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post #1 of 35 Old 02-19-2019, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Surround install with minimal setup?

Hi everyone,

I'm getting ready to upgrade my living room/home theater, and would love to install a surround setup (preferably Atmos/DTS-X). Thing is, for a number of reasons, I can't have big floorstanding speakers and speaker wires all over the place. I could have bookshelves for the fronts but rears and heights would be an issue.

It's a normal sized living room with open space on the left. I have an 85" TV. Also my seating is right up against the wall.

So I've been trying to figure out what would be the best solution. Should I get a pricey soundbar with small wireless rears? Should I try to install in ceiling/in wall surround speakers? On wall speakers? Something else? What would you guys recommend that could come closer to the SQ of a proper surround setup?

My budget is 3-4K.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 35 Old 02-19-2019, 12:55 PM
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Are you going 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 7.1?

What is the configuration of the room? Is it open to other areas? How big are they? Pics front and back would be helpful.

Have you done any listening, and if so, what speakers did you like/dislike?

Are you qualified to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and run the wire for them?

Listening habits music/movies/games/other?

How loud do you want to it? How far away do you sit?

Bass requirements (shake the walls/shake the couch/just reinforce the mains)?

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #3 of 35 Old 02-19-2019, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for lack of info. Here goes:

Are you going 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 7.1?

Ideally 7.1.4 for Atmos

What is the configuration of the room? Is it open to other areas? How big are they?

It's a rectangular room with one open side on the left and low ceilings.

Have you done any listening, and if so, what speakers did you like/dislike?

I have not yet, first I want to see what my options are...

Are you qualified to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and run the wire for them?

I am not but could hire someone.

Listening habits music/movies/games/other?

Movies mostly and some music.

How loud do you want to it? How far away do you sit?

Not too loud (apartment). I sit about 7 feet away from the TV


Bass requirements (shake the walls/shake the couch/just reinforce the mains)?

Just reinforce the mains, not big on bass.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 35 Old 02-20-2019, 04:37 AM
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Sorry but here are a couple more questions:

What is the total size of the room (WHD)?

Is the seating up against the back wall and the left and right walls?

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post #5 of 35 Old 02-20-2019, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Sure thing:

What is the total size of the room (WHD)?

16ft wide (with left side open), 7ft high and 8ft deep.

Is the seating up against the back wall and the left and right walls?

Seating is up again the back wall (with maybe half a foot of clearance) and there's a lot of space between seating and left/right walls.

Thanks
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post #6 of 35 Old 02-20-2019, 08:50 AM
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Have you read this? https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...xrHQ-qLxeC3I1z You may want to decide on a layout before finding speakers.

Having the seating close to the back wall doesn't lend itself to a standard 7.1.4 or 5.1.4 Atmos layout. The rear two Atmos overheads are supposed the be behind the listener. In a 7.1.4 system, the rear surrounds are also supposed to be behind the listener (feet, not inches). You can go nonstandard. If you move the heights forward, the 3D object placement will be forward of the nominal. (Just like for some of the seats in a movie theater.)
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post #7 of 35 Old 02-20-2019, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks that makes a lot of sense. From doing some research about the limitations of my space it sounds like the best setup would be three regular speakers for fronts (freeestanding or floorstanding), a sub, two in wall or on wall rears and, as you said, two or four heights forward from my seating position.

Do you think that makes sense? Am i missing something?

Thanks
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post #8 of 35 Old 02-21-2019, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdx View Post
Thanks that makes a lot of sense. From doing some research about the limitations of my space it sounds like the best setup would be three regular speakers for fronts (freeestanding or floorstanding), a sub, two in wall or on wall rears and, as you said, two or four heights forward from my seating position.

Do you think that makes sense? Am i missing something?

Thanks
I think you are better off with a great 5.1 system rather than a compromised Atmos system to be honest for the reasons already mentioned and considering a 7.1.4 capable receiver new is $1500.
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post #9 of 35 Old 02-21-2019, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I see. What about a 5.1 plus two upfiring speakers on top of the fronts or rears to still get some Atmos in there?
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post #10 of 35 Old 02-21-2019, 02:40 PM
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I see. What about a 5.1 plus two upfiring speakers on top of the fronts or rears to still get some Atmos in there?
Excellent 7.2 receivers are available for as little as $299 for the Denon 1400.

The Andrew Jones designed Pioneer Elite Atmos towers or bookshelves would be a great choice for front left and right.

You can google reviews.

3 way Towers are $798/pair.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...lby_atmos.html

3 way Stand mount speakers are $399/pair.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...lby_atmos.html

3 way center is just $199.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ite_3_way.html

You could do 5.1.4 with this receiver.

https://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVRX440...04519081&psc=1

For subwoofers look at HSU, Rhythmik and Monolith THX.

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post #11 of 35 Old 02-22-2019, 02:29 PM
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Well there is always going to be a bit of a trade-off between size and convenience vs sound quality. The easiest setup would be an Atmos sound bar with matching wireless surround speakers and subwoofer. I haven't researched those much so I don't know what the best one is but that would give you an easy 5.1.2 setup, although not of the same quality that an AVR+speakers would give you.

The AJ Pioneer Elite speakers that gajCA linked are great. I had those for a while and really enjoyed them. The upfiring Atmos modules of the Pioneer Elites work well, but in-ceiling or on-ceiling will give you the best quality for Atmos (but require significantly more work). Still, I think the upfiring Atmos speakers are a worthy addition rather than having no Atmos (at least if you have a suitable ceiling: 7-14ft high and flat).

I recently upgraded to some DefTech towers as I wanted to be able to crank up my music to more obscenely loud levels for house parties. I've been really pleased with the BP9040 towers and matching CS9040 center channel. I know you said you don't want towers but these have a relatively small footprint for tower speakers and look pretty nice imo. One thing to consider with the Def Tech towers is that they have built in powered woofers so you might be able to get away with no subwoofer, especially if you went up to the BP9060s that have 10" 300W woofers built in (even better is the 9080x but they are significantly larger). You said you didn't need wall shaking bass so the woofers in the DTs might be plenty for you. The DT towers have slick little Atmos modules that attach to the top and do a very good job for upfiring speakers. I got the matching SR9080 bi-pole surrounds and have been very pleased with the whole setup (you don't necessarily need the matching surrounds though). They hang flush against walls so are pretty unobtrusive.

Ideally you'll want to run speaker wire to the surrounds but if that is really not possible there are options like the SVS Soundpath that make wired speakers wireless. However you'd need powered speakers to use with it and you'd have to plug the speakers in.

There are lots of good AVR options. I think Denon is great and I really liked the X3300W that I used to have. I recently got a Pioneer LX503 because I'm planning to go to 5.1.4 and it was the cheapest 9ch AVR but I kind of wish I spent the extra cash and got the Denon X4400H or 4500H as I don't like the Pioneer as much as my old Denon. By the way with the Denon numbering system the second digit basically corresponds to the model year, but they haven't made many changes in the past 2-3 years so the x3300 and x3400 are pretty similar, same for the x4300, x4400, and x4500. I just say that because you can often find good deals on the previous year's model but you don't sacrifice much if anything as far as features.
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post #12 of 35 Old 02-22-2019, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all this info. Really helpful.

Right now I think I'm leaning towards a pro Atmos install with in ceiling and on wall surrounds. If it doesn't pan out, or the budget is out of my reach, I might go with a 5.1.2 soundbar with wireless rears as you suggested. Reviews for the Samsung 950 are good, but they have anew model coming out soon.

Finally if I do go for an AVR I'll def consider Denon. The other brand that piqued my interest is Yamaha, since they also have wireless surrounds (but can't find out if they work in an Atmos config) and they have some interesting DSPs including one that's called Surround AI and might help smooth out the issues that might space presents.

Decisions, decisions...
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post #13 of 35 Old 02-23-2019, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdx View Post
Thanks so much for all this info. Really helpful.

Right now I think I'm leaning towards a pro Atmos install with in ceiling and on wall surrounds. If it doesn't pan out, or the budget is out of my reach, I might go with a 5.1.2 soundbar with wireless rears as you suggested. Reviews for the Samsung 950 are good, but they have anew model coming out soon.

Finally if I do go for an AVR I'll def consider Denon. The other brand that piqued my interest is Yamaha, since they also have wireless surrounds (but can't find out if they work in an Atmos config) and they have some interesting DSPs including one that's called Surround AI and might help smooth out the issues that might space presents.

Decisions, decisions...
You might want to consider this 9.2 receiver for just $499.

https://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-RZ73...7390_396740740

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post #14 of 35 Old 02-27-2019, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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So after much research I think I am leaning towards the following solution:

- Bookshelves fronts
- A small sub (don't need much bass)
- 2 In ceiling heights for Atmos
- Bookshelves on stands and to the sides for rears

So a simple 5.1.2 system driven by a mid range AVR (leaning towards the Yamaha 1080 for now).

I would love some speaker suggestions for this configuration. Mainly for the fronts, it seems to me the in ceiling and rear speakers are not that critical.

As I mentioned before my use would 75% movies and 25% music. I am really looking for speakers that the widest, most detailed soundscape for movies more than anything else.

Would like to keep my total speaker budget to 2.5K max.

Any suggestions? Thanks.
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post #15 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdx View Post
So after much research I think I am leaning towards the following solution:

- Bookshelves fronts
- A small sub (don't need much bass)
- 2 In ceiling heights for Atmos
- Bookshelves on stands and to the sides for rears

So a simple 5.1.2 system driven by a mid range AVR (leaning towards the Yamaha 1080 for now).

I would love some speaker suggestions for this configuration. Mainly for the fronts, it seems to me the in ceiling and rear speakers are not that critical.

As I mentioned before my use would 75% movies and 25% music. I am really looking for speakers that the widest, most detailed soundscape for movies more than anything else.

Would like to keep my total speaker budget to 2.5K max.

Any suggestions? Thanks.
So, apartment setup, sitting very close, medium volumes, detailed sound, 3.1 to start is what it seems you are after.

Best to buy from places with free returns or inexpensive returns rather than just buying from an expensive to return vendor recommended by "some guy on the internet."

I own the Martin Logan LX16s and they deliver what you are looking for but there are other good choices below also.

BOOKSHELF SPEAKER PAIRS WITH >4.9" MAIN DRIVER, UNDER $500 MSRP & FREE OR CHEAP RETURN SHIPPING

**equals free returns ^^equals $10/ box returns

NOTES: >note that most speakers do not actually reach within 10hz of their stated bass extension; check pro reviews

>CRUTCHFIELD carries many speakers that Best Buy does not listed below. Their return policy is very inexpensive and longer in time.

>check center speaker prices before choosing a pair for a surround system as some companies have VERY high prices for centers

MSRP/PR PORT? H/W/D ROUNDED TO NEAREST INCH

$300 REAR 12X7X10 2 way 5.25" [65hz] PSB ALPHA B1^^

$349 REAR 12X7X8 2 way 5.25" [75hz] APERION INTIMUS 5B**

$400 FRONT 16X6X6 2 way 2 X 4" [85hz] RSL CG 23**

$400 REAR 10X7X8 2 way 5.5" [55hz] MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 1^^

$446 REAR 11x7x10 2 way 5.25" [60hz] MARTIN LOGAN LX16^^ Crutchfield Outlet Open Box

$479 SEALED 13X6X10 2 way 5.25" [35hz] KLH ALBANY^^

$500 FRONT 14X8X10 2 way 6.5" [42hz] MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2^^

$500 REAR 12X7X11 2 way 5.25" [55hz] PSB IMAGE XB^^


Take a look at the excellent Martin Logan sealed sub in the link, currently $399, ($300 off). Usually $500 is the minimum you will pay for a quality sealed sub. If you were looking for more volume potential you should consider the ported RSL Speedwoofer at the same price point as the RSL offers free returns if not happy.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_839DY7...namo-700W.html

350watts =15w16h17d= 40 lbs 10" [30hz] $399 RSL SPEEDWOOFER 10S, (extension from Sound & Vision review)

300watts =12w13h13d= 27 lbs 10" [24hz] $399 MARTIN LOGAN DYNAMO 700W, limited time offer
NOTE: WIRELESS TRANSMITTER INCLUDED

Geoff A. J., California
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post #16 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks very useful!
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post #17 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 02:50 PM
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Thanks very useful!
AVS just did this review of an apartment friendly 5.1 system that you might be very interested in though I'd get the LX16s for front left and right and the other speakers mentioned for the center and rears.

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post #18 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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AVS just did this review of an apartment friendly 5.1 system that you might be very interested in though I'd get the LX16s for front left and right and the other speakers mentioned for the center and rears.
Just read it very interesting. I'll try to check them out in person.

What about towers if I can budget for them? I listened to a 5.1 using Def Tech 9080s with Atmos upfiring modules and it sounded really good. What do you think of that as an option if I can't install in ceilings?
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post #19 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 03:13 PM
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Just read it very interesting. I'll try to check them out in person.

What about towers if I can budget for them? I listened to a 5.1 using Def Tech 9080s with Atmos upfiring modules and it sounded really good. What do you think of that as an option if I can't install in ceilings?
Lots of fans of DefTec towers here on AVS but they are expensive.

For your use if you want upfiring Atmos I'd take a long hard look at the Pioneer Elite speakers as the limited AVS feedback has been very good and the pro reviews, (which you can google), are highly enthusiastic. There are three out there at least.

They do offer a tower version as well but I'd get the bookshelves with a good sub.

I'd order a pair to make sure you liked them before filling out the system to limit financial risk on the chance that you might not like them despite the positive press and AVS owner reviews.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...BI%3A514&smp=Y

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ite_3_way.html

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Thanks these look great. Thing is might be able to get the Def Techs for a much lower price than MSRP. If a full 5.1.2 package comes to the same price would you recommend the Def Techs or the Pioneers?

I don't need the best possible SQ but I am trying to find the setup that would give me the best surround including heights in I can't go in ceiling.

Thanks
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post #21 of 35 Old 02-28-2019, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tdx View Post
Thanks these look great. Thing is might be able to get the Def Techs for a much lower price than MSRP. If a full 5.1.2 package comes to the same price would you recommend the Def Techs or the Pioneers?

I don't need the best possible SQ but I am trying to find the setup that would give me the best surround including heights in I can't go in ceiling.

Thanks
If same price and easy returns absolutely get that first.

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post #22 of 35 Old 03-10-2019, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok so after checking a bunch of speakers (and getting a lot of useful advice around here) I'm finally getting the following setup:

Yamaha 9.2 receiver
BP9080 fronts
CS9080 center
SR9040 surrounds

So that gives me a very nice 5.0.2. I'm not getting an extra subwoofer since I don't that much bass and the subs in the fronts are enough for me.

So after having listened to many different speakers I'm very happy with the fronts.What I'm still hesitating about is the surrounds. I think the SR9040s, being bipolar, might be enough to fill the room with sound and be enough. As I mentioned before I have a smallish room with low ceilings (7x8 ft) so somewhat limited in what I can do. And unfortunately no in ceilings. But I'm trying to figure out how to the most expansive, enveloping soundstage possible in my room.

There other two other options I'm considering:
- adding two more speakers high up on the ceiling and to the sides to achieve either a 7.2 or 5.4 effect. Maybe two more SR9040s or other speakers?
- or, adding a second pair of towers, maybe the 9020s with Atmos toppers at each side of my couch to get both surrounds and a second pair of upfiring speakers.

What do you guys think? Would love to get ideas before finalizing the install. Thanks!
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post #23 of 35 Old 03-10-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdx View Post
Ok so after checking a bunch of speakers (and getting a lot of useful advice around here) I'm finally getting the following setup:

Yamaha 9.2 receiver
BP9080 fronts
CS9080 center
SR9040 surrounds

So that gives me a very nice 5.0.2. I'm not getting an extra subwoofer since I don't that much bass and the subs in the fronts are enough for me.

So after having listened to many different speakers I'm very happy with the fronts.What I'm still hesitating about is the surrounds. I think the SR9040s, being bipolar, might be enough to fill the room with sound and be enough. As I mentioned before I have a smallish room with low ceilings (7x8 ft) so somewhat limited in what I can do. And unfortunately no in ceilings. But I'm trying to figure out how to the most expansive, enveloping soundstage possible in my room.

There other two other options I'm considering:
- adding two more speakers high up on the ceiling and to the sides to achieve either a 7.2 or 5.4 effect. Maybe two more SR9040s or other speakers?
- or, adding a second pair of towers, maybe the 9020s with Atmos toppers at each side of my couch to get both surrounds and a second pair of upfiring speakers.

What do you guys think? Would love to get ideas before finalizing the install. Thanks!
Don't buy more speakers until you've installed what you are planning to order as I suspect you'll get all the surround effect you desire.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #24 of 35 Old 03-10-2019, 08:37 PM
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Yeah, in a small room, sometimes less is more.
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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #25 of 35 Old 03-11-2019, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, in a small room, sometimes less is more.
Makes sense. If I stay with wall mounted surrounds should I go with the SR9040s I have on order or swap them for the more powerful 9080s? Will it make a difference for surrounds?

Also, where should I mount them on the wall behind my couch to get the best sense of surround sound?

Thanks!
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post #26 of 35 Old 03-11-2019, 02:10 PM
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Makes sense. If I stay with wall mounted surrounds should I go with the SR9040s I have on order or swap them for the more powerful 9080s? Will it make a difference for surrounds?

Also, where should I mount them on the wall behind my couch to get the best sense of surround sound?

Thanks!
The SR9080 would seem the better choice with it's larger main driver as even it isn't that large at dual 4.5".

See page 2 of the manual for positioning.

https://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Im.../735SR9040.PDF

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post #27 of 35 Old 03-11-2019, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
The SR9080 would seem the better choice with it's larger main driver as even it isn't that large at dual 4.5".

See page 2 of the manual for positioning.

https://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Im.../735SR9040.PDF
Awesome thanks!
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post #28 of 35 Old 03-11-2019, 02:58 PM
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Awesome thanks!
I see Def tech's site has a special on the 9080s. buy 2, get $699 off retail ... just an FYI. Price-match at BB, if nothing else.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 03-11-2019 at 03:32 PM.
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post #29 of 35 Old 03-11-2019, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I see Def tech's site has a special on the 9080s. buy 2, get $699 off retail ... just an FYI. Price-match at BB, if nothing else.
Thanks for the heads up. BB does have the same sale. But I managed to get 2 open box BP9080s for $1200 total. So, a no brainer
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post #30 of 35 Old 03-14-2019, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok so another question: through some happy accident I'm ending up with a pair of both SR9080s and some SR9040s.

I could use the 9080s and sell the 9040s, but the curious part of me is wondering, can I use both in my space? As a reminder I'm installing BP9080s/CS9080 fronts, and I have the couch against my wall.

Just wanna see if there's any benefit in utilizing both surround pairs or not in my situation.

Thanks
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