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Front speakers very close to back wall and side walls = horrible acoustics?

1356 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Anthony1
Ok, here is the situation. I have an opportunity to have a dedicated Theater room for a Front Projection setup.

The big downside to this deal, is that the room would be incredibly narrow. Only 9 and a half feet wide. The length of the room is between 18.5 and 19.5 feet long, but the width is only 9 feet to 9.5 feet.

Now, with a 9 and a half feet front wall, where the screen is going to go, I would have either a 96 inch 16:9 screen, if it really is 9.5 feet wide or a 89 inch 16:9 screen, if it's more like 9 feet wide. The space between the screen and the side walls will only be 15 inches. The front mains are 10 inches wide. So there would be about 2.5 inches of space from the speaker to the screen, and 2.5 inches of space from the speakers to the side walls.

Would this be a horrible room from an acoustical standpoint? The viewers ears will be about 14.5 feet from the tweeters. There will be about 5 feet behind the viewers and the surrounds will be mounted and hanging down from the 8 foot 2 inch ceiling. the surrounds will be kinda high, because they can't drop down too much lower. It will be a 7.1 speaker setup. The two back surrounds will be about 4.5 feet behind the listeners head, and above them several feet. The left and right surrounds will be several feet to their sides, angled downat them.
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If possible, you want your speakers several feet from back and side walls. You are challenged with the narrow room. If you could mount the screen away from the back walls, in front of all the mains and center and use a screen that is audio permeable, it would give you some needed additional room to work with. Before you purchase/install your screen, can you temporarily setup the speakers in various positions and audition? You could try music tracks and even the audio portion of certain dvd passages. Hopefully experienced users of acoustical panels and products can chime in with some advice of what may also help.

Good luck,

Hi Anthony, I've got a near identical setup to what you described - 10' x 18' x 8'H.

I've been setup in this room for almost a year and after numerous changes and arrangements have found the best sound to be with the L/R out from the back wall about 3' and 1' from the side wall. My screen is 84" wide and it's no problem seeing the whole screen. I'm actually going to a 96" screen and as long as you sit in the middle two chairs you can see the whole image. The bottom of the screen is only a litle bit below the top of the speakers (36") so even the viewing from the sides you only miss a few inches off the bottom corner.

The C is 2.5' from the back wall.

I put all my equipment at the back of the room behind the seating which is 5' from the back wall to open up the front - though it makes changing discs a pain in the ass. The surrounds are 1' from the back wall and only about 6" from the sidewalls.

Not ideal, but nothing will be in this room.
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Originally posted by Mattsushiba

Not ideal, but nothing will be in this room.

I guess my main question then, would be, would this really be a good idea for me, or am I better of staying the way I already have it.

You see, right now I have this Front Projection setup in my 3 car Garage. My 113 inch 16:9 screen is on my right wall. I sit about 20 feet from the screen. Everything is wonderfull, except the acoustics. Obviously being in a Garage with concrete floors and tons of open space and lots of reflection points, doesn't help the situtation.

I was going to get some accoustical foam, and treat the ceiling with it. Maybe get some bass traps and put them in there as well, to help the sound.

But the other downside, is that I also keep my 2 cars in this Garage. So when I want to use the Front Projector, which isn't very often, maybe a couple of times per week, I have to get the cars out of there.

But when the cars are out of there, and I'm using it, it really is an amazing experience. The picture on the 113 inch screen is amazing. The only thing wrong is the sound.

So I started thinking about taking 1/3 of the 3 car Garage, and making a little Theater room. I would actually put up 3 walls, and carpeting and padding, and at some point add a duct for heating and air conditioning, and it would be a dedicated room.

The downside would be that I would only be able to park one car in the other part of the Garage. The upside is that I would have a permanent room to use, and it would be carpeted and wouldn't have the feel of being in a Garage as much. It would seem like a room.

Of course, it would be a very narrow room, presenting new problems to the equation, and it would also be an expensive undertaking. I would have to move a bunch of Garage cabinets to the other side of the Garage, I would have to have a sprinkler system moved to the outside of the Garage, and I would have to put up 3 walls, and the padding and carpeting and all of that. Plus there is the cost of whatever particular seats that I would use.

I'm not so sure if I should really do it.

At first I was really excited about it, thinking that I could finally get my accoustics up to par in this "dedicated" room. But now, I'm thinking with such a narrow room, that I'm trading one accoustical problem for another. Also, my screen size would be going down to at least 96 diagonal from 113. And I would be spending a couple of grand to put the whole thing together.


Maybe I should just stick with my original idea of getting tons of accoustical foam and treating my Garage ceiling.
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I have a similar room dimensions (11.5 x 19' x 8'H). But I'm far worse as I have far less USABLE space, 8'. My left wall has a fire place (My wife has no plans to let me get rid of it) and my right wall has bookshelves & cabinets. You can see my pics in the gallery.

I am still nowhere near satisfied. When I move the L/R away from side walls, it sounds like there is no 3d soundstage or depth. It sounds almost mono.

Anyway, after spending many hours and breaking my back moving my *heavy* speakers for months, I decided to try something else.

I recently bought the CARA software from rhintek and am hoping it can tell me where to place my speakers. I still did not try it yet, I will report back when I do.
The 'cure' is to go into the speakers and change the amount of baffle step compensation in crossover circuit. That way the speakers won't sound too 'chesty' when located near a boundry or boundries.

To do this you'll need info about the circuit from the mfgr.

I converted a garage (which is under the main roof of the house) into a dedicated Home Theater. The dimensions are similar to yours. As part of the conversion, I soundproofed the room.

My screen is 100" diagonal and I'm using a Sim2 HT300 Link projector connected to a Pioneer S969AVi (59AVi) via HDMI. Picture quality is stunning.

As far as sound goes, I purchased my speakers after deciding on the room. I have 3 identical speakers across the front (monitors on stands) that sit just under the screen as well as a sub. I have 4 identical surround speakers, 2 on the sides and 2 sitting behind me. All the speakers are from the same manufacturer (a local Australian company called VAF). I am using a Yamaha RX-Z9 to drive them. The sound quality I'm getting is fantastic, but it is because I have matched the speakers to the room. This will be the main issue you need to address. If you have large floor-stander speakers in your current setup and you want to use them in your dedicated room, you may have problems.

Just so you understand where I am coming from sound wise, I have a separate 2 channel audio only system in another (large) room. It is a full Linn active system (3 x power amps), Klimax Kontrol pre-amp, LP12 turntable etc. So I do have an excellent point of reference when it comes to sound quality.

If you go to this website www.vaf.com.au you can see the speakers I'm using in terms of size etc.

Across the front : 3 x I-91.

Surrounds : 4 x DC-2.

Hope this is of some help.
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Thanks to everybody for their responses on this.

I'm actually now thinking of going in a different direction. I was going to use a certain portion of the garage, but now I'm going to use a different portion.

If I end up doing this, anyways.

Now my room is going to be about 12 feet 2 inches wide and about 19 feet long and about 8 feet 2 inches high.

I think that this would be a better situation for me. The width is much better, allowing me to not have to have my front speakers so close to the side walls. I can also make my screen slightly larger, if I like. But that will have more to do with viewing distance than anything.

Also with a room that is 12 feet wide, it's better from a seating standpoint. In terms of being about to have enough seats in a row.

I'm hoping that from an accoustical standpoint, that it won't be too bad either. This room will have carpet padding (two layers) and carpet. So that will take away some of the liveliness to the sound. I might have some foam on the ceiling and some bass traps too.

Of course, this is if I actually end up going this route, which I'm not totally positive I'm going to do it. I might just leave things the way they are. Haven't totally decided yet, and the Wifey has Her say too.
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