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New to HTF, more questions about surround speaker placement


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 Paul K.

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Posted August 20 2004 - 02:52 AM

Hello all,

This is my first post here, after years of drooling over HT stuff I'm one of the (seemingly many) who have jumped into basic HT audio with an Onkyo HT-760 HTiB system.

I know by enthusiast standards that's pretty modest equipment, but I still want to do all the setup/calibration I should to make it sound as good as it can.

Only I have a few limitations, as I'm sure most of us without dedicated HT rooms do.

The main limitation being the surround speakers. To make a long story short, SWMBO wasn't exactly thrilled with the "ample(me)"/huge(her) size of the surround speakers and didn't fancy them strung up on the living room walls, especially right next to/above the nice painting we have above the couch.

As a compromise I've mounted the side surrounds by the side tables flanking the couch, which does make them all but hidden. The back surround is in the small gap between the couch and wall, pointed towards the listening area.

Now, I've heard that for ideal sound, surrounds should be about 3' above the listers' heads, and my setup certainly doesn't meet that. Instead, the side surrounds are about a foot below "ground zero", about 6 feet out to the sides. The center back surround is about 2 feet below and probably too close at ~2-3 feet.

My question (finally) is this: If I balance the speakers to Dolby reference levels, what sound shortcomings can I expect as a result of my non-ideal speaker placement?

Also, are there better options for inconspicuous speaker placement than what I've done? (In general; obviously you guys haven't seen my room, making specific advice difficult)

thank you
-Paul

#2 of 9 John S

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Posted August 20 2004 - 03:02 AM

That placement isn't so bad.... Maybe some good surround will grow on her, and she will become more willing for even better performance from it.


How ya like'n that Onkyo 760 system?? Pretty impressive for the dollars if ya ask me. Those AVR's that come with that, sound great to me. As it just has that Onkyo sound I seem to like a lot.

#3 of 9 Paul K.

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Posted August 20 2004 - 03:33 AM

John:

I love it so far, even uncalibrated. Of course, my main comparison is to my previous system with was a plain old JVC stereo. It's amazing how much the surround draws you into the movie.

And with the release of the HT-770, they're practically giving the 760 away, I just couldn't resist. I know the 770 has a 10" sub vs. 8" and some more power, but my neighbors are already going to lynch me if I ever use all of what even the 760 has, so who cares?

I'm also very happy that there was no integrated DVD player to break (already had one anyway), and the Rcvr is not a "crippled" unit, so my system can expand if I ever see the need. Big plusses for me over some other HTiB systems.
-Paul

#4 of 9 John S

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Posted August 20 2004 - 03:51 AM

The included Sub isn't such a big factor either, I'm sure both the 10" in the 770 and the 8" in the 760 could both use an upgrade at some point if ya ever need more. But your certainly not paying much for those included subs anyways.

I actually installed two of the 760's over this past year, the owners seemed quite pleased, especially with the cost.


Can I ask what display your using with the Onkyo setup? Once of the system's I installed had a 36" Tube Mitsu, standard TV, but it amazingly had Component input, and 480p support. They even run comcast hd on it, and it really looks great.

The other people were really detached from the purchase decision, they just told me they weren't all that picky and wanted a large HDTV with Surround and a dang DVD player all for $1600. I took this as almost some sort of personal challenge.. lol His wife was sort of funny, she said no way on a widescreen tv, she said they look to funny.

They ended up with a Philips 43pp9202, the Onkyo 760, and a Samsung DVD player. And are quite thrilled and I actually came in just a tad under budget for them.

Your situation is quite common, many wives seem to hate to see HT equipment (speakers) anywhere but close to the TV in any sort of living room type setting. So a lot of people end up putting them at the side rather to close to the listening position.

PS: Mine are cieling mounted by the way, all my surrounds, in my 7.1 system. I mean that's not so great either ya know.. lol

#5 of 9 Paul K.

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Posted August 20 2004 - 04:51 AM

My current display is modest too:

27" flatscreen Panasonic Tau tube TV. Not HD but it does have a set of component inputs and an s-video input, so it looks about as good as plain NTSC will I guess.

I can't really afford any better right now, but I'd like to wind up with a widescreen HD display at some point. The technologies don't seem to be fully established yet anyway, so I'm not in a big hurry though.

I really like the pictures on the DLP TVs I've seen (showroom displays, so I take it with a grain of salt) but I've heard some rumors about short lifetimes of the color engine because of all the moving parts.
-Paul

#6 of 9 John S

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Posted August 20 2004 - 05:40 AM

That 27" is a pretty nice set really....

Enjoy your new surround, I find surround makes any given set size just seem a little bigger... lol

#7 of 9 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted August 20 2004 - 07:24 AM

I'll agree with John, the HT-760 appears to be one of the better HTIB choices out there, for all the reasons you noted - it features a real receiver with expansion capabilities.

I’m a bit confused, Paul – you mentioned a “center back surround,” although Onkyo’s web site shows the HT-760 as a 5.1 set-up, not 6.1.

If you ditched the extra rear and went with only two perhaps she could stomach it all a little better. Also, you mentioned the rear speakers being “strung up” on the walls. That suggests that you have the speaker wires exposed. If you could hide them, perhaps she could live with the speakers mounted on the walls.

Another suggestion she might approve of, perhaps you could build an attractive shelf at each rear speaker location. The speaker could sit on it (or hang from it), along with whatever decorative embellishments she might want to add.

Failing that, I’d say experiment with various configurations with the side table placememt. You might get better ambience by pointing the speakers at near-by walls or even pointing them up towards the ceiling. The problem I’ve seen with having the rear speakers very close to the seats is that it’s extremely easy to localize them, especially the one you happen to be sitting closest to, and it’s really distracting during a movie. So anything you can do to diffuse or disperse the sound will help.

Sure, the side table thing is not optimal but it’s better than no rear speakers at all.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#8 of 9 Paul K.

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Posted August 20 2004 - 08:47 AM

Wayne:

Onkyo's 5.1 system is the HT-670 I believe. The HT-760 is definitely a 6.1 setup, though it's being phased out for the new model, the HT-770 (which is why I got a great deal on it I suppose).

I think I may keep the speakers unseen for now and see how it sounds after running through a calibration like Avia or Sound & Video Essentials.


If I'm satisfied after that, I won't press the issue.
-Paul

#9 of 9 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted August 20 2004 - 01:45 PM

You are correct, I mixed them up - sorry. Posted Image
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