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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finally integrated an entertainment center that meets WAF, woohoo! I'm working with a 3000 cubic feet space that opens up to a rather large kitchen and hallway. I'm connecting this to a Denon 1910 but will most likely have to upgrade. I have in ceiling SpeakerCraft AIM 8 3's already in place, a 5.1 setup is all I'm looking for.


Now I'm pretty set on getting a Paradigm cc-690 and a couple fronts. I just love how massive the center is, it's a tight fit but I plan on placing it above the TV. Due to space limitations (see photos). I feel like I'm only left with a couple limited options for my left and right speakers. I know towers would give me the optimal sound stage, but moving the entertainment center over a foot to the left would throw off the optimal viewing area (my couch is perfectly positioned for viewing already).

  1. I could place bookshelves in the cabinets made to hold them

    on the lower right and left corners of the unit behind the speaker mesh. I was wondering how a pair of studio 20's would match to this massive center. I would have to angle them upwards slightly.
  2. A friend suggested I move over the entertainment center and sacrifice the optimal viewing area by getting a pair of Studio 100 towers, stick two subs in the cabinet behind the mesh. The cabinets are only 18" deep so I don't really know how much I could accomplish with subs inside.


Not sure what to do here, I'm attaching pics and layout of my room so you can see why I'm having trouble. Would really love to hear some suggestions as to how you guys would approach this.


 

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How much room do you have between the sides of the TV and the cabinet? Could you put bookshelf speakers on top of or above the cabinet and aim them downward? If you did those, you could keep your optimal viewing area and still get nice sound. You could also place subs in the speaker cabinets.


You could place speakers in those lower speaker cabinets, but it might be tricky to get it to sound good. First of all, you want to keep the tweeters at ear height. Perhaps if you aim the speakers at where your head usually is, this can be overcome. But there is also sound reflection off the floor, which is also why bookshelf are not typically placed on the ground. Really, I would just reserve those cabinets for the subwoofers, whose sound won't be impacted as much.


Also, for a nice bass sound, I would get two subs for that room, not just one, because of the large open space you have to pressurize. Some subs I would look at that might fit in your cabinets are Elemental Designs A3s-250 and A5s-300 , Hsu Research's STF1 and STF2 , and Outlaw Audio's LFM-1 Compact . Two of any of those ought to do the trick nicely.
 

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Unfortunately, those huge "entertainment centers" may make your wife happy but they absolutely suck for audio. Even moving the furniture to the left isn't much of a solution since you'd be shoving a floor standing speaker into what amounts to a closet between the room corner and the entertainment center. The center channel at that height will place you way off axis for most center channel speakers. You'd need to tilt it or lower that shelf if it's adjustable. Or, is there a chance to set the shelf low with the TV on that and the center channel below the shelf? As for using bookshelf speakers placed in the left/right cabinets, those glass doors are not audio friendly. They will reflect sound when open and may even rattle at loud volumes becoming a transducer of sorts themselves. I'm afraid that room and furniture doesn't present any really good options. I'm sure the wife would not want to lose the glass doors. Your best bet may be a bookshelf with tightly controlled directivity that you can place in the cabinet. And that points towards something like a compression horn design which can be acceptable to some people but a painful experience for others. Also, I can't see any way a true subwoofer would fit behind those mesh doors. On the other hand, a subwoofer may provide more flexibility than the rest of the speakers since bass tends to be non-directional below ~80Hz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ugh, not exactly what I was hoping to hear! Unfortunately, I thought I would be able to work out a nice scenario. I didn't think it would be this tough. I mean, who the heck designs these things?!


Although I think 2 A5s-300's would be sweet, I think I'm leaning more towards direction of getting directional with bookshelves in the cabinets, I would rather not sacrifice moving over the entire viewing and seating area. My couch is pretty low to the ground, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I placed them on their sides and sat them on shelves behind the mesh.


I can tilt the center, I was planning on it. I could also build a shelf under the tv for it like Magnefield suggested. This would put it more along the height of the bookshelves. By "tightly controlled directivity" you just mean angling all the speakers as accurately as possible, correct? Can you recommend a good bookshelf? I can match the center after I decide on the bookshelves.
 

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I think magnified is exaggerating a bit when he is describing how awful it will be. I would say that, while speakers there will not sound as good as they could if they were placed in a more ideal location, I think they can still sound decent.


I agree with him about the glass vibrating, but that can be dealt with some of those little felt or foam pads with the sticky backing. I also agree with him that your best bet is a horn tweeter design which focuses directionality of the sound.


For controlled directivity, a good speaker would be the Hsu HB-1 . I have some of these myself and they are terrific performers. Also take a look at Klipsch bookshelf speakers , I would stick with rb-51's or higher, those ought to sound very nice too. You will want to angle the speakers to be aimed at the listeners ears, so if you place them in those lower cabinets, tilt them upward for the best sound.


If you aren't restricting the subwoofer by the cabinet's size, that is good news, as smaller subs do poorly for very deep bass. The sub manufacturers I mentioned all have better, larger subs, and are considered some of the best for the money, so keep them in mind when you go subwoofer shopping. Some other good sub companies are Rythmik, Epik, and SVS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamyg1 /forum/post/18219890


Ugh, not exactly what I was hoping to hear! Unfortunately, I thought I would be able to work out a nice scenario. I didn't think it would be this tough. I mean, who the heck designs these things?!


Although I think 2 A5s-300's would be sweet, I think I'm leaning more towards direction of getting directional with bookshelves in the cabinets, I would rather not sacrifice moving over the entire viewing and seating area. My couch is pretty low to the ground, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I placed them on their sides and sat them on shelves behind the mesh.


I can tilt the center, I was planning on it. I could also build a shelf under the tv for it like Magnefield suggested. This would put it more along the height of the bookshelves. By "tightly controlled directivity" you just mean angling all the speakers as accurately as possible, correct? Can you recommend a good bookshelf? I can match the center after I decide on the bookshelves.

Controlled directivity means that the speakers are designed for a specific horizontal and vertical dispersion pattern. Usually narrower than a normal speaker. This can help with room boundary interaction or in your case the furniture you plan to use.


Ideally, you want to sit with your ears squarely within the radiation pattern or "on axis" of the left, right, and center speaker. So putting the speakers near the floor and tilting them up is a bad idea. Tipping them over on their side effectively means that the designer's intended horizontal dispersion pattern becomes the vertical dispersion pattern and the vertical dispersion pattern becomes the horizontal dispersion pattern. God knows what effect that would have on the sound quality. Not to mention that you now have another boundary effect related to placement near the floor with a speaker not designed for that. Not good! There's a valid reason people use stands for bookshelf speakers and place them carefully relative to room boundaries. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I'm not gonna lie to you.


It's moot now but what might have worked better for you is a narrower but slick looking equipment rack, wall mount the flat screen TV, and place bookshelf speakers on nice stands next to the rack. It would also make the room seem a little more spacious by eliminating the huge furniture and getting the TV as flat against the wall as possible. It would also likely be a bit cheaper and free up more budget for audio performance related stuff. On the other hand, if that look doesn't suit your decor and lifestyle, you're just going to have to compromise audio quality for other priorities. Not the end of the world. For some people, that's an easy compromise to live with.


Modular rack example - here's a cheap attractive solution that allows you to add as many shelf units as you need while mix n matching shelf sizes to suit your needs. I use six with the silver trim and cherry shelves for my equipment and fill the tubular legs with sand to damp resonances in the metal. Another great feature is that you can select from several looks for the shelves to blend with your other furniture.
http://www.racksandstands.com/VTI-BL404-VI1001.html


Stand example - this is what I use for my surround speakers. They can be filled with sand to make the steel tubes acoustically dead and coupled to the speaker cabinet to damp resonances there too.
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=TGHR


Wall mount example - I use one of these to hang a 63" plasma screen that weighs about 160 lbs on the wall.
http://www.racksandstands.com/Peerle...80-PE1076.html
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamyg1 /forum/post/18219890


I mean, who the heck designs these things?!

They are fine for what they are designed for. They are designed to look nice (which your does) and hold pictures & knickknacks. They are not designed for optimal audio. We all have to make compromises, unless you build a dedicated room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input guys... I initially explored more "media friendly" furniture, but we finally agreed on something we could both live it. Yep, I'm compromising but I can try the make the best of it now instead of regretting our purchase. I already compromised with the rear in-ceiling surrounds, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.


It looks like the Klipsch Reference line has some very nice stuff. I particularly like the massive center RC-64 and RB-81 Bookshelves. Since my couch is low to the ground I think I can get away with a 10 degree upward angle or so behind the speaker mesh in the lower left and right corners. The center will be placed underneath the TV to try to keep everything in proportion to the listening area as much as possible. I'll have to build a shelf but I don't think that's a big deal. I think I'll be happier getting a nice sub or two that aren't restricted by the cabinet size, like the PB-13 Ultra I originally had in mind.


Lemme just say, if I was a furniture company I would really put a little extra time and effort into making beautiful, functional entertainment furniture. I looked for many months and didn't find anything that fit with the traditional look we were going for.


Last question, do you guys think I would be much better off angling the Klipsch instead of the non-directional Paradigm setup I had been thinking of originally (cc-690 and Studio 20's)? After demoing both of course
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamyg1 /forum/post/18224430


Thanks for the input guys... I initially explored more "media friendly" furniture, but we finally agreed on something we could both live it. Yep, I'm compromising but I can try the make the best of it now instead of regretting our purchase. I already compromised with the rear in-ceiling surrounds, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.


It looks like the Klipsch Reference line has some very nice stuff. I particularly like the massive center RC-64 and RB-81 Bookshelves. Since my couch is low to the ground I think I can get away with a 10 degree upward angle or so behind the speaker mesh in the lower left and right corners. The center will be placed underneath the TV to try to keep everything in proportion to the listening area as much as possible. I'll have to build a shelf but I don't think that's a big deal. I think I'll be happier getting a nice sub or two that aren't restricted by the cabinet size, like the PB-13 Ultra I originally had in mind.


Lemme just say, if I was a furniture company I would really put a little extra time and effort into making beautiful, functional entertainment furniture. I looked for many months and didn't find anything that fit with the traditional look we were going for.


Last question, do you guys think I would be much better off angling the Klipsch instead of the Paradigm setup I had been thinking of originally (cc-690 and Studio 20's)? After demoing both of course

Oh boy!
Loaded question. I generally love Paradigm speaker voicing and absolutely hate Klipsch voicing. I can't tolerate high/mid horn loaded drivers. I will literally walk out of the room to avoid horns. But....in your situation one of their traits could be very useful, controlled directivity. And their high sensitivity means you can save some money on amplification. And some people actually like Klipsch. Give a listen to both and see if you have a strong reaction to Klipsch.


As for the furniture, I have the same problem but made the opposite decision. We have a New England Colonial and the decor is traditional. Cherry and mahogany furniture for the most part. Kitchen is cherry with black wrought iron hardware. Plumbing fixtures are all antique look with bronze faucets. Fireplace in the family room is antique brick with wrought iron doors and tools. Family room furniture is antique burgundy leather in a nailhead design and antique Early American cherry tables. Hardwood floors everywhere with persian wool rugs except family room which is wool Berber carpet. Well, you get the picture.


Now try and find functional audio "furniture" to match that traditional look. Impossible! I gave up and went with a split personality in the family room. I guess it works given that the 63" plasma screen has a sleek gloss black frame, my main speakers are 6' tall and 2' wide black monoliths, and electronics will never look Victorian. I chose a black center channel speaker and black metal racks with cherry shelves. There is simply no way I've found to blend an audio system with traditional or antique furniture. So embracing the contrasts or compromising on audio performance for the sake of decor is what you're left with. I for one have no interest in a dedicated audio/theater room. We wanted our home theater in our family room so that the space becomes the center of activity in the house rather than a man cave that tends to separate us from the kids. To each their own.


FYI, consider a thick area rug on top of that tile floor if the room seems a little live.
 

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A thick rug is a very good idea, and shag rugs are great for controlling sound.


Klipsch speakers are awesome! Especially for movies, there is nothing like an action scene with Klipsch speakers. No speaker will have better dynamic response. Horn-loaded tweeters aren't as horrible as magnefied makes em out to be. Commercial movie theaters use horns loaded speakers, and they sound pretty good. In an untreated room, they might sound harsh if some frequencies are being boosted by room acoustics because of the sharply directed sound, so it might be worthwhile to look into taming the room and also paying attention to EQ functions like Audyssey to get rid of peaks and nulls.


The particular speakers you are looking at are pretty large, do some measurements and make sure you have room for them in those cabinets. Also, play with the axis of the speakers if you get them. Some people like their klipsch aimed to cross at a point in front of the listener better than right on the listener.


The PB13 will make a great sub, and you are going to need a great sub to keep up with such powerful speakers. You might also check out Elemental Designs subs, they come in some nice wood veneers now, and some of those subs are more powerful than the PB13. There is also the Seaton Submersive, another very high quality, very powerful sub, which can come in some finer finishes. The Hsu ULS is another powerful sub which comes in some very nice finishes, it is so gorgeous I bought a couple myself! I am in love those things. Another really nice looking and powerful sub is the Rythmik D15SE, that gloss black finish is beautiful, but also a scratch magnet, you might want to avoid gloss black if you have kids, but what a nice looking sub.
 

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Build a shelf put the tv on that and put the center just below the tv. Also I would recommend using bookshelf speakers and placing them on either side of the tv within the tv space of your entertainment center. This would keep your front 3 speakers as close to the same height as you can get with your situation. Also make sure you get whatever center speaker matches the L&R bookshelf speakers you get. I recommend these bookshelves, http://www.klipsch.com/na-en/products/rb-61-overview/ and this center, http://www.klipsch.com/na-en/products/rc-62-overview/


I wouldn't recommend going with a klipsch bookshelf smaller than the RB-61 because the RB-61 is front ported and the smaller ones are rear ported.
 
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