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I currently have a living room setup with B & W 601 s3 for L and R and a 600 s3 center. I am using a small B & W sub. 2 in ceiling speakers for surrounds, sitting just above the listening positions. Driven with a Denon 4520ci. The room is 20' x 22' and open to a 20' x 25' kitchen. Ceilings are 10'. I have an 85" tv set in the front left corner. Large windows on either side of the tv. Hardwood wood floor.
Prime listening seat is 13 feet away from the tv. We use for 85% movie/tv. The problem with the current system is that dialogue is difficult to understand and music on tv is often overly bright. If I take out the center by playing only stereo the sound improves but can still be somewhat bright.

My goal is to allow the system to play in 5.1 and have dialogue be clear. I am sensitive to brightness and the room is mostly hard surfaces, so I don't want a speaker that tends towards brightness. Looks are also very important, given that this is a living room. No ugly black boxes.

My current thoughts are to use 3 Revel M106's across the front. Would I be better with 2 M106's and a C208. Any other recommendations in the $2000- $4000 total price range. Keeping in mind that I am trying to stay away from speakers that lean towards the bright side.

I know that my sub is inadequate and will probably be adding 2 subs in the future. Separate budget. I also know the room is not optimal but can't really do much treatment wise.

To get an idea of my sound preference, I have a theater setup with Salk HT2 TL as L and R and HT2 center, with 2 Rhythmik 15 inch subs, the dialogue on this system sounds quite clear. It is in a moderately treated room. Music can however sound bright to me on the HT2 TL's.

I will try to attach a picture of the living room.

Thanks in advance for any help. I have learned a great deal from this forum.
 

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For a living room setup I skip a center and stay with 2.1 2.0 setups as there is a lot of music in the mix. In your picture if you push the towers over and remove the center you could drop your tv down a foot or more.


The bright sound you hear could be a lot of things. What are your sources that sound bright? Have you the tried any eq or room correction with the gear you have now?
 

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Look into the Wharfedale EVO 4.4. Sonus Faber Sonetto is another option. Difficult to find warmer speakers with so many manufacturers trying to outdo each other in the "detail" (read exaggerated treble) characteristic.

Other options could be Magnepan and Vandersteen, but your placement requirements (against the wall, these need plenty of space around them) seem to negate their viability in your room.

One other observation. Those two windows straddling your system are not doing you any favors from a treble perspective, as glass tends to over-emphasize the treble region. If you could alter the window coverings to something that would absorb the treble, you could help yourself out. Heavy sound absorbing curtains, or Roman shades made of thick material could do wonders.

Lastly, have you considered moving the system from between those windows? Perhaps to the wall to the left of it's current position (not sure how much wall you have to work with there), moving the couch 90 degrees counter-clockwise?
 

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I currently have a living room setup with B & W 601 s3 for L and R and a 600 s3 center. I am using a small B & W sub. 2 in ceiling speakers for surrounds, sitting just above the listening positions. Driven with a Denon 4520ci. The room is 20' x 22' and open to a 20' x 25' kitchen. Ceilings are 10'. I have an 85" tv set in the front left corner. Large windows on either side of the tv. Hardwood wood floor.
Prime listening seat is 13 feet away from the tv. We use for 85% movie/tv. The problem with the current system is that dialogue is difficult to understand and music on tv is often overly bright. If I take out the center by playing only stereo the sound improves but can still be somewhat bright.

My goal is to allow the system to play in 5.1 and have dialogue be clear. I am sensitive to brightness and the room is mostly hard surfaces, so I don't want a speaker that tends towards brightness. Looks are also very important, given that this is a living room. No ugly black boxes.
I'd recommend looking at the Wharfedale Evo speakers --- available at Crutchfield, with $10 flat rate return shipping on bookshelves, and $75 on towers. They are quite attractive and reasonably priced. Wharfedale is known for "warm" speakers, and the Evo series' AMT tweeters will give you that warmth with lots of detail as well.
https://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/wharfedale_evo.html

If you want the best possible center speaker that won't be bright, I'd also look at the Ascend Sierra Horizon center with RAAL tweeter, in some sort of bamboo finish. It's big but that's exactly what you want for a center especially given your 85% HT/TV usage and 13ft listening distance.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/horizon/horizon.html

Looking at your setup, I would recommend spreading apart your L/R speakers further...you can use 32" or 36" tall speaker stands to support your TV if needed.
 

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I currently have a living room setup with B & W 601 s3 for L and R and a 600 s3 center. I am using a small B & W sub. 2 in ceiling speakers for surrounds, sitting just above the listening positions. Driven with a Denon 4520ci. The room is 20' x 22' and open to a 20' x 25' kitchen. Ceilings are 10'. I have an 85" tv set in the front left corner. Large windows on either side of the tv. Hardwood wood floor.
Prime listening seat is 13 feet away from the tv. We use for 85% movie/tv. The problem with the current system is that dialogue is difficult to understand and music on tv is often overly bright. If I take out the center by playing only stereo the sound improves but can still be somewhat bright.

My goal is to allow the system to play in 5.1 and have dialogue be clear. I am sensitive to brightness and the room is mostly hard surfaces, so I don't want a speaker that tends towards brightness. Looks are also very important, given that this is a living room. No ugly black boxes.

My current thoughts are to use 3 Revel M106's across the front. Would I be better with 2 M106's and a C208. Any other recommendations in the $2000- $4000 total price range. Keeping in mind that I am trying to stay away from speakers that lean towards the bright side.

I know that my sub is inadequate and will probably be adding 2 subs in the future. Separate budget. I also know the room is not optimal but can't really do much treatment wise.

To get an idea of my sound preference, I have a theater setup with Salk HT2 TL as L and R and HT2 center, with 2 Rhythmik 15 inch subs, the dialogue on this system sounds quite clear. It is in a moderately treated room. Music can however sound bright to me on the HT2 TL's.

I will try to attach a picture of the living room.

Thanks in advance for any help. I have learned a great deal from this forum.
I like the ingenuity of your "TV stand"!

Three identical speakers all aligned vertically, (and ideally on the same plane), is a worthy goal.

$10/box returns on the Revels at Crutchfield so why not give them a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For a living room setup I skip a center and stay with 2.1 2.0 setups as there is a lot of music in the mix. In your picture if you push the towers over and remove the center you could drop your tv down a foot or more.


The bright sound you hear could be a lot of things. What are your sources that sound bright? Have you the tried any eq or room correction with the gear you have now?
All sources sound bright, especially music over the tv (comcast xfinity). I have tried Audyssey but it doesn't really help the brightness much. I have had the speakers in several positions. Current seems best for the LR. The TV is temporarily on top of the speakers. Will eventually wall mount.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Look into the Wharfedale EVO 4.4. Sonus Faber Sonetto is another option. Difficult to find warmer speakers with so many manufacturers trying to outdo each other in the "detail" (read exaggerated treble) characteristic.

Other options could be Magnepan and Vandersteen, but your placement requirements (against the wall, these need plenty of space around them) seem to negate their viability in your room.

One other observation. Those two windows straddling your system are not doing you any favors from a treble perspective, as glass tends to over-emphasize the treble region. If you could alter the window coverings to something that would absorb the treble, you could help yourself out. Heavy sound absorbing curtains, or Roman shades made of thick material could do wonders.

Lastly, have you considered moving the system from between those windows? Perhaps to the wall to the left of it's current position (not sure how much wall you have to work with there), moving the couch 90 degrees counter-clockwise?
My plan is to wall mount the tv in the corner. Speakers will sit straddling the corner but out from the wall. They can sit out as much as 3 to 4 feet from sidewalls. Will need to play with this once the tv is mounted.

Really don't have another option for positioning the tv. Heavy curtains are also not an option.

I was hoping that a less bright speaker would work. It should be noted that I thought the B & W speakers were bright in my treated theater room. I also think that the center is poor.

Thank you for the suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd recommend looking at the Wharfedale Evo speakers --- available at Crutchfield, with $10 flat rate return shipping on bookshelves, and $75 on towers. They are quite attractive and reasonably priced. Wharfedale is known for "warm" speakers, and the Evo series' AMT tweeters will give you that warmth with lots of detail as well.
https://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/wharfedale_evo.html

If you want the best possible center speaker that won't be bright, I'd also look at the Ascend Sierra Horizon center with RAAL tweeter, in some sort of bamboo finish. It's big but that's exactly what you want for a center especially given your 85% HT/TV usage and 13ft listening distance.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/horizon/horizon.html

Looking at your setup, I would recommend spreading apart your L/R speakers further...you can use 32" or 36" tall speaker stands to support your TV if needed.
thank you.
Wharfedale sounds like a good option. I was thinking 3 bookshelves. WOuld I be better with 3 Evo bookshelves or 2 bookshleves with a center.

I am planning on mounting my tv on an arm that will swing it out to about it's current position. I would then place the speakers at ear level below the tv. I have tried the speakers wider but the sound was worse. Voices almost unintelligible, possibly secondary to interaction with the dreaded windows. Once the tv is mounted I would be able to place them almost anywhere, whatever sounds the best.

I like the idea of Wharfdale because I will be able to return to crutchfield if I don't like them. I think I may try the Revel M106 and the Wharfedale and send back the one I don't like.
 

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I like the ingenuity of your "TV stand"!

Three identical speakers all aligned vertically, (and ideally on the same plane), is a worthy goal.

$10/box returns on the Revels at Crutchfield so why not give them a try.
Thanks. The TV stand is temporary, but has worked well. So far the tv has not fallen. I don't know if the weight of the tv affects the sound from the speakers, but it seems the speakers sound better there than they did when the tv was on the stand and the speakers were off to the side more. I did this to try to get the center in a better position but it didn't help the center.

I think I will try the Wharfedale Evo bookshelves and the Revel M106's. Start with just L and R and see how they sound. Now that I look, I don't know if I can buy 3 Wharfedale bookshelves. That may complicate things. I think Zorba had mentioned somewhere that a large center with 2 bookshelves may be better than 3 identical bookshleves. Anyone have an opinion.
 

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Thanks. The TV stand is temporary, but has worked well. So far the tv has not fallen. I don't know if the weight of the tv affects the sound from the speakers, but it seems the speakers sound better there than they did when the tv was on the stand and the speakers were off to the side more. I did this to try to get the center in a better position but it didn't help the center.

I think I will try the Wharfedale Evo bookshelves and the Revel M106's. Start with just L and R and see how they sound. Now that I look, I don't know if I can buy 3 Wharfedale bookshelves. That may complicate things. I think Zorba had mentioned somewhere that a large center with 2 bookshelves may be better than 3 identical bookshleves. Anyone have an opinion.
It is a general consensus that the "ideal" is three identical speakers mounted identically which most of us are unable to achieve and thus we "compromise" with a horizontal center.

It is also a general consensus that the best horizontal center is a three way design which Wharfedale offers in their EVO line.

Luckily for me I am happy with my two way horizontal center with raised tweeter.
 

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thank you.
Wharfedale sounds like a good option. I was thinking 3 bookshelves. WOuld I be better with 3 Evo bookshelves or 2 bookshleves with a center.

I am planning on mounting my tv on an arm that will swing it out to about it's current position. I would then place the speakers at ear level below the tv. I have tried the speakers wider but the sound was worse. Voices almost unintelligible, possibly secondary to interaction with the dreaded windows. Once the tv is mounted I would be able to place them almost anywhere, whatever sounds the best.

I like the idea of Wharfdale because I will be able to return to crutchfield if I don't like them. I think I may try the Revel M106 and the Wharfedale and send back the one I don't like.
3 identical speakers for your front stage are advantageous if you listen to a lot of music in multi-channel or "all channel stereo" mode. Or if the "matching" center within the same brand/model-line is crappy. Or if you are an extremely fastidious/picky listener, actively LISTENING to your movies instead of WATCHING them like most people.

The disadvantage of 2 way center speakers is that they don't have good horizontal dispersion---but this mainly matters if you regularly host large viewing parties spread out across the room. If on the other hand, you usually sit directly in front of the center speaker, alone or with one other person next to you, this is not really relevant.

Wharfedale unfortunately does not sell its bookshelf speakers in singles, unlike Revel, so you'd have to buy 2 pairs and have an extra speaker left over. So I would go with their 3-way Evo 4.C instead of the 2-way 4.CS

Out of curiosity, when you tried to have your current speakers spread out wider, did you toe them in a bit, or did you keep them squared with the screen?
 

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Before spending money on new speakers, why don't you try to throw a duvet over all that hardwood in front of your couch. That may help tame reflections a bit, and costs nothing.
 
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3 identical speakers for your front stage are advantageous if you listen to a lot of music in multi-channel or "all channel stereo" mode. Or if the "matching" center within the same brand/model-line is crappy. Or if you are an extremely fastidious/picky listener, actively LISTENING to your movies instead of WATCHING them like most people.

The disadvantage of 2 way center speakers is that they don't have good horizontal dispersion---but this mainly matters if you regularly host large viewing parties spread out across the room. If on the other hand, you usually sit directly in front of the center speaker, alone or with one other person next to you, this is not really relevant.

Wharfedale unfortunately does not sell its bookshelf speakers in singles, unlike Revel, so you'd have to buy 2 pairs and have an extra speaker left over. So I would go with their 3-way Evo 4.C instead of the 2-way 4.CS

Out of curiosity, when you tried to have your current speakers spread out wider, did you toe them in a bit, or did you keep them squared with the screen?
Thank you for the information. I am not a particularly picky movie listener, just want to be able to make out dialogue. I am pretty picky when listening to music, but I would be listening in stereo not multizone.

When I had the speakers separated I did try all angles. Not much improvement. The current setup actually sounds the best. I will note that I was using an older Denon with a lower version of Audyssey at that time.

I also wonder how I should compare these speakers. Should I just order 3 M106's and compare to 2 Evo bookshelves with the Evo 3 way center or should I just get a pair of each bookshelves and compare in stereo.

Thanks again for any help.
 

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Before spending money on new speakers, why don't you try to throw a duvet over all that hardwood in front of your couch. That may help tame reflections a bit, and costs nothing.
I have placed multiple heavy blankets on the floor to test this and found the speakers to be slightly less bright but it did not help dialogue clarity. I am planning on moving the speakers forward a foot or 2 when I mount the TV and I am thinking that will help.
 

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Should I just order 3 M106's and compare to 2 Evo bookshelves with the Evo 3 way center or should I just get a pair of each bookshelves and compare in stereo.
Depends on what you prefer in case you picked the Revels---3 x M106 or 2 x M106 plus the Revel center. Wharfedale doesn't sell the Evo bookshelves in singles so definitely get 2 of them with the 3 way center.

This may help your speaker/sub placement:
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/optimizing-the-soundstage-with-speaker-placement/

For HT:
https://www.crutchfield.com/learn/learningcenter/home/speaker_placement.html

For stereo music:
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-I6kUWhGx5X0/learn/learningcenter/home/nonHTspeak.html
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Depends on what you prefer in case you picked the Revels---3 x M106 or 2 x M106 plus the Revel center. Wharfedale doesn't sell the Evo bookshelves in singles so definitely get 2 of them with the 3 way center.

This may help your speaker/sub placement:
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/optimizing-the-soundstage-with-speaker-placement/

For HT:
https://www.crutchfield.com/learn/learningcenter/home/speaker_placement.html

For stereo music:
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-I6kUWhGx5X0/learn/learningcenter/home/nonHTspeak.html
Thank you. I will probably try the M108 pair and the Wharfedale pair. See which sound I prefer. I will also move my Salk HT2 center upstairs to see if a better center makes a difference for dialogue.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My OCD keeps me reading and I have found reference to the JBL HDI 1600. They may not be as pretty as the Revel M106 but I wonder if they perform better. Any toughts.
 

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My OCD keeps me reading and I have found reference to the JBL HDI 1600. They may not be as pretty as the Revel M106 but I wonder if they perform better. Any toughts.
Definitely worth trying. 85% HT/TV usage, JBL would be one of the top options on my list.
 

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My OCD keeps me reading and I have found reference to the JBL HDI 1600. They may not be as pretty as the Revel M106 but I wonder if they perform better. Any toughts.
85db sensitivity, 4 ohms.

Very nice speakers for sure based on reviews and AVS member feedback; you have a very powerful AVR so you might be ok.

Review with measurements; they measure very well.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/jbl-hdi-1600-speaker-review.12477/

Your current speakers are 88db sensitivity and rated at 8ohms despite them stating in the specs that they dip to 3 ohms so will have to use a bit more power to achieve you current volume levels.

Denon on AVRs and 4ohms.

https://denon.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/58/~/4-ohm-speakers-with-a/v-receivers-or-power-amps

Good news is that while the horizontal center is a stunning $1750 that you can indeed buy a third HDI 1600 for $900 to use as center vertically so the front three would be $2700 vs $3550 with the horizontal center.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I wanted to provide a follow up for anyone that is interested. A lot has happened since I last posted. I got the tv mounted on the wall. This frees up speaker placement. I also ordered and received a pair of Revel M106's and a pair of Wharfedale Evo 4.2 bookshelf speakers. I have had the speakers for about 2 weeks and have been listening to them under various conditions. I have had listened with them in pure mode without the subwoofer, with the subwoofer with and without Audyssey correction. I have used the graphic equalizer to try to optimize and I have used the tone control. I currently have them sitting on boxes in an AB: AB configuration set up with the M106's in the main configuration and the Evo's in Zone 2. I can fairly quickly, within several seconds, switch between the 2. I have level matched by ear. At this point what I am hearing is that the M106 have a better top end. Much more definition and upper treble extension. The Evo's have more base extension but lack the crystal clarity in the top end. The M106 can be bright with some material and actually can be uncomfortably bright. I have found that using the graphic equalizer or the tone control with the M106's corrects nicely for this overly bright sound. Audyssey seems to actually make the M106's even more bright, unbearably so. Audyssey makes the Evo's sound better but make the M106's too bright.

In the end, I feel that the M106's running on pure are too bright but with some manual correction sound great. The Evo's have a much warmer sound that cannot be corrected to get the treble quite right. With some correction the M106's are great. They don't have the same bass fullness that the Evo's have but with the subwoofer this can be compensated for. The sound stage for both is good but I think I favor the M106's slightly. They seem to have a slightly wider sound stage and more precise positioning of the instruments and voices.

One other issue is that the M106's are to me and my wife much more attractive and fit into our decor better.

So the M106's win on both aesthetics and sound. I will keep the 2 M106's that I ordered and add a third for the center. Will return the Evo's. They were definitely warmer as was predicted. As it turns out my room does not seem to be as bad as I thought. The sound from the M106's with a little manual correction is more than I hoped for. I hope the third M106 as the center will provide good dialogue clarity, have not had any problems with using it as the center with the Evo's as the left and right. Have also had relatively good clarity when running the M106's with a phantom center.

If anyone has interest I can run some measurements with an Omnimik. At this point I have not done this because my decision was made by what I have been hearing, but if others are interested I can try to get some measurements. I would be happy to provide further feedback if anyone is interested in this speaker comparison.

Thanks for the advice and guidance, it has helped me to find what I believe is an excellent solution for me.
 
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