High Ceilings + No Back Wall + No Money

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by billybob_jcv, May 9, 2005.

  1. billybob_jcv

    billybob_jcv Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all. I'm a noob researching my first HT purchase. I'm new to HT, but I have been an audiophile-in-training since the mid 70's. I have a fairly large room (18ft x 32ft) with high cathedral ceilings (no attic). This is basically a great room with the viewing area at one end (18 ft x 14 ft). I'm confused about what to do when you don't have a back wall or an 8ft ceiling - is this "good" or "bad"? I know real theaters have huge high ceilings, but they also have many huge speakers and huge amps! I'm also concerned about having enough sound for the room, and (of course) I also have a very limited budget - probably no more than $1500 for speakers and receiver. I'm thinking I only have the cash for 5.1 now, more later. Probably 75% movies, 25% music, and the music is Classic Rock (geez I hate being a "classic") - Zep, Aerosmith, etc. Is an $1100 5.1 speaker system and a $400 receiver going to be adequate for the average guy with this type of room?

    billy

    (Lurk Mode On)
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    I am going to bet, your going to like it loud, I usually try to get people to true theater like reference levels. Your self description of yourself as an audiophile, probably dictates you will want that as well.

    I think the minimum current production sub I'd put in that room would be a DLS5000R.

    Under $600 from this fairly top ranked seller.
    http://www.aboutgizmos.com/vedl5.html


    Maybe this AVR at a minimum....
    http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?...890&svbname=30

    Leaves less than $500 for speakers though.
    Maybe just 4 of these.... Modern AVR's will create a center from the two L/R Front mains.
    http://www.etronics.com/listproducts...id=4127&store=

    So not counting shipping...

    That is:
    $577 for the sub
    $510 for the avr
    $440 for the Qty.4 AR tower speakers
    --------
    $1527.00
    $ 160.00 shipping

    You sure made me work for that one. [​IMG]
    Should provide impressive performance to say the least.
    Maybe set your cross over at 100hz to help the AVR out some to drive them louder.
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    Pretty funny...


    I think I am the only one, that wanted to even take on this challenge!!!! [​IMG]


    I think I did pretty good with the given room size, paramaters and budget. [​IMG]
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'd say spend a bit less on the receiver, a bit more on speakers, and about the same on the sub. I will make some other suggestions however:

    Mains: JBL E80 ($360 from BH Photo)
    Surrounds: JBL E20s ($100 from J&R)
    Center: JBL EC35 ($180 from BH Photo)
    Sub: SVS PCi 25-31 ($550 from SVS)
    Receiver: Onkyo 602 ($250 refurbished from J&R)

    Total: $1440 before shipping

    These prices are all from authorized dealers. BH Photo ships for free, J&R ships smaller items for free. If you call J&R they'll probably ship the receiver for free too. The only think you'll have to pay shipping on is the subwoofer and you should still stay under $1500 total. This receiver is a bargain, has quite a bit of power, and a great auto-calibration with room-eq. The E80s will also do a good job for 2ch music w/out the sub, but you'll probably enjoy the sub on for 2ch as well in a room that size. The JBLs are also available in Black, Cherry, or Beachwood so you can pick the color that maches you decor the best.

    You save alot by going w/ the refurb Onkyo 602, it's a $500 receiver normally. You also receive the full 2yr mfg warranty. Ordering that yamaha from etronics there's a possibility they won't honor the warranty since etronics is not an authorized dealer.

    Using a phantom center (derived from the L/R front) is fine if you're the only listener and you're sitting in the sweet spot. If you have multiple viewers and/or are more than a few degrees of axis and you really need a dedicated center to keep things centered on screen.

    The DLS line from velodyne are great subs and their room-eq is a great feature, but I think you'll get more output and lower extension from the SVS, especially in a room that size. The room-eq on the velodyne eats up alot of power when it tries to boost the last octive. I also would run an 80hz crossover for HT to minimize localization of the sub. It won't strain the AVR much more and will help the sub blend much better.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  5. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    John, I think you did pretty good!... I thought about it for a bit and could not come up with anything I could think of that would work in his price range for his size of room since its basicly the same as my room with the high ceilings and all. Especially in the bass department for movies. I had to go from dual 12" subs from NHT to a single SVS PB12+/Ultra to get that real slam feeling. But that was about as much as his whole budget.

    How about starting with a basic good stereo package.. Maybe a good 5.1 or 7.1 receiver which are not too expensive and your front three speakers and save up for the rest. You would have good music and ok HT for the moment. Get the rears and a better sub later which you will really want for HT. Take if from a guy that has upgraded about 5 times in the last 10 years and wish I would have started out right even if I didn't have the money at first... Again this is just my opinion.. If you must have it now you probably won't do any better than what was mentioned above... Just be prepared for needing an upgrade or having the upgrade bug in a year or so.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    My main goal was getting him to reference levels and still have headroom left, I just figured the flagship Yamaha would probably have enough power to fill the space with those speakers, rather than a less AVR worth better speakers. Would make for an easier upgrade down the road. It seems to me, he needs towers though in the rear by description of his room configuration.

    Those AR speakers, I recently encountered in somebodies home as their mains. I was very impressed, especially when the price was factored in.

    As an installer of HT, if confronted with that budget and that room. I'd be ordering in what I posted with a high degree of confidence. [​IMG]

    Now, I will be die'n to see what the guy actually orders!!


    [​IMG]
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    Hey Stephen.. Doesn't that SVS sub need an amp as well????

    That price seems to me like it is without amp????
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Nope, the 25-31pci is powered. The unpowered version is $379.
     
  9. John S

    John S Producer

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    Thanks SethH..... I really wasn't sure.

    Single 12"?? A room that large... I'd get the Velodyne. [​IMG]

    I think I'd go on up to the PB12/ISD/2......
    Interesting as in a room that size, I'd reccomend away from any single 12" driver solution. I just don't see it quite getting the job done for true reference levels. I do think the single 15" Velodyne even wouldn't have very much headroom left, but I think it would "work" for it.

    Still only 2.5 real suggestions here. I think you (The thread originator) see how tough that price point is to hit to achieve real theater like performance.
     
  10. billybob_jcv

    billybob_jcv Stunt Coordinator

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    I very much appreciate the suggestions - I know this is tough! (If it was easy I wouldn't of asked! [​IMG] )

    So, I'm hearing two options:

    1) Invest as much money as I can on the sub, but for now have less invested in the receiver & speakers.

    2) Invest as much on the receiver and mains as I can, a little less on the sub, none or very little on the surrounds.

    Would it be any different if I rotated the viewing area by 90 degrees so that I have a back wall, but one side is open? I'm guessing no, because the overall room volume is still the same.

    Also - recognize that right now we are living with the built-in speakers on our TV, and I recently gave away my late 70's vintage 40w stereo amp & speakers (the woofer surrounds were shot), leaving me with just my ipod! So, my standards may not be as high as y'all are thinking...
    [​IMG]
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    I don't think rotating the room will help all the much, still the same room volume.

    Actually my option, because I was going for true theater like reference level volume is to invest in as much power as you can. And then 4 speakers that should work well for not much money.

    So ...

    3) Invest in as much power as you can to fill that space. The sub is going to have the greatest impact on filling that room correctly though.


    It is tick for tack and there are a ton of different ways to divide up the budget. But of course, I think my system would have the higher fidelity at true reference type volume levels.

    Reference levels are loud though, many people do not watch at those levels. But they also complain about not being able to hear quiet dialog when they are getting blown out by the action.

    At rerference levels, the quiet parts are loud, and the action nearly blows you away. As it should be, as it is does in the better pay movie theaters.
     
  12. John S

    John S Producer

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    PS: keep in mind, that to fill large spaces properly, two main things are the most important.

    1. Power
    2. Speaker efficiency

    I really thought long and hard how to best get you there within budget.
     
  13. billybob_jcv

    billybob_jcv Stunt Coordinator

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    John: I very much aprreciate it! I need to see if I can find the AR's for a listen.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. John S

    John S Producer

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    I personally wouldn't think about putting an Onkyo 602 in that room, unless I had like 97db efficient speakers or something close to it.

    Not sure of your general location. But J&R has them for Demo.

    Here is a link to a place that has cheap enough shipping and a 30 day return no questions asked.
    http://www.accessories4less.com/Amaz...BC=AR+SPEAKERS

    The other two pieces I suggested are of high end enough, that I wouldn't worry to much about those.

    best of luck, post back and let us know.
     
  15. billybob_jcv

    billybob_jcv Stunt Coordinator

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    Lots of people come to the forum and ask for help, but very few of those folks follow-up with what action they finally took. So, I thought I would break that trend and tell you what I did.

    In my area, we have the big 3 BM stores (BB, CC and GG), and a couple of smaller AV shops. I tried hard to like the Athenas so that I could take advantage of the BB blow-outs, but once I heard the Boston Acoustics at a couple of the AV shops, I knew what I wanted. Unfortunately, most of the BA line was out of my budget. So, I did what I always do - I started looking for deals and/or used.

    The first find was a Pioneer 912K receiver being dumped at Costco.com. It has everything I needed, and the price was incredible. Next, I stopped at a nearby The Great Indoors because they are a Boston dealer. As expected, everything was full MSRP, *except* for a demo set of CR-75s that had just been replaced by the new CR-77. They had them priced at $149, and I got them to drop them another 10% because they were without a box. That was cheaper than the sale price at Onecall.com. I then hit two deals on eBay, one for a pair of CR7s, and the other for a VR910 center. Both arrived in absolutely perfect condition and were sniped at a great price. I decided to wait a while on the sub. I already had a TV and a DVD player. So, here's where I stand:

    All Prices include shipping & tax (if any)
    (1) Pioneer 912K (Costco.com) - $176.33
    (2) BA CR-75 (The Great Indoors) - $155.83
    (2) BA CR-7 (eBay) - $132.50
    (1) BA VR-910 (eBay) - $127.50
    (2) StudioTech SP-30 Stands (thetwistergroup.com) - $188.00
    (1) Digital dB Meter (Radio Shack) - $53.61
    Misc wire, cables, connectors, etc (various) - $130.00

    TOTAL: $910.16

    Even without the sub, it sounds great! The three front speakers are not perfectly timbre matched (CR mains and VR center), but I really like the clarity of the VR910 for dialog, and overall the Boston's are every bit as smooth and tight as I hoped. Without a sub, I have all the speakers set to large. The 7-series bookshelves get down to 52 Hz which is enough to make Aerosmith rock and even get the couch shaking a little during the pod race. I can't wait to add a sub!

    My original budget was $1500 and I am very happy with what I have purchased so far. I will (of course) be on the lookout for a deal on the sub - maybe the Acoustech H-100, a B-stock STF-2 or PB10-isd, or a refurb Velodyne. [​IMG]

    Finally, a big thank you to the forum and its members for the huge amount of knowledge and help available here.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. John S

    John S Producer

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    I sort of forgot about this thread, and for some reason just wondered today what you actually purchsed....


    You did real well for the money, I like BA speakers very much.

    I like that just went out and found some good/great deals. I mean nobody can just put you together a system like the one you purchased, only you could of tracked down those deals.

    Sounds like a lot of bang for your buck indeed.
     

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