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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm posting some pictures of our living room since it's easier than trying to describe. We don't want the living room to be all about watching TV (hence off in a corner as opposed to centered on the rear wall), but realistically we'll be watching the majority of our TV (and movies) in here for the coming years. This picture below is basically taken from the place we'll be sitting when watching a movie. You'll note lots of open space here since it makes playing with the twins easiest.




Our 42" TV (way too small for the viewing distance - hope to upgrade to 52" one of these days...though that may still be too small) is mounted to a CLO X-Arm, so while it can be flush (straight) against the wall, we tend to angle it in the direction of the couch where we sit (middle of the room). Looking at the picture above, the wall the right of the TV is essentially flush with the fireplace (in the picture below), so you can see how we're offset.




You can also see that we've got windows on one side & an opening on the other that would cause side speakers (in a 7.1 setup) to be problematic (unless they're ceiling mounted). It seems a 5.1 setup may make more sense - especially if I don't go w/ in ceiling speakers.







What I want to figure out is the least intrusive speaker setup. Doesn't need to be a total home theater experience that blows me away, but I'd like it to be decent. We may eventually mate whatever system to a Sonos or Logitech Squeezebox as well.


I've been leaning toward going with the refurbished Onkyo TX-SR706 in part due to the hope the Audyssey speaker setup would help tune my jacked space.


From the speaker perspective I've been considering in ceiling speakers ( Good Thread Here about the monoprice ones being generally a great bang for the buck) or in wall. Alternatively, I could go with more traditional speakers on stands, but this works better for the back of the room vs. the front (and would be more intrusive).


My big questions is what to do about the front speakers. First, can I even consider in ceiling? I can't really mount on either side of the TV, since if I ever go bigger than 42" they'll be covered (not to mention when the TV is angled on the X-arm it would obstruct the speaker on the right).


I'm guessing my best bet is to do the front & center speakers under the TV in a smile formation). Even at that, if they're flush on the wall they won't be pointed in the right direction (unless I angle them in installation or they're directional even when mounted flush).


Alternavitely I guess I can do both fronts on the far walls (where the TV is & where the Xmas tree is), but if this is an option then where would the center go? Center of the TV (since we're looking at it when watching) or center of the room (in middle of arch)?


As you can tell I'm a total noob. I'm afraid to say I've never contributed much here since I don't have much to offer from an expertise/experience perspective.


Budget wise I'd like to stay under $1K for everything, which leaves me about $500 for speakers after the receiver. Budget is very flexible and could go higher if it's really worthwhile, but since I don't need knock-my-socks-off performance I'd rather not be spending serious coin on the stuff. BTW, I have an old sub that went with my Onyx Rocket Tyke's - would that still work for me?


Thanks much for reading & any replies.
 

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Well before I read your last paragraph I was going to recommend an all in one "soundbar/receiver"..........Yamaha is one I recently discovered. I think the MSRP was around $1800.00. That and a big overgrown sub-woofer and your set.


If you go with in ceiling, who is going to pull all of the wiring and do the cutting and installing. Is that cost in the $1000.00?


Other option is your receiver idea and a sound bar. The above mentioned Yamaha is a powered sound bar......................................................... ....
www.definitivetech.com
www.polkaudio.com
www.yamaha.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 /forum/post/15588629


Well before I read your last paragraph I was going to recommend an all in one "soundbar/receiver"..........Yamaha is one I recently discovered. I think the MSRP was around $1800.00. That and a big overgrown sub-woofer and your set.


If you go with in ceiling, who is going to pull all of the wiring and do the cutting and installing. Is that cost in the $1000.00?


Other option is your receiver idea and a sound bar. The above mentioned Yamaha is a powered sound bar......................................................... ....
www.definitivetech.com
www.polkaudio.com
www.yamaha.com

Thanks for the feedback. The more I think about it the more I think the soundbar is the best given my poor setup. That being said, I'm still very open to suggestions for in-wall, in-ceiling or free standing speakers & recommended positions. Also, the budget is flexible, so don't feel it's not worth mentioning if it's over the $1K. My only point w/ the budget is 1) saving money if my room will already be sounding [email protected] given the layout, and 2) I'll eventually do a proper home theater in another part of the house, and I'd prefer to save the budget for there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StompAWOT /forum/post/15589141


Thanks for the feedback. The more I think about it the more I think the soundbar is the best given my poor setup. That being said, I'm still very open to suggestions for in-wall, in-ceiling or free standing speakers & recommended positions. Also, the budget is flexible, so don't feel it's not worth mentioning if it's over the $1K. My only point w/ the budget is 1) saving money if my room will already be sounding [email protected] given the layout, and 2) I'll eventually do a proper home theater in another part of the house, and I'd prefer to save the budget for there.

The TV is in such an odd spot there in the corner with the open arch to the left. I would keep things as simple as possible. You can get a three channel passive(un-powered) sound bar and look for a good deal on a receiver. (do you have any Circuit City's near by=Liquidating). All wires and the equipment will be on the stand. As wireless gets better you could go wireless surrounds and even the sub if needed.
 

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The 706 is a great receiver, but I would not spend 50% of your speaker and receiver budget on it.


What is your Blu-ray? Des it decode lossless? If so, then your receiver doesn't have to. If you don't need decoding get something like this, a Marantz sr4002 from accessories4less for $300 ; if you do need decoding the 706 is an option, but I'd look for the best deal on a 606 or a Yamaha 663.


Assuming the Marantz works for you, then there's $700 for a 5.1 system. Look into the DefTech ProCinema 800 (maybe replace the sub if you can); small, but great sound.


Get stands for the front speakers, and put the left one beside where your Christmas tree is and the right one under what looks like your thermostat in picture #3. Put the rears at both ends of your sectional. Put the sub all the way in the corner where the Christmas tree is.


Just my $0.02



edit: another option on the speakers is what I have suggested to many. 2 pairs of KEF iQ1 from Vanns for $200 each, a iQ2 from Vanns for $150 (walnut, non-matching the others is $50 cheaper), and then a PA-120 from eBay for $230; total $780, only a bit over budget but great; just missing stands for those speakers though.
 

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Wow! What a great space. I can't offer any advise to make this project worthwile other than relocating the display above the Fireplace. It would be a far less challenging task than running in wall or in ceiling speakers, that's for sure. Your seating area solves all of the problems of speaker and signal wire runs since there is constant walls with no openings from the right of the fireplace all the way around the room. You could keep the 42" display as well as the viewing distance would be adequate. With a little basic carpenty skills, it wouldn't be difficult or expensive.


I'd install a hardwood mantle across the front of the fireplace from end to end. It would have to be custom made and include a hidden soffit for wires. There won't be many, just a single power cable, one speaker cable and one video cable. On the right side of the mantle, i'd exit the wiring and run it down the side of the fireplace. Attaching a wall mount to the stone won't be too difficult. It will involve some spacers to keep the mount plate away from the uneven surface of the fireplace. Readily available masonary anchors would be fine. Oooops let me stop myself here as this solution may be out of the question. I'll wait for a reply post before going any further.
 

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^^^^that is exactly what popped into my head. I hear the thing about not wanting the TV to be the focal point of such a great room, but i dont think stuffing it into a corner necessarily achieves that.


The fireplace is *so* prime!


Put a soundbar behind a facade on the front of a shallow, hollow mantle and put the TV on that, put the sub wherever.
 

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That is a classic soundbar solution. I installed the Yamaha YSP-4000 with a Velodyne sub and it sounded awesome. It combines the receiver element with the complete speaker solution and I could swear I heard sound coming from behind me after it self calibrated to the room.

The YSP-4000 may be too wide to fit directly under the 42", you could go with a YSP-3000 or place the 4000 on top of your media cabinet.

I would not concern myself with lossless in that room, acoustics would ruin it anyway.

I also installed a Philips SoundBar HTS8100 from Costco, comes with a subwoofer and dvd player built in and a iPod dock all for under $700 obviously it didn't sound near as good as the Yamaha but would be adequate for your needs in that room.

advantages of a soundbar for you:

cheaper, no wires to run, quick and easy to install, self calibrating
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow - thanks for all the replies. Really appreciate everybody taking the time to read what I wrote & give it the thought you have.


As to the receiver, part of the reason I was thinking about it was, in all honesty, the fact that it came recommended by somebody on another forum, I thought it would be good enough to handle potential future upgrades, and importantly it has at least 3 HDMI in's. One for my Uverse TV receiver, one for my Xbox, and one for my Sony BDP-350.


As for the Soundbar option, if I go cheap I guess I'm going really cheap. It seems the Sony HTCT100 Soundbar + Sub is under $300. Would fit in the existing space (the sub), and has 3 HDMI in's & 1 HDMI out.


IRick - I'll look into the speakers you're recommending tomorrow. Need to ge the wife's buy-in for the non-hidden route, but that should be doable. If not would you even consider in ceiling or in wall as an option?


I'm really starting to like the idea of moving the TV over the fireplace - I'm all ears Mayhem. Never considered it since I have no carpentry skills (though I was planning to do my own in-wall or in-ceiling speakers). The major negative is I cut a few decent sized holes to handle my X-arm (which I guess I could find a place for elsewhere in the house) and the cables. No worries - that's what drywall & patching is for...or art work. I'd definitely like to get your thoughts on the ideal layout & method of running the cables without them being too noticeable. I figure I have cables from TV to mantle. Behind mantle to side of fireplace. Down fireplace, then off to equipment. Plus...lets say I do that, then where does the equipment go (presumably next to the fireplace near the railing)?


Thanks again all. Appreciate the thoughts & feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by krnsus /forum/post/15591930


That is a classic soundbar solution. I installed the Yamaha YSP-4000 with a Velodyne sub and it sounded awesome. It combines the receiver element with the complete speaker solution and I could swear I heard sound coming from behind me after it self calibrated to the room.

The YSP-4000 may be too wide to fit directly under the 42", you could go with a YSP-3000 or place the 4000 on top of your media cabinet.

I would not concern myself with lossless in that room, acoustics would ruin it anyway.

Now I'm embarassed for mentioning the Sony. The biggest problem w/ the Yamaha is that it can't accommodate the three HDMI inputs (only two), and part of the thing that got me going on this whole thing was the desire to have all three of my components running through the same receiver. Since my wife & I rarely really crank up the volume at home (3 month old twins at home), I was thinking the Sony may suffice. Any experience w/ that one?
 

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No, haven't installed a Sony sound bar but at that price point I doubt it does any DSP or pseudo surround that the Yamaha does well, and the Philips does adequately. Read the specs and will probably find it is no more than 3 speakers in one encasement, but again I have not heard it so can not comment.

You could use an HDMI switcher, or (god forbid) run one video source via component cables.

Going over the fireplace is without a doubt the best solution if you are up to it, complemented by some floor standing speakers at ear level.

Questions:

Are you doing the work yourself?

Is that a solid fireplace or is there any way to run cables/power through it?

Do you have attic access or is there a room above the area?

If you have attic access would you consider placing your components in a remote location and use a RF universal remote (or an IR repeater to the remote location)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by krnsus /forum/post/15592043


Questions:

Are you doing the work yourself?

Is that a solid fireplace or is there any way to run cables/power through it?

Do you have attic access or is there a room above the area?

If you have attic access would you consider placing your components in a remote location and use a RF universal remote (or an IR repeater to the remote location)

* Plan to do the work myself - or w/ the help of a friend who is a contractor if he's not too busy (and believe it or not he has been). Father-in-law is also pretty handy.

* The fireplace is solid. I'm not above drilling into it for anchors, but running wires through it will be next to impossible (as far as I can tell).

* Plenty of attic access. My only issue with placing in a remote location is the Xbox. Maybe that would need to be pulled out & plugged in when used (directly to the TV). Truth is I don't use it too often so that wouldn't kill me.
 

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The Endtable to the right of the fireplace could be replaced with a small equipment rack and the gear placed there, A nice clean look for your space. A very simple and inexpensive infrared repeater would allow for closed glass-less doors for a nice stealthy install.


For the Mantle, you first need to install a backer or ledge board across the front. A piece of 1*4 or 6 oak,maple,cherry or whatever hardwood appeals to you. It should extend end to end. I would choose a piece of hardwood crown moulding that appealed to be in it's design but should be larger than the backer board in it's width.

With the moulding mocked up against the face of the backer board at it's natural angle the top of the moulding needs to be level with the top of the backer board. Picture a right triangle when looking at the profile of the twopieces together. You will probobly have to trim the backer board to achieve this. You could mount the moulding slightly up from the bottom of the backer as well, and using a router, add a simple detail to the bottom edge of the backer to a achieve more of a blend between the two. The top will be covered with a sill which should extend past the top face of the crown moulding. A detail can be routed into this as well. This would create a hollow cavity inside, allowing you to run the wires inside. A center channel speaker can be placed on the top of the mantle and the wiring from the TV can pass behind it, unseen and into the mantle. The two ends can be capped with hardwood and cut with a scroll saw slightly larger than the profile of the mantle for even more added detail.


This should all be mocked up before installation and assembled on the wall with the backer board first installed securely to the fireplace as it is the anchor for the entire mantle. Masonary anchors with construction adhesive will work fine, just make sure the backer board goes up straight, flat across the face. The remaining pieces attached with brads and wood glue to the backer. To make for an even more steathier design, you could install vertical plinthes from the floor to the mantle as well and conceal the wiring inside the right plinthe to the floor. A project like this with carefull cutting and measuring shouldn't take more than a day for two guys, a table and scroll saw and a router and drill....maybe a hammer but a nail gun would be better. Materials should be less than $100 using oak or maple, more exotic hardwoods a few bucks more. Given the light color of the fireplace, i'd do it in clear maple with a wipe on polyurethane finish or an off white painted finish. The depth of the mantle will dictate the depth of the center channel speaker but no worries there as there's plenty of shallow center channel speaker available and a little velco will keep it put. If the center channel could hang over about a 1/4" that would aid in directivity of the sound will no early reflections to muddy things up.


Another install i did on wall (but not on a fireplace) was a horizontally mounted piece of 3/4" thick hardwood plywood with veneered ends that was mounted about 1.5" inches from the wall for a floaing look. We mounted the plasma and all three speakers directly to the board for a really clean look. We used Athena WS-60 wall mount speakers that come with their own mounts that are adjustable and the whole project turned out really well. For added kicks, we installed led rop lights behind the board which added a warm glow from behind the panel that really made the whole thing look as if it were floating on the wall. Just another option. The Athena's are a great wall mount speaker solution and sound suprisingly good with excellent imaging by the way. I wound up buying a 5.1 set for my den after hearing and seeing the final result of the above install.
 

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I am afraid you may not like my recommendations, but your current furniture arrangement seems to have your seating focused on the fireplace and the entry into the dining room... while I can understand the fireplace, I have a little trouble with half our seating facing the DR entrance. Have you considered a change in the arrangement until you get around to that home theater?


Hard to visualize the size of this room... but what about rotating your sectional 90 degrees so it is facing the fireplace and the wall with the HVAC vent, and hanging the TV on it? Then a couple of speakers on either side of it and a couple of in-ceiling surrounds would be relatively simple to set up, as well as being simple to restore the space once your other room is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.bradford /forum/post/15594125


I am afraid you may not like my recommendations, but your current furniture arrangement seems to have your seating focused on the fireplace and the entry into the dining room... while I can understand the fireplace, I have a little trouble with half our seating facing the DR entrance. Have you considered a change in the arrangement until you get around to that home theater?


Hard to visualize the size of this room... but what about rotating your sectional 90 degrees so it is facing the fireplace and the wall with the HVAC vent, and hanging the TV on it? Then a couple of speakers on either side of it and a couple of in-ceiling surrounds would be relatively simple to set up, as well as being simple to restore the space once your other room is done.

Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions. We actually used to have the setup as you're suggesting. At the time we had the TV up against the wall w/ the HVAC. The room is pretty big, and the other half felt empty. We could have gotten some more furniture to fill it up, but opted to wait since we want plenty of space for the kids. Once they've grown a bit I'm sure we'll mix it up from a layout perspective (and likely rotate the couch as you're suggesting), but for the time being it's working pretty well given our circustances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So after all this I think I've determined, for now, I'll start by giving the soundbar a whirl. I'm going uber-cheap (with the Sony - the size of the sub & 3 HDMI outs are a HUGE selling point right now), but if it sounds like garbage I'll return. Thing is, it will sound like garbage compared to everything that was suggested here - but will sound much better than my TV - and all three of my components can be hooked up to the TV at all times, running through the unit! Still = if it doesn't cut it for our purposes then I think I'll step up to the Yamaha & deal with one less HDMI output.


Thanks to all of you for your time & thoughts - this is why I really enjoy communities such as this. One day I hope I can give back some...I just need some knowledge before doing so.
 
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