Speaker Possibilities

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnVB, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi,
    I just talked to the guy who wired our house for speakers about getting speakers for our living room.
    We're pretty much leaning toward getting in ceiling speakers for the rears. We'll most likely get a floor standing sub. Our options for the fronts and center have opened up since talking to this guy :-/.
    Here's some of our options:
    1) Get all in ceiling speakers. The installer is recommending this. He would use SpeakerCraft Speakers for this - the AIM line of speakers. We listened to a set he installed in one of the models in our subdivision. We could tell that the sound was coming from the ceiling, and it seemed this would be weird for movies. The installer said that in a bigger room like ours, we wouldn't be able to notice this. He has another system he installed in a bigger room in a different subdivision. We'll have to listen to this.
    2) Have in-wall speakers for the left, center and right speakers. The installer would use the SpeakerCraft speakers again for this. This would not have the problem of the sound coming from the ceiling, but would have the disadvantage of using up wall space where we might want to hang pictures.
    3) Use floor standing speakers for the left and right and an on TV center. The installer has MonitorAudio speakers (Silver 9's) that I could get for around $1000 for the pair. and a Silver Center 10 or 12 (I forget the price he quoted on this). The installer thinks the Silver 9's are mass loadable, which we would use to help stabilize them from our small children (we'd also try to arrange furniture so they wouldn't be so easy to get to). The drawback to this approach is that MonitorAudio doesn't sell in-ceiling speakers, so we'd have to go with a different manufacture for the rear speakers. Another possible drawback to this is that with the way our furniture is arranged we would likely have to have the left and right speakers sit in close to our 55" rear projection 16x9 TV. He's going to bring a set out to our house on Friday so we can listen to them. Perhaps we'll find they're tall enough so the drivers wouldn't be obscured by one of our couches, and we'd have more options for positioning.
    Edited: The Silver 9's appear to be an older model of MonitorAudio speakers. The Silver 9's look to be pretty similar to the Silver S6 on their web site.
    4) Use Paradigm speakers all the way around. Perhaps Monitor 9's for the left and right, and Paradigm in ceiling speakers. This would have the same possible positioning drawback as option #3.
    So,
    Are MonitorAudio speakers good? Would the MonitorAudio speakers sound that much better than similarly priced Paradigm speakers? Can a full in-ceiling setup sound good for HT? Would in-wall speakers be a reasonable approach? Has anyone heard SpeakerCraft speakers? If so, are they good? Is setting up the left and right speakes right next to our TV such a bad choice?
    Any opinions, suggestions?
    Thanks,
    - bones
     
  2. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Anyone?
     
  3. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 1999
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    John,

    Two things I am NOT a fan of. InCeiling speakers for the front soundstage ( I prefer inwalls) and Speakercraft. I've auditioned the Speakercraft line twice (I'm a custom installer and the rep is pushing them). I found the sound to be thin and lacking. Bay Audio makes wonderful inwall speakers as does Triad. There are other companies that make quality inwalls but they are either very expensive (i.e. Dynaudio and Genelec) or lacking IMO.

    Monitor Audio makes nice speakers but again not my favorite. I'm not a fan of metal tweeters. Of course, YMMV. Regards.
     
  4. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi John,

    Some tough decisions facing you. One thing you might wish to consider is that TV is most likely going plasma in the next 3-5 years. The massive RPTVs will largely be a thing of the past (good riddance IMO). Plasmas stick on the wall like pictures (they're actually around 100lbs and require a mounting bracket secured to your wall studs). So you should consider your present setup with a view toward converting to plasma in the not-to-distant future. Plasma mounts higher than an RPTV and as I said much closer to the wall than an RPTV. For these reasons, plasma fits very nicely with in-walls for an extremely clean and high-tech look. RPTVs fit up better with floor-standing or stand-mounted speakers. So what to do?

    Your prewire should accomodate both speaker setups. If it wasn't designed to do this, it can still be done fairly easily. Your cable contractor SHOULD have run speaker cable up the walls for your inwalls. What you want is to have the inwall cable brought out to a wall plate low on the wall so that you can connect floor-standers to them. Then, later if you go to inwalls you simply unplug the floor-standers and install the inwalls. BE CAREFUL on the prewire for center channel inwall(s). If your room permits it, I would run two prewires - one above and one below where you estimate your plasma will go on the wall. RPTV centers are not such a big deal since they usually sit right on top of the TV.

    Forget the LCR ceiling mounts right from the get-go.

    As far as inwalls, I've seen some nice installations even with RPTV but with plasma, they're killer!

    Monitor Audio does indeed make inwalls - they're a bit unique in that they have their own enclosure so you're not using the stud cavity stuffed with insulation as your speaker box. The IW-S4 is basically the same speaker as the Silver 4i bookshelf - nice units. The 9i's are very good quality speakers and $1000/pair is a very good price. You'd want the 12i center with the 9i's and IW-S4's since they all have the same 6.5" mid-bass drivers. Also, if you go cherry, keep in mind it will darken substantially over time.

    You need to be a bit more specific about your room configuration in order to get solid, sensible advice from the pros on this and other AV boards. Good luck on your new HT.

    Austin
     
  5. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Austin,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm not sure exactly what you need to know about my room configuration. It's a sunken room roughly 20x20 feet. It pretty much doesn't have a back wall. What there is of a back wall is a "pony wall" type thing for the stairs.

    I'm not sure if these would be MontiorAudio Silver 9 or Silver 9i. The brochure He left for us to look at just calls 'em Silver 9. Would there be that much difference between 9's and 9i's?

    Would the IW-S4's work well in-ceiling as well?

    It sounds like the best choice for us right now is to get floor standing speakers with an on-TV center. Then when we at sometime decide to get a Plasma type TV, we would have in-walls installed. This way we won't be goofing up and getting in-walls at an improper place for whatever Plasma TV gets installed.

    So, if we install in-ceiling speakers now, are we stuck with them, or can they be changed out? How important is it that the rear speakers timbre match with the other speakers? Would it be so bad to have different brand speakers for the rear than the fronts? If we get the IW-S4's in the ceiling, would they make good in-wall fronts and center too for when we move to in-walls?


    Thanks all, for the help.


    - bones
     
  6. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 1999
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    John,
    The Monitor Audio inwalls are a knockoff of Triads design. Why settle for a substite when you can have the real (high performing) thing? [​IMG]
     
  7. Brian Burgoyne

    Brian Burgoyne Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have Monitor Audio speakers and I really like them, but that is a personal preference. (and since I already spent the money I better like 'em[​IMG] ) Have you actually auditioned various speakers to form your own opinion? If not, that would be best. Do you live near a larger metropolitan area where you would have several stores to visit and listen to different speakers?
    A friend of mine put his rear surrounds about 2/3 of the way back on his side walls up close to the ceiling and it sounds great. I think I would prefer that to them coming down from the ceiling. Are you going 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1? In other words, how many rear/surround speakers?
     
  8. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brian,

    Yep, I've listened to a few speakers in stores. I'm finding the store listening rooms to be a less than ideal place to listen to speakers. The installer is bringing the Silver 9's out for us to listen to in our own living room today. We'll do our best, but it's difficult comparing speakers - they're either in a poor listening environment, or there isn't the selection to hear the one's I'm interested in side by side, or both.

    Our house is pre-wired for 5.1 sound. With the way the room is, the best place for the rears is in the ceiling where the wires are.

    My biggest question, which I haven't heard an answer to is this. If I get rear speaker that don't timbre match with the fronts, will it be that noticeable? Will it be a source of irritation, or will it be just very slightly noticeable? I'm just tring to feel out my options. Listening to unmatched speakers isn't the normal listening environment you find, for me to hear for myself :-/.

    - bones
     
  9. Brian Burgoyne

    Brian Burgoyne Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just read about some answers to your biggest question recently in another posting. It would be "ideal" if all 5 speakers were timbre matched, BUT, it is most important that the 3 front speakers be timbre matched so you don't hear differences when some action is panning across the front soundstage. You usually hear the word "seamless" to describe this panning action. So you should definitely get the left, right and center to match up. Somebody had mentioned that if you get the MA Silver 9i, you should go with the larger center, that way you would have not only the same tweeters but the same size mid/woofer drivers (6 1/2") I have the Silver 5i and center 10 which have 5 1/4" drivers and they sound great to me. Where do you live and what speakers are there for you to listen to? Canada has some great speakers and good exchange rates. I just got some Dahlquists for my daughter for a great deal, shipped from Ottawa.
     
  10. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Biran,
    Thanks for such a quick reply [​IMG].
    I live in Albuquerque, NM. We're still somewhat new to the area, so I may not know about several good electronic/audio stores in the area. Beside the Circuit City's and Best Buy's, there's Ultimate Electronics, Ballios, and a locally owned shop called Sound Ideas. So far, I've been to Ultimate Electronics and Sound Ideas.
    Ultimate has Klipsch, Definitive, and Infinity speakers. The Infinity sounded somewhat muffled - highs seemed muted to me compared to the Klipsch and Definitive. The Definitive's had a nice sound, but with the dipole/bipole whatever they're called (the speaker facing the rear), I thought that placement would be pretty difficult to make it so the sound reflections don't wash out the overall sound. The Klipsch seemed ok, but I wanted to hear more. So, I went to Sound Ideas.
    The guy at Sound Ideas was pretty excited about the Paradigm speakers. He said they were getting rid of their Klipsch and Definitive sales in favor of the Paradigm. He showed me a sample Paradigm driver that was taken a part. It seemed to be a good design. Their listening environments were separated into "living room" spaces and you had to get up and walk to another setup to compare. Each setup had a different Amp/Receiver. So I would guess it'd be pretty hard to compare. When I listened to the Paradigms, they seemed ok too, but I don't trust I'd be able to compare them with what I remembered the other speakers sounding like.
    - bones
     
  11. Brian Burgoyne

    Brian Burgoyne Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I auditioned some Mirage speakers a couple of years ago at a smaller, independent shop in Albuquerque. They were the FRx 7 towers and they were quite nice, and imaged well. I was introduced to Diana Krall on those speakers. Paradigm is very good. Both are Canadian companies and they have the benefit of a government funded research facility, as do some other Canadian companies. Paradigm has several levels of speakers, price and quality wise. Which ones did you listen to?

    It will be hard for you to listen to speakers in a real controlled environment. Just try to listen to as many as you can to try and get a gut reaction. Take the significant other with you. If you can narrow it down to a couple of final choices maybe they will let you take the demo's home on a Saturday night if you leave a deposit from a credit card. What receiver do you plan on using to drive them? Try to audition the speakers on that receiver. You are right in that one store could have their speakers hooked up to an $800 receiver and another store could have theirs hooked up to $5000 seperate processor and amp. That obviously would not make a fair comparison.
     
  12. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brian,

    I'm not sure I remember exactly what speakers I heard. They were on stands, so I'd guess they were studio 20's and studio 40's. I don't think they were Monitor series speakers, but they might have been.

    I may not get an opportunity to listen - side by side - the MontiorAudio and the Paradigm speakers. How do you think they'd compare to each other - keeping in a similar price range? I can get a pair of Monitor 9's for about $850. I don't know if there is a substantial jump in price going to the studio series Paradigm speakers.

    I'll definitely use my ears as best as I can, but hearing other people's opinions helps too. Being a "newbie" it'd be good to know if perhaps these two brands of speakers aren't considered to be even in the same class. Plus it's good to get information like, such and such speakers deteriorate quickly, or "these other" speakers sound richer over time, etc.

    Thanks for all the help so far, Brian. You've been very helpful.

    - bones
     
  13. Brian Burgoyne

    Brian Burgoyne Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    another thing to do is do a www.google.com search and simply put in the speaker and model and see what comes up. Have you looked at the Monitor Audio and Paradigm websites? Speaker companies often have a link to reviews of their speakers, of course they only refer to the favorable reviews.
    Did you say how big your room was and how open it is? The Studio line of Paradigm is a nice step up from the monitor line of Paradigm. I don't know how much the Studio 60 costs. Maybe you should check that before you get too carried away. Try not to listen to something you can't afford or you'll be spoiled[​IMG]
    There are so many speakers out there. What else is there to listen to in Alb? How about Sante Fe? Do you ever go there? What do they have there to listen to? Maybe you should pick a price range that you want to stay under also.
     
  14. JohnBrianW.

    JohnBrianW. Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Another Canadian company to check out is Axiom. You'll see some great reviews by posters on here! They ship for free anywhere in North America and have a 30 day money back guarantee. Added bonus...they have an online factory outlet. I've listened to most of their speakers and was really impressed.

    Some of the more popular Canadian companies are:
    Energy
    Athena All the same company
    Mirage
    Paradigm- nice speakers, but cost a little more than Axiom
    Totem- totally awesome speakers from Quebec but very $$$
    PSB
     
  15. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi John,

    The reason I'm asking about your room configuration is to see if there isn't some way you can sidemount the surrounds. Even though you're 5.1, sidemounts would be much better than rearmounts, all things considered. I've seen some very nice inwall installations using MA, Triad and B&W. They all looked great and sounded even better. They also all had in common sidemounted surrounds.

    The MA's would, I believe, be the 9i's. I don't recall ever seeing an MA 9 (non-i).

    I support your conclusion regarding standalone LCRs at this time with a view toward inwalls in a few years. I suspect the coming widespread adoption of plasma will pressure speaker manufacturers to come up with a variety of high quality inwalls. Can't wait!

    The point I was trying to get across on the inwall prewire is that it's possible to "tap into" the L and R inwall cables and bring out a terminal block low on the wall for connecting standalone speakers. I don't know how your contractor handled the prewire - he may have brought the cables down from above or strung them high in the walls. In either case, my suggestion won't work and you'll have some drywall surgery facing you if you decide to use the prewire cables rather than running new ones.

    As far as timbre-matching surrounds, don't sweat it. You DO need to match the LCRs for panning. As far as HT, you're getting slamming doors, clanking dishes, distant gunshots and that kind of stuff from your surrounds. However, if you're into music especially hirez multichannel like DVD-Audio or SACD, then you would need to match up your surrounds with your front soundstage units.

    John, if I were you, I'd take a good hard look to see if there's ANY WAY you can possibly sidemount your surrounds. Don't let a couple of prewire cables stop you from putting your surrounds in the best location.

    BTW, I saw one inwall installation where the lady of the house had the inwall screens painted with landscapes and framed just like pictures. Everyone was always asking her where the music came from!

    Good luck.

    Austin

     
  16. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Austin,

    I'm not sure if we can do side walls for the rear speakers. On the outside wall, we have mostly windows, where in the back there's just a small section without window. This section may be too far back from our seating area. My understanding is that sides would go mostly directly to the side from the seating area, and just a slight bit behind. Plus the steps down to the room sit at an angle so there may not be a wall directly opposite the space where we could put a speaker on the outside wall.

    I'll have to look into this more, but I believe we looked at this possibility when we set out to do the wiring and decided the side mounted speakers wouldn't work in our case.

    Thanks for the tip, though. I have 4.1 surround on my computer where I place the rear speakers to the side. So I know this works well.

    For your question about the in-wall pre-wire, I'm not sure if you're continuing to talk about the rear speakers or the fronts. The wire was put in before the drywall went up. The wires in general go from the built-in entertainment center at the back of the room up across the ceiling and back down the far wall or webbed side to side a few times in the ceiling for the rears. I don't know if there'd be enough length to get the wire to both side walls. If it looks like the side walls may work, I'll mention it to the installer, and see if he thinks he put in enough wire to do that.

    The fronts also are webbed top to bottom a few times. Right now I'm using the speaker wire for the fronts for "floor sitting bookshelves" for plain ol' stereo sound, but we could easily convert to in-walls at anytime.

    With our place being a two story house - living-room on the 1st floor, I suspect it will be near impossible to string new wire without drywall surgery.

    I like the painted screens tip. What a great idea.

    - bones
     
  17. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Austin,

    I checked and there is wall space for side speakers. I don't know about the wiring part of it.

    My question is this, if I put the rear speakers on the side walls, they'd be 20 feet apart. With the way our room is arranged, some will be a lot closer to one speaker or the other (probably about 6 feet away from one side or the other). Do you still think this would be a better arrangement than having the speakers in the ceiling?

    - bones
     
  18. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi John,

    ABOLUTELY go with the side-mounts! BTW, you shouldn't refer to them as "rears" - they're surrounds and more specifically "side" surrounds. "Rear" is taken nowadays to refer to "rear center" or "rear surround" or "surround back", terms that apply to 6.1/7.1 configurations.

    Regarding the issue of seating/speaker location, don't worry about it. With 20' separation, you're going to get fantastic diffused surround effects! You'll be level balancing your surrounds for a central "sweet spot" and there's no way to have everyone sitting in the sweet spot. Keep in mind the surround content for HT is sporadic and almost exclusively effects-oriented which will be just fine for you and your viewers/listeners.

    When you get to the point of considering a 6.1/7.1 configuration, you can ceiling or inwall mount the rears in a somewhat central location (2-4ft away from each other). If and when you decide to go for 5.1 multichannel hirez music (DVD-Audio/SACD), you would want to mount a pair of direct-radiating speakers in the rear corners. You would then use the side-surrounds (and rear centers) for HT OR the corner surrounds for 5.1 hirez. LCR, of course, would be used in any multichannel mode - HT or hirez.

    Good luck with your project.

    Austin

     

Share This Page