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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tower Cinema (9.1.6 in 12x12 room)

The original first post for this project is moved to post 2.


Current status:














Current hardware:

Audio processing:
Marantz SR-7010 for the 9.1.x bed channels.
Marantz SR-6010 for the top x.x.4
2x NAD T743 using PLII Movie to matrix the 4 heights info 6 channels.

Speakes:
Center: Monitor Audio GSLCR
Fronts: Monitor Audio GS20
Front Wides: Monitor Audio GS10
Side Surrounds: Monitor Audio GSFX
Rear Surrounds: Monitor Audio GSFX
Top Front Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Top Middle Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Top Rear Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Subwoofer: SVS PB-13 Ultra

Display:
Panasonic TX65EZ952B 65" OLED

Sources:
Nvidia Shield TV
Panasonic DMP-UB400

Control:
Logitech Harmony Elite

Acoustic treatment:
DIY 600x300mm soffit bass trap around the edge of the ceiling.
12x GIK Acoustics 600x600mm Hexagon DecoShapes recessed from the ceiling.
16x GIK Acoustics 300x300mm Hexagon DecoShapes on side walls.

Seating:
2-seater electrical recliner sofa
2x refurbished cinema seats

Lights:
Philips Hue bulbs in vintage fittings
Philips Hue compatible LED string



Current connectivity:





Timeline and Links to construction posts:

2016-09-16 Before pictures and initial speaker plan
2016-09-22 How 4 AVR's are hooked up for 9.1.6
2016-10-11 Final speaker plan
2016-11-07 Work starting
2016-11-20 Water level
2016-11-27 Start of AV stand
2016-12-16 Soffit framing
2016-12-30 Chasing speaker cables in the walls
2017-01-06 Cables in place
2017-01-11 Soffit framing and painting completed
2017-01-20 Soffit edge added
2017-01-23 Installation of side surround speakers
2017-01-27 Calculations for soffit filler
2017-01-29 Dry fit of soffit fabric frames
2017-02-07 Soffit chicken mesh
2017-02-10 Soffit wadding
2017-02-13 Soffit stuffing
2017-02-16 REW before and after soffit
2017-02-17 Soffit outer wadding added
2017-02-20 Soffit fabric framing started
2017-02-28 Fabric frame assembly step by step
2017-03-12 Soffit LED light strip
2017-03-12 Soffit completed
2017-03-19 Installation of ceiling speakers
2017-03-22 Installation of rear surround speakers
2017-04-02 Installation of front wide peakers
2017-04-05 Installation of front speakers
2017-04-09 Installation of centre speaker and speaker patch panel
2017-04-12 Continuation of AV stand
2017-04-14 Further progress of AV stand
2017-04-19 AV stand completed
2017-05-05 Arduino fixing NAD AVR volume issue
2017-05-30 Fix to hot AVR's
2017-09-24 360 video of base layer speaker layout
2017-12-24 Video upgrade to OLED
2018-03-27 Cinema entrance step completed
2019-10-07 Raiser construction started
2019-10-21 Raiser consturction continued
2019-10-22 Raiser construction completed
2019-12-19 Acoustic treatment plan
2020-01-06 DIY hexagon geodesic diffuser model
2020-01-19 Ceiling acoustic treatment started
2020-01-23 Ceiling acoustic treatment nearly done
2020-01-25 Updated wall acoustic treatment plan
2020-02-03 Wall acoustic treatment started
2020-02-10 Ceiling acoustic treatment completed, wall absorption installed
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
This is my new project that will keep me busy for quite a while.

I plan to build a dedicated 9.1.6 HT in our 12'x12'x8.2' tower room on the 2nd floor. Up until now it has been used as a temporary 7.1 setup with no sounds treatment nor cable management.

Marantz SR-7010 for the processing of the 9.1.x bed channels.
Marantz SR-6010 for processing the top x.x.4 and 2 x NAD T743 using PLII Movie to matrix them to 6 height channels.
Center: Monitor Audio GSLCR
Fronts: Monitor Audio GS20
Front Wides: Monitor Audio GS10
Side Surrounds: Monitor Audio GSFX
Rear Surrounds: Monitor Audio GSFX
Top Front Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Top Middle Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Top Rear Heights: Monitor Audio BX1
Subwoofer: SVS PB-13 Ultra

The 60" Pioneer Kuro will remain until I can get a 65" OLED.

The ceiling will be the main area in the room where sound treatment can be applied. The idea is to build a 12" tall and 25" wide soffit along the front and sides. The four corners up to window height will get some superchunk corner traps.

Here is the front of the room, the TV is in the right location.




Here is the rear wall, you can see the speaker mounts with spacers still there. When we had work done on the heating system we had the raditor raised so a raiser can be fitted.




Here is the right hand side wall seen from the sofa, thankfully the windows are not in the way for the side/rear speakers that are locted as per pre-Atmos Dolby spec. They will probably stay as they are as currently are in a 7 degree angle up from the front speakers. The subwoofer is taking up a considerable amount of floor space.




And finally the staircase where all material has to be able to come through.



This is the plan for the speaker layout:

Fronts 25 degrees
Front Wides 50 degrees
Side Surrounds 100 degrees
Rear Surrounds 144 degrees (to put them in line with the Fronts).
Top Front 45 degrees elevation
Top Middle 80 degrees elevation
Top Rear 125 degrees elevation

Due to the placement of the room entrance the left Front Wide will need a hinged wall mount so it can be moved out of the way when not used. Also the Rear Surrounds are likely to get a hinged mounting as well so they can be angled as required when only two people are using the HT and put flat against the wall if there are visitors.


Top view, the two circles in the middle are where the heads will be once in the sofa. The subwoofer will hopefully work out in that nearfield location. The extra two seats will be on each side of it, eventually on small risiers.



Side view. The almost horisontal line is showing where the bed layer will be located vertically.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
The limited contrast on projectors has never rocked my boat. I guess that is fixed with 4K HDR projectors but they will not be affordable in a very long time.
I will head down the OLED route instead once this 60" Kuro is done serving me, the image provided by the LG OLED65E6V is all I can dream of and with the viewing distance of just 7' it will cover most of the field of view anyways.
 
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
This is how the 9.1.6 setup will be done:



To make the above work there are a few things to configure.

Speaker setup

SR7010

  • Use amp assign and speaker setup to configure 9.1.2 where the heigh speakers will use the pre-outs.
  • Set the height speaker to the Top Middle position.
  • Set the crossover for the heigh speakers to the same as the SR6010.
SR6010

  • Use amp assign and speaker setup to configure 5.1.4 where either of the heights will use pre-outs.
  • Set the height speakers to Top Front and Top Rear.
Sources


  • SR7010 configure the sources as per normal and disable all that aren't used: HDMI1 Nvidia Shield and HDMI2 BD/UHD player. Set all sources to enable the +12V trigger.
  • SR6010 configure only one source, HDMI1 and disable all other sources. Set this source to enable the +12V trigger.
Zone 2 mirroring on SR7010

By default Zone 2 on the SR7010 will have a life of it's own and not tracking what the Main Zone is set to. To fix this we need to use the Marantz App.

  • Connect to the device
  • Click on Main Zone at the top.
  • On the Zone Select scren click on "View Zone 2"
  • In the drop down list for the various sources click the one that simply is named "SOURCE".
  • Exit out and you won't have to touch this ever again unless you fiddle with Zone 2 on the remote.
System Calibration

First is to configure the PLII AVR's:

  • Connect the speakers to each PLII AVR, connect L to TF speaker, C to TM speaker and R to TR speaker.
  • Set the surround mode to ProLogic II Movie.
  • Measure the distance from MLP to all three height speakers.
  • Set the distance to C to 0.
  • Set the distance to L to L minus C.
  • Set the distance to R to R minus C.
  • Connect both L and R in on the PLII AVR to height 1 on the SR6010 using Y-splitters.
  • Play a test tone on the SR6010 and measure the output using a SPL meter in MLP. Adjust the both AVR volumes until 80dB is seen on the SPL meter.
  • Remove the Y splitter.
  • Connect only L to height 1. Play the test tone again, adjust the L speaker level on the PLII AVR unlit the SPL meter is showing 80dB.
  • Connect only R to height 1. Play the test tone again, adjust the L speaker level on the PLII AVR unlit the SPL meter is showing 80dB.
  • Repeat the steps above with the second PLII AVR.
The speaker settings for the PLII AVR's are done.

Next is to configure the SR7010:

  • Connect the 9 base layer speakers and subwoofer to the SR7010.
  • Use the Y-splitters and connect both the PLII AVRs to the height 1 outputs. This should make it a basic 9.1.2 with TM speakers.
  • Run a few test tones and adjust the main volume on the PLII AVRs until they are similar to the rest of the speakers.
  • Run Audyssey calibration on the SR7010. Write down the speaker levels, distances and crossover frequencies detected for the TM, L/C/R and Surround speakers.
  • Connect the SR6010 to the SR7010 using HDMI.
  • Move the R speaker to the SR6010 and connect the PLII AVRs to height 1 and height 2 without Y splitters.
  • Set all the speaker settings on the SR6010 as per the notes from the SR7010.
  • Connect a PC running REW to the SR7010. Now we are going to measure any latency difference between the two units so we will compare L and R impulses using C as reference following this guide.
  • With the timing difference known between the two SR's we can adjust the delays accordingly on the SR6010.
  • Last step is to use the 9.1.6 test tones from the Dolby website and once again use a SPL meter in MLP to confirm all levels are the same, if not trim the speaker levels as required.
With everything configured connect the +12v trigger inputs on PLII AVR's to the SR's and set them to auto.

Single Remote (This is best to do as the very last step after all the speaker calibration has been completed.)

In addition to the settings above, to make source select and volumes fully synchronized we need to have a single IR receiver accept commands from the remote. To do this we need to connect Control Out from the SR7010 to Control In on the SR6010 and disable the IR receiver on the SR6010:

With the unit in standby, on the front panel press and hold M-DAX and DIMMER while clicking Power On.
Use TUNER PRESET CH + or TUNER PRESET CH - to select “RC LOCK On".
Press STATUS to enter the setting.

To undo this just repeat but select "RC LOCK Off".
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ok after a bit more thinking the speaker placement will be tweaked a bit:

Fronts 30 degrees
Front Wides 60 degrees
Side Surrounds 100 degrees
Rear Surrounds 142.5 degrees
Top Front 45 degrees elevation
Top Middle 80 degrees elevation
Top Rear 125 degrees elevation

This is tying in nicely with the Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 setup guide.



This will make the left Front Wide end up at a much better location with regards to the entrance although it will still need to be placed on a hinged speaker stand to swing it out of the way if needed. The rear speakers will also be hinged so they either can point towards MLP or fold flat in case of visitors.

The brown square in the drawing will be the edge of the 12" tall and 24" wide soffit that will act as a base trap.
 

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So what exactly are these ProLogic devices and how will the AVRs know not to pan/combine sounds with speakers that are missing on each AVR but are connected to the other AVR? Is it just a work around to provide enough channels as best as you can without buying the Trinnov or RS20?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So what exactly are these ProLogic devices and how will the AVRs know not to pan/combine sounds with speakers that are missing on each AVR but are connected to the other AVR? Is it just a work around to provide enough channels as best as you can without buying the Trinnov or RS20?
The bottom AVR is set up to do 9.1.2, however only the 9.1.x is connected. But thanks to the x.x.2 being processes, any encoded sound aimed for the height layer is removed from those speakers.

The top AVR is set to 5.1.4 and only the x.x.4 is used. This will contain only the height sounds and nothing of the base layers. This means we have 9.1.4 with no duplicated sound.

By adding a PLII Movie AVR to each side of the heights doing simple L/C/R matrixing of the top front and top rear signals we can break out top middle signals. Whenever the same signal is sent to both top front and top rear only top middle will play it.

The 9.1.6 test tones from the Dolby Atmos Demo Disc will nicely map to each speaker in the setup.

As a result I will end up with 9.1.6 discreet channel processing without paying £18k for the pleasure.
 

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The bottom AVR is set up to do 9.1.2, however only the 9.1.x is connected. But thanks to the x.x.2 being processes, any encoded sound aimed for the height layer is removed from those speakers.

The top AVR is set to 5.1.4 and only the x.x.4 is used. This will contain only the height sounds and nothing of the base layers. This means we have 9.1.4 with no duplicated sound.

By adding a PLII Movie AVR to each side of the heights doing simple L/C/R matrixing of the top front and top rear signals we can break out top middle signals. Whenever the same signal is sent to both top front and top rear only top middle will play it.

The 9.1.6 test tones from the Dolby Atmos Demo Disc will nicely map to each speaker in the setup.

As a result I will end up with 9.1.6 discreet channel processing without paying £18k for the pleasure.

Right I understand the actual connections but what about when the ATMOS track calls for blending more than one or two channels for that panning/static object effect where there isn't an exact speaker located. This happens a bunch from my understanding. The AVRs can't actually tell each other where each speaker is located and that there are other AVRs which have those "blending" speakers to call on them to perform the 3D sound process of mixing channels to place certain affects. Is that not how this will work. If that's the case it will do a good job of creating an engulfing soundfield but with some errors that wouldn't be there with one of the more capable systems, correct? Or am I wrong?

I looked into some of the threads that used multiple AVRs before deciding on the Altitude32 because I couldn't figure out a way to have the AVRs communicate with one another as to which and where speakers were located so it all would work "exactly" correct. But if the higher end processors are out of ones budget this would be the way to go until the prices come down or until the restriction are released on all the AVRs/PrePros.

Look forward to reading your impressions!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Right I understand the actual connections but what about when the ATMOS track calls for blending more than one or two channels for that panning/static object effect where there isn't an exact speaker located. This happens a bunch from my understanding. The AVRs can't actually tell each other where each speaker is located and that there are other AVRs which have those "blending" speakers to call on them to perform the 3D sound process of mixing channels to place certain affects. Is that not how this will work. If that's the case it will do a good job of creating an engulfing soundfield but with some errors that wouldn't be there with one of the more capable systems, correct? Or am I wrong?
Both the Atmos AVRs will receive the same Metadata specifying where the object is supposed to be in the room, say we have an object located right between Front Left and Surround Left halfway between the base and height layer.

The base layer AVR running 9.1.2 will render half the sound to the Left Wide and the other half to the Top Middle Left. Now Top Middle Left isn't used.
The top layer AVR running 5.1.4 will render the sound between Front Left, Surround Left and Top Front Left. Front Left and Surround Left isn't used.

With the Atmos object rendering being room centric I don't see why it would cause any major errors if any, although the two AVRs can't talk to each other they will be working from the same coordinates and with the way the speakers are used/unused no sounds should be duplicated.

I looked into some of the threads that used multiple AVRs before deciding on the Altitude32 because I couldn't figure out a way to have the AVRs communicate with one another as to which and where speakers were located so it all would work "exactly" correct. But if the higher end processors are out of ones budget this would be the way to go until the prices come down or until the restriction are released on all the AVRs/PrePros.
Having a single box is definitely a lot easier and more scalable as this approach is maxing out at 9.1.6 and will require quite a bit of calibration to get everything right. I don't think there will be anything affordable beyond 7.1.4 for a very long time considering 9.1.2 was killed off in the 2016 model range.

Look forward to reading your impressions!
Thanks, me too. I should start working on the room in the next couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The work has finally started.

The first task was to remove the Artex in the ceiling to have a reasonably even surface to work with.





The slight green shade that can be seen is from a previous mint green paint layer that apparently covered both the ceiling and the walls.


To be able to install the ceiling speakers I needed to install supports to hold the weight as it is simply pasterboard and joists with 48"/1220mm spacing to use. Due to the loft being fully insulated with over a foot of loose cellulose insulation adding supports from above wasn't practical.

As supports it was a case of getting 3/4 plywood added between the joists:









The plywood strips are about a foot wide (300mm).
 

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By adding a PLII Movie AVR to each side of the heights doing simple L/C/R matrixing of the top front and top rear signals we can break out top middle signals. Whenever the same signal is sent to both top front and top rear only top middle will play it.

Why bother to add these older PLII units, when you can take the output directly from the AVR#2, and actually get object orientated signals, instead of old school channel based input?

The way i think on this is that even with your matrix the single input signal, , the separation is not there. your input determines the separation of signals. so by using a single input into the matrix PLII unit, you still are only getting pseudo Top Front, Top Middle, and Top rear. Not actual object blended signals the way i would understand it.

you have avr#2, with amp outputs that i would think you can assigned the actuall channel for Top Front, Top Middle, and Top rea. Why go through the extra hardware.

I agree, your positioning is the same into the AVR#2 as in AVR#1, but it stops there and lost once you try to "matrix" it though the PlII. That method is not the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Why bother to add these older PLII units, when you can take the output directly from the AVR#2, and actually get object orientated signals, instead of old school channel based input?

The way i think on this is that even with your matrix the single input signal, , the separation is not there. your input determines the separation of signals. so by using a single input into the matrix PLII unit, you still are only getting pseudo Top Front, Top Middle, and Top rear. Not actual object blended signals the way i would understand it.

you have avr#2, with amp outputs that i would think you can assigned the actuall channel for Top Front, Top Middle, and Top rea. Why go through the extra hardware.

I agree, your positioning is the same into the AVR#2 as in AVR#1, but it stops there and lost once you try to "matrix" it though the PlII. That method is not the same.
The only processors that can drive three pairs of height speakers are Trinnov Altitude32 and Datasat RS20, and out of those only the Altitude32 can do 9.1.6. All the consumer grade kit is limited to two pairs of heights even though an 11 channel processor in theory could do 5.1.6, the manufacturers just never implemented it.

With this AVR setup the 9.1.6 test tones from the Dolby Atmos Demo Disc will all end up in the intended speakers. Will it be 100% perfect, probably not, however it shouldn't be far off.
 

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Further review of your diagram, and understanding that by having Front Wide Speakers enabled already, you should be able to have Atmos Top Middle speakers out of Amplified label Height 1/2 on the SR7010.

Additionally, Denon and Marantz limit you on having adjacent sets of Atmos speakers in the ceiling, but you have a 2nd AVR, SR6010, that you can assign and hook up Top Front and Top Rear to the Height 1/2 and Front Wide 1/2 amplified labeled connections. This will be true Atmos separation of objects and base channels, but also, this will eliminate the need for the un-necessary PL II devices, yet provide fully object defined Atmos locations. Calibration will still be tricky, however, it's would be a true Atmos, and not a pseudo method as previously described

An added bonus, you would also get additional sub-woofers for a full complimentary 9.4.6 system if you so desired.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Further review of your diagram, and understanding that by having Front Wide Speakers enabled already, you should be able to have Atmos Top Middle speakers out of Amplified label Height 1/2 on the SR7010.

Additionally, Denon and Marantz limit you on having adjacent sets of Atmos speakers in the ceiling, but you have a 2nd AVR, SR6010, that you can assign and hook up Top Front and Top Rear to the Height 1/2 and Front Wide 1/2 amplified labeled connections. This will be true Atmos separation of objects and base channels, but also, this will eliminate the need for the un-necessary PL II devices, yet provide fully object defined Atmos locations. Calibration will still be tricky, however, it's would be a true Atmos, and not a pseudo method as previously described

An added bonus, you would also get additional sub-woofers for a full complimentary 9.4.6 system if you so desired.
By having AVR1 set to 9.1.2 all the height sounds are extracted from the base layer. That is the only purpose of the x.x.2 channel.

If I was going to connect the speakers to the AVRs as you suggest, the two height speakers from AVR1 would become catch all speakers for anything height left and height right. This would duplicate any height sound AVR2 is playing on its four height speakers. So in other words, if a sound is placed in height front left, it will be played by TFL by AVR2 and TML by AVR1. If a sound was placed height middle right it would be played by TFR/TRR by AVR2 and TMR by AVR1. The result is a muddy mess where the x.x.2 adds nothing of value.

Now with the PLII solution, if a sound is placed in height front left, it will be played by TFL. If a sound is placed in height middle right is will be played by TMR. No sound is duplicated anywhere.

The PLII solution will also permit the use of 4 subs.
 

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I'm fascinated by your project.... but

What is your plan for a unified volume control? Are you gonna have to adjust volumes across 4 remotes constantly? Maybe I'm missing something really cool to handle that.

I've set up a room with 11.4.8 or 13.4.6 depending on your point of view. Of course I have no way to run it. What does that make me? An idiot. Right now I run a standard 11.4 setup on it using a Denon 4520 where the remaining eight speakers sit idle. Clearly I was a little optimistic about where the Atmos speakers set sizes were going.

Your project may lead me to a setup solution.... but I can't say how much I'd hate to manually tweak all of those volumes.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What is your plan for a unified volume control? Are you gonna have to adjust volumes across 4 remotes constantly? Maybe I'm missing something really cool to handle that.

I've set up a room with 11.4.8 or 13.4.6 depending on your point of view. Of course I have no way to run it. What does that make me? An idiot. Right now I run a standard 11.4 setup on it using a Denon 4520 where the remaining eight speakers sit idle. Clearly I was a little optimistic about where the Atmos speakers set sizes were going.

Your project may lead me to a setup solution.... but I can't say how much I'd hate to manually tweak all of those volumes.

Thanks.
The volume trick is sorted by the pink line in the drawing going from control out on AVR1 to control in on AVR2. On AVR2 the IR receiver is disabled. So the end result is that any IR commands seen by AVR1 is replicated to AVR2. The volume controls for the two PLII AVR's shouldn't need touching as they act as amplifiers from AVR2's point of view.

The other thing is the source setup on AVR2, it has to replicate AVR1 but with the difference that all sources use the same HDMI input.

I did pick AVR1 and 2 to be the same make and model series just so the commands would be as similar as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Time for some updates. The past week I have been working on the framing for the soffit.

First out was the inner frame around the plywood sheets:





Next up was the outer frame around the wall. Considering not much in this house is plumb it posed a bit of a challenge getting things straight. I would love a spinning laser leveller but at the cost of around £600 I decided to go for the £17.99 option instead, a water level:



One end attached to the wall near the intended height, and the other moved around the room dotting out a perfectly level line.



Once the line was drawn it was a pretty quick job getting the frame in place.



 

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a water level. That's so engineering at it's origin. love it.
Keep up the good work.
 
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