Originally Posted by RossoDiamante
I don't think there is anything wrong with designing for a sweet spot. Especially when that seat is reserved for me! But at a certain point, you want your guests to have a great experience as well. Otherwise, might as well just have them upstairs in the kitchen doing the dishes!
I agree that your repositioning the first row to 1x the screen width puts you in a place where the first row gets a "large" picture but not into the uncomfortable range (at least to my eyes and my wife's eyes). And it sounds like you did it by moving the screen wall farther forward towards the front wall instead of moving the seating array towards the back row; thus preserving your bar option.
This brings up an audio question. I know in a typical stereo setup, the speakers need a good amount of room between the rear of the speaker and the front wall in order to image well and generally sound good. In a theater setup, it seems that the goal is absorb and nullify any reflected sound coming off the front wall and rely on the multiple discrete sources throughout the room to create the depth in the sound field. So does this obviate the need to have this space between the back of the speaker and the front wall? Is it different with different types of driver technologies -- compression horns of your Procellas vs. dome tweeters like the B&W's for example? Assuming you had an absorber of infinite capacity and perfect efficiency, could you just slap the speakers flush with the front wall and have them sound good in a theater setup? In the real world, absorbers are not infinitely capable and perfectly efficient, so I suspect that space between the back of the speaker and the front wall serves to 1) increase the time delay between the direct sound and the reflected sound and 2) to decrease the amplitude of the reflected signal that needs to be absorbed, thus helping the absorber (of whatever type) work better.
It's all a matter of compromises, isn't it?
To your first point - yes, you've captured my design goals exactly...a quality experience for the front row but tuned exclusively for the second row while still preserving space for a back bar or for some temporary chairs brought in and sat in the back when needed.
To your second point, many stereo speakers are not well-suited for home theater environments ... at all. Some are better than others, but from my understanding the major deficiency is that the high frequencies "die" rather precipitously before reaching a person's ear at standard theater distances which means that it is difficult if not impossible to achieve a quality full-range experience at your seating position. This is why purpose-built theater speakers are designed completely differently than standard speakers, complete with compression drivers, horns, multiple vertical tweeter arrays, directivity waveguides around the tweeter and midrange, no ports for low frequency extension, etc. The list of different technologies goes on and on. If you want to recreate the professional cinema experience in the home you have to begin with speakers optimized for cinema in the residential setting.
As for the baffle wall, the purpose is to improve sound quality and imaging. And as I understand it, there is an extra 3-6db of "free" output for the low frequencies when speakers are installed in a baffle wall. But there are some caveats...such as DON'T use speakers with a rear port or are otherwise not designed for a baffle wall installation and you will probably (i.e. likely) need to have a more professional equalization solution with professional calibration to hear the benefit of the baffle wall otherwise you could actually be doing yourself a huge disfavor. Procella has a fantastic white paper on baffle wall construction HERE
, but generally speaking baffle walls require very rigid construction techniques and very high mass. So 2x6 framing with cross bracing between all the studs following by at least one layer of 3/4" MDF glued and screwed followed by a minimum two layers of 5/8" drywall with Green Glue between the layers. The cavity behind the baffle wall also has to be addressed (primarily with insulation) as to not create any unwanted resonance since it is essentially a large drum at this point. And the face of the baffle wall will typically have 1-2" of Linacoustic, Insulshield or similar material to absorb any frequencies reflecting off the back side of the screen, the frame or any other component of the screen wall in front of the baffle wall. So all of these boxes must be "ticked" before you'd want to move forward with a baffle wall.
I don't know how this ties in to your remarks above except to say that the two set ups, including the types of speakers, are radically different. If you skip back a couple dozen posts or so I gave an informal review of the Procella speaker system in KBlaw2010's theater (new professional pics just posted, fyi). I was very impressed with how nice just music sounded on the system, even in two-channel mode. As nice as a quality dedicated two-channel system in a purpose-built listening room? Of course not. But extremely good for a theater environment and very enjoyable.
Dennis - I know you follow this thread...not sure if you have anything else to offer on this regarding baffle walls.