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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:46 PM   #1
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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Default Good Design for Home Theater + Stereo Listening?

I have been looking around for a design that can be used for all channels of a small home theater setup. Whatever I have done to search has been quite ineffective in finding a reasonable solution thus far. Here is my scenario:

I have the capability to build the cabinets and build the crossovers (and would like to do so / enjoy doing so).

I would like to build a set of speakers based on an existing design to use in a 5.1 system (possibly 7.1 if I move to a bigger room eventually). The system would be used for about 70% video / surround, and 30% stereo listening. I place a high value on accurate reproduction. I am under the impression that it would be good to find one design that can be used for all 5 channels, but am open to options and suggestions.

My room is a bizarre shape. It is about 11’ wide, 13’ deep, with a vaulted ceiling. The “TV” is at the short end of the ceiling which is about 8’ tall, and the viewing position is at the high end of the ceiling which is about 15’ tall. The three front speakers can be placed at ear level in a vertical position. I have not yet worked on room treatments, because I would prefer to do empirical tests with the speakers after they are complete.

Any suggestions? What further information could I provide to help?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 28th September 2008, 03:41 AM   #2
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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Also, I should have enough room to locate the front speakers far enough from the side and back walls. I'm not as sure about the rear speakers.
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Old 28th September 2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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Some questions:

1: budget for each of the enclosures, drivers and xover parts?
2: size, shape or any other enclosure issues?
3: Subs - will you be using any? If so details please.
4: If you want a centre, can it be placed at basically the same height as the others or do you have the monitor/TV in the way?
5: Are you looking to develop something yourself, or are you happy to make someone else's design?

If 4: is compromised, go with 4 channels and a 'phantom' centre. I wouldn't bother with rears with a room that small.
Re 5:, the latter is much easier than the former.
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Old 28th September 2008, 09:00 PM   #4
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Brett hit it on the head. We can't say anything until we know your budget. $500 is a very different system than $5,000.

Also, what is included in this price? Just speakers, or speakers, amp, wire, interconnects, TV, DVD, etc..., etc....

As Brett also implies, do you have any space limitation? It would be bad to build 4 foot towers and discover you've only got 3 feet of space to put them in.

At 11' x 13' foot, you have a relatively small space, so I would say some fair bookshelfs in the front would be best. Perhaps, three identical MTM speakers would work out nicely in front. Then for rears a pair of MT bookshelfs using the same speakers.

That would actually be a pretty sweet system, and again, it encompasses quite a range of speaker prices, and represents many poplular speaker designs.

You problably know, but the letter configuration such as MTM describe the speakers and their set up. MTM means Midbas, Tweeter, Midbass. Similar to this -

http://www.zaphaudio.com/BAMTM.html

WWMT means Woofer, Woofer, Midrange, Tweeter similar to this -

http://www.zaphaudio.com/ZDT3.5.html

Hear are a range of speaker kits from Parts Express to give you some ideas -

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....TOKEN=86191157

As for a Sub, I think Sub are overrated. They certainly do what they do well, and are great for videos, but they are also expensive, and if necessary can wait until later. A low end Sub is about $200, with $300 to $500 being more common, and they can get much more expensive than that.

So, again, your budget and what the budget includes is the starting point.

Steve/bluewizard
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Old 29th September 2008, 03:45 PM   #5
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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Brett (with some response for BlueWizard) -

1: Budget - I am willing to spend up to $3000 on all of the speaker components and the subwoofer amp(s)... but don't need to spend that much if good quality can be found at a lower cost. I currently only have $1500 available to spend, so if it seems necessary, I am willing to build in stages. This budget does not include any other system components.

2: Space Limitations - None (well, they cannot be taller than 4' if the front three are the same). I am willing to use any shape and size speaker in the room. However, I understand, in general, the benefit of larger speakers is not as large in a smaller room. I would like to consider that when making decisions.

3: Subs - I currently do not have any. Having seen the lack of consistency of the use of "5.1" or "7.1" etc on forum posts, I understand your asking. The implication was that I would use one sub. I am open to using more than one, or none at all, but my current expectation is that I will use one sub and would choose / work on the design according to the other speakers that are chosen.

4: Center - Again, the implication of "5.1" was that I do want a center channel. As stated in the original post, "The three front speakers can be placed at ear level in a vertical position". I suppose to be more accurate, I would prefer to have matching left - center - right speakers, and there is enough room to place them at the same level.

5: Existing Design and Build - I suppose I meant to make this more clear in the original post. I prefer to use an existing design in this case. I would, however, also like to make my own enclosures and likely source my own cross-over components.

Hopefully this helps,
Thanks - Chris
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Old 29th September 2008, 03:45 PM   #6
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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I am willing to skip the sub entirely if the speakers can do the job. I don’t expect my music listening to require much bass extension, but I imagine it would be enjoyable for movies. If I do go with a sub, I would want to have it match up well with the speakers and have minimal phase shift (I may even consider an infinite baffle configuration).

Does it make sense to consider the "all 5 speakers are the same" notion, or is that benefit noticeable? Brett's suggestion of no rear speakers at all seems to indicate that even if I chose to do them, they would have a minimal effect. I suppose the rear crossovers would have to be designed differently since they would be placed closer to walls and reflection points.

-Chris
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Old 29th September 2008, 07:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by cray54
Does it make sense to consider the "all 5 speakers are the same" notion, or is that benefit noticeable? Brett's suggestion of no rear speakers at all seems to indicate that even if I chose to do them, they would have a minimal effect. I suppose the rear crossovers would have to be designed differently since they would be placed closer to walls and reflection points.

-Chris
More extensive reponse after work tonight, but generally you want all the speakers to have a similar tonality IME. Doesn't mean they need to be identical, but it may work out to be easier to do it that way.

By no rears, I meant speakers 6 and 7. Sides would be of benefit still for movies, but I would dedicate the budget to front L,C and R and sides and a couple of decent subs.

The best speakers I have heard in modest size rooms are the Ariels. Three of these plus some ME2 for sides and some subs would make an excellent system. Anyway, it's a good read.
http://www.nutshellhifi.com/Ariel.html

As for subs, here are some ideas...
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/subwoofer-tests/
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Old 29th September 2008, 08:10 PM   #8
GM is offline GM  United States
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Hmm, all things considered, I believe at this point your interests are best served reading this book, then begin your search and/or get back to us and/or a dedicated HT forum with specific Qs: http://www.gedlee.com/Home_theatre.htm

GM
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Old 30th September 2008, 02:58 PM   #9
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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GM,

I read as much as I could online last night. I noticed you're not far from me, do you happen to have the book in print, and would you be willing to loan it to me?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 30th September 2008, 03:13 PM   #10
cray54 is offline cray54  United States
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Brett,

Now I'm picking up what you're putting down... and I think we were on the same page from the beginning. I have a lot left to read on the Ariel / ME2 site (there is a wealth of information, but it seems difficult to navigate).

My first question about this suggestion is about the ME2 for a side surround. I cannot find the source, but I read the MTM configuration tends to perform poorly as a side surroud speaker since its off-axis response in the vertical plane is quite poor compared to the horizontal plane.

-Chris
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