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Discussion Starter #1
I started the below thread in "General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms " on Thursday about the plan for my new 7.2.4 home theater to ask for feedback on speaker layout, help with picking an amp and and advice on replacing my in-wall fronts with floor standing speakers.


friendswithdave and Fed Lead have been awesome and more than helpful in answering my various questions.

Since the layout has been blessed, I thought I should continue the discussion on the speaker forum since the rest of my questions are related to speakers. Please let me know if I should not have opened this thread and should have continued in the original thread instead. I'd rather not break the forum's rules in creating multiple threads.

My new theater room dimensions are 22' x 21' x 9'. The projected screen will be on the 22' wide side of the room. The primary seating position will be 3-4 feet from the back wall.

My current equipment that I plan to continue to use is:

Def Tech DI 5.5 LCR - Left and Right Fronts
Def Tech DI 6.5 LCR Center
Def Tech DI 5.5 LCR - Left and Right Surrounds
Dr HSU HIW-1 Left and Right Rear Surrounds
SVS PB 1000 Sub - I realize I need to upgrade the subs
RSL c34E - 4 Atmos speakers
Pioneer SC-95 receiver.

With the wife not really happy with me planning to get floor standing speakers, I think I might be stuck with in-walls ....... permanently. I am thinking I should just go ahead and upgrade my front stage with better sounding front in-wall speakers before we move in, rather than wait a few months/years and then we realize the speakers are not as good at the new place. I didn't indicate this in the original thread, but my old home theatre was a shared space and there was no "back" wall for the home theatre space. It was just open to the rest of the basement. Since we didn't know better (i.e. get a chance to listen to / try out different speakers), we were happy with the Def Techs for the front stage. Although, we never ended up using the front heights that you see in the old pics. If I go with brand new in-wall speakers, then the existing four Def Tech 5.5 LCRs will be used as surrounds and surround rears. The single Def Tech 6.5 and the pair of Dr HSU HIW-1s will be retired at that point.

Taking friendswithdave's advice, I will be buying at least a 3-channel if not 5-channel amplifier for speakers.

The Def Tech 5.5LCR cost me $225 each back in 2016. If I am willing to fork over $500-600 for each of the in-wall front speakers and side surrounds, can you please recommend something for the dedicated 22 x 21 x 9 room please? Upgrading the fronts is a higher priority than the side surrounds. I've read that the rear surrounds aren't as important as the rest, so I'll probably never upgrade them from the Def Techs 5.5LCRs.

Thanks,
Wally
 

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With the wife not really happy with me planning to get floor standing speakers, I think I might be stuck with in-walls ....... permanently.

Taking friendswithdave's advice, I will be buying at least a 3-channel if not 5-channel amplifier for speakers.

The Def Tech 5.5LCR cost me $225 each back in 2016. If I am willing to fork over $500-600 for each of the in-wall front speakers and side surrounds, can you please recommend something for the dedicated 22 x 21 x 9 room please? Upgrading the fronts is a higher priority than the side surrounds. I've read that the rear surrounds aren't as important as the rest, so I'll probably never upgrade them from the Def Techs 5.5LCRs.
I wouldn't give up the fight for freestanding speakers so easily. At least get wall-mounted bookshelves on L-brackets that can be toed in and angled up or down to aim at ear level where you sit.

If you do find yourself stuck with in-walls, still no need to blow $500-600 each for them...I'd look at the 3-way Monoprice Monolith THX in-walls and not spend a penny more because it won't make much difference at all.

All you need with the subs is add a second PB1000, unless your room is huge, with high ceilings, a room below it, or opens up to a bunch of adjacent rooms. In which case a pair of PB2000 (or better, Hsu VTF-2 or 3) might be worth looking at.

And I wouldn't waste any money on external amplification, either. Won't make any difference with in-walls.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I wouldn't give up the fight for freestanding speakers so easily. At least get wall-mounted bookshelves on L-brackets that can be toed in and angled up or down to aim at ear level where you sit.

If you do find yourself stuck with in-walls, still no need to blow $500-600 each for them...I'd look at the 3-way Monoprice Monolith THX in-walls and not spend a penny more because it won't make much difference at all.

All you need with the subs is add a second PB1000, unless your room is huge, with high ceilings, a room below it, or opens up to a bunch of adjacent rooms. In which case a pair of PB2000 (or better, Hsu VTF-2 or 3) might be worth looking at.

And I wouldn't waste any money on external amplification, either. Won't make any difference with in-walls.
Thanks for your response Zorba.

I didn't realize that Monoprice made THX certified speakers. I found two speakers when I searched for for 3-way THX Monolith.

Monolith by Monoprice THX-LCR THX Ultra Certified 3-Way LCR In-Wall Speaker - Monoprice.com - Monolith by Monoprice THX-LCR THX Ultra Certified 3-Way LCR In-Wall Speaker
Monolith by Monoprice THX-365IW THX Ultra Certified 3-Way In-Wall Speaker - Monoprice.com - Monolith by Monoprice THX-365IW THX Ultra Certified 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

If I get three of the 365IW, can the one used for Center channel be placed horizontal, while leaving the Left and Right channels as vertical?

The theater room will be in the basement and is 22 x 21 x 9. Luckily this time it is completely closed and doesn't share space. I do have a spare sub NXG Technology NX-BAS-500 12" , that I will use along with the SVS sub.

Regarding the external amp, my receiver is a Pioneer SC-95 and it can't process all 7.2.4, so I need to use an external amp for at least 2 channels using pre-outs. So I don't have a choice. I need to use pre-outs for either the front LR or one of the pairs of ATMOS speakers.
 

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If I get three of the 365IW, can the one used for Center channel be placed horizontal, while leaving the Left and Right channels as vertical?
Sure you could, but why would you? Having 3 vertically aligned identical front speakers is the acoustic ideal.

The theater room will be in the basement and is 22 x 21 x 9. Luckily this time it is completely closed and doesn't share space. I do have a spare sub NXG Technology NX-BAS-500 12" , that I will use along with the SVS sub.

Regarding the external amp, my receiver is a Pioneer SC-95 and it can't process all 7.2.4, so I need to use an external amp for at least 2 channels using pre-outs. So I don't have a choice. I need to use pre-outs for either the front LR or one of the pairs of ATMOS speakers.
Using 2 different subs for duals is usually not recommended, but no harm trying it out since you already have them.

A 7 channel receiver should be able to do 5.2.2 though...I'd try that first, then add the extra amp and extra speakers later only if you find it lacking.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Sure you could, but why would you? Having 3 vertically aligned identical front speakers is the acoustic ideal.



Using 2 different subs for duals is usually not recommended, but no harm trying it out since you already have them.

A 7 channel receiver should be able to do 5.2.2 though...I'd try that first, then add the extra amp and extra speakers later only if you find it lacking.
Zorba, here is a pic of the front stage. The center speaker will be close to the floor and if I set it vertical, that cuts into the size of the screen. I am planning to project on to the wall and not have a dedicated screen. If I did, I would have placed all of them in the same horizontal plane behind the screen. We liked how it turned out at our old house without a screen and plan to do the same here.

3045963


About using a 5.2.2 receiver and adding speaker later, I see you point. At the old house we already had all the speakers for a 7.2.4 setup along with the SC-95. But I never used two of the atmos speakers since I didn't have the amp to support them. I'd rather buy everything I can now, during the move/setup so that I don't have to bother with it again.

I do have an additional question. Given the seating area is setup as show below, will the rear surrounds be too close to the listening position? The couch will be around 2 feet from the rear wall. The side and rear surrounds will be Def Tech 5.5LCRs, which used to be the fronts in the old house. The atmos speakers are RSL c34Es.

Thanks again.
3045967
 

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Zorba, here is a pic of the front stage. The center speaker will be close to the floor and if I set it vertical, that cuts into the size of the screen. I am planning to project on to the wall and not have a dedicated screen. If I did, I would have placed all of them in the same horizontal plane behind the screen. We liked how it turned out at our old house without a screen and plan to do the same here.

About using a 5.2.2 receiver and adding speaker later, I see you point. At the old house we already had all the speakers for a 7.2.4 setup along with the SC-95. But I never used two of the atmos speakers since I didn't have the amp to support them. I'd rather buy everything I can now, during the move/setup so that I don't have to bother with it again.

I do have an additional question. Given the seating area is setup as show below, will the rear surrounds be too close to the listening position? The couch will be around 2 feet from the rear wall. The side and rear surrounds will be Def Tech 5.5LCRs, which used to be the fronts in the old house. The atmos speakers are RSL c34Es.
With the center being THAT low, I would use a freestanding center (the bigger the better) so that it can be sharply tilted upwards aiming tweeter at ear level where you sit. Just put it on a pair of cinderblocks with a wooden board on top. An in-wall that low would be playing to your shins, which will be a disaster.

This one if you believe in the "timbre matching" hoo hah:

Something like an Emotiva C2+ if you don't.

Really, I'd just skip the rear surrounds. You gain nothing from them since almost all content is natively engineered for 5 channels anyway. And you should probably lower the side surrounds a bit to create more separation from the overhead Atmos speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
With the center being THAT low, I would use a freestanding center (the bigger the better) so that it can be sharply tilted upwards aiming tweeter at ear level where you sit. Just put it on a pair of cinderblocks with a wooden board on top. An in-wall that low would be playing to your shins, which will be a disaster.

This one if you believe in the "timbre matching" hoo hah:

Something like an Emotiva C2+ if you don't.

Really, I'd just skip the rear surrounds. You gain nothing from them since almost all content is natively engineered for 5 channels anyway. And you should probably lower the side surrounds a bit to create more separation from the overhead Atmos speakers.
Zorba, I never thought that having a speaker that low ruins sounds. We didn't know the difference in our old house. I'll see if I can convince my wife to go with a free standing center at least. Honestly, I was drinking the "timbre matching" cool aid so far since I am ignorant about how audio equipment works, but all I care about is getting good sound. I'll read up on the Emotiva C2+. Did you recommend the C2+ based on the size of my room ? Its around 4100 cubic feet.

I will definitely lower the surrounds on the wall. The markings on the wall in the picture was more of a rough estimate and not set in stone. I understand that speakers would work better if they are at ear level. If I do get rid of the rear surrounds, I don't have to get an external amp, this does sound convincing :)

Thanks again
 

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Zorba, I never thought that having a speaker that low ruins sounds. We didn't know the difference in our old house. I'll see if I can convince my wife to go with a free standing center at least. Honestly, I was drinking the "timbre matching" cool aid so far since I am ignorant about how audio equipment works, but all I care about is getting good sound. I'll read up on the Emotiva C2+. Did you recommend the C2+ based on the size of my room ? Its around 4100 cubic feet.
How low from the ground will you want the bottom of the PJ image to be on that wall? If you can have it be at least 24" then you could do 3 vertical dual-woofer speakers such as Ascend 340SE...these are a very easy load for any receiver to drive to quite loud volumes, and they are quite reasonably priced. Here's how one AVS member arranged his, just under his screen:
3046041
 

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Did you recommend the C2+ based on the size of my room ? Its around 4100 cubic feet.
No I didn't, but that's another point in its favor.

I recommend the biggest/best center you can get because it's the CENTER which does 70-80% of the total HT output...that's where you will get the biggest ROI. (A fact that speaker salesmen will never tell you because of course they want you to buy much pricier flashier towers to earn them a fatter sales commission.)
 

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I have the Monoprice THX-LCR (3x behind a 2.35:1 AT Screen) and they are phenomenal in terms of sound quality (very neutral), output (they handle as much as you can throw at them), and build quality (extremely solid). My big gripes that would point me towards recommending the THX-365IW instead are their width and dog-ear location/orientation. They take up absolutely every millimeter of space between a standard 16" OC stud cavity, meaning you're completely at the mercy of your stud locations in terms of mounting. They also don't allow the side-facing dog-ears to completely extend and grab sheetrock, leaving you with 2-4 dog-ears fully-engaged with sheetrock and the rest simply wedging into the studs. The front baffle is extremely rigid and, in practice, this hasn't been an issue in my installation but it is a poorly thought-out design. For a speaker this wide that takes up every bit of a stud cavity, they really should have used vertically-oriented rail-style mounts on the sides and regular dog-ears in the middle. Also, it's good you're already planning for proper amplification since they're 4ohm nominal and 3.2ohm min speakers... my Marantz SR6011 got hotter than normal (and it already gets pretty hot) driving them even in 4ohm mode, but the Emotiva XPA-3 I picked up for them doesn't even flinch.

While I don't think that placement would be ideal for a center speaker, I don't think it would be totally detrimental either... but I do think Zorba's recommendation of a free-standing THX-365C with some aiming towards the listening position would offer some flexibility and overall improvement. Depending on the width of your seating, you could also experiment with running a phantom center before taking the plunge on either another 365IW or a 365C. We decided to so in my brother's theater which is a similar layout and, given a fairly wide speaker placement and fairly narrow seating area (a 3-seat couch in front and 2-seat cup-holder love-seat on the second row), it worked surprisingly well. I'm not a timbre-matching fanatic as fas as center-speakers go, but I'm not a disbeliever either... from an output standpoint, I don't think the 365C will have any issue keeping up with the matching in-walls, but I don't think you can go wrong with the C2+ either.

I'd also agree with Zorba on skipping the rear surrounds due to proximity to the listening position and the potential for lobbing, as well as lowering the side surrounds... if you can't lower them enough to get the tweeter just-above ear-level, flip them upside down to get it there if you can). I'd also say that, if your image implies you're planning on going .4 Atmos with the indicated speaker locations, it's completely sub-optimal. Your front Atmos channels need to be WAY further towards the front (check the Dolby layout guides) and your rear Atmos channels should probably be closer to where the front two are indicated in your image. If you can't budge on those locations, I'd simply do .2 with the Atmos channels as far forward on the soffit as you can get them.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
How low from the ground will you want the bottom of the PJ image to be on that wall? If you can have it be at least 24" then you could do 3 vertical dual-woofer speakers such as Ascend 340SE...these are a very easy load for any receiver to drive to quite loud volumes, and they are quite reasonably priced. Here's how one AVS member arranged his, just under his screen:
View attachment 3046041
I'm a sucker for biggest screen image right now, so I plan to go as far down from the ceiling that I can. That's the reason I want the horizontal center and the LR in walls on the sides. That's a nice setup. My wife wouldn't be happy with too many floor standing speakers though :)
 

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Have you completely discounted the idea of a fixed AT screen? That would allow you to hide three identical in-wall speakers at optimal height and orientation behind it.
 
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No I didn't, but that's another point in its favor.

I recommend the biggest/best center you can get because it's the CENTER which does 70-80% of the total HT output...that's where you will get the biggest ROI. (A fact that speaker salesmen will never tell you because of course they want you to buy much pricier flashier towers to earn them a fatter sales commission.)
I'm with you on the biggest/best center. So, given my budget of $500-600 per speaker, if I can convince my wife to let me get a speaker the size of the Emotiva C2+ (32" x 11" x 14"), what should I go for? Still the C2+ ? I'll stick with the Monolith 365IW for the LRs
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Have you completely discounted the idea of a fixed AT screen? That would allow you to hide three identical in-wall speakers at optimal height and orientation behind it.
Believe me, I would love to hide some nice towers behind a screen, but........... we've been used to projecting a large image on the wall. It was around 160" in our old house. I realize that bigger ain't always better, but given that we have a taller and wider wall in the new place, we want a bigger projected image, as long as I don't cross the "diminishing returns" point. My PJ is a Sony VPL HW45ES and it throws a very bright image even with a few lights on. It can project up to a 300" image. I think I can get a clear 180-190" size image against the wall. I just got my first "change bulb" message after almost 4 years of heavy use. No complaints so far.

Who knows, may be in a few years, I can look into getting a giant screen a foot or two from the wall and hide speakers behind it.
 

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Silver Ticket makes 16:9 AT screens all the way up 220", and a 175" model that would likely fit the bill for what you're looking to do. I wasn't necessarily recommending a full baffle-wall with cabinet speakers behind it, but an AT screen with 3x THX-365IWs behind it, all at the same height. I have 3x THX-LCR behind a 125" 2.35:1 Silver Ticket WVS screen and couldn't be happier with the results.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Understood Stephen. With the limited budget I have, I'm gonna spend it on speakers. Hopefully I'll get some more extra cash in the future for a screen. I think it will make my wife happy too, to hide everything behind the screen. Less visible equals more happy :)
 

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You can make an AT screen using 2x4s and spandex for under $100 or so. That will allow you to have a perfectly-matched LCR behind the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You can make an AT screen using 2x4s and spandex for under $100 or so. That will allow you to have a perfectly-matched LCR behind the screen.
You're tempting me now. I'll definitely look into it, if it is that cheap.
 

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Essentially you can build a frame, then staple a layer of white spandex over a layer of black spandex to the frame.
 
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