Surround Speaker Recommendation

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fryboy

Audiophyte
Hi all,

I am looking for some advice and suggestions on which surround (for 5.1) would be a good option for my terrible living room. Budget would be up to $800, if necessary. I have attached a picture to show the layout and you will be able to see the general issues that make this area impossible for a good immersive experience. This is also temporary for the next year or two. I have 2x Revel M126Be bookshelves on stands up front, will be adding the Revel C205 for a center and I have a Martin Logan 880x and the Marantz SR7015 (future-proofing). I am looking for small but capable surround speakers for movies and TV Shows that could be integrated. Revel has their S16, but those will be too big and too much with just bookshelves up front. I thought the Paradigm 100Bs or Martin Logan 15is might be options (either could be used later for 2-channel casual listening in another room. As you can see in the layout picture, the right surround will be partially in the walkway if positioned properly.

I will accept, "this is not worth it and just enjoy 2.1 or 3.1." Thank you in advance.
 

Attachments

j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
I'd probably stick with the same family. It isn't 100% necessary with surrounds, but a more similar sonic signature is a benefit to my ears. Since you can use the same speakers possibly to do it, I might actually recommend you leave out the rears, given the odd room, and do front height speakers for Atmos. It adds a surprising amount to the sound.

I think to do surround, you'd have to do the two rears on the ceiling, unless the kitchen has a cabinet above that you could attach to.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
A good solution for rear channel speakers are NHT SuperZeros, or the slightly larger NHT SuperOnes. Their overall sound balance is neutral. I think that would allow them to 'play nicely' with your Revel front speakers.

They're small & lightweight, allowing you to hang them on walls or from ceilings. They have sealed cabinets, no ports. They don't do deep bass, but that's not needed for surround speakers.

And they cost much less than a pair of S16s.

I've had a pair of SuperZeros for years, and they do the job for movies & TV. Once I hung them on the wall behind my sofa and dialed them in, I always kept them. I've replaced my front speakers with much better speakers, but I'm satisfied with those small SuperZeros as surround speakers.

NHT SuperZero
9" tall × 5" wide × 5.5" deep, 5.8 lbs.

NHT SuperOne
11.6" tall × 7.25" wide × 8.5" deep, 9.1 lbs.

Revel S16
14.75" × 13.3" × 5.5", 14 lbs.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Hi all,

I am looking for some advice and suggestions on which surround (for 5.1) would be a good option for my terrible living room. Budget would be up to $800, if necessary. I have attached a picture to show the layout and you will be able to see the general issues that make this area impossible for a good immersive experience. This is also temporary for the next year or two. I have 2x Revel M126Be bookshelves on stands up front, will be adding the Revel C205 for a center and I have a Martin Logan 880x and the Marantz SR7015 (future-proofing). I am looking for small but capable surround speakers for movies and TV Shows that could be integrated. Revel has their S16, but those will be too big and too much with just bookshelves up front. I thought the Paradigm 100Bs or Martin Logan 15is might be options (either could be used later for 2-channel casual listening in another room. As you can see in the layout picture, the right surround will be partially in the walkway if positioned properly.

I will accept, "this is not worth it and just enjoy 2.1 or 3.1." Thank you in advance.
My best advice is to leave it as a 3.1 system. if you must have 5.1, I would do ceiling surrounds and forget Atmos. I have to reinforce that the front stage is 90% plus of the loaf. If the room is not really suitable for surround sound and a lot are not, you are just as, if not more likely to get a downgrade forcing it on an unsuitable room

If you enjoy what you have got, then leave well alone and save the money.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Ascend Acoustics CBM-170s are also inexpensive, very neutral and on the small side. Additionally, they have the HTM200 SE surround, which I've never heard. They should be similar to 170SEs which I really liked, just with less bass.

Atmos with two front heights and no surrounds will still work. It expands the front stage for movies very noticeably.
 
}Fear_Inoculum{

}Fear_Inoculum{

Senior Audioholic
KEF Q150 are a very budget friendly option as well TS. And they punch way way above their price point. Plus they're not too big or heavy.
 
W

Wardog555

Junior Audioholic
My best advice is to leave it as a 3.1 system. if you must have 5.1, I would do ceiling surrounds and forget Atmos. I have to reinforce that the front stage is 90% plus of the loaf. If the room is not really suitable for surround sound and a lot are not, you are just as, if not more likely to get a downgrade forcing it on an unsuitable room

If you enjoy what you have got, then leave well alone and save the money.
The suggestion to use in ceiling surrounds is incorrect and misinformation. It is absolutely necessary to have them at ear level as it's how the audio is designed. The only use case for ceiling speakers is for Dolby atmos and dts x
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
The suggestion to use in ceiling surrounds is incorrect and misinformation. It is absolutely necessary to have them at ear level as it's how the audio is designed. The only use case for ceiling speakers is for Dolby atmos and dts x
I know where to place surrounds. However there is no aesthetic or acoustic solution to placing surrounds in that room. So the correct solution that I gave is NO surrounds. However people have used in ceiling surrounds, which is not ideal. If you use in ceiling surrounds, then you can do do Atmos, but that room is not suitable for Atmos either.

The solution for that room and many is 2.1 or 3.1. There are far too many spaces with surround systems that would be better off with only fronts, and that room is one of them.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Samurai
A good solution for rear channel speakers are NHT SuperZeros, or the slightly larger NHT SuperOnes. Their overall sound balance is neutral. I think that would allow them to 'play nicely' with your Revel front speakers.

They're small & lightweight, allowing you to hang them on walls or from ceilings. They have sealed cabinets, no ports. They don't do deep bass, but that's not needed for surround speakers.

And they cost much less than a pair of S16s.

I've had a pair of SuperZeros for years, and they do the job for movies & TV. Once I hung them on the wall behind my sofa and dialed them in, I always kept them. I've replaced my front speakers with much better speakers, but I'm satisfied with those small SuperZeros as surround speakers.

NHT SuperZero
9" tall × 5" wide × 5.5" deep, 5.8 lbs.

NHT SuperOne
11.6" tall × 7.25" wide × 8.5" deep, 9.1 lbs.

Revel S16
14.75" × 13.3" × 5.5", 14 lbs.
This is exactly what I'd recommend as well. Get some NHT super zeros, mount them on the ceiling, at equal distances from the MLP, angled down towards the couch. They are quite neutral and play well with most other speakers. I'd cross the zeros at 90 to 100 hz. This keeps them out of the walkways and depending on your ceiling height shouldn't be an issue for most people.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
The suggestion to use in ceiling surrounds is incorrect and misinformation. It is absolutely necessary to have them at ear level as it's how the audio is designed. The only use case for ceiling speakers is for Dolby atmos and dts x
Ear level is not exactly true. Most of the early surround recommendations from dolby/thx had them above the listening position. Now with Atmos, you want the surrounds lower and the height channels above obviously. Saying anything is the "only" use case does not take into account the vast number of setup possibilities and difficult rooms.

In celling surrounds can work. A friend had a large open room and the only option was in ceiling and when calibrated properly, it did sound decent. Not ideal though. In the OPs situation it sounds like though, I don't think installing IN the ceiling is an option though. If he went with surrounds at all, they'd likely be mounted.
 
SithZedi

SithZedi

Audioholic General
For your rear wall, try something wall mounted with good sound dispersal.
I had Mirage Nanosats for rear surround in a 5.1 system for years and worked very well. Mounted upside down, 6 feet high in back of the seats of listening area. Now I use them for Front Presence and they work just as well.

You can still get them on Ebay at a good price. If they don't work, resell them. Below is what they look like.

 
F

fryboy

Audiophyte
Thank you all for your input and discussion. I knew true surrounds would be difficult to impossible but needed some confirmation from this community. It does seem like there might diminishing returns to adding additional channels.

I never thought about just adding two height channels and just the front 3. How does that work from the AVR side without surrounds? Would you configure them as back height channels?
 
F

fryboy

Audiophyte
For your rear wall, try something wall mounted with good sound dispersal.
I had Mirage Nanosats for rear surround in a 5.1 system for years and worked very well. Mounted upside down, 6 feet high in back of the seats of listening area. Now I use them for Front Presence and they work just as well.

You can still get them on Ebay at a good price. If they don't work, resell them. Below is what they look like.

The issue with that is the rear wall only is behind 1/3 of the couch so the right surround would still need to be on a stand or hang 5' down from the ceiling (not the most ideal). It is a terrible room, I am glad I am just renting it.
 
SithZedi

SithZedi

Audioholic General
This is the
The issue with that is the rear wall only is behind 1/3 of the couch so the right surround would still need to be on a stand or hang 5' down from the ceiling (not the most ideal). It is a terrible room, I am glad I am just renting it.
This is the construction guy in me speaking. Have you ever considered putting up a fake floor to ceiling square shaped post in that open space on the right of the sofa. You could paint it and then hang the speaker on it?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I never thought about just adding two height channels and just the front 3. How does that work from the AVR side without surrounds? Would you configure them as back height channels?
Using the FHL/FHR designated connections ?
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Samurai
The issue with that is the rear wall only is behind 1/3 of the couch so the right surround would still need to be on a stand or hang 5' down from the ceiling (not the most ideal). It is a terrible room, I am glad I am just renting it.
No need to hang them down 5 feet, just angle them.



 
W

Wardog555

Junior Audioholic
No need to hang them down 5 feet, just angle them.



That's way too high for surround channels other than atmos.
I need to clarify one of my previous posts which I said needs to be at ear level.
I should of said around ear level instead but you can have it a little bit higher.
My surrounds are very close to ear level.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
It is absolutely necessary to have them at ear level as it's how the audio is designed. The only use case for ceiling speakers is for Dolby atmos and dts x
You must be new to all this…..
 
W

Wardog555

Junior Audioholic
If I was new I wouldn't know where to place the speakers for surround sound.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Samurai
Placing them high and angling them down is perfectly acceptable for surround use. Sure, it's not the "ideal" location, but it works and quite well in my case.

It would obviously not work if you also wanted to run atmos.

Do movie theaters have their surround speakers at ear level?
 

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