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Marital advice for a 5.1 system

by V.I.G. / January 15, 2009 11:02 AM PST

My wife is placing some aesthetic constraints on MY system in OUR family room... Wink Constraints are as follows:

1. The rear speakers need to be in-ceiling (making a package speaker system cost ineffective)
2. The L/R and center speakers need to be white (white built-in cabinetry)
3. The woofer can't be too big as I may not have enough space to put it in the lower cabinet with the receiver and the other consoles.

It will be a 5.1 system off a Denon 2809CI in our 15X12 family room. I will mainly use it for video and music less so. Therefore, I was really interested in the quality and crispness of the dialouge. In the sound room, I listened to the comparable yamaha, onkyo, and pioneer. Denon seemed so much more crisp to my untrained ear. The sound test was all off klipsch, which I can't select because of #2 above. Also eliminates KRK anf behringer that jostenmeat likes (already searched the forum...). I saw B&W lowest model comes in white - has anybody listened to them?

I realize that the center channel is critical for my goals. I also think (hope) I can go cheap on the rear speakers. We have young kids so the volume level will be low to moderate. Hoping that lets me spend less on the speakers but not sure. Would like to keep the 5.1 beteen 700-1000. Any and all suggestions welcome and thank you in advance.

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must run, or late to dinner
by jostenmeat / January 15, 2009 11:54 AM PST

but, can you:

1. Post pics please?

2. Increase your budget?

If you can't increase budget, I vote you return the 2809 for a cheaper receiver, to allow funds towards speakers.

Invest where electrical energy is converted to mechanical energy.

For in ceiling check out speakercraft. Hm. Maybe too much, but I hear they are a decent value. Anyhoo, definitely spend less here than on the fronts and/or sub.

I do not recommend placing a sub in a cabinet. I also do not recommend placing speakers IN a cabinet. Think about it for a minute.

OTOH, receivers like 2809 will probably have Audyssey dyn vol/eq which might be a godsend to you.

subwoofer, sealed requires more power for the same output, and thus almost always means less bang for buck. However, sealed will always be smaller when considering the same price points and/or driver sizes.

lastly, too expensive for you (hopefully not) bang for buck performance speakers that are available in white.... Usher 520. I think $400/pr

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thx - getting there...
by V.I.G. / January 16, 2009 10:57 AM PST

for bookshelf speakers and center, what budget should i spend - like i said - volume won't be too loud... and yes the denon has the auddysey volume which was a huge selling point for me.

looked up those ushers - might be a good way to go - what do you think of the quality of the dialouge? crisp and full?

I might not have another option on the sub - maybe under our sectional sofa? why is it so bad to have it behind cabinet doors? I get the speakers, but the woof?

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It will generally....
by Pepe7 / January 17, 2009 12:37 AM PST
In reply to: thx - getting there...

...tend to vibrate the heck out of a cabinet, and reduce the quality of the bass you hear. This is why it's not ideal to place a sub inside an enclosed cabinet. Placing it Behind the sectional (near a wall or corner) is more ideal to strike a balance between quality and amount of bass IMO and E.

The experts here will surely chime in (when they return from dinner Wink


p.s. way back I also had to get the wife onboard for her to understand why ceiling speakers weren't ideal for HT. When she was home with our child she got the first crack at watching more movies than I did and quickly figured out how speaker placement can make an impact. It's more important sometimes than room aesthetics/color matching w/ furniture ;).

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by sirroundsound / January 17, 2009 5:56 AM PST
In reply to: thx - getting there...

Rear speakers, should be fine to use in ceiling. Location is important for best results.
Speakercraft, Niles, Sonance, on and on and on.... Just about every mid level speaker company produces in wall and in ceiling speakers. A little less expensive and great value, Proficient.
Fronts, B&W are nice, it was not uncommon to find retail shops that sold Denon often had B&W's too. Canton make good speakers and I have had to use that brand to get white before. You will want to listen to some brands before making a selection.
Sub, in cabinet is only OK if cabinet was built to house specific subwoofers, see James speakers they have 1 I use in cabinets, very expensive.
Good luck in your search.

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by V.I.G. / January 17, 2009 9:14 AM PST
In reply to: Speakers

my wife is easing up on the white criteria - showed her some of the dark wood speakers with the black screens. it will match our floors so she is warming up to it.

on the sub - i can ask the cabinet maker to create louvered doors - but wife is not crazy about that AT ALL... does it make sense to have two small woofers next to the center (which will be directly under the tv)? do they even come that short?

also - listened to the b&w low line - liked the L/R a bunch but felt i needed to upgrade on the center. but struck me that maybe that b&w line is better for music than for movies, which is probably why i preferred the L/R to the center. Am i crazy? Do certain lines prefer certain media - i.e. better for the music and effects and less so the dialouge of movies?

just saw that axoim has speakers in white and walnut - there low line seem pretty reasonable. any thoughts on them?

will try to listen to the ushers tmw - can't seem to find a dealer for canton in my area - there website doesn't have a listing.

will keep you posted and thank you all so much.

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(NT) man, that james woofer is expensive - 2k+
by V.I.G. / January 17, 2009 9:25 AM PST
In reply to: scorrrrrrrre
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by sirroundsound / January 17, 2009 9:43 AM PST

Expensive, but some nice stuff there.
I am installing one of their outdoor speaker systems at a clients cottage next spring.

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you are on to something: center design
by jostenmeat / January 18, 2009 4:39 AM PST
In reply to: scorrrrrrrre

vertically arrayed drivers are best. Period.

You most likely heard the typical horizontal MTM. This is what almost all of us use, but unfortunately it could be arguably the worst speaker design ever made.

Ok, maybe that's unfair: they could design an MTM to be better by lowering xover point between tweeter and mids, and placing the mids much closer together. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

So, how does this lobing effect exactly work, and why does it ruin dialogue? See, the mids are playing the same frequencies, but if you are not 100% on-axis, dead-on-straight to the speaker, these mids are at VARYING distances from you. Therefore, the way the freq's overlap each other, at even just a slight angle off-axis, makes certain freq's nullify each other, or boost each other, too much.

Therefore, the extent of lobing, and exact freq's being screwed up depends on the angle offaxis you are, with the particulars of the speaker itself.

BW does make very fine horiz centers, the WTMWs, but they are expensive.

The ideal is to use three IDENTICAL speakers, vertically arrayed, and even better is to have all three on the same plane.

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by V.I.G. / January 18, 2009 10:34 AM PST

not sure i can get approval for the larger vertical center from the wife. how far away does the couch need to be before you start to hear the distortion from the two mids? also - would it be logical that a center with just 1 tweeter and 1 mid is better? do they even come that way?

currently thinking of using the lowest line B&W L/R
with the one step higher center

is it ill advised to mix lines even in the same company?

still looking to listen to the ushers... thoughts on axiom? m2i with a vp100 or vp150?

back to this subwoofer drama - could i put it under the couch?

thx again

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by jostenmeat / January 18, 2009 2:20 PM PST
In reply to: thx

I think YOU could do a bookshelf upright. The problem with that, for most of us, is the lack or power handling. Center channel has a tremendous amount of info in it, particularly for action blockbusters, etc.

Check out KEF. The coincidental drivers sidestep lobing. Some call em bright, but I wouldn't know.

Mixing lines from a brand is better than different brands. Better is the same line. Best is the exact same speaker (for the TRUE match).

No thoughts on Axiom. I've read a lot about them, but say nothing for now. Its up to you to decide how they perform for you.

Subwoofer is typically xover'd at 80hz. Then realize xovers are not brick walls. I have very limited extension vocally for a "bass", yet I myself can almost hit 80hz singing. (I in fact can, but it sounds pretty bad). I know others who can sing well below 80hz. Just an FYI. It shouldn't be localizable, but just making a point.

Maybe forget the sub? Will save you money, you never crank it.

Maybe a compromise with wife, and one pair of towers. Disable sub in receiver, LFE gets rerouted to mains, but most likely with 1/20 the signal or something like that; to protect receiver's amp and speakers themselves.

Or... you can try some transducers attached to the couch for some shake n bake. Money. Buttkicker, or Earthquake.

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