What kind of speakers and power do I need for a room like this?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Patrick.B, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Patrick.B

    Patrick.B Auditioning

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    Hi, all!
    I am just getting into the home theater arena and am a little confused as to what I would need to fill my room. The room I'm using is actually a converted living room. It measures 19x17x10 LxWxH roughly. The TV is placed on one of the short walls. The wall to the right of the TV is completely open to a foyer type area for about 12 or so feet in the center. The wall to the left is made up of floor to ceiling windows for it's entire length. The wall in the back has a standard door-frame on the right which opens into another very large room. The floors are all hardwood but there is a rug covering essentially the entire floor in the room with the TV. I know this isn't an ideal room, but it is what I have to work with. I was wondering whether I would need tower speakers to effectively cover this space? Also, what size/wattage sub? And how many watts/channel on my reciever? I know it's a lot of questions but I don't have much knowledge about this. If this should be split up into the reciever and speaker forums, I'll try and move it or PM a mod.

    Thanks so much!
    Patrick

    P.S.- Having been a member of another forum for a few years, it is refreshing to find such a knowledgeable, courtious, and on-topic forum such as this one. Kudos to the owners for making it such a great place. I've been browsing here for a few weeks now and it is truly a wealth of knowledge presented in a non-threatening atmosphere.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Welcome to the Forum, Patrick!

    I’ve typically lived in places like yours with large living rooms that opened up to other areas of the house. Our last place, both the kitchen and dining room opened to the living room – i.e., those rooms only had three walls. The total listening area was about 6300 cubic ft.

    For your receiver, 100 watts per channel should be sufficient, as long as your speakers are reasonably efficient – say 86 dB or higher. I had no problems with even less power than that, driving the system to very high levels.

    For your main speakers I would get something with at least a 6-1/2” woofer. The primary concern is your speaker needs to put out enough bass to blend with the sub. With a large acoustic space, if the woofers are too small you’ll get a “hole” in the mid-bass. In fact, even that might be pushing it – if you plan to listen to stereo music you might want L/R mains with dual 6-1/2-inchers or even an 8” woofer.

    The biggest problem with large rooms is adequate subwoofer performance. If you want to play your movies at anything resembling reference levels, you’ll want high output down to at least 25 Hz. In our last place, the one mentioned above, I needed two 12” subs, each powered at 300 watts, to get the job done without overdriving them. Maybe that will give you a point of reference, comparing your total cubic ft. to what I had there.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Patrick.B

    Patrick.B Auditioning

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    Do you think a tower speaker would be better for this room? I think my budget will restrict me to just towers and a center initially or bookshelfs + center + a sub. The system actually wouldn't be used for serious home theater movie watching because I don't frankly have the budget or room for anything other than a 3.1 system. 10% music, 20% movies and 70% TV sounds about right for what I'd use it for. Hopefully a sub will be added later, but probably not initially. I've obviously got to go to the speaker forum for more specifics, but I'm trying to decide whether I should go with a less expensive brand like Paradigm and get their larger speaker like the Monitor 11 or go with a generally more expensive brand like B&W and get their cheaper speaker like the 604. Same with center speakers. The receiver is not so much of a problem.

    So many questions, so many answers. [​IMG]
     
  4. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Patrick,

    Welcome to the forum indeed (and thank you for the kind words).

    Don't worry about the budget. You're going to upgrade in the future anyway once this habit hobby catches on, probably spending many times your current budget. [​IMG]

    I think I would start with bookshelves + center + sub, to get the taste of the real experience. However, if you're aiming at excellent audio (mainly for music, perhaps classic), then "stereo" with towers would be the serious option.

    Towers aren't really necessary for a great movie 5.1 experience, because the bass-management will use the sub for the lower frequencies, filling in what your mains are missing (don't forget to denote them as "small" in your receiver/decoder).


    Cees
     
  5. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Patrick:

    Anyone of our vendors will give you a great deal on a system of speakers. Just tell them at you are a member of this forum and you are looking for the best system for your money and they will fix you up.

    Thanks for the kudos on the forum. We all try very hard around the place to keep it informative and civil at the same time.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    Towers are a good option... Some room layouts work well / best with them even for surround duties.

    Once you get to a 6" or better low end driver in a bookshelf the differences bewteen tower performance and those types of bookshelf speakers are minimal in my experiences.

    The guys that swear by towers are ususally 2 channel music lovers by the way.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'm a mostly 2ch guy and I use 5 identical bookshelf speakers all around with a sub and I couldn't be happier. My 2 cents: for impact, you will want a sub regardless, so if that means bookshelf + sub, go for it. Towers are great, but if you get ones that go low enough to offset the need for a sub, that bass draws more current from your receiver. With a powered sub, even with a low x-over, your receiver has it relatively easy, allowing you to push it a little harder. Let the sub do what it was designed to do - support the low end.

    That's a decent size room. Mine is 19x20 with high vaulted ceilings, and it's challenging for smaller bookshelf speakers, so something a little more sensitive might be worth looking at.

    What's your approximate budget?
     
  8. Patrick.B

    Patrick.B Auditioning

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    Total budget is pretty firm at $2,000 for everything (ie receiver and 2 speakers at least). If I was completely blown away it might get pushed up another $200 or so, but that's it. Full surround isn't really needed so I am thinking of not buying a center at first. If I feel a lack in low end that is conspicuous I may have to buy myself a sub for Christmas. [​IMG] I just found a dealer for Paradigms and a few other brands so I'm going to give them a listen later this week and see what the people there have to say (although I don't know that I trust them nearly as much as you guys).
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Patrick,

    That's a neat budget to start with.

    It's indeed possible to postpone the center for a while (don't forget to "tell" your receiver!), but I would advise you to buy two surrounds anyway. You will be stunned about the difference it makes, especially in certain film scenes (rain, traffic, many more).

    AND you can start figuring out the wiring. [​IMG]

    Good luck!


    Cees
     

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