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post #1 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Combine 2 channel with Theater for LR setup

I posted over in the theater builds but this may be a better question here. I recently downsized and want to combine a Stereo set up for LP listening with a living room theater set up. Are there some towers that are prominent and classic looking, wood cabinets and grills, that can work with a center, and the surrounds needed for a 5.1 or maybe an Atmos set up down the road.

I left behind most of my equipment. Room is about 24' x 24' with the viewing spot about 12' back and an off center to the left.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 08:10 AM
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Yes, actually, my media room is optimized for both music and movies. You’ll find that reproducing music accurately is much more demanding than movie audio reproduction. To feel like ‘you are there’ when listening to a concert places a lot more demands on your system than movie audio.

My philisophies come after years of research as an engineer; but I know they are not mainstream. So if you disagree, totally fine; but I’m not going to debate it. My mind is made-up

1) You don’t want, or need, more than 4 surround speakers
Unless your room is the size of a real theater, adding more than 6 channels is a waste and degrades the sound. You don’t want different speakers firing all over the place. You get things like phase cancellation, where you hear certain frequencies louder, or not at all, even with the same model of speaker.
Think of it this way: use the same budget for fewer speakers, and you will get better sound. Simple.

2) You don’t need a center channel
If you setup your room properly, with the front speakers on either side of the screen, or behind it, the voices will come from the center of the screen. It’s why a singer in the center of the stage with a 2 channel recording will sound like she’s in the center of your room. No center channel. Money saved for buying better L/R main speakers.
A center channel is also going to mess up your sound, unless it’s the exact same speaker as the mains, and unless it’s right behind and in the center of the screen, it will make voices sound like they are coming from the floor, below the screen.

So, if you want to listen to music as accurately as the artist intended, that means focusing on a proper 2 channel setup. That also means for movies you don’t need more than in ceiling (2, above your head) and rear speakers (2), and 1-2 subs, for a killer movie system. Save your money and don’t buy into the 9 channel Atmos/etc. BS. You simply don’t want that many speakers in a home system. In my system I can hear sounds from all around, including above my head, and it’s a 6.1.

* 1930s cinema RCA 1443 field coil midrange horns, Supravox EXC 12” field coil upper bass, Fostex T500a super tweeter * active transmission line sub *Klipsch in wall (4x) Music: * Kondo Japan 2 channel: M77, Souga, SMC V12 w/Kondo wiring * Denon AVR X8500H * Sony 995ES 4K laser * Stewart GrayHawk RS G4 * Oppo BDP 203 UHD * PS Audio DSD DAC, P5 AC regenerator * Apple TV * Stillpoints Cloud & Aperture panels * custom diffusers/bass traps

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post #3 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Surge2018 View Post
Yes, actually, my media room is optimized for both music and movies. You’ll find that reproducing music accurately is much more demanding than movie audio reproduction. To feel like ‘you are there’ when listening to a concert places a lot more demands on your system than movie audio.

My philisophies come after years of research as an engineer; but I know they are not mainstream. So if you disagree, totally fine; but I’m not going to debate it. My mind is made-up
...
Well, you are right about not mainstream .
With respect to the OP's question, there are many nice tower speakers that will work well for 2 channel and can be incorporated into a HT system too. My system started out that way, 2 channel music, and morphed into both. In my system I mostly use just the L/R towers to listen to music. I also have it set up in passthrough when I want to listen to 5.2.4 home theater, with surrounds and center in the main listening plane and overhead in celing ATMOS speakers. It really does sound good, better than my older system did which had no center and ceiling speakers. So, no debate intended, but just to share my experience for benefit of the OP.
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 08:40 AM
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Agree with your points @markmanner ! To answer the OP’s question from my POV:

I would take whatever speaker budget you have and do the following:
- find 4 nice in-walls, I use Klipsch (can’t rememebr the model # but they were about $250 each), they are horn loaded and high sensitivity. 2 above the listening position, in ceiling. 2 behind on each side.

- spend the rest on 2 main L/R speakers and 1-2 subs that are fast and work well for music and with your main speakers.

- allocate some money (10-20%) to room treatments and power conditioning; it makes a big differnce.

* 1930s cinema RCA 1443 field coil midrange horns, Supravox EXC 12” field coil upper bass, Fostex T500a super tweeter * active transmission line sub *Klipsch in wall (4x) Music: * Kondo Japan 2 channel: M77, Souga, SMC V12 w/Kondo wiring * Denon AVR X8500H * Sony 995ES 4K laser * Stewart GrayHawk RS G4 * Oppo BDP 203 UHD * PS Audio DSD DAC, P5 AC regenerator * Apple TV * Stillpoints Cloud & Aperture panels * custom diffusers/bass traps
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Surge2018 View Post
Agree with your points @markmanner ! To answer the OP’s question from my POV:

I would take whatever speaker budget you have and do the following:
- find 4 nice in-walls, I use Klipsch (can’t rememebr the model # but they were about $250 each), they are horn loaded and high sensitivity. 2 above the listening position, in ceiling. 2 behind on each side.

- spend the rest on 2 main L/R speakers and 1-2 subs that are fast and work well for music and with your main speakers.

- allocate some money (10-20%) to room treatments and power conditioning; it makes a big differnce.
Your setup looks great by the way.
Mark

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post #6 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 08:51 AM
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Your setup looks great by the way.
Mark
Thank you Mark. Still working on it; replacing those power supplies on the floor with wall mounted vacuum tube supplies. These are for the field coil drivers electromagnets.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by billz260 View Post
I posted over in the theater builds but this may be a better question here. I recently downsized and want to combine a Stereo set up for LP listening with a living room theater set up. Are there some towers that are prominent and classic looking, wood cabinets and grills, that can work with a center, and the surrounds needed for a 5.1 or maybe an Atmos set up down the road.

I left behind most of my equipment. Room is about 24' x 24' with the viewing spot about 12' back and an off center to the left.
Ok, so this sounds like it will be a 50% music, 50% HT setup?

When you say "wood-looking" do you simply mean, something NOT black?

Is the 24 x 24' space totally enclosed, or are there fixed openings into adjacent rooms?

You left out the most important information: what is your total maximum budget? We need a firm round number/range to work with.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billz260 View Post
I posted over in the theater builds but this may be a better question here. I recently downsized and want to combine a Stereo set up for LP listening with a living room theater set up. Are there some towers that are prominent and classic looking, wood cabinets and grills, that can work with a center, and the surrounds needed for a 5.1 or maybe an Atmos set up down the road.

I left behind most of my equipment. Room is about 24' x 24' with the viewing spot about 12' back and an off center to the left.


Most of the major speaker lines have center channels and bookshelf speakers suitable for surround sound duties to go with the towers. Do you have a preferred speaker in mind? Choose the speakers you like for two channel and then you can look to find suitable surrounds and a center speaker. I am sure you will get lots of suggestions here.

Most AVRs will let you apply specific settings to the source you choose. You can choose to just listen in two channel or two channel plus subs and whether to apply room correction or not. The tricky part when combining two channel and home theater is that you may prefer a different sound signature for one and a different one for the other. For example, many prefer a dynamic and even bright sound for HT and a warmer smoother sound for music. You may prefer a deeper and fuller subwoofer for HT but a tighter and faster sub for music. You will likely need to compromise somewhere. Finally, even room treatments may need to be compromised as many prefer a room with more absorption for HT versus a livelier room for music. You will need to decide what your preference is and pursue it accordingly. Good luck!


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post #9 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 09:59 AM
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check out philharmonic audio or salk sound. go with a receiver that has different speaker profiles for the eq - Anthem, I think has this...

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post #10 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 10:17 AM
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check out philharmonic audio or salk sound. go with a receiver that has different speaker profiles for the eq - Anthem, I think has this...
Yes, Anthem does. I have profile 1 calibrated for my 3.1 system, but I’d like to make profile 2 and 3 for 2.0 and 3.0. Not sure how to switch between the profiles on the receiver to hear them. Haven’t got that far yet.

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post #11 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 10:28 AM
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I use both with my HT system,

The first thing to do is set it up to be a HT system correctly, that included proper center channel speakers and placement of the surrounds. Dolby has the setup proceedures and requirements for speaker dispersion on their website--use it!

After dealing with people adding surround to 2 channel then complaining nothing works correctly--I just set it all up by Dolby standards and that solves most of their problems. If they have their 2 channel speakers that don't fit HT specifications, bipoles, open baffle speakers, Bose 901's or ESLs... then I tell them to not use those speakers for HT use.

The biggest issue is subwoofers, most people getting into HT think they only need one and it can go anywhere in the room. Sure, that is what Bose states but in reality--you are adding a capability you have never messed with before so read up on proper subwoofer placement, use at least two of them and calibrate them correctly. Check what they are doing with meters to verify that the suck outs, ragged frequency response and all that inherent with subwoofers in traditional rooms have been tamed. If I hear them state "fast, quick or whatever" statements to subwoofers, I send them to data-bass.com to read how subwoofers work so they understand what is going on. At the minimum, you can use an SPL meter app on a phone and play a sweep on Youtube and it becomes obvious when they watch the meter jump around as it picks up the peaks and nulls from the sub.

Since most people do 2 channel "by ear", if the 5 to 11 channel HT system is setup properly with readings most people notice their 2 channel sounds better!

If you want 2 channel or 2.1 for music, look at Dolby's requirements for HT speakers and figure out what SPL level you require. If you have to have reference levels (0dB) be aware this takes very efficient speakers, plenty of power or both. 115dB SPL at your seated position down in the low 20Hz range takes quite a bit of air movement which can be calculated with online calculators. Just plug in the frequency, plug in your SPL and plug in the surface area of the sub (Sd on the spec page) It will tell you how far the sub has to move so keep adding subs until you get there. A great way to understand that for direct radiating subs, it is all dispacement or bore X stroke...in sub terms Sd X Xmax.

I have an old friend in his late 60's that didn't like the sub response for the system I set up for him in 2 channel. I rolled in a 35Hz high pass on the sub while he was in 2.1 mode and it made the sub "fast" Uh...no... it filtered out sound below 35Hz which you are not used to hearing and for country/folk music/Beatles...you probably don't want to hear what is down there so get rid of it. Problem solved! He turns off the 35Hz high pass when watching movies or when listening to classical. That is a personal preference, if it sounds better to you... use it!

For people that have a lot of hearing damage from time or being a guitar player back in the day, the deep bass can be overpowering as they have no problem hearing low frequencies--the mids/highs are the issue so if you really want to know...get a hearing test and that will reveal your hearing issues. Adjust the EQ to match... your ears don't get better, they get worse so use the EQ and get speakers that don't distort in the treble if/when you boost the treble to make up for age related hearing loss.

Once you figure out the design and capabilities of the speakers you need for both HT and music--give them a listen with both music AND the spoken word. Your hearing is most critical with voices and the brain has many years of knowing if it is right or wrong. If the speaker sounds natural with a person talking (you can use just one speaker in mono to be natural) then try it with music. Music is much more complex for the brain to process and can hide flawed midrange problems. Using the spoken word in mono allows much easier pass/fail when it comes to speakers. Since HT is all about talking, get the speech correct as step 1.

Decent sources for the information you need to know can be found at audioholics (center channel/sub calibration) data-bass.com (subwoofer tests, what all those charts mean, myths of subwoofers, correct terminology for describing them and calibration) and dolby has information about how to set up different systems and the proper type of speaker, dispersion required, SPL requirements and calibration of the system.

Good luck!
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Man, you guys are WAY more active thn the media room forum!!! I was talking to a friend this morning, he recomended, like some of you all, staring with Klipsch Forte, or JBL L100 CLASSICS, both of which fit my goal I think. And build around those. Klipsch I can get a deal on locally, the JBLs are pretty sweet looking.

I'm remodeling a 50s bungalow, and going for a period look with modern functionality, using a UST projector on the wall, no screen. LP player on top of custom console, everything else pretty hidden. Will be wide and fairly low.

Budget wise, 3k I feel like should be good for speakers. I'll start with a 5.1 system and move. To Atmos later by adding 2 or 4 in cielings. I can buy used or wait for deals if need be, I'm not in a real rush.

Ive always had Pioneer front ends, got a SC55 now. I couldn't be sueded to change, but it would have to be pretty compelling.
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by billz260 View Post
Budget wise, 3k I feel like should be good for speakers. I'll start with a 5.1 system and move. To Atmos later by adding 2 or 4 in cielings. I can buy used or wait for deals if need be, I'm not in a real rush.

Ive always had Pioneer front ends, got a SC55 now. I couldn't be sueded to change, but it would have to be pretty compelling.
I might as well be "the bad guy"!

Your room is 24x24 feet? You plan on sitting in the exact middle of the room? Square rooms are terrible for acoustics and sitting in the center makes things worse. You are going to have serious sub bass issues so plan on starting with two of them and become really familiar with the science, math and proper setup and calibration to give your sound a fighting chance.

Sub bass depends on the room it is in, yours is a very large space to fill and being square...will complicate things further. Since THX standards call for 20Hz capability, get subs that can do that as step one. Be aware they tend to start at around $500 each and you need TWO of them to start! Two 12" subs won't give you reference levels but the more you add, the more SPL capability you achieve and it smooths out the frequency response. If you don't want to end up with four or more subs, two is about all you can't put up with then you'll need larger subs to start if you want reference levels. This gets very expensive quickly unless you build your own subwoofers--that depends on your woodworking skills so is not for everyone.

If you are going to use a screen and a projector, this makes it much easier. Get a screen that allows audio to flow through it and you can use the same three speakers across your front stage (left, center, right) Things become quite the hassle when dealing with flat screen TVs and horizontal centers--be glad you don't have to play that game!

To start off with, considering your budget and the square room--I would start with your left/center/right and two subs for a "3.1 system" and save the surrounds for later. In movie theater history, it started as mono in the late 1920's and went three channel in 1934... subs were added in the 1970's and THX came out in the 1980's.

So, if you want to make a hobby out of it...take your time and get the best deals--start with 3.1 to get your front stage clean and the subs properly setup and meshing properly with the mains. If your idea of a hobby is to figure out how it works, measure things and make them work the best in your room...that is the best way to do it.

If you plan on upgrading to Atmos in the future, be aware that Dolby states all of the surrounds should be the same or related to each other. This advice is when you get around to adding surrounds so think about them in the ceiling also. Just a tip, your LCR speakers don't have to be the same as the surrounds but it helps if the smaller surrounds are related to the mains.

If it was me, I'd go with 3.1 and start off with two subs--you'll have enough issues with the room nodes to keep your interest peaked before bringing in surrounds. If you have an old pair of speakers laying around and you HAVE to start with 5.1...use the junk speakers for surrounds as they use less than 10 % of the data on a DVD. The center is king as it is almost always providing sound so concentrate on that first.

Good luck and enjoy your new hobby!
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billz260 View Post
Man, you guys are WAY more active thn the media room forum!!! I was talking to a friend this morning, he recomended, like some of you all, staring with Klipsch Forte, or JBL L100 CLASSICS, both of which fit my goal I think. And build around those. Klipsch I can get a deal on locally, the JBLs are pretty sweet looking.
Have you heard the Klipsch and JBL before?

Just asking because older homes tend to have wooden floors and lots of hard reflective surfaces, so a "bright" speaker can be an iffy proposition unless you already know you like that kind of sound...especially for music.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billz260 View Post
Man, you guys are WAY more active thn the media room forum!!! I was talking to a friend this morning, he recomended, like some of you all, staring with Klipsch Forte, or JBL L100 CLASSICS, both of which fit my goal I think. And build around those. Klipsch I can get a deal on locally, the JBLs are pretty sweet looking.

I'm remodeling a 50s bungalow, and going for a period look with modern functionality, using a UST projector on the wall, no screen. LP player on top of custom console, everything else pretty hidden. Will be wide and fairly low.

Budget wise, 3k I feel like should be good for speakers. I'll start with a 5.1 system and move. To Atmos later by adding 2 or 4 in cielings. I can buy used or wait for deals if need be, I'm not in a real rush.

Ive always had Pioneer front ends, got a SC55 now. I couldn't be sueded to change, but it would have to be pretty compelling.


At CEDIA JBL had the classics set up in a two channel configuration and they sounded awesome. They also have that mid century look it sounds like you are looking for so they may prove to be a really good choice.


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post #16 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input guys. I'm not a total newbie, this will be my third build. First set up was a 50" Samsung DLP and a full set of Wharfedales in a small 50's ranch. TV was the most expensive part of that set up, crazy how far we've come! My last build was in a much bigger house. I had a 145" Panamorphic painted screen, 3 JBL Northridge 100's up front in boxes I built. That was in a 14x24' basement. Had basetraps and acoustic panels on walls and ceiling. That was a big experience, I am going for 'something' like that, but simplify the look.

No screen, I'll use a UST projector on flat white wall, hide that projector in a console I'll build. I want the towers to be a visual focal point of the system.

I think starting with a 2 or 3.1 set up is smart. I'm actually running wire this weekend. In one wall today I ran 4 RG6, 7 Cat5e, and 6 channels of sound. I'm hoping that's all good enough for growth.

I'm in the middle of a full Reno of the living space in this house. There was a 10x10 kitchen, and two 12x24 living spaces. This week they put LVLs in the attic and now all 3 spaces are all one. The kitchen across the back is 30' and about 12' deep. Where there was a 16' long wall separateing the living room, is now gone. So it's a big L shaped room, not exactly square, I was generlizing earlier.

So a 14' focal wall where a low console With an LP player on top, and the pretty towers on each side. Everything else hidden, maybe open area for records in the console. There hallway door to the right of the focal wall that takes you to the rest of the house. Thanks couch will be 12' or so back, behind that is the dining area, and to the right of the dining area is the kitchen.

I opted for 6 channels bto be able to support 5.1.4 as a Max. I can't support the 7.1.4 rears in the room with fireplace placement, and other obstructions.

SO, with all that said, I should probably listen to the Klipsh and the JBLs and go from there. If you all think of any others, let me know.
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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The Philharmonic's and Saulk's we're too modern.

But thanks for the recommendation.
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-15-2018, 05:16 PM
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With a budget of $3k for speakers I would put get 4 Klipsch in walls (2 overhead, 2 rear) for $1000. Then spend the remaining $2000 on 2 main speakers. That’s it. I would rather have $1k each main speakers then lower priced speakers because I bought a center channel (which also messes up the sound, IMO). Trust me, if your couch is between the front speakers, dialogue will definitely be centered without a center speaker.

Not sure what sensitivity you need; but you need to use an online calculator to ensure you can reference 105 dB levels at your listening position. Let me know if you have trouble finding a calculator. I worked out estimating that if you sit 16’ away with 90db sensitive speakers, you need 200W per channel.

I would look on Audiogon for used or demo speakers at $2k. You don’t want to pay retail, why not get $4k retail speakers for $2k?

Good luck!

* 1930s cinema RCA 1443 field coil midrange horns, Supravox EXC 12” field coil upper bass, Fostex T500a super tweeter * active transmission line sub *Klipsch in wall (4x) Music: * Kondo Japan 2 channel: M77, Souga, SMC V12 w/Kondo wiring * Denon AVR X8500H * Sony 995ES 4K laser * Stewart GrayHawk RS G4 * Oppo BDP 203 UHD * PS Audio DSD DAC, P5 AC regenerator * Apple TV * Stillpoints Cloud & Aperture panels * custom diffusers/bass traps
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