Surround Speaker Replacement/Addition

Chris.Haz

Auditioning
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
13
Hi all,

I have a few questions:

1. Is ceiling placement for surrounds a bad idea?
2. If ceiling mounts are OK, any suggestions on replacements for my existing surrounds (see below) that will create a better soundfield?
3. If ceiling mounts are not the best idea, does anyone have recommendations for wall mounted surrounds? I'm assuming a dipole or bipole speaker would work best.

Background:

I'm looking to improve the soundfield my surround speakers produce. My current setup is as follows:

Fronts: NHT 2.9 towers
Center: NHT AudioCenter-2
Surrounds: NHT SuperOne Ci (in ceiling)
Sub: NHT SubTwo
Receiver: Denon AVR-3805
DVD: Denon DVD-2900

These are located in a dedicated listening room, and are used for both music and home theater. The fronts, center and sub perform excellently for both formats. The surrounds perform OK for home theater, but they don't really provide the diffuse soundfield that I expect. I suspect this is mostly because they are monopole speakers. But, I'm wondering if their placement in the ceiling is also negatively affecting the soundfield.

I've had the speakers for a little over four years - I bought them when our house was constructed. At the time, I was just getting into home theater, so I didn't know a whole lot about it. Now that I have some more experience with how a home theater should sound, I find the surrounds lacking.

I would post a diagram of my room, but apparently I can't post links until I have more postings.

Thanks in advance.
 

Brian L

Premium
Joined
Jul 8, 1998
Messages
3,139

That depends if you want to optimize for 5.1 music or films.

5.1 music sounds best (to ME!) with direct radiator (ie. not dipoles or bipoles) surrounds mounted with the tweeters at ear height, at perhaps 110 degrees relative to the main listening position (meaning slightly behind you).

For films, you want the surrounds a bit higher up the wall. And if they are dipoles, they want to be directly to your sides so the null is even with your ears.

Go to the Dolby site, and see what they have to say. While your there, search for their 5.1 Music Production paper, and look up their guidlines for setting up a 5.1 music mixing suite. Thats were the ear height rec comes from.

Personally, I find that a music set up sounds OK for movies, while a movies set-up sounds poor for 5.1 music.

IMHO, YMMV, AFAIC......

BGL
 

Chris.Haz

Auditioning
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
13
Thanks, Brian.

You've nailed my quandary - I enjoy both SACD/DVD-A and movies. My current setup does seem to perform better with 5.1 music, so what you said makes sense. In fact, the surrounds are about 100-110 degrees offset from the listening position. Interesting.

I think what I may do is keep the ceiling mounts as is, and connect them to the surround B inputs on my receiver for music, then add some dipole for surround. Do you or anyone else have any opinions about the Axiom QS8 quadpoles? They seem to be quite nice, but I'm not sure if they are well matched to my fronts and center.

Thanks for recommending the Dolby site - I hadn't thought about that. I'll go check that out today.
 

Brian L

Premium
Joined
Jul 8, 1998
Messages
3,139


Have not heard the Axiom's so I can't help there, but I can say this:

Stay with the same brand of speakers all around, and stay within the same model line. Use matched speakers wherever possible.

I have read that sort of rec for years, but was only able to put it into practice in the last year.

In my view, the benefit of matched speakers can not be overstated. While I did enjoy my Heinz 57 system, getting all main speakers positions from the same brand and same model line (B&W Series 1 604, 601, CC6) made a big difference in terms of the coherence of the soundstage. With the right material, it just wraps you in a bubble of sound.

A matched system is the way to go.

BGL
 

Chris.Haz

Auditioning
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
13

There's the rub, unfortunately. I love my NHT 2.9 fronts and center, so replacing them is out of the question (at least, for the time being). NHT doesn't make the series of loudspeakers that includes the 2.9 anymore. And, as far as I can tell, they don't offer multipole speakers either. I do appreciate the advice, though. Hopefully someone else has some experience with the 2.9s and can recommend a good match in a multipole surround.
 

Brian L

Premium
Joined
Jul 8, 1998
Messages
3,139
http://forum.adnm.com/

Thats a link to forum that my local NAD/NHT dealer has.

This guy (John Ashman) lives and breathes NHT. If anyone can tell you what works well with your 2.9's, John can.

In fact, I think he sees it as a challenge to break me of my B&W's and get me to buy an NHT system!

Best of luck.

BGL
 

Chris.Haz

Auditioning
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
13
Brian,

Just wanted to say thanks for pointing me to your NHT dealer's site. He was VERY helpful. For the record, he steered me into a pair of NHT L5 surrounds that will match my 2.9s nicely.

Thanks again!

Chris
 

Chris.Haz

Auditioning
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
13
Brian,

Just wanted to say thanks for pointing me to your NHT dealer's site. He was VERY helpful. For the record, he steered me into a pair of NHT L5 surrounds that will match my 2.9s nicely.

Thanks again!

Chris
 

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