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Discussion Starter #1
We have an unfinished basement we are going to build out for a host of uses, and we're designing a space for theater use. It's not a purist dedicated theater room, but I'm trying to find the balance between performance and the desire for a casual but big place for a bunch of people watching at once.

The attached image shows the rough order layout, and we're going to have something like an 82-85" TV with Paradigm Reference Studio 60 floor standing FR & FL speakers and a nice big Reference CC-690 center channel that will be visible right in front. I'm still working on where the sub will go.

Here's the catch, we don't really have a good place for wall mounted side or rear speakers, as there's going to be a kitchen with an island bar that some people could sit behind the sectional to watch. So, we need to go with in ceiling speakers for everything but the front.

Using some directional speakers or careful placement of the speakers anywhere along the ceiling, could I get an overhead setup that would give us the ability to give the feeling of a lower-level setup perhaps through directional ceiling speakers? I'm up for 2, 4, 6 or 8 speakers if needed, but they'd have to go in the ceiling. Thanks!

I'd really appreciate any help!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
These are some great ideas. Thank you!

It seems there are some interesting choices out there. I?m still looking at these and considering. I?m not sure the ?at ceiling? will work because of the kitchen at the rear that has a backsplash that goes to the ceiling, but I really like the way they work.

Are there other in ceiling directional speakers that could make sense, and what would people recommend for placement in my space?

Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This was all helpful, but I'm still a bit confused.

There are two types of speakers I'm thinking about for the sides and for the rears. There are multiple brands, but I'll use Definitive Technology as an example:

Do you like either of these conceptually vs a straight downward facing speaker, and which would you put well behind the seating position and which would you put beside the seating position? I could see a case for using all four RCS, maybe a set of each, and possibly even all four RSS. I'm reasonably sure that all those cases don't make sense. I'm trying to get as close as I can in a speaker system that only has the fronts as freestanding speakers (thinking of doing a pair of in wall subs).

Thanks for any ideas!
 

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just one person's experience, but when i first replaced my rear bookshelves with in-ceiling speakers i found they actually enhanced the sound and i've never looked back. they felt a lot more 'airy' and 'spacious' being up high. i could see it being an issue if they were directly overhead, but in the ceiling and back 6feet, or to the side a few feet, i didn't get the impression of 'height' but the impression of 'space'.

as for types, again no expert, just one opinion. but those speakers are a bit niche as they are designed for very specific situations. like an angled speaker is an interesting idea, but how do you know it's at the right angle? I'd prefer one with an adjustable tweeter, rather than a fixed angle, for that reason. the dipole designs are suppose to create a more spacious and less localized image. this was pretty popular with 5.1 systems, to kind of blur the sound in behind the listener as well. personally, i never enjoyed these. i always felt it was a bandaid solution, and not that we have 7.1 and atmos, it's a bandaid to a problem that no longer exists. having 'real' speakers behind you that can accurately locate sounds is a lot cooler than having a vague cloud of sounds somewhere behind you. but, the dipole speakers would be more popular as an in-wall speaker placed as a side surround. the angled design i'm not sure about, but my gut feeling is they would be in-ceiling placed well behind the listening position

i'm currently using pretty standard coaxial speakers. the tweeters are adjustable, and i have my side surrounds(which are mounted in the wall only about an inch below the ceiling) aim slightly downward, the rear surrounds(in-ceiling) aimed forwards towards the seats, and the four atmos speakers(in-ceiling) aimed straight down. My front stage is traditional speakers placed behind the AT screen.

in my last home, i installed a pair of these monoprice in-ceilings and was very impressed: https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=109&cp_id=10837&cs_id=1083703&p_id=4619&seq=1&format=2

they were installed due to a limitation of not having anywhere to mount rear speakers when i had to flip the room around. i quickly discovered they sounded great, and when i moved i built my theater with the intention of using as many in-wall/in-ceiling speakers as i could.

i don't really want to suggest a specific model, as i have no idea what your budget, tastes, or demands are. but i will say, i no longer place a large $$ value on surround speakers. back in the day, i tried to have rear speakers that were just as good as the front speakers, and honestly i think i just ended up with a mediocre system all around. now i have very cheap surround speakers, which allowed me to spend more elsewhere, and it's without question a better overall experience for me. for me, those monoprice speakers were a good compromise and a great value. they never sounded cheap to me, especially not when used as surround speakers. I installed some $30 a pair vector in-ceilings in the bathroom, and they were noticeably of lower quality, though still fine for a bathroom, imo. i'm currently using some no-name brand ones from amazon, and i was again surprised at how well they performed for the price. nowhere near good enough to suit a front soundstage, but i've never experienced a sweeping sound that took me out of the movie because the rear/surround speakers couldn't keep up to the fronts. I'd still give the edge to the monoprice speakers, but they have practically doubled in price here in canada, so what was once a great deal, is now basically the same as me buying a brand name speaker from a box store.
 

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We have an unfinished basement we are going to build out for a host of uses, and we're designing a space for theater use. It's not a purist dedicated theater room, but I'm trying to find the balance between performance and the desire for a casual but big place for a bunch of people watching at once.

The attached image shows the rough order layout, and we're going to have something like an 82-85" TV with Paradigm Reference Studio 60 floor standing FR & FL speakers and a nice big Reference CC-690 center channel that will be visible right in front. I'm still working on where the sub will go.

Here's the catch, we don't really have a good place for wall mounted side or rear speakers, as there's going to be a kitchen with an island bar that some people could sit behind the sectional to watch. So, we need to go with in ceiling speakers for everything but the front.

Using some directional speakers or careful placement of the speakers anywhere along the ceiling, could I get an overhead setup that would give us the ability to give the feeling of a lower-level setup perhaps through directional ceiling speakers? I'm up for 2, 4, 6 or 8 speakers if needed, but they'd have to go in the ceiling. Thanks!

I'd really appreciate any help!
You didn't mention budget, but here is the best I could find when I searched for my home.
http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/Installation-Speakers/In-Wall-In-Ceiling/CCM7-3.html
It comes with a box that tucks into the ceiling space so it produces sound better than something without a box. The B&W in ceiling mostly offers angled speakers to project sound to the proper direction.
I bought 2 for my rear surround in ceilings to replace the Jamo my home came with in the theater/game room. I loved them enough to buy 5 more for my living room.
Thy blend well with my Sonus Faber Olympica 3 and center.

B&W makes a more expensive option called the 8.5 using a diamond tweeter, but it's significantly more money, has less speakers and less low frequencies than the 7.3

I've heard the lesser 7.5 in-wall and was really disappointed. My BW salesguy said the 7.5 in wall was identical in sound to the in ceiling.
 

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just one person's experience, but when i first replaced my rear bookshelves with in-ceiling speakers i found they actually enhanced the sound and i've never looked back. they felt a lot more 'airy' and 'spacious' being up high. i could see it being an issue if they were directly overhead, but in the ceiling and back 6feet, or to the side a few feet, i didn't get the impression of 'height' but the impression of 'space'.

as for types, again no expert, just one opinion. but those speakers are a bit niche as they are designed for very specific situations. like an angled speaker is an interesting idea, but how do you know it's at the right angle? I'd prefer one with an adjustable tweeter, rather than a fixed angle, for that reason. the dipole designs are suppose to create a more spacious and less localized image. this was pretty popular with 5.1 systems, to kind of blur the sound in behind the listener as well. personally, i never enjoyed these. i always felt it was a bandaid solution, and not that we have 7.1 and atmos, it's a bandaid to a problem that no longer exists. having 'real' speakers behind you that can accurately locate sounds is a lot cooler than having a vague cloud of sounds somewhere behind you. but, the dipole speakers would be more popular as an in-wall speaker placed as a side surround. the angled design i'm not sure about, but my gut feeling is they would be in-ceiling placed well behind the listening position

i'm currently using pretty standard coaxial speakers. the tweeters are adjustable, and i have my side surrounds(which are mounted in the wall only about an inch below the ceiling) aim slightly downward, the rear surrounds(in-ceiling) aimed forwards towards the seats, and the four atmos speakers(in-ceiling) aimed straight down. My front stage is traditional speakers placed behind the AT screen.



they were installed due to a limitation of not having anywhere to mount rear speakers when i had to flip the room around. i quickly discovered they sounded great, and when i moved i built my theater with the intention of using as many in-wall/in-ceiling speakers as i could.

i don't really want to suggest a specific model, as i have no idea what your budget, tastes, or demands are. but i will say, i no longer place a large $$ value on surround speakers. back in the day, i tried to have rear speakers that were just as good as the front speakers, and honestly i think i just ended up with a mediocre system all around. now i have very cheap surround speakers, which allowed me to spend more elsewhere, and it's without question a better overall experience for me. for me, those monoprice speakers were a good compromise and a great value. they never sounded cheap to me, especially not when used as surround speakers. I installed some $30 a pair vector in-ceilings in the bathroom, and they were noticeably of lower quality, though still fine for a bathroom, imo. i'm currently using some no-name brand ones from amazon, and i was again surprised at how well they performed for the price. nowhere near good enough to suit a front soundstage, but i've never experienced a sweeping sound that took me out of the movie because the rear/surround speakers couldn't keep up to the fronts. I'd still give the edge to the monoprice speakers, but they have practically doubled in price here in canada, so what was once a great deal, is now basically the same as me buying a brand name speaker from a box store.

Curious about your setup. Are you using 7.4.2? I'm in the middle of a basement project and my receiver is 7.1. Would really like to go 5.4.2 with the 4 atmos in ceiling. But I'm unsure how to connect the 2 extra atmos.
 

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I'm reasonably sure that all those cases don't make sense. I'm trying to get as close as I can in a speaker system that only has the fronts as freestanding speakers (thinking of doing a pair of in wall subs).
I would only use in-wall subs as a last resort. There are not as many available and they are usually passive and will require an external amp. They also do not perform as well as similar priced boxed subs. Subs don't have t one placed in front of the room so you can stash it out of direct sight if you need to. Sometimes sub placement can be an art of its own.
 

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Curious about your setup. Are you using 7.4.2? I'm in the middle of a basement project and my receiver is 7.1. Would really like to go 5.4.2 with the 4 atmos in ceiling. But I'm unsure how to connect the 2 extra atmos.

Sorry, I meant 5.2.4...

4 in ceiling atmos speakers.
 

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Sorry, I meant 5.2.4...

4 in ceiling atmos speakers.
to go with 4 in ceiling atmos you would need AVR that can process 9 channels. Either a 9 channel AVR or a 7 channel AVR with the option to use preouts for the extra 2 channels. Not sure anyone makes the latter because there is a high mark up between 7 and 9 channel receivers.
 

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to go with 4 in ceiling atmos you would need AVR that can process 9 channels. Either a 9 channel AVR or a 7 channel AVR with the option to use preouts for the extra 2 channels. Not sure anyone makes the latter because there is a high mark up between 7 and 9 channel receivers.
10/4, that's what I thought just wanted to be sure. Going with 5.2.2
 

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Curious about your setup. Are you using 7.4.2? I'm in the middle of a basement project and my receiver is 7.1. Would really like to go 5.4.2 with the 4 atmos in ceiling. But I'm unsure how to connect the 2 extra atmos.
i have installed speakers for 7.1.4, but my avr only supports 7channels. so i can switch between 7.1 and 5.1.2. my end goal, is and always was 7.1.4 so i placed all the speakers for that layout, which means the 7.1 is basically perfect and it sounds fantastic to me. the 5.1.2 is compromised however(the rear speakers should be further back in the room) and i assume that's a big part of why it feels like there's a 'hole' behind me.

i wired up two pairs of atmos speakers(one pair in front, one pair behind the seats) in series. this presents the avr with a 16ohm load, which isn't ideal, but the speakers are pretty efficient, and don't need to play loud. i haven't experienced any issues with it so far, but i'm really hoping to find a good deal on a 9 or 11ch avr sooner rather than later. be aware, that this doesn't give me a 5.1.4 set up, it's still 5.1.2, but i have a 'phantom image' over head, instead of several feet in front or behind me, where the speakers are actually placed. if you want real 5.1.4 you need a 9ch avr that supports it
 

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you could check out the in-ceiling speakers from PSB. If i had to go with in ceiling I would try to go with these:

https://hometheaterreview.com/psb-c-lcr-in-ceiling-speaker-reviewed/

another less costly option would be the RSL C34E which are getting really good review in the forums.

Either of these options will probably fit the bill depending on your budget.
As mentioned by Rgarc, these get pretty good reviews and are not that expensive;
https://rslspeakers.com/c34e-ceiling-speaker/
 

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i have installed speakers for 7.1.4, but my avr only supports 7channels. so i can switch between 7.1 and 5.1.2. my end goal, is and always was 7.1.4 so i placed all the speakers for that layout, which means the 7.1 is basically perfect and it sounds fantastic to me. the 5.1.2 is compromised however(the rear speakers should be further back in the room) and i assume that's a big part of why it feels like there's a 'hole' behind me.
if you want 7.2.4 then you are going to need an 11 chanel receiver or a 9 channel receiver like the Denon 4400 + a 2 channel amplifier; the latter generally being the cheaper option.
 

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if you want 7.2.4 then you are going to need an 11 chanel receiver or a 9 channel receiver like the Denon 4400 + a 2 channel amplifier; the latter generally being the cheaper option.
yes, i am fully aware of that...

what i'm stuck on, is the fact that a 'good' 7ch receiver is available pretty much from every manufacturer for around $500CDN, but the absolute cheapest 9ch receiver is $1300(being the denon 4400h) with the rest of them over $2000

imo, there is no reason they can't make a 9ch or 11ch receiver for under 1000bux. call it being stubborn if you like, but i don't pay more than things are worth
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everyone for the great thoughts. We?ve got a couple people with similar challenges here, which is great.

It seems like in a moderately large personal theater, there?s some limitation to how many speakers yields a benefit.

In my case, not having any speakers at ear level is definitely a limitation with a 7.2 channel setup (3 Front, 2 Side, 2 rear) + 2 Sub. After the advice here, I?m thinking of going for the angled speakers that point forward you and at some level of distance from the seating position directly at side and diagonally back at rear might give the impression they?re at ear level. My Marantz AV7005 pre/pro?s Audyssey should at least try to compensate.

As for the sub, I have a MK MX-90 that?s now more than 20 years old and has had the dual 12s replaced. I?m thinking of getting two in wall subs with their own amp channels because the existing sub really doesn?t have a good place.

If anyone has other opinions. I?d love to hear them. Thanks!
 
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