Thoughts on this $4000 budget 5.1.4 speaker selection?

J

jeffcarp

Enthusiast
I am putting home theater equipment in a family room, not in a dedicated room. Room is 20' deep x 23' wide but the 20' is artificial because the rear of the room is open to the kitchen. Ceilings are planned to be 12' high. It may drop to 9' at the kitchen. We're unsure (in design phase).

Here is my current speaker selection for 5.1.4. It's ~$4000 budget for the speakers. I plan to drive it with a Denon AVR-3700H or 4700H.

Fronts/center:
Monoprice Monolith THX-365T and THX-365C

Sub:
Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

Atmos:
RSL C34E

Surrounds:
Definitive Technology DI 5.5BPS (bipolar)

I realize that I have a non-ideal room. Here are my constraints and concerns:

The fronts are limited to about 7.5 foot on center so I need something with a good dispersion pattern to compensate. That concern definitely drove my selection of this center speaker also. Primary viewers will typically be 2 people sitting near on-center but I don't want it to be hideous sounding with guests.

The surrounds must be in-wall and discrete. I have no flexibility on this. I'm thinking that the bipolar surrounds will help with the non-ideal placement. Am I right or wrong?

What do you all think? Am I making any bad decisions? Should I consider any other brands? I'd love to get the budget down to $3000 but don't want to make bad compromises. My choice of surround speakers seems very expensive for example but I don't want to get it wrong.

20200624_074400.jpg
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
You obviously did your homework for speaker selection, as those are all solid choices. I am not so sure that bipolar speakers are the right choice in your situation, but the surround are looking to be so compromised in placement that I don't think there can be a great choice. I might suggest just stepping down to a 5.1 system and using in-ceiling speakers as the surrounds. That will sound fine, and it will save money, effort, and make everything simpler. It will also go easier on your amplifier, otherwise you are spreading your amp's power supply over 9 channels of sound.
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
I am putting home theater equipment in a family room, not in a dedicated room. Room is 20' deep x 23' wide but the 20' is artificial because the rear of the room is open to the kitchen. Ceilings are planned to be 12' high. It may drop to 9' at the kitchen. We're unsure (in design phase).

Here is my current speaker selection for 5.1.4. It's ~$4000 budget for the speakers. I plan to drive it with a Denon AVR-3700H or 4700H.

Fronts/center:
Monoprice Monolith THX-365T and THX-365C

Sub:
Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

Atmos:
RSL C34E

Surrounds:
Definitive Technology DI 5.5BPS (bipolar)

I realize that I have a non-ideal room. Here are my constraints and concerns:

The fronts are limited to about 7.5 foot on center so I need something with a good dispersion pattern to compensate. That concern definitely drove my selection of this center speaker also. Primary viewers will typically be 2 people sitting near on-center but I don't want it to be hideous sounding with guests.

The surrounds must be in-wall and discrete. I have no flexibility on this. I'm thinking that the bipolar surrounds will help with the non-ideal placement. Am I right or wrong?

What do you all think? Am I making any bad decisions? Should I consider any other brands? I'd love to get the budget down to $3000 but don't want to make bad compromises. My choice of surround speakers seems very expensive for example but I don't want to get it wrong.

View attachment 37494
Congrats on the new home!

AVR...I would save a few bucks and get the lower priced AVR.

Rears...it won't be ideal, but inwall surrounds are better than inceiling...I'll go a step further here and note...do not put your surrounds in the ceiling....they will interfere with the atmos speakers. Some less expensive

LCR...I haven't heard the Monolith stuff yet, but the reviews have been solid.

Sub...by all accounts this is a kick butt sub...the only concern I would have in a space such as yours...unless you have free rein on placement (you likely won't) it's almost a certainty that some seating won't experience the 15 THX Ultra at it's best...the room will likely have some dead spots. I would take the savings from the AVR, and Rear speakers and put it towards a 2nd sub.

$1400 (+ shipping) for the THX or $1750 (shipped) for two HSU VTF3 subs...go for the two subs.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
Here is my current speaker selection for 5.1.4. It's ~$4000 budget for the speakers. I plan to drive it with a Denon AVR-3700H or 4700H.

Fronts/center:
Monoprice Monolith THX-365T and THX-365C
Nice drawing. If this was my space this is what I would do:
1. Go with the Monoprice Monolith THX-460T towers instead of the THX-365T for left and right. Or another favorite pair of towers for stereo. I have the THX-365C and it's a really powerful center but not much bass. I don't think I would be satisfied with the THX-365T for this size room as left and right?

2. I would go with two HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP Subs at $1730 delivered instead of the $1447 Monolith sub with tax. The HSU subs are 30 lbs lighter and have a beautiful finish. This dual sub setup would provide powerful sub options.

3. If I wanted to save money, I would go with the Denon 4500 refurb from accessories for less for $999 shipped. https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/denavrx4500h/denon-avr-x4500h-9.2-ch-x-125-watts-a/v-receiver-w/heos/1.html - Denon refurb's each unit. Mine looks like brand new and it works great. The 3 year warranty offered is just as good as new. Best value in my system.

I have not used the Atmos or surround speakers you quote so I'm not able to offer input on them but they sound interesting. Have fun!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Jeff, are the red arrows to indicate the in wall surround placement? If so, and you can actually install them, then I’d say go ahead with Atmos. 5.1.4. I would choose monopoles. Especially since they’ll be at some distance, and the spec from Dolby recommends monopoles. Bipoles can work if the viewers will be very close to the speaker but imo you’ll be fine. Also, I just dislike bipoles ...
If can swing two subs. I would also recommend that as well. That’s a good amount of airspace and a pair of the aforementioned HSU’s, or monoliths would be great.
Also, what is the ceiling height?
 
Last edited:
J

jeffcarp

Enthusiast
Jeff, are the red arrows to indicate the in wall surround placement? If so, and you can actually install them, then I’d say go ahead with Atmos. 5.1.4. I would choose monopoles. Especially since they’ll be at some distance, and the spec from Dolby recommends monopoles. Bipoles can work if the viewers will be very close to the speaker but imo you’ll be fine. Also, I just dislike bipoles ...
If can swing two subs. I would also recommend that as well. That’s a good amount of airspace and a pair of the aforementioned HSU’s, or monoliths would be great.
Also, what is the ceiling height?
Yes, the red arrows are surround locations. I can get them near ear level at those locations. Should they be a bit above ear level at that distance away?

I appreciate the advice on using monopoles vs bipoles. I don't have any experience with those so I'll focus on monopoles.

Given the placement, do you think they have to be aimable? Any recommendations on the surround speakers?
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Solid choices. Should be a great sounding system. Agree with Shady about going 5.1 and bipoles tho.

It's nice to see some folks still do homework before making the purchase!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Yes, the red arrows are surround locations. I can get them near ear level at those locations. Should they be a bit above ear level at that distance away?

I appreciate the advice on using monopoles vs bipoles. I don't have any experience with those so I'll focus on monopoles.

Given the placement, do you think they have to be aimable? Any recommendations on the surround speakers?
Personally I’ve found no benefit to aimable tweeters. In fact, my belief is that when you point the tweeter in any direction that is not straight, it can create diffraction issues from sounds interacting with the baffle.(think of how your voice changes when you put your hand next to your mouth and then speak).
I think close to ear level would be great. Since they’ll be behind the couch by about 4’ you said, all listeners should have a good line of sight(to the ears) to the speaker. In situations where the surrounds are to the sides, higher placement can help with getting over listeners heads.
Iirc you are using rsl c34e’s for Atmos. Good choice. For surrounds, ilI usually prefer to match the line of the mains by manufacturer if you can. However, when I replaced my On wall surrounds and went IW, I used these JBLs(my other speakers are JBL too but these were a great choice to fit in my column as many were too wide).

They have dual 5-1/4” woofers and are only 7-1/2” finished.
 
J

jeffcarp

Enthusiast
Personally I’ve found no benefit to aimable tweeters. In fact, my belief is that when you point the tweeter in any direction that is not straight, it can create diffraction issues from sounds interacting with the baffle.(think of how your voice changes when you put your hand next to your mouth and then speak).
I think close to ear level would be great. Since they’ll be behind the couch by about 4’ you said, all listeners should have a good line of sight(to the ears) to the speaker. In situations where the surrounds are to the sides, higher placement can help with getting over listeners heads.
Iirc you are using rsl c34e’s for Atmos. Good choice. For surrounds, ilI usually prefer to match the line of the mains by manufacturer if you can. However, when I replaced my On wall surrounds and went IW, I used these JBLs(my other speakers are JBL too but these were a great choice to fit in my column as many were too wide).

They have dual 5-1/4” woofers and are only 7-1/2” finished.
Good advice. Thanks! In terms of the surrounds matching the mains, they do make a Monoprice Monolith THX-365T In-Wall. Is that overkill? Would dropping down to the Monoprice Amber series in-wall be enough? https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24433
 
J

jeffcarp

Enthusiast
Solid choices. Should be a great sounding system. Agree with Shady about going 5.1 and bipoles tho.

It's nice to see some folks still do homework before making the purchase!
When you say you agree with him on the bipoles, I assume you're saying don't do the bipoles?
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Good advice. Thanks! In terms of the surrounds matching the mains, they do make a Monoprice Monolith THX-365T In-Wall. Is that overkill? Would dropping down to the Monoprice Amber series in-wall be enough? https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24433
Well it probably depends. If you’re looking for super high level playback, the amber might be tricky. It IS 8ohm but has 86db sensitivity so driving them could take some extra power. I’ve never used them, but have looked at them before, and reports are pretty good for them so... Not sure how good monoprices CS is these days but it’s definitely worth a call to them if that’s where you’re leaning. The thx365 looks like a nice speaker. Overkill? Maybe. You know where you are right? Lol!!!
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic
So, I don't get any credit for suggesting the surround placement?:rolleyes: No worries. Getting a look at WL's arm is reward enough.;) I think monopoles at that location are fine and aiming them toward the listener would actually create localization. Isn't that why bipoles were recommended at the sides by THX once upon a time, to create a null? The monopoles are far back enough and will be fine. Their location will help fill the kitchen and dining areas with background music during gatherings and such. Denon's all channel stereo mode is very good. No, they are not all equal. Onkyo's sucks. Anyway, I think your proposed system is coming along nicely and you will be very impressed with it.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
When you say you agree with him on the bipoles, I assume you're saying don't do the bipoles?
Yeah, I think regular speakers (traditional or in wall) work best in most cases for surround duty.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
So, I don't get any credit for suggesting the surround placement?:rolleyes: No worries. Getting a look at WL's arm is reward enough.;) I think monopoles at that location are fine and aiming them toward the listener would actually create localization. Isn't that why bipoles were recommended at the sides by THX once upon a time, to create a null? The monopoles are far back enough and will be fine. Their location will help fill the kitchen and dining areas with background music during gatherings and such. Denon's all channel stereo mode is very good. No, they are not all equal. Onkyo's sucks. Anyway, I think your proposed system is coming along nicely and you will be very impressed with it.
Well, if you like my ARM....lol
I will definitely give you credit for surround placement. I wasn’t sure where it came from but I was hoping those locations could be possible.
Iirc bipoles became a thing back when rear sound field was only ambiance, extracted from the front channels. They made sense because they were effective at creating a large sound field. As soundtracks became more discrete accurate placement of sounds and imaging became more important, and now more than ever. I’ve never liked
bi/dipole so there’s that but.
I agree. In Jeff’s case they should be far enough to the sides.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Good advice. Thanks! In terms of the surrounds matching the mains, they do make a Monoprice Monolith THX-365T In-Wall. Is that overkill? Would dropping down to the Monoprice Amber series in-wall be enough? https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24433
I'd go with the monoprice in wall THX-365T that line of speakers has been reviewed here and it measured very well I can't imagine there in walls of this line would be a step down

They are a good price for what they can offer as well

Id also go with multiple subs except for the towers the rest of the lineup does not have a lot of bass

So in that room with it being exposed to the other open areas dual subs would be a better way to go as you'll need good crossover to 80hz at least with those speakers

As someone mentioned the dual HSU only 300 more then the one monoprice would be a great option
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic
When surround speakers come up, I always think of the THX speaker placement video from the THX WOW laserdisc from, when was it, 1990 or so. Things have progressed for sure. I mentioned it in another thread somewhere, but I hope to someday build an Atmos-Sphere. Oh, I also think two or more subs are necessary for that room. It is going to be nice. Get the biggest TV you can fit in the space.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
Denon's all channel stereo mode is very good. No, they are not all equal.
I agree! I use Denon multichannel Stereo for most of my music playback. With 10 speakers going it's an amazing wall of sound.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
Iirc bipoles became a thing back when rear sound field was only ambiance, extracted from the front channels. They made sense because they were effective at creating a large sound field. As soundtracks became more discrete accurate placement of sounds and imaging became more important, and now more than ever. I’ve never liked
bi/dipole so there’s that but.
I use a pair of VMPS Bookshelf DiPoles as my rear surrounds. They are amazingly efficient and sound warm, full and open. They fill the rear of the room nicely. Either option will work. It's really a personal preference. If you prefer speakers that sound open rather than targeted DiPoles are a wonderful choice. If you just want them for surround sound and not multichannel stereo maybe the directional speaker is a better fit.
 

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