AVS Forum banner

21 - 40 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,477 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
Sounds good, thanks for clarification around the center! I'll hold off buying a dedicated center until we move in in February, so I can assess WAF in real time. There's definitely much less of a size constraint, and a budget of $600-800 for center should be OK.

I'll be following this thread closely as I'm also considering the Totem Flex. I haven't been able to find any reviews on them (or the Totem Kin Monitor) so I would love to hear your impressions, especially with music.
So far I've done more music than HT listening, and one thing that struck me is the noticeable step-up in clarity in the higher registers. I'm listening to a lot of jazz recordings (Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald), and I feel like there are significantly more distinct details not only in their voice, but also the backing instruments. If anything, I'm not convinced yet of their lower register, but it might also be that I've screwed up the crossover or placement of the sub (I live in temp housing during our remodel, so everything is a little makeshift). I'm not overly worried about it, but that's partly also because I personally focus more on detail than on bass. So YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
Sounds good, thanks for clarification around the center! I'll hold off buying a dedicated center until we move in in February, so I can assess WAF in real time. There's definitely much less of a size constraint, and a budget of $600-800 for center should be OK.



So far I've done more music than HT listening, and one thing that struck me is the noticeable step-up in clarity in the higher registers. I'm listening to a lot of jazz recordings (Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald), and I feel like there are significantly more distinct details not only in their voice, but also the backing instruments. If anything, I'm not convinced yet of their lower register, but it might also be that I've screwed up the crossover or placement of the sub (I live in temp housing during our remodel, so everything is a little makeshift). I'm not overly worried about it, but that's partly also because I personally focus more on detail than on bass. So YMMV.
Thanks dp. I'd be using them in a very small room with a sub so that's encouraging. It will be a desktop nearfield set up so if you feel like experimenting with them like that I'd love to hear your thoughts

Thanks again for the input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Just want to say, I now also received the KEF T101 speakers (that I'm using only for rear L/R now after this thread) in addition to the Totem Kin Mini Flex (which I'm now using for front L/R, thanks to Raygun).

And I am SO GLAD you guys (Zorba922 and others) dissuaded me from using the T101 everywhere, and encouraged me to buy the Totem for the front. They are just a different ball game, with just about anything I am listening to. The T101 sounds like a radio next to it; I was pretty disappointed given the good reviews, but I suppose the reviews are always judging what they can pull off in relation to their small dimension.

With front, rears and ceiling built-ins decided, I'm left deciding the center and sub. I looked into Zorba922's recommendations of Emotiva C2+ ($400), Sierra Horizon w/o RAAL ($1100) and Sierra Horizon w/ RAAL ($1450). I'm not super budget sensitive, but also don't want to outspend unless necessary. So far my price profile is:
  • Totem Kin Mini Flex FL/FR (2x $450)
  • KEF T101 RL/RR (2x $300)
  • KEF Ci160QR Ceiling L/R (2x $350) <-- might be overkill, but will be impossible to replace, and bought a while back
  • Sub: SVS SB1000 ($500) <-- that's at least what I'm thinking; not so much because of the price but just because 14" depth is already a stretch (and needs extra wife convincing) to fit into our room. If there's anything better for that depth, I'd love to know. Given that our listening distance is only 8 feet and the dropped ceiling is only a bit more 7 feet, I hope it might do the trick?

Given the above, I do wonder whether a $1100+ center makes sense, or I should go with the Emotiva $400.

I should also mention that my profile is maybe 65% music, 34% movies, 1% gaming. I don't actually quite understand how the center benefits music listening from stereo tracks at all. So far I've always just put my AVR into "direct" mode, which means it just outputs on the FL/FR channels. There are modes like Neural:X and Dolby Surround that expand to more speakers, but I've been skeptical. Should I be using those instead with a decent center?

Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,477 Posts
With front, rears and ceiling built-ins decided, I'm left deciding the center and sub. I looked into Zorba922's recommendations of Emotiva C2+ ($400), Sierra Horizon w/o RAAL ($1100) and Sierra Horizon w/ RAAL ($1450). I'm not super budget sensitive, but also don't want to outspend unless necessary. So far my price profile is:
  • Totem Kin Mini Flex FL/FR (2x $450)
  • KEF T101 RL/RR (2x $300)
  • KEF Ci160QR Ceiling L/R (2x $350) <-- might be overkill, but will be impossible to replace, and bought a while back
  • Sub: SVS SB1000 ($500) <-- that's at least what I'm thinking; not so much because of the price but just because 14" depth is already a stretch (and needs extra wife convincing) to fit into our room. If there's anything better for that depth, I'd love to know. Given that our listening distance is only 8 feet and the dropped ceiling is only a bit more 7 feet, I hope it might do the trick?
Given the above, I do wonder whether a $1100+ center makes sense, or I should go with the Emotiva $400.

I should also mention that my profile is maybe 65% music, 34% movies, 1% gaming. I don't actually quite understand how the center benefits music listening from stereo tracks at all. So far I've always just put my AVR into "direct" mode, which means it just outputs on the FL/FR channels. There are modes like Neural:X and Dolby Surround that expand to more speakers, but I've been skeptical. Should I be using those instead with a decent center?
If you don't have any aesthetic roadblocks to the C2+ that's what I'd get for the 35% movies/gaming usage. For music, stick to stereo mode...upmixing native stereo sources to multi-channel is imo a frickin' ABOMINATION.

The SB1000 may get lost in your room, being a sealed sub. If you want a compact PORTED sub with a lot more output, I'd look at the RSL Speedwoofer 10S instead...free return shipping just like SVS. If the subwoofer DEPTH is a big deal, you may also want to consider the SVS PC2000, it being a cylindrical sub...very cool-looking form factor, imo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
Just want to say, I now also received the KEF T101 speakers (that I'm using only for rear L/R now after this thread) in addition to the Totem Kin Mini Flex (which I'm now using for front L/R, thanks to Raygun).

And I am SO GLAD you guys (Zorba922 and others) dissuaded me from using the T101 everywhere, and encouraged me to buy the Totem for the front. They are just a different ball game, with just about anything I am listening to. The T101 sounds like a radio next to it; I was pretty disappointed given the good reviews, but I suppose the reviews are always judging what they can pull off in relation to their small dimension.

With front, rears and ceiling built-ins decided, I'm left deciding the center and sub. I looked into Zorba922's recommendations of Emotiva C2+ ($400), Sierra Horizon w/o RAAL ($1100) and Sierra Horizon w/ RAAL ($1450). I'm not super budget sensitive, but also don't want to outspend unless necessary. So far my price profile is:
  • Totem Kin Mini Flex FL/FR (2x $450)
  • KEF T101 RL/RR (2x $300)
  • KEF Ci160QR Ceiling L/R (2x $350) <-- might be overkill, but will be impossible to replace, and bought a while back
  • Sub: SVS SB1000 ($500) <-- that's at least what I'm thinking; not so much because of the price but just because 14" depth is already a stretch (and needs extra wife convincing) to fit into our room. If there's anything better for that depth, I'd love to know. Given that our listening distance is only 8 feet and the dropped ceiling is only a bit more 7 feet, I hope it might do the trick?
Given the above, I do wonder whether a $1100+ center makes sense, or I should go with the Emotiva $400.

I should also mention that my profile is maybe 65% music, 34% movies, 1% gaming. I don't actually quite understand how the center benefits music listening from stereo tracks at all. So far I've always just put my AVR into "direct" mode, which means it just outputs on the FL/FR channels. There are modes like Neural:X and Dolby Surround that expand to more speakers, but I've been skeptical. Should I be using those instead with a decent center?

Thanks again!
Couple of thoughts. With the obvious difference in sound quality why not get two more Totem Flex for surrounds? There are times when the surrounds have more than subtle stuff going on.

As far as up-mixed multi channel music I agree with Zorba, but...If you ever get into true multi channel (SACD, DVD-Audio, BluRay Audio) or live concerts on BluRay, you will definitely want the highest quality center. And if you go this route the Flex will greatly outperform the Kef in the surround channels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Thanks for the suggestions! I would love to make this better and appreciate all the thoughts. Let me also make my limitations a bit more clear. I made an architectural pre-viz based the suggestions in this thread:

3047127

For reference, a top view of the room is here:

3047133


Answers inline below.

If you don't have any aesthetic roadblocks to the C2+ that's what I'd get for the 35% movies/gaming usage. For music, stick to stereo mode...upmixing native stereo sources to multi-channel is imo a frickin' ABOMINATION.

The SB1000 may get lost in your room, being a sealed sub. If you want a compact PORTED sub with a lot more output, I'd look at the RSL Speedwoofer 10S instead...free return shipping just like SVS. If the subwoofer DEPTH is a big deal, you may also want to consider the SVS PC2000, it being a cylindrical sub...very cool-looking form factor, imo.
The C2+ does not look great, I agree. Unsurprisingly, my wife doesn't like the look of any bulky speakers anyway though, so as shown above my plan for now is to find a way to build a custom cabinet or crate with an acoustically transparent front in the color of her choice to hide all of it. I've never done either, but acoustically transparent fabric seems to be a thing, and it seems like something that might work?

As far as the subwoofer goes. Well! One tricky bit is depth, yes: it would decrease walking space further, and 14" is something I can get away with because the AVR is 13" deep and we clearly need an AVR - that's an easy argument to make. Next, though, height is limited too as the cabinet would quickly touch the 85" screen if it grew taller. By raising the TV another 2", I could probably accommodate another inch or two in height. Width is less limited, I could go as wide as the AVR on the other side (17") or even widen the cabinet, but I don't think that really helps. Another variant would be to store the sub below the window, but that wouldn't give me more than 13" either (and wife isn't thrilled). The PC2000 looks cool but is >16" in both width and depth. I'm not sure if there is anything else I can do?

The reason I am ultimately not super concerned about the sub (and I may regret this) is that I am pretty conscious of neighbors (it's a large old building) and tend to lower bass for that reason. As a result, over the years I've probably become attuned to expect less bass to begin with. Currently I have the Klipsch RW-12d and I'm running it at -9dB. My hope is that the SB1000 won't be weaker than the RW-12d? As far as ported vs. sealed goes, it sounded like this is a tradeoff between volume and precision. And given the above constraints, I figured I'd focus on precision. But I certainly am not sure that I'm getting this all right.

Couple of thoughts. With the obvious difference in sound quality why not get two more Totem Flex for surrounds? There are times when the surrounds have more than subtle stuff going on.
The problem (as shown above) is that the rear left satellite is very depth constrained because this is the main walkway between the entrance, kitchen, living and dining room, so having something stick out more than KEF's 2" or so would be a big deal. It's partly a matter of WAF, but I also tend to agree that it would be a weird sight and potentially uncomfortable for kids running around. And I can't do in-wall speakers because the pillar is structural and immutable.

Ultimately the short answer to all of this is just that I'm trying to get the very best out of a downtown apartment while living with the limitations, and I'm very interested in any way to optimize this further.

As far as up-mixed multi channel music I agree with Zorba, but...If you ever get into true multi channel (SACD, DVD-Audio, BluRay Audio) or live concerts on BluRay, you will definitely want the highest quality center. And if you go this route the Flex will greatly outperform the Kef in the surround channels.
Yes, I would absolutely love and plan to get into multi channel music. My understanding is that the best way for that currently is to get a Tidal subscription, which I am planning to get. But even then -- given that all my other speakers are in the $300-400 range (each), is a $1100+ center justified, or will the overall experience just be limited by all the other channels anyway? I have not decided yet, I would love to see more data specifically about listening rooms with a superb center that outperforms anything else. That said, I might also be able to start with the C2+ and sell it later and upgrade. Or I could, after moving in, buy both and return one. Fortunately the Sierra is not much bigger, so cabinet design isn't affected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
Thanks for the suggestions! I would love to make this better and appreciate all the thoughts. Let me also make my limitations a bit more clear. I made an architectural pre-viz based the suggestions in this thread:

View attachment 3047127
For reference, a top view of the room is here:

View attachment 3047133

Answers inline below.



The C2+ does not look great, I agree. Unsurprisingly, my wife doesn't like the look of any bulky speakers anyway though, so as shown above my plan for now is to find a way to build a custom cabinet or crate with an acoustically transparent front in the color of her choice to hide all of it. I've never done either, but acoustically transparent fabric seems to be a thing, and it seems like something that might work?

As far as the subwoofer goes. Well! One tricky bit is depth, yes: it would decrease walking space further, and 14" is something I can get away with because the AVR is 13" deep and we clearly need an AVR - that's an easy argument to make. Next, though, height is limited too as the cabinet would quickly touch the 85" screen if it grew taller. By raising the TV another 2", I could probably accommodate another inch or two in height. Width is less limited, I could go as wide as the AVR on the other side (17") or even widen the cabinet, but I don't think that really helps. Another variant would be to store the sub below the window, but that wouldn't give me more than 13" either (and wife isn't thrilled). The PC2000 looks cool but is >16" in both width and depth. I'm not sure if there is anything else I can do?

The reason I am ultimately not super concerned about the sub (and I may regret this) is that I am pretty conscious of neighbors (it's a large old building) and tend to lower bass for that reason. As a result, over the years I've probably become attuned to expect less bass to begin with. Currently I have the Klipsch RW-12d and I'm running it at -9dB. My hope is that the SB1000 won't be weaker than the RW-12d? As far as ported vs. sealed goes, it sounded like this is a tradeoff between volume and precision. And given the above constraints, I figured I'd focus on precision. But I certainly am not sure that I'm getting this all right.


The problem (as shown above) is that the rear left satellite is very depth constrained because this is the main walkway between the entrance, kitchen, living and dining room, so having something stick out more than KEF's 2" or so would be a big deal. It's partly a matter of WAF, but I also tend to agree that it would be a weird sight and potentially uncomfortable for kids running around. And I can't do in-wall speakers because the pillar is structural and immutable.

Ultimately the short answer to all of this is just that I'm trying to get the very best out of a downtown apartment while living with the limitations, and I'm very interested in any way to optimize this further.


Yes, I would absolutely love and plan to get into multi channel music. My understanding is that the best way for that currently is to get a Tidal subscription, which I am planning to get. But even then -- given that all my other speakers are in the $300-400 range (each), is a $1100+ center justified, or will the overall experience just be limited by all the other channels anyway? I have not decided yet, I would love to see more data specifically about listening rooms with a superb center that outperforms anything else. That said, I might also be able to start with the C2+ and sell it later and upgrade. Or I could, after moving in, buy both and return one. Fortunately the Sierra is not much bigger, so cabinet design isn't affected.
I totally understand the need for a thin surround. We all need to make some tough choices when incorporating this hobby into our homes. If you're truly limited to that depth maybe consider the T301. The listed frequency response is the same but it adds an additional mid woofer. I can't help but think it would have a fuller sound.

As far as the center goes, there are certainly more than a couple of choices there, I would continue to research other possibilities.

Subwoofers that are shallow in depth can be found but tend to be underwhelming or high priced. Maybe something like this under your couch might work...


I'm old school with my music set up. My multi channel is 100% discs in a Universal BluRay player. The first disc I ever bought was The Beatles "Love" on DVD-Audio. Not knowing what to expect, my wife and I dimmed the lights, poured a glass of wine and figured we'd listen for a few minutes. Over an hour later when the disc was done, practically with tears in our eyes, we knew we were on to something special...:)

Good luck with all this. It's a really fun hobby!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
By the way my biggest regret with my set up are my surround speakers...little Def Techs. Very obviously not up to the quality of our Ascend Sierra 1s LCR. Someday they will be replaced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,477 Posts
Thanks for the suggestions! I would love to make this better and appreciate all the thoughts. Let me also make my limitations a bit more clear. I made an architectural pre-viz based the suggestions in this thread:


The C2+ does not look great, I agree. Unsurprisingly, my wife doesn't like the look of any bulky speakers anyway though, so as shown above my plan for now is to find a way to build a custom cabinet or crate with an acoustically transparent front in the color of her choice to hide all of it. I've never done either, but acoustically transparent fabric seems to be a thing, and it seems like something that might work?

As far as the subwoofer goes. Well! One tricky bit is depth, yes: it would decrease walking space further, and 14" is something I can get away with because the AVR is 13" deep and we clearly need an AVR - that's an easy argument to make. Next, though, height is limited too as the cabinet would quickly touch the 85" screen if it grew taller. By raising the TV another 2", I could probably accommodate another inch or two in height. Width is less limited, I could go as wide as the AVR on the other side (17") or even widen the cabinet, but I don't think that really helps. Another variant would be to store the sub below the window, but that wouldn't give me more than 13" either (and wife isn't thrilled). The PC2000 looks cool but is >16" in both width and depth. I'm not sure if there is anything else I can do?

The reason I am ultimately not super concerned about the sub (and I may regret this) is that I am pretty conscious of neighbors (it's a large old building) and tend to lower bass for that reason. As a result, over the years I've probably become attuned to expect less bass to begin with. Currently I have the Klipsch RW-12d and I'm running it at -9dB. My hope is that the SB1000 won't be weaker than the RW-12d? As far as ported vs. sealed goes, it sounded like this is a tradeoff between volume and precision. And given the above constraints, I figured I'd focus on precision. But I certainly am not sure that I'm getting this all right.
The problem I see with your cabinet is that putting the C2+ inside it means its tweeter would be aimed at shin level, which means a complete disaster---you could spend $1M on the greatest center speaker ever made, but lousy placement will completely sabotage it. You want the center to be no lower than belly level so that you can easily tilt it upwards to have the tweeter aim at ear level where you sit. In other words, ON TOP OF the cabinet you have planned, with the TV raised accordingly...for some reason a lot of people grossly overestimate how low they need to have their screens. I personally have my own screen 40" off the ground and have never had any problems with it.

As for the sub(s) why not put it/them in the rear corners of the room? Or if doing 2, one front corner and the diagonally opposite rear corner (usually the ideal location for duals)? You can easily disguise them as plant/lamp stands in those positions, and you won't be condemned to tiny weak ones either.
 
  • Like
Reactions: doctors11

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
I totally understand the need for a thin surround. We all need to make some tough choices when incorporating this hobby into our homes. If you're truly limited to that depth maybe consider the T301. The listed frequency response is the same but it adds an additional mid woofer. I can't help but think it would have a fuller sound.
Thanks for posting this! Since your post, I went back to my wife once more -- she originally rejected the T301 -- but this time with the proposal to just let the construction company thicken the concrete pillar with 1.5 inches of drywall, and build the T301 into the wall. She thinks the T301 is too big if it is on-wall. She would be fine with the T301 in-wall or the T101 on-wall. Ideally I would get a real in-wall speaker, but it look like they are all significantly thicker, and we can't make the pillar much thicker than that. Open for suggestions for in-wall speakers with <2" thickness...

Regarding the subs...
Subwoofers that are shallow in depth can be found but tend to be underwhelming or high priced. Maybe something like this under your couch might work...
As for the sub(s) why not put it/them in the rear corners of the room? Or if doing 2, one front corner and the diagonally opposite rear corner (usually the ideal location for duals)? You can easily disguise them as plant/lamp stands in those positions, and you won't be condemned to tiny weak ones either.
The Millinia Sub looks interesting. But I'm actually still a bit puzzled why I would need more than a SB1000. In my 10 years of living in old and tight apartment buildings in either San Francisco or New York, I've never been in a situation where I didn't have to radically decrease the subwoofer volume (and right now I have to run the Klipsch RW-12d at -9dB) to be comfortable with the bass noise I'm imposing on neighbors. I've gotten complaints early on, but learned to proactively just tuned it down many years ago. It does seem to me that the proposals I see in this forum seem more geared towards standalone houses where one would have the freedom to go crazy with bass output?

The problem I see with your cabinet is that putting the C2+ inside it means its tweeter would be aimed at shin level, which means a complete disaster---you could spend $1M on the greatest center speaker ever made, but lousy placement will completely sabotage it. You want the center to be no lower than belly level so that you can easily tilt it upwards to have the tweeter aim at ear level where you sit. In other words, ON TOP OF the cabinet you have planned, with the TV raised accordingly...for some reason a lot of people grossly overestimate how low they need to have their screens. I personally have my own screen 40" off the ground and have never had any problems with it.
This is an interesting point. I get what you are saying, but my impression had also been that this can be solved by just mounting the speaker to fire up at an angle - say, 20 degrees or so. Given that the speaker is located inside the cabinet, I was thinking of just putting a wedge beneath that is big enough to have the tweeter line directly fire at the ears of the primary listeners. Would this not work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
I would guess if you do some kind of custom "alcove" to set the speaker in, it should be shallow enough so that the front baffle (not the grill) sticks out from the wall at least a half inch. You'll need to figure out speaker wire access too.

Here's another option for slim wall speakers with, I think, better reviews than the Kef T series.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,067 Posts
One other possible option for the center channel. The Totem Rainmaker. Reasonably priced, so you won't be spending $1k on a center channel. It's not part of the KIN line, but will have much in common with it, and provide a bigger cabinet for better male voices.

That said, positioning is key to good sound, and putting your center into a low hole is just sabotaging the sound quality. If that is where you are at, and cannot do otherwise, then I wouldn't bother with more expensive options and just use the Mini Flex, in the aimed upward configuration.

Sorry to hear that the Kef is so lacking, but I guess it makes sense, given that depth issue. Frankly, I'm not sure the T301 will resolve that issue to your satisfaction, so would suggest you rethink using the Mini Flex in that position also, if you can find a way to make it work.

Also, I just read that you are going to get into multi-channel music? This also argues for using the same speaker in all 5 positions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
Since you're considering recessing the surrounds and liking the Totem speakers, could you make these work? ...With the boss's approval?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,385 Posts
Just want to say, I now also received the KEF T101 speakers (that I'm using only for rear L/R now after this thread) in addition to the Totem Kin Mini Flex (which I'm now using for front L/R, thanks to Raygun).

And I am SO GLAD you guys (Zorba922 and others) dissuaded me from using the T101 everywhere, and encouraged me to buy the Totem for the front. They are just a different ball game, with just about anything I am listening to. The T101 sounds like a radio next to it; I was pretty disappointed given the good reviews, but I suppose the reviews are always judging what they can pull off in relation to their small dimension.

With front, rears and ceiling built-ins decided, I'm left deciding the center and sub. I looked into Zorba922's recommendations of Emotiva C2+ ($400), Sierra Horizon w/o RAAL ($1100) and Sierra Horizon w/ RAAL ($1450). I'm not super budget sensitive, but also don't want to outspend unless necessary. So far my price profile is:
  • Totem Kin Mini Flex FL/FR (2x $450)
  • KEF T101 RL/RR (2x $300)
  • KEF Ci160QR Ceiling L/R (2x $350) <-- might be overkill, but will be impossible to replace, and bought a while back
  • Sub: SVS SB1000 ($500) <-- that's at least what I'm thinking; not so much because of the price but just because 14" depth is already a stretch (and needs extra wife convincing) to fit into our room. If there's anything better for that depth, I'd love to know. Given that our listening distance is only 8 feet and the dropped ceiling is only a bit more 7 feet, I hope it might do the trick?
Given the above, I do wonder whether a $1100+ center makes sense, or I should go with the Emotiva $400.

I should also mention that my profile is maybe 65% music, 34% movies, 1% gaming. I don't actually quite understand how the center benefits music listening from stereo tracks at all. So far I've always just put my AVR into "direct" mode, which means it just outputs on the FL/FR channels. There are modes like Neural:X and Dolby Surround that expand to more speakers, but I've been skeptical. Should I be using those instead with a decent center?

Thanks again!
The Kef T-series are lifestyle speakers designed for aesthetics over function. If you go into their Q series or LS50, you'd get much better dynamics & resolution. If you decide to go with the Q650c, you'll get a huge step up from the T-series.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zorba922

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,477 Posts
The Millinia Sub looks interesting. But I'm actually still a bit puzzled why I would need more than a SB1000. In my 10 years of living in old and tight apartment buildings in either San Francisco or New York, I've never been in a situation where I didn't have to radically decrease the subwoofer volume (and right now I have to run the Klipsch RW-12d at -9dB) to be comfortable with the bass noise I'm imposing on neighbors. I've gotten complaints early on, but learned to proactively just tuned it down many years ago. It does seem to me that the proposals I see in this forum seem more geared towards standalone houses where one would have the freedom to go crazy with bass output?

This is an interesting point. I get what you are saying, but my impression had also been that this can be solved by just mounting the speaker to fire up at an angle - say, 20 degrees or so. Given that the speaker is located inside the cabinet, I was thinking of just putting a wedge beneath that is big enough to have the tweeter line directly fire at the ears of the primary listeners. Would this not work?
Well, angling the center speaker upwards can help. It's just that you're going to get less than ideal results the more steeply you have to do that. So the best possible placement would be to have the center's tweeter as close to ear level as possible, requiring say just a 10-15 degree tilt rather than some crazy 70-80 degrees of tilt.

===

There is a popular misconception that robust subs are a bad idea in any non-detached housing. Not true at all, in my experience: every sub has a "gain" knob on the back. I used to live in an apartment with paper-thin walls, ceilings and floors, where you could easily hear neighbors fighting or having sex. Had neighbors across the hall, next to me, above and below me too. When I moved out five years later, they were all shocked to see me lugging a 65lb sub. They could hear my music (usually at moderate volumes, so never had any complaints) but never guessed that there was a sub in use the whole time!

Another nice benefit is that when you move to a bigger place, you don't have to spend more money to upgrade from a weak "apartment friendly" sub. :)

Moral of the story: use the GAIN KNOB, and some common sense, and you'll be much much happier with a decent sub in play, esp. when going with small bookshelf speakers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sigpig

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #38
Hi folks,
Thanks again for all the thoughtful comments! The comments about my suboptimal choices for surrounds and subwoofers made me take a step back:

The only other option for good sound while being "flat" are in-walls.
Sorry to hear that the Kef is so lacking, but I guess it makes sense, given that depth issue. Frankly, I'm not sure the T301 will resolve that issue to your satisfaction. [...] Also, I just read that you are going to get into multi-channel music? This also argues for using the same speaker in all 5 positions.
Since you're considering recessing the surrounds and liking the Totem speakers, could you make these work? ...With the boss's approval?
I've since met with my architect, and it turns out to some degree I might actually be able to make in-walls work! It constrains the positions of all speakers even further (because only small sections of the wall are hollow), but it seems like it might be workable. So I sketched out the following variant:


3050765


For the purpose of these visualizations, I used KEF's Ci4100QL-THX as the main satellite speakers (FL, FR, RL, RR, C), which altogether would cost me anywhere between $2000 and $3000. But I suppose there are other wall-in brands/models too such as the Totem KIN In-wall, which -- if I get 5 of them -- according to this thread would add up to $4700. I'm not sure if there's any other models I should consider. In addition, I added 2x KEF's Ci200QSb-THX Subwoofer and positioned them above the front left/right speakers (working around structural constraints), which add up to another $1000.

In any event, I'd be curious if such a configuration would beat my current $2,100 baseline consisting of:
  • FL/FR: Totem Kin Mini Flex ($600 pair) -- rotated 45 degrees toward listener
  • RL/RR: KEF T101 ($600 pair) -- blasting straight forward
  • C: Emotiva Airmotiv C2+ ($400) -- blasting slightly up
  • Sub: 1x SVS SB1000 ($500)
Of course, I could also mix and match between in-wall and on-walls.

Here are my concerns with the in-wall configuration:
  • FL/FR: Unlike the Kin Mini Flex, which I could mount at an 45 degree angle, directly firing toward the ideal listening position, the in-walls would just blast straight forward, but they are 40 degrees off-axis to the reference listener position (Dolby seems to recommend 22-30 degrees). Not sure if that degrades the sound -- based on the responses I got on mounting the center speaker at knee height, I'm now inclined to think that any off-axis listening might be very suboptimal?
  • RL/RR: Very different listening angles, with only 35 degrees on the left side and 60 degrees on the right side (see illustration). And, just like FL/FR, I can't turn them toward the central listening position.
  • Sub: They are only 4 inches deep, which makes me suspicious that they are actually any good? In addition, I do wonder whether mounting in the upper half of the room is OK.
  • C: Still not firing at ear height (just like in the on-wall variant), but in addition I also can't tilt it upward.
Aesthetically and functionally (i.e. in terms of freeing up floor and wall space), there is no question that the in-walls are vastly superior. Would love to hear any thoughts!
Dominik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,067 Posts
At 40 degrees (even more if considering the farthest seat from the speaker) you would lose frequencies, beginning with the treble and extending into the mids, the farther off axis you get. The usual rule of thumb is that all seats are within a 30 degree off axis listening window, so as to not lose frequencies at the outlying positions. That's the advantage of the Mini Flex, as it is surface mounted and aim-able. With your front L&R being so far apart relative to the seating, this is a concern for you.

In-wall speakers are usually not fully angled, but they may provide an angled tweeter. You can move into the fully angled speakers, but they are few and tend to be very large to accommodate the angle. Most are designed for the ceiling, and thus are too deep for your purpose.

Also, you really want to have the same angle of attack for the FR and FL. The surrounds are less an issue, but you might notice it if playing quad channel music.

For in-wall subs, look at James or Triad for good options. These tend to be shallow but tall (similar to the Totem Tribe form factor). Also, positioning is key to good bass response, so you will want to test out the position(s) first before installing. Subs tell you where they should be positioned, not the other way around!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
At 40 degrees (even more if considering the farthest seat from the speaker) you would lose frequencies, beginning with the treble and extending into the mids, the farther off axis you get. The usual rule of thumb is that all seats are within a 30 degree off axis listening window, so as to not lose frequencies at the outlying positions. That's the advantage of the Mini Flex, as it is surface mounted and aim-able. With your front L&R being so far apart relative to the seating, this is a concern for you.
Interesting, that is good to know. So sounds like I might be better off with the Kin Mini Flex for FL/FR than any of the KEF or Totem In-Walls, so I can aim them. At least getting symmetrical attack angles is not a problem there, and I do love their sound. Thanks!

Surrounds — As far as RL/RR goes, I sadly don't see any remaining options that would let me angle those. I think that the only two things I can choose between at this point are:
  • 4" deep In-wall speakers such as KEF Ci4100QL-THX or Totem Kin In-Wall at more asymmetric attack angles of 36 degrees and 60 degrees.
  • 1-2" deep on-wall speakers (probably KEF T101, as KEF T301 are deemed too tall for on-wall by the boss, and Martin Logan don't seem to come in white) at slightly more symmetric attack angles of 48 degrees and 60 degrees, respectively. The attack angle is better because I can place RL further away from the couch.
I will say that, for all its mediocrity, I found that, unlike the Kin Mini Flex, the KEF T101's sound feels a lot more uniform between on-axis and off-axis positions. When I tested the T101 two weeks ago, I extensively walked around the room with closed eyes, and could barely tell whether I am on-axis or 60 degrees off-axis. With the Kin Mini Flex, I could immediately tell. Maybe this means that the T101's performance just doesn't even get to the level where this sort of thing makes a difference, or maybe it means that KEF's marketing blurb about what they call Uni-Q technology ("Of the many landmark innovations KEF has pioneered, arguably the greatest of all is the Uni-Q® point source driver array, with its outstanding acoustic clarity and off-axis dispersion.") is actually true. If the latter was the case, then maybe this off-axis performance would extend to the Ci4100QL-THX as well?

For in-wall subs, look at James or Triad for good options. These tend to be shallow but tall (similar to the Totem Tribe form factor). Also, positioning is key to good bass response, so you will want to test out the position(s) first before installing. Subs tell you where they should be positioned, not the other way around!
Thanks. I haven't heard of either, and they look interesting. There's a lot of models there. I probably have three options given my constraints:
  1. One in-wall sub mounted mounted near the ground below the FL speaker up to 14"D x 16"W and any height
  2. Two identical in-wall subs mounted above the FL/FR speakers with up to 4"D x 11"W and any height
  3. One freestanding sub up to 14"D x 14"W x 14"H (such as SVS SB1000) placed below the TV.
The INWALL SILVER/15 SUB would fit the bill for variant 1, although I can't for the life of me figure out how much these guys cost (neither James nor Tribe seem to post prices?), and whether it is even remotely in the same price range as the SVS SB1000 and the other speakers in the setup that are all in the $400-600 range (or whether it is justified to spend an outsized amount on a sub). For variant 2, both companies seem to have a few options such as the INWALL BRONZE/4 SLIMSUB. But again, hard to tell without pricing information. I'd love to know if you have any advice how to find prices.

Unfortunately, although I fully appreciate the unpredictability of sound movement, testing before installing would be really hard in this case. Whichever of these options I pick has downstream implications for other construction aspects (say, closet interiors behind a wall, or electrical audio wiring performed by the general contractor), and for any in-wall installations I basically have to decide in the next few days as demolition for the renovation has already started. What I could potentially do is drive to the construction site with my old Klipsch RW-12d and try moving it around in space to see how sound behaves -- but the site is full of debris and construction materials and devoid of furniture or even doors, so I'm not sure how representative that would be. It might also mean that I should not go in-wall for the sub, such that I can at least move the freestanding sub laterally below the TV if I end up needing to try minor variations.

Thanks again. I continue to be amazed at what is basically a free AV consultation in this forum.
 
21 - 40 of 49 Posts
Top