Speaker Layout and Screen Size Questions

K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
Hello everyone!

While I am waiting for the arrival of my new speaker system, I have been trying to find the best way to place them (on paper) in the space I am planing to use as a home theater and based on that, make a decision on the projector screen size.

You can see below the two orientations I ended up with:

Untitled2.jpg


This is the living room of the house which is about 4x4 meters (or 13x13 feet).

I will either start with a 5.1 Atmos system or, depending on my leftover budget, go for a 5.1.4 Atmos system. In both these layouts I included the on-ceiling speakers anyway (circles marked with the Letter L) to make sure there are no issues.

When it comes to speaker placement, I used the the Dolby guidelines and found that for the ideal layout I will have to seat either 2.75 meters or 9 feet away from the projector screen (Marked as PS in my drawings) on the left layout or 3 meters or 9.8 feet on the right layout.

On the left layout, I can use a fixed screen on the wall which can be either 100" inches or up to 110" but in this case the L/R Speakers will block the lower L/R Sides of the screen.

On the right layout, There is a massive window and a balcony door so I can only use a pull-down screen but on the bright side there is enough space for an 120" screen. There is also a stone wall behind the seat on the right layout which might affect the sound in a good way.

The speaker size will be W23xD35xH55cm for the L/R (same size for the center one placed horizontally) and W23xD30xH35 for the surround speakers. As you can see in my drawings, only the center channel on the left layout is the right size but imagine that the rest of the speakers will take about the same space.

For the projector I will either go with the new triple laser HDR10+ samsung projector if it's reasonably priced with good reviews, the new Optoma P2 or the LG HU810P but I would like to avoid a long throw projector. In any case they will be enough whether I decide to go with an 100" or a 120" screen.

When I watch a movie I want the screen to cover my field of view so, based on your experience, will the 100" screen on the left layout be enough from a 2.75m/9 feet distance or should I push to 110" and place the speakers in front of the screen.

I would really like to hear your opinions on the layouts I drew to help me decide on both the speaker placement and screen size. I would also welcome any corrections or recommendations since I am new to this and all my research so far is purely theoretical, not based on previous experiences.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
You can't use a UST projector with a manual pull down screen. It will be tricky to use it with a really good tab-tensioned motorized screen. As well, to this point, not one UST 4K projector has been worth a bag of d!cks, so I wouldn't expect the Samsung to improve upon the current crap-fest which is UST 4K.

Instead, get a normal throw projector. The JVC laser is a decent option, but there are other ways to go as well.

I personally like the right setup better.
 
K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
Thank you for your reply!

You can't use a UST projector with a manual pull down screen. It will be tricky to use it with a really good tab-tensioned motorized screen.
Very true unfortunately. I should have been more specific about the screen. I was planning on using a motorized tab tensioned screen by comtevision which will cost me around 600€ if I go for the 120" option.

While we are on the topic. Would you recommend a floor pull up tensioned screen or a pull down one? Or is it the same thing?

As well, to this point, not one UST 4K projector has been worth a bag of d!cks, so I wouldn't expect the Samsung to improve upon the current crap-fest which is UST 4K.
I can't really comment based on personal experience but based on reviews and comparisons I hear very good things about the P1 by optoma so I would expect the P2 to be better with the extra contrast.

I can't say anything about the samsung one... On paper it's the ideal projector for me, the triple laser will eliminate the rainbow effect and the HDR10+ (or Dolby vision) is something I have been waiting to see in a projector for a long time. I always follow the golden rule and never pre-order or buy anything based on hype though. If the reviews are good and the price is within budget it should be a good option for me.

Then there is the new dual laser long throw projector by LG which would require HDMI extenders and mounting which I am only willing to use if it's truly good.

I was really excited about the JVC one once it was announced but after I saw a comparison between that one and the epson 6050 I was very disapointed....

Is there something I am missing about the UST projectors? Did you have any bad experiences with them because other than the slightly blurry edges I hear about I didn't hear any other issues with them.

I personally like the right setup better.
Do you like it more because of aesthetics and the bigger screen or because the speaker placement is superior to the left one?

Also what do you think about the size? Will I get the cinema feeling I am looking for from a 100" screen if I am seating at 3 meters?
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I often respond in reverse since the last thing you wrote is the first thing in my mind...
Screen size in a theater is typically about 10" of diagonal for each foot of viewing distance for 'center of theater' feel. Most people find that 10" to 12" of screen diagonal for each FOOT of viewing distance is comfortable. If you go much larger, you can't see everything and it can be annoying. Personal preference is king here. I won't ever tell someone they are 'wrong' about what they like and prefer.

For the second setup, I like the listening position better, I like the screen size better, and I like the speaker layout better. Across the board, I think everything is a bit better. More space to work with I suppose.

All DLP projectors are using the same DLP chip. There is going to be limited contrast and brightness capabilities compared to the better LCD models and certainly the LCoS models. So, the JVC DLP laser will be on par, or better, than most of the other DLP models out there. Same chip. But, Epson wipes the floor with pretty much all of the DLP competition. From there, you get into the JVC LCoS models and the Sony models, which just take it one step further. In room after room after room, JVC is king, with only a few exceptions for some boutique DLP models. Often cinema grade 3-chip DLP units.

Be aware that 3-lasers does not mean there will be no RBE problems. Unless it is a 3-chip DLP, the colors will still have to be displayed sequentially. Just like with LED projectors. They are often faster than 4x or 6x color wheels as some DLP models offer, but if someone is particularly sensitive to rainbows, then RBE may be visible. I'm sensitive, so I have seen RBE on LED models as well as laser projectors for sure. I haven't specifically looked at a 3-laser model yet.

My issue with UST projectors is that they are soft in the corners and they are VERY difficult to setup with a screen. Placement has to be extremely exact. Any problems whatsoever with the screen will translate to a defect in the image on screen. Likewise, it is very difficult to get great image uniformity from the severe projection angle and the optics involved. Going standard throw makes all of this easy. A projector like the Epson 5050 is just so much easier to use. You don't need 'extenders', but just a RUIPRO HDMI cable between your AV receiver and the projector. As it is, the projector should always be mounted so that it isn't on the ground in a walking pathway. It is important to ensure any projector you get can be ceiling mounted and has a decent mount with good adjustments to go along with it.

I actually love the idea of UST projectors, I just don't like the reality of them. Such is life. Once again, if you can make it work and you are happy with the final result, then I'm happy for you, even if I wouldn't do it or recommend it myself. I would get a 5050 or a JVC if my budget allowed for it.

I'm not sure of the construction setup, so I'm not sure how easy it is to run cabling, etc. If open, then put in conduit to a projector location so you can swap cabling in the future. If not open, and cabling will be surface mounted, then you can swap it in the future as necessary.

I've never heard of Comtevision. Looking online I can't see any pricing in the USA or where you get them. I would be concerned about service, warranty, and quality. The cheap tab-tensioned screens I have used in the past (a couple of them) have not been completely flat. Better than non-tensioned screens, but not as good as DaLite or Draper. Which is okay for 1/3 the price. But, it wouldn't work for a UST projector. Be sure that you are covered just in case.

I would always use a ceiling motorized tab-tensioned screen if I can't use a fixed frame model. That is, in fact, what I am using.
 
K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
First of all, Thank you for taking the time for such a detailed reply!

I often respond in reverse since the last thing you wrote is the first thing in my mind...
Screen size in a theater is typically about 10" of diagonal for each foot of viewing distance for 'center of theater' feel. Most people find that 10" to 12" of screen diagonal for each FOOT of viewing distance is comfortable. If you go much larger, you can't see everything and it can be annoying. Personal preference is king here. I won't ever tell someone they are 'wrong' about what they like and prefer.
This is a good rule of thumb! I made a mistake in my previous post, I meant 3 meters, not 3 feet. So If I seat around 9 (left layout) - 10 (right Layout) feet and go with the 12" per foot since I like big screens, an 106" and a 120" will be perfect for either the left and right layout respectively.

This is good news because now I can take one variable out of the equation which will make things a lot easier!

Regarding the screen size, I have already asked this before but I would like your opinion on this matter too, using this rule of thumb, will I get the same cinema experience whether I use a 106" screen while seating 9 feet away and an 120" screen while seating 10 feet away or is a bigger screen always better?

For the second setup, I like the listening position better, I like the screen size better, and I like the speaker layout better. Across the board, I think everything is a bit better. More space to work with I suppose.
To tell you the truth I like the second layout better myself because, apart from everything else, it feels more "natural" in my space if you know what I mean. The big disadvantage though is the fact that I will need a pull down screen ( I am more of a plug and play type of guy) and I don't like that I will have to use a long cable, which I will have to route around the door, for one of my main speakers.

I guess it will all come down on the acoustics, since I don't have to worry about the screen, so I will make sure to use both layouts before I decide.

All DLP projectors are using the same DLP chip. There is going to be limited contrast and brightness capabilities compared to the better LCD models and certainly the LCoS models. So, the JVC DLP laser will be on par, or better, than most of the other DLP models out there. Same chip. But, Epson wipes the floor with pretty much all of the DLP competition. From there, you get into the JVC LCoS models and the Sony models, which just take it one step further. In room after room after room, JVC is king, with only a few exceptions for some boutique DLP models. Often cinema grade 3-chip DLP units.
If the Epson was using laser and was native 4K I would have already bought it! Such a great projector but even if I sacrifice the extra pixels for the superior contrast (Which I would be willing to do for this projector), the lamp is a no deal for me.

The LCoS JVC and sony projectors are out of my league unfortunately especially the laser ones since I would have to sell a kidney (quite literally) to buy them :D

My budget is 4 Grands maximum so I have limited options when it comes to laser projectors...

Be aware that 3-lasers does not mean there will be no RBE problems. Unless it is a 3-chip DLP, the colors will still have to be displayed sequentially. Just like with LED projectors. They are often faster than 4x or 6x color wheels as some DLP models offer, but if someone is particularly sensitive to rainbows, then RBE may be visible. I'm sensitive, so I have seen RBE on LED models as well as laser projectors for sure. I haven't specifically looked at a 3-laser model yet.
Actually, I wasn't aware of that! I thought triple anything would be an instant fix for the rainbow effect. I will make sure to check the chip count if I go with a dual or triple laser/led projector.

My issue with UST projectors is that they are soft in the corners and they are VERY difficult to setup with a screen. Placement has to be extremely exact. Any problems whatsoever with the screen will translate to a defect in the image on screen. Likewise, it is very difficult to get great image uniformity from the severe projection angle and the optics involved. Going standard throw makes all of this easy. A projector like the Epson 5050 is just so much easier to use. You don't need 'extenders', but just a RUIPRO HDMI cable between your AV receiver and the projector. As it is, the projector should always be mounted so that it isn't on the ground in a walking pathway. It is important to ensure any projector you get can be ceiling mounted and has a decent mount with good adjustments to go along with it.
As long as I only have to set it up once I don't really mind the difficulty but to tell you the truth, since I haven't seen any UST projectors in person I am worried about the image uniformity, especially when I hear that even tensioned screens can introduce crinkles on their surface over time.

Like I said above I would buy a laser version of the 6050 in a heartbeat but I hate the concept of projectors with bulbs and I didn't like the JVC so my options within my budget are limited. This is why I am stuck between UST projectors since they use a laser and from what I heard the optoma one will be serviceable once it's laser life is over which is another thing I am looking for in a projector.

I'm not sure of the construction setup, so I'm not sure how easy it is to run cabling, etc. If open, then put in conduit to a projector location so you can swap cabling in the future. If not open, and cabling will be surface mounted, then you can swap it in the future as necessary.
It's a wooden house so the cabling will be surface mounted and they will be swapable anytime.

I've never heard of Comtevision. Looking online I can't see any pricing in the USA or where you get them. I would be concerned about service, warranty, and quality. The cheap tab-tensioned screens I have used in the past (a couple of them) have not been completely flat. Better than non-tensioned screens, but not as good as DaLite or Draper. Which is okay for 1/3 the price. But, it wouldn't work for a UST projector. Be sure that you are covered just in case.

I would always use a ceiling motorized tab-tensioned screen if I can't use a fixed frame model. That is, in fact, what I am using.
I believe you can only find this brand in Europe. They are actually quite popular in my country when it comes to reasonably priced quality screens. I will make sure to buy both the projector and the screen from the same shop and confirm that it will work with the UST projector beforehand so if it doesn't for some reason I can return it.

That's only If I go with an UST projector though. I am glad I got to hear your opinion on the UST's! I will make sure to give the LT projectors a chance if their specs and quality are what I am looking for.
 

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