Originally Posted by drago010
Thanks for the response Jonas2. I didn't really think about it before, but it is weird there would be three connection points behind the couch. I never actually removed the cover plate from the back middle to see if there were wires running there. I am attaching a few pictures of the walls to show a bit better how it is. Below the tv, behind the furniture is where the speaker connectors in the attached picture are. I put a little more info in my original layout to show where windows are.
Yeah, it looks to me like the previous intention was to have the display on the wall where your couch is as that is where one would want left, center, front speakers. The wall plate with the 5 connections on it in that opposite location indicates that the receiver would have been back there instead. Possible that the previous owners wanted to have just a large display as the primary feature with speakers above and somewhat out of the way, and no other visual distractions up front. Hard to say, but that's what I'm guessing.
Anyway, yeah - you want the 3 speakers wherever the display is!
Originally Posted by drago010
I haven't had any surround sound system before and only really looking into it because the wife wanted to also utilize speakers that were setup on the patio deck of the house. This stuff was all in place when we got our place so I don't know a lot about the setup. I would consider myself more on the casual side looking for a little bump in the sound experience. Also have a budget of around $1000 for it all. Was looking for speakers to attach to the walls, but most seem quite large and would need some sort of shelf to be put up at the height of wires. I would like to stay away from floor stands or any other furniture just for speakers if possible.
You can definitely do wall mounted speakers without doing any other shelving, etc., but you will need to bracket them somehow which means putting holes in walls, if you're O.K. with that. That is high up, at 10 feet, but with the right angling you should be able to get them situated - you do want to aim them towards the listeners, or you'll need an angled speaker. This is if you really want to try and use what's already there and you can certainly do so, it may be less than ideal. It's not how I would do it, but not knowing the circumstances of the previous owners, it's hard to criticize.
But I'd like you to just look at this speaker for a visual - not saying this speaker is for you or not, I just want you to see it. I think visuals help get the mind moving, at least they do mine!
Conceptually, this might let you use the mounting locations that seem to have been scoped out. I would personally find it a visual oddity though to have the speakers so high up and then just a display down much lower. I think I get the point (maybe), but me, I'd drop speakers much lower, down to seated listener level - but this will require work with the wiring to get it to the new locations and then consideration to cover up the original wall plate holes and blending the wall all back together! (Or just leave the plates on the wall and live with them for now.)
Larger rooms and greater distances do present challenges though - it's a decently sized space to fill, given that it is open to the upper level. Smaller, less powerful speakers just might not get to sufficient loudness, and they risk lacking in their lower frequency response. Compensate - larger, more capable/powerful speakers and subwoofers! Of course this also means the costs go up.
So, if you wanted to start simple, you could actually just do a stereo arrangement and use the speaker mounting points at the 7 foot height since they are on the same wall already as the display. Again, not ideal in my book, but better in my opinion than the 10 foot, and you could probably figure out how to do a center speaker there as well above the display if you wanted to put a little effort into it. So start with two or three front sound stage speakers (the most important ones obviously!) and an inexpensive 5.1 receiver, and see what you think. Brands like Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon all have inexpensive offerings in 5.1 receivers. Don't get too caught up in all of the technical terminology at this point.
Really, the best thing to do though if you can is to get to some local shops, start looking and listening, get a sense for what's out there. Do online research too of course, no need to rush it, always good to take as much time as you need to gain a thorough understanding of what you're getting into. It can be a slippery slope though - you might think you're a casual listener now, but something you experience in a shop could trigger that A/V madman deep down inside and send you down the rabbit hole!
Not that it is a bad thing - there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be had from a good entertainment system. The nice thing is, you can always build slowly; upgrade, add, tweak, as budget allows.