Building a 7.2.4 cinema in basement and need some guidance

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BubbaNapps

Audiophyte
I’m currently building a house and decided since my wife and I have a collection of over 1,000 movies to build a stand alone cinema. It isn’t a separate room or anything but we already have an Optoma 4K short throw laser projector picked out with an Elite Screens Cinegray screen. My limitation is that I need the speakers to all be in ceiling except the front channels and was wondering if anyone has had any experience. I picked out a Marantz 11 channel receiver and was hoping to go with Monoprice speakers. I am looking at a pair of 3 way Amber wall speakers and an Amber center channel for on the wall on each side and under the screen. I was looking at getting the in wall Alpha subwoofers and Alpha ceiling speakers. I’m curious if I can get the 15 degree Alpha series to use as the surrounds and 4-6.5 inch straight ceiling speakers for the Atmos. I considered going with Amber speakers in the ceiling but figured it would be better with the Alpha having the dome tweeters and not the ribbon tweeters. I know ribbon tweeters are more directional and dome tweeters will disperse the sound better. I’m not even sure a 7.2.4 all in ceiling is all possible but would love it if it was. And the ceilings are just under 8 feet.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
You are headed for a fairly bad sound system. You can do in-ceiling surrounds, not ideal, but better than no surround, but a 7.2.4 in-ceiling system would be pretty ridiculous. If I had to have in-ceiling surrounds, I would just go with 5.1. There is no sense in going beyond 5.1 if all of the surround sound is coming from above, since there would be very little direction distinction from the channels. "Steerable" surround speakers never work as well as advertised.

I wouldn't use an in-ceiling front-stage under any circumstances. It would be just awful. It wouldn't even be as good as a soundbar. At the very least, make sure the left, right, and center speakers are in-walls. Those in-wall subs will be fairly bad. You have to supply the amps for them, and they only have a 3.5mm Xmax? I have seen midrange drivers with more Xmax. Just get a real sub.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Shady and I have different opinions sometimes, but in this case we are definitely on the same page. Atmos won’t work if all the surrounds are in the ceiling. You’ll get sounds of course, but they won’t come from where they should. And providing the soundtrack actually has 3 dimensional object use, the system won’t be able to place them on XYZ coordinates. Front IW and surround IC will definitely be better than a soundbar imo, and going from 5.1 to 7.1 would depend on how long the room is. You should have room behind the LP to place rear surrounds.
I didn’t notice mention of a sub. What are you considering there? IW subs are a compromise at best, and you lose freedom of placement, which is how you get the best performance from one.
 
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BubbaNapps

Audiophyte
You are headed for a fairly bad sound system. You can do in-ceiling surrounds, not ideal, but better than no surround, but a 7.2.4 in-ceiling system would be pretty ridiculous. If I had to have in-ceiling surrounds, I would just go with 5.1. There is no sense in going beyond 5.1 if all of the surround sound is coming from above, since there would be very little direction distinction from the channels. "Steerable" surround speakers never work as well as advertised.

I wouldn't use an in-ceiling front-stage under any circumstances. It would be just awful. It wouldn't even be as good as a soundbar. At the very least, make sure the left, right, and center speakers are in-walls. Those in-wall subs will be fairly bad. You have to supply the amps for them, and they only have a 3.5mm Xmax? I have seen midrange drivers with more Xmax. Just get a real sub.
The front channels are in wall. The side and rear surrounds were planned for the angled ceiling drivers. I’ll look at the subwoofers that Monoprice has. If it makes it easier; I can put a list of the components I was considering
 
B

BubbaNapps

Audiophyte
Shady and I have different opinions sometimes, but in this case we are definitely on the same page. Atmos won’t work if all the surrounds are in the ceiling. You’ll get sounds of course, but they won’t come from where they should. And providing the soundtrack actually has 3 dimensional object use, the system won’t be able to place them on XYZ coordinates. Front IW and surround IC will definitely be better than a soundbar imo, and going from 5.1 to 7.1 would depend on how long the room is. You should have room behind the LP to place rear surrounds.
I didn’t notice mention of a sub. What are you considering there? IW subs are a compromise at best, and you lose freedom of placement, which is how you get the best performance from one.
I have about 20 feet of room and about 15-18 feet of width. Have it planned for a 120 inch screen. I was planning on getting myself a 2 channel amplifier to connect the subs to and do in wall Monoprice Alpha. I was also planning on building boxes on them to have a better thump. I was mostly concerned with the angled ceiling speakers. I was planning on the Atmos being placed in front and above and the rears would be back a little bit since they only have a 15 degree tilt on the axis. And the side surrounds would be similar trying to direct the sound to the seating. I know it sounds like an acoustic fiasco but I’m more curious if I could make a decent sounding 7.2.4 system with everything being concealed. If I could do it differently; I would’ve definitely set a media room up right from the start.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Shady and I have different opinions sometimes, but in this case we are definitely on the same page. Atmos won’t work if all the surrounds are in the ceiling. You’ll get sounds of course, but they won’t come from where they should. And providing the soundtrack actually has 3 dimensional object use, the system won’t be able to place them on XYZ coordinates. Front IW and surround IC will definitely be better than a soundbar imo, and going from 5.1 to 7.1 would depend on how long the room is. You should have room behind the LP to place rear surrounds.
I didn’t notice mention of a sub. What are you considering there? IW subs are a compromise at best, and you lose freedom of placement, which is how you get the best performance from one.
He talked about getting Monoprice's Amber in-wall subwoofers. They are cheap passive subs, basically, just very flimsy drivers mounted in a wall-installable frame. As cheap as they are, I would still consider them overpriced. You can get a better driver from parts express for like 20 bucks. They are nothing like the Monolith series speakers.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I have about 20 feet of room and about 15-18 feet of width. Have it planned for a 120 inch screen. I was planning on getting myself a 2 channel amplifier to connect the subs to and do in wall Monoprice Alpha. I was also planning on building boxes on them to have a better thump. I was mostly concerned with the angled ceiling speakers. I was planning on the Atmos being placed in front and above and the rears would be back a little bit since they only have a 15 degree tilt on the axis. And the side surrounds would be similar trying to direct the sound to the seating. I know it sounds like an acoustic fiasco but I’m more curious if I could make a decent sounding 7.2.4 system with everything being concealed. If I could do it differently; I would’ve definitely set a media room up right from the start.
Making backing boxes for the subs will not help. They were not designed for that. All that will do is raise the resonant frequency and deprive you of what little deep bass they could actually generate.

Like I said before, angled ceiling speakers don't work well. The few polar patterns I have seen of angled speakers as well as aimable tweeters showed them to be mostly ineffective at steering the sound. These speakers would have to be mounted at a pretty extreme angle for that to occur. They would also need a serious waveguide.

You can make a decent sounding 7.2.4 system, but it would take a lot of work and a lot of money. It's not going to happen with cheap Monoprice gear. It definitely can't happen with in-ceiling speakers for all of the surrounds.

Can you do in-wall speakers for the bad layer surrounds, i.e., the side surrounds and rear surrounds? That will allow you much better surround sound in an Atmos type system even with cheap speakers. The system would be vastly improved if you got good front-stage in-walls like the Monoprice Monolith in-walls.

Then the problem is bass. You can get OK in-wall subwoofers from companies like JL Audio and RBH Sound, but they are expensive, and the installation is very involved. It is way cheaper and better to just get floor-sitting subs. A decent $500 floor-standing subs could well match the performance of a $2000 in-wall sub. What is more, you can actually move the outboard sub to where it sounds best, which can have a profound impact on the sound quality. An in-wall sub is stuck where it is, and you better hope you lucked into placing it in a good spot.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
I have about 20 feet of room and about 15-18 feet of width. Have it planned for a 120 inch screen. I was planning on getting myself a 2 channel amplifier to connect the subs to and do in wall Monoprice Alpha. I was also planning on building boxes on them to have a better thump. I was mostly concerned with the angled ceiling speakers. I was planning on the Atmos being placed in front and above and the rears would be back a little bit since they only have a 15 degree tilt on the axis. And the side surrounds would be similar trying to direct the sound to the seating. I know it sounds like an acoustic fiasco but I’m more curious if I could make a decent sounding 7.2.4 system with everything being concealed. If I could do it differently; I would’ve definitely set a media room up right from the start.
I would definitely do my room differently too if I didn’t have it my living room.
Like I said, and shady too, there needs to be vertical separation between the bed layer and the height layer. Imo, it won’t matter how the speakers are laid out if they’re all on the same axis. Angles baffles can help in some cases but amiable tweeters, I’ve found to be useless. Not to repeat, but as far as boxing the subs, shady is right there too. All drivers are made to utilize a certain enclosure size. Making a box is just a crap shoot. Quality bass is an investment. If the budget is super tight, I’d look at Dayton sub1200 for subs. They’re 150ea and will be better all the way around than most in wall subs.
I might have missed but didn’t see a budget. If you’re serious about sticking to in wall fronts and in ceiling surrounds, imo it makes the most sense to use the available money and use it on better speakers, not more.
If you had freedom of placement, it would be different. Btw, don’t think we’re picking on you here. Just want to make sure you don’t waste money. Hate to see you build a system, and shortly after be disappointed, and have to do it over. FWIW, I have 7.3.4 in my own LR and I understand the appeal. It is awesome, but it does have to meet certain criteria.
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
I wouldn't use an in-ceiling front-stage under any circumstances. It would be just awful. It wouldn't even be as good as a soundbar.
This is Absolute Bogus information.

I'm sure there are poorly designed In-Ceiling systems, just like there are poorly designed poor placement traditional bookshelf, floor stand systems. But to make a bold statement say that all In-Ceiling systems basically suck is absolutely BULLSHIT.

I do agree that Atmos and n-ceiling surround don't work but I guarantee you can't tell where the sounds coming from with my front three mains

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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
So, I'm going to just ignore the audio completely, as others are already raking you over the coals on this.

Instead, I'm going to rake you over the coals on the projector choice.

It doesn't sound at all like you are distance limited for putting a proper projector on the ceiling, so why in the world are you going with a UST projector?

You lose image sharpness due to the short throw distance, you are using a screen designed for a poor room overall, and you lose contrast with the DLP technology that's currently out there.

A FAR better choice would be to paint the room a darker shade in color, use slightly darker carpet, and paint the ceiling a different color than white. You can keep it a 'rec room' if you want, but then put in a better projector so your 1,000 movies suffer for it. This room sounds ideal for using a Epson 5050 or even stepping up to the JVC RS540 (or better).

The contrast difference will be significant and you won't have all the compromises which UST projectors bring to the table.

Also, 10" to 12" of image diagonal for each foot of viewing distance is the most common. Make sure you don't undersize, or oversize your screen.

But, standard projectors with a white screen should always be the goal. I fully approve of 'exceptions when necessary', but it doesn't sound like you are an exception. You are just making a bad choice in this case. (Tell me if I'm wrong)
 
B

BubbaNapps

Audiophyte
I was trying to avoid running wires on the ground. Maybe I could run it under the
So, I'm going to just ignore the audio completely, as others are already raking you over the coals on this.

Instead, I'm going to rake you over the coals on the projector choice.

It doesn't sound at all like you are distance limited for putting a proper projector on the ceiling, so why in the world are you going with a UST projector?

You lose image sharpness due to the short throw distance, you are using a screen designed for a poor room overall, and you lose contrast with the DLP technology that's currently out there.

A FAR better choice would be to paint the room a darker shade in color, use slightly darker carpet, and paint the ceiling a different color than white. You can keep it a 'rec room' if you want, but then put in a better projector so your 1,000 movies suffer for it. This room sounds ideal for using a Epson 5050 or even stepping up to the JVC RS540 (or better).

The contrast difference will be significant and you won't have all the compromises which UST projectors bring to the table.

Also, 10" to 12" of image diagonal for each foot of viewing distance is the most common. Make sure you don't undersize, or oversize your screen.

But, standard projectors with a white screen should always be the goal. I fully approve of 'exceptions when necessary', but it doesn't sound like you are an exception. You are just making a bad choice in this case. (Tell me if I'm wrong)
I’m planning on the Optoma GT1090HDR. I wanted it because of the lumen output and the grey screen because of any ambient light. It isn’t a separate room for movies and whatnot. It’s basically a second living room in the basement. It isn’t an UST projector. It’ll project a 120 inch picture while only 4 feet from the wall. The main reason I chose that projector is lumen output and the laser light source. But another reason is if I ever want to play any games on it; there isn’t any latency.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
The GT1090 isn't a bad model. It doesn't really do HDR and the added lumens are (of course) a complete lie because of how they use their color wheel. More like 1,000 lumens when calibrated. (Don't believe the hype!)

Still, a respectable entry level model.

For reference. This is the W1070 from BenQ, which is brighter when calibrated, on a 161" diagonal screen with some lights on in the room. Unfinished basement space.

I would consider the 'best' projector overall. But, I'm not going to knock the Optoma.

Be very aware that short throw models are tough to get exact replacements for. I would strongly encourage you to run conduit or a pathway from front to back in the room that allows you to put a HDMI cable anywhere along the way.
 

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