Where should I compromise on 7.1 back surround placement?

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics, System Layout & Setup' started by redrock, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. redrock Audiophyte

    redrock
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    I'm in the process of finishing my basement and have a 14' x 22' room to use as my dedicated home theater room, with the 22' wall being front stage. The room is well suited for a 7.1 arrangement with one exception. There are two windows behind the seating area that prevent me from placing my back surrounds in an optimal position per Dolby or Lofft's 7.1 guide. Further complicating this is that the windows are not evenly spaced along the wall, as demonstrated in the image below. I intend to use in-walls as aesthetics are a big part of the room and the compromise is acceptable in that regard. The seating will be about 3' out from the wall.

    As I see it, there's 4 options:

    1. Place BL and BR speakers between the windows, 2' above ear level. Separation between BL/BR would be about 70 inches, while FL/FR would be at about 110" separation. Not ideal in terms of placement of the sofa.
    2. Place BL and BR speakers on rear wall outside of both windows. Doesn't seem ideal, as this puts them about 12" in from the corner, and within a few feet of the SL/SR speakers.
    3. Install in-ceiling BL/BR speakers. Tweeters could be aimed to reflect off the back wall, and speakers could be spaced more appropriately aligned to front channels.
    4. Eliminate rear channels and stick with 5.1. (I'd probably still place the speakers, but zone them separately so they're available for all-channel surround when listening to music.

    [​IMG]

    Another option could be to re-orient the room, with the front stage being one of the 14' walls. What's nice about the current intended orientation is that the TV/front channels sits on a wall that is backed by an understair storage closet, meaning easy access to wiring, and a location to set an in-wall AV cabinet. This space also has a dedicated 20-amp circuit which could be nice to support all of the AV equipment.

    Thoughts, recommendations?
  2. redrock Audiophyte

    redrock
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    As I look into this further, it seems like it would be reasonable to place the BL/BRs between the windows at 70" separation, as that would give me a 135 degree angle from center channel from center seat. I would want to center the HT relative to the space between the windows rather than centered to the room, which leaves me with a bit further distance from SR versus SL, but I can tune around that with my receiver. Still welcoming any thoughts or suggestions, but I think I've found a good solution.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  3. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Welcome:)
    Is your orientation set in concrete? I would suggest turning the whole setup 90 degrees with the front to the right as I see the picture. this would allow yourt seating further from the back wall, place the back two where they are speced by Dolby and the sides could be place as speced too.
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  4. redrock Audiophyte

    redrock
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    Thanks for the welcome, and especially for your suggestion. :) The orientation is not set in concrete. I had considered rotating the layout, but there's a couple of things that bother me about that. If I rotate it, and put the seating to the far left but a few feet out from the wall, it leaves me with a viewing distance of nearly 19'. I'm planning on a 70-80" LCD, so that distance might not be all that great (I'd probably need to go with a projector at that distance?). I could put the couch perpendicular to the space between the windows, netting me a 12' viewing distance, but would a 10' distance from the rear surrounds be recommended? Also, rotating the layout also moves the TV off of a wall that provides easy access on the other side, which would limit my ability to run new cable if needed between TV and A/V rack (thinking about the distant future here, where HDMI has become deprecated).

    Is there something to your suggestion I'm missing?
  5. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    I also like rotating the room.

    12' is a good viewing distance for that size LCD.

    It gives you room to move back a little if you ever want to add a projector and go really big with the screen.

    Having space between yourself and the rear surrounds is a good thing. 10' shouldn't be an issue so long as you take that distance into account when buying rear surrounds. When it comes to surrounds and rear surrounds, more space usually can't hurt. Less space generally can.

    HDMI is still new enough that I don't think you'll have any issues for a good long while. If you are worried about it, you can always run a string or something like that tied to the HDMI cable, thus giving you an easy way to run a new or different AV cable in the future.
  6. ARES24 Full Audioholic

    ARES24
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    I would be inclined to turn the system as well. I think the rears would be too close to the listening position IMO.

    That TV should still be large enough for that viewing distance. I have a viewing distance of 13' and an OLD 42" plasma.:rolleyes: I think I have jealousy creeping in right now...:D
    If you still want the AV cabinet in the closet, run a conduit from there to the tv (if you can). I am planning to post what my av closet looks like in the gallery.
  7. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Well, not sure what you are missing but you certainly don't want the rear wall only 3 feet behind you, no matter what, if you can avoid that which you seem to can.( your 19ft and 22 ft room length.)
    You could certainly do a projection system and a TV for casual viewing that does not require a LARGE;) image and sound. A TV about a foot away from the wall, a viewing distance of 13 feetr gives you 8 feet behind you. That is ideal. You can have your 1st row of seating by the 2nd window, maybe just towards its front edge to the screen. Surrounds just behind that window should still be in the Dolby spec; a 2nd row for kids, etc.;)
    Also, you don't want the front speakers right on the wall either.

    I would do this then worry about wiring; don't let that dictate your orientation unless that is an impossibility the long direction.
  8. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    With a 1080p screen of 70", for a person with 20/20 vision to see all of the picture detail they need to be about 9.1 feet from the screen, and with an 80" screen, it would be about 10.4 feet. See:

    HDTV Viewing Distance Calculator + Guide | Articles - Digital Digest

    Most people sit too far from their 1080p sets to see all of the available detail. Many of them could have saved money and settled for a 720p set instead, with no loss of detail that they actually see. Of course, if one does not want the picture to take up that much field of vision, then one may sit further back if that pleases one.
  9. ARES24 Full Audioholic

    ARES24
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    I would love to be able to go by the above calculator for screen size but my wife would DESTROY either me or the tv:(
  10. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    True, but I doubt 2 feet will make a major difference. I've tried to discern the difference many times and in my experience 2 feet doesn't make a huge difference off of the Max viewing distance. The differences are subtle at best. YMMV.

    I usually go off of the THX recommended viewing distance + HD viewing distance, then reconcile that with my what my own eyes are telling me.

    Viewing Distance Calculator
  11. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    I'm sitting ~ 11.5' from my 120" screen. It's perfect for me. With my seat reclined I'm around 12' so it's still perfect. Even in the back row it's a great distance (16'). I'm of the mind that if you don't have to turn your head, then the screen isn't too big.

    EDIT: forgot to add. On my back row by back speakers are right above that row so if that were my only row I would have not used back speakers at all. IMHO, they don't do much any way for most movies and no TV, but for video games I sure do notice when they aren't there.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013

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