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post #1 of 8 Old 02-11-2020, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Setup advice for HT upgrade

Hi, I am planning an upgrade to a 4K TV, which means I am also getting a new AVR, and while I'm at it, I want to use the opportunity to re-position and upgrade my speakers. I have several questions and would appreciate your help.

Goals
a) better aesthetics and b) better sound quality. Though my current speakers are not very big, I am tired of black boxes sticking out of the walls. Because of the combination of poor placement and probably not great quality, I feel like I have to crank the volume to hear them, which makes for unhappy family trying to sleep while I'm watching an action movie.
  • The space is about 13' w x 10' viewing distance, open on either side
  • I am leaning toward mostly in-wall speakers, but am not clear on a) if there are good-sounding in-wall options in my budget range, and b) whether I can timbre match in-wall L/R and surrounds with a regular center.
  • I'm also looking for speaker recommendations once I get the design figured out, but can take that to a different forum if appropriate.


Front L/R
My options are either to place the speakers above the bookshelves (where they are now), which I think is too high, or lower them to the recommended height but move them wider. (Bookshelf speakers on the bookshelves would seem an obvious solution, but unfortunately one of them is covered by a glass door.)

The wider angle I'd get with the in-walls next to the bookcases feels a little too wide, is it? Even if so, I think being at the right height (and better aesthetics vs. big black boxes hanging off the wall) is worth the trade-off. What do you think?


Center
For the center, I could do in-wall at that 7' height like today, but I don't love that idea because they're generally unable to point downward. I am leaning toward a conventional center on the media cabinet below the TV. It would be a little too low, so I figured I could use some wedges to angle it up toward the seating position.

My concern here is timbre matching. In my research so far, I can't always tell if one speaker is timbre matched to another; some say it explicitly but many don't. How much of a concern would it be to match in-wall L/R with a regular center? Is there a better way to tell what matches with what?


Surrounds
I also want to lower the surrounds because I just don't think I'm hearing them correctly as high up as they are now. I like the idea of in-wall, or maybe low-profile on-wall, so they're not getting bumped while reaching for lamps, drinks on the side tables, etc.

It seems simplest just to get another pair of whatever in-walls I get for the front. Or would on-wall be significantly better in the same price range?


Atmos
I am considering keeping two of my current speakers for Atmos, mounted high on the walls angled downward (I can't go into the ceiling because of asbestos). With a 7-channel receiver, I could only do one pair, so my choices are to put them above the fronts or above the surrounds. In the back would be physically closer, but I think the angles would be better on the front wall pointed down to the seat. Any thoughts on that?


Speaker shopping
If a separate thread is preferred, I'm happy to take this part elsewhere. I have found well-reviewed in-wall speakers for $75-$150/pair on Amazon and Monoprice (e.g. Polk RC65i, Monoprice Caliber). After throwing in a center, then relative to my current $200 kit of Daytons, would these still be a reasonable upgrade?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-11-2020, 12:44 PM
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It's always a difficult balance between aesthetics and sound quality. Having your current speakers on top of your bookcases is what is causing most of your sound issues. You are within the recommended 30 degrees max with your right speaker and just outside on the left. I'd certainly be trying your current speakers on either side of the bookcase. Place them on makeshift stands at 33-36" (ear height) and place your surround speakers no more than 1.25x (45") of your main speakers height, then have a listen. What Dayton speakers are you currently using?
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-11-2020, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion; it is a good idea to test how much difference the better positioning would make before I start cutting holes in the walls (with all the wiring, which is a separate challenge...).

I am using Dayton's HTS 1200 kit - 4 identical satellites w/ 3.75" woofers and a similar but slightly larger center. Damn, these are inexpensive! Looks like you can get these five speakers for $130 on Amazon.

My sub is a JBL PSW-1000 that I was gifted by a friend. I know nothing about subs other than that SVS are popular. I can confirm it makes bass sounds but I have no idea if it's any good or not. It is on the table for replacement as well but will probably be a second wave after the TV, AVR, and hopefully speakers.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-12-2020, 06:08 AM
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Once you've got the positioning dialed in then decide between traditional or in wall speakers. You can of course use traditional bookshelf as LCR's and in / on wall for your surrounds. That's what I did while upgrading to an 5.1.2 atmos "living" room set up. I knew I wasn't interested in cutting holes in our century home so started looking for on wall options first. I decided on Elac Debut 2 OW4.2 for surrounds paired with B5.2 and C5.2 as LCR's. Another popular option I found were the Polk OWM 3 or 5's with their versatile install options. Your sub is fine and I wouldn't replace it until needed. Do you know where it's crossed over with your main speakers. If it's crossed over at a typical 80hz you may have a hole in the system. Your Dayton's frequency response shows 100hz to 20khz so you may not have anything playing between the 80hz (JBL) and 100hz (Dayton's) . Have a look at this also....
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-12-2020, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Those on-wall options are in the right direction for my speaker budget ($500 give or take a little). My challenge with bookshelves for the L/R is foot traffic at that ~3' height. We walk across the space in front of the TV dozens of times per day, so I'm concerned that if there is a speaker jutting out 4+" at waist height, we would constantly bump into them.

Which leads back to the question of, which will sound better: bookshelf/satellites that are too high, or in-wall that are the right height? My leaning right now is to do in-wall for everything except the center*, unless in-walls are inherently terrible and it would sound worse that what I have today. I don't think that's true but I don't know, hence here I am . I will pull mine off the walls and do some testing to hear the difference the height makes and go from there.

Thanks for the info on the sub. The crossover ranges from 90 to 150 and it's set to 110. If I'm understanding you correctly, does that mean I should lower it to 100 since that's where the speakers stop?


*I contacted Polk about timbre matching between their in-wall mains and their not in-wall center and they said it would be fine. So I may not get the Polks per se but I am liking the idea of a nicer center placed below the TV.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-12-2020, 09:48 AM
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Ok well I'll throw out one more option , could you not just remove the glass door from the one bookcase? I recently saw a post were the glass in a bookcase was actually replaced with acoustically transparent fabric with speakers behind. Sorry one more thought , what is the distance between your bookcases. Try your Dayton LCR's all under the TV. Your crossover setting on the sub is correct with your given speakers. I'd just double check that it's not your AVR that has it set at 80hz.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-12-2020, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Love the creative suggestions and I will check. It's not all glass, it is a bi-fold door set with a ~1" wide wooden frame around each door. So removing the glass would help some but the opening would just be the space in between the door frames, and where the two frames meet vertically down the middle of the case the two frames butt together, making a 2" wide barrier. Feels like that would block some of the sound coming from a speaker placed behind it, but I will take some more measurements and look at the door construction to see if I could make that work.

I hadn't thought of putting the L and R under the TV as well. That distance is 59". Rounding down a bit to allow for the body of the speakers, that would put them at 14 degrees from the seating position. Dolby recommendation is 22 - 30 degrees if memory serves.

I'll check the sub settings at the AVR, thanks for that.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-13-2020, 05:09 AM
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I wouldn't go to the trouble of re constructing the door myself, just remove them to match the bookcase on the other side. It you don't like the aesthetics they can easily be put back on.
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