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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a fairly compact townhome with an open layout. The placement of the TV and open layout make it difficult to fit large speakers and to run surround wires.

Here's a view of my living room. The red circles are the locations of the speakers.

Here's the TV. It's 55", and I end up sitting 14 feet away from it. There isn't room for larger speakers, and the current speakers prevent me from upgrading to a 65" tv. I also have to run cables across a main thoroughfare in the house just to get surround.

This is what the rear surrounds currently look like. There's yet another ugly cable running across the ground here, and I've had people/dogs knock over the speaker that's on a stand.

And this is what the wall to the viewer's right looks like. The red circle is a place where I've thought about running speaker wire to. The garage is below this room, and wires can be run there.


I'm not totally sure what to do about this room to fit better speakers and hide the wires better. There are very few usable walls in this house due to the compact layout. There's a garage below this room, and there are bedrooms above it. The two options I've considered are....
  1. Get a sonos setup. This is far from ideal, but it would enable me to hide the wires and move all of the front speakers below the tv so that I can use more horizontal room for a larger tv. I could put the surround speakers on the bookshelf and kitchen counter. The new sonos has side-firing speakers, and one of those would likely be blocked by the wall of the tv nook
  2. Lower my mantel and mount the tv on a drop-down mount. This is also suboptimal. I'd get to use larger speakers, but the tv would be way too high. I don't think I could attach a reasonable center speaker to a pull-down mantel mount
I'd love to hear some thoughts about how to set this room up. It's kind of a lose-lose for home theater. Thanks in advance!
 

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By no means an expert but have you thought of putting the surrounds in the ceiling. I know not perfect and I don’t like ceiling speakers in general but for surrounds (especially if you are not doing atmos) could work in situations where hard to place any surround speakers due to wiring issues?

My wife wants to move house and most houses we have seen I would most likely have to make that compromise as well for surround.

I was thinking dipole / bipolar would be good in ceiling to diffuse the sound so harder to isolate etc?

You could also consider a passive soundbar which has front left, right and centre built in and then connect to a receiver?


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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response! I've definitely thought of utilizing the ceiling, but I seem to get mixed responses from local home theater people that I've asked about it. They all seem to think that going into the ceiling will be a huge mess.

I think the ceiling has mostly been brought up in the context of mounting the tv over the fireplace. Perhaps it would be more feasible if the tv stayed where it was. A part of their concerns are the joists (and they don't actually know which direction they run).
 

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Thanks for the response! I've definitely thought of utilizing the ceiling, but I seem to get mixed responses from local home theater people that I've asked about it. They all seem to think that going into the ceiling will be a huge mess.

I think the ceiling has mostly been brought up in the context of mounting the tv over the fireplace. Perhaps it would be more feasible if the tv stayed where it was. A part of their concerns are the joists (and they don't actually know which direction they run).
You have so much open space that is so contra Home Theater like look making it so tough on you. My wild card suggestion is a pair of good surround sound headphones.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You have so much open space that is so contra Home Theater like look making it so tough on you. My wild card suggestion is a pair of good surround sound headphones.
Thanks for the suggestion! I'll certainly keep that in mind. I don't know if it would suit my desire to watch surround movies with multiple people, and I'd be slightly concerned about comfort. If I can't get surround to happen at all, I'll take that approach.
 

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My wildcard suggestion is to just get a crazy good LCR with some big house shaking bass. The combo should get loud enough and shake the house enough that you wont notice no rear surrounds :) . Something like DIYSG 1099's and a couple of 18" subs lol.
 

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Buy a nice AVR with Bluetooth/wireless capabilities along with wireless speakers? Maybe some others will chime in. TV and AVR with ARC.
 

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Thanks for the response! I've definitely thought of utilizing the ceiling, but I seem to get mixed responses from local home theater people that I've asked about it. They all seem to think that going into the ceiling will be a huge mess.

I think the ceiling has mostly been brought up in the context of mounting the tv over the fireplace. Perhaps it would be more feasible if the tv stayed where it was. A part of their concerns are the joists (and they don't actually know which direction they run).

I think I would prefer a Sonos wireless system or ceiling surrounds than putting the Tv over a fireplace. Especially now that the new Sonos just came out.

I have had friends install ceiling for atmos after a house was fully finished and they turned out well and they said fairly easy. May be worth looking into.


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Lower my mantel and mount the tv on a drop-down mount. This is also suboptimal. I'd get to use larger speakers, but the tv would be way too high. I don't think I could attach a reasonable center speaker to a pull-down mantel mount
- So,you would consider moving the TV above the fireplace? Cuz it's really jammed into that stairwell-adjacent spot, it's a bit peculiar. Then you could put in-walls outside the windows (no rooms behind, seems outdoors??), pull out the floor molding and hollow with a router to run the wires invisibly. To fit a matching in-wall center yeah you'd probably have to lower the mantel and for acoustic shorten it would be better. And one speaker would end up near the stairwell, maybe blasting some sound up that. The alternative would be towers under the windows.
- In-wall has the disadvantage that the wall cavities aren't the best enclosures. However, you eliminate the entire set of early reflections, which from my previous experience is nice for imaging and clean sound. Sonance even has an "invisible series" whose predecessors I worked on that can be flushed into the wall and painted over. Not cheap, but quite a parlor trick, and very good high frequency dispersion
- I'd like to see a picture taken from in front of the fireplace showing the two opposite corners. Those views of the room are missing, and could have workable speaker spots.
- If bedrooms above, forget in-ceiling, sound will bleed. Maybe even with a back box. ON-ceiling would be out of the way though.
- The surround channels as not *as* critical so I think Bluetooth is logical. This implies some more pictures are needed, of the ceiling, because the question then becomes where and are there any down lights to pull power from. And/or which way do the joists run, and can an electrician get power up there. There are a number of wireless transmitter/receiver kits to make surrounds wireless, but somehow they will all need power.
- Even though surrounds aren't as critical, it's still better if they are not extremely tiny. As a loudspeaker engineer, my belief is life begins at 5" or more like 6.5" really.

If you keep the TV where it is, it seems the TV is mounted on the wall, not the stand? Because you don't have much equipment, surely you can find a narrower stand. Then there are any number of good towers you can fit, which ones depending on budget. With that narrow spacing, a center channel is not too relevant, though you could put one on the top of the new narrower stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My wildcard suggestion is to just get a crazy good LCR with some big house shaking bass. The combo should get loud enough and shake the house enough that you wont notice no rear surrounds :) . Something like DIYSG 1099's and a couple of 18" subs lol.
That would be sick! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how I could fit such a system.

Buy a nice AVR with Bluetooth/wireless capabilities along with wireless speakers? Maybe some others will chime in. TV and AVR with ARC.
I've looked into that a bit. Actually fitting the speakers is still a problem for the front speakers. I think there are options where I could use wireless for just the surround speakers. I'll definitely look into that more.

I think I would prefer a Sonos wireless system or ceiling surrounds than putting the Tv over a fireplace. Especially now that the new Sonos just came out.

I have had friends install ceiling for atmos after a house was fully finished and they turned out well and they said fairly easy. May be worth looking into.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks! I'm definitely considering the new sonos system. They're expensive, and not ideal, but it would definitely solve some of my problems. It would also clear up room on the sides of the tv so that I can fit a 65" screen.

- So,you would consider moving the TV above the fireplace? Cuz it's really jammed into that stairwell-adjacent spot, it's a bit peculiar. Then you could put in-walls outside the windows (no rooms behind, seems outdoors??), pull out the floor molding and hollow with a router to run the wires invisibly. To fit a matching in-wall center yeah you'd probably have to lower the mantel and for acoustic shorten it would be better. And one speaker would end up near the stairwell, maybe blasting some sound up that. The alternative would be towers under the windows.
- In-wall has the disadvantage that the wall cavities aren't the best enclosures. However, you eliminate the entire set of early reflections, which from my previous experience is nice for imaging and clean sound. Sonance even has an "invisible series" whose predecessors I worked on that can be flushed into the wall and painted over. Not cheap, but quite a parlor trick, and very good high frequency dispersion
- I'd like to see a picture taken from in front of the fireplace showing the two opposite corners. Those views of the room are missing, and could have workable speaker spots.
- If bedrooms above, forget in-ceiling, sound will bleed. Maybe even with a back box. ON-ceiling would be out of the way though.
- The surround channels as not *as* critical so I think Bluetooth is logical. This implies some more pictures are needed, of the ceiling, because the question then becomes where and are there any down lights to pull power from. And/or which way do the joists run, and can an electrician get power up there. There are a number of wireless transmitter/receiver kits to make surrounds wireless, but somehow they will all need power.
- Even though surrounds aren't as critical, it's still better if they are not extremely tiny. As a loudspeaker engineer, my belief is life begins at 5" or more like 6.5" really.

If you keep the TV where it is, it seems the TV is mounted on the wall, not the stand? Because you don't have much equipment, surely you can find a narrower stand. Then there are any number of good towers you can fit, which ones depending on budget. With that narrow spacing, a center channel is not too relevant, though you could put one on the top of the new narrower stand.
I would definitely consider moving the tv above the fireplace, provided that it wouldn't be too high. Right now, the mantel is 55" high. I'd need to get a contractor to come out to see if I could lower it while still keeping things up to code, but I suspect that I could lower it by around 12-15". It might still be too high for viewing from about 8 feet away, especially if I have a center channel below it. Thanks for the tips! I'll consider those surround layouts, and I'll snap some more pictures later.

The tv is mounted on a post that is a part of the stand. It's probably a foot or so from the wall. If it was all the way on the wall, it would actually be somewhat difficult to see it from the right side of the room.
 

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That would be sick! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how I could fit such a system.



I've looked into that a bit. Actually fitting the speakers is still a problem for the front speakers. I think there are options where I could use wireless for just the surround speakers. I'll definitely look into that more.



Thanks! I'm definitely considering the new sonos system. They're expensive, and not ideal, but it would definitely solve some of my problems. It would also clear up room on the sides of the tv so that I can fit a 65" screen.



I would definitely consider moving the tv above the fireplace, provided that it wouldn't be too high. Right now, the mantel is 55" high. I'd need to get a contractor to come out to see if I could lower it while still keeping things up to code, but I suspect that I could lower it by around 12-15". It might still be too high for viewing from about 8 feet away, especially if I have a center channel below it. Thanks for the tips! I'll consider those surround layouts, and I'll snap some more pictures later.

The tv is mounted on a post that is a part of the stand. It's probably a foot or so from the wall. If it was all the way on the wall, it would actually be somewhat difficult to see it from the right side of the room.

You can also get mounts above the fireplace and they dropdown in front for viewing so at the preferred height. They can also hold smaller sound bars (Sonos etc). My father has one and it’s pretty good.


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Discussion Starter #12
You can also get mounts above the fireplace and they dropdown in front for viewing so at the preferred height. They can also hold smaller sound bars (Sonos etc). My father has one and it’s pretty good.


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Yeah, I've looked into those as well. It's unclear if I could fit a more traditional center channel speaker on one of those, but I'm definitely investigating the option. I guess I'm trying to figure out if I'd be making a huge change to my mantel and trading one downside (surround wires and no space for LCR speakers) for another downside (center channel can't fit, is in the wrong place, or tv is too high).

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
- So,you would consider moving the TV above the fireplace? Cuz it's really jammed into that stairwell-adjacent spot, it's a bit peculiar. Then you could put in-walls outside the windows (no rooms behind, seems outdoors??), pull out the floor molding and hollow with a router to run the wires invisibly. To fit a matching in-wall center yeah you'd probably have to lower the mantel and for acoustic shorten it would be better. And one speaker would end up near the stairwell, maybe blasting some sound up that. The alternative would be towers under the windows.
- In-wall has the disadvantage that the wall cavities aren't the best enclosures. However, you eliminate the entire set of early reflections, which from my previous experience is nice for imaging and clean sound. Sonance even has an "invisible series" whose predecessors I worked on that can be flushed into the wall and painted over. Not cheap, but quite a parlor trick, and very good high frequency dispersion
- I'd like to see a picture taken from in front of the fireplace showing the two opposite corners. Those views of the room are missing, and could have workable speaker spots.
- If bedrooms above, forget in-ceiling, sound will bleed. Maybe even with a back box. ON-ceiling would be out of the way though.
- The surround channels as not *as* critical so I think Bluetooth is logical. This implies some more pictures are needed, of the ceiling, because the question then becomes where and are there any down lights to pull power from. And/or which way do the joists run, and can an electrician get power up there. There are a number of wireless transmitter/receiver kits to make surrounds wireless, but somehow they will all need power.
- Even though surrounds aren't as critical, it's still better if they are not extremely tiny. As a loudspeaker engineer, my belief is life begins at 5" or more like 6.5" really.

If you keep the TV where it is, it seems the TV is mounted on the wall, not the stand? Because you don't have much equipment, surely you can find a narrower stand. Then there are any number of good towers you can fit, which ones depending on budget. With that narrow spacing, a center channel is not too relevant, though you could put one on the top of the new narrower stand.

I snapped a picture of the fireplace. It's actually difficult to get the corners into the frame, but they're just outside. The mantel is 55" high.

https://i.imgur.com/DSk4FfC.jpg
 

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I mounted my television a little high because of the grand kids. I bought a simple mount that allowed me to tilt the television down towards the seating area so that I am not off axis and I am not killing my neck. That would work over the mantle and allow for a shorter viewing distance in your room. AVR equipment goes to the side. Floor speakers next to the mantle and run phantom center or mount the center over TV and angled down. Pick up another piece of that Panduit floor guard in brown (to somewhat match the floor or get wood look vinyl wrap over what you have) for short run over to the carpet and then run the perimeter of the carpet if you don't want to go into floor. Rear surrounds to the rear/side of the couch (and wire up through carpet) and now those are also out of floor traffic pattern.

None of this would be expensive and would work even if not optimal.

My two cents...
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I mounted my television a little high because of the grand kids. I bought a simple mount that allowed me to tilt the television down towards the seating area so that I am not off axis and I am not killing my neck. That would work over the mantle and allow for a shorter viewing distance in your room. AVR equipment goes to the side. Floor speakers next to the mantle and run phantom center or mount the center over TV and angled down. Pick up another piece of that Panduit floor guard in brown (to somewhat match the floor or get wood look vinyl wrap over what you have) for short run over to the carpet and then run the perimeter of the carpet if you don't want to go into floor. Rear surrounds to the rear/side of the couch (and wire up through carpet) and now those are also out of floor traffic pattern.

None of this would be expensive and would work even if not optimal.

My two cents...
Thanks for the suggestion! This is a concept I've been kicking around in my head a lot. The main blocker are the center channel and the height of the tv. I'd need to figure out how high I could mount my tv and still be comfortable. I was considering a pull-down mount, but that makes a center channel more difficult to figure out. I've got an older set of B&W 802s that my dad gave me, and I've been trying to figure out how I could match a center speaker to them and still use a pull down mount. I don't think I could mount a tv over the mantel without lowering the mantel or using a pull-down mount.

Thanks again for the suggestion. I think I need to weight the pros and cons of all of these approaches and figure out which of the tradeoffs are truly deal breakers. I'm considering foregoing surround sound entirely and just going with stereo speakers around the fireplace and a pull-down mount.
 
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