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Hi all, Cheryl here. (1 Viewer)


Jul 8, 2017
Real Name
Stumbled across this forum recently and decided to give it a whirl.

I particularly enjoy the huge picture with highly accurate color, and the crystal-clear sound of the system overall now that the room treatments and EQ are tuned.

I have an 11.1 living room home theater in my small irregularly shaped apartment. The main living space is approximately 25' square, but it is also irregular so the modal response is not completely terrible. The worst acoustic feature is a strongly resonant first mode bump at 20Hz that I attenuated with some absorption (not really), some phase shift between subwoofers (slightly effective), some graphic EQ (slightly more effective), and lots of careful subwoofer placement. The second worst acoustic feature is the front-rear axis on the shorter room dimension with the partial (bedroom) wall crowding the rear. The third worst acoustic feature is the wall-wall carpet and my clutter sucking out the ambient feel (but eventually the clutter will go now that the absorption is basically complete).

The system is atypical for its high audio output capability and meticulously optimized manual tuning in such a space, along with its very low cost approaching ~$7000 for everything in the room including all the furniture. I focused on maximizing the audio performance while de-emphasizing the latest/greatest tech so I could take advantage of used equipment and DIY construction/repairs.

I know you AVphiles are all primarily interested in my equipment so here goes.

1) Onkyo 11.1 Neo:x 130WPC receiver
2) Crown 130WPC stereo amps powering the front wides and front l/r
11) Sapphire/TSC speakers including
- 2) 3-way MTM towers with 10" woofer (front l/r, 93dB)
- 4) 3-way MTM towers with dual 8" woofers (side/rear surround, 95dB)
- 4) 2-way bookshelf speakers (front high/wide, 89dB)
- 1) 2-way WTW center speaker (mounted vertically above the TV, 91dB)
2) SVS PB10 300W subwoofers
1) DIY i7 HTPC (dual boots Windows 10/Ubuntu and hopefully virtualization eventually)
1) DIY 24TB i7 NAS (Ubuntu, migrating to something I can spin down the RAID on)
1) Channel Master (old style) 8-bay OTA antenna w/amp for TV in two rooms
1) Dipole antenna w/amp for FM in two rooms
1) Sony AM-HD/FM-HD table radio
1) Samsung OTA digital TV tuner
3) DIY first reflection absorber (left side is open)
7) DIY bass trap in various corners
1) Sony blu-ray player
1) Yamaha 3-head cassette
1) Technics linear tracking moving coil turntable
1) OmniMount glass/metal TV stand (large enough for my 75" Laservue rear projection that died)
1) Samsung 46" LCD
1) Elite 100" acoustically transparent screen
1) BenQ DLP projector
1) DIY bias light behind the LCD, comprised of blue computer lights dangling off the center speaker bracket and powered by an old PC supply
2) LED mood lights in the front corners, one blue sconce, one red

I built the absorption entirely from polyethylene fiber pillows/comforters/sofa cushions, bed sheets/pillow shams/duvet covers, paper, cardboard boxes, and various hardware. I hate fiberglass contaminating my living space and prefabricated absorption would not have fit in this small space. All the mounting for the speakers, absorbers, and projection is custom DIY from basic hardware. The wide speakers hang from nylon cord off the ceiling absorber mounts, to avoid cluttering up the walkway with stands that tip easily.

My primary concerns with the sound are:
  • The center speaker has some cabinet resonance that I need to brace
  • The speaker crossovers are 2nd order, so the 2-way and 3-way systems have some phase conflict due to the phase inversion between bands and the divergent crossover frequencies (I was unaware of this issue when I began this journey down the rabbit hole)
  • The room ambiance is slightly dead from the wall-wall carpeting and the clutter
  • I cannot turn it up loud enough in an apartment without annoying the neighbors
  • I should probably look into a resonant bass trap for that 20Hz rather than skewing the phase between the subwoofers -- the hallway seems to be large part of the problem
My primary concerns with the video are:
  • The LCD is old and has very poor black uniformity plus the color is slightly off, but it does seem to handle 24fps OK, unlike some of the newer budget 4K sets
  • The cheap AT screen has visible moire with 1080p pixels
  • The projector has visible rainbows (but this goes away once I stop scanning the yuuuge screen with my eyes)
  • The projector has very poor contrast (but it is bright and clear in full north-facing daylight as long as the partially closed vertical shade of the sliding glass door blocks any direct daylight from shining on the screen)
Overall the cosmetics look bad, but I live alone and I do not care too much about the appearance. I was shooting for the acoustic performance, not the cosmetics and not the video. Most of the time the room is darkened anyway and the majority of my daily use is music or TV series.

I might add some diffusion eventually but since it sounds pretty good already I am leaving that for last, once I do a final tune and see how the reflections measure/sound. Actually, since I have never been in anyone else's tuned home theater, mine is the best I have ever heard.<_<

I tend to listen in Neo:x sound mode (music or movie) because the acoustics of this room are poor and the surround synthesis helps extract ambiance that would otherwise die off in the overly absorptive/diffusive room crowded with all this equipment. My hearing has brick-wall loss above 10KHz so any subtle reflected room ambiance gets lost anyway and the synthesis artifacts are similarly filtered.

I am looking for a streaming media player and the LCD is going on the wall eventually with the components in a vertical rack in the corner and the center speaker mounted to the wall, so I can stop squeezing between the huge ottoman and the huge TV stand. Eventually, if I feel a need, I may add some diffusion, but so far it sounds OK to me as-is, finally, after several iterations of absorption as I gradually learned how to approach it.

The frequency response of the front three speakers is approximately within +/-4dB of the target -1dB/octave from 18Hz-16KHz using only the graphic EQ, though that tuning was done before I finished the absorption so it may have changed somewhat and probably needs a retune. The surround speakers EQ is disabled until I have time to retune but the EQ I already attempted on them indicates they are not going to ever approach the frequency response of the rest of the system.

The good people at AVS Forum, DIY audio, and Gearslutz provided me with most of the help I needed understanding small room acoustics and my formal education in engineering did the rest along with lots of reading online.

I run the sound for a couple of local bar bands occasionally. I also play bass guitar at home occasionally and recently began formal lessons, but I am not in a group. I twiddle on keyboard sometimes and I can strum a guitar if not too complicated. I sing like a croaking frog so don't ask me to karaoke or I die of embarrassment.;)

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