Building floorstanding speakers into the wall? Am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Highplainsdakota, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    Help Please!

    I'm trying to decide on speakers for my new home theater in my new house (in process of building). The local audio/video company recommends I put in Paradigm classic collection in-wall LCR and rear speakers. My wife will like the look, but I know it's the wrong thing to do. I will have an "L" shaped storage room built behind the front (screen wall) and left wall with a door access on the left. I have another thread on this "hardware forum" about sub choice which has all but convinced me to use an infinite baffle system with 4 x 18" acoustic elegance subs. The theater room is 14'x14' (1800 ft'3) but opens in the back to a larger game room (making the total 7,110 ft'3).
    Paradigm in walls have boxes that are not included in the price, making the 5 speakers cost $5,500 total. Should I spend that money instead on floor standing left/right and a normal center channel and build recesses in the front wall to accommodate them? I could then cover the openings with fabric to make them look like large in-walls. Is this a terrible idea? At least when I move I can take them with me. Also, what about the rear surrounds? Just stick with in-wall or in-ceiling?

    All help appreciated!
     
  2. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I assume you are doing a projector. Buy an AT screen and build a false wall. An AT screen on a false wall with your IB sub is...Burgers and fries...Apple pie a la mode...Beer and pretzels...
     
  3. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    That's right. I'm probably going to get an Epson 5030 projector for now until the 4K projectors become manageable $$$$. What's an AT screen? I shouldn't need a false wall as the storage room behind the theater will work as one anyway. Thanks for the input!
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Putting regular speakers in the wall like I posted on your other thread is not optimal. That increases the width of the baffle and will give you a gain in output in the midrange spectrum. Is that bad? Depends. Are you a 100% purist? If it gives you a 1db increase then you will not notice it. It depends on the speaker and how close the baffle is to the wall. If you use an auto configuration setup like MCACC with Pioneer (I use Pioneer) then it will adjust the EQ to compensate.

    AT = acoustically transparent.

    Placing your speakers behind your AT screen will make it seem like the vocals from the center channel are coming directly from the screen. the other option is putting it directly below the screen like I do.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    The point of a false wall AT screen...You build a platform, put three identical speakers behind it. The screen and "false wall" go in front. Your subwoofer baffle/ manifold could be the floor for the false wall.
     
  6. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    Lots of great ideas so far. What about floor standing speakers. It seems really hard to find a review that doesn't say "best speaker ever" for over $20,000 or "best speaker under $500". Most floor standing speakers (L/R) seem to be in the $900-$3000 range. Anyone have any favorites? Perhaps one of the following?

    Paradigm Studio 100
    Klipsch RF-7 II
    Polk Audio LSi M 705
    PSB Imagine X2T
    Klipsch RF-82 II
    Paradigm Monitor 11
    Polk Audio RTi A9

    Please discuss!
     
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Zu (although they work on SS, they work best on tube)SalkJamesOhm (Walsh)GoldenEarTotemDCM TFE
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    KEF QWharfedale Legend (Australia)
     
  9. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Schan1269, thank for the info!

    A lot of those companies makes some awesome looking speakers. Couple things though. If I get at floor standing speaker and build a hole in my screen wall to set it in, I'll probably need down or front firing ports, and I don't need an integral subwoofer since I'm installing an IB system with four 18".(goldenear). The Ohm are a little too funky for my taste, and the Totem don't seem large enough (even the tribe V).

    This brings up two more points of contention. What do you guys think of ON-wall speakers like the James and Totem? Is this just another crappy workaround or are these legitimate? Like I said, Wife doesn't want floor standers out in the open, I'm willing to build a place in the wall for them (like a giant bookshelf) in order to have the power and refinement of a traditional loudspeaker (which also means I can be more concerned about the drivers than the wood veneer.)

    Also, spending a lot of money on speakers makes me lean towards a company that's going to be around for a while. It makes me a little nervous to buy "custom" speakers.
     
  10. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    KEF TDef Tech MythosAre others of the same vein. The T by KEF gets raves.That is why I mentioned a false wall. Build the entire thing out of AT fabric and speaker fabric(every fabric store in America has acoustically inert fabric)The platform only needs to be as thick as the speakers you buy.Even if the false wall is the same size as wall behind it, design in a door. The entire idea of AT is for speakers behind it.My AT screen rolls down in front of an AV wall that includes a 50" plasma.
     
  11. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    By the way, Leon(Michigan) makes the horizon soundbars. A few of them are available up to 10 feet long.Yep, all three front speakers in a nice tidy 10' long enclosure.
     
  12. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Oh yeah....The power outage is making me brain dead...Wife wants thin. You want great sound.Simple answer...Maggies Magnepan.com
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  14. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    Very interesting Robert,

    There's a disconnect here that is making me crazy. What is the difference between a $300, $800, $1500, $3000, $10,000, and $23,000 floor standing speaker? If it's as easy as wiring up a few components into a box, why does anyone ever pay anything? (Minus all the endangered rainforest veneer you can handle, and the synthetic diamond tweeters of Bowers and Wilkins 800 series). What does a mid-range ($2,000-5,000 per pair) set of floor standing loudspeakers get me that an "economy version" ($1200 per pair) doesn't? SOMEONE MUST KNOW!

    Reviews seem pointless as they all say the same thing. (I was very impressed with this speaker for the price..., as good or better than a speaker 5 times the price... etc.) They'd say that about the 800 diamond series from B+W if there WAS a speaker 5 times the price.

    Manufacturer's websites are no different. I think they all copy eachothers'. One from paradigm says "Imagine this speaker in the setting of ancient Rome..." Puke. I can't be the first or even the thousandth one to be frustrated by this. I'm willing to pay...some. I don't consider myself an audiophile other than the strictest definition that I like music.

    So maybe this will help. My list of aspects I want from the speakers:

    Most important to least important:

    1. Relatively discreet. I can generally hide the speaker, (willing to build a floorstander into the wall, buy in-wall speakers, on-wall speakers) AT wall seems a last resort. No ridiculously large for no reason or weird shaped speakers.
    2. Volume. (I'm putting in a 4 x 18" IB sub system and 115" diag. screen. I have a general feeling that I wouldn't buy a floor standing speaker with less drivers than a slightly more expensive one, or a more expensive speaker with less drivers. ie. "Classic/economy series" with 1, 2, or 3 drivers vs. "Reference/signature series" with 1, 2, or 3 drivers. I would basically choose either Classic with 3 drivers or Reference with 3 drivers. I don't think I would choose a higher grade speaker from the same company with 2 less drivers that is more expensive. Get it? Am I right in thinking this?
    3. Quality of sound. (Maybe I'm not an audiophile because I've never heard good speakers? How's that for philosophy. Maybe I'll invite a friend over who is an audiophile. Basically don't want them to suck.)
    4. Voicing. (The warnings on all manufacturer's websites about matching all your speakers seems legit. Wish I could get nice floor standers without buying those $1500 ea. surrounds...)
    5. Price. Of relative concern. Willing to pay what I need, happy to save if I can. 4-5K for a pair of floor standers with a center channel, $1500 for two surround. Total 3K-7K without sub. Less if it doesn't matter, more if it needs to.
    6. Look. Hard to care if I'm building them into a wall, and I certainly wouldn't choose speakers made of walnut burl if the exact same speaker is made out of equally good sounding wood from menards. That being said, if it's going to cost me 5K for floor standers, I don't want to pay for "modern" styling. No speakers shaped like the inner ear or something.
    7. Weight. Of no concern.

    Sorry for the rant. Maybe too much coffee today. Bring on the opinions, and though I'm not limited, if someone could comment on personal experience of the above floor standers, that would also be helpful.
    Thanks again.
     
  15. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Buy several, try them at home.My 4 theatres...BIC V(from the 90s)DCM TF(from the 80s)Infinity CrescendoPolk S from the late 90/early 00.
     
  16. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    There is a speaker five times the price and i wish i could afford it.

    http://www.grande-utopia-em.com/en/technologies/specifications.php
     
  17. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I have actually listened to a $27,500 floor standing speaker. First, the components are top of the line. The mids are Morel models available to the public but they had a factory upgrade to cast baskets. The tweeters are Dynaudio and are only sold to Eggleston and one other company they wouldn't name. They crossovers have coils, caps and resistors that have very tight tolerances. Second, the construction. Is it any different than DIY speakers? No. They use MDF just like I do. But they cut it on a CNC machine that probably cost more than my house. The cost has to be recouped somewhere. Third, fit and finish. Many hours goes into the finish to make it perfect. Winsonart laminate is applied and then sanded. Once everything is smooth, they are sent to a local Memphis body shop and painted with Porsche paint. The aluminum "beauty rings" on the baffle are custom made in Canada. Fifth, R&D. These guys put in a LOT of effort into these designs so there is a very large up front investment. Last, market. These are sold to a premium clientele at a premium price. Danny Carey doesn't buy off the shelf speakers for listening to his latest Tool recordings. He pays Eggleston for speakers, personal shipping half-way across the country and setup by a factory technician.

    DIY speakers. Components that are available are only getting better. Coils, caps and resistors are within 1% of spec. Tighter specs can only be detected with measuring equipment. Construction can be the same. Yes, it might take a day to cut out parts for a cabinet and they won't be to 1/1000 of an inch. But within 1/16 of an inch is easily corrected with Bondo and sanding. Fit and finish can be matched. You can send your speakers to the same body shop. I prefer Krylon rattle can. If you are hiding your speakers, I suggest flat black. R&D is accomplished by the guy who published the design. He's a nut case who spent way too much time fine tuning his speaker. If you look at that site, the designer is paid $5 to $20 for each speaker sold. Finally, you aren't the market for these ultra speakers or you wouldn't be here. You would be in your jet with your super model wife and super model girlfriend.....I count my labor as part of my hobby. I work cheap when I work for myself. What else would I be doing? Probably sitting on the couch watching TV and enjoying what I built.

    About half way through the listening session, my wife leaned over and said "Those speakers sound better than the ones you built but not THAT much better." Mine sound better than anything I've ever auditioned in a store. What's not included there are comments from others who compared them to speakers costing $2,000/pair. Are there better designs out there? Sure. Since that design was published in 2001, Parts Express has introduced the higher end line of Dayton drivers and hundreds of designs are floating around. What's your budget per speaker? What about size limitations? If they are hidden, then don't worry about floor standing models.

    Here's my slightly out of focus mug posing with the Egglestons That's a $45,000 amp on the floor beside the speaker. There was another powering the other Savoy speaker. The shorter speaker wasn't connected to anything..
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    My wife is going to hate you Robert...but it's hard to pass up a good DIY project!

    Today I went do my local audio store, and listened to some Bowers and Wilkins 863, CM9, 805, 804, 803, and the mighty 802. I was blown away with the clarity of the 804 and 803s. I was a little afraid the 804 wouldn't stand up to a lot of volume as they're not that big (one might choose a cheaper speaker with bigger drivers and cabinet). The 803 however were IMPRESSIVE! Also costly, however.

    I don't know if this is the place to turn this thread into a DIY floor standing L/C/R build, so let me know if I should move areas and start a new thread.

    For the sake of argument, lets build a virtual bowers and wilkins 803 clone! (minus the lab grown diamond tweeter, unless parts express is very up to date...Ha, just did a search on PE and no diamond in cone material) I'm guessing just buying the most expensive tweeters and mids aren't going to necessarily sound the best or "voice together" well (which is why I'm skeptical of this in the first place). But let's entertain it anyway. How do I choose?

    Material or Brand of driver? If I just choose all the same Brand drivers in my floor standings, center channel, and surround builds can I assume they will voice the same (I don't even know if that's the correct terminology, but seems legit) I'm going to go ahead and guess that's true.

    Here is a prelim design: 3-way speaker
    Tweeter: Morel ET 338-104 1-1/8" soft dome tweeter x 1
    Mid: Morel TSCM 634 Titanium Supreme Series 6" Midrange x 1
    Bass: Morel TSCM 636 Titanium Supreme Series 6" Woofer x 3

    Center channel: 3 way speaker
    Tweeter: Morel ET 338-104 1-1/8" soft dome tweeter x 1
    Mid: Morel TSCM 634 Titanium Supreme Series 6" Midrange x 1
    Bass: Morel TSCM 636 Titanium Supreme Series 6" Woofer x 2

    Still have to learn about crossovers. How did I do?
     
  19. Highplainsdakota

    Highplainsdakota Stunt Coordinator

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    Whoa. Just read a lot of threads on DIY loudspeakers. I'm not thinking that's for me. The temperment of the crossovers seems too much for me to figure out at this time and doesn't seem as much of a guaranteed success. I may tackle this later with more time. Thanks for the options and input, however. I guess I'm back to buying something....
     
  20. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Surprised you didn't say a yay or nay to Magnepan.
     

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