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7.1 speaker matching / placement (specifically Acoustic Energy)

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Gary_W, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Gary_W

    Gary_W
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    Hi

    I have a 5 speaker set of Acoustic Energy speakers on order (Evo 3 fronts, Evo 1 rears and an Evo centre). Should be getting them in a day or two and cannot wait.

    In the near future, I will be adding a sub (probably Rel Stampede, but TBD) and will be updating my old Marantz 5.1 receiver to a 7.1 model (will be listening to several models including Arcam, Marantz and Denon offerings between £500 and £800).

    The room that this lot will be installed in is potentially an ideal home cinema room. It is a perfect rectangle just over 22 feet long and about 13 feet wide. The TV and fronts are going on one of the short walls, the main couch that we listen from is 14 feet away from the wall in question. So we have 8 feet of space behind the couch. I am starting to realise that a picture really does paint a thousand words....

    The position of the rears is not a problem. The surround positions are; there are windows / doors in the way. The best I can do is have them exactly level with the sides of the couch as opposed to slightly behind. Whilst this would be far from ideal as a 5.1 setup, is this going to be a problem when I go 7.1?

    Even if mounting them in this position is OK, it will look far better if I go for some wall mount speakers as opposed to another pair of Evo 1's. I cannot imagine selling the idea of another pair of fairly big speakers to the other half. Will I be giving imaging problems if I go for the Acoustic Energy compacts for the surround speakers, considering I'll be using the Evo 1's as rears? Should I consider bipole / dipole wall mounters and if so which ones? I would like to keep the spend under £150 for the pair if possible.

    Many thanks

    Gary
     
  2. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    I'd say you're pretty much set, Gary... for a 7.1 setup, I would say your Surround Right and Left speakers should be level with the couch anyway - you're going to have another pair at the back to handle rear duties, so no reason the left and right surrounds should be offset any amount to the rear. Level with you is ideal. In 5.1, the surrounds have to pull "double-duty" and act as rears as well, which is why prescribed 5.1 positioning is a little to the rear - it's the compromise position.

    As for imaging problems from the rears: yes, your rear speakers could interfere with the separation effects on the surrounds, but only if they're too close. With your size of room (22' long, and your surrounds at the side level with the couch (14', or roughly 2/3 down the length of the room), you've got plenty of room for manoever. I don't know how much space you have to play with behind your couch, but if you've got the full 7 remaining feet, ideal.

    Also, consider your "horizontal placement" on the rears - remember that 7.1 is really a misnomer, and both rear units are carrying exactly the same channel. Logic would then dictate that separating the rear speakers is rather irrelevant, there's no separation effect to be gained, so you could actually have your two rear units more or less side by side (which would give you another advantage, specifically that with them closer to the centerline of the room, your rears would have even less chance of interfering with the side-surrounds.

    Whether you should or not split the rear units (and if so, by how much)... highly contentious topic, and you'll get 1,001 answers. My perspective (and this is a personal preference only) - for movie use, where placement is far more important, together is better. For music use, better to the sides and toed-in for a more room-filling sound, even if the placement isn't quite correct. Different media, different position. You could actually have the best of both worlds, provided your rear speakers aren't wall-mounted or in an otherwise fixed position... nothing stopping you moving them about as and how you want.

    Like I said though, that's my preference only. The only thing that matters is your opinion, so try it both ways.
     
  3. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    Some additional stuff I didn't have time to add 'cause I was rushing out:

    On the dipole vs monopole thing... truth is, dipoles are a little overrated insofar as there seems to be an assumption that dipole must be better than monopole. Not the case, it's a question of matching function with your needs.

    Where dipoles really shine is if you've got a room with a lot of clutter, a lot of soft angles, etc... furniture, lamps, I don't know... anything that that can get in the way of an ideal soundfield. With the dipoles, even if one cone doesn't have the best "outlook" on the world, the other can hopefully make up for it. They also come in useful if you have more than one row of seating, as you can project to a wider target area if you're using dipoles as your side surrounds. Finally, they can make excellent rear speakers, especially if you subscribe to the "close together" theory (or can only afford (or just outright prefer) a single speaker for rear duties - again, with a wider soundfield, they cover more ground (literally).

    That said, you pay for the privilege too, and whether it's worth it or not is really down to you. If your room is relatively "clean" i.e. not a lot of stuff in it, and you have clear sightlines to your speakers' cones, monopoles will save you money AND could give you better performance: there's such a thing as too much sound flying around the room too.
     

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