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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there!

I've recently undergone some remodelation at my living room and I think it is finally time to step up and start building a decent home theatre setup. However, I'm in need of some advice/guidance. We're not an audiophile family, but we're not comfortable just going to a random electronics store and buying something random they have sitting there. We'd like to get some fine quality with a bang for the buck, entry level-wise.

That said, we currently have a Sony KDL 46HX850 with the "stock" sound bar. We mostly watch 720/1080p movies and TV series, Netflix and so. I'm considering adquiring a Minix NEO Z64 to work as a "tv pc" and use XBMC. We stream some music from the PC, mostly pop/rock and jazz/bossa nova stuff.


I attached to this post a map of my room with dimensions in cm and a few photos. The remodelation works are not fully over yet, but I'd like to place the couch on the "left" (on the map) wall, and the TV on the "right", besides the door, on that TV stand there. I intentionally left a tube beneath the floor so I can pass cables from the right wall to the left, without having to hide them under mats and stuff The couch will be the one pictured too, and I'm guesstimating the viewing distance will be around 3 meters. TV could be bigger I know, but I'm happy to stick with this one for now.

Sound-wise, I know I'd like some 5.1 system, but I'm very new to DAC, digital signals, SPDIF, DTS, multi-channel passthrough and all those things. I'm really confused on all those, to be honest. I don't feel like investing in something just to find out I bought it all wrong. For one, looks like the Minix can't do the multi-channel passthrough, so I'm not sure how shall I arrange the connections between the TV/media player/sound-system-to-be. Can someone point me some directions on where can I go to, from here?

Cheers
 

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First, welcome to the Forum!

Hate to be the bearer of bad news to a new member, but the biggest challenge I see right off the bat is going to be speaker locations. There is virtually no room on either side of the TV cabinet for front speakers. A front corner is usually best for a subwoofer, but there isn’t one available. No good locations to the sides of the sofa for hanging rear speakers, and the soffit virtually nukes any chance for the rears being in-ceiling.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your honest answer Wayne :)

Looks like I'm in some trouble then. There's high potential for silly questions ahead, so I apologize in advance.

Let's start with the back: The wall where the couch stays has a little recess, which I plan on building a shelf, about the height of the couch. Would that be a good place for the rear speakers, or closer to the floor would be a better place?

Regarding the TV cabinet, the TV doesn't take all of its space, meaning there's room for a) placing at least one speaker on the cabinet (ugly?) and/or b) de-centering the TV cabinet in the wall, opening room for one speaker on the floor, besides the cabinet. As for the subwoofer, I don't see much options on top of my head :\

Equipment-wise, I started some digging. Found some good reviews on the Dayton Sub-800; Might be an option.
 

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You spoke about meters - are you from the USA?

It is possible that you can wall mount some speakers

I would aim higher than the Dayton 800 sub.

What is the max budget for speakers and sub?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi zieglj

I'm in Europe, hence the meters thing :)

My budget is flexible, I can aim higher but that would mean stretching the project along time. I'd point to 800-1000 USD for now, but I might raise it a bit if worthy.
 

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Due to placement issues, your limited budget, and worry about wrapping your head around the technology; I'd suggest looking at a good soundbar like Sonos or for a slightly higher price the Panorama from Bowers and Wilkins.

If you were to extend your budget 2-3x a passive CLR soundbar like the definitive technology SSA-42/50 with a Denon X2100 and pro-monitor 800 and an entry level sub would be a knockout and wouldn't force the issue of speaker placement.

Out of curiosity is this a 1 or 2 story building/is there attic space above this room?
 

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Yes and no...
Soundbars very in quality from scarcely better than TV sound to giving mid-range surround sound systems a run for their money.

No soundbar will give you a surround sound experience as good as having 5.1+ speakers in the proper location (something most people with surround sound don't really do right anyway). If you have a local home theater (cinema) shop I suggest going in and giving a listen to what they have.

A passive soundbar is a compromise. It is powered by an AVR (audio/video receiver) and replaces the front 3 speakers. They don't take up as much space as 3 separate speakers but don't sound as good dollar for dollar/pound for pound as conventional speakers for the same price. That's not to say they can't sound good, just to say you pay a premium for a good one and because it's a bit of a niche component.
 

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Kinda tough. For surrounds, I'd wall mount on the bump outs on either end of the couch. Farther out the better, 2 meters high. There are lots of wall brackets to all 90deg angle to the side and down toward the couch. Since your display is narrower than the stand, maybe look for something with a thinner profile, and wall mount them too. Maybe at the height right below the switches by the door. Center could go on the cabinet. You could even mount the display on the wall, and put all 3 front speakers on the cabinet, essentially 3 bookshelf speakers. Can't see the right side of the couch, but near field placement of a sub could work there. Pics of that side would help. .02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the input guys! Here are some more pics to answer your doubts.
Note that the couch is not in the correct position right now; It will be placed ~center of the wall, in front of cabinet. I can't change sides between cabinet and couch because the couch is bigger than the wall between door and pillar. To the right of the door we can still place a speaker, if that makes sense. (Its the "dining room" area) I can provide some more pics and blueprints if needed.

Of course, the stairs and the various random stuff around the area are to be ignored :)
 

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Kinda tough. For surrounds, I'd wall mount on the bump outs on either end of the couch. Farther out the better, 2 meters high. There are lots of wall brackets to all 90deg angle to the side and down toward the couch. Since your display is narrower than the stand, maybe look for something with a thinner profile, and wall mount them too. Maybe at the height right below the switches by the door. Center could go on the cabinet. You could even mount the display on the wall, and put all 3 front speakers on the cabinet, essentially 3 bookshelf speakers. Can't see the right side of the couch, but near field placement of a sub could work there. Pics of that side would help. .02.
^^^^ Both elegant and functional! Other than a soundbar, I'm going to stick my neck out and say this is the best solution.

Thanks for the input guys! Here are some more pics to answer your doubts.
Note that the couch is not in the correct position right now; It will be placed ~center of the wall, in front of cabinet. I can't change sides between cabinet and couch because the couch is bigger than the wall between door and pillar. To the right of the door we can still place a speaker, if that makes sense. (Its the "dining room" area) I can provide some more pics and blueprints if needed.

Of course, the stairs and the various random stuff around the area are to be ignored :)
You're off to a good start by centering the couch on the TV/cabinet. The main front speakers need to be centered, too. Anything else and the sound suffers. Even if you could get the speakers symmetrical by placing the right one behind the door, they'd be too far from the screen. They need to be closer together to keep the front "stage" focused on/near the screen.
 

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The way the pillars are situated certainly is not doing you any favors.
I was thinking flip the room too, but that wouldn't work at all.
Sorry, but I am stumped.
I don't have any recommendations to add to those already made.
A good soundbar may be the best option.
 

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I was thinking flip the room too, but that wouldn't work at all.
Charlie, buddy, ya beat me to it. Play into the long dimension? Think all the furniture rearrangement would go over well with the rest of the family?

Is there a "rest of the family," Gnitrops? Will the couch fit along the windows looking out on the trees, with the cabinet at the opposite end of the room. Are the stairs over there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There's a rest of the family, yes. I like willis7469 idea, but need to check it with my wife: not sure she will be too keen on having speakers mounted on walls, but I have hope and hmm.. a strong case ;)
I'd like to keep the TV screen on the cabinet, mostly for aesthetical reasons.

The room rotation doesn't appeal much to me because that would make the TV straight in line with the house's main entrance, and the room walls are in transparent glass. I don't like to have the TV/back of the couch as the main thing I see when I get home.

I was hoping I could place the front speakers a bit further from the TV (one in the left pillar, the other to the right of the door), but from your feedback I'm now assuming that it's not a good idea, sound-wise?

Would having the subwoofer on the floor, right of the door, work fine? or perhaps left of the cabinet, aligned with the pillar?

I guess the good option will really be the wall mounts. Regarding the hardware, what speakers/avr/sub should I be looking at?
 

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There's a rest of the family, yes. I like willis7469 idea, but need to check it with my wife: not sure she will be too keen on having speakers mounted on walls, but I have hope and hmm.. a strong case ;) I'd like to keep the TV screen on the cabinet, mostly for aesthetical reasons.
Many experienced members have checked-in here, and the consensus is to wall-mount your front speakers if you insist on having the TV on the cabinet. You'll have a hard time finding wall-mounts narrow enough to fit and still be able to handle a reasonable amount of bass. You can't expect the sub to reach that high in frequency. Maybe one of the more experienced members can help you choose the actual hardware if you'd still like to try this out.

I was hoping I could place the front speakers a bit further from the TV (one in the left pillar, the other to the right of the door), but from your feedback I'm now assuming that it's not a good idea, sound-wise?
Putting speakers large, unsymmetrical distances from the screen and viewing position simply will not work for quality home theater, because the system will be unbalanced. You could expect the sound to "pull" to one side of the room or the other, and that will distract you from what's happening on-screen. The AVR in the system is designed to "steer" the sounds around the room from speaker to speaker in a certain way. But it can't do its job if the speaker positions don't follow standards. Everything in home theater follows a standard so you can enjoy movies the way they were intended.

I know the feeling of wanting to have a full-blown home theater system all at once. But you may need to wait for your next apartment/house. The soundbar option seems to be your best bet for now. Even if you do move unexpectedly, a high-end sound bar & sub system can go with you and fit almost anywhere. You could even use it as a second system in the bedroom when you upgrade!
 

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Looks like a perfect job for the small NHT superzero's. Get 5 of those and use some wall mount brackets and put two on the back wall (not inside the indention where the couch is and aim them 90 degrees toward the couch and angled down a hair

then put the center left and right all int he same line just below or above the TV... preferably below.

The sub... place whereever is convenient... your just looking for some low end fill.

You don't have a perfect space but you can make do with what you got. NHT superzero they are small and sound great, they will play loud but they won't rumble your room unfortunately but work well in small spaces.
 
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