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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,


I've attached my dedicated HT layout here (may also include multi-channel music in the future as well, but not for some time). Video is set, and I've been struggling with speakers.


You'll see where the recessed cabinet causes me some concern for the sound coming from the L/C/R speakers and LFE, so I'd appreciate any advice on sound treatments I should do (wall treatments/bass traps/etc.). Also, I've seen folks generally treat select places on their walls. Is that superior to treating the entire walls other than cost, of course?


Second, I have three prewired positions for LFE sub (and obviously some room to move around those by running cables). I'll listen for exact placement, but any initial suggestions on number I should use and placement in this room?


Finally, I have about $5,000-6,000 for 7.1/ (or 7.2/7.3) speakers being driven with 200 watts/channel and an MC-1. I prefer direct firing over dipoles, bipoles, or omnipolars. What would you suggest in this price range and what about placement? All a few feet above ear level and all at same hight from what I've read?


I'll obviously demo before buying, but I need my shopping review list, since there are a ton of speakers. My tastes in speakers definitely gear away from bright speakers (for example, I was in a real movie theater with Klipsh Professionals watching SWAT and thought I was going to bleed), but I've found my Paradigm ADP-450's much too diffuse. (if that helps at all). I'm also very comfortable buying online and used equipment from reputable sellers, and if that helps the bang for the buck, I'm in.


Thanks in advance for helping build a kickin' theater.
 

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Your room layout looks like you should try pulling the seats in towards the screen a few feet. Your main speakers look at lot further away from the listening position than the surrounds. Having the back surrounds right up against the back wall might not be the best placement either (definitely not if your back surround speakers have rear facing ports). Your setup seems to have enough room to accommodate the back surrounds, but you don't need to go overboard to fit them in if you can't.


Since most soundtracks are mixed in 5.1, you probably don't want the surround speakers in front of the listening position. Dolby's website has several good placement options. The thing to keep in mind is that you need all of the speakers either placed equidistant to the listening position, or adjust the delay timing to compensate. Dolby recommends a height of 2-3' above ear level, and I currently go about 15" above ear level and find that it works very well. The ITU multichannel standard placement is also illustrated on the Dolby webpage (it's the one that they show as the mixing configuration for DVD-A), and I've found that to be the best starting point -- 30 degrees off center for the mains, 110 degrees off center for the surrounds.

http://www.dolby.com/ht/Guide.HomeTh....html#chapter3


As far as room treatments go, that would really depend on your room. Most people who use them go with partial wall coverage for simple cost considerations. If you want to go with a full room coverage acoustic control system, those can start at $10k. (These were reviewed in The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision a few months ago) For that price, you could actually bring an acoustic technician to do some room calibrating for you.


I just use some acoustic ceiling panels and mount them behind the main speakers (full wall coverage behind the main speakers makes a huge difference in the imaging with two-channel sources) and behind the listening position. This helps to prevent the back reflections from smearing the direct sound from the main speakers. For the sides, you can either use absorbing material or simply move a bookcase along the sidewall so that it breaks up the side reflection. This is more for taming a live sounding room. It's also easy to overdampen a room, in which case it will sound bland. Simple things like carpeting, furniture, and wall coverings, all affect the acoustics of your room.


In general, the most problematic frequencies in a room are the lows. Your diagram with three subwoofers may not necessarily be the best solution, if your room acoustics don't cooperate. Standing waves can create huge peaks at specific frequencies, which make the bass sound boomy and bloated. Placement is key to how and where these occur. Corner bass traps help break these up and even out the bass response.


The other solution is to go equalize the bass. I use the Behringer Feedback Destroyer as a parametric equalizer (as do others on this and other boards), and it works incredibly well. Before setting the EQ, my sub was extremely boomy sounding. By measuring the in-room response, and dialing down the problematic frequencies, my bass is now within 2 db all the way down to 25 Hz. Rather than hoping quantity wins out, you might want to try equalizing one subwoofer first. It might give you all the bass that you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the information related to acoustic treatments. Makes a lot of sense. For LFE, I wasn't suggesting I'd use all three locations. I actually wondered which of the three locations was likely best in this layout, but I'll probably just lug the sub around and find out.


I would love to understand speaker selection, however. I've had 7.1 in my old house, and I just wouldn't want to go back to 5.1 and give up what the MC-1 seems to do best.


For a primarily HT application, are monitors and subs or full tower fronts preferred?


Also, what improvements/drawbacks do you get in a primarily HT application as you move from Ascend 170s to Ascend 340 L/C/R to Paradigm Reference 40s to ACI Saphires to Panoramas to Studio 100s to ACI Veritas to VMPS626 to ACI Talisman for example. These are just examples of increments in the lines I've been reviewing. Of course, there are other comparisons. I'm willing to spend for quality, but I'm not sure what incremental improvement to expect, if any, in this application. Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by daflea
Thanks for the information related to acoustic treatments. Makes a lot of sense. For LFE, I wasn't suggesting I'd use all three locations. I actually wondered which of the three locations was likely best in this layout, but I'll probably just lug the sub around and find out.


I would love to understand speaker selection, however. I've had 7.1 in my old house, and I just wouldn't want to go back to 5.1 and give up what the MC-1 seems to do best.


For a primarily HT application, are monitors and subs or full tower fronts preferred?


Also, what improvements/drawbacks do you get in a primarily HT application as you move from Ascend 170s to Ascend 340 L/C/R to Paradigm Reference 40s to ACI Saphires to Panoramas to Studio 100s to ACI Veritas to VMPS626 to ACI Talisman for example. These are just examples of increments in the lines I've been reviewing. Of course, there are other comparisons. I'm willing to spend for quality, but I'm not sure what incremental improvement to expect, if any, in this application. Thanks.
Well, my opinion on 7.1 is that you should do that type of speaker arrangement only if your room can properly accommodate it. With most seating arrangements so close to the backwall, it's already difficult to get a proper placement in a 5.1 setup and squeezing the back surrounds into that arrangement with the speakers either right above your head or inches behind your ear isn't always the best idea. A poorly arranged 7.1 setup will likely sound worse than a properly done 5.1 setup. More does not equal better if it's not done right.


In regard to monitors versus floorstanders, in my experience monitors give you better imaging and a more open sound in general. The main reason to go with the floorstanders is for the low end response. But, most lower priced (sub-$1,000/pair) floorstanders that I've auditioned haveserious problems with bass resonance, so it's a tradeoff. For two-channel playback, some people prefer the full range floorstanders because the bass integration using a subwoofer is not always easy to achieve. Also, a lot of multichannel music proponents recommend full range speakers all around.


The biggest advantage with monitors is that it's very flexible with regard to placement. If your system can go with identical speakers all around (including the center speaker), you can potentially get some incredible imaging and sound envelopment.


The step up between the Studio 40 and Studio 100 is of course the bass response. But, some people have noted that the midrange coherency with the 100 is also better. Of course, you're also talking about a more than twofold price difference as well. You really need to listen for yourself to see if these upgrades are worthwhile.
 
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