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Layout Advice for Open Concept New Construction (1 Viewer)


Jan 8, 2022
Real Name
Sean Hicks
My wife and I are building a new home. With the way our family winds down in the evenings, we decided against another dedicated home theater as the one we had before went, sadly, underutilized until it eventually became storage overflow. Our new home is going to be open concept, and I want to make our main living area as good of a home theater experience as possible given the limitations of both the architectural plan and my wife's personal preferences. The main living area will be at one end of a roughly 19' wide x 37'-39' long space with 10' high ceilings. At the other end will be the kitchen area with space for dining in between. I worked diligently with the architectural design team to maintain a rectangular shape with at least three walls, but there will be an opening at the back left corner (from seated position) for the foyer and, of course, the cavernous remainder of the space behind the listener. I am hoping to build a 5.1 (maybe 5.2, 5.1.2 or 5.2.2) system with a somewhat generous budget of $600-1200 per speaker, but in addition to the space I also have WAF-driven interior design constraints. <humor>This may be my first post, but I am a long time reader so, before anyone asks, NO, a different wife is not an option at this time.</humor> Aside from the sheer volume of space and the cavernous rear of the room, I also have to deal with a 60" ceiling fan karate chopping the air, 8" wide x 10" high (low?) decorative ceiling beams (three total spaced 5'9" apart starting at the fireplace/TV wall), an all the way to the ceiling limestone fireplace with built-in shelving and cabinets to either side (77" OLED TV to be mounted above fireplace mantel NOT at seated eye level, I know... I know...) and a grid of can lights I don't want speakers or speaker wire too close to for electromagnetic interference reasons. Additionally, my wife has ruled out in-wall speakers (even with grills painted to match), any floor-standers (which she describes as bachelor pad) and any bookshelves that aren't "pretty" (for reference, the Elac Debut Reference DBR62 in White/Oak and the Triangle Borea BR03 in White/Light Oak are examples of bookshelf speakers she considers "pretty"). Honestly, she seems more interested in not seeing speakers at all, which has me looking at in-ceiling options despite my misgivings about sound direction (especially for the fronts). Currently looking at the following options:
  • Definitive Technology RCS II/RSS II
  • Focal 100ICLCR5
  • Focal 300ICLCR5
  • SnapAV Episode HT700-ICLCR-5
  • Triad Bronze/8 LCR
  • Triad Silver/8 LCR
My current diagrams assume Triad Bronze/8 (though I am leaning Silver/8, granted with their somewhat secretive pricing I have no idea if those speakers are in-budget or not). The 45-degree angle seems extreme, but might be what I have to do to direct sound around these 10" thick decorative ceiling beams and away from the ceiling fan blades. The best I can come up with while keeping everything INSIDE the boundaries of the main living area (everything between the fireplace and the farthest decorative ceiling beam) seems to create a sweet spot that's a little too close to the television (remember it's mounted too high) and fireplace. This would create about 3.8' of separation between front channels, 13.3' of separation between front and rear channels and about 8.8' of separation between rear-left and rear-right. I am really in analysis paralysis mode right now, and looking for advice on speaker placement and types to both optimize the listening experience and maybe move the sofa back to a sane distance away from the TV and fireplace (ever so slightly behind the ceiling fan would be good). I am also interested in community opinions on the speakers listed above as well as home theater receivers to drive them (must have pre-outs so I can upgrade to a separate amplifier later). Any and all advice/opinions appreciated, except, of course, the fore mentioned replacement of existing wife. See Imgur links below for reference.

Floor Plan
Side View

One more thing... I did consider "pretty" bookshelf speakers sitting on the counter tops above the built-in cabinets with a matching center on the fireplace mantel, but the fireplace mantel is only 8" deep and every center channel I've looked at is deeper than that allows.
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