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Need help selecting speakers for family room?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by atomarchio, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I have a family room with 52" Sony Bravia Installed via HDMI back to another room with my components. Right now I am using TV speakers only for sound but looking to install in-wall speakers for front 2 speakers and in-ceiling for back 2 speakers. The home is pre-wired so that should be that difficult.

    Question I have is what kind of speakers should I buy? My goal is to be able to hear spoken dialogue watching TV and DVD movies. Right now, I need to crank up the TV speakers for this and then the music/sounds are twice as loud so I end up turning the volume up/down on the remote for 2 hours.


    I want something quality but don't want to spend a fortune on this and get oversold.

    So far, I've been told to go with Paradigm CS-160, CS-60's or AMS speakers but those are quite pricy and seem like overkill for what I need?

    Any suggestions? Please let me know. Thanks.
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    The speakers will sound better than the TV's speakers, but they probably won't solve your problem with the dialog. To solve this problem, you need to hook up a home theater receiver, so you can set the speaker levels properly.
     
  3. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I am also going to buy a receiver at the same time I buy these speakers.

    Do I need to buy all 4 speakers for this? (2 front ones in wall, 2 back ones in ceiling)

    Is there a particular spec I should look for regarding the dialogue when ordering a receiver?
     
  4. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

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    If you're specifically trying to improve the dialog, you should probably include a center channel speaker in your plans. The three fronts should be from the same manufacturer and line. The rears do not have to be.

    Also, if you're not running 6 speakers, the "rear" speakers should really go on the side, slightly behind the main listener spot.

    As for which speakers, it would help if you mentioned you budget.
     
  5. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking around $350 per pair. However, I would pay a little more if I can solve this problem.

    Can I purchase 3 front speakers as a package? Do I need a subwoofer also? Or is this something I can accomplish with a wider/larger speaker?
     
  6. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

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    You shouldn't have any problem getting good speakers that fit your need at that price point. I could have sworn I've seen the front stages sold as a set, but couldn't find any in my quick search. (Don't have time right now, but I'm going to try again later.)

    I highly recommend a sub, but you don't need one in general, and certainly not to solve your specific problem with dialog. A sub can easily be added later.

    I like Axioms, they are very clear, one might say crisp, so they'll definitely help with the dialog problem. Look at the VP100, and M3v2 or M22v2s. (I have to add that with the Axioms I'd put a sub at a higher priority. I love mine, but they fall short in the low end.) Axioms are only available on-line; but they have a good return policy.

    I also think Polks are a good buy, but could find a matched set in a quick search.
     
  7. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    Like your idea of center channel. Definitely doing that.
    If I purchase the cetner channel speaker, do I still need the left/right in-wall speakers? Is it worth buying them?

    Would you advise better center channel speaker and either less expensive or no left/right in-wall speakers?

    Please let me know. Thanks.
     
  8. nolesrule

    nolesrule Well-Known Member

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    It is generally advisable to get a matched set for the front 3 speakers, so that when sound pans from one side of the room to the other, the sonic qualities are consistent. It is also generally advisable to avoid in-wall, as speaker placement sometimes needs to be adjusted for improved sound, and you can't do that after cutting a hole in your wall.
     
  9. kes2010

    kes2010 New Member

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    not completly alot of both in wall and in ceiling speakers are now lcr , so you can change the direction the sounds aiming at
     
  10. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    Space is tight around my LCD so I don't have anywhere convenient to place the center channel speaker.

    Looks like I will have to go with in-wall on left and right which I am told could come close to mirroring center channel.

    We sit about 15' away from the wall where the speakers will be installed though. Wish there was a way to get the speakers closer to where we are sitting so the sound does not have to travel as far.
     
  11. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I purchaed a Sony receiver STR-DA3500ES and in-wall speakers (B&W) CM6160.


    While my situation has improved, I still would like better quality/control regarding spoken dialogue out of my TV. Is the issue still because we're sitting 15 feet away from the speakers.


    To improve spoken dialogue, should I add rear speakers or go with a center channel? The rear speakers are probably easier because it's already wired and would be much closer to where we're normally seated.


    Is there a way to take the center channel output (preferred for spoken dialogue) and route that to the rear speakers. I don't need/want surround sound in my setup.


    I can still do center channel but there's not much space above/below the TV and it's going to involve wiring/mounting and much more work. The rear speaker would be much easier.


    Please let me know. Thanks.
     
  12. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Angelo,

    You never mentioned how you set the levels / calibrated your speakers even though you were specifically asked that question.


    If you don't currently have a center channel, are you setting your receiver to use a "phantom center channel"? That routes all of the center channel information to your left and right speakers as a mono signal. It will appear to come from between your two main speakers even though a center channel isn't there.
     
  13. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how to calibrate levels or much about these speakers. The receiver is over 30' away from the speakers in another room.


    My Sony receiver has a GUI interface where it shows a room with speakers in the setting. Then I've selected the 2 speaker/2 Channel option.


    How would I tell my receiver to do "Phantom Center Channel"? Or is it already doing that based on the 2 speaker setting I've selected.
     
  14. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Phantom center settings are receiver specific. Find a link to your owner's manual and we can help.


    Level setting / calibration is again, receiver specific and you need a special DVD and SPL meter. But if you are currently using only 2 speakers then there is no reason to calibrate. Even with 3, I'd just set the levels by ear.
     
  15. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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  16. CB750

    CB750 Well-Known Member

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    The best bang for the buck these days is found in a 5.1 system as it produces all of the distinct channels found in most programs today anything less causes you to accept compromises. I think it is a mistake for you to underestimate the importance of the center channel and it's importance in producing clear dialog. I have a total of four TV's in my home and due to the poor quality of TV speakers have added speaker systems to each TV. The two 5.1 systems which have a center channel clearly outperform the two 2.1 systems on the other two TV's when it comes to dialog.

    Installing a center channel speaker can present a problems but in my opinion it is something worth trying to accommodate especially if clear dislodg is one of your goals.
     
  17. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    I understand. If had the space available, would've definite done that.


    Since I don't, I need to consider another option. I have a new Sony Receiver(STR_DA3500ES) and apparently there is a way to configure "phantom"center channel from using the left-right speakers.


    Are you familar with this? If so, do you know how I configure?

     
  18. CB750

    CB750 Well-Known Member

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    Angelo,


    I also own a 52" Sony you must have some room on top of your TV for a center channel. I tried that location but for me under the set worked better.

    Sorry but I can't help with the phantom center. On the TV's I have with 2.1 speakers I find they work best for TV viewing when the R&L speakers are close to the edges of the TV screen. The farther you move them for grater stereo separation the more dialog suffers.
     
  19. atomarchio

    atomarchio Well-Known Member

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    The space above the TV is only a few inches. It would have to be a very small center channel to fit.


    Was hoping someone could give me configuration advice on the receiver. I can get probably get something close to what I want if I had help with understanding how to configure.


    There is way to output left-center channel-right sound into just the left-right speakers. What I want to do is take 3 speakers worth of output into 2 speakers. (left-right only)


    If I could do this, I would probably be fine. Then it would save all of the hassle of trying to get the center channel installed into a very tight space.
     
  20. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Within the receiver's "Speaker Setup" menu (or something similar), there should be a way for you to tell it which speakers are connected. Simply uncheck center channel, and it should do the rest. It's the same basic procedure you'd use if you didn't have a subwoofer, or didn't have back surrounds in the 7.1 system.
     

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