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Now that I'm leaning more towards bookshelves, would the RP-600M, RP-600C and RP-500SA be a well-matched combo? I'm thinking that an angled surround speaker is going to help direct the sound down and forward towards the listening position. It seems pretty easy to grab this set from Crutchfield for an in-home test.
Sounds good! If you wanted an even better center, you could try their 504C which I think Crutchfield carries too.
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
@sigpig @altpensacola @Zorba922 I'm thinking about picking up a 3.0 setup from Crutchfield right now while the Klipsch sale is going on. I'd prefer the RP-504C over the RP-600C, but my placement here is limited to the top of the cabinet (installation begins Friday) which is only 16" deep, leaving only an inch and change from the back of the 504 to the wall. In that case, would it be better to get the 600C since it's a little shallower, even if it's technically a "worse" speaker? Or take one step down from the 504C to the 404C, which is an inch and a half shallower?
 

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I think somebody (maybe you) mentioned the cylindrical sub earlier, but I had brushed it aside thinking I was going to focus on towers for the mains. However, that may work well with the bookshelf left and right channels on the cabinet, and a cylinder (eventually) on either side.
I ended up with the cylindrical because it gave me a lot more flexibility in placement with a 16" diameter.
 

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
Also, a quick search here for front-ported speakers resulted in some praise for HTD's Level Three series, as well as Focal Chorus (although Focal classifies these as music speakers, not home theater). They look promising as well, front-ported so fewer concerns about near wall placement, 88-89 dB sensitivity, 8 ohms. Any reason these shouldn't be in contention?

And yes, @guitarjim, the Triangle Boreas came up as well. It seems these are always reviewed by audio hi-fi enthusiasts and not as often by home theater reviewers.
 

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If you have the room for the 504C, then go for it. It's actually BETTER to have the centre speaker overhang the console table to help prevent early reflections - it helps for sound (voice) clarity. I would stay away from their "Atmos-enabled" speakers, as they don't have any meaningful specifications on their site. Without those basic specs, it makes me distrust the manufacturer. A pair of RP-400M speakers would work a LOT better for your surrounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
If you have the room for the 504C, then go for it. It's actually BETTER to have the centre speaker overhang the console table to help prevent early reflections - it helps for sound (voice) clarity. I would stay away from their "Atmos-enabled" speakers, as they don't have any meaningful specifications on their site. Without those basic specs, it makes me distrust the manufacturer. A pair of RP-400M speakers would work a LOT better for your surrounds.
OK, if I have the 504C overhang slightly (could probably get away with a couple of inches), then I still have less than 4 inches clearance from the port to the rear wall. Is this so terrible that I should look to downsize the speaker? I could drop down to the 404C or 600C if staying with Reference Premier, or the HTD Level Three, Focal Chorus, and Triangle Borea are all smaller and front-ported, which would hopefully improve performance in that position. I've also just come across the RSL CG25 or CG23, but not done any research there yet.

Also, I'd much prefer the surrounds to be stand-mounted behind and to either side of the couch, but due to the room layout, I don't believe I will have that option. Wall-mounting them may be my only choice, and along with WAF considerations, I think a wedge-shaped speaker would help direct the audio forward and down towards the listening position, as well as not be such an eyesore. I didn't notice the lack of specs on those speakers, which is a bit odd/concerning.
 

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OK, if I have the 504C overhang slightly (could probably get away with a couple of inches), then I still have less than 4 inches clearance from the port to the rear wall. Is this so terrible that I should look to downsize the speaker? I could drop down to the 404C or 600C if staying with Reference Premier, or the HTD Level Three, Focal Chorus, and Triangle Borea are all smaller and front-ported, which would hopefully improve performance in that position. I've also just come across the RSL CG25 or CG23, but not done any research there yet.

Also, I'd much prefer the surrounds to be stand-mounted behind and to either side of the couch, but due to the room layout, I don't believe I will have that option. Wall-mounting them may be my only choice, and along with WAF considerations, I think a wedge-shaped speaker would help direct the audio forward and down towards the listening position, as well as not be such an eyesore. I didn't notice the lack of specs on those speakers, which is a bit odd/concerning.
Crossover of 80 or 100hz takes most of the port contribution out so a couple of inches of clearance will be fine.
 

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Have you thought of in-wall surrounds?
HTD Versa are some good on-wall speakers, and so are the Monitor Audio Radius (but a bit more expensive).
Elac Debut 2.0 4.2 speakers are designed to be placed on-wall with a down-firing port. No idea on frequency response and max SPL though.
Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 SE speakers are another great option: HTM-200 SE Home Theater Monitor
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Have you thought of in-wall surrounds?
HTD Versa are some good on-wall speakers, and so are the Monitor Audio Radius (but a bit more expensive).
Elac Debut 2.0 4.2 speakers are designed to be placed on-wall with a down-firing port. No idea on frequency response and max SPL though.
Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 SE speakers are another great option: HTM-200 SE Home Theater Monitor
I'm not sure traditional in-wall or on-wall surrounds would work because they will likely be placed fairly high above the listening position and would need to be angled downwards significantly. Here are some photos of the room and viewing/listening area (obviously still a work in progress, chandeliers should arrive in a month, built-in media cabinet and feature wall begins this Friday, backsplash in a week or two). Since I'm sticking with 5.1, I imagine the surrounds would be placed where I have indicated with the red Xs.


3046654

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3046656
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Crossover of 80 or 100hz takes most of the port contribution out so a couple of inches of clearance will be fine.
OK good to know, I probably won't have subs right away, but I'm buying with the expectation that one (or hopefully two) will be added at some point down the road.
 

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I'm not sure traditional in-wall or on-wall surrounds would work because they will likely be placed fairly high above the listening position and would need to be angled downwards significantly.
How about using compact bookshelves hanging down from the ceiling, angled downwards? This person used Ascend 200SE and was quite happy with them:
3046663
 

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I'm not sure my wife would go for that, and I'm not really crazy about it either.
Well, you could use compact white speakers (e.g. RSL CG5 or CG3) and L-brackets on the walls to point them downwards. At least for the critical front 3; the surrounds can be in-walls or in-ceilings, doesn't really matter.

Either that, or live with the inherent compromises of high-mounted in-walls or soundbars. And don't let anybody kid you that there won't be any compromises with either of those, no matter how much you spend.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Well, you could use compact white speakers (e.g. RSL CG5 or CG3) and L-brackets on the walls to point them downwards. At least for the critical front 3; the surrounds can be in-walls or in-ceilings, doesn't really matter.

Either that, or live with the inherent compromises of high-mounted in-walls or soundbars. And don't let anybody kid you that there won't be any compromises with either of those, no matter how much you spend.
I think I'm happy with the LCR living on top of the cabinet, I'll audition the Klipsch system and those others that are front ported and see what works best. Only the surrounds are really challenging due to the open floor plan, and I feel ok with that compromise of wall mounting them. I am not settling for a soundbar, as much as my wife wishes I would!
 

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I thought 92 dB was very sensitive. Are there more sensitive speakers than that??
Nor do you necessarily need VERY sensitive speakers---anything around 90-92db will be fine and easily fit your $2500 budget, unless you are a confirmed volume freak...I'd suggest using an SPL Meter (or download an app for it) to measure your actual preferred listening volumes first.
 

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I've had high rear surrounds pointing downward for a long time and like them in a 5.1 setup. You could do in-wall RSL C34e (or whatever it is) and point them downward to help out. I think you would like that. Of course, if you ever go to 5.1.2+ that would need to change.
 

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A pair of in-ceiling speakers for your surround channels would probably be the best option, but it looks like the ceiling is already finished, and you probably don't want to be cutting holes into the drywall right now.
Those surround positions you marked are probably be the best you can do without resorting to bookshelf speakers on stands on either side of your couch. I would actually suggest bi-pole speakers up there, as they will fill the room more, and you're not looking for pin-point accuracy in the sound signal.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
A pair of in-ceiling speakers for your surround channels would probably be the best option, but it looks like the ceiling is already finished, and you probably don't want to be cutting holes into the drywall right now.
Those surround positions you marked are probably be the best you can do without resorting to bookshelf speakers on stands on either side of your couch. I would actually suggest bi-pole speakers up there, as they will fill the room more, and you're not looking for pin-point accuracy in the sound signal.
I just had an electrician here today who ran some wire before my floating cabinet installation: one to each rear corner (near the red X in my photos) and one each to the coffered ceiling sections above my couch. So, I really can do either wall-mounted or in-ceiling surrounds. I always thought in-ceiling was a fairly significant compromise, so I'd been prioritizing the wall-mount option, but I have both options available to me now.
 

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I just had an electrician here today who ran some wire before my floating cabinet installation: one to each rear corner (near the red X in my photos) and one each to the coffered ceiling sections above my couch. So, I really can do either wall-mounted or in-ceiling surrounds. I always thought in-ceiling was a fairly significant compromise, so I'd been prioritizing the wall-mount option, but I have both options available to me now.
If you plan to do Atmos later, then I'd do wall mounted surrounds.

If not, in-ceiling surrounds will be fine, they do such a miniscule % of the output anyhow.
 
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