Newbie - needs speaker advice for large family room

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by EYESPORTS, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. EYESPORTS

    EYESPORTS Agent

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    Looking for speaker advice and appreciate your input. We are undergoing new construction (using a Denon 3805 receiver) and looking to install speakers (7.1) for the family room which is 25 ft wide by 22 ft depth. Having an entertainment center - couch, love seat. I am looking for advice on speakers. Please keep in mind that my better half (wife of course) would like "invisible" speakers - so the smaller, the better. I'm going to surround with 3 in front, 2 at sides, 2 in back and a sub-woofer. Would really like to spend up to $1200 total - but need to look into this ASAP - as the builder is rushing me so he can prep the installation area. We are using 14-4 wiring - I'm looking for (1) advice on brands/models. I know to stay away from Bose (great marketers), but they certainly have the size speakers we're looking for (Will Not Use Though). I'm going to mount the speakers on the walls (brackets) at sides and back (the back 4). (2) Bipole or Dipole ? ?, (3) any special cable to run in wall for Subwoofer (?coaxial? - if so, what should the termination jack be on both sides - RCA?), (3) I (my wife) would LOVE in wall speakers, so if anyone can convince me with a model, I would. (4) For the speaker terminations, would you have the jacks with banana plugs? (5) I have looked at Klipsch Synergy (wall mounted), but don't know much. It's very difficult listening in a home theatre place - because almost everything sounds perfect (We're not audiophiles though) - Appreciate your input.
     
  2. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    You'll have quite a tough time filling a room that large with sound, ESP for $1200.

    If you are just looking for a moderate system that you won't be cranking up I'd look at the Outlwa LFM-1, or the SVS PB10-ISD for a subwoofer, and something like the Athena take 5 setup.

    Maybe something like the Epin midi system from Axiom.

    In walls are a good choice, but a generally considered a compromise because location is much more limited.
     
  3. JimMIT

    JimMIT Stunt Coordinator

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    Brent is right -- your budget is on the low side. But, I understand that your budget is your budget.

    Given the size of your room, I don't believe you will be able to get any kind of decent theater sound from the tiny satellite-type speakers that you are talking about. With 4 - 5 1/2" drivers, they will simply not move enough air to create the effect you expect.

    If I were you, I'd go back to the drawing board. Consider moving to larger speakers -- at least as large as bookshelves. If that is out of the question because of WAF, consider using in-walls. Like Brent said, they are a compromise, but everything in audio and home theater has compromises -- as you are discovering.

    Another way to think about this: You don't have to purchase your entire system right now. You know where you want your speakers to go, so have your builder wire your house for them and just leave the wires in place behind the sheet-rock or terminating at a plate outlet. Then build your system gradually. Begin with the front three -- either in wall or whatever. Then later, as your budge permits, you can add sub, surrounds and back surrounds.

    Again, I think that if you go with satellite speakers, you are likely to be disappointed in the sound. Just my opinion.
     
  4. EYESPORTS

    EYESPORTS Agent

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    Thank you for your replies, Brent and Jim. I went around looking today - and as you said, others agree that the price I was considering was low and the size of the speakers were small. We're redoing an entire home, so the speaker budget just went up (as did everything in the home), and after speaking with the Mrs., she understands that we can go for larger (floor standing) up front (WHEW !). So, it's back to the drawing board looking for the "perfect" system for a family looking for decent sound, but not audiophiles. I've been searching thru all of the forums here, and there are so many opinions. Again, it's hard going to a quality A/V store, as everything there sounds great. If anyone can recommend a mid-level system (I'm using a Denon 3805 receiver, will have a 50-60" DLP TV), I'd appreciate it. I'm sure you'll come up with an SVS sub - is it really that good - or is there some kinda connection with these forums? Thanks for your replies.
     
  5. JimMIT

    JimMIT Stunt Coordinator

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    Recommending speakers is difficult; they are so subjective. Most have distinguishable tonal differences, e.g., Klipsch speakers are generally brighter to most people, etc. I recommend that you re-visit your local audio stores with an eye toward some critical listening. Take along material that you are familiar with. Begin listening to speakers in all price ranges with an eye toward determining what kind of sound you like. Then, as you develop an ear for that sound, gravitate toward those more in your budget.

    I don't know what brands are available for you to audition, but I think that the following brands all have a several speaker lines in different price ranges, including "mid-level":

    Athena Technologies. I don't know much about them, but they seem to get good reviews.

    B&W, probably 600 series. B&W speakers are well made and fairly popular.

    JMLabs, probably Chorus line.

    Klipsch, Reference series. Because of their horn-loaded tweeters and how they construct their cross-overs, these speakers are noted for their very forward sound. Most folks either love 'em or hate 'em. I understand they are popular with many HT lovers.

    Monitor Audio, Bronze or Silver line, depending on your budget.

    Paradigm, either Monitor line or Reference Studio line, depending upon your budget. Paradigm is particularly noted for giving good value for your dollar. Paradigm's Reference line is my personal favorite for mid-level speakers.

    Polk Audio. I'm not as familiar with these, but my son-in-law swears by them.

    There are many other speaker companies that make fine speakers, among them several Internet-only companies, e.g., Axiom and Onix (av123). While these mail order companies offer liberal return policies, unless you can find someone nearby who owns them, auditioning them involves purchasing them. I'm sure others will offer you their personal favorites.

    As far as subs go, SVS and Hsu seem to be the most popular these days. There are, of course, others but these two mail order companies seem to give consumers alot for their money. Again, auditioning these subs is somewhat problematic, but I understand many folks buy these two brands solely on their popularity and are very satisfied.

    Don't lock yourself into floorstanders; in most cases, bookshelves on stands offer better imaging than their tower brothers. As long as you'll have a sub, you won't need the lower frequencies of a tower. Of course, unless you plan to put them into an entertainment wall or bookshelf (not generally recommended by most audio folks), you'll need to purchase stands for them. I will add that I have my Paradigm Reference Studio 20's on the base cabinet of my entertainment center and they sound great.

    Regarding your other questions: I can't offer much advice on dipole vs. bipole; due to my room configuration, I had to go with in-ceilings with my set-up. Coaxial cable running through your wall is fine for your sub. It can terminate at the jack as coax and you can use an RCA adapter to plug your sub in.
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Does SVS advertise on the forum? Yep. But so do many other companies (just look at the top of the page to see the banners). Even with all these advertisers, SVS gets the most talk on the forum. Look around at other online forums and you may not see AS much SVS talk, but most forums see SVS and Hsu as extremely good price-to-performance ratio subwoofers. Look at both brands, read reviews, and choose. Also, at your price point, you'd have an extremely difficult time even comparing others subs to them unless you build it yourself. If you're willing to spend $2000+ on a sub then you can compete with the SVS and Hsu offerings that run about $1000.
     
  7. Mitch_J

    Mitch_J Stunt Coordinator

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    Bruce,
    I think you've received some very good advise here. May I recommend that you visit www.Aperionaudio.com and look over their line. They have some floorstanders with built in powered subs as well as a some surrounds, a couple center speakers and some dipole/bipoles too. They've also received good reviews on their line of subs. A couple other reasons that I encourage you to check out their line is they have absolutely beautiful finish. And they have no sales tax and free shipping with a 30day free home trial. Anyhow, Enjoy your shopping and have fun.
     
  8. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    On the SVS point. My thoughts about SVS being so popular on this forum is because this is where they started!

    Ron and Tom were always helping out others, Tom would throw up tons of movies with the bass frequencies highlighted, we must have asked him to plot 100+ movies a few years ago. Tom was always getting into the discussion about good quality bass at a fair price.

    I seen to remember the announcement(about them going into business together), you may be able to find it through a search, but it's almost bedtime for me.

    Brent
     
  9. Don*A

    Don*A Agent

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    I agree with the quotes about the budget being low. Only because you are not going to do that 3805 of justice at $1200 for 7 speakers and a Sub. It might be better to wait untill you can aford more or buy a brand that has good resale. But a budget is a budget so if that is where you need to be take a look at NHT in wall and in ceiling. You could due the whole 7.1 in that price range(Sub is even made for in wall). As also stated if you could swing it stay away from in wall. Also agree with the quote of Paradigm in that price range. Great Speakers for the money. Good Luck!
     
  10. EYESPORTS

    EYESPORTS Agent

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    I am the original poster of the message. I think I made a silly error when I mentioned a $1,200 budget. I was really throwing out a number that I thought would suffice - little did I know. I'm shelling out $1,000 on a reciever, $5,000 on the HDTV, $ thousands on a multizone, multimedia system - and all I really wanted was to get an appropriate (mid-level) set of speakers/SW for this family room. I'm nervous about selecting the wrong thing. I just didn't want the advice to go overboard with recommending high end, very expensive speakers. I truly appreciate all of your advice - I've been searching feverishly at all of your recommendations - and thank you all for taking the time and enlightening me on this area. Your expertise is much appreciated and it's very nice of all of you to respond in the manner you have. Please disregard the budget I set - I just didn't want to go overboard. Thanks.
     
  11. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Before you drop that five grand on a tv make sure you check out the benefits of a projector at 1/4 of the cost.
     
  12. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    Perhaps you could compromise: put in-wall speakers in for the surround and back speakers, but use three traditional speakers for the right left and center channels, which you could "hide" in your entertainment center. Both Polk and NHT have a fairly extensive lines of in-wall speakers. I have NHT speakers for my HT and I am very happy with them, and Polk has a fair amount of supporters as well. I would think that either manufacturer and/or a good dealer should be able to help you pick an in-wall speaker that is the best match for a bookshelf.

    >any special cable to run in wall for Subwoofer
    If it is a powered subwoofer, you need an analog audio run with RCA jacks. If it is a passive subwoofer, you can mount the external amp with the rest of your components in the entertainment center and run speaker wire to the sub, or run an analog audio cable and put the amp next to the sub.

    (2) Bipole or Dipole ? ?,
    If you are doing in-wall, it seems like there are few bi- or di-pole options, but that's a guess. I have dipole speakers I purchased in the Pro-Logic days. I currently use them as my side surround speakers, and have direct radiating speakers as my rear surround (channels 6 and 7). I think that having speakers that are intentionally diffuse is much less important with discrete 5.1 channel sources than it was 10 years ago. If you plan on listening to multi-channel music DVD-A or SACD, it is my understanding that di-pole or bi-pole speakers are less desirable than direct radiators.

    >For the speaker terminations, would you have the jacks with banana plugs?
    Do you mean something like this? Ideally you could drill a hole in a wall plate and bring the wires out directly to the speakers without an extra pair of connections. But a plate like this is a good looking solution, and probably not too hard on the audio signal. But if you do the in-walls this question is no longer relevant anyway.
     
  13. Steve(S)

    Steve(S) Extra

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    I had to give my friend similar advice when it came time for him to buy speakers. He wanted a set of 5.1 speakers for his familiy room for a limited $1200 budget. I told him that for that kind of money it would be a lost cause, and it would be better to get a set of high quality 2 channel speakers, instead of 5 or 6 crappy ones.

    When I purchased my speakers, I went with quality instead of quantity. I bought 2 Mackie HR824 studio monitor speakers (New open box) for about $600 each off of eBay. They list for $850. These are the industry standard for their designed purpose, and work exceptionally for home audio.

    So back to my friend, he ended up purchasing a pair of tower speakers from JM Labs, for about $800 on sale. He loved those speakers, but he had a some money leftover to spend, so I convinced him to buy a SVS PB12-ISD. So for about $1300-$1400, he has a setup that an ordinary 5.1 setup can't match in that same price range.

    The point is that when someone buys speakers, those speakers must be of a certain quality. If that speaker is lets say $600, then you buy as many of those as you can afford. If you have $1200, you buy 2, if you have $3600 you buy 6. Basically 12 isn't divisible by 6. [​IMG]
     
  14. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Bruce,
    That is the nice thing about buying at a local store. Typically you can return them and try something else. The on-line speaker companies like Aperion also offer generous return policies, but if you have eat the shipping charges, that can start getting expensive long about the third experiment!

    Re di/bipole speakers, I’d pass on them. They work best in smallish rectangular rooms; IMO your room is too big to get the most from them.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  15. EYESPORTS

    EYESPORTS Agent

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    That's quite a review Wayne. Thank you.
     
  16. Steve*_P

    Steve*_P Agent

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    How about going to look at Cambridge Soundworks I have cambridge over the years and I have all Cambridge now and I love them. They also give you 45 days to test them out if you don't like them bring them back.

    Also how come no one on here never recommends Cambridge I have not seen many posts even mentioning them.




    Steve
     
  17. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Bruce,

    Forgot to mention, I’d second the other’s recommendations that tiny sat speakers will be too small for a room that big.

    As far as how big a speaker to get, this might help: My room is 6200 cu. ft. (almost a third larger than yours). I recently moved from floor-standing speakers with an 8-inch woofer w/ 10” passive radiator that put out great bass to some bookshelf speakers with a 6-1/2” woofer. Subs were used with both.

    I found no loss of performance going to the smaller speakers. I’d agree with JimMIT that speakers with 5 –1/4” woofers will probably be too small, but speakers with 6-1 /2” woofers should work just fine as long as you have a good sub.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  18. EYESPORTS

    EYESPORTS Agent

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    Just an update:
    So far, looked at the Paradigm Studio (Reference Series) - really liked the 40's and will probably add an SVS-10 SubWoofer. Just have to firm up the 4 surround speakers (everything seems so large to put on walls - wife factor here) - looking for something right. Prefer to stay away from in-wall or in-ceiling as I feel these won't be as good. Could be wrong though.
     
  19. Tingwe

    Tingwe Stunt Coordinator

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    ...or you can audition a pair of Ascend 340s. accurate and great imaging/soundstage for a room that size [​IMG]
     

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