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Looking for Opinions/Suggestions, new to the forum

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Archdragon24



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Posted January 05 2010 - 01:17 AM

Hello all, I came across hometheaterforums while browsing the internet looking for information/hardware for a home theater system. My wife and I have recently purchased a new home that will begin construction tomorrow.

We are having the 20x17 main family room pre-wired for a 5.1 surrond sound, and a entertainment panel installed, to allow a TV to be placed over the fireplace. The picture below shows the relative design of the room. To the south wall is a hallway and a stairwell that leads to the second floor. The northern wall has a large arch window. The fireplace sits in the middle of the west wall, and the east wall has an opening into the breakfast/kitchen area. The red marks indicate the planned speaker positions, but will be finalised during construction.


Our current hardware consists of a 42" Toshiba Regza, a PS3, and a Wii (that wouldn't turn on last night ), Im currently looking for new speakers and an Amp, to replace my Logitech Digital 5.1 computer speaker system (as my gaming computer will not be in this room). I know through previous experience that buying components seperate is the way to go, especially for a room this size.<br></span> We are currently looking for a "family room" style surrond sound, one where we can watch movies/play music/play games but with out waking the neighbors. Our current plan is to turn the basement into a true Hometheater (already have the projector) at a later time. <br><br>Our current budge is around 7-800 dollars. After doing some research I found: <br><br><table class= 
Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System  which got pretty good reviews on Amazon and Cnet. 

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7-Channel A/V Receiver (Black) which has fairly good reviews on amazon, and being the best pick on cnet(the include ipod dock is a plus). The reviews do leave me a little worried. People say the system runs way hotter then it should (which, being an IT professional, heat + electronics does not make a good situation), also they said the devices is overly complex to set up, and many times takes hours if not days to correctly configure. Two people have also reported that the front (stereo) speakers do not provide a 120w as specified, but they are actually 90w.
My questions is, does anyone have experience with either the speakers or the amp? Does anyone have any other suggestions about other hardware to look at for the size of room that we have (while staying with in budget of course). Any suggestions or opinions would help.


#2 of 6 OFFLINE   chuckg


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Posted January 05 2010 - 02:57 AM

My first comment is sure to raise hackles, but: Over the fireplace is the worst place for a TV.  You have to crane your neck to watch, and the heat and smoke from the fire is kinda bad for the TV.

Second: the front speakers look to be too far apart.  They should be about ten feet apart, or maybe even a bit less.  Proper position can only be determined by listening, which is tough when you are pre-wiring.

Depending on seating location, the sides may be too far back.  the side "surround" speaker should be just slightly behind your head at the best seating location.

you didn't indicate rear speaker positions, but they should be about as far apart as the fronts.

My personla pref is to put Onkyo a few yards ahead of pioneer.

And.... a 42" TV is going to be small in that room.
--ignore the man behind the curtain

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Archdragon24



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Posted January 05 2010 - 03:55 AM

Ah thanks,

As for the fire place, it is the only place that makes sense in the room, anywhere else your either blocking an enternce, or a window. As for the fireplace itself, its vented natural gas fireplace (so the smoke issue is none-existant) also the fireplace comes into the room about a foot and a 1/2, with a mantel on top, which should help protect the TV from heat.

The onkyo speaker set does not come with an amp, so i would have to buy an amp seperetly.

Thanks for the information on the front speakers, ill have them move the ports to the other side. The front speakers will eventually rest on a cabnet/shelf of some sort, so they will beable to be moved around a bit.

As for the rear speakers, this is a 5.1 not 7.1 set up. So with that, would it bet better to have the speakers a little behind the sitting area? (as in close to they are now?) or a little infront of the seating area?

We cannot do ceiling mounted speakers because of a ceiling fan.

The 42 inch tv will have to do for now. Ny wife wont let be buy a bigger one yet, and she bared me from putting the projector in this room. Eventually a bigger one will be placed in this room and the 42 inch moved to the loft upstairs.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted January 05 2010 - 06:29 AM

The fireplace will always be at the most logical place for a TV since each are intended to be the focal point of the room.

By far, the biggest downside to putting the TV over the fireplace is the neck strain.  Ever watch the TV much when you're sitting in the airport or at a doctor's office?  For me, at least, it only takes about 10-15 minutes before my neck is killing me.  All that aside, if that's where it's gotta go, then that's where it's gotta go.

You should also consider cabling - it's often difficult to run cables in-wall around a fireplace.  Have you taken that into account?  Are you OK with a power cable and HDMI video cable running down the side of the fireplace if need be?

Finally, center channel speaker placement will also be compromised.  Your best bet would be to place the center channel on the mantel, angled down to the listening position a bit.  This will mean wall-mounting the TV.  Since the mantel protrudes 18" from the wall, you'll need to mount the TV even higher so the mantle doesn't block the view.

I agree that the front L/R speakers should be moved in a bit, and to reinforce chuckg's point: the side/surround speakers should be located at or slightly behind the listening position.  You don't want them too close to the rear wall however, since they need space to help create the diffuse soundfield that surrounds provide.

The Pioneer receiver looks to be a fine unit - it should have all the features you need.  It may be a waste to get a 7.1 speaker system if two of the speakers aren't going to be used, however if the price is right...

One other thought: since you mentioned adding a "true home theater" to the basement in the future, why go to the trouble to add a somewhat compromised 5.1 system in this room?  You could instead maybe create a 3.1 system (skip the surrounds) for this room, and put the extra funds into the hopper for the basement system.

You could go with something like this:

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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 05 2010 - 08:13 AM


The fireplace will always be at the most logical place for a TV since each are intended to be the focal point of the room.
The fireplace will always be the least logical place for a TV because a room isn't supposed to have two focal points - at least not on the same wall.  If you're an interior decorator and you view a TV as a design element essentially interchangable with a painting, it makes perfect sense to put it over the fireplace.  But if you're interested in the function of a TV instead of the form of the room, you realize that the neck-strain issue reveals such placement as utterly impractical and therefore illogical. 

People shouldn't try to make one room serve all purposes.  If you want a lovely living room with a fireplace, by all means build one.  But then set aside a different room as your home theater and make sure it is set up to be one.  Or go with a front projection system that can drop the screen down to the proper height when you're watching a movie and retract it to reveal the fireplace when you aren't.  (Oh, and don't try to use  both at the same time.)

Seriously.  TVs above fireplaces are like in-ceiling speakers.  They both appeal to people who care everything about how the room looks and nothing about how the movie looks or sounds.   Which is fine.  People can have whatever priorities they want.  But they should decide what those priorities are and act on them, and not kid themselves that they can try to have it both ways without seriously compromising one or the other. 

OK, rant over.  Move along, nothing to see here. 




Personally, given the layout above, I'd either go front projection or I'd get a nice, big L-shaped section sofa.  Run one leg along the "bottom" wall with the "ell" going into the room, parallell to where the fireplace is.  I'd rellocate the fireplace (it's gas-fired, so that's not a huge deal) to the top wall, facing the "bottom" and put the TV and entertainment unit where the fire place is in the diagram.  Add a couple of arms chairs near the fireplace and you have a room that can focus on the fireplace when it is in use, and the home theater when it should dominate.  The fireplace on the other wall even creates a nice littel conversation area away from the rest of the room. 


#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Archdragon24



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Posted January 06 2010 - 04:43 AM

Thanks for the inpurt, but unfortunitly we dont have control of where the fireplace is within the room itself. We can either put it along the main wall(as it is now) or in the corner. (which having seen the fireplace in the corner in a model room), the corner fireplace looks akward.

Thanks for the advice though.

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