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I read most of the threads I could find about this. They weren't as much help as I would have liked.


The house we moved into has a gas fireplace raised 6" off the floor. There is another 6-8" plus the height of the mantlepiece above it. Total is about 56" to the top of the mantlepiece (the lowest height I could possibly put my new 433 would have the bottom about 1" above this - for a 57" rise to the bottom).


The sofas are regular sized. Due to the layout of the room the fronts are about 8' from the front of the fireplace (and thus the screen). This is unalterable - well actually they could be moved closer for 7.1...


The room layout is awkward. It is a combined l/r + d/r - basically a big rectangle 30' x 15'. The fireplace projects out 2' into the room on the long axis, starting 6' from one end wall. It is open on 2 sides with the TV intended to be in the 6'x2' alcove formed by the closed side, the fireplace projection and the end wall of the house. A series of large windows prevent positioning it on another wall.


Currently I have the plasma on a stand in the alcove for the tv. All the rest of the stuff is underneath.


The front L/R speakers are on stands in the alcove, and are only 5' apart. I can't move them further apart because of the fireplace and the end of the house. The soundstage is ok (mainly because the speakers all match), but not as wide as it should/could be. The open side to the fireplace means I can't just move 1 speaker further out - to the other side of the outcropping (6' away) and use electronics to compensate.


I seem to have 2 choices to improve the situation.


1. Mount the plasma above the fireplace as is.

This puts the centre about 6' from the ground (with an 8' to screen view distance).
Advantages -

i. It's relatively cheap (I can do the mount and wiring myself).

Problems -

i. I still have to figure something out for the centre speaker.

ii. It seems unnaturally high.


2. Have the fireplace, surround and mantlepiece professionally lowered (next year when I can afford it!). I can move the screen centre down to about 5' - which seems better. I could then use an in-wall centre above it.

Advantages -

i. The height seems more natural from a sitting position.

ii. I can separate the l/r speakers much easier.

Problems -

i. It's not going to be cheap (and there is no guarantee I will like it).

ii. S.O. - she doesn't want major renovations in a brand new house. She also isn't impressed with the idea of the fireplace being moved down.


Clearly (since I should be working right now) I'm obsessing about this.

I need help with a couple of questions:


1. Does anyone have this ratio - height : distance for the plasma (6' high to centre @ 8' distance)?

If so, is it as bad as it appears when you have watched it for a couple of hours?

Right now just eyeballing it, the 1st row of the movies syndrome is very offputting.


2. The plasma on a stand at the front of the alcove doesn't look that bad. It does sort of take away some of the point of getting a plasma (the 4" depth), but the soundstage is more of an issue. Does anyone have any clever ideas to widen it?


All suggestions/opinions are gratefully received.

Getting rid of the fireplace and using the space to build in the electronics (another suggestion of mine) was not well received. Not even when I suggested getting a fireplace screen saver...
 

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Here's a thought:


Use plasma-mounted speakers for the center channel, just run the center to both plasma speakers.


Put the plasma over the fireplace at the currently-possible elevation (6'). See how you like it. Put a small downward tilt on it, that can be nice to help eliminate reflections anyway.


If it sucks, move it lower. Having such major work done later won't cost any more than doing it now.


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Here's another idea: put an articulating wall mount at the back of your alcove, or even possibly mounted to the side of the fireplace. It's hard to guess how either of those options might work without seeing plans or something.


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Here's another idea: hang your plasma from chains or aircraft cables. Put it wherever you please.
 
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