5.1.4 - would you do it?

porscheman

Active Member
Guys,

I have a dilema. My current pioneer 1017av receiver is getting on a bit, and does not support the latest lossless HD formats (dolby/dts etc). Also, the bedroom above my dedicated home cinema (garage) is soon to be vacated and I can then lift the carpet and floorboards, and possibly install 2 or 4 x in-ceiling speakers for atmos etc and run in a hdmi cable for projector. This is the age old question of balancing costs and usage of the room, against some sort of future proofing (pointless and impossible as that may be !)

My question is, would you do it? is it worth it for a single garage cinema room? or should I just enjoy the dolby and dts hd lossless formats in my existing 5.1 setup, and buy a decent sound quality, but non *atmos amp? ( I am thinking I can probably get a decent 2014 amp for a reduced price (in the circa £500 range whereas an atmos amp for the same sound quality will be more expensive).

My current rear surround speakers are side-wall mounted but are approx 3 ft above ear height when I am sat in the sweet spot on the sofa. Where would the atmos speakers need to be installed overhead?

And finally, how much ££ are these full range in-ceiling speakers?

Money does not grow on trees as they say, and I think perhaps it would be more sensible to have lossless HD 5.1 audio system, and a sony HW40es projector perhaps, than spend a small fortune on this atmos stuff but not have a projector (current display is old 1080p 50" LG plasma)

p.s - *I mention 'atmos' to cover all the new 'immersive' audio formats
 

Atmos

Well-known Member
If you don't have the space for full 7.1 then I doubt you would be able to go 5.1.4. If you can get 4 over head speakers in I would go 7.2 first and upgrade to 7.2.4 later.

I'm in no rush to upgrade because the number of films with Atmos and DTS:X doesn't justify the purchase of first generation hardware. Once UHD amps are here then I'll just but that's just my PO.
 

porscheman

Active Member
Yes, I can't do 7.1 because I have no place to fit 2 x speakers on rear of cinema, as that is where the window is (in place of the old garage door).

When you say 7.2, you mean 2 x subwoofers?
 

Suave

Distinguished Member
Hi,

If the room above is to be vacated anyway & it is not too much hassle to get a few floorboards up, then why not just run speaker cables there anyway - it will only be very minimal cost. That way, if you ever do decide to go for 2 or 4 ceiling speakers, you know the cables are there & already in position without major upheaval later - if you use them then great, if not, it's just the loss of a few quid on speaker cables - that is unless you like to get "esoteric high end cables" that cost a few grand per metre!

Suave!
 

Atmos

Well-known Member
Yes, I can't do 7.1 because I have no place to fit 2 x speakers on rear of cinema, as that is where the window is (in place of the old garage door).

When you say 7.2, you mean 2 x subwoofers?

I would do as Suave suggests and do the wiring while you can.

If you're limited for space at the rear and not running 7.1 then I would only use 2 ceiling speakers and go 5.1.2. Without knowing you exact room dimensions having 4 ceiling speakers wouldn't balance well if you can't have them spaced evenly apart above the MLP.

If you have a dedicated room it makes sense to get the PJ first over some ceiling speakers which have limited capability with today's Atmos tracks.
 
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aim-n-shoot

Active Member
Hi mate
I was thinking of adding Atmos to my dedicated 7.1 HT. But after hearing it in action with the Atmos demo disc I must say it didnt blow me away.
Also looking at the lack of content available, plus with DTSx being introduced, I can't justify the extra cost and effort of adding it to my set up.
so instead I have decided to wait and see if there is much up of the format.

Having said this there is no harm in running the cable in now, just in case u want to go down that route later.
 

-Ad-

Well-known Member
Definitely do the wiring now in preparation.

I'm sticking with 5.1 and will be using tripoles as rears, sitting on the floor either side of the sofa, firing upwards. Not enough space on the side walls for my surrounds due to 'art' on one side and a radiator on the other.

But there's loads of space in the ceiling and as we'll be refurbing upstairs next year, pulling up some floorboards to put in cable for x4 ceiling speakers is a no brainer. Especially as Sommer or van damme cable is incredibly cheap.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
By all means pre-wire for any possible speaker setup you want in the future, and do buy an Atmos/DTS:X capable AV receiver (virtually all new receivers will do this anyway), but for now I would concentrate on getting the basic 5.1/7.1 right. It doesn't matter how many speakers you add to an existing system - if the basics aren't right, the extra speakers aren't going to make it right. Do it once, do it properly.
 

porscheman

Active Member
^^ I don't understand what you mean Dav1dF. What do you mean by getting the 5.1/7.1 setup right? My 5.1 setup is right. I have a left, centre, right speakers at the screen end of the room, and left rear and right rear surround speakers either side and above the sofa at the back of the room.
 

porscheman

Active Member
Like this :) (please excuse mess and curtains !!)

 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Not sure if this is what David means, but IMHO adding extra speakers if you are using basic/budget ones isn't necessarily the best way to upgrade a system. I don't know what you are running at the moment, so it isn't a slight on your particular system, more a general comment.

EDIT: Having seen your pictures then I don't think you do have the basic set up 'right' though there may be little you can do about it: The centre is far too low and likely suffering because it is jammed into the cabinet and the surrounds might be better if replaced with tripole/dipole speakers as there isn't really enough space between them and you. The surrounds in an Atmos set up are recommended to be lower down, much closer to ear level too, which would be difficult in your set up. Adding extra speakers wouldn't be a priority IMHO.
 
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porscheman

Active Member
Ok, I may have misunderstood.

I agree that centre speaker location is not great, but short of wall mounting the tv there is little I can do with that particular low lever storage unit. I could possibly raise the front of the centre speaker slightly so the sound fires upwards and outwards more? (cant say I have ever noticed much loss of centre channel accuracy with that speaker low down however)

With regards to rear surrounds and space between them and the seating, it's a narrow garage. How much are tripole's going to cost me?! (ten years ago when this HC was built the only tripoles around were MK thx which were far too expensive for the little time that I watch movies!)

Here's another question. Could upgrade my system to plain old 7.1 (non atmos) by fitting in-ceiling speakers to create a more enveloping rear surround field? Monitor Audio do a superb range of in-ceilings, and these would hopefully be a good tonal match for my existing ancient MA Silver 5i speakers (god the choice of in-ceilings is HUGE !! ---> In Ceiling | Monitor Audio )

The joists in the room above run width-ways to the garage. :)
 
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KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I don't think you would get the benefit from the surround backs in a 7.1 system as you can't have them very far behind you which is a requirement for them to work properly. My surround backs are about 2.5 metres behind my sofa so they have plenty of space to work in. Even so the difference between 7.1 and 5.1 isn't huge in my set up as I'm using MK S150T side surrounds which really through the surround effects around the room and are a perfect match for the MP150 LCR speakers I'm using. IMHO it's only a small improvement in the overall sound (though it may be marginly better if I bought matching S150T for the back wall rather than the older/cheaper K4 tripoles I'm using, it's hard to justify another £1,500 for a second pair).

Perhaps the best compromise you could achieve would be to put two ceiling speakers above and in front of the sofa and if possible move the surrounds lower down and make it a 5.1.2 set up. Even then the monopole surround speakers being quite close to the sofa/ears means that they might become too directional (ie the right hand listener will hear mostly the right surround and visa versa). I believe MA make a dipole speaker so perhaps you could use them as lowered surrounds and sell on your current monopole surrounds?
 

porscheman

Active Member
Hi Kelvin, I like your idea about the di-poles and in ceiling 5.1.2 setup, but surely if I lower the side surround speakers, the sound will be less diffused as they would be closer to the ear?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Yes, that's what I meant; the lack of space around the sofa to give the surrounds room to 'breathe' hence the suggestion of dipoles to make the sound more diffuse. The lowering of the surrounds is what is generally recommended for Atmos otherwise you'll end up with all ceiling speakers effectively.

Perhaps David will chip in, but I think this is part of what he meant about having the basics right. Most of us have to make compromises in our AV rooms (even some with dedicated rooms) though, so it's a matter of working out how to get the maximum out of what we have: I've got issues working out how/whether to change from 7.2 to 7.2.4 myself as my side surrounds are high up like yours and one side has a patio door in the way so I can't lower it. Perhaps I'll have to downscale my plans too, if I think it will impact on the basic 7.2 set up.
 

porscheman

Active Member
Thanks Kelvin, I think then maybe it is time to get the basics right. I think the di-poles will make a big improvement to the surround sound rears.

What do you think of these as a match to my old Monitor Audio silver 5i 8ohm fronts and centre?
Bronze FX | Monitor Audio
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Sorry I don't know much about MA speakers, other than knowing that they do make wall mountable (bipole?) surround speakers. Just one comment though based on the link; those are the bronze models so won't be such a good match to your LCR Silvers. Not sure how much difference there is between silver and bronze models though in sound (and price for that matter).

It's not a view shared by everyone on here, but IMHO getting the basics right means fully matching LCR and surrounds. Once you do that you might find that you don't need extra speakers. When I got my matching S150T set up (I ran for a few days with the MP150 fronts and old K4 side surrounds) I started hearing sounds come from places between the front left and left surround (and visa versa) like I had front wide speakers. You only tend to get this effect when the speakers all really match well though, otherwise the sound just 'jumps' from one speaker to another when panning. It's a small detail and I'm sure some will disagree, but perhaps they are running mixed speakers and haven't tried fully matching ;). There's a difference between surround 'working' and surround 'blending'. It's also probably why changing to 7.1 from 5.1 doesn't seem very significant even though I have a decent distance behind me: 5 good speakers working really well gives a great surround effect.
 

porscheman

Active Member
Hi Kelvin, my current speakers are matched. All tweeters, woofers and magnets etc are the same. Just different box enclosures. Is this what you mean?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Yes, so if you change the surround speakers then best to try to get a pair that use the same drivers if you can for the best match. However, if you stay with 5.1 then just leave your existing surrounds where they are. The dipole suggestion was only if you need to lower the surround so you can go 5.1.2.

Another option might be to put the existing surrounds in the back corners of the room, but it looks from the photo that they would be very close to your ears unless the sofa could be moved a bit further forward perhaps?
 

porscheman

Active Member
Hi again Kelvin, the rear speakers are actually slightly behind the sofa, but I could easily pull the sofa forward by a few more inches if required (would improve airflow around the radiator that is behind the sofa too :) ) I also just managed to angle the centre speaker up slightly so it fires into the room more, rather than across the carpet !

on the sofa looking up and left -


And looking up and right -


Centre angled up -
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Looks like you can't really lower them much from where they are really. I'm not sure what to suggest as it's just a limit of the room/layout really. You don't want surrounds right by your ears, but Atmos requires them to be lower so that the ceiling speakers aren't too close to them. TBH I'd leave them where they are and just forget about Atmos.

If you absolutely had to try Atmos, then just stick with 5.1.2 and put the ceiling speakers half way along your ceiling in line with your left/right speakers and just leave the surrounds where they are. It wouldn't be ideal, but I can't really see what else you could do. TBH when I had a demo of Atmos I wasn't that taken by it as I'm so used to hearing sounds above me it sounded very similar to what I hear at home. It was only when the dealer dropped down to 5.1 (his surrounds were just above ear level and slightly behind) that the 'height' part disappeared.

Might be worth pulling the centre forwards a touch so that the front (top edge) of it is clear of the cabinet as this will help reduce reflections from the cabinet/shelf. It still isn't ideal, but short of wall mounting the TV and putting the centre on a small stand on top of the cabinet so that the tweeter is closer to being level with the left/rights, then again it's probably all you can do. You could try raising the crossover of the centre to 100 or even 120Hz if your AVR allows a separate setting as this might help reduce booming and make dialogue a bit clearer.

Of course non of the above matters if you leave your AVR in 'stereo' mode as per the picture. ;)
 

porscheman

Active Member
I am not fussed about atmos, I just thought about it because I will be able to lift the floorboards in the room above. I should perhaps explain, I rarely use the room, because my children are often in there and they use as their own 'lounge' for gaming and friends etc. This garage was always a compromise, and I am not in anyway an AV ubergeek, but great sound quality is something I relish.

So, lets just say this stays as a 5.1 system, would you still recommend di-pole speakers and/or a new receiver so I can try HD audio (existing receiver is purely old school DD and DTS lossy)

p.s - Ignore the receiver, it goes to stereo mode when the blu ray player is not switched on :)
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I don't think you'd gain much by just replacing the surrounds with dipoles, it was just a suggestion so you could lower them and still get a diffuse sound if you went Atmos.

A new receiver might give you some benefits though. Newer models have better room eq and the HD soundtracks should sound better than lossy DD/DTS (though a good old school amp can still sound better than a new cheap one with all the badges IMHO).

It's a funny time right now to buy a new receiver due to Atmos, DTS:X and 4K as newer models are just being announced and not yet for sale. However if you don't need Atmos/DTS:X or aren't bothered about HDCP 2.2 required for UHD players, then you could grab a real bargain end of line model (or in the classifieds on here).
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Not sure if this is what David means, but IMHO adding extra speakers if you are using basic/budget ones isn't necessarily the best way to upgrade a system.
My comment was a general one as I didn't know what speakers porscheman was using or have any info regarding layout/placement/setup. The majority of systems in use aren't set up to get the best out of them, but this is usually down to other furniture in the room being of more importance. My comment was more centred around getting the best out of the existing package, rather than having them underperforming and then adding speakers to try and improve it.

My comment also covers the use of budget speakers as well, as I have mentioned in similar threads previously.
 

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