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Old 1st December 2008, 12:50 PM   #1
pelanj is offline pelanj  Czech Republic
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Default DIY virtual surround / 5.1 speakers front placement

I am thinking about getting a home theater - but rear speakers would be quite a big difficulty. Is there any way to place all speakers at the front wall (pointed to sides, ceiling), so that I preserve the right space? Or should I go for 2.1 home cinema with processor. And how are the soundbars working? The TV is placed along the longer wall and there is a 160 cm door always open on the right side, window on the other.

Thanks for any ideas!
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Old 1st December 2008, 03:32 PM   #2
GM is offline GM  United States
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FWIW, I have an older Toshiba 65HX81 RPTV and set up for 2.1 its DSP surround sounds better to me overall than any 5.1 I've piddled with or auditioned. My SWAG is because it takes the room pretty much out of the 'mix'.

Indeed, out of curiosity I tried using it as a simple music stereo 'boombox' with/without DSP and also with its two way speakers hard wired to a separate stereo system to see how much EQ was used in its 'normal' stereo mode and they were much worse than I'd guessed based on their obviously cheap construction (2" paper tweeter, 6.5" whizzer 'FR' driver).

Bottom line, it convinced me that hi-def DSP is the road to audio Nirvana even with high SQ sound systems.

As always though, YMMV.

GM
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Old 1st December 2008, 05:22 PM   #3
pelanj is offline pelanj  Czech Republic
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Interesting point, GM. Does that mean, that the bad quality of speakers was compensated for by a DSP? I have experienced only cheap 5.1 home theaters until now. I kind of have an idea that 2.1 system could work better than a 5.1 system for the same price.

But I am afraid that if I upgraded the main boxes to a better pair, I could get some unwanted EQ - and I guess it is impossible to find this in manufacturer's specs.
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Old 2nd December 2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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To a great extent, yes, just look at B0$3. Ditto these 'el cheapo' car audio/PA drivers in the RPTV.

If you buy an 'HT in a box', then yeah, the processor will be at least somewhat optimized for the included speakers and no, it probably won't be documented and/or adjustable unless it has a either a by-pass and/or connections for remote speakers, so upgrading could be a bad idea. Better to assemble discrete components if DIYing speakers. I've noticed some great deals on inexpensive HT receivers around the net and they could get even better by year's end or even into January the way the economy's going.

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Old 2nd December 2008, 08:15 PM   #5
pelanj is offline pelanj  Czech Republic
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I must say, Bose systems are quite expensive and rare here, but it aways surprises me, how such small speakers with one subwoofer can fill a quite large pub with sound to almost an unbearable level with no aparrent distortion and quite uniform "ambience" feeling through the room.

So then I guess I am after a receiver, which can play surrond sounds with just front speakers. I am not sure, if there is any - I sure could use a PC as a DVD player - and software processing - I would really like to avoid this way.

By the way, I've has some almost scary experience with my Sony TV. In a local TV series, two people were sitting at a table and talking. And In the room I've heard some music, which seemed totally unrelated to the TV. I thought it was my neighbor with another programm. So I switched off the sound and the music disappeared. It was back with the TV sound. It was background music in the bar shown on TV - and it has no surround/stereo widening feature that I know of. The trick was either in the mastering or in the ordinary stereo itself. This kind of makes me think, that (processed) two channel audio can give a good enough "surround" sound. Even with a pair (or two pairs) of lousy oval fullrangers with lowish sensitivity...
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Old 3rd December 2008, 09:04 PM   #6
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Yeah, with DSP you can process the signal in myriad ways before the speaker so that it never gets stressed. It won't be 'accurate' or HIFI in the true sense of the meaning, but if it sounds good to the listener......

AFAIK there's no such thing as a 2.1 receiver per se, only 5.1, etc. that can be configured to 2.1.

Yes, with a well recorded soundtrack there can be enough ambiance for incredible surround effects with the right room/speakers and their layout without DSP. There's a track between songs on an early Pink Floyd vinyl album where a guy comes up a flight of stairs chasing/swatting at a fly and in my old room with a big horn system he runs around from the other side of the front wall all the way around back behind the listening area and kills it on an imaginary table right in front of the listening area. In my current room that's only ~1/3 as acoustically large before I modded it and only horn loaded from 500 Hz - up, the front-back sound-staging is cut ~in half, i.e. the imaginary staircase comes up ~right where the listening 'sweet spot' is, which was a bit strange feeling, but haven't tried it with the much more open layout.

With good DSP, I should in theory be able to make it sound as it did in the original room regardless of size/shape/openness or speaker system, though not sure if the technology is advanced enough yet and/or available to the general public in a highly adjustable format.

GM
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Old 4th December 2008, 07:36 AM   #7
pelanj is offline pelanj  Czech Republic
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GM,
the reduced image size is mainly attributed to what? There is a large argument in the Orion thread about WG, dipoles, etc. Do you think that horn sound so nice and lively due to the directivity. I've heard a three way stack (12" w-bin, 1" on Smith radial horn and a Coral tweeter, triamped) which would be condemned as far far inferior by many of local "experts". But stil, this soundstage and dynamics (perfect snare drum) was far much better than anything else I have ever heard or far better than it should be due to theory.

And another question - now, when I have experienced this spooky music from the TV bar - which type of speakers would you recommend in a 4,5 x 3,5 room (placed along one of the longer walls) for relatively low level listening (normal TV levels on average) If one 10" woofer is just the biggest size I can fit into my living room. A "standart" 2way BR (I prefer overdamped tunings) can be built anytime, I am more leaning towards dipoles (too close to the front wall - less than 1 m) or fullrange (like my TV Speakers) or maybe some other not so conventional design which are quite rare here around my place. I am after a non aggressive sound and low distortion. Sorry If I ask the same question in another thread but I am not decided yet which way to go.
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Old 4th December 2008, 09:44 PM   #8
GM is offline GM  United States
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Greets!

AFAIK, not being horn loaded to as low a frequency or going from horn loaded down to the limits of where the room corners take over (bottom of human vocals and most music fundamentals Vs ~500 Hz.

I don't bother to browse OB/dipole threads anymore as I long ago made my choice of trade-offs. Not that I'm against them, far from it, I recommend them when the app seems appropriate, but I can't imagine me ever choosing one for a serious music/HT app for myself based on current technology, especially below ~300-500 Hz. I mean if I have the space for a decent size OB it's big enough for some HE options.

Directivity is certainly a major part, though WRT compression loaded ones, it's the ~flat acoustic phase of a 'FR' driver in its pass-band combined with the lower distortion of an acoustically efficient driver in our acute hearing BW that makes the most difference IMO.

Not sure what other thread you're referring to (I don't browse them all), so not sure what the single 10" is in reference to, but if it's a sub, then its specs will dictate the alignment, though as a general rule it would be limited to some form of BP (TH, maybe?), preferably situated somewhere near the listening position to keep power handling within reason if you want it to go low with any authority. If you live in an apartment or similar, then a sealed, well damped TL or high passed OB is a better choice to keep from aggravating your neighbors.

If you mean a single 10" for each main, then a small mids/HF driver XO'd around 300 Hz seems a good choice.

GM
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Old 4th December 2008, 09:57 PM   #9
pelanj is offline pelanj  Czech Republic
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Hello,
I was not referring to any particular thread, I just still keep on asking what would be the best compromise for my room and I think you already answered a few times on many of my questions.

Yes, I live in an apartment, the 10" size was as the limit for the mains (8" would fit in better ), I could most probably hide some subwoofers around the room if necessary.

I think the best way will be to buy some drivers and experiment. Most probably I will end with some kind of full range speaker with a bass driver. I do not need to go very low for music, to have some output at 40 Hz is plenty and 50 or maybe even 60 Hz as F3 should satisfy me. I plan an active subwoofer for the movies and maybe one day I even try that multi-subwoofer setup.
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