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How can I set up effective surround sound in our living room? (1 Viewer)

SammyQ2

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Hello folks. I'm very happy to have stumbled across this forum.

We have a two year old 55" Sony Braveria HDTV, a brand new Yamaha RX-V385 5.1 receiver, and my trusty pair of 40+ year old Dynaco A35 speakers. I just picked up a pair of Bose 161 speakers which I intended to use for the rear speakers, but I am having a real hard time locating them in the room.

If they are located on the rear wall, we can't hear them. Sam's Recliner is a high back leather chair and seemed to block the sound. I tried putting the LR Bose on the coffee table, and that helped me hear it better, but it's not practical with the wires and all. On the other side of the room, I tried placing the RR speaker on the table next to Sandy's couch and she could hear that one, but again the thing with the wires and it's crowded with a lamp and other doo-dads that accumulate on tables.

I thought perhaps a set-up with wireless blue tooth speakers could dress it up, but I still have to have power cords, so no big benefit there. I think speakers mounted in the ceiling would be impractical and almost impossible to run the wires.

At this point I'm about ready to return the Bose speakers and just go with my two Dynacos, but I was hoping you wizards might have a good suggestion or two. How about it?

Sam

Living room.PNG IMAG4974.jpg IMAG4975.jpg
 

Todd Erwin

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Welcome to the forum, Sam!

I would definitely return the Bose, and possibly the Yamaha receiver, as I have a feeling, based on what you are saying, that it does not have enough power and that the Dynaco's may be drawing most of the power away from the other speakers. You may want to step up to the V485 (or find a V483 on clearance for just a few bucks more than what the V385 is currently selling for) for a few extra watts of power.

For true 5.1 surround, you need a total of SIX speakers: LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER, LEFT SURROUND, RIGHT SURROUND, and SUBWOOFER, preferably all from the same manufacturer (possible exception would be the sub). Once installed, you should run the receiver's YPAO calibration program using the included microphone. I would recommend the Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 home theater speaker system, which is currently a great bargain on Amazon at only $499 ($300 off). Dolby has a quick and easy to understand guide on 5.1 speaker placement.
 
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SammyQ2

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Thanks for the reply. We did run the YPAO a few times, as we fooled around with speaker placement. As far as power goes, we don't listen to things very loud. My wife hates loud scary surprise sounds. That makes me think the current receiver is strong enough for us, not that I'm married to the V385 or anything.

I do see the merit in having all components of the same brand/system. I imagine it would balance things better.

I still have questions about speaker placement in our room, particularly the rear speakers. You have any thoughts on that?

As a side note, when we bought this house my wife wanted new handles for the kitchen cabinets, which ultimately led to having the entire kitchen remodeled. I can see this surround stuff leading to a completely different living room arrangement, new furniture and possibly an addition to the house. There is no end to it, is there?
 

Todd Erwin

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In the past, I have used a wireless adapter kit sold at Best Buy. It is not great, but it does work, and you can actually turn it off if you do not want to use it. I actually recommend turning it off when not in use, not only to conserve electricity, but also not to wear it out. There are actually two models available right now, as is appears they've made some minor design changes.

Model RF-WHTIB is what I used in my last home up until about a year ago, and is on clearance for $59.99.
Model RF-WRSK18 is the newer model, currently selling for $99.99.

What I like about the ProCinema 600 speakers is their size, but don't let the size fool you. They actually work very well, and the idea of matching speakers is for timber and tonal matching, so when sound travels from one speaker to the next, the frequency range and power consumption does not change the quality of the sound. The center speaker fits quite nicely in front of most modern flat panels, even on a stand, like yours. The surrounds I would consider mounting on the wall at or maybe just above seated ear level, using a bracket that pivots so you can easily adjust the angle. Many on here will say that is not ideal, and yes, they would be correct, but when trying to conform a room like yours to a home theater environment, you have to be somewhat creative and compromise a bit (which is why I suggest the adjustable brackets). I've attached a suggestion on speaker placement, too.

LivingRoom.jpg
 

SammyQ2

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Thought I'd post what we finally wound up with. I ordered the Definitive Technology 600 system, though I missed the sale price by a hundred bucks. We set it up and gave it a reasonable try. I set it up pretty much according to Todd's layout suggestions, and used the Yamaha's YAPO for system calibration. One major problem, my wife hates sudden loud sounds, so I can't turn up the volume to a point where I might enjoy the surround effect. I kind of liked the extra bass from the woofer, but we don't really watch "thriller" type movies and it didn't seem to kick in all that much.

Long story short, for $600 I really didn't think we had the benefit in sound improvement . I'm sure a lot of it had to do with our listening chair placement and volume levels, but that wasn't going to change. My wife did like the increased voice clarity from the center speaker, so that was good. In the end, we returned the D.T. 600 system to Amazon and installed a D.T. 1000 center speaker instead. We went back to my original Dynaco speakers, I was kind of attached to them anyway. The wife seems to like this system and I got out of having to run speaker wires through our crawl space.

Thanks for the guidance. BTW, what is the purpose of the center speaker crossover and what should it be set to?

Thanks.
 

Todd Erwin

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I would leave the crossover at whatever setting the receiver calibrated it at, unless there is a notieacble difference in frequency response when sounds pan from left to center to right.
 

DaveF

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One major problem, my wife hates sudden loud sounds, so I can't turn up the volume to a point where I might enjoy the surround effect. I kind of liked the extra bass from the woofer, but we don't really watch "thriller" type movies and it didn't seem to kick in all that much.
Set the receiver to Night mode or Dynamic Compression mode or whatever yours calls it. It will compress the dynamic range and should let both you and your wife enjoy movies more.
 

SammyQ2

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Set the receiver to Night mode or Dynamic Compression mode or whatever yours calls it. It will compress the dynamic range and should let both you and your wife enjoy movies more.

Not sure what this is. I will have to dig into the Yamaha RX-V385 manual.
 

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