Need advice and critique of proposed new HT system

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by AlexInCola, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. AlexInCola

    AlexInCola Auditioning

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    I have a “rough draft” of a possible system that I’ve put together based on a huge number of hours spent over the last few months researching products and reading thoughts of others on all things audiophile. I’ve heard Magnepans in stereo before but not these models and never in this combination or environment. However, I love the depth and imaging their design provides and the open spaciousness of the sound. I’ve decided on these models because, they’re wall mountable and can fold flat if necessary, owner satisfaction is first rate, and they fit my budget. I haven't been able to audition any of the other equipment. (Higher end AV stores are very limited in this area.) I’d like those of you with some experience in the home audio arena to give me any thoughts you might have on whether or not I’m on the right track--and why. The reasoning behind your opinion will help me learn and understand how to make better choices! Thanks in advance! Here we go...
    What I'll use my system for:
    Watching SD and HD satellite TV 50%
    Watching DVD/Blu Ray movies 25%
    Listening to music (radio, CD, SACD, or DVD-Audio) 25%
    I'm sure I might find myself doing more of one and less of another after learning my system’s capabilities and what I enjoy most from it.

    Room features:
    Approximately 16‘X12’ with 8’ ceilings
    Side walls are the long walls.
    Left wall is has a centered large window (~8’) with PVC blinds and sofa underneath.
    Right wall has a centered open doorway (~4’) into the rest of the house.
    Front wall has standard window on the left abutted to the side wall and a french door on the right abutted to the side wall (both with PVC blinds) and a 3.5’ tall piano on the wall in between.
    The rear wall has the front door about 1’ in from the left side wall.
    Floors are hardwood with 4’X7’ rug in center. The room doesn't seem to be overly “live” acoustically. My main listening position is a chair fairly centered on and close to the rear wall (ears ~2.5’ in from of rear wall) near the door.


    Equipment choices:

    *TV:Panasonic 54” V10 series plasma mounted and centered on the front wall over the piano between the window and French door. (I realize this is a little high, but much of my watching/listening also will be from a slightly reclined position, so the sight line will be comfortable.)

    Speakers:
    *Front main speakers: Magnepan MC1’s mounted on side walls about 2’-3’ in from the front wall about 2.5’-3’ off the floor so that they won’t be blocked by the nearby sofa. Does anyone know of any imaging/reflection issues with having a glass window or door with PVC blinds behind these speakers (or Magnepans in general) instead of a solid wall?
    *Rear surround speakers: Magnepan MMG-W’s mounted on side walls about 1’-2’ in from rear wall about 2.5’-3’ off the floor. Since I’ll mainly be sitting close to the rear wall, I don’t want the rear speakers too far forward from that wall or I might end up almost behind them. I know MMG-W’s need space behind them, but would 1’-2’ be enough room for them to “breathe”? Also, I’ve never had a system that played multichannel music (SACD/DVD-A), so I don’t know how big a role rear surround speakers play in listening to music like this. With their narrower bandwidth vs. the larger front MC1’s, will I still enjoy them for multichannel music?
    *Center channel speaker: I am going to try the MMG-C. But considering its smaller bandwidth compared to the MC1’s, I may end up doing the phantom center configuration with the fronts if that sounds better or just as full. The CC3 is a possibility, but it would have to sound significantly better than the MMG-C or the MC1’s in phantom mode to justify the expense. Has anyone used either of these centers with MC1 or MMG (the next closest thing) fronts or used these fronts in phantom mode instead of a center speaker? Also, a center would be on top of the piano and below the TV, meaning it would be
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Alex:

    Welcome to the forum.

    First off I would hold off on the V10 as I have been reading that Panasonic has screwed up with their software that controls the black levels over time. As the unit gets older the black levels fall off. I would research this more before putting your dollars in. I would talk with Gregg Loewen, a moderator on this forum and ISF calibrationist, about this model as he knows more than I do.

    We have a great group of guys that have maggies in their own home theaters and I know they will be a great source for information. The thread is called Maggie Update and is located http://www.hometheaterforum.com/forum/thread/207137/maggie-update/0.

    I will let others chime in on your other questions.

    Parker
     
  3. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    Hi Alex: Boy, that's a tough room for such a great list of equipment. It's a shame you can't create a dedicated media room! Given your description, here's a few suggestions: 1. Your front speakers may be too far apart (16') if they are mounted on the side walls based on a 10' seating distance. I would recommend the front speakers at approximately 30° width from the prime listening spot. With that in mind, your fronts would be about 65" apart. 2. From 10' you can easily go up to a 65" tv. 3. I don't think you should worry about having the surrounds slightly in front of you. Actually, according to Floyd Toole's "Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms", it may be preferred. Also, you may want to consider placing them about 2' above ear level. 4. Sub placement: Also according to Toole, 2 subs are ideal, placed in the front center & rear center of the room. That may not be practical, but an alternative placement is to have both in the front left & right approx 25% room width from the side walls. That's what I've done in my setup. Close to your budget would be 2 subs from SVSound or HSU. The benefit of 2 subs is to get a more even response across multiple seats. If you are primarily concerned only with the prime listening spot, then 1 sub can be calibrated to accomplish that goal. 5. Personally, I use 12 ga. in-wall rated speaker wire as you described (I purchased carol cable from partsexpress) For the past year I've also purchased all of my cables, etc. from monoprice without any problems. I still get frustrated with how the industry screwed up the HDMI stuff - stiff cables that don't stay connected to components, handshake issues, etc. but that's something we all have to deal with! 6. I had a dedicated 20a circuit installed & plug everything, including my projector, into the same circuit - no problems. I daisy-chain a few power strips into a panamax surge protector to use various switching capabilities, but if I had to do it over again I would have had my electrician install a whole-house surge protector right on my electrical panel. Good luck! You're off to a great start.
     

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