Need Audio Recommendation for Large Room

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by RPBel, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    I have a room that is 20 x 30, with 15 foot high ceiling and wood floor. Mostly bookshelves and heavy drapes on one end. Have a 52" Sony TV (on the long side) and an audio system that is 20 years old. The TV speakers sound better than my audio system.


    I'm not too tech savvy, so need something I can easily put together, but don't need an out of the box system.


    I need the best sounds from bookshelf system I can get for $1,500 to $2,000.


    I looked at the Paradigm Cinema 110 five speaker set. Would you consider them a good choice? I assume I need some type of receiver with it? What would you suggest.


    I want to hook up my TV, Blue Ray, Wii, XM, and Apple TV all to the same system.
     
  2. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Hmmm, are they a good choice? Well, the system is a good one but that is a fairly large room, so I wonder if they will fill it up. I would get them only if the seller would allow a return if they didn't work out.

    Would you be setting these speakers in the four corners of the room or will they reside in a small TV viewing area defined by the seating arrangement? They would probably work in a small area, say like 12x12 or so. If they will cover the entire room, I think something more substantial would be in order.
     
  3. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    I'd really like the sound to fill up the room.


    so what would you recommend for a 20x30 room with 15' high ceilings?
     
  4. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Where are you shopping? What brands do they have to choose from?
     
  5. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Roger,


    Here is where I am going with that previous post.


    With a room of that size, you really need speakers with larger drivers, to move more air. The system that you are looking at, has only 4.5” drivers. I think that 6.5” drivers would be about the minimum required, and 8” would be better.


    For a sub, we have the same situation. The one that you are looking at has an 8” driver and I think 10” would probably be a bare minimum for that room, with 12” or even 15” being preferable.


    You are looking at bookshelf speakers. Bookshelf speakers would be fine for rear channels but I am wondering if you could use tower speakers for the front left & right mains?


    Unfortunately, I don't think that this will be possible within the budget. It would probably require a budget of at least $3000 to accomplish with satisfactory results, and very good results could be had for something in the range of $4000 to $5000. And you still need a receiver, which will probably be around $1000 or so.


    Now, I have a funny story that may prove me wrong. When I was visiting a ancient Buddhist temple in mainland China, I heard the daily chanting of the monks, emanating from the largest central building. It sounded as if there were possibly thirty or forty of them. I really wanted to see this but not wanting to disturb them, I slowly approached the open door only to peek around the corner and discover a Walkman tape player connected to a pair of computer speakers on a table by the door. No one was in the building.


    This building was two story, with the second story actually being a balcony that went around the perimeter of the structure. So, it was a very large open area, with hard walls and floor. With such a lively, reverberant room, the small speakers had no trouble “filling it up”. Haha!


    Perhaps it would be a similar case with your room, since it is an open area with wood floors. H


    I am still looking for a solution within your original proposed budget.

    Nick
     
  6. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    Thanks so much for your good advice - I wish I understood the technical side of it all, but this guidance on what size really helps give me some direction. Unfortunately, the room just doesn't lay out right for tower speakers. Have to be able to get them on bookshelves. I do have the flexibility get them wired where I can get the best placement.


    If best, I could just get the front speakers and sub now, and wait on the best.....or dig deeper to get the right thing. At the same time, I don't need BOOM and LOUD. I'd rather have quality of sound than volume.


    Thanks!


    P.S. Just shopping online. Don't have a good audio store near.
     
  7. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    So... Rodger... I have been looking for some not-so-common brands, hoping to find a tremendous value for your money. One of the difficult parts here is that since you will be placing your speakers on bookshelves, any ported speakers could be problematic. Unfortunately, ported speaker designs are very popular at this time and the worst part of that is that most of the ports are on the back of the speaker cabinet. However, there are some brands that have designs such that the ports and be sealed and still produce good results.


    After exhausting all of the possibilities from my known database, I had to resort to products with which I have no personal experience at all but which have received high praise in reviews on various sites. I have seen SVS praised so many times, right here on HT Forum that of course, I checked it out.


    It appears that the SVS M-Series, specifically the MBS-02, meets the criteria of a larger woofer (7”) and it is supplied with foam plugs to seal the port. Having built speakers as a hobby, myself, I can attest to the fact that SVS has implemented very high-quality parts in these speakers. All I can say is... they look darn good on paper. Since I have no personal experience with them, I can only say, put them on your list and check out all of the reviews that you can find.


    The SVS subwoofers are are rather pricey but reviews say that they are worth it. Also, their subs are very tall so if a tower speaker does not fit it the picture, it is unlikely that one of the SVS cylindrical subs will either. They make traditional square subs but they are even more expensive. Well, you can check out their website and see these things for yourself.


    M-Series: http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-mts02.cfm


    SVS subs: http://www.svsound.com/products-sub.cfm



    One of the most popular commercial brands is Velodyne, so definitely check them out too. Velodyne makes high-quality, very compact subs but remember to get one that is 12” or 15” for best results in your large room.


    Velodyne: http://www.velodyne.com/vsub/inroomsub.aspx



    I support your idea of using a 2.1 system for the interim. Add the center and rears when you are ready.


    I'm still looking! I have sent some emails to some manufactureres to get some questions answered. If I find anything that I feel would rival or best the SVS M-Series, I will let you know.


    Nick
     
  8. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    Nick,


    This incredible you'd do all this work for me. I'm overwhelmed....thanks!


    You seem to make such a strong case for floor speakers, I've tried to see how I could make that work. IF I did that, they would have to be nearly 20 feet apart, but it is possible. Would that be worth it?


    I can get the woofer out into the room, although it would about 3/4th toward one end....is that okay?


    Thanks so much for all your help. When I started this project, I thought I'd just go to Best Buy and pick the biggest one I could get. Finding its a LOT more complicated than I ever anticipated, so having your expertise to guide me is a great help.


    Roger
     
  9. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Believe me, Roger, this is not any kind of work. This is a hobby and I enjoy every second of it. Since I have a small home, trying to work out a solution for your much larger space, is intriguing to me.


    To your questions...


    Ideally, the two front left & right speakers (the mains) should form an equilateral triangle with the listener. So, if you were sitting twenty feet from each of them, that would be okay but I am guessing that that is not the case. I think that the proper bookshelf speakers will work out just fine.


    The subwoofer does not need to be out “in” the room. There are some things that you need to know about subwoofer placement though. The low frequencies that subwoofers emit, are essentially omni-directional. With your eyes closed you cannot tell where the sound is coming from. Therefore, they can be placed “almost” anywhere. They can be placed in a corner of a room, or along the perimeter of the room. They can be used as an end-table or placed behind a sofa or chair. The unusual thing about subs is that they do not perform equally well everywhere in the room. Because of the long wavelengths involved, and the way the waves bounce off the walls, the waves intersect and cause strong peaks in some parts of the room and nulls in other parts of the room. So, the sub must be placed in an area such that one of the peaks occur at the listening position.


    I would start by placing the sub where I wanted it to be, the most esthetic, convenient location. Fire up the sound system with some bass heavy source material and walk around the room a bit and then go sit in your listening position. Did the bass get stronger or weaker when you arrived at your listening position? It is possible to get lucky with the first placement and the work is done. If not, often all that is needed is to move the sub just a foot or two in another direction and that will do the trick. If that fails to deliver the desired result, your second choice of locations must be explored.

    There is another way to go about finding the proper placement for a sub. Set the sub in the listening position (right in the chair where you would be sitting), then stand in the areas where you would like to ultimately place the sub. If the sub sounds strong from where you are standing, you will get the same result when you switch places with it.


    I found another candidate for you. I should have looked in my own front yard. You may have seen the links right here on these forum pages for Emotiva Audio. Emotiva's ERM-6.2 looks to be a solid contender for your needs. The 6.2 is a sealed unit, so placing it on a bookshelf is much less problematic than it is with a rear-ported speaker. Also, they are 1/3rd lower in cost than the SVS units.


    As I said before, I used to build speakers so I am familiar with construction techniques and the level of quality of the parts, such as drivers and crossover components. I was able to find a photo of the woofer and electrical crossover for the 6.2 out there on the Net and SVS has pics of the M-series components on its own website.


    Comparing the two, both products appear to be a very good value. Of course, I cannot comment on the sound of either product, because I have not heard them. However, as far as build and component quality, I can say that with either product, you are definitely getting your money's worth. I also think that the extra expenditure for the SVS M-Series appears warranted, due to slightly higher parts quality and the included details, such as protective grilles, speaker feet, finish and overall esthetic beauty. But the 6.2's have a masculine, down-to-business look that I am not opposed to at all.


    There may be some unturned stones out there but there are literally dozens of speaker manufacturers so it would be nearly impossible to investigate all of them. The bottom line is that I think that either of these two offerings, the SVS M-Series or the Emotiva EMR 6.2 would very well fit your needs. The Emotiva 6.2 would do so, for the lowest possible price. I think that you will be awed by the final result, actually. By the way, the 6.2's woofers move 66 square inches of air per cabinet, compared to the SVS M-Series 38 square inches. Multiply that times the number of speaker cabinets in your system.


    I have found reviews praising both of these products from a sonic point of view. Do you think that either the SVS or Emotiva would work for you?


    Nick
     
  10. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    Nick,


    They both sound great, and the price is right....but can go stronger if I need to in order to get a better sound.


    if I did free standing speakers, they would be 20' apart, and they would each be about 15' to my primary listening position. Does that change the options, or still think the bookshelf is the best way to go?


    I currently have a 12" sub in a cabinet. I opened the cabinet to see if it changed the sound and didn't, but then, this system is about 20 years old so it may not make much difference -- all the music sound muffled some. It is a Sony receiver, but I assume that I can't use that with new speaker systems?


    I am wired for a five speaker system now, with two in front, and two in the back, plus the sub. I can easily put in a center speaker if that would be good?


    I'm so thankful for your help. This is all so confusing and way too many choices!


    Thanks


    Roger
     
  11. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Hi Roger...


    How much do you want to spend? Home theater can get quite expensive. You could easily spend ten times what I am proposing but it would not be in balance with your TV, which is the focal point of this system. What I am aiming for here is a solid, high-quality system that while not inexpensive, it is not a King's Ransom, and it should delight you and keep you satisfied for a long time.


    I am wondering about the cause of the muffled sound that you have mentioned. It could be due to the receiver, the wiring, the speakers, or all of them as a system. You said that your system is twenty years old, so it would probably be wise to rebuild the entire system, possibly starting with the wiring.


    Wires and the wire insulation can, and do, age. Inspect your wiring. If the jacket has yellowed and cracked or the wires have turned color, it should be replaced. If it looks good, then it probably is. I don't know how much wire is there, but if you have some extra length, and only the ends look bad, peel the insulation back an inch or two and see if there is still some shiny wire in under it. If it is shiny, then you may get away with just trimming the aged ends off and making a new connection with the newly bared, shiny wire. You could even try them on your current speakers and see if the speakers sound better.


    You should replace your Sony receiver with a new one in order to get the most out of your system. I am just going to get straight to my best recommendation for a great sounding receiver that is 3D TV ready (just in case) – the Marantz SR6005 ($999 msrp). I know that you want good sound and Marantz out-classes Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha.


    Marantz SR6005: http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=AVReceivers&SubCatId=&ProductId=SR6005


    A 5.1 system would probably be the best solution for you... that's a center, two fronts, two rears and a sub. You really need a center channel right under your TV. Now I finally understand what you meant when you said that you could get the sub "out in the room"... it is now in a cabinet! It will very likely need to come out! And it probably will not be the one that is there now.


    Let me get some clarity on potential speaker placement. If you went with floor-standing tower speakers, they would be twenty feet apart, one each, ten feet to the left and right of the TV, correct? If you went with bookshelf speakers, how far apart would they be, can they be centered to the left and right of the TV, and can you place them at ear level?


    It is best if all speakers are at ear level and if that is not achievable then the second best choice would still be to have them all on the same level but slightly higher or lower than the ideal. So, which way would it be easier to get everything at ear level? If you use towers, you need to be able to place the rear bookshelf speakers at the same height in the rear. If you use bookshelf speakers, perhaps there is more potential for height adjustment, both front and rear, to get everything right.


    If you want to do this incrementally, you could start with purchasing a receiver, two bookshelf speakers and a sub. Run this as a 2.1 system for a while and see how you like it. At that point, you will probably know if you would be happy by adding two more bookshelf units for the rear, or if you would want to get some towers for the front and move the bookshelf units to the rear. As for the center channel, you could get that with your first purchase of the bookshelf units or wait until your second purchase, to complete the system. Optionally, you could purchase the sub separately, after everything else is in place, to see if you can keep your old sub in the system... and in the cabinet.


    Nick
     
  12. RPBel

    RPBel Auditioning

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    Nick,


    Already you've brought new life back to what I have.....wow. I rewired the whole system as you suggested. Found several things. 1) the center speaker had never been connected, and with that the whole thing came back to life, 2) brought the sub out of the cabinet and it's great, 3) wiring on the rears was old on the end, but shinny when I cut it off and did that and can finally hear something out of them!, and then 4) I brought all the speakers down to the height where I sit and it made a big difference.


    Now I feel like I have a great system!!! But I know we can do better, so anxious to keep going. What I have are five small 4" speakers that are Cambridge Soundworks, and so is the sub......12"


    I'll plan to go ahead and order the Marantz SR6005...sounds like I need that no matter what. On my Sony there is not even a way to adjust the levels between bass and treble, just 6 or 7 different settings, of which only 3 use the center speaker.


    As for the placement, I got out a tape to measure exactly. The TV is in the middle of the room, about 4' wide. The challenge is that to one side are solid cabinets, so I can't put speakers there. On the other side, and above the TV are shelves. So, I can either separate the speaker 4' right above or below the TV, or I can pull them out, and put one on a stand....then they would be about 6' from the end of the TV, or a total of 16' apart. The rears can go at the same height, almost anyway along the back wall.


    If I spend $1K on the receiver, I'd love to not spend more than about $2K on the speakers if it can be done for that.


    Thanks again for all your help.


    Roger
     
  13. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Roger,


    I am so glad to hear about your “new” system! Wow, what a surprise about the center-channel. I wish that I could have been there to hear you fire it up and to see the look on your face! If you want to continue with this project, or course, I am all in favor of that. You could move your Cambridge speakers and Sony receiver to your Master Bedroom or where ever.


    I am glad that you will be replacing the Sony receiver with the Marantz. That should be a significant improvement. The Marantz has great sound and some nice features too. The one feature that will make the most difference is the Audyssey automatic room correction. This will automatically adjust all of your speakers to the proper balance for your particular room and listening position. The 6005 also has the capacity for two subwoofers, should that situation ever arise.


    Keeping the speaker system under $2000 will be easily accomplished with the Emotiva offerings and it will completely blow-away your current stuff. When you look at Emotiva's models, you will see that they have all of the usual speaker configurations: towers, bookshelves and surrounds. We have ruled out towers, so this leaves bookshelves and surrounds.


    You could go with three ERM-6.2's for the Left, Right and Center speakers and use two ERD-1 surrounds, for the rear channels for $1300. However, I am going to recommend that you use five ERM-6.2's to fill all of those positions. I feel that this will give you the most seamless sound-field possible and be the best solution for your large room and bookshelf placement. The total for five ERM's is $1500. This is only $200 more than going with the smaller surrounds and I think it is definitely worth it.


    In regard to the front Left & Right speaker placement... ideally, both speakers would be on shelves or both would be on stands. If one is on a shelf and one is on a stand, the result could be a very different sound from each one. Since it is impossible to put both of them on shelves, could you put both of them on stands?


    The subwoofer is the last part of this project. The Emotiva sub is currently on sale for $429, which is reasonable, but I am not sure how much is to be gained by replacing your old 12” sub, with a new 12” sub. Besides, you said that your sub sounds great now so perhaps it would be best to wait and see.


    The Audyssey setup on the Marantz will help blend your Cambridge sub with your new speakers by automatically selecting the proper crossover point. Anyway, you can add a new sub anytime or you can do it now and still stay under your $2000 budget for speakers.


    If you do get a new sub, you can try hooking up both of them, the old and the new, at the same time. The 6005 will do this. Ideally, the subs should be the same type but it may work out okay. It would be worth trying because experimenting doesn't cost anything.


    Nick
     
  14. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Roger,


    I was reading the Owner's Manual for the Marantz 6005 tonight and it specifically stated to use speakers rated at 6 to 8 ohms. I know that the Emotiva speakers are rated at 4 ohms.

    Before recommending this combination, I had had a conversation with an Electrical Engineer friend, and he said that it should not present a problem. He gave me the example that any speaker's impedance varies with the frequency that it is producing... the load is not constant. I know that is true from the impedance graphs that I have seen many times.

    Anyway, after reading the Owner's Manual, I lost faith in my friend's advice and became very concerned that I may have misguided you on the pairing of the Emotiva speakers with the Marantz 6005 receiver and I wanted you to be aware of this immediately... and all of the others following this thread, as well.

    I want to do some further delving into this... contacting Marantz, for example or getting some input from others on HTF.


    There have been many views of this thread but for some reason, no one else has joined it. Perhaps it is time for others to join in, especially if they have some input (be it 4 or 8 ohms ) to enlighted us on this matter. Can anyone say if the Emotiva 4 ohm speakers would present a dangerous load for the Marantz 6005?


    Thanks,


    Nick
     
  15. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I don't have any experience with either model; but running 4 ohm speakers with a receiver not rated at 4 ohm is not a good idea. Many people get away with it though, and the poster may too, especially if he never plays the receiver loud; but to me it's not worth taking the chance. One consideration is how well vented the receiver is; if it's in a hot spot, or there's no air flow; that's worse.


    Yes, all speaker naturally have variable resistance, but the rating is supposed to represent the average over the spectrum; so you're temping fate more often.
     

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