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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of building a very basic dedicated home theater room and I've got a few questions as I move forward with the build. Note that framing incl. bulkheads complete, 1/2 of 120V and LV wiring complete.

Room Details:

-Dimensions 11'-4"x19'-6"x9' (WxLxH)

-12"x6' row 2 riser

-row 1 (sweet spot) ~13' from screen, row 2 ~ 17' from screen

-light controlled (no ambient light, dark carpet and walls)

-7 to 9 in wall speakers, monoprice inwall

- PSW505 Polk Audio Sub .

-100" 'Screen Goo' screen ( high contrast )

-Projector, Epson 8350 or 8700ub (or waiting for new releases in late September/October) mounted ~13' from screen above row 1

-Amp, Onkyo HTRC260, was considering upgrading to Onkyo 1009


This is my second home theater - for the first the focus was sound proofing and so I did the insulated ducts with 3 bends, room-in-a-room construction, quiet putty around outlets, double drywall, etc. etc. For my new theater, my focus was to keep it basic and to make it somewhat aesthetically pleasing. Also I was looking to have a smaller screen (last one approx. 115") for a somewhat brighter and improved image.


I thought I had the whole thing planned but I wanted to double check a few things before I got too carried away... namely:

-What is your experience with a 100" screen given the seating distances (row 1 ~13', row 2 ~18'). I've checked all the distance rules THX, etc and realize I'll eventually just have to try it to figure what works best for me, but your experience would be appreciated.

-are the front speakers too close to the perpendicular walls. They are about 6" away, much below the 2' recommended but I'm not crazy about doing a bunch of acoustical treatments to the room. Should I sacrifice having them at ear height for moving them further from the walls, i.e. put them under the screen?

-should I angle the front L+R speakers towards the sweet spot in the room by constructing angled buildouts in the corners of the room?

-should I use the center speaker I already have instead of one of the inwalls linked to above for my center channel and install 9.1 channel surround sound? I'll be pre-wiring for it anyway, and have the speakers for it, the amp I could grab later.

-Will the monoprice center channel speaker sound better as a center channel than using one of the 3-way in walls I've got?


I realize it's all going to be my call and a matter of figuring out what works best for me and testing a lot of it, but any suggestions, input, or words of advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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You don't see many theaters built with all in-wall speakers. You might think about floor speakers. I can't attest to the quality of the monoprice speakers but going down that road limits your future upgrade potential and also limits your ability to move around the speakers once your room is live.


In general, the forum tends to frown on the Polk sub-woofers because of the poor sound quality. For under $200, the BIC F12 seems to be a crowd favorite. BIC F12 I have the BIC F12 and like it a lot.....the same is true for the EPSON 8350 projector.


You could also go the DIY route on the screen for a few $$ more. Seymour sells the older XD material for $12 per foot which would allow you to place the front speakers behind the screen. Just something to consider.
 

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If you watch a lot of letter-boxed content (2.35 format movies) you may be disappointed in the screen size. I had a 100 inch 16:9 screen and sat 11 ft from the screen and felt it was too small. I switched to a 116 inch wide 2.35 format screen which is the same height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input. It helps.


For the 100" screen, I think you're right. I need to go up a bit. The biggest I can do for my room (with currently designed speaker locations) is 106". Not a huge increase, but should make some difference. This setup would have the front L+R speakers a mere 4" from perpindicular walls though.


As for the speakers/sub - unfortunately, I have already purchased the in-wall speakers, sacrificing sound quality for arguably (depending on perspective, wife or guy) better room aesthetics. I know in-walls are like the plague around here. The sub I'm taking from an existing system, so I'm stuck with that too. Also for the screen, since I already have the screen goo, I'm stuck with it too and wouldn't be able to do an AT screen... guess I should've posted sooner!


Really the only things I can change at this point are:

-7.1 or 9.1

-angling the inwall speakers with buildouts towards the listening position

-using an actual center channel speaker for a center channel instead of using a speaker matched to the other inwall speakers

-moving the front L+R channels below the screen to keep them further from the perpindicular walls and allowing a larger screen

-projector

-screen substrate (considering e-panel, sintra, gatorfoam or basic drywall).
 

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Quote:
Really the only things I can change at this point are:

-7.1 or 9.1

You certainly don't have room on your screen wall for a pair of width speakers. I guess you could add a pair of heighth speakers but I personally remain skeptical that discreet heighth channels will add enough to the sound field to justify the cost and complexity.

Quote:
-angling the inwall speakers with buildouts towards the listening position

Without some measured response curves, or at least some actual listening experience, there is a real limit on what useful advice we can offer. Some speakers sound better when toed in toward the main listening position. Some sound better when they are not toed in (as would be the case, for example, if the on-axis treble response is a little too "hot").


If you build angled baffles that do not extend beyond the plane of the wall, you might get some weird diffraction as the sound wave interacts with the corner between the angled baffle and the wall. If you go with angled baffles, you would probably be better off to have the outside corner of the baffle stick out beyond the plane of the wall, rather than having the inside corner of the baffle recessed behind the plane of the wall.


I think your efforts would be better spent building backboxes for the inwall speakers, instead of messing with angled baffles.

Quote:
-using an actual center channel speaker for a center channel instead of using a speaker matched to the other inwall speakers

In terms of the sound of the system, three matching LCR speakers are generally considered ideal. That way you're less likely to notice differences in speaker timbre as sound pans from side to side. Horizontal center channels are almost always a compromise made for the sake of appearance, not because they sound better. In fact, most 2-way horizontal center channel speakers have off-axis response that is notably worse than an equivalent vertical speaker.

Quote:
-moving the front L+R channels below the screen to keep them further from the perpindicular walls and allowing a larger screen

Moving the LR speakers below the screen might help with early reflections from the side walls but it would also put the LR speakers too close together for good channel separation at your main listening location. You have so little width to work with that an ideal arrangement is probably just not possible. If it were me, I would likely leave the speakers flanking the screen.
 

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Another consideration for this space. You are planning a DIY screen, why not plan an AT screen and get the fabric from SeymourAV.com. Then you can position the speakers elevated behind the screen and further from the side walls.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/20866432


Another consideration for this space. You are planning a DIY screen, why not plan an AT screen and get the fabric from SeymourAV.com. Then you can position the speakers elevated behind the screen and further from the side walls.

That was my point....AT was a decision I struggled with during my planning process. I rolled the dice (thanks to input from BIG) and it made a world of difference. Set aside the aesthetics, there is something about having the dialogue tied to the center of the screen that make a world of difference. I would never even consider building a theater without an AT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dwightp and everyone, thanks so much for the input.


I was considering height speakers, but it sounds like I'd be better off using a matching speaker for the center channel and keeping with a 7.1 setup. I'll still pre-wire for it though.


Moving the speakers below the screen may reduce the reflection issue, but as you say would reduce my channel separation (would have about 7' between L+R channels) and the speakers would be well below ear level.


Angling the front L+R in walls sounds like it would likely be a waste of effort and I wasn't crazy about the look of it anyway, so I'll stick with flush mounting the front L+R channels on the screen wall at a 4" distance from the perpindicular wall.


As for the AT screen, I had considered an AT screen - you would suggest something like the Center Stage XD Fabric? That would resolve the issues - increase screen size at will, move speakers further from wall while keeping at ear height, center channel placed at ear height. The problem is, I've already purchased screen goo for my screen which would destroy the acoustically transparent properties of the fabric and I understand that acoustically transparent screens do give up a little in pq vs. traditional screens. I think I'll have to stick with my current setup but for my next room, I'll definitely look at acoustically transparent fabric.


-anyone use this 'e-panel' stuff for a screen substrate? I've searched the forum and haven't come up with anything. It's a little cheaper than Gatorfoam and is apparently flat and paintable.

-and projector suggestions? I hope to achieve dark blacks which the 8700 ub does well but I've read because of the additional processing, it's maybe not the best for gaming. (Room use: 50% gaming, 25% hdtv, 25% movies)
 
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