New AVS System in open plan apartment

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by russcami123, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi everyone,

    I have just bought a new appartment on the 1st floor. This means that I have neighbours both on the sides as well as above and below. Due to limited space, I intend to set up my primary AV system in the living area. This is an open plan room which is combined with the kitchen as well as the corridor which leads to the other rooms, as well as the entrance stairs. Please see the attached images for dimesions and set up. The entire apartment has gypsum ceiling and the walls are made of concrete bricks, whilst the floor is made of concrete as well!
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    I will be using my AV system for watching movies and hearing to audio in a 60:40 ratio. My sources will be:
    -HTPC (using HDMI)-Playstation - also used as a Blu Ray player (using HDMI)
    -DVD - also used as CD (using HDMI)
    -iPod (connected to AV receiver)
    -Satellite TV (using HDMI)
    -Radio (from AV Receiver itself)
    -3D blu ray player (to be added later).

    The equipment I was looking at was the following:
    -Speakers: Atlantic Technology System 6200 or 4400
    -Amplifier: Onkyo PA-MC5501
    -AV Receiver: Onkyo PR-SC5509
    -TV: Panasonic SMART VIERA® 55" Class VT50 Series Full HD 3D Plasma HDTV

    In view of the above information, can you please advise regarding the following:
    1. Is this equipment too much for the room?
    2. If the equipment is fine, do I need any other equipment, such as a parametric equalizer or room correction equipment?
    3. What is the suggested setup - 5.1, 5.2, 7.1 or 7.2?
    4. Do you have any ideas how can I enjoy such a system at reasonable volume level without having complaints from the neighbours using panels to the walls or some kind of active noise cancellation system?

    Thanks and Regards,

    russcami123
  2. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    25,224
    Likes Received:
    5,290
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca.
    Yes, possibly both systems seem like a bit much for that space; the 6200, while nice, is probably overkill. The 4400 might OK. Have you heard any of the Atlantic Tech speakers? What you may want to do is throw out a budget and start with advice that way.

    There isn't a stand alone product that does full HT room correction that I can think of. The Onkyo pre/pro has it anyway (that is not an AV Receiver).

    In a brick/concrete place with shared walls there is likely no way you are going to be able to crank that thing, which is sort of why the system is overkill. Basically, get to know your neighbors. My buddy bought a loft similar to what you've got and he bought just a simple 2.1 setup and got complaints immediately, but YMMV.
  3. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    New Joisey
    You live on the first floor and have neighbors below you??? Are they worms or something? :p


    1. The 6200 system would be overkill, but the 4400 system looks like a real good match. The surrounds are dipole though, so they might be a challenge given the room layout.

    2. An AV receiver with Audyssey MultEQ XT, or XT32, would suffice.

    3. I wouldn't go more then 5.1 for a space that size. You could even consider 3.1 and probably do pretty good with just that.

    4. Don't turn it up too loud? For an apartment it might not be a wise investment to spend a lot of money trying to tame whatever stray sound may reach your neighbors. Most landlords are not too keen on that type of modification anyway.

    Speaking of noise... what subwoofer were you considering?
  4. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi Jim,

    I am pretty sure that beneath me is the ground floor and both worms and people live there:)
    The apartment belongs to me, I have bough it from the landlord, hence in theory I can do changes to architecture - the problem is that I don't wish to make any alterations to the layout. However if these are minor, I am open to ideas. The only sharing wall with my neighbour is the one which is at the back of the wall unit...

    The subwoofer is an Atlantic Technology 642e SB. It will be placed near one of the front speakers. Is this ok?
    Would it make more sense to have 2 smaller sub woofers rather than one?
    The Onkyo PR-SC5509 does have Audyssey MultEQXT32, so it shouldn't be a problem then...
    The Recommended Amplifier Power for the Atlantic 4400 speakers (front, centre and surround) is 10 – 150 Watts RMS. Don't you think an amplifier is needed even at reasonable volume?
    What height would you recommend the surround speakers placement?

    Thanks,

    russcami
  5. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've heard the Atlantic speakers at my friend's house and I was impressed by their clarity... The only shared wall in this layout will be the back of the wall unit, i.e. the speakers would be facing the opposite direction.
    I am still inclined to buying a pair of good headphones, but I would still like to have my own 'little' theatre with speakers. Honestly my budget for the audio system is around 10k Euros. I am 'splashing' all this cash because having my own HT has always been my dream. Now that I am moving into my own apartment, I want to set-up a decent system where I can enjoy myself watching a film or hearing some music...
  6. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    New Joisey
    The 642e SB is a nice subwoofer. I reviewed the 444sb last year and was quite impressed. A little on the expensive side though.

    Two subwoofers can indeed help smooth out the bass response, but in a room the size of yours I'm not sure the benefits would be all that great. It's not simply a matter of buying two subs and placing them anywhere; if they aren't strategically located you may end up exacerbating the issue instead. Generally speaking, in a smaller room you don't have too many placement options.

    An amplifier would be needed at any volume. Those are passive speakers, so they won't make a sound unless something is pushing power to them.

    Regarding room treatments... acoustic panels can help deaden the sound that's transmitted through your walls, along with cutting down on reflected sounds making it better for you as well, but they may not be necessary. You should probably try it first and see if there really is a problem. You may not need to even worry about it though.

    The sub might be a little more of an issue though. To minimize the vibrations transmitted to your floor you should consider an isolator like the SubDude. Similar to the panels, that also benefits you; by reducing vibrations sent into your floor and walls it tends to make the bass sound cleaner for you, and be less noticeable to your neighbors.
  7. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the information above. You've been very helpful.
  8. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,576
    Likes Received:
    414
    Location:
    SoCal
    Given your living situation I think an AVR would do the job for you just fine. If you want to go with separates as you have listed because it's cool and you want to, then by all means no one can disagree with that. On the other hand, given the size of the place and volume restrictions an AVR will do just fine, and save you some rack space and system complexity in the process.
  9. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Likely.

    It's all concrete? Likely you'll want bass traps the most.

    5.2

    I'd get 5 matching speakers and two subwoofers (two smaller rather than one larger) to help with even bass response. In your space I'd be considering active speakers (powered speakers), which would require pre-outs.


    If your separated by concrete, you have a huge advantage over those who are separated by drywall.

    Room treatments won't help with sound transmission much, you have to go great extremes to get results (build a room within a room, basically).

    Bass travels the most, bass traps will help some (as well as get rid of standing waves in a concrete walled room, which I also have and needed to treat), also you can get Auralex SubDudes, which are cheap and help keep vibration transmission down a bit.

    ....

    I'd recommend moving the seating inward, sitting closer to the screen. The reason for this is sound reduces by a square with distance, so, if you double your distance you'll need to turn up your volume 4x, if you cut your distance in half you'll get to turn down the volume 4x. Sitting closer will also reduce reflected sound (same benefit as the volume, the reflected sound will be quieter). Also if your screen is 55", sitting that far back won't make for a very immersive experience and also 1080p won't be distinguishable.

    Can get in more detail once we have a budget.

    Looks like a great space!
  10. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi MidnightSensi2,

    I have a budget of around $10000 for the audio equipment (not including the TV). From the research, I am assuming that surround speakers in a 5.1 setup should be placed in line with the ear. However since I do not have a wall on the right hand side, I need to use a stand. Is this the best configuration, or should I place them on the back wall? The surround speakers should be placed around 2 feet above the ear level is this correct?

    What about the 2 sub-woofer configuration - how should these be placed? Should they be placed on the floor or raised say 60cm? Can you please explain how should the bass traps and the absorbers (if any) should be placed in my room?

    Regarding the sofa position, I was thinking to place it around 30cm away from the back wall.
  11. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    I think you can put together a nice system for that.

    You are correct that they are supposed to be to your side and 2 ft above, according to THX specs. However, on rooms similar to your floor plan, I have had better success with the rear wall and a wider stance.

    Similar to the 'Desktop Configuration' on the bottom here:
    Surround Sound Speaker Set Up « THX.com
    Or the photo of the 5.1 setup with the directors chair representing the sweet spot here:
    AIR Series


    In a typical rectangular room, generally two subwoofers work best center on opposing walls or 1/4 out from each wall in the front. That's a starting place, and I'm happy to go into more detail.

    Generally the floor is fine, although the Auralex SubDude's I'd recommend would raise them a bit. They are mainly to reduce low frequency transmission to the floor. They are cheap, so, lots of people here tested them (including me) and actually only looking for some floor vibration, some felt a (surprising) minor increase in low frequency fidelity. We never confirmed it with measurements though.

    Depends how you place the speakers, and the actual dimensions. Since yours isn't a rectangle or square, it's hard math to figure them out. But you can easily measure for them, most receivers will actually do this too and compensate for room response.

    However, that doesn't solve issues in the 'time domain.' While the EQ can lower the volume/amplitude of frequencies, doesn't solve the 'ringing' or decay. Bass traps soak up the omnidirectional bass, and higher frequencies are more directional and you'll need to treat those at line of sight/reflection points (run a mirror along the wall and when you see a speaker, that's where you place it - would get into more detail on that later). Can start with first reflection points and some key area, there are inexpensive kits for doing a basic setup that are a great start.

    I'm going to imagine that you might get better imaging and even response if you put the TV in the corner on the 45 and the speakers as such. So, tv faces the kitchen at 45-deg and then the speakers have the same 'wall' or first reflection points. Makes the soundstage more symmetric in a room shaped like yours.

    Regarding concrete...my theater is concrete....
    Good news: Good isolation. This might let you run louder without disturbing, no drywall hum (drywall has a resonance when sound bounces off it, able to be tamed with treatments, but still an advantage from concrete)
    Bad news: (In my experience) you'll need to treat it more than drywall..... I work with both concrete and drywall rooms down here and concrete always seems to have more bass traps.... which are used to absorb standing waves (room modes). Drywall sound transmits through better than concrete (has less isolation), but concrete takes those long bass waves and keeps 'em tossing around the room. Bass traps 'capture' them, improving the rooms decay.
    (I'm a bit tired, hopefully that made some sense, will check in AM lol)



    If you double the distance you sit from the front soundstage, you'll need to run FOUR TIMES the volume to hear the same loudness at your chair. This is why in apartments I recommend sitting /comfortible/ but CLOSE. You also will hear less of the rooms contributing and hear more sound coming directly from the speaker to you. This is why you often see in studios they have speakers really close, they are called 'near field monitors' .

    I have two studio monitors and a subwoofer here. I can play them pretty loud without it even being irritating to my girlfriend doing something downstairs if I leave the door open. Now one room over is my big theater, if I crank that up to the same level at my ears, and left the door open, it would probably be annoying for her because it's 4x as much energy from the speakers to give the same perceived loudness at my seat in the theater. Thats 4x energy which is bouncing off stuff, vibrating it, going through cracks, etc. So, to put it mathematically, sound falloff is inverse square. So to get the best loudness close relative to when it becomes annoying at distances, closer is better.

    Another reason to sit closer to your TV. :)


    I'm going to get some sleep. See what you think (see if what I said makes sense) and I'll check in tomorrow and we can get to gear.

    Remember, gotta keep it comfortable and user friendly too. So, best balance... right gear...but also not foam all over your living room (hard to get laid then, I tried that lol). We need to be selective.
  12. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    If I understood correctly, you are proposing the following setup, with the TV facing the kitchen. The red circles are the speaker (5) and the greens being the subwoofers as per recommendations. The blue rectangle is the sofa, which would be distant from the speakers and the tv about 8 feet. Plan_Revisited.jpg
    Is this a correct depiction of your idea? The major concern is that I have balcony on the other end of the kitchen and this may disrupt the TV... don't you think? Also having the sofa "in the middle" of the room might not be very practical for moving from the kitchen to the other rooms... However if you have experience with such layout and can forward me some photos that might be great!
  13. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Eh, no. It's a mix of two ideas. Damn, lol, let me sketch it up for you.

    Also didn't know that's a balcony. Are you going to have blackout drapes?
  14. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    There's a balcony after the dining table (not shown in the image). Yes I will definitely use some material that blocks the sunlight! Looking forward for your design and equipment:)
    Thanks
    • Like Like x 1
  15. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    First let's narrow down some placement options. You want to have great sound, but meet your ergonomic and aesthetic requirements.

    I'm pretty set on 5 identical speakers for the L,C,R and rears. So, once you got those, I'd actually TEST speaker locations such as below and see what gives you the best balance. (click images for larger version I guess lol)

    Plan_Revisited.jpg Plan_Revisited2.jpg Plan_Revisited3.jpg

    I gotta run to a meeting, take a look and I'll add more a bit later.
  16. internetmin Audioholic

    internetmin
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You're having lots of fun with this! Personally, I like the layout in your second setup with the speakers setup properly in the 5.1 config to the left and right. The reason why I like this configuration is:

    1) It's more textbook for performance
    2) You don't have speakers in the walking-path as you do in the third option
    3) You can add rears to fill out a 7.1 in the future
    4) You can address any early reflection issues with absorption panels to the right side (vantage point from the listener)

    Looks like a great project. Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    So, now to expand. I'd say option 1 is likely what you'll end up with. You've moved closer to the display, for more immersion. You're also closer to the speakers, which means you can run them at lower volumes, and also with toe in (not pictured) you'll have less reflected sound reaching your ears (at least the amplitude will be less). Then, the sidewall which will tend to unbalance your soundstage, we can use a combination of EQ and treatments.

    Treatments with creativity can actually look okay and not be as obtrusive as you might think (you can print on them, or use solid colors to make them a design element, bass traps you may often hide). Also with your open ceiling, you can get away with a more industrial look in general. I'd probably start with a small amount of treatments and then add as needed. I'd start small and add to taste and measurement.

    Once you get into speakers, nothing beats auditioning. And there are lots of opinions.

    For speakers I think I'd do active monitors (they have built in amplifiers) in your setup, provided you have power on the front and rear wall.

    Couple options:

    Dynaudio
    5x Dynaudio BM5A ($750 USD street per pair) ..so you'd have 6 (one extra) or maybe a shop will sell them individually.
    Dynaudio Acoustics BM 5A MKII 7" Active 995001311 (PAIR)
    2x Dynaudio BM9S ($1000 ea)
    Total: $4250

    Bag End
    5x Bag End PM6 (~650 USD street each)
    Review:
    Listen Up: Near-Field Monitor RoundUp: EQ Tests Four Thoroughly Modern Monitors
    2x Bag End INFRA PRO 18 or 12 (~1600-1700, 12 and 18 cost about the same, 18 is larger and some extra output)
    ~$6500

    Genelec:
    Genelec 8030A Broadcast Pack 5.1 Surround 8030.LSE BROADCAST PAK
    ~4700 for 5.1, then another subwoofer 5700.

    All options deliver fantastic sound, have sufficient output for your space, and are designed to work well 'near field' (in your 2m range). They are all are very neutral, but taste may determine a route.

    Then, you get a receiver which has pre-outs and run an XLR and power cable to each speaker.

    If active isn't for you, we can look at some passive stuff. Again, there are many routes to go.
  18. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

    MidnightSensi2
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    376
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Lol, yeah. Avoiding work today lol.

    Regarding being in the walking path, that is a consideration. But, also the standard 5.1 will have a speaker in the middle of the room. That said, none of the speakers I'm recommending are large. And, I'd try both before mounting anything.

    Yeah, absorption will be helpful on that right side, big time. Also some good locations for hiding bass traps with the open ceilings and those corners. But, want to take it step at a time and not overload with info.
  19. internetmin Audioholic

    internetmin
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Nice, perhaps we can all follow that lead and avoid work! If you're going to have a bookshelf or monitor on a stand, you may also consider having it in a cabinet. That way, it will be less prone to being hit, run into or someone putting their glass on top of it. While the cabinet may bring other audio issues, it may be cleaner in the long run.

    Speakers like Revels (this wasn't intended to be a plug and full disclosure that I own Revels) have compensation switches on the back to adjust the speaker for stand or flush mount in a cabinet and adjust the speaker response accordingly.
  20. russcami123 Enthusiast

    russcami123
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the information you have provided. Can you please explain to me what is the difference between your option 1 and the below option? 1.jpg

    What are the main differences between active and passive (Pros and cons) and how do these fit in my environment - are there any benefits?

    Also for option 1 (yours or mine) can you please advise where should the treatments be placed?

    Thanks

Share This Page

  • rbhsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • Emotiva.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA