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post #1 of 9 Old 09-15-2019, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Newbie Advise please

I am a total Newbie moving into my new town home early next year. Doing the research now to see if I should buy something during this thanksgiving. If anyone can chime in that would be great.
  • Family Room: Rectangle of 23' by 15'. Posting the picture of the room as well.
  • Front TV wall of 15' wide, pretty standard. Seating will be 10' away Appx. ( A small break fast table might go at the end)
  • Left Wall facing TV. Not much of a wall there. Open floor into Kitchen. First 4-5 ft slants up into the staircase. Last 3 ft is a partition wall behind the Kitchen.
  • Right Wall facing TV. First 3ft is a wall and so of last 3 ft. Rest mid area are french doors into Patio.
  • Rear wall another 10-12ft Appx away from the couch (23 Minus 10 and the width of couch)).

Budget no more than $3000 Grand total for Audio.
Too many options for a beginner are overwhelming me but I narrowed it down to mostly two:
1) Nakamich 9.2 . Will I really get the whole Surround experience, even If I figure out where the rear speakers go?
2) Receiver (Sony STR-DN1080\Denon AVR-S740H) plus 5 Speakers( Klipsh/KEF). Is this way better than option one experience wise? Should the rear surround speakers go into Ceiling just behind the couch or can they go all the way back toward the rear wall 10 ft away?
3) Any 3rd Option that you guys would do differently?

-Thanks for hearing me out and Regards
Hello from Virginia
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-17-2019, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddir View Post
I am a total Newbie moving into my new town home early next year. Doing the research now to see if I should buy something during this thanksgiving. If anyone can chime in that would be great.
  • Family Room: Rectangle of 23' by 15'. Posting the picture of the room as well.
  • Front TV wall of 15' wide, pretty standard. Seating will be 10' away Appx. ( A small break fast table might go at the end)
  • Left Wall facing TV. Not much of a wall there. Open floor into Kitchen. First 4-5 ft slants up into the staircase. Last 3 ft is a partition wall behind the Kitchen.
  • Right Wall facing TV. First 3ft is a wall and so of last 3 ft. Rest mid area are french doors into Patio.
  • Rear wall another 10-12ft Appx away from the couch (23 Minus 10 and the width of couch)).

Budget no more than $3000 Grand total for Audio.
Too many options for a beginner are overwhelming me but I narrowed it down to mostly two:
1) Nakamich 9.2 . Will I really get the whole Surround experience, even If I figure out where the rear speakers go?
2) Receiver (Sony STR-DN1080\Denon AVR-S740H) plus 5 Speakers( Klipsh/KEF). Is this way better than option one experience wise? Should the rear surround speakers go into Ceiling just behind the couch or can they go all the way back toward the rear wall 10 ft away?
3) Any 3rd Option that you guys would do differently?

-Thanks for hearing me out and Regards
Hello from Virginia
I take it this is mostly movie/TV watching?
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-18-2019, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks

Yes. This is mostly for TV/Movie watching in the Family room. ( I do not have a separate Theater area).
For option B, I did some further research and read the entire Dolby Manual.
Unless someone tells me Nakamich is little inferior, I am leaning towards 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 Hybrid but the problem is with non-existent side-walls and rear surround speakers.
( No confusion over 3 front speakers and the middle 2 ceiling speakers).
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-18-2019, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddir View Post
I am a total Newbie moving into my new town home early next year. Doing the research now to see if I should buy something during this thanksgiving. If anyone can chime in that would be great.
  • Family Room: Rectangle of 23' by 15'. Posting the picture of the room as well.
  • Front TV wall of 15' wide, pretty standard. Seating will be 10' away Appx. ( A small break fast table might go at the end)
  • Left Wall facing TV. Not much of a wall there. Open floor into Kitchen. First 4-5 ft slants up into the staircase. Last 3 ft is a partition wall behind the Kitchen.
  • Right Wall facing TV. First 3ft is a wall and so of last 3 ft. Rest mid area are french doors into Patio.
  • Rear wall another 10-12ft Appx away from the couch (23 Minus 10 and the width of couch)).

Budget no more than $3000 Grand total for Audio.
Too many options for a beginner are overwhelming me but I narrowed it down to mostly two:
1) Nakamich 9.2 . Will I really get the whole Surround experience, even If I figure out where the rear speakers go?
2) Receiver (Sony STR-DN1080\Denon AVR-S740H) plus 5 Speakers( Klipsh/KEF). Is this way better than option one experience wise? Should the rear surround speakers go into Ceiling just behind the couch or can they go all the way back toward the rear wall 10 ft away?
3) Any 3rd Option that you guys would do differently?

-Thanks for hearing me out and Regards
Hello from Virginia
You have a marvelous resource living in Virginia and that is Crutchfield in Charlottesville with tons of great brands to audition and fantastic service.

Visit there as you have a healthy budget to pursue option 2; yes, the rears can be back 10 feet.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-19-2019, 04:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddir View Post
I am a total Newbie moving into my new town home early next year. Doing the research now to see if I should buy something during this thanksgiving. If anyone can chime in that would be great.
  • Family Room: Rectangle of 23' by 15'. Posting the picture of the room as well.
  • Front TV wall of 15' wide, pretty standard. Seating will be 10' away Appx. ( A small break fast table might go at the end)
  • Left Wall facing TV. Not much of a wall there. Open floor into Kitchen. First 4-5 ft slants up into the staircase. Last 3 ft is a partition wall behind the Kitchen.
  • Right Wall facing TV. First 3ft is a wall and so of last 3 ft. Rest mid area are french doors into Patio.
  • Rear wall another 10-12ft Appx away from the couch (23 Minus 10 and the width of couch)).

Budget no more than $3000 Grand total for Audio.
Too many options for a beginner are overwhelming me but I narrowed it down to mostly two:
1) Nakamich 9.2 . Will I really get the whole Surround experience, even If I figure out where the rear speakers go?
2) Receiver (Sony STR-DN1080\Denon AVR-S740H) plus 5 Speakers( Klipsh/KEF). Is this way better than option one experience wise? Should the rear surround speakers go into Ceiling just behind the couch or can they go all the way back toward the rear wall 10 ft away?
3) Any 3rd Option that you guys would do differently?

-Thanks for hearing me out and Regards
Hello from Virginia

Hello to Virginia.


Do you know the biggest secret in hifi-forums?
The room makes the sound, not the equipment! The room's acoustics is 10-100 times more important for the sound, than any equipment money can buy. But the hifi industry does not want you to know that. They want to sell equipment...

So the question is: do you want to eat the blue or the red pill?



If you decide for the red pill, the most clever thing you can do (after doing the first clever thing to post in this sub-forum ), is to start educating yourself how the sound of rooms is improved. It usually starts with measuring with a free software and a measurement mic.

For a detailed analysis of your measurements, this forum has several knowledgeable ppl helping you reading and understanding the measurements.





But besides the most important acoustics question, IMO there are a few, additional recommendations for a good sounding setup:


Many people choose their positions, because of tradition. Forget how analog TV was watched decades ago. Try to choose a position, where you sit as close as possible and comfortable(!) to the center speaker. The closer you sit to the center, the better the sound. The center speaker is by far the most important speaker. Every meter of distance reduces the sound quality dramatically in living rooms - even if they are acoustically controlled.
In times of HD and UHD on UHD displays a certain minimum distance to the screen is really no longer needed. Another positive is the picture becomes bigger, too. Better sound and bigger picture - for free. Just with clever arrangement of the interior.



Use identical speakers. And identical means identical. The industry will try to tell you, that speakers of the same series are sufficient. They do that because selling identical speakers with a bulky center speaker is much more difficult, than selling optically more pleasing center speakers. They are not sounding the same. Therefore in no professional audio production facility you will find a center speaker not identical to the front speakers. The center is by far the most important speaker.




You have a nice big room. The biggest advantage of space behind your listening position is, that you could go 7.1. Without question 5.1 in an acoustically well sounding room can sound really good (ITU setup). But if you want to make use of the extra ambient depth, that only a big room can offer, then a 7.1 setup creates a substantially better sounding surround field. What is also important: the Dolby upmixing to 7.1 is working really well. With 5.1 you have one position, where the it can sound really good. With 7.1 the listening area becomes substantially bigger.
But: IMO a good 5.1 setup is better than a mediocre 7.1 setup. For me personally home Atmos was not worth it, because of the lack of native mixes in good quality and because of the upmixer's quality, which impacts the 2D sound not for the better.



If I would be a newbie, I would start by placing the speakers I already have, build some cheap DIY absorbers, play around and measure what I hear. I'd try to work torwards a reflection free zone to get a feeling for the impact acoustics have - on the sound, not on the budget. With that feeling the understanding grows a lot and when buying equipment later, I would know what I expect from the speakers. And I could test the speakers at home already in an acoustically somewhat controlled listening position before making definitive commitments.

Good sound is always the result of engineering. And engineering always starts with measuring. Consumer industry and mainstream will never tell customers about that: improvements in room acoustics are worth roughly ten (10!) times the amount spent on equipment like speakers and receivers. For example: only $500 in room treatment is worth more than spending $5000 (fivethousand) on equipment.

Last edited by Skinfax1; 09-19-2019 at 04:08 AM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-19-2019, 04:19 AM
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dont skimp on center channel or subwoofer

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-22-2019, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for chiming in.
This stuff is addictive and not sure when I will get out of this rabbit hole.
I am definitely going with 7.1.2. I will add them incrementally tho.
# Receiver. I am leaning towards a Marantz 5013/5014. I read the D vs M debate and as a music listener, I am leaning towards M.
# Adding a 10in subwoofer ( Monoprice or Dayton?).
Next Challenge:
I am trying to decide on the Center Channel. From a Quality perspective, I do not want to compromise on the Center Channel but I see a wide variety of options budget wise.
1) Micca: I am baffled (no pun intended) by this low cost center channel.
2) Pioneer: CC 22. Do I need the extra power to go for EC23?
3) Martin Logan: Motion 8. A few reviews mentioned about the crisp audio.
4) Klipsch RP250C: I saw a ton of videos and reviews about how classy they look and a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo. Not a single article on why they are engineered superior.

Maybe I need to ask this: Since I am going with a Sub, what is the best center channel, powered externally, that only does what it is supposed to do?

Your 2 cents will really help!
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-22-2019, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by roddir View Post
Maybe I need to ask this: Since I am going with a Sub, what is the best center channel, powered externally, that only does what it is supposed to do?

Your 2 cents will really help!
There is no "best" because that is determined by your SPL, dispersion, room acoustics, setup compromises, cost concerns, size/weight issues and so on.

With that out of the way, once you read about specifications from Dolby--a few things to note. They specifiy that the LCR sound be the same speaker, this helps you in your quest but they will not sound the "same" because they are in different positions on the room AND they are aimed differently. The L/R speakers should be toed in or aimed at you (more or less) with the center channel being pointed straight at you in the center of the room. They will sound different, they will measure different because of room acoustics. If you want to get OCD, you can toe in L/R so their first reflection points are the same as the first reflection point of the center but most likely, that won't be optimal for your seating position. You could change your seating position to "match" those reflection points but I am assuming you need to use that room for more than audio sooo.... compromise time! So don't expect perfection or absolute "timbre matching" because your room won't allow that to happen.

Second issue is some folks demand all the speakers being identical so they all "sound the same". Well, a speaker standing in free space (L/R) towards the corners, a center channel closer to the wall (on a cabinet, mounted to the wall etc.) and the same speakers close to or hanging on the wall in different locations of the room which colors the sound different won't "sound the same". They won't because they can't. Granted, it will be much easier if they are alll the same but that leads to another issue--compromises you will make with the speakers so they can all be the same! My center channel weighs 54 pounds and I customised my furniture to hold the beast but I don't want, don't need and sure as heck don't desire 54 pound speakers as Atmos channels above my head! OK, I could of gone with 15 pound speakers all the way around but then I could not get the SPL and efficiency I demanded at the start. Sure, I could of gone with the 15 pounders (my wife liked that idea!) but the "no compromises" approach to get them all the same would of sunk the quest at the start.

In desperation, I went to the Dolby site and they recommended the same speakers for LCR and the same speakers for the surrounds (all surrounds should be the same and thast includes Atomos) but notice something--the "mains" or LCR should be the same, all surrounds should be the same but it does not say that ALL the speakers should be the same! Now look at dispersion requirements, the Atmos if they are not aimed at you should provide 80 by 80 degrees of dispersion or 54 X 54 degrees of dispersion if they are aimed at your listening position. Think about it, what would happen in a living room setting with 80 x 80 degrees of dispersion for LCR? Well, kiss speakers with ribbons, AMTs and waveguides that limit vertical dispersion goodbye--they won't work for Atmos. Never mind that such a huge dispersion speaker willl give you strong floor/ceiling reflections that willl smeer the sound unless you treat your floors/ceiling to absorb some of it. Digging deeper, the specs for surrounds and mains differ because they are doing different things.

Crawling out of the rabbit hole, time to do a reality check. Go to a THX/IMAX/Dolby Digital theater and physically look at the speakers behind the screen then look at the surrounds--then think about it. Building a system is all about compromise, it will never be perfect because your room will never be perfect and most people won't have acoustic screens in their rooms to place the speakers behind it in the first place. Yes, if you don't have an acoustic screen that is a compromise, the first of many in your quest.

What about subwoofers? Well, if you look at the Dolby spec, you should have subwoofers that can do 20Hz at the -6dB point minimum and should provide 115dB of SPL. Oh yeah, start with TWO subwoofers and go up from there, 3 subwoofers (look up Earl Geddes for setup) or better yet, four subwoofers and proper bass management willl get you "the best". One subwoofer is OK if it is positioned properly and it is just you that demands proer performance. If you have anyone else that will be there, start with two subs and go from there.

How much SPL do you want? Do you want it to be just like a THX theater? If so, you will need high effficency speakers--92dB one watt/one meter or higher as the minimum on AVR power. They won't be small, they won't be light weight and thy won't be cheap because anything big and heavy costs money. The best way to figure out how much SPL you need would be to get either an SPL meter or, at the minimum, a SPL app for your phone and go to a THX theater and watch a movie. You can get the actual SPL measurements to make your decision. If you want that level of SPL, build a system that will do that. If you wish it to be a touch quieter--go for 3dB lower--if you want it "half as loud" go for -10dB quieter. 3dB quieter requires half the power and 10dB quieter requires TEN times less power which gives you much greater abi8lity to fit speakers and not blow your budget. Best to know what SPL requirements you need before ever start to ponder purchasing equipment. Some speakers are unable to give you higher SPL levels no matter how much power you throw into them. There is a maximum for all audio equipment so knowing what the maximum is, matching it with your requirements weeds out the components that won't work.

A few points.

1. Matching the LCR will give you the best results but don't compromise the design or size/dispersion to force that to happen.
2. Match the surrounds/Atmos or make sure the surrounds your purchase can be used as Atmos--because speakers can last for 30 years but standards and your electronics generally won't.
3. Two subwoofers as a start if you will invite other humans to hang out with you. One is OK to get you started but plan on a second or more in the future.
4. Think of the system as three seperate sound fields, the "main" or LCR should be on axis and very accurate. The surround field will be off axis and more diffused as it attempts "3D" which is a different requirement than the main. Subwoofers are last, they should be thought of as their own animal so read up on the chaos they create when you start throwing sound waves that are over 50 feet long in a small room They make sense once you understand acoustics, standing waves, peaks and nulls that naturally happen with looooong waves in small boxes.
5. If you have any indication that this will be a hobby you persue in the future, I would go for a more modular or "scalable" system. If the AVR has pre-amp outs, you can add amplifiers down the line when/if your needs change (a huge room nn the future) Select the subwoofer(s) that meet the frequency response you desire--don't worry about maximum SPL. Say you get a single sub that does 20Hz and that is what you want--you will improve sound quality by using 2, 3, 5 or more of them which will also increase the SPL naturally. If you pick up a sub that will meet your SPL needs with just one but does not "go low" enough, adding more subs won't make it "go lower" just louder (unless you use front loaded horns but not likely in a living room!)

A few reality hints, figure out the largest speakers you and those that live with you will put up with. Cut out cardboard boxes to give a real world idea of what size actually is in your room. Once you have the max size figured out with the speakers, do the same with the surrounds. After that, make boxes that will be the largest subwoofers you willl alllow. If you can put up with a single 8 cubic foot sub but only one--then set it aside. How large can two of them be? If something like 6 cubic feet for two or only 4 cubic feet for four subs--look at either the 6 or 4 cubic foot option and abandon the 8 cubic foot single monster. The monster most likely will not "fit" in the location of your choosing and create acoustic chaos. Better to go with the smaller sub(s) that go as low as you need and use more of them to get the SPL and distortion demands you have. Don't mix sealed and ported together when it comes to subwoofers! There is one or the other, you can't "get both" by mixing them--welcome to the world of phase, standing waves, peaks, nulls and phase related frequency cancelling--don't blame me, it is how sound waves work.

I don't recommend" anything before I know such things like SPL demands, frequency range, budget and size considerations. The simple answer would be three JBL 4722N theater speakers but they are huge, Mad Max ugly, heavy, expensive and did I mention ugly? No worries about THX reference SPL, almost any AVR willl burn your ear drums but 99.9% of the planet would not put up with their sheer size/weight so I tend to avoid any recommendations without getting the full picture. If AVS'ers have to guess, we jump to massive overkilll as a start!

In summation, go to a THX theater with some way to measure SPL and figure out what number you wish to strive for. Use cardboard boxes to determine maximum size for the LCR mains, the surrounds and the subwoofers--then we can give you accurate recommendations and budget projections. Good luck in your quest.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-25-2019, 09:09 AM
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Jesus, let's just overwhelm the poor guy with detail, shall we? He was overwhelmed when he got here and I suspect he is now in the fetal position doing his impression of an autistic person.

To the OP, there is a lot to learn and you won't learn it overnight. You'll make some mistakes and you will get some things right on your first foray into good HT. Two things are going to be critical to you and IMO are where you should concentrate your energies.

First is speaker selection. In order to make a good selection you can live with for more than a few months, you'll need to make a concerted effort to listen to speakers. BB has quite a few selections (be sure you get past the Klipsch and Polk displays into the back room), but you should also try to find other speaker purveyors near you, as well. After the room, speakers are the most important factor in what you hear. Each has it's own characteristics, and it is a very SUBJECTIVE decision, as to which you enjoy and which works well in your environment with your usage.

Second is placement, of the speakers, the sub(s) and your seating. Dolby has good information as to speaker placement, so check out their site for proper angles to your speakers. This will give you a good starting point, but the actual performance in your room will determine the final placement. This is especially important as it pertains to the sub(s). Bass response can be problematic, and sub placement is your best tool in getting the most from your sub investment. So, have many options for sub placement available. Where it looks best is most likely not where it will sound best. Lastly, the seating. Be sure your seated ears are not at the exact halfway point of the length of the room. 3/4 is also problematic. Both tend towards uneven bass response, so avoid those positions. Up against a wall is also not recommended if it can be avoided.

If going out and doing speaker listening sessions seems too time consuming, or intimidating, there is another option. Crutchfield has a wide variety of speakers available, with excellent customer support. They encourage folks to order multiple speaker sets to test out in their homes. Select maybe three options and get them into your home for testing. Choose the one you like best and send the rest back for only $10 each (per bookshelf pair). You can then fill out the rest of the set with the winner. This has the advantage of involving the wife in the selection process, so no regrets later! Some other online purveyors have free shipping both ways, so they cost you nothing to demo in your home. RSL and HTD are two such companies, with high quality speakers and excellent customer support.

Once you have found the right speakers and have them in-house, then any room issues can be addressed, as needed.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 09-25-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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