New home surround sound install

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Chris.A, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Chris.A

    Chris.A Auditioning

    Jul 30, 2005
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    I would like to ask for some opinions regarding the custom installation of a surround sound system for a new home. My parents are building a new home and would like to install surround sound in a living room that has a very open floor plan. I realize that a home theater is typically installed in a small room that has good acoustical dimensions. I also realize that speaker position and seating position play a vital role in home theater design. With that said I will tell you that this room is probably the absolute worst room to install a home theater system in. My parents don’t plan to build a dedicated “home theater” and would simply like to add surround sound to an existing room for an occasional movie.

    The living room is 20’-1” wide by 15’-2.5” long. The room will have vaulted ceilings and will be open to both a hallway and kitchen area. The exterior wall of the room will feature a fireplace placed between two windows. The television will be placed in a recessed area above the fireplace.

    My parents would like to keep the speakers and audio components concealed as much as possible. They are planning on using a complete set of in wall speakers. The audio components will be placed in a closet or possibly under a counter.

    What are some suggestions for audio components/ speakers for this setup? I would like to do this on a budget preferably under 1k for the receiver and speakers. Is this possible? Keep in mind that this room is for an occasional movie with the family and not designed for an audiophile. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Welcome to Home Theater Forum, Chris.

    This question is precisely why your post has been relocated to the Speakers/Subs area. The Basics area is strictly for general discussion at the beginner level. For model-specific queries you must post in the appropriate hardware-related area.

    Best of luck.
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Welcome to the Forum, Chris!

    Don’t worry about setting the system up in the living room. You can actually get very good results there. Things like vaulted ceilings and opening up to other areas more often than not enhance acoustics. Believe it or not, it is dedicated rooms that often pose the most formidable acoustical challenges.

    Since your parents aren’t enthusiasts, I imagine they aren’t too interested in setting up the room to maximize the viewing experience. Still, as many of the following guidelines as you can convince them to go along with, the better.

    Given the dimensions, it would probably be best to set the system up on one of the wide walls. This is how I’ve set things up in the last two places I’ve lived, and I liked it a lot. It makes the room feel larger. The other way makes the room feel like a tunnel.

    For surround sound purposes, it’s best to move the primary seat some distance away from the wall. This not only enables you to put the seating closer to the TV (which effectively makes the picture larger), it makes rear speaker placement easier, as more options are available.

    Rear speakers should be placed in one of two locations: On the side walls a foot or two behind the main viewing seat, or on the rear wall roughly perpendicular to the front L/R speakers, or perhaps a little further apart.

    In-wall speakers that will be installed above head level (i.e., where your head is when you’re sitting down viewing) should be inverted. This places the tweeter closer to ear level, for better imaging.

    If the TV is set up on the opposite wall from a window, it will put a nasty reflection on the screen. Thus try to set up the room with the windows to the side of the TV, or put the TV in front of the window. If not, plan on installing light-blocking window treatments.

    Have your parents ever had a TV installed above a fireplace? If not, they might want to rethink that. I expect it will get tiresome having to crane your neck all the time to see a display that high. It’s best to situate the TV at or near eye level. Also unless the recessed area is well insulated, heat build up from the fireplace could be an issue, especially in the case of some flat-screen TV’s.
    This really isn’t the proper Forum to ask for component recommendations. It would be best to redirect those questions to our Receivers/ Separates/Amps and Speakers and Subwoofers Forums. Mention your budget and you’re sure to get some good recommendations.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  4. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

    Oct 25, 2001
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    If the fireplace is gas and if there is a substantial mantle and if the screen is at least a couple of inches above the mantle I think you will be fine as far as heat problems go.

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