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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for advice on setting up our first home theater in our new house. Here is what we are working with:

1) Your budget: $1500 - $3000 (not including wiring)
2) Your listening interests: primarily movies and tv shows
3) Your existing audio equipment (make/models): Denon-x3400h bought on recent sale, can return for 30 days
4) The size of your room: see diagram and pictures attached
5) Any placement restrictions: Can't stick out too much on right side of TV due to walkway there coming from the stairs, willing to move couch up
6) Any aesthetic or size concerns: Minor aesthetic, mostly need to hide wires
7) Any equipment you are already considering: htd level 3 L/R/C, SVS PB1000 (dual?)
8) Any particular audio sonic signatures you know you prefer: none

Additional info: TV is an LG OLED65B7A, we are willing to hire a professional to run wire in the walls to make it aesthetically pleasing. Probably looking to start with a 3.1 or 3.2 before moving up to a 5.2.2. Would like to play center on shelf above fireplace (below TV) that is 8" wide, so shallow depth center preferred, height and width not an issue.

Questions:
1) Should I go for dual or single sub?
2) Is there a shallower center and matching L/R around my price point
3) Is a 3400h overkill? We would like to do Atmos and would install ceiling speakers when we run wire in walls.
4) Benefits of moving the sectional couch towards the TV? How close should we move it if we wanted to do a 7.2.2 setup?
5) Is there another setup in the room that would work better?

Thanks!
 

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Keep the Denon, it will handle exactly what you want to do [5.2.2].

Go dual subs for 5.2.2 [obviously, that is the 1st '.2' in the configuration. ;)

From the looks of your room [beautiful home, BTW] 7.2.2 is a bad idea. Trust me, you'll be just as happy with 5.2.2 configuration.

I actually endorse using a phantom center which would make your setup 4.2.2...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A single comment: the AVR-X3400H is a 7 channel receiver. You'd need a 9 channel one (or more) to support a 7.2.2 Atmos system.

Some of your questions could be answered by: [link]
Thanks for the link, I've looked through it before and was wondering if the step up from 5.2.2 to 7.2.2, 5.2.4, or even 7.2.4 would be worth it for our specific living room space and budget. The general feeling I get is that it probably would not be with an open space like we have and a $3,000 budget. Another factor is that since this would be our first surround system, we wouldn't necessarily know what we are missing from those configs with more speakers. A point in favor is that we if are doing the wiring, we will want to wire for the most speakers we will want so we don't have to do it again down the line.

Keep the Denon, it will handle exactly what you want to do [5.2.2].

Go dual subs for 5.2.2 [obviously, that is the 1st '.2' in the configuration. ;)

From the looks of your room [beautiful home, BTW] 7.2.2 is a bad idea. Trust me, you'll be just as happy with 5.2.2 configuration.

I actually endorse using a phantom center which would make your setup 4.2.2...
Would you keep the HTD Level 3 bookshelf speakers with a phantom center or recommend something different?

What surround speakers would you suggest to pair with the Level 3s or other speakers?

Thanks!
 

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The sectional being against the back wall can be problematic, but folks do it all the time and live with whatever compromises it brings. I don't think the sectional would look right off the back wall, up against the stair wall.

One thing you can do to mitigate some of the issues is to put soft artwork on the back wall. Tapestries, that sort of thing. If those pictures you currently have up are glass-covered, that would only exacerbate some of the issues. FYI, many companies create wall treatment panels that have artwork as the facing, so you could even replicate what you currently have, if you wanted to. Maybe three panels, about the size of the current pictures.

For the front 3 speakers, PSB and Paradigm both have excellent on-wall options. That said, you might consider a product like the Mantlemount, that allows you to lower the TV to a better height for viewing. You can even attach the speakers to the mount, allowing the entire set-up to float (assuming you don't exceed the weight parameter). Having the TV and the speakers closer to seated ear height will have benefits.

An alternative to this would be to have the Mantlemount only carry the center channel and have the R&L speakers as floor standing speakers or bookshelf speakers on stands to the sides of the fireplace. This might be the optimal solution, as you will then be able to separate and position the speakers for a wider and larger soundstage.

Just some food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@RayGuy
Thanks for the advice, I have not heard of Mantlemount before and will look into it. We did some measuring and it looks like the top of the TV will be about a 15-20 degree viewing angle so we may not need a pull down mount. We are still trying to decide if we want to pull the couch up by a foot or two to have put the surround speakers on stands or keep the couch flush against the back and wall mount them.

I get the feeling that the step up from 5.2.2 to 7.2.2, 5.2.4, or even 7.2.4 would not be worth it for our specific living room space and budget.

I don't think we need or want to do in-wall options for the front speakers because that is an exterior wall and we would rather not cut into it. Would you still recommend PSB and Paradigm bookshelf speakers? Aesthetically, towers would probably look the best but my understand is that they are more for music (not a huge use case for us) and would cost more to bring them up to bookshelf performance levels for movies. Another mitigating factor is we will probably have some type of bookcase or entertainment center on either side of the fireplace to keep the AVR and media / game systems.
@Squirrel!
Would you keep the HTD Level 3 bookshelf speakers with a phantom center or recommend something different?
What surround speakers would you suggest to pair with the Level 3s or other speakers?
@bobknavs
Thanks for the link, if we did decide to go with a higher speaker count system we would be returning the x3400 that we got but it sounds like it would not be worth it for our room and budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whoops, sorry for the semi-double post. My previous reply must have gotten lost in the ether and only showed up after I replied again.
 

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@RayGuy
Thanks for the advice, I have not heard of Mantlemount before and will look into it. We did some measuring and it looks like the top of the TV will be about a 15-20 degree viewing angle so we may not need a pull down mount. We are still trying to decide if we want to pull the couch up by a foot or two to have put the surround speakers on stands or keep the couch flush against the back and wall mount them.

I get the feeling that the step up from 5.2.2 to 7.2.2, 5.2.4, or even 7.2.4 would not be worth it for our specific living room space and budget.

I don't think we need or want to do in-wall options for the front speakers because that is an exterior wall and we would rather not cut into it. Would you still recommend PSB and Paradigm bookshelf speakers? Aesthetically, towers would probably look the best but my understand is that they are more for music (not a huge use case for us) and would cost more to bring them up to bookshelf performance levels for movies. Another mitigating factor is we will probably have some type of bookcase or entertainment center on either side of the fireplace to keep the AVR and media / game systems.

@Squirrel!
Would you keep the HTD Level 3 bookshelf speakers with a phantom center or recommend something different?
What surround speakers would you suggest to pair with the Level 3s or other speakers?

@bobknavs
Thanks for the link, if we did decide to go with a higher speaker count system we would be returning the x3400 that we got but it sounds like it would not be worth it for our room and budget.
My rec of the PSB and Paradigm was form factor related, as their long, narrow, thin, on-walls are a cut above most speakers of that type. If you go with floor standing speakers or bookshelves on stands, then there are a myriad of choices. Will need to further explore your needs and taste to get some clarity on the best speakers for your situation. Have you done much in the way of speaker auditioning?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Have not done much speaker auditioning, went to Frys but their speaker testing room was broken. As far as headphones go, I know that I prefer my V Moda Crossfade over Bose QC35s. Unsure if headphone taste helps with speakers.
 

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I am looking for advice on setting up our first home theater in our new house. Here is what we are working with:


Questions:
1) Should I go for dual or single sub?
2) Is there a shallower center and matching L/R around my price point
3) Is a 3400h overkill? We would like to do Atmos and would install ceiling speakers when we run wire in walls.
4) Benefits of moving the sectional couch towards the TV? How close should we move it if we wanted to do a 7.2.2 setup?
5) Is there another setup in the room that would work better?

Thanks!
The Denon is fine for now if it does your desired level of Atmos (which as other posters have said it should for now). As for it's power-handling, I don't think built-in speakers handle much power anyway. Yes, a small component-stack to the left of fireplace will work (where plant is). I would keep it low, as in first component is just a few inches from floor. It needs some good solid/clean power and a UPS/APC.

A nice big Center is much taller than that little bar. Are you going to move the HDTV up 7 inches from mantle? I would be tempted to just put it on a stand in front of the fireplace, with matching towers sitting on the floor on each side of fireplace (like Squirrels pic). Hopefully, that will pass your WAF. I'm assuming fireplace isn't used any more.

One sub-woofer is fine for now. I prefer them in the back of the room near seating. If hiring electrician, you could pre-wire for second-one.
Since that is external wall, an external conduit outside-house up to attic-space might be best. Be sure the wiring setup is modify-able in 10 years.

I prefer floor-standing and/or bookshelves where possible. They sound good and you can change them later. Some mid-level Polk or Klipsch should work ... I think both have Atmos that you can add-on to stand-alone speakers. Yes, I have open-concept multi-use room also. It takes some nice speakers and power to fill that room with sound near reference levels. I'm bias but for example, I don't think a bunch of hidden build-in speakers are gonna cut-it (especially for main Left/Center/Right).

EDITED
 

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I would keep the HTD's and get a second set for surround. Keeping the timbre the same IS important, regardless of what others claim. You WILL hear a difference for the worse mixing them up I assure you.
 

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@Tesla1856
Thanks for confirmation on the Denon, glad I was able to pick out something that seems to fit my needs. The power stack will probably go where the plant is currently as well as something on the other side to balance it out a bit and have a place to put the bookshelf speakers. Alternatively, we may just buy brackets to put on the wall to wall mount the bookshelf speakers.

The center we were looking at (HTD Level 3) is 8.3" high, so the TV would need to be raised up. Doing some measurements, out eye level is just below the bottom of the shelf, so with an 8" speaker and about 4" height on the shelf, the top of the TV would be 16-17 degrees up from the seated position. This may be a little more than the optimal 15 degrees, but I think having a nice center and not ripping out the shelf is a good trade off. Alternatively, something like the Polk S35 would fit there as is and gets good reviews. Unfortunately, I don't really know how to compare something like HTD Level 3s to Polk S20 / S35s.

Getting a few external conduits put in has been a suggestion we have been hearing. The house is a two story, so it would be a rather long run to go from TV wall to couch wall (50'+) so I would have to do some more research on the effects of running wire that far.
@Squirrel!
Thanks for the advice, we will make sure to try to match everything to give as clean a sound as possible.
 

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@Tesla1856
Thanks for confirmation on the Denon, glad I was able to pick out something that seems to fit my needs. The power stack will probably go where the plant is currently as well as something on the other side to balance it out a bit and have a place to put the bookshelf speakers. Alternatively, we may just buy brackets to put on the wall to wall mount the bookshelf speakers.

The center we were looking at (HTD Level 3) is 8.3" high, so the TV would need to be raised up. Doing some measurements, out eye level is just below the bottom of the shelf, so with an 8" speaker and about 4" height on the shelf, the top of the TV would be 16-17 degrees up from the seated position. This may be a little more than the optimal 15 degrees, but I think having a nice center and not ripping out the shelf is a good trade off. Alternatively, something like the Polk S35 would fit there as is and gets good reviews. Unfortunately, I don't really know how to compare something like HTD Level 3s to Polk S20 / S35s.

Getting a few external conduits put in has been a suggestion we have been hearing. The house is a two story, so it would be a rather long run to go from TV wall to couch wall (50'+) so I would have to do some more research on the effects of running wire that far.

@Squirrel!
Thanks for the advice, we will make sure to try to match everything to give as clean a sound as possible.
This is coming together nicely.

To give you an idea ... my Center is 8x21x10 inches. You want the largest one that will fit because (at least with movies and TV anyway) about 70% of your sound comes from there. But yes, you have the right ideas and yes, it can go on mantle under TV. Maybe not as big as mine since it will match the Front L/R bookshelves set/series.

OK, yes I see. Medium-sized (or thin/tall) Bookshelves on the mantle ... gotcha.

Yes, power-stack there will the fine.

I think I might put the sub-woofer at the base of the stairs next to that first gray sectional-piece. The Denon will balance volume to room and I bet that is the last seating position to be used anyway. I guess the other possible position is to the right of fireplace, opposite the power-stack. My Polk sub was only $250 and I think it sounds fine. It's forward firing and not too big. I've never had it (individually) turned-up anywhere near 100% volume. However, the whole (calibrated) system, I had it turned up to about 90% once. :eek:

Also, if viewing in day-time, I suggest some window-tint or nice window-dressings for those windows.

SEE FINAL EDIT and LATE EDIT 2
 

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I am looking for advice on setting up our first home theater in our new house. Here is what we are working with:

1) Your budget: $1500 - $3000 (not including wiring)
2) Your listening interests: primarily movies and tv shows
3) Your existing audio equipment (make/models): Denon-x3400h bought on recent sale, can return for 30 days
4) The size of your room: see diagram and pictures attached
5) Any placement restrictions: Can't stick out too much on right side of TV due to walkway there coming from the stairs, willing to move couch up
6) Any aesthetic or size concerns: Minor aesthetic, mostly need to hide wires
7) Any equipment you are already considering: htd level 3 L/R/C, SVS PB1000 (dual?)
8) Any particular audio sonic signatures you know you prefer: none

Additional info: TV is an LG OLED65B7A, we are willing to hire a professional to run wire in the walls to make it aesthetically pleasing. Probably looking to start with a 3.1 or 3.2 before moving up to a 5.2.2. Would like to play center on shelf above fireplace (below TV) that is 8" wide, so shallow depth center preferred, height and width not an issue.

Questions:
1) Should I go for dual or single sub?
2) Is there a shallower center and matching L/R around my price point
3) Is a 3400h overkill? We would like to do Atmos and would install ceiling speakers when we run wire in walls.
4) Benefits of moving the sectional couch towards the TV? How close should we move it if we wanted to do a 7.2.2 setup?
5) Is there another setup in the room that would work better?

Thanks!
I'd consider the new Elac Debut 2.0 which have been getting excellent initial feedback from AVS users and unlike the darker prior iteration in terms of sound, the new ones are more detailed and best of all front ported.

When Best Buy gets them (unless they already have them in your area) easy enough to return if not happy.

2 choices for centers, stand mount or floor standing speakers.

As you can see below, the PB1000 has been essentially rendered obsolete by the Monolith 10" sub that brings an extra 200 watts to the party.

PORTED SUBWOOFERS $600 AND BELOW, DELIVERED

NOTE: IF LOOKING AT LARGER/MORE EXPENSIVE SUBWOOFERS ADD PSA TO THE LIST OF BRANDS

ALSO, IF YOU ARE NOT AN ACTION MOVIE FAN A SUBWOOFER WITH 22-30HZ EXTENSION WOULD BE FINE

Specs are from the manufacturer unless noted otherwise.

150watts =11w18h13d= 18 lbs 8" [28hz] $199 EMOTIVA BASX S8

200watts =14w16h16d= 34 lbs 10" [27hz] $299 EMOTIVA BASX S10

300watts =17w18h18d= 49 lbs 12" [27hz] $399 EMOTIVA BASX S12, (extension from Sound & Vison)

350watts =15w16h17d= 40 lbs 10" [30hz] $399 RSL SPEEDWOOFER 10S, (extension from Sound & Vision review)

250watts =15w19h17d= 42 lbs 10" [25hz] $455 HSU VTF 1 MK3 (extension from Audioholics review)

300watts =15w19h20d= 46 lbs 10" [18hz] $499 SVS PB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision Review)

500watts =15w19h20d= 72 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH THX 10"

300watts =16w22h21d= 69 lbs* 12" [19hz] $549 RHYTHMIK LV12R

350watts =15w21h22d= 62 lbs 12" [18hz] $607 HSU VTF2 MK5, (extension from Audioholics review)
 

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Alternatively, run the cable through the floor, under the house to the wall behind the couch. This approach does make for longer runs to the Atmos speakers. However, you can compensate by using thicker wire. This avoids any and all exterior wall issues (you never know what you'll run into).

If you keep the TV above the fireplace, be sure that the mount allows you to angle the screen downward, so you are not looking at an "off axis" picture, which can mute colors and ruin contrast (depending on the TV).
 

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Have not done much speaker auditioning, went to Frys but their speaker testing room was broken. As far as headphones go, I know that I prefer my V Moda Crossfade over Bose QC35s. Unsure if headphone taste helps with speakers.
Two ways to go about that. First is to personally visit stores (Best Buy and any other speaker purveyors in your area). The second is to buy online and demo in your home. If you are interested in bookshelf speakers, Crutchfield will allow you to return a pair for only $10. You can order any number of pairs from them, do your own listening sessions and send back the loser(s) for very little money.

Then you can fill out the rest of the set (center, surrounds, atmos), after you have made your decision.
 
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