Getting a house, time for some upgrades!

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics, System Layout & Setup' started by Rowdy S13, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    Well nothing is official yet, but we are finally buying our fist house! The offer is in, and we are waiting on the bank to accept it which could take a long time (short sale). So since I have time, I figured I would get started on sorting out the new system :) For right now I am just looking at the speakers as I just recently bought a new receiver. I want all of the speakers to be from the same manufacturer, and I defiantly want front towers. Where I have a hard time is with the surrounds, how many and what type. The place we are looking to buy isn't ideal for home theater, but I think we can make it work well. The room is L shaped, and has vaulted ceiling to the roof (~20' high). Just a rough guess on dimensions for now (I will measure it next time I am there) it is probably 40 feet long on the longest side, then in the larger part of the L it is 20' x 20', and in the shorter part of the L it is 11' wide (I measured that one :) ) by about 20' long. Where the room closes down is where the kitchen is, and that is open to the room. In the larger area the one wall is the stairs (open) and the front entry way (of course open)other where it comes in to make the L is the kitchen which is open on this side as well. At the corner of the kitchen is a post which I assume is load bearing and of course goes all the way up. Above the kitchen is an open loft area as well. I will get accurate measurements, and maybe pictures soon.

    Here is a really bad MS Paint drawing of the basic idea looking down on the room.

    View attachment 11256

    As you can tell though, it is a very large, very open area. Along the longest wall is windows, and a door to the back yard so the TV cant go anywhere along there. So looking at the drawing, the TV can go on the right side or the left. Technically it is set up to be split into two rooms (living room and dining room) but we have no desire to do that, so it can be a very long space for me. What I cant decide on is if I use the length of it all how will it effect my sound being that its wider on one end than the other? What seems best to me is to put the TV on the left side toward the bottom, put the couch even with the column (in essence split the rooms), and surrounds on the side walls up high (at least 9' since the kitchen has 9' ceilings). That would put the left front speaker in a corner, and the right out in the open. Also I would think I can only really do 5.1 in that configuration. Ill just leave that as my only configuration for now, and let the experts chime in.

    So first question is 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 set up. Second question is what lay out to achieve the best sound. Third is what type of surround speaker would work best with the answers from the first two questions. Then we can finally get down to which brand and model, but I don't see making it that far for a little while. I will say I am open to just about anything for speakers. I would be willing to do in wall/in ceiling, but with the really high ceilings I don't think it would work so well? I may be WAY off on that though, its never something I have looked into.

    Sorry for the long post, but I am excited and looking forward to finally having a complete surround sound set up!


    Thanks,
    Sean
  2. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    In my honest opinion, it takes a lot effort to try to guess what exactly you are asking. I mean, shorter part of L is already a tad bit confusing (I'm afraid of wasting time and breath by diagnosing a total misunderstanding), but this is even more hazy to me: What I cant decide on is if I use the length of it all how will it effect my sound being that its wider on one end than the other?

    Ok I think I understand this (except what you mean by splitting rooms), but then you lost me again with left front speaker in the corner, because I thought it would have been the right one!?!? Argh. But wait weren't there windows there you didn't want to cover? Argh. I'm already confused, and don't want to try reading a third time, I don't get paid enough. :cool:

    Just how many windows and doors along the longest wall? (Pics are worth thousands of words).

    My instinct it to set the TV up on the extreme right, with viewers facing east. Yes, you may have to deal with light reflections off the display, but it seems to me that cannot be avoided anyway unless of course you might be blocking the windows/doors which you said can't happen?

    The reflective energy/balance will be more even between left and right sides. Boundary gain/effect of side surrounds may or may not be more even. Using greatest length as orientation has the benefit of least modal issues for listeners.
  3. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    Good luck with the sale, wait until you get a closing date to start planning you ht, it is better for luck and for your sanity... My sister just bought her first house a while back, and the rollercoaster she rode in the process would have tester Mother Teresa's patience...
  4. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    There is a drawing of the room... Here it is again just in case

    Main Room.jpg

    If that doesn't work for some reason, think of it like this. On the left you have a larger box, say 20x20, and on the right you have a narrower box that is say 10x20. So the bottom edge would be 40' long total and that is the outside wall which has windows and a sliding glass door on the right side. So since I wouldn't want the couch in front of the sliding door, that would mean the TV would be there and the couch would be on the far opposite side. I see two problems with a lay out like that one is how far from the screen we would be. What I was more asking though is since the front speakers are in the area that is 10' wide, meaning that is as far apart as I could possibly get them, and I would be sitting in an area that is 20' wide and 40' away how bad would the sound get screwed up (or would it really at all)?

    SO the other option that seem to make more sense to me would be to position the couch at the (non existent) seam between the "two boxes) facing the left wall (larger box area). The problem I see with that is one speaker is in a corner and the other is open on the side. Also I really only see two surrounds on the side walls up high. I could do two more behind the couch, but that would be about 10' away and I don't know how that would work.

    Mull that over and let me know if it makes more sense, and if the drawing is showing up to help out.



    Thanks,
    Sean
  5. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    I don't quite make sense of this. By "there" you are referring to the sliding glass door? You must be referring to some unnamed thing, because I can't imagine you blocking the door with the TV. "Far opposite side" has me guess that you were trying to impart the idea of a west-east sort of orientation (maybe east?), but your description is still not clear enough at all for me. edit: Ok I think I might understand what you're trying to say now . . .

    Ok, it DOES look like we want to talk about the same setup, facing eastward, the viewers I mean facing eastward. I don't see any issue (save for one, will address in a second) with being in a wide area when you are that far back; I believe the left/right balance WAS a greater issue, but now that I think about it, if facing westward, and you were given quite a bit of freedom in pulling the speaker out from the corner, then I might go that route. The boundary imbalance will be mitigated, and 10' with the other way is kind of getting a little tight for three speakers. Perhaps the boundary balancing is simply balancing too much boundary interaction from both sides to begin with.

    If you still go for the eastward route, but want to sit THAT FAR BACK, the issue IMO is simply the SPL levels. You would need some big and very ugly commercial/pro type speakers for anything resembling movie theater levels. Now if you just don't need that, then you don't need that, but 40' is a huge length. SPL drops exponentially with distance. I've seen some pros think that once at the around 25' or so, you need upwards of 20K to make it work, dunno how true that is, but distance is an issue that way.

    Too high is definitely in a compromise, you will for sure want to angle them as much as you can. You know how I feel about the corner. The further away you can get, the more I'm okay with it. You know what you ought to do is just throw the speakers in both locations and give it a listen. That's the best way, only YOU will know exactly how far you are willing to place any given speaker from any given boundaries, and then you can listen to that result. It will for sure be a lot more tamed once all the furniture and materials are brought in, but you'll still get a much, much clearer idea. I simply assume acoustic panels and bass traps are simply a no go here, but if I'm wrong about that, the corner becomes less and less of an issue. It might not be bad anyway, and some people are pickier than others, some people imagine things more than others . . . let us know how your experiments turn out.

    Consider my 2 cents given!
  6. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    I was talking about blocking the door, well actually the fixed glass side. It was never much of an option, but if somehow it would work out better than I would be OK with it.


    So at the end of this, it looks like viewers facing east is the best with the seating in the middle. That would put the seating position about 20' from the screen, and allows speakers directly to the sides, although somewhat high up. So now that we have the basic orientation figured out the first question is do I just do 5.1, or add two rear backs for 7.1? The only issue with rear backs is that they would be probably 15-20' away from the seating position. I really don't know if I can adjust them to be even with the rest of the system being that far away, or if it would be worth it. Then my next question is what type of surrounds should I use? I feel like Di-Poles would work best on the sides since the would be close to the seating position side to side (but up high). Then IF I ran surround backs seems like just a bookshelf type to point them directly at the seating position.

    So the layout is not ideal, but even worse is no treatments, AND the wife wants hardwood floors. Home Theater is one of many hobbies, and the race car pushes the boundaries the most, so I choose my battles in that arena :) So the home entertainment will suffer some from room layout, and treatments, but I want it as good as possible with what I have. Next house will get a dedicated room, I promise!


    Sean
  7. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    I'm just going to disregard this for now, thanks, hope you don't mind.

    I don't know how you came up with the middle being the best. Read on.

    Perfectly middle is about the worst place you can place yourself, though because it's not a perfectly symmetrical room, I suppose that may not be absolutely true, but it will be pretty close enough anyway. The usual place to start in the symmetrical room is 38% room length. Frankly, I'd get a lot closer than 20' if were you for a number of reasons. The SPL thing I covered. Unless you have a projection system, and not just any projection system, a really freaking huge one, you will be nowhere near resolving HD with the display. A third reason is that you will not get nearly the necessary spread in speaker for the "stereo width" that can make one system achieve a whole other level that many/most don't (by moving forward, this angle is incidentally increased). I suppose a 4th reason is that you have more liveable space in the area behind viewers, I suppose, depending.

    One thing I don't like about dipoles in your case is that if ever you decide to change things up, placements, positions, anything, the compromise will be less forgiving, I would imagine, with dipoles. Rear speakers, so far away, I wouldn't if I were you because in your case the benefit:ugliness ratio is probably not worth it. I wouldn't, and I say that as a current 7.1 owner.

    I personally think too much credit is given to carpets vs hardwood. The floor is only one boundary, for any given (typical) room there still are 4 walls and a ceiling, so it's only 1/6 of the equation so to speak. Then carpet, curtains, whatever, are a very long shot away from being broadband; they only absorb HF, and even then, it's only some random subset of the HF depending on the actual fabric. IOW, I will take well placed speakers with hard boundaries everywhere, over compromised placements of speakers/viewers with carpets and curtains, everyday of the week, and twice on Sundays.
  8. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    Nah, that was ignorable, I was just explaining what I meant but also saying it isn't an option anyway. So we will just drop doing anything in that area all together.


    Well actually I changed my mind after my post last night, and came to the same conclusion you did. For room function, layout, viewing distance, and so on it would be better if I move the seating further forward. Why I was thinking of putting the seating in the "middle" was because then I have two evenly spaced side walls for the speakers. If I go forward it poses a problem of having the south wall close, but the north wall very far away. One other advantage of moving the seating forward is I could also shift everything north into the center of that area. That still poses a problem for the north surround speaker though. Remember the north side of that area is the stairs and the entryway.

    I will have to look at that closer next time we are there which is this coming Wednesday. When I get out there I will get actual measurements and pictures to help this all along.

    I see what you are saying with the di-poles as well. Again, the thought was that the side walls would be so close to the seating area that it would help to make the speakers location harder to pinpoint.


    That makes sense, I never thought about it that way. I am not overly concerned with the floors, like you said placement and adjustment are more important AND something that can be controlled. Just the fact that I will have a sub, and a full set of speakers is a big jump from what I have had the last few years. If I am giving some up because of the room, and the floor it is something I can deal with. I am really just excited to have a damn sub again! That SVS Ultra is getting ordered the same day as the closing :)


    Sean
  9. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    Yes, if you ARE going to do the eastward setup, you know I heartily agree to scoot up WAY closer. However, if 10' is in any way accurate for the width you have to work with, I have some serious reservations. Because opposite setup, westward: If you can get better width, say roughly equilateral triangle with listener as a starting point (I never had any system set up further than that, but I have heard one system that was much wider in fact, and imaged like super crazy), and if you can pull the "corner speaker" further from the corner, then I might consider that. Yeah, ok, your right surround speaker is an issue. Only you can know, like I said. But, I will take the perfect front 3 with very compromised surrounds, over perfect surround with very compromised front 3.

    Anyway, re eastward, the proximity of surrounds, obviously if one person, +5' each way should be plenty. But, how many viewers wide, for instance, how long is the couch, etc. Well even if pretty wide, my guess is that the surrounds will be just fine even as monopoles, because as they will be up higher; I think the distance is going to be greater than what you're probably accounting for.

    One thing you might benefit from the wood floor, as you seem to be really itching for LFE, is that you'll probably get more tactile feedback with it than with carpet. :p I'm going to make a dumb guess here that your wife has absolutely no idea how huge that SVS is though. I'm just preparing you for her reaction. :D
  10. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    OK I finally have actual dimensions! I was a little off, but here is a top down drawing of the room(s).

    Room layout with room dimensions.jpg

    So there is a little bit going on in that picture. First off that is our couch that we currently have, so we have to deal with that. The center speaker is shown in a larger box which is the size of our current TV/Stand (the center will be on top). All of the speakers are the Aperion Versus Grand series dimensions, and the two subs (between the TV and the mains) are SVS SB13-ULTRA's. The box at the top left by itself is my fish tank in case anyone was wondering. The ceilings are actually 18' high, but above the living room area they slope down some. The speaker distances to the listening position aren't as far off as they may seem. I went to a point straight from the center speaker to the middle of the couch (I know that is too far forward) and the fronts were a little over 10', and the rear backs were a little under 12'. Figure the seating area is actually about a foot back from where I measured, and then they are very close to 11' all around.

    So now that we can all see a basic layout, what do we think should change?! I am liking it set up like this so far. I know the subs are probably not ideal, but I just put them there for the drawing. There is a good chance they will end up there though to keep the wife happy. Let me hear what you all think! OH BTW the distance from the screen to the center of the couch is 10', again that is to the center and not really accurate since generally you sit back :)


    Sean
  11. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    I was really expecting more feed back once the drawing went up! Anyway, now that its up there, do you think I would benefit from bi-pole speakers on the sides? I reference this article,
    EMP E55Ti Tower / E56Ci Center / E55WI Surround & ES1010i Subwoofer System — Reviews and News from Audioholics

    as well as the $6,500 system recommendation here,
    $6,500 Recommended Home Theater System - Great Looks & Performance — Reviews and News from Audioholics

    Which is really the same thing, but uses the EMPTek E55Wi speakers on the side walls. This really isn't a thread about specific speaker selection, but I think I am going with the EMPTek speakers. Since I already have front speakers though I will be buying the surrounds first, more specifically the side surrounds first (then followed by the back). So I would need to decide on the speaker type for each location. I am thinking that since the seating position is so close to the sides that the E55Wi's would be best there, and the E5Bi would be best as the surround back's.

    What does everyone think of that set up?


    Thanks,
    Sean
  12. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    OK I am bringing this back from the dead! After helping a buddy of mine install and set up his system I think I made up my mind on the EMPTek's. His system is a Pioneer receiver (probably getting replaced soon) with EMPTek E55Ti towers, E55Ci center, and E5Bi surrounds with a SVS PB12-NSD sub. I was really impressed with the whole package once we got it all dialed in. So like I said, I think that (and the price) sold me on the EMPTek's 100%, and probably a pair of SVS SB12-NSD subs to go with it. That whole 7.2 speaker set up will be under $3000 delivered, and I don't think it can be beat for that cost!

    With that said, I am still not sure what surrounds to get!? Do I get a pair of the E55Wi (wired in dipole) and a pair of the E5Bi for the surround back, do I get two pair of E5Bi for all 4 surrounds, or do I get two pair of the E55Wi (one wired dipole, and one wired bipole) for all 4 surrounds? The cost is not really an issue with any of the set ups, but what is going to sound best?

    Moving on to subs, what does everyone think of getting a pair of the SVS SB12-NSD's? Like I said my friend got the PB12-NSD and it kicks ***, but the wife thinks its too big. If I had to convince her to allow a large sub I could likely only get one then. If I could only run a single sub then I would probably try for the PB12-PLUS, or maybe the Ultra. However I would much rather run dual subs, and in that case I need to keep them smaller. The PB1000 may be acceptable in size, but is still kind of large (bigger than the SB12-NSD). My only concern with the SB12-NSD's would be the low end. I am not sure that they will play low enough, or rather loud enough at the low end. Considering that I have ran with NO sub for so long I would probably be more than happy at first with just about anything, but will I be wanting more after I have lived with them for a while?

    OK that's all for now, lets hear what you all think!


    Thanks,
    Sean
  13. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    The surround situation is always a matter of some debate. Simply put, bi/di-pole will offer you wider, more diffuse sound where a direct radiating speaker will (supposedly) image better. Personally I think mine image terrifically (mine are of the bi/di nature).

    Let's put it this way. A pair of PB-12's will give you approximately 102db at 16hz, but nothing really under that. A pair of SB-12's will give you about 95db at 16hz, BUT will also give you about 90db at 12.5hz and will probably reach a little lower than that, but not quite give you useful output to 10hz. From 40hz on up they're basically equal. So would you rather be louder from 16hz-35hz or would you rather be able to plumb a little deeper into the depths? FWIW 16-35hz is where it's going to hit you in the chest, whereas the extra extension is what will give you the goosbumps during scenes like the robots rising up out of the ground in WOTW.
  14. Rowdy S13 Audioholic Chief

    Rowdy S13
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    OK so starting with the subs, it sounds like the dual SB12-NSD's are the way to go. It sounds like they will play louder and lower than my buddies single PB12-NSD, and that sounds good to me :)

    I think I am going to stick with the Dipole's on the sides, and the bookshelf's for the backs. It seems like that will be overall the best solution with how the room and speakers will be laid out. I think that the side speakers will be too easily located if they are bookshelf's.


    Sean

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