Up for a big challenge? Need 3.1/5.1 help on a budget


Second Unit
May 1, 2006
Alright, who is ready for a really big challenge? My father is currently looking for a new audio system, which in all likelyhood will get used primarily for movies and television. Lots of kids movies as well for the 3 year old and 5 month old grandsons. Now here is where it gets real fun.

The room has a sloped ceiling from 9 ft to 30+ feet with an open 2nd floor loft. When watching TV the low side is on your left and high side on your right. The width of the room is about 25 feet and its depth is about 35 feet. The last 10 of which are a dining area connected to the kitchen and has 9' ceiling. So there is a big flat wall connected to the big sloping ceiling. I am sure you have seen what I am talking about before in someones home. An entry hall way that is about 10 foot wide leads into this room from the front door and formal dining room. so it is a pretty wide open space. This causes problems with surround placement options and in all honesty, the right rear surround could be a big problem finding a place for but there is one location it could be, but then that poses problems with having to run the wire across the carpet. But I have ideas on hiding it along molding. Will just be a very long wire.

Now, he currently has a 37" CRT in an Armour and that will be replaced with either an LCD or Plasma, no bigger than 42" because he is keeping the armour and that is what will fit. Also, the center channel will be on top of the armour. Not ideal by any means, but you gotta work with what you have. Will just build a "wedge" to put it on to angle it downward.

So here are the two options. Go with a 3.1 system and tower speakers, or go with a 5.1 and have bookshelfs for the surrounds and possibly all 5.

And to make it more interesting and difficult we have a very small budget. I would suggest that $1,500 is the max, out the door, for everything (including a new DVD player and CD player, though he could just use the DVD for that to save on money and equipment space). The sub will be from SVS and likely the 25-31PCi. He loves the low end of my system and would be highly disappointed if he doesn't get a similar effect. Though he knows he can't have the dual driver SVS because of WAF and placement issues so I think that sub is the best option for him.

So, what I need are some suggestion on both the 3.1 and 5.1 options (with the .1 already taken care of) and the receiver to drive them. He needs zero bells and whistles. He will not be listening to anything at rediculous levels or even moderatly loud.

For the 5.1 I was looking at the SBS-01 system but am not sure if that would be enough to fill that space without having to really turn it up and strain it.

So help me out here.

Need receiver suggestions, 3.1 and 5.1 suggestions. Sub is taken care of.

The cheaper the better. This isn't something he really cares about or is all gung ho for. But after hanging out at my place all the time and getting his chest pounded by my SVS and set up, he is interested in having something of his own.

Thanks! Sorry for the long ramble.

Arthur S

Senior HTF Member
Jul 2, 1999
Hi Brian

One of the Panasonic digital receivers should be user friendly. As far as speakers, if it were my decision I would go with the new HSU HB series that have gotten some excellent reviews. I would like 3 of the HB-1s myself, but I am all speakered up.


Check the HSU Forum for discussion of these as well as the HC-1 center channel speaker. Note the introductory prices.

Happy Holidays


Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 2002
Remember, you don't have to use a center channel if you don't want to.

The only person (or kid
) that will notice its absence is the one sitting waaaay off to the side of the monitor. Just program the receiver for "center - none" and it will redirect those sounds to the front main speakers. And just personally speaking, I can't stand hearing speakers firing downwards from such tall locations.

IMO as long as that one surround speaker is at least to the side of the listening position you should still hear a reasonable surround effect. But if its location is really off-kilter compared to the fronts and other rear channel, I would just do the stereo + sub or 3.1 system.

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