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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to design a room to do all of the above as best as I can. I do roughly similar amounts of each. I recognize that I can't have the best of each world. I'm wondering though, what are the chief trade-offs others have faced regarding this issue? Is it possible to do a "very good" if not reference job of each?


Any advice would be appreciated.


Thanks.
 

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Speaker positioning for 2-channel imaging and distance to screen is a combination that I just can't seem to put together.


The optimum position for 2 channel imaging is more than often an equilateral triangle, and that means that you will be sitting to close to the movie screen if you have got a front projector. So make the screen smaller, or have the speakers spaced out FAR to the sides of the screen.


How do people solve this one, that is what i would like to know.


Other than that I don't see any major problems combining the two. The goal of music and HT is both the same: to reproduce sound to the highest standard. Your equipment doesn't care if it is a car chase or a Mahler symphony.
 

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I disagree that you can't have the best of both worlds, as long as you are a solid state fan and you have a flexible budget There can be a tradeoff between screensize and the positioning of your main speakers for the best possible sound. There can also be tradeoffs between the room looking good and sounding good.


As far as sound for music vs movies go, I believe, for the most part, that, if you can play music well you can do movies well too (this is especially true for you because you have high efficiency speakers -- so you will not have a loudness issue that others may have).


As long as all your speakers are set up correctly...to maximize performance of your system (assuming you listen to cd and dvd), buy the following:

1) best amps for the front speakers and center

2) similar sounding but slightly lower end amps for the surround speakers if the best amps are too expensive

3) best cd transport

4) best dvd transport

5) best 2 channel preamp

6) best ht preamp


Connect the cd to the 2 channel preamp and connect the preamp to the passthrough in your ht preamp. Connect your dvd transport to you ht preamp as normal.


That's it, you now have uncompromised music and movies. It is expensive though, but it may be in your budget. Of course you do not have to buy the reference grade of any number of items above if your budget does not allow, but 2 channel preamps outperform HT preamps for music and dedicated cd transports will outperform dvd players.


Before trying all this, I think you should see if connecting a dvd to your ht processor is good enough for you though...there is a good chance you will find it very satisfying and will not go through the extra expense of having a cd player and a stereo preamplifier.


BTW: If you are a tube fan, your life is much more difficult as you need 2 pairs of amplifiers for your main speakers and you have to switch interconnects and speaker cables every time you change from movies to music.


Edit: Or you can really spend lots of money and get tubes all around. Thanks scooter :).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dinn
Speaker positioning for 2-channel imaging and distance to screen is a combination that I just can't seem to put together.


The optimum position for 2 channel imaging is more than often an equilateral triangle, and that means that you will be sitting to close to the movie screen if you have got a front projector. So make the screen smaller, or have the speakers spaced out FAR to the sides of the screen.


How do people solve this one, that is what i would like to know.

You said it :). It helps to have a long enough and wide enough room. In addition to the variables you mentioned, you have to keep in mind that you should be at least 4 feet off the back wall to attenuate reflections. Your main speakers also can't be too close to the side walls. It is definitely a bear to set up optimal audio and video and often requires some compromise in screen size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very helpful, thank you.


What about room acoustics? Where to reflect/absorb/diffuse etc? How does that differ?


Thanks.
 

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I presume you're defining 2-channel as playback by means of two speakers (although it is better to use a sub below 80Hz). By multi-channel I presume you mean the existence and use of surround, or effects, channels on the side or side/rear. A 2-channel recording played back through a multi-channel system and surround processor handling steering and effects logic is 'multi-channel'.


There is no difference in the playback requirements for multi-channel audio and 'theater' save for one significant difference. That being theatrical sound tracks are mixed to a standard whilst 'music' is not.


Compromise between the two playback scenarios is not a good option. Effectively you're saying you're (a) willing to spend a bunch of money and (b) happy to make the room sound poorly in either case.


The acoustic requirements for each are very much different. This includes, among others, room reverberation time, the placement and type of absorptive/diffusive elements. Not the least of which is with 2-channel you can have a sweet spot...with multi-channel, you can have a sweet area. The best DVD player, the best CD player, the best amp, the world's greatest speakers, and $1,000/inch cables will not overcome the acoustics of your room.


If you have a good surround processor and a well set up multi-channel room, play your 2 channel recordings in multi-channel mode...a better result. I can assure you a good surround processor will do a whole bunch better job of creating the spaciousness than your room can accomplish.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tpigeon2003


BTW: If you are a tube fan, your life is much more difficult as you need 2 pairs of amplifiers for your main speakers and you have to switch interconnects and speaker cables every time you change from movies to music.
Huh? This is a rediculous statement to make. You can just as easily drive a HT with tubes as you can with SS. The only difference is that the price entry point into high output tube amplifiers is much higher than SS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Dennis Erskine
I presume you're defining 2-channel as playback by means of two speakers (although it is better to use a sub below 80Hz). By multi-channel I presume you mean the existence and use of surround, or effects, channels on the side or side/rear. A 2-channel recording played back through a multi-channel system and surround processor handling steering and effects logic is 'multi-channel'.


There is no difference in the playback requirements for multi-channel audio and 'theater' save for one significant difference. That being theatrical sound tracks are mixed to a standard whilst 'music' is not.


Compromise between the two playback scenarios is not a good option. Effectively you're saying you're (a) willing to spend a bunch of money and (b) happy to make the room sound poorly in either case.


The acoustic requirements for each are very much different. This includes, among others, room reverberation time, the placement and type of absorptive/diffusive elements. Not the least of which is with 2-channel you can have a sweet spot...with multi-channel, you can have a sweet area. The best DVD player, the best CD player, the best amp, the world's greatest speakers, and $1,000/inch cables will not overcome the acoustics of your room.


If you have a good surround processor and a well set up multi-channel room, play your 2 channel recordings in multi-channel mode...a better result. I can assure you a good surround processor will do a whole bunch better job of creating the spaciousness than your room can accomplish.
I am currently playing 2-channel through my Lex MC-12B in 2-channel analog bypass. What multi-channel mode would you recommend? Or, did I not understand?


Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Dennis Erskine
How about Music 7? Logic 7? Church? Concert Hall? Nightclub?
Is the point to have the processor do the work digitally, or to be multi-channel? That is, is the problem that I'm doing bypass or that I'm only playing 2-channels (I suspect it's the 2-channels but I'm pretty clueless...).


I haven't really run my 2-channel music through any of the surround modes. Any opinions out there on how it sounds? I'm a little leery of hearing voices behind me...


Thanks again for the help.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by thegratingone
I haven't really run my 2-channel music through any of the surround modes. Any opinions out there on how it sounds?
Why not push a button and listen for yourself? It won't hurt your ears nor the processor, and it will actually give you a better idea of "how it sounds" than any of our opinions ever could. For starters, try the LOGIC7 Music mode or the L7 Music Surround modes.


Best,

Sanjay
 

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Scooter, you are right, I am sorry. I celebrated cinco del mayo too early last night. I will edit that :). Seems I should not reply after celebrating too often :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by sdurani
Why not push a button and listen for yourself? It won't hurt your ears nor the processor, and it will actually give you a better idea of "how it sounds" than any of our opinions ever could. For starters, try the LOGIC7 Music mode or the L7 Music Surround modes.


Best,

Sanjay
Think for myself? Listen? Work? Are you mad? :)


I will do so, but I'd still love opinions...
 

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tpigeon2003,


The preferred connection for a 2-channel/HT integration scheme is as follows (majority of enthusists do it this way) ;


Instead of feeding the 2-channel preamp into the HT processor (which means you need the HT processor on to even listen to 2-channel) I would recommend instead to feed the L&R preouts of the HT processor into an HT bypass (or AUX input) on the 2-channel preamp.


This way when listening to 2-channel music, only the CDP/turtable, 2-channel preamp and L&R main amps are turned on (eliminating any spurious RF from the video/audio signal interference in the HT processor or DVD player).


You will find many 2-channel preamps with an HT bypass circuit (just wire in to wire out).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD
tpigeon2003,


The preferred connection for a 2-channel/HT integration scheme;


Instead of feeding the 2-channel preamp into the HT processor (which means you need the HT processor on to even listen to 2-channel) I would recommend instead to feed the L&R preouts of the HT processor into an HT bypass (or AUX input) on the 2-channel preamp.


This way when listening to 2-channel music, only the CDP/turtable, 2-channel preamp and L&R main amps are turned on (eliminating any spurious RF and other interference from the HT processor and DVD player).


You will find many 2-channel preamps with an HT bypass circuit (just wire in to wire out).
Thanks. Of course, I think I got the exact opposite advice above :).
 

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The original question was not how to wire a pre-amp/amp/speaker situation but rather room design, and hence, acoustic issues.


That being said, if one has to bypass the processor, kill the DVD, and other sources to avoid RF problems with two-channel listening, then there are some very poorly designed (or faulty) electronics or cabling in the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Dennis Erskine
The original question was not how to wire a pre-amp/amp/speaker situation but rather room design, and hence, acoustic issues.


That being said, if one has to bypass the processor, kill the DVD, and other sources to avoid RF problems with two-channel listening, then there are some very poorly designed (or faulty) electronics or cabling in the system.
In my short time on this message board I've yet to see a thread not eventually mutate into something new... :)
 

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Grating,

Not to stray too far from the subject :) but I would go with the wiring Bruce proposed instead of what I said as it was already proved by scooter I had a few too many margaritas in me when I posted. Remember, don't drink and type or you can end up like me :). As far as room acoustic issues go, I am sticking to what I said not long ago in another thread.
 

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I think you can have a pretty good HT and 2 channel setup. First, set up the front two speakers for optimal imaging and frequency response. This will involve at a minimum a tape measure for symmetry and if you want to get sophisticated get CARA software or ETF acoustic software to help you. Remember, keep the speakers at least 3' from the side walls and 4' from the front wall. Don't put ANYTHING between the speakers.


Then put a retractable front projection screen on the front wall exactly in the middle of the two front speakers. Mount the projector above the listening position. Be sure to put some dampening material around the projector and mount. Put the center channel speaker in front of the screen on a floor stand the exact same distance from the listener as the front speakers.


For 5 speaker setup, put the rear speakers 110 degrees off axis from the center speaker, and the same distance away as the front and center speakers.


You'll have to experiment with locations for subs, but I like my two behind the front R and L speakers in the corners.


Put bass traps in the corners and absorbers to 200 hz at the first reflection points from the front speakers.


This is all pretty easy if you have a big symmetric rectangular room or you're designing one from scratch. Where it gets complex is retrofitting a room with lots of furniture, windows, bookcases, and the like.


The payoff is outstanding sound with whatever medium you choose.


As far as the equipment goes, two channel preamps are better at two channel and I like the idea of having a two channel pre with HT passthrough. I've found that the new HT pres with analog passthrough are pretty good. Otherwise the requriements are the same for both.
 
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