What's your multi-channel music setup? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-18-2020, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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What's your multi-channel music setup?

Just wondering what equipment all of you are using for your multi-channel music setups?

How closely should the surrounds match the fronts - or should they be identical to the fronts? Is a traditional center speaker alright, or should that also be an identical speaker to the fronts?

I understand there will be varying degrees of compromises necessary based on WAWF, your room/space, budget, etc - just wanted to know what you all use. Photos would be excellent if available
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-18-2020, 12:47 PM
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Common knowledge says that you have to use the same speakers all around, but if you are handy with an equalizer you can match any good speaker in. I use a combination of quite different speakers that have different dispersion patterns (wide in the back to fill the phantom center, directional in the front to create pinpoint soundstage). There are general rules, but there are a lot of wild cards with room acoustics. You have to experiment and find what works best in your room.

My system is very unusual with a very wide soundstage (almost 20 feet). I use two sets of mains... highly directional JBL studio monitors from the 70s on the outside left and right, JBL towers that disperse sideways halfway between the mains and center. The center is a directional horn loaded Klispch reference. A Sunfire truesub. And KEF radial speakers in the rear that have ultra wide dispersion. It breaks a couple of general rules of thumb, but with my room it works well.
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Last edited by sworth; 01-18-2020 at 12:51 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-21-2020, 12:00 AM
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3 x Procella P610 across the front + 6 x Procella P6 for surrounds, so all 9 channels have identical tweeters / mids.

Photos in my build thread - last page.

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post #4 of 4 Old 01-21-2020, 06:05 AM
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Electrostatic surround system

As a big fan of the MartinLogan electrostats for music, my XStatic Theater is primarily oriented at high-resolution surround audio performance.

The system is a 5.4.4 Atmos rig, where all base channels are active crossover, bi-amped, customized MartinLogans, starting with the huge Monoliths (same panel as the $80K Neolith), and backed up in the rear by the 6' tall Sequel IIs.
Since the center is critical in surround music (Steven Wilson uses it heavily, and full-range), and none of the commercial solutions available met my criteria, I wound up designing and building my own custom center channel ESL that can keep up with those Monoliths. Full build thread here.

Here is a pic of the SL3XC center, mounted (bolted) to the top of the 4x15" InfiniteBaffle sub, which is part of the room. That center is super well anchored. Missing from the shot is all the acoustic treatment on the wall, and of course, the acoustically transparent screen.

Since big electrostats and line-arrays can put our a lot of sound (there are over 78 square feet of radiating surfaces from all the speakers), one must manage the acoustics within the room, so we have literally tons of acoustic treatments, including two 14' long custom side-wall treatments that integrate the ESL look.

These can be seen in the other pics of the HT/Listening room:

View from the front-right speaker, you can barely see the 6' tall x15" wide rear speakers, and a bit of the lower edges of the Atmos overheads (JBL SCS-8)

And the view from just behind the MLP, front wall is mostly speakers, as there is that huge center behind that screen

Here is the list of speakers:

Front L/R: MartinLogan Monolith IIIx, new panels, woofers replaced with models geared towards mid-bass performance, active Xover in DriveRack 4800
Center: Custom designed/built SL3XC based on an SL3 with a new panel and a custom-made woofer line-array, active Xover in DriveRack 4800
Rears: MartinLogan Sequell IIbs, active crossover in DriveRack 260
Tops: JBL SCS-8, commercial cinema 8" coax Atmos overheads.
Front Subwoofer: Custom 4x15" Infinite Baffle sub, the first in-room manifold design
Rear Subwoofer: Dayton Ultimax 18" in re-purposed Velodyne ULD-18 custom cabinet, weighted (>250lbs total) and custom finished
Nearfield Mid-Bass Modules: 2 custom vented boxes with HiVi 12" woofers, build thread

Associated equipment:

- Marantz AV8802A pre-amp with Atmos support, Audyssey Pro calibrated (by me)
- Sanders Sound systems ESL amp 2x330 for Monolith panels.
- Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 5x400 for center and rear panels
- Sunfire Cinema Grand 5x200 for overheads and center mid-bass array
- Sunfire stereo 2x200 for Monolith Woofers
- Crown XLS602 2x600 (4Ohm) for Infinite Baffle sub
- Crown XLS2500 2,500w (4Ohm) for rear 18" sub
- QSC GX 5 500wpc for nearfield MidBass Modules
- DBX DriveRack 260 speaker processor (Rears )
- DBX DriveRack 4800 speaker processor (Monolith,SL3XC, MBMs)
- Guitamer Buttkicker 1000w amp and Tactile Transducer (on couch)
- Denon DVD2930ci Universal player
- Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD player
- Oppo BD-103 Blu-Ray player / Network player
- Apple TV
- Amazon FireTV 4K
- Panasonic BP-UB820 UHD BD player
- Sony PlayStation3 - Car sim games (GT HD)
- DirecTV Genie HD-DVR
- Pioneer Elite CLD-97 (w/AC-3 upgrade) LaserDisc player
- HTPC - Core i5 mini-ATX running Jriver MC 24, HDMI to processor
- JVC DLA-RS4810 4K front projector
- Stewart Studiotek 130 micro-perf acoustically transparent screen 100" diag. 4:3 (to cover 4' tall center)
- SurgeX Axess Elite power sequencer
- Custom relay-controlled Power Distribution Unit (build thread)
- Full home and AV automation controller based on HomeSeer, Zwave lighting, GlobalCache IR and relay control, Philips Hue system
- Harmony Elite (w/hub) universal remote, with HomeSeer integration
- RealTraps and RPG Acoustics room treatments
- Custom acoustic treatments
- Balanced Power subsystem - EquiTech 5Kva toroid
- Salamander Design racks (twin 7' units) in dedicated, cooled equipment room

In this room, and with that gear, I can clearly hear pretty much everything that is on these great modern high-rez multichannel audio mixes. Notably, all original and re-mix work by Steven Wilson, which is pretty amazing. But also new Atmos music, whether classical, concert (Hans Zimmer in Prague) or re-mixes, like Abbey Road. Given how well-known the Beatles music is, the Abbey Road Atmos is a frequent demo, and people have literally cried listening to it on this rig.

So when you see me post a rave or a rant about some multichannel audio recording in this sub-forum, this is the system it was auditioned on.
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Last edited by JonFo; 01-21-2020 at 06:21 AM. Reason: add pics
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