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post #1 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Upgrading my 7.1 setup to Atmos - advice needed

Hi there,

I'm looking for some recommendations.
today my setup is the following:
harman/kardon AVR 370
JBL Arena 180 x2 (FL/FR)
JBL Arena 125c (C)
harman/kardon Sub HKTS200
harman/kardon satellite speakers (from HKTS30 pack) - SL/SR & SBL/SBR

I've attached an overview of the current setup.

The h/k satellite speakers have always been super disappointing, so I decided to change them for 'real' speakers, while remaining in a reasonable budget. I found a pretty good deal on Eltax speakers, so I'll give them a try.
I've decided to go for an Atmos configuration, so I've ordered those components:
Denon AVR X3600H
2x Eltax Monitor Atmos
4x Eltax Monitor 3

Originally, when I ordered the above (a week ago - I have not received the products yet), my plan was to go for a 7.1.2 setup.
but since then I've read a lot of opinions saying that a x.x.4 is far better than a x.x.2 setup.

So far, I see 3 options:
a) I return 2 of the Monitor 3 and order another 2 Eltax Monitor to get to a 5.1.4
b) I replace the current SBL/SBR with the Monitor 3, but put them as high on the wall as possible, and assign them as overhead speakers - 5.1.4 as well
c) I add a small amplifier to the Denon and connect 2 h/k satellites as overhead speakers to move to a 7.1.4 setup
d) I stay on a 7.1.2 setup, using the Monitor 3 to replace the h/k satellites

what solution would you recommend?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
Hi there,

I'm looking for some recommendations.
today my setup is the following:
harman/kardon AVR 370
JBL Arena 180 x2 (FL/FR)
JBL Arena 125c (C)
harman/kardon Sub HKTS200
harman/kardon satellite speakers (from HKTS30 pack) - SL/SR & SBL/SBR

I've attached an overview of the current setup.

The h/k satellite speakers have always been super disappointing, so I decided to change them for 'real' speakers, while remaining in a reasonable budget. I found a pretty good deal on Eltax speakers, so I'll give them a try.
I've decided to go for an Atmos configuration, so I've ordered those components:
Denon AVR X3600H
2x Eltax Monitor Atmos
4x Eltax Monitor 3

Originally, when I ordered the above (a week ago - I have not received the products yet), my plan was to go for a 7.1.2 setup.
but since then I've read a lot of opinions saying that a x.x.4 is far better than a x.x.2 setup.

So far, I see 3 options:
a) I return 2 of the Monitor 3 and order another 2 Eltax Monitor to get to a 5.1.4
b) I replace the current SBL/SBR with the Monitor 3, but put them as high on the wall as possible, and assign them as overhead speakers - 5.1.4 as well
c) I add a small amplifier to the Denon and connect 2 h/k satellites as overhead speakers to move to a 7.1.4 setup
d) I stay on a 7.1.2 setup, using the Monitor 3 to replace the h/k satellites

what solution would you recommend?
Yeah I'd pick 2 rear surrounds instead of 2 rears + 2 sides...MORE is not necessarily BETTER, especially since the vast majority of content is still natively in 5 channel not 7.

But before fussing with your surrounds and Atmos options, I see some major problems with your far far more important front 3.

1. Move your HK sub to another room, maybe use it in an office setup or bedroom setup. HTIBs always screw you on the subwoofer, and if you watch a lot of blockbuster action/thriller movies, the sub makes a HUGE difference in your enjoyment of them. (If your viewing tastes are more geared towards dramas, comedies, art/indy flicks, documentaries, etc. then never mind.)

2. Move your A180 forward so that their front edges are at least flush to the front edge of the TV cabinet, or (better) sticking forward at least 1-3 inches from the front edge of the TV cabinet. Right now the TV cabinet is sucking up a lot of their sound field. E

3. Toe in your A180 in the corner, because right now it's being smothered by both the wall and the TV cabinet.

If it were me, I'd actually consider moving the A180 to rear surround duty --- facing each other on each side of your couch. Then I'd get bookshelf speakers on tall stands on either side of the TV cabinet---tall enough so that the cabinet isn't blocking half of their output.

4. Are you 100% happy with the vocal clarity of the A125 center? If not, this would be first in line to be upgraded ASAP because the center does 70-80% of the HT output so it's what you are actually hearing the most during HT. Salesmen don't want to tell you this because they want you to upgrade ALL the speakers, when in fact upgrading ONLY the center can give you a huge boost in HT enjoyment, EVEN IF you go for a (gasp!) non-matching center.

Have never heard of Eltax speakers, so no opinion there.

~ 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 #3 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Yeah I'd pick 2 rear surrounds instead of 2 rears + 2 sides...MORE is not necessarily BETTER, especially since the vast majority of content is still natively in 5 channel not 7.

But before fussing with your surrounds and Atmos options, I see some major problems with your far far more important front 3.

1. Move your HK sub to another room, maybe use it in an office setup or bedroom setup. HTIBs always screw you on the subwoofer, and if you watch a lot of blockbuster action/thriller movies, the sub makes a HUGE difference in your enjoyment of them. (If your viewing tastes are more geared towards dramas, comedies, art/indy flicks, documentaries, etc. then never mind.)

2. Move your A180 forward so that their front edges are at least flush to the front edge of the TV cabinet, or (better) sticking forward at least 1-3 inches from the front edge of the TV cabinet. Right now the TV cabinet is sucking up a lot of their sound field. E

3. Toe in your A180 in the corner, because right now it's being smothered by both the wall and the TV cabinet.

If it were me, I'd actually consider moving the A180 to rear surround duty --- facing each other on each side of your couch. Then I'd get bookshelf speakers on tall stands on either side of the TV cabinet---tall enough so that the cabinet isn't blocking half of their output.

4. Are you 100% happy with the vocal clarity of the A125 center? If not, this would be first in line to be upgraded ASAP because the center does 70-80% of the HT output so it's what you are actually hearing the most during HT. Salesmen don't want to tell you this because they want you to upgrade ALL the speakers, when in fact upgrading ONLY the center can give you a huge boost in HT enjoyment, EVEN IF you go for a (gasp!) non-matching center.

Have never heard of Eltax speakers, so no opinion there.
great feedback, thanks!

1. so I guess the (hidden) advice is to buy another sub any recommendation?

2. good advice, I'll try this

3. for a non-english native (I'm French) - what do you mean by "toe in"?

3b. I'll try this when I receive my new speakers, I must admit I'd never thought doing that!

4. yes the A125 does a good job, but I might consider this afterwards, thanks for the hint.

Many thanks!
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
great feedback, thanks!

1. so I guess the (hidden) advice is to buy another sub any recommendation?

2. good advice, I'll try this

3. for a non-english native (I'm French) - what do you mean by "toe in"?

3b. I'll try this when I receive my new speakers, I must admit I'd never thought doing that!

4. yes the A125 does a good job, but I might consider this afterwards, thanks for the hint.

Many thanks!
1. This depends on where you are. In the US, for $500 you can get the Monolith 10" THX from Amazon. For $600 you can get the Hsu VTF-2. If you're in Canada, selection is a lot smaller and prices are a lot higher...best option there is the SVS PB1000 from electronicsforless.ca

3. "Toe in" = turn the speaker slightly inwards. More info here:
https://www.crutchfield.com/learn/le...placement.html

Good luck!
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~ 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 #5 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
So far, I see 3 options:
a) I return 2 of the Monitor 3 and order another 2 Eltax Monitor to get to a 5.1.4
b) I replace the current SBL/SBR with the Monitor 3, but put them as high on the wall as possible, and assign them as overhead speakers - 5.1.4 as well
c) I add a small amplifier to the Denon and connect 2 h/k satellites as overhead speakers to move to a 7.1.4 setup
d) I stay on a 7.1.2 setup, using the Monitor 3 to replace the h/k satellites

what solution would you recommend?

Thanks!
a) Those Eltax are bouncy Atmos speakers - you don't have the room behind you to use an extra 2 - any reason why you are not doing ceiling mounted or high wall mounted all round :?
b) Better idea but you would need to move the couch forward a bit to make effective use of rear Atmos (ceiling or wall mounted).
c) Depends on actual measurements and how far you can pull the couch from the rear wall - you may be better off with just 5.1.2
d) see a, b and c.

Personally (and judging the size of your room) I would return all the Eltax, buy an extra pair of JBLs and a pair of decent in-ceilings for a quality 5.1.2 .
It will sound good and if you never hear a 7.1.4 system you won't know what you are missing. Or "what the ears hear not the heart craves not"
And you can always upgrade to 7.1.2 / 7.1.4 later with more JBLS and quality in-ceilings or ceiling mounted bookshelfs as funds allow.
I run all identical LCR and Surrounds in my setup and they make the soundfield seamless and is a definite improvement so 5 matching JBLs is going to be superior to 7 mismatched speakers.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by niterida View Post
a pair of decent in-ceilings for a quality 5.1.2
thanks for all your comments.
Any recommendation for in-ceilings?
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-08-2020, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Regarding the dimensions of my room, if it can help, here we go:
4.30 m - 14.1 ft
2.72 m - 8.92 ft
2.17 m - 7.12 ft
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
Regarding the dimensions of my room, if it can help, here we go:
4.30 m - 14.1 ft
2.72 m - 8.92 ft
2.17 m - 7.12 ft
thats smaller than it looks.
my room is 4.3m wide and with a 3 seater I found the surrounds to be too close and that was with them mounted flush with the wall (so basically an in-wall speaker).
I now run my surrounds behind my seating but pointed at 90 deg to bounce the sound off the side wall - so you could do that if you definitely want to go 7.1. But I would save some money and go 5.1 with the speakers in the rear corners and then investigate 7.1 later if you feel it is lacking.

To go .4 Atmos you need to have the couch (actually your ears) about 1.2m from the back wall (assuming seated ear height is 900mm) and 1.43m (1/3 room length) would be ideal for acoustic reasons. with such a low ceiling height I think you would be best running in-ceilings with angled drivers - eg; RSL c34e
If you can do this then I would recommend 5.x.4, otherwise 5.x.2 with straight downfiring in-ceilings might be your best option.
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Last edited by niterida; 04-09-2020 at 12:34 AM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by niterida View Post
thats smaller than it looks.
my room is 4.3m wide and with a 3 seater I found the surrounds to be too close and that was with them mounted flush with the wall (so basically an in-wall speaker).
I now run my surrounds behind my seating but pointed at 90 deg to bounce the sound off the side wall - so you could do that if you definitely want to go 7.1. But I would save some money and go 5.1 with the speakers in the rear corners and then investigate 7.1 later if you feel it is lacking.

To go .4 Atmos you need to have the couch (actually your ears) about 1.2m from the back wall (assuming seated ear height is 900mm) and 1.43m (1/3 room length) would be ideal for acoustic reasons. with such a low ceiling height I think you would be best running in-ceilings with angled drivers - eg; RSL c34e
If you can do this then I would recommend 5.x.4, otherwise 5.x.2 with straight downfiring in-ceilings might be your best option.
Having the couch 1.4m from the back wall sounds pretty unrealistic, that would put it too close to the TV I'm afraid.
But thanks for the answer, I have a 4 days week-end starting tonight, I'll made a lot of tests!
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
Having the couch 1.4m from the back wall sounds pretty unrealistic, that would put it too close to the TV I'm afraid.
But thanks for the answer, I have a 4 days week-end starting tonight, I'll made a lot of tests!
How big is the TV ? I sit at less than 1:1 screen width:seating - or 3.3m from 3.6m wide screen. 1.4m from the back wall would put you at 2.8 from the screen - so unless the screen is wider than 2.8m you will be fine
At least give it a test run at that distance - you may like it or you may not, but if you can place the seating there it solves lots of problems and will allow you to run the coveted 7.x.4
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 08:09 AM
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thanks for all your comments.
Any recommendation for in-ceilings?
Normally I'd recommend RSL C34E but they're shut down at the moment.

If you want to stick with JBL, wait for one of their periodic sales:
https://www.jbl.com/home-audio/?pref...ce-low-to-high

If you want to save money, just go with these---doubt it would make any big difference:
https://www.amazon.com/Micca-M-8C-Ce...dp/B002YPS6T6/
or
https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Ce...dp/B00006BMQT/

~ 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 #12 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Normally I'd recommend RSL C34E but they're shut down at the moment.

If you want to stick with JBL, wait for one of their periodic sales:
https://www.jbl.com/home-audio/?pref...ce-low-to-high

If you want to save money, just go with these---doubt it would make any big difference:
https://www.amazon.com/Micca-M-8C-Ce...dp/B002YPS6T6/
or
https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Ce...dp/B00006BMQT/
thanks!

Assuming I go for that solution, where should those go?
rather close to the screen, middle between screen and couch, above couch?
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-09-2020, 03:54 PM
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FWIW ... I'd go with 5.1.4 in your room even if you nudge your couch forward. 7.1.4 would be second choice over any X.X.2 arrangement.

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post #14 of 15 Old 04-10-2020, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevelol View Post
thanks!

Assuming I go for that solution, where should those go?
rather close to the screen, middle between screen and couch, above couch?
If you are going .2 then directly above or very slightly in front of MLP (your ears)
If you are going .4 then the same distance forward of your ears as your ears are from the ceiling (probably about 1.2m) but then the rear atmos also need to be 1.2m behind you.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-14-2020, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
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received my new toy (finally!) today...
still miss the new speakers, so I'll make some tests with the current ones.
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