7.1 placement for unconventional room - help please!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by stream41, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. stream41

    stream41 Extra

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    Hey guys - I'm trying to plan speaker placement for our living room, but it's a somewhat weird layout. Because of symmetry and the wife's insistence that no furniture be moved, the sofa has to stay where it is. I've attached two pictures and a rough (sorry!) room floor plan. The Boss has also dictated that if I do this, the speakers cannot be on the walls down at close to ear level (where I've told her they should be). They have to be up higher and aimed down at about a 45-degree angle. The room is about 20' x 17'. Our heads are about 3.5' high when sitting, and the ceilings are 10' tall. I'll probably be going with the HT-S9300THX - yes, I know for ~$800 I could probably build a better component system, but that's for another thread!

    I've put 4 red circles where I think the sides and rears should be located. Also, in the second picture, the sofa isn't quite as close to that side wall as it looks in the photo. That listener will be about 5' away from the speaker, with the speaker approximately 4.5' above their head.

    I'm concerned that speaker "D" will be too close to that right-side listener, and that it will be too high at 8'. I'm also worried that speaker "C" is too far back. "B" has to be on the far left side of that wall, since we'll be putting a large bookcase there in the near future. I could place it over on the right side of that wall on the corner.

    What do you guys think?






     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I'm not an expert on room layout, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think your surrounds are going to be too far away and will get muddled up with the rears. I think I'd go with a 5.1 setup and put the surrounds at B and D (an move D back a bit if possible).
     
  3. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Al brings up a good point - the placement options for a 5.1 system aren't that bad in this room (don't worry about placing the surround speakers high and angling them down - that's perfectly acceptable), but the lack of a wide rear wall for the extra speakers to get 7.1 are the problems.


    The placement of "B" is really too far away for a rear surround and should be moved closer to the viewing location, but you mentioned adding a bookshelf there instead. Would the speaker be the right size to sit on a shelf? It might serve OK as a side surround, as Al suggested.


    In case you didn't know, any 7.1 system can be configured to run as 5.1 - it's simply a menu setup option.


    In addition, the 9300 system has a powered "Zone 2" - so the option is there to set up the main area as 5.1, then power the last two speakers in a second room - dining room, kitchen, den, and use them for background music.


    Really, you won't be missing out much by going 5.1 vs. 7.1. Properly calibrated, the 5.1 system should be able to fill the room with sound pretty effectively.
     
  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Yep. When I saw the thread title, my first immediate thought was "Step 1: For any unconventional room, forget 7.1, go 5.1."
     
  5. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    I have to agree with the others that your room better fits a 5.1 system and you will want to use A & D as your surrounds. If you feel that you absolutely must have a 7.1 system then I don't see any options other than what you have posted and hope the Audyssey room correction software that comes with your 9300 can make up for the less than idea speaker placement.

    Jason makes a good point, You do have to realize that those rear speakers are not going to add much because their is not much in the way of true 7.1 material but using those extra two speakers you have as a Zone 2 can be very useful in another location in your house.
     
  6. stream41

    stream41 Extra

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    Thanks for the responses, guys!


    There's really nothing in between D and C - it's just open space, with nowhere to mount a speaker (other than the ceiling, of course, but that's 10' high).


    If I did go 5.1, I could move D back as far as it can go - like back onto that diagonal wall. If I did 5.1, would moving B over to the right side of that same wall be a better placement? Do you want the surrounds in a 5.1 setup to be in the rear or on the sides?
     
  7. stream41

    stream41 Extra

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    Okay, just had an idea. How about the configuration below? Basically I'm moving the surrounds farther up so that they're truly on the "sides", and then I'd be mounting C on the ceiling so that it's much closer. The rears, B and C, would only be about 3' behind the listeners, except they would be up high and aimed down. Would this work better for 7.1?


    In this design, A is the only speaker that could be a problem since it's still about 8' away from the left side of the sofa. Plus C would be mounted on a 10' ceiling - is that too high, even though it's only 3' behind the sofa?



    [​IMG]
     
  8. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Your new picture isn't showing up for me this morning. To answer a previous question, the surrounds in a 5.1 system should be to the side and slightly behind the viewer. In your first diagram, B is about perfect for a surround.

    You seem to be committed to 7.1. Why is that; what are you expecting to get? There's not a lot of true 7.1 material, and for movies at least you won't be filling the room with sound, because those last two speakers are only used for very unique effects. If you are planning on using this a lot for music, say parties, then I can see the emphasis on placing the extra two speakers.


    But instead, I say use those two speakers as bargining chips - "Say dear, how about we only have 5 speakers and go with these slightly larger speakers bookshelfs at ear level?"

    Kidding aside, I have satellites (Harman/Kardon) near the ceiling and angled down on my main movie viewing setup, and they provide fine sound. I do have the center channel at ear height and I recommend that for you too; you don't want the dialog coming fom the ceiling.
     
  9. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    To a certain extent, Audyssey audio processing, which is available in many modern AVRs, can compensate for less-than-optimal speaker placement. Trinnov processing, like that provided in Sherwood's R-972, supposedly does a much better job of steering audio among speakers. Unfortunately, Sherwood's implementation has been reported to have quite a few problems.
     
  10. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Just for fun I checked the speaker distances Audyssey calculated for my #1 microphone location with a tape measure and all of them were (+ -) 6" from actual.
     
  11. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Oh, good idea. I haven't checked mine (MCACC), and will do so later.

    Is the (+ -) 6" acceptable or will you be tweaking those settings in the program? I think my Pioneer allows 1/2-inch increments, so I'd think you want to get it as close as possible.
     
  12. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Charles


    I don't think so, as how would I know what corrections to make. As my ears are at least 3" apart and when I sit in my recliner where the microphone was set my head and ears move another 3" from side to side and back to front.


    My point was while my 5.1 speaker placement close but not perfect in relation to my prime seating location Audyssey was able to pick up and measure those distances very accurately and provide (+ -) db changes for each speaker based on the calculated distance.
     
  13. stream41

    stream41 Extra

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    Hrrm - it's showing up for me. Here's a link:


    http://65.181.130.26/floor2.jpg


    I suppose I'd prefer 7.1 just to stay ahead of the game. Sooner or later 7.1 will be the new standard, I assume. I'd just like to already be there and not have to wire two more speakers a couple of years from now. Plus, if I can figure out a smart speaker placement that works for 7.1, then why not? I think this new diagram is pretty close, as long as the speakers being close to 10' high isn't a problem.


    On a related note, where do you guys recommend I buy some glow rods and extra long drill bits for the install?
     
  14. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I haven't heard anything regarding increased 7.1 content. And by moving the surround in front of the listening position you're going against the Dolby recommended configuration. So, instead of having ideal 5.1, you'll have sub-optimal 7.1. Doesn't seem like a good trade to me.


    For curiosity's sake, I'd be interested to hear from anyone who placed a speaker much further offset for the the others in their setup. Does proper configuration mask the delta. I'm guessing there's a limit and you will notice one speaker being "far away"; but I am guessing.


    (The lack of images must be a work filtering thing. But I see the originals. Weird.)
     
  15. stream41

    stream41 Extra

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    Al - point well taken. If I'm not going to do 7.1 and do 5.1 instead, I've started a new thread with some questions about alternatives to a HTIB setup since I already have a pair of nice Klipsch RF-7's for fronts.


    So, for 5.1 would you recommend leaving B where it is, and then trying to move C up a little bit? If I do move C forward, it's going to have to mount on the ceiling and be ~9.5' high and aimed down. B probably won't be quite that high - maybe 7' or 8' and aimed down. Do you think that will be an issue? If I'm not buying a HTIB, what would be the best way to acquire the Audyssey tools?


    Thanks!
     

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