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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently joined AVSForums and have really profited from hours of perusing the helpful advice members have provided here. That research has helped to focus my search for components for my first HT system, but I find that my steep learning curve still requires that I make a more direct inquiry to the experts on this list.

Specifically, I have a newly finished basement room, 11' x 22', that is primarily set up to be a classroom and study space for my children. There is a 4'x8' glass dry-erase board on one of the long walls that I initially intended to also serve as the location for a front-projection screen for the home theater. After spending a lot of time trying to find a way to make the glass sheet dual-purpose, I've given up on that and have decided to apply Screen Goo to the back wall to serve as a 92" 16:9 front-projection screen.

My problem now is deciding what audio configuration is optimal for this set-up -- and how to find the components at a very modest budget. This system would be used mainly for movies and educational videos, and I'm not looking for high-end/audiophile quality even for those purposes. (To give you a sense of how I'm approaching this, I bought the video projector, an Infocus72, used on Craigslist. It has an HDMI input but only projects at 480p.)

One thing that's been drilled into my head from reading this Forum is that room conditions are primary factors to the success of any sound system. From the attached photos, can anyone give me some advice on how to proceed from here, specifically with regard to these questions?

1. Because of traffic flow, competing uses of the space, and presence of young children, I have ruled out in-room speakers. Also, for aesthetic reasons, I would prefer not to use on-wall speakers, particularly black ones (aesthetic considerations are more important than usual because a primary reason for constructing this study space is that one of my children has developmental disabilities that make it difficult for him to concentrate when there are alternate visual stimuli in the environment -- hence the muted grey-scale color scheme, built-in furniture, extensive use of glass, etc.) The viewing position is likely going to be where the table is now (it's on sliders for easy moving), facing the wall where the futon (soon to be removed) is now. My question is, using only in-ceiling and/or in-wall speakers, where might optimal placement be of each type? (Unfortunately, I ran the speaker wire and finished the ceiling while still planning to use the dry-erase wall as the screen, so the 5.1 nodes are not all where they likely need to be, and I may need to compromise on alternative placement depending on how feasible it is to get there with minimal impact to the finished walls/ceiling.)

2. Other than in-wall/in-ceiling, what other specifications should I consider for each speaker? Can rear speakers be cheaper, surround-sound type components? What do I use for the center speaker (I rarely see these discussed or even offered in catalogs)? What kind of sub-woofer should I use, where should it be located? Best from a practical standpoint would be in or near the closet containing the access-panels to the electrical panels (both closets will soon be enclosed with glass doors), which will be where the receiver, PS3 (for Blu-Ray DVD, not gaming, purposes) and HDTV tuner will be.) Could it also be in-wall or in-ceiling? Should at least some of the speakers be aimable?

3. What speaker models should I consider to keep the costs as low as possible? (I really can't afford to spend more than $500 total on the speakers.) I am more interested in durability than in power or accuracy.

4. Any suggestions for an AV receiver with at least a couple of HDMI inputs to complete this system -- again, at low cost?

Sorry for the long post -- just not sure what information is necessary to consider and wanted to err on the side of too much rather than too little. Thanks for bearing with me and thanks for any guidance you provide me!


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