-ceiling surrounds and from my understanding of 5.1, the rear two speakers are usually in the far back corners directed toward the middle of the listening area which would appear to be difficult to accomplish well with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.
post #13 of 19
Even though you will be concealing the front speakers i would stay away from using inwalls or in-ceilings for the fronts. Use a quality box speaker & hide it. There is nothing wrong with using them for the rears/backs but if I had a choice I would not use a ceiling location as 100% of post production work & or cinema will locate high up on the side wall.
I base my opinions on what the pro's usually do. Take the pro advice like Dolby for instance & try to fit your setup as close as possible. Its hard to make it perfect but if you get the main points down it should turn out nice. (speaker locations)
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/...ide/index.html
post #14 of 19
I'd second the 5.1 (which is what I'm doing). They make some in ceilings that are somewhat directional. I'd probably prefer in walls over ceiling....but then... I'd prefer floor standing to all above.

That said...could you make a false wall at one end of your room?

My wife wanted me to hide my speakers however, they're about 5 1/2' tall and almost 3' wide so that's not going to happen.

I then said that I could build a fake wall across the room and build everything behind it making openings for the speakers, space for a projector screen and maybe some other places for electronics.

She nixed the idea so now she's going to have to see the speakers.

I even saw how I could use screws instead of nails such that 10 years later, we could dismantle the entire thing, spackle some rough spots and put the room back to full size.

oh well... easier for me to look at the speakers than go through those gymnastics!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I can't build a false wall, but I can have whatever speakers built into the back wall which is about 24 feet from the front wall and maybe 10-12 feet from the back of the viewing area. That seems to me to be a bit far away--certainly farther than the Dolby site shows as what is ideal. That's why I was thinking in-ceiling above and behind would be better because the speakers would be closer.

I am open to 5.1, but again it seems that with two perpendicular walls and a ceiling it will be hard to place the two surround speakers behind the listening area at ear level and aimed toward the middle of the listening area using only in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Admittedly I am a novice, but it would appear easier to mount two in-wall speakers at ear level perpendicular to the main speakers (7.1) instead of back a bit farther and aimed toward the middle (5.1). Maybe I am not understanding the issue entirely.

Plus, it seems to me that considering that within reason no matter which in-wall/in-ceiling speakers I go with will not be as good as true free-standing speakers, four average speakers would seem to be better than two average speakers. Again, maybe that's not true...

Maybe there are in-wall/in-ceiling speakers that I can buy that are much higher quality than I have been considering and will fit the bill.
post #16 of 19
the only problem i foresee if using in wall /ceiling speakers is that your limited to your seating arrangements. if in future you decide to move furniture around your pretty much will cutting new holes and repairing the old. "imo"if you have good lcr and a good sub thats where the majority of the sound originates and the rear and surrounds fillin the the rest the lesser sound. so again i think the wall and ceilling speakers would work fine if its just for tv and movie watching.and yes i think it would be better with ceiling speaks just behind seating area than near back wall and the rear inwall just parallell with the seating facing each other about 5-6 ft high.if you plan to use for music i would bring closer to ear level again this is just my opinion
post #17 of 19
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hiwspeaker.html

A very good in wall for the money. But any quality Polk,Klipsch, etc. would probably be fine. Don't discount other ID companies as well.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucky24 View Post

bladerunner6,

Thanks for your response.

I think 5.1 would be harder to work into my setup though because I need to use in-wall or in-ceiling surrounds and from my understanding of 5.1, the rear two speakers are usually in the far back corners directed toward the middle of the listening area which would appear to be difficult to accomplish well with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.

You might contact the manufacturer of the speakers you are looking at for their opinion.

I guess I see some of your point, but I think you might need to consider that there is no perfect set up for your room.

One way or another, compromises will have to be made.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions and comments.

Currently I am looking at Polk all around with a HSU sub. Polk seems to offer the best bang for the buck at Newegg and appears to have some nice in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.

I am still open to suggestions though for any of my setup so any comments are appreciated. Thank you.
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