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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,


I am in the process of finishing my basement and am getting some custom cabinets built to enclose my projector screen and speakers and I wanted to get some recommendations.


My current speakers are a 10 year old pair of Acoustic Research tower speakers that have 2 - 12" subs, a mid-range and a tweeter in each. I don't have any other speakers yet and I have heard that it is recommend to keep the front speakers and center channel by the same manufacturer, is that true?


My budget is about 2k - 3k for the 7.1 system speakers and a receiver. Any recommendations? Should I keep the towers and just add a center and surround speakers? Or should I keep them all the same by buying new a set.


My room is 24 X 12 but I will only be using about 12 - 14 feet of the length.


Thanks,


KDUB
 

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You want the "voicing" of the front, center, and (to a lesser extent) the rears to be the same (or very similar).


You want a really high quality center channel speaker.


You could talk to the Acoustic Research people and see if they make a really good center channel speaker that is at all similar to your front floorstanders.


[Aside: My home theatre guy suggested that in most rooms 20' long or shorter there is very little benefit of 7.1 over 5.1. However, you might want a 7.1 receiver so you have the option to expand later...]


MY thought:


You have sufficient budget for an excellent surround system, and there are now better speakers out there for your budget than your 10 year-old AR's; I'd sell or give to a nephew or put in another room the floorstanders and get a complete surround system pretty much made by one manufacturer.

The Perfect Vision (magazine, I highly recommend it and you can get their companion mag., The Absolute Sound with The Perfect Vision for a year for cheap - $20 or so if I remember correctly) just selected the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 1000 speaker system as their pick of the year for a "budget" system (under $2000). I heard one over the weekend and you certainly wouldn't go wrong with that system.


You could consider the Pro Cinema 1000 system, upgrade to the C/L/R 2200 center channel (supposedly well worth an extra $150), and add a Pioneer Elite receiver/processor ( VSX-80 ? that has HDMI inputs and outputs?) for mid-$2.5K range. If you listen to music, the Pro Cinema 1000 subwoofer is supposed to be very good (musical and quick) whereas their supercubes I believe are less suitable for music.


With your size room, you could certainly benefit from an extra subwoofer - many people talk about how a medium sized sub in each corner is far superior one large subwoofer in one corner. Or, try that system with one sub and at some stage demo a second one - as you would have a little budget left over.


Don't forget good speaker wire, 50 cent/LF wire for the surrounds would be fine, but $5.00/LF and up for the L+R+C is money well invested. The same for the audio cables from your DVD player to receiver; a used 2 metre interconnect for $100 will make your DVD's sound like you added $1000 to your speaker or processor budget...


Good luck - there are many good speaker manufacturers out there for your budget, some of the 5.1 systems listed below are in the $2000 range, those in the $1500 to $1800 range would allow (like my example above) you to upgrade the center channel speaker and still have some left over for a second sub, later...


These systems are all reviewed as being the "real deal". Don't know that you would go far wrong with any of them:


Gallo D'Avia Ti, Mirage OmniSat, Epos ELS, Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000, RBH Sound CT-MAX, Totem Acoustic DreamCatcher, Monitor Audio Radius, Infinity Primus 360. Additionally, Focal-JMlab, Paradigm, and Energy also make some good speakers....


Hope this helps!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-DUB /forum/post/0


..... and am getting some custom cabinets built to enclose my projector screen and speakers

yes, I would get at least three matching fronts. However, I would not recommend putting speakers in another cabinet. This will affect the sound for the worse. If this is your route, I would look for speakers that are designed for in cabinet use. There are a few desinged for this purpose or look at wall mount speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DelsFan thank you for the detailed response, I will look into those brands you mentioned!


As for putting a speaker in a cabinet, if there is no front to the cabinet or else just a material similar to a speaker cover that hides the speaker, would that affect the sound? I am really just looking to hide the speakers but I don't want to sacrifice any sound.
 

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"if there is no front to the cabinet or else just a material similar to a speaker cover that hides the speaker, would that affect the sound?"


It will affect the sound.

How much? Depends on the speaker, and what you are listening to. For two channel audio, my Thiel CS2's sound way better 3' from the back wall and 3' from a side wall.

Intuitively, a bookshelf speaker placed at the very front of a cabinet should perhaps not be affected by what is to the sides and behind it.

BUT, the speaker is affected by it.


HOWEVER, the L+R speakers in Definitive Technology Pro 1000 system I heard at a very high end shop over the weekend were located exactly where you are talking about - bookshelf speaker on a shelf (enclosed, perhaps 6" space to either side of the speaker, 12" above it, and 8" behind it) with removable acoustical panels hiding the speakers - and they sounded fine, but of course I didn't listen to them outside the entertainment center to see if the improvement was minimal or astounding.


Answer? I don't have one, but EC has at least defined a consideration for you which you can ask salesmen (not in big box stores!) that are highly knowledgable. I DO expect that some speakers would tolerate being in a "cube" better than others.


Also, if you hide your speakers with acoustical fabric attached to your entertainment center, remove your speakers grilles for slightly better sound, since you won't actually be looking at the speakers anyway.


Cheers,

JY
 

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here are a few considerations on how the sound will be affected:


if the speaker is rear ported, it will not have room to "breathe", your bass extension and flatness will be comprimised


in a cabinet, you will probably have some unwanted resonances,


many new speakers have gone to a very narrow face to minimize diffraction. Putting them in a cabinet defeats this especially if the speakers are going to be in set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I went and listened to the Pro Cinema 1000 Monitor speakers and they sounded great! I can't believe how good the sound was for being so small. I am definitely going to be glad to get rid of my huge towers. Thanks for the recommendation.


I have been planning out my cabinetry some more and I want to go with a L/R speaker that I can put horizontally. Is that a bad idea? I noticed Definitive Technology has a C/L/R series that can do exactly that and their specs say that they only require 1" of space so they would also be suited for a cabinet. Is that C/L/R series recommended? Also some of their higher priced C/L/R center channels had a sub woofer in it. Is it recommended to go with a center that has a subwoofer?


What other brands have speakers designed to be placed horizontally or can be placed either vertically or horizontally?


K-DUB
 

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What model AR do you have?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-DUB /forum/post/0


I went and listened to the Pro Cinema 1000 Monitor speakers and they sounded great! I can't believe how good the sound was for being so small. I am definitely going to be glad to get rid of my huge towers. Thanks for the recommendation.


I have been planning out my cabinetry some more and I want to go with a L/R speaker that I can put horizontally. Is that a bad idea? I noticed Definitive Technology has a C/L/R series that can do exactly that and their specs say that they only require 1" of space so they would also be suited for a cabinet. Is that C/L/R series recommended? Also some of their higher priced C/L/R center channels had a sub woofer in it. Is it recommended to go with a center that has a subwoofer?


What other brands have speakers designed to be placed horizontally or can be placed either vertically or horizontally?


K-DUB


There are a few other mfrs. who make really good systems using small L+R speakers. I usually suggest using a little larger center channel speaker than the L+R's because it does most of the work. Note the importance of the subwoofer: The mfrs who create pretty darn good HT systems with smallish L+R speakers do it by designing the sub so it integrates seemlessly with the "little" front speakers. And they make sure their CC isn't wimpy.

Concerning a DefTech C/L/R/ system, I'd suggest the Pro Cinema 1000 L+R speakers would be OK in your room but I'd upgrade to the C/L/R center channel speaker (without subwoofer, I thought he said C/L/R 2200 but I don't see that one on the DefTech website). Lower end C/L/R CC: money well spent, in my opinion. I'm also told for my friend (room about 15' x 19') there is no reason to pay for the upper end C/L/R CC's with the built in sub - but I cannot remember when the salesman said going to that CC with its own built-in sub would be beneficial. Of course, if you stick with DefTech, and do their complete C/L/R system it seems you would get a little bit better quality speaker system as opposed to a ProCinema 1000 system. However:


I'd rather you consider the ProCinema 1000 system speakers for L+R and rear surrounds, and just upgrade the ProCinema 2000 CC to the C/L/R CC. Additionally, I'm told that the ProCinema 1000 subwoofer is more musical than the supercube subs that come with the C/L/R system. I'd seriously consider adding a second 10" ProCinema 1000 sub for your system as opposed to spending whatever is left over from your budget on better L+R speakers or a big supercube thumper. Unless, you only watch sports and action movies, then a good quality 12" sub might satisfy you.



What other brands have speakers designed to be placed... either vertically or horizontally?


Hmmm, you'd have to ask the box type speaker salesmen - I expect that a few wouldn't like being on their sides and most (box speakers) wouldn't care. Of course, the round speakers offered by Gallo and Orb could be placed on their sides without detriment (
). Also, it seems the Due series by Gallo has been designed to go either way, and their sub seems to be musical (if music or watching musical movies/DVD's appeals to you).


I'd suggest if the box speakers you purchase disperse sound uniformly, then that might be OK. Some speakers purposely disperse the sound at a different angle in the horizontal direction than the vertical, then you would have a problem. It may be that PA speakers have differing dispersions but HT speakers are uniform; I'm not sure but your DefTech dealer would know. If you do place the speakers on their sides, think about where you want the tweeters. [My first thought, maybe incorrect: If you have the L+R speakers only 6' from each other having the tweeters on the outside might provide more separation. Otherwise I'd expect the best sound to be obtained by having the tweeters on the inside (nearest the TV). Also, the DefTech L+R speakers are ported, but I cannot remember if they are side or rear ported (or bottom). You'd need to consider where the port is also.] Ask your DefTech salesman, for two channel musical listening I think my first thought might be accurate - but for HT use having the tweeters on the outside might widen your soundstage, a not undesirable thing if you are watching a movie and the CC focuses your attention to the middle when it is supposed to be focused there.


Hope this helps, and if you (anyone) looks to another manufacture for HT 5.1 speakers, the general reasoning should still hold true: Purchase a real good CC, and pay attention to the sub if you remotely like music or have a room larger than 2000 CF.

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by DelsFan /forum/post/0


the DefTech L+R speakers are ported, but I cannot remember if they are side or rear ported (or bottom).

Yes the salesman said they were ported from the top, which would change to the side if I rotate them. Since the ProCinema 1000 L+R speakers aren't a square box, I would have to find some kind of mount for them right? The C/L/R 2002 speakers are 650 CAD per speaker compared to 500/pair for the ProCinema 1000's so there are quite a bit more. My dilemma is that I am having the cabinets built according to my speaker size so maybe I should spend the extra 1000 and make sure to get speakers designed to be in a cabinet. The salesman said I wouldn't need to have any clearance around the C/L/R speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DelsFan /forum/post/0


I'd rather you consider the ProCinema 1000 system speakers for L+R and rear surrounds.

I want to have my rear surrounds against the back wall, should I go with the BPX series instead of two ProCinema 1000's?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-DUB /forum/post/0


Yes the salesman said they were ported from the top, which would change to the side if I rotate them. Since the ProCinema 1000 L+R speakers aren't a square box, I would have to find some kind of mount for them right? The C/L/R 2002 speakers are 650 CAD per speaker compared to 500/pair for the ProCinema 1000's so there are quite a bit more. My dilemma is that I am having the cabinets built according to my speaker size so maybe I should spend the extra 1000 and make sure to get speakers designed to be in a cabinet. The salesman said I wouldn't need to have any clearance around the C/L/R speaker.




I want to have my rear surrounds against the back wall, should I go with the BPX series instead of two ProCinema 1000's?


I see your point about ProCinema1000 speakers not being condusive to being on their side. Your DefTech dealer could help you there - hopefully!

I'd consider the C/L/R center channel but don't know that you would be disappointed with the ProCinema2000. I'd definately upgrade from the ProCinema1000 CC though.


About the extra 1000 Canadian, I would only suggest you upgrade your center channel to the ProCinema2000 or C/L/R series. I certainly would put more money into a good center channel and a second sub before upgrading the ProCinema1000 L+R speakers.


As for the BiPolar rear surrounds, I don't know as much about them as I might, but cannot see bipolar speakers being anything but better for a surround speaker. You should understand how they work and their placement requirements/limitations (I don't know that, exactly) but I would think they would add spaciousness - exactly what you are looking for in a surround speaker.

WAIT! Your room is 24'x12' and you will be sitting about 12'to14' from your television? So, your rear speakers will be 8' behind your listening area? (That is good.) I wonder, with that application, if bipolar speakers will help you much, since you will already have a lot of dispersion from the surrounds (since they are so far behind you - again, a good thing). I'd ask your salesmen if there is any advantage to bipolar surrounds for your application.


I'd consider
C/L/R center channel (w/o built-in subwoofer) - with so much room behind you, I believe you will appreciate having a really good CC.
ProCinema1000 for L+R speakers
Rear Speakers ? - I'm undecided but you know what questions to ask; ProCinema 1000 might actually be best for your application.

Subwoofer - If you like music, I'd stay away from the long throw (supercube) subs. At $499 list, I'd seriously consider two ProCinema 1000 subs - heck, get one and you can always add (or at least audition) a second one later. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the advantage of using two 10" subs instead of one 12" or 14" sub.


Let us know how you are coming along!

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went back to my DT dealer and listened to another setup which sound really good as well:


CLR 2002 - center

Studio Monitor 350 - L+R

Pro Monitor 1000 - L+R Rear

Pro Sub 1000


The salesperson mentioned that I should go with the BP1.2X speakers for the side surrounds instead of the ProMonitor 1000's. With this setup I am would be very close to my budget of 2000.


If I end up going with 2 subs, how would that be wired? Do I just run a 14 guage wire to each of my locations (back corners)? Or do they have to be wired together somehow?


K-Dub
 

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Hey guy:


I'm supposed to be somewhere; seems like the BP1.2X surround speakers were more expensive than the ProMonitor 1000's. Fine (unless I'm mistaken), it would just gripe me to have more expensive rear speakers than fronts. Of course with the Studio Monitor 350's, I would expect those surrounds to contribute to a killer setup. Ummm, on the two subs, you should be running an LFE output from your a/v receiver (from the LFE output, should have regular RCA ends). I don't know if there are two LFE outs on some receivers, if not a simple "Y"-splitter (RCA) would allow you to send the LFE signal to each sub from a single output on the receiver.


Hope this helps! Going to a friends house to watch the old (Steve Vai) movie Crossroads. And I'm late!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
He recommended keeping the Pro Monitors 1000 as the rear surround speakers and to use the BP1.2X as the side surrounds. I think the BP1.2X are around the same price as the ProMonitor 1000's. What do you think of that setup?


So for pre-wiring for my sub should I just run 2 14 guage wires to the back corners? Or is there a special wire/cable to use? Also would the back two corners be a good spot for the subs? Or should I also pre-run a couple of wires for a front location?


K-DUB
 

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You know, I've always seen subs in the front and would suggest front L+R subs would be the best. BUT, ask your salesman as sometimes there is the way people have always done it vs. a better way that no one believes. Maybe rear has some advantages - I've never thought about it.


I would suggest a "proper" (purpose-built)" LFE cable would transfer the low frequency signal to your subs in a more efficient manner than 14 gauge wire. Plus, most subs have an RCA input for LFE (I believe, only 99% sure). There is just so much technology in interconnects these days (for the last 20 years, but now they are "affordable") that I wouldn't use regular wire for anything - even the rear surround wire is made purposely (your HT guy should know about it but 14 ga wire wouldn't be the worst for that if you already have some wire). I'd suggest that purpose built surround wire would be somewhat inexpensive but would have better insulation - I could be mistaken though. Try used cables.com or audiogon.com and see if they offer used LFE cables.


I'd decide on a front or rear sub location before pre-wiring - and I'd get good cables for everything but your surrounds ($0.50/LF is good enough for surrounds); $6.00 to $10.00/LF used for front and CC ($10.00 for CC!) and you will definately hear the difference.


The last DefTech salesman I talked to suggested a 7.1 system wouldn't do my friend any good over a 5.1 system (15' x 20' room) until he got over 22' to 25' long in room size. He actually said 7.1 could sound worse - I don't know but I guess that could be possible . But, you suit yourself - you might ask your guy what he thinks. One way to look at it, you could consider room treatments as being a better investment than side speakers. You suit yourself though!


Hope this helps!
 

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"A word of advice from the real world.Do not buy into the "designer wire/cable" game. "


Share your experience... Also, what is the designer wire/cable game? $1000/set speaker wire? or the $10/LF that I suggested.


My experience is that when I went from 15 year-old Audio Quest speaker wire ($150 new back then, I got it free with used Thiel CS2 speakers) to two-year old Kimber 8TC, it sounded like I got a new stereo. I could hear things from CD's with which I was familiar that I had never heard before. I had the same experience when upgrading my interconnects. I'm talking night and day difference, not just sit and pick out something barely audible to only the affectiono.


If you have cheap HTIB system, sure, I'd not worry about speaker wire or interconnects.

My personal experience: I have a decent music setup with a pretty good (Linn Genki, $1800 new) CD player. For my system, using 16ga wire would be a person like putting a narrow cheap $285 set of tires on their Porsche Boxter. What would be the point of having the Boxter?


If a person has a low end "real" system, (Pioneer Elite receiver and ProCinema5.1 system qualifies) I defy them to not hear in the first four seconds a night and day difference between zip cord or even monster cable, and any good $150 set of speaker wire. Same with interconnects. Why spend $2500 on a system and then leave 25% of the sound in the box - to save $200?


I'm not suggesting being ridiculous, but I've found the low end of real wire and interconnects is the most efficient way to upgrade a system. I took my $5000 system and made it sound significantly better, to any listener (even my wife working in the kitchen, not even paying close attention) for a $250 investment (described above). To achieve that same improvement, I would have had to trade my $1500 preamp for a $3000 preamp. $250 vs $1500. I think good speaker wire and interconnects, without going overboard, gives the most bang for a person's buck in the HT or two-channel world.


Give us your experience from the real world. I've given mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
[Quote Delsfan]The last DefTech salesman I talked to suggested a 7.1 system wouldn't do my friend any good over a 5.1 system (15' x 20' room) until he got over 22' to 25' long in room size. He actually said 7.1 could sound worse - I don't know but I guess that could be possible . But, you suit yourself - you might ask your guy what he thinks. One way to look at it, you could consider room treatments as being a better investment than side speakers. You suit yourself though![/quote]


My room is about 24' feet long. See attached picture for my proposed layout. I just want to have it prewired for 7.1, I may start with 5.1 and then add on if I want fuller sound.


What kind of treatments are recommended?


KDUB
 

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K-Dub, I'm not an expert (on room treatments) but I know someone who is. I'll talk to them.


What I "think" I know:

a) the corners of your room trap sound or magnify certain (bass?) frequencies. One often sees "tube traps" in corners.

b) the upper corners also are "dead ends" for sound, some people think putting a flat (engineered) piece of material at a 45 degree angle to the two walls and the ceiling helps the sound.

c) if you think of trying to have equal sound pressure everywhere in your room, you can see that much of the sound will "escape" through the opening to the left of your seating area. You could possibly use a curtain to cover this opening but you would then want to do something similar on the right hand side. I'll ask my friend about this... (what material to use, the effect of a (sound absorbing) curtain directly on the sides of the sitting area vs. a more reflective surface (like a sliding door - a pain but I find it's first best to determine what is the "best" solution, without regard to money or practicality, and then work backwards from there, until a "practical" solution is reached).

d) like speaker wire and interconnects, a minimal attention to an oft neglected part of HT systems (room treatments, in this case) yields a significant result.




PS Another option: CLICK HERE and read the first couple of threads. This guy sounds like he could be fuller of $hite than a Christmas turkey - but I expect that he is actually an expert in a neglected field. Read a little and see what you think - you will know more than nothing when you finish, even if you don't go to Messeur Green for your room treatment products.
 
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