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post #1 of 16 Old 06-24-2020, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking for some help updating 2009 tech.

Hello all,

I'm new here, but I've lurked for a little while and finally decided to create the account. I think I've ticked all the boxes on the forum rules. If not, my apologies.

I'm looking for some help in updating my current living room/HT. Since I have so many questions, I'm not sure if I should be posting this in individual forums or if a catch all post like this is ok.

I do realize that it's not the best room setup, but I do have a wife and I wanted to keep her around when we were building. We built in 2009, and it's time to update the TV. Because so much has changed since we bought the TV, I'm thinking I should update the other components too. From my research here, I know there are some areas that could certainly use some upgrades.

Given my room setup, does it make sense to change (or can I change) from a 5.1 to an Atmos type setup (if I changed the in-ceiling speakers to a different channel and added some tower speakers)? If so, how would you recommend that be accomplished? I'm certainly not an audiophile or cinephile, but I'd like to step up the quality of what my system can do. I'm really kind of overwhelmed by what I have and how to make the most of the room moving forward. Obviously the company that "designed" the setup in 2009 missed the mark and it's really only since I've been lurking here that I realized why I've not been real pleased with the HT experience. I'm trying to undo it without cutting into any walls or ceilings. As you can see from the photos it's a fairly bright room, although we can/do pull the curtains shut while watching anything that we're really trying to experience.

We stream content HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc (mostly through a 4k Apple TV) 80%, use a PS3 for Blu-ray 19%, and maybe game 1%. We enjoy streaming movies and action shows, but some sitcom type shows are watched.

I currently have:
55" Samsung UN55B8000 TV
Denon AVS-S730H receiver (purchased in 2017)
Klipsch R-105 10" sub (purchased in 2017)
Russound 6" or 6.5"in-ceiling speakers

My best guess at a budget:
$2000 on a TV
$500 on a receiver
? mantle mounted center channel and tower front and/or rear speakers (if needed)?
? subwoofer (if needed)?

I'm considering:
65" Sony XBR-950h
65" Samsung Q90T
Denon AVR-S750H
Denon AVR-S950H

TL;DR
Can anyone provide some suggestion on how to fix what I have to something updated/better?
Can anyone weigh in on what I'm considering for a TV and receiver?
What other components should I consider that keep in line with the price point of the tv and receiver and capabilities of the room?

Thank you for any help that can be provided,
Nate
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-24-2020, 11:47 AM
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Are you going to put tower speakers on the two sides of the mantle, or on the floor next to the mantle (how will you accommodate the curtains, then?)? I really don't see a good place to put these speakers. Given that, you might do better with a three channel passive soundbar solution. These speakers are not your typical active soundbar with amps, bells, whistles, and very little of the budget put into the speakers themselves. Passive soundbars are just three speakers arranged horizontally to best advantage. There are lots of good options with good quality sound from Triad, James, Golden Ear, Phase Tech, PSB, Paradigm ... and many others. Triad and James can even alter the size and finish to better match the TV or decor (you do pay a bit extra for the privilege).

As to converting your ceiling speakers to Atmos, well, yes and no. The rear ceiling speakers are positioned as if they were in Atmos middle position (check out Dolby Labs web site for all the various configurations of speakers and how they are laid out). As to the front three, I suspect that you are getting very little from them, which is probably the source of your frustration with the current system. Speakers mounted that far away from your seating MUST have a built-in angle to have any chance of getting the majority of the frequencies to your seated ears. I would guess that the current fronts are not angled, just pointing straight down. In that scenario, all you will hear at your seat is the sound reflected off the floor, and little to nothing directly from the speakers.

To make these speaker positions functional, you would need to provide the distance from your seated ears to the ceiling and the distance from that point to the speakers. That will help in deciding which replacement speakers are viable.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 06-24-2020 at 12:06 PM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-25-2020, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Are you going to put tower speakers on the two sides of the mantle, or on the floor next to the mantle (how will you accommodate the curtains, then?)? I really don't see a good place to put these speakers. Given that, you might do better with a three channel passive soundbar solution. These speakers are not your typical active soundbar with amps, bells, whistles, and very little of the budget put into the speakers themselves. Passive soundbars are just three speakers arranged horizontally to best advantage. There are lots of good options with good quality sound from Triad, James, Golden Ear, Phase Tech, PSB, Paradigm ... and many others. Triad and James can even alter the size and finish to better match the TV or decor (you do pay a bit extra for the privilege).

As to converting your ceiling speakers to Atmos, well, yes and no. The rear ceiling speakers are positioned as if they were in Atmos middle position (check out Dolby Labs web site for all the various configurations of speakers and how they are laid out). As to the front three, I suspect that you are getting very little from them, which is probably the source of your frustration with the current system. Speakers mounted that far away from your seating MUST have a built-in angle to have any chance of getting the majority of the frequencies to your seated ears. I would guess that the current fronts are not angled, just pointing straight down. In that scenario, all you will hear at your seat is the sound reflected off the floor, and little to nothing directly from the speakers.

To make these speaker positions functional, you would need to provide the distance from your seated ears to the ceiling and the distance from that point to the speakers. That will help in deciding which replacement speakers are viable.
Thank you very much for the reply. I was thinking that the front towers would go on the hearth. We usually watch serious TV with the curtains drawn, so I didn't really think of them being an issue...
We have 9" ceilings, so I'd say 50"-54" from the ceiling to the ear. In measuring back (diagonally across the room and directly in front of the TV) it's right at 13' front the center channel, 9' from the R/F, and 11' from the L/F. My wife or I sit below the R/R and the other person beneath the L/R. As you described, I was guessing the front channels setup is part of my problem and that's why I asked about towers. I know I need to alter the front channels setup to get them to actually be directed at back and not down.
I'll take a look at the Dolby Labs site. Thank you for the recommendation.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-25-2020, 11:51 AM
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Well, you are looking at an angle between 60 and 70 degrees, depending on the speaker. Most speakers have an innate sound distribution cone that extends 30 degrees off axis, so that leaves you with about 40 degrees of angle to cover with the speaker itself. Bottom line, if you want to use those speakers, you will need to replace them with speakers that have a 45 degree angle built into their design to make them viable.

So, the question becomes, do you want to attempt to fix the current system by installing three new speakers in the ceiling, or do you want to employ free standing front speakers and use the ceiling speakers for Atmos? If the former, you will need three new highly angled speakers installed in your ceiling. These will be fairly expensive ($500ish each, give or take few hundred), and more than likely quite a bit larger than the current speakers. There may also be issues with installation, as the speakers need to be aimed on the diagonal to the ceiling joists. If the latter, then you will need to replace the L&R speakers and disconnect the center, as it will be unnecessary for Atmos. The Atmos speaker cost will be the same as above, and the overall cost (including new front speakers) will be greater. It also leaves you with no surround channels (and no place to put them in your room, it seems).

That leads to the next question, do you want to use free standing front speakers and forget Atmos altogether? In that scenario, you invest in three speakers for the front and use only the rear in-ceiling speakers as your surround channels. That solution may be the least expensive of the group.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 06-25-2020 at 12:31 PM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-26-2020, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Well, you are looking at an angle between 60 and 70 degrees, depending on the speaker. Most speakers have an innate sound distribution cone that extends 30 degrees off axis, so that leaves you with about 40 degrees of angle to cover with the speaker itself. Bottom line, if you want to use those speakers, you will need to replace them with speakers that have a 45 degree angle built into their design to make them viable.

So, the question becomes, do you want to attempt to fix the current system by installing three new speakers in the ceiling, or do you want to employ free standing front speakers and use the ceiling speakers for Atmos? If the former, you will need three new highly angled speakers installed in your ceiling. These will be fairly expensive ($500ish each, give or take few hundred), and more than likely quite a bit larger than the current speakers. There may also be issues with installation, as the speakers need to be aimed on the diagonal to the ceiling joists. If the latter, then you will need to replace the L&R speakers and disconnect the center, as it will be unnecessary for Atmos. The Atmos speaker cost will be the same as above, and the overall cost (including new front speakers) will be greater. It also leaves you with no surround channels (and no place to put them in your room, it seems).

That leads to the next question, do you want to use free standing front speakers and forget Atmos altogether? In that scenario, you invest in three speakers for the front and use only the rear in-ceiling speakers as your surround channels. That solution may be the least expensive of the group.
Thank you for the reply and info. That certainly not what I was expecting to here... I was hoping this would be an easier fix/retrofit. I'm going to have to do some thinking on my options.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-26-2020, 09:01 AM
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Goat9132, out of curiosity, is the main listening position the couch on the 14' side, or the one on the 16' side, or neither?
Do you have the opportunity to change the location of the TV and rearrange the furniture?

Assuming that the fireplace is functional and you can't square that space out, consider putting the TV on an articulated mount on the wall to the right of the fireplace, as close a possible to the window.
Anything currently against that wall would have to be removed/relocated.
That would make the sofa on the 14' side the main viewing position. The TV will be off-center when flush against the wall, but the articulation could shift it to the right, partially blocking the window if you want it centered more for HT viewing.
That could give you space for separating L/R speakers and placing a center. I can't tell for certain, but it looks like there may be space for a speaker to the right of the window to face the room. The other speaker is on the wall as it clears the fireplace.
Surrounds could go near/on the 14' wall either on stands, or mounted on the column and wall.

That probably reduces seating/storage a bit without replacing furniture, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Are you going to put tower speakers on the two sides of the mantle, or on the floor next to the mantle (how will you accommodate the curtains, then?)? I really don't see a good place to put these speakers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Well, you are looking at an angle between 60 and 70 degrees, depending on the speaker. Most speakers have an innate sound distribution cone that extends 30 degrees off axis, so that leaves you with about 40 degrees of angle to cover with the speaker itself. Bottom line, if you want to use those speakers, you will need to replace them with speakers that have a 45 degree angle built into their design to make them viable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
Thank you for the reply and info. That certainly not what I was expecting to here... I was hoping this would be an easier fix/retrofit. I'm going to have to do some thinking on my options.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-26-2020, 12:59 PM
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Heya,

Based on the shape of the room, position of everything, etc, I don't see how floor standing towers can fit there without taking up too much floor space and not enough separation to get good imaging. Putting them on the hearth is too close likely for the size of room and the listening positions for imaging purposes I think.

Instead, I think I would do larger bookshelf speakers mounted on pivoting wall mounts and angle them directly at the listening positions averaged position. Let a sub handle the low frequencies placed wherever is ideal. You could put a center channel on the hearth, but I would not use a horizontal one, I would use a 3rd bookshelf identical speaker, vertical for that. Otherwise, forego the center. You could set the ceiling speakers to be front height and rear height, or rear surrounds for the effect, but I wouldn't try to make them into Atmos based on location from what I can tell.

Very best,
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philpoe View Post
Goat9132, out of curiosity, is the main listening position the couch on the 14' side, or the one on the 16' side, or neither?
Do you have the opportunity to change the location of the TV and rearrange the furniture?

Assuming that the fireplace is functional and you can't square that space out, consider putting the TV on an articulated mount on the wall to the right of the fireplace, as close a possible to the window.
Anything currently against that wall would have to be removed/relocated.
That would make the sofa on the 14' side the main viewing position. The TV will be off-center when flush against the wall, but the articulation could shift it to the right, partially blocking the window if you want it centered more for HT viewing.
That could give you space for separating L/R speakers and placing a center. I can't tell for certain, but it looks like there may be space for a speaker to the right of the window to face the room. The other speaker is on the wall as it clears the fireplace.
Surrounds could go near/on the 14' wall either on stands, or mounted on the column and wall.

That probably reduces seating/storage a bit without replacing furniture, though.
Hello,

We really don't want to move the TV. The two positions we use the most end up being the furthest away from the TV in the opposite corner of the TV by the stairs (one would be on the 14' wall and the other would be sitting 90degrees from that person on the 16' side with their back to the kitchen). Thank you for your input. I appreciate the help.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Heya,

Based on the shape of the room, position of everything, etc, I don't see how floor standing towers can fit there without taking up too much floor space and not enough separation to get good imaging. Putting them on the hearth is too close likely for the size of room and the listening positions for imaging purposes I think.

Instead, I think I would do larger bookshelf speakers mounted on pivoting wall mounts and angle them directly at the listening positions averaged position. Let a sub handle the low frequencies placed wherever is ideal. You could put a center channel on the hearth, but I would not use a horizontal one, I would use a 3rd bookshelf identical speaker, vertical for that. Otherwise, forego the center. You could set the ceiling speakers to be front height and rear height, or rear surrounds for the effect, but I wouldn't try to make them into Atmos based on location from what I can tell.

Very best,
Hi,

While it's far less than ideal, I'm thinking that directional in-ceiling speakers might get me the largest improvement without sacrificing the little extra space I have (where I was thinking tower speakers could go) and utilizing existing connections... There certainly isn't one glowing option to fix my issue. Maybe I should just scrap it and build a HT.. Oh, wait, that's right, my wife already vetoed that... Thanks for the input.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 10:13 AM
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Understood.
In that case, to get proper separation and facing the speakers towards the listeners as opposed to down-firing, you could consider mounting speakers on the walls or suspended from the ceiling, above the door and window frames.
For L/R, the beams look like good candidates for mounting positions, and can mask wire runs. The center could go above or below a new TV.
Surrounds are still a challenge unless you use the beams again, angling them down.
With the current ceiling locations, only the rear ones look feasible for 2 Atmos channels. It doesn't seem that you can easily get behind the MLP for 4 Atmos.

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Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
Hello,
We really don't want to move the TV. The two positions we use the most end up being the furthest away from the TV in the opposite corner of the TV by the stairs (one would be on the 14' wall and the other would be sitting 90degrees from that person on the 16' side with their back to the kitchen). Thank you for your input. I appreciate the help.
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 04:52 PM
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Given how this is playing out, you might consider the 3 channel passive soundbar approach. Even high quality versions will probably cost less than trying to retrofit the three in-ceiling speakers you already have (especially if you include labor to do the install). if you go with the soundbar, it removes the use of any additional space in the room and solves the problem of the sound projecting vertically instead of horizontally. Just let the front three speakers go unused, as even with a 45 degree angle, in-ceiling speakers tend to be less effective than horizontal facing speakers. The only change you would need to make to the layout is to raise the TV a few inches to accommodate the soundbar (or just put the soundbar above).

Quality options can be found from Golden Ear, Totem, Triad, James, Phase Tech, PSB, Paradigm .. to name a few.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-27-2020, 05:35 PM
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This may fit the bill as a "full featured" passive soundbar. It's certainly capable of going loud.
https://bicamerica.com/product/bic-f...-bar-soundbar/
It seems to be readily available well under half of the MSRP.
It would be interesting to see how effective the side-firing "surrounds" are if hooked up.

Looking back over your current equipment, do the AVR-S750H/S950H offer you much over the existing S730H?
If you stream via the Apple TV, you probably don't need eARC.
Is Dolby Height virtualizer worth anything to you? Bluetooth transmission is easily added inexpensively.

A big new sub may be in order. That's a really large open space.
If you try to combine 2, then you need a way to integrate them together, either by DSP, or an upgraded AVR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
Hello all,
I currently have:
Denon AVS-S730H receiver (purchased in 2017)
Klipsch R-105 10" sub (purchased in 2017)

My best guess at a budget:
$500 on a receiver
? mantle mounted center channel and tower front and/or rear speakers (if needed)?
? subwoofer (if needed)?

I'm considering:
Denon AVR-S750H
Denon AVR-S950H
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Given how this is playing out, you might consider the 3 channel passive soundbar approach. Even high quality versions will probably cost less than trying to retrofit the three in-ceiling speakers you already have (especially if you include labor to do the install). if you go with the soundbar, it removes the use of any additional space in the room and solves the problem of the sound projecting vertically instead of horizontally. Just let the front three speakers go unused, as even with a 45 degree angle, in-ceiling speakers tend to be less effective than horizontal facing speakers. The only change you would need to make to the layout is to raise the TV a few inches to accommodate the soundbar (or just put the soundbar above).
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philpoe View Post
This may fit the bill as a "full featured" passive soundbar. It's certainly capable of going loud.
https://bicamerica.com/product/bic-f...-bar-soundbar/
It seems to be readily available well under half of the MSRP.
It would be interesting to see how effective the side-firing "surrounds" are if hooked up.

Looking back over your current equipment, do the AVR-S750H/S950H offer you much over the existing S730H?
If you stream via the Apple TV, you probably don't need eARC.
Is Dolby Height virtualizer worth anything to you? Bluetooth transmission is easily added inexpensively.

A big new sub may be in order. That's a really large open space.
If you try to combine 2, then you need a way to integrate them together, either by DSP, or an upgraded AVR.
I'll do some reading on the passive soundbars. The only real reasons for a receiver upgrade were if I could achieve atmos in my room, and utilizing 4k signals since the TV would now support that (everything goes through my receiver right now with only one HDMI from the receiver to the TV).
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 12:39 PM
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I'm just making sure that I'm not missing something.
The AVR-S730H supported Atmos upon release, and with the latest firmware, supports all the 4K HDR standards that the current models do (HDR10, HLG, Doby Vision).
It can't overlay the GUI over 4K video, but otherwise it can do the same pass-through as current models.
If there's no other feature needed, you could save the cost of an AVR until you potentially need a bigger upgrade for something else later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
I'll do some reading on the passive soundbars. The only real reasons for a receiver upgrade were if I could achieve atmos in my room, and utilizing 4k signals since the TV would now support that (everything goes through my receiver right now with only one HDMI from the receiver to the TV).
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philpoe View Post
I'm just making sure that I'm not missing something.
The AVR-S730H supported Atmos upon release, and with the latest firmware, supports all the 4K HDR standards that the current models do (HDR10, HLG, Doby Vision).
It can't overlay the GUI over 4K video, but otherwise it can do the same pass-through as current models.
If there's no other feature needed, you could save the cost of an AVR until you potentially need a bigger upgrade for something else later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
I'll do some reading on the passive soundbars. The only real reasons for a receiver upgrade were if I could achieve atmos in my room, and utilizing 4k signals since the TV would now support that (everything goes through my receiver right now with only one HDMI from the receiver to the TV).
Well, I don’t know how I missed that... I’ll have to look at updating the receiver’s firmware. If I knew that at the time I ordered it, I’ve since forgot. Thanks!
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post #16 of 16 Old 06-28-2020, 01:37 PM
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Looking at this one more time, I think the follow up on the bigger/better sub is to investigate DIY end-table subwoofer builds.
If you google "VBSS end table" and "mini marty sub end table", you'll get an idea of what I mean.
Putting one where the current sub is, and replacing the end table by the chair near the fireplace could be worthwhile.
That would mean integrating them by hand with a DSP solution, or upgrading the AVR to something like the Denon AVR-X3500H.
The DSP is a much less expensive option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat9132 View Post
My best guess at a budget:
? subwoofer (if needed)?

TL;DR
Can anyone provide some suggestion on how to fix what I have to something updated/better?
What other components should I consider that keep in line with the price point of the tv and receiver and capabilities of the room?
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