Question Equipment placement for Atmos setup

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by Dodgexander, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Not a build like some very impressive projects on here but I'm looking for some advice on potential room layout.

    I'm moving my parents set up upstairs to keep the living space separate and I have a blank canvas (yay no fireplace:clap:).

    Here is a plan I made with potential TV and Sofa layout but this can be changed if anyone has some better ideas.

    The room isn't massive, but I am looking to build on my current 9.1 setup to either a 7.1.4 or 5.1.4 system..is that too much and should I just downsize to 5.1.2?

    My speakers aren't fantastic and they aren't small either so I was thinking of matching them with the best value ceiling speakers I can to match my system, above the room is the attic so hopefully feeding cables won't be too hard.
    Code:
    2x Q Accoustic 1010i 15-75w Bookshelf
    2x Q Accoustic 2010i 15-75w Bookshelf
    2x Q Accoustic 1050i 25-150w Floorstanders
    1x Q Accoustic 1000C 25-100w Centre
    1x Q Accoustic Q1000Si Sub
    2x Wharfedale Modus Cube 75w Satellite
    
    This will be the first time I have ever ran cables through walls or planned a proper set up of any kind so I am looking for any general advice when it comes wiring, cable management, suggested ceiling speakers and any other placement advice you can give. Previously I just ran speaker wires under the carpet.

    I know that ceiling speakers are prefered but should I discount bouncy speakers at all? My ceiling is flat and 2.40m high.

    snapshot-Thu, 14 Jun 2018 22_31_57 GMT.png

    I haven't fully decided on receiver suggestions either, my current is a Onkyo TX-SR608. TV is a Panasonic 65DX902, only thing I need really is 6x HDMI 2.0a inputs, HLG/HDR10 compatible.

    So to break it down:
    1. Should I bother with ceiling speakers at all and go bouncy atmos? is 4x an overkill for a room of this size?
    2. Will your average 9ch/11ch setup have large diminishing returns for me compared to a 5.1.2?
    3. Any receiver/ceiling speaker suggestions?
    4. Room layout, is it possible to have the TV in the corner or should I move TV to the opposite wall in the middle?
    TIA:thumbsup:
     
  2. The Dreamer

    The Dreamer
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    I’ll start in reverse order, since room layout has a bearing on other stuff....

    4. The first thing I thought, when I saw your plan, even before seeing your bullet points, was, why has he got the TV in the corner? Definitely move it to either the lower wall, or the right hand wall.

    3. Can’t help here, I know you’re looking at the Marantz 6012, but as I’ve only just bought mine, it’s too early for me to say it’s a definite buy - though it is good value, and prices may drop further still in the next couple of months, since it’s replacement was just announced yesterday!

    2. I’ve heard that, 5.1.4 is a better experience than 7.1.2, and as the AVR above can do 5.1.4 out of the box, that’s the way I would head. And again, I’ve read that 5.1.4 is quite a step up from 5.1.2, so if possible, always go for 4 overheads.

    1. Personally, I’d go for overhead speakers. If you plan them carefully, you could have them arranged in the ceiling such that they’d work for either orientation mentioned in point 4 above. i.e. just change the speaker connections to your AVR and you can rotate the overheads by 90 degrees. That way you could change your room around, if you fancied, and the overheads wouldn’t need to move. (Of course, if you used ‘bouncy Atmos’ you could do this anyway).

    Anyway, best of luck - that’s a great space you have to play with. Have you not convinced your parents they should invest in a projector?:D
     
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  3. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Layout - agreed this is key to making the most of your system. Follow the Dolby guides and avoid the off Center screen and seating.

    Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide

    Pre wire for your ideal system - even if you go with a cut down version to start with.

    Get the 5.1 'Base' system correct and then build on that.

    Give yourself some flexibility on Sub positioning.

    Joe
     
  4. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Thanks guys, so a quick copy and paste job from the dolby recommendations looks like this for a 7.1.4 set up.

    upload_2018-6-16_14-21-26.png

    This isn't 100% to scale obviously but my TV will fit 3x on the back wall so it's a good guess.

    A few of questions:
    1. Is there any benefit from me centering the placement in the room compared to being to the side? It will mean I have less room elsewhere which there will still be furniture and a bed to place but will it cost much sound quality? It will also be more hassle moving the antenna point which is where the TV is placed in the picture above. I guess I could move the TV forward outside of the culvert but it would leave empty space behind, although I could fill that I guess. I think from the brief measuring I have done I can fit everything as the picture shows above.
    2. About the speaker placement, I understand the crucial part is the angle, not proximity, can I bring the sofa further forward than in the picture to maintain a wider field of view to the 65" TV. I want the sofa as close to the TV as possible to enjoy UHD detail.
    3. How does overhead speaker placement work? -If I wanted to maintain the possibility of moving the room around how can I plan overhead speaker placement? I have been reading Dolby's guidelines and much like with the bottom speakers, it seems overhead placement is all about angles. e.g overhead speakers have to be within 125-150° - How can I maintain two possible room layouts with a rectangular ceiling layout? And what about wiring?
    4. And about wiring, what is the best way to hide cables from the speakers nearest the center of the room? I have run wires under carpet before and it made a lump in the carpet so really want to avoid that if possible.
     
  5. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Not sure if anyone can help me but;

    Is it better to have speakers laid out further away or closer to the listener?

    I have had to resort to using front and rear heights in a 7.1.4 setup and this means I need to mount the rear heights on one of the back walls, high up close to the ceiling. If I do this is it better to have my surround backs at the same distance from the listening position or can they surround back speakers be closer?

    Also with the front speakers, is it going to be better to have them spaced a little wider than they would be in the corner section of the room or is it also okay to have them so close to the TV if my viewing distance is close and they are angled too the centre?

    Lastly is there such a thing as being "too close" to a speaker? The easiest option for me would result in the the surround left speaker having to be very close to the left of the viewing position.
     
  6. Cherrywood

    Cherrywood

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    I dont think your room plan gives best impression of the space, where is thd door?
    Is there any radiators etc that restrict tv or bed placement.

    Before you decide any speakers, you need to get MLP sorted.

    If possible i would center tv or either of the two long walls. The corner you have TV in can be made into a built in walbrobe / house AV kit.

    I would then look at seating, sofa? Or maybe just use thd bed. Or of course a sofa bed.

    Alot is depends on budget, but once you havd a plan, then you can priortising sending.

    Have a plan with new layout then we shoukd be able yo advise speaker placement around that.
     
  7. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Thanks, okay after a few days spent learning the basics of sketchup I think I have a better plan. The question I need to find an answer to first is placement of the TV and MLP (thanks @Cherrywood )

    I have 3 choices, given I can't place the TV next to the window (and radiator beneath window).

    In the image I have placed the TV in 3 different positions, of course I do not need to keep the front speakers so close to the TV in the bare-wall positions.

    [​IMG]

    Position A would be the easiest, no fuss set up and I can of course pull it forward and use the space behind as advised above, but of course it would be the "neatest" looking. Disadvantages from position A I am not sure about but I can foresee the following:
    • I'm not sure I would easily be able to position the Surround Left speaker being so close to the window and radiator. If I did it would be possible the sofa would have to be off-centre and the speaker very close to the main listening position.
    • I don't know how much it will effect the performance of my front left and right speakers having them so squeezed in, along with the Front heights that are supposed to be adjacent and above them. Will I get a better sound spreading them out more? - I had read online that you should sit at the same distance from the centre speaker as is between the left and right speaker which shouldn't be a problem as I want to sit as close as possible to benefit from UHD detail.
    Position B would be the next best option, but would mean I would have to run more cables round the room, especially a thicker coax cable and ethernet perhaps too. On the other hand position B would mean for my front speakers to be spread out more.

    Position A seems the worse of the lot, more cable to run and opposite a window for glare, although the room is north facing so it's not a big deal.

    Some notes:
    There are fitted wardrobes towards the door on the top right of the image but there is a gap above them for heights.

    A question:
    Do my rear heights have to be the same distance from the listening position as the surround rears or can they be further back. I want to have the sofa as near to the TV as I can (good distance would be 120cm -+ and I need to think about where I can place rear surrounds and heights in relation to this if the sofa is not in the middle of the room.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  8. Cherrywood

    Cherrywood

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    I would use position B, this will allow for LcR to be nicely seperated. You could even consider a projector :)

    The rear surrounds maybe the only issue, you may be better off stand mount on window wall.

    Before you finalise anything are you able to mock up 5.1 system?

    I would also wire for 7.1.4 however focus on 5.1.4 but you can still easy upgrade when you want.
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Position A - lends itself to a Stereo system.

    Position B - looks like a good option for surround sound.

    Position C (or A2 :)) - looks like a good option for surround sound, if you can deal with the window.

    Distance to speakers - you can sit relatively close (to some speaker designs), though set your levels too high and it can feel a bit overwhelming and small variations in the angle/height of the speakers can make a big difference to what you hear.

    Like Cherrywood I would be wanting to gather some kit together and experiment a bit before you made any firm commitments.

    Joe
     
  10. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    The speakers I have for now really aren't going to do the receiver justice but I have enough already for the full 7.1.4 system. I guess I'll get moving and get things setup up there to see how it goes. I won't route any cable until finalized.

    Right now I am running a Onkyo SR608 downstairs with a 7.1 system and toggling between surround rears and front wides so it will be interesting moving away from that.

    I'll forget the surround rears for now and focus on a 5.1.4

    Thanks again guys.
     
  11. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Okay it's been a while and a lot of moving about removing speakers from downstairs and hauling them upstairs but I finally had the chance to set up the new Denon X4400H today. Before I set it up I sat with my Mum (prospected primary user of this system) and we auditioned through some old amps with some music to compare.

    Source was an old but decent Technics CD SL-PG580A Player and various standard CDs.

    First my previous AVR, a Onkyo SR608, AV receiver.
    Second was a Rotel RA-931 Integrated Amplifier (1985 model I think) and my mums original Amp.
    Third a NAD NAD C326BEE another Integrated amplifier.
    And Fourth, finally the new Denon AV Receiver,

    Onkyo sounded pretty damn good still, I was never unimpressed with its music and it delivers bass and treble really well.

    Rotel sounded good still holds up surprisingly well, great clear mids and clarity, separation also really nice, lacking a little in bass and highs but a very warm musical sound.

    NAD, well this was in a different league. Listening to this after the Rotel made me realise that the Rotel had such a high noise floor compared to this. The clarity was astounding, the vocals clear, about everything was better than the Rotel but bass was a bit lacking compared to the Onkyo and the highs were a bit "too high" but nothing a simple adjustment couldn't fixed. But the NAD did everything the Rotel did better and kept the musical feeling unlike the Onkyo.

    Denon, at first we were disappointed. It sounded very defined and precise but not at all musical and we didn't get the nice warmer sound like we did from the other amps. However I then released I hadn't engaged Pure Direct mode...when I did wow. I swear it sounded almost, if not as good as or better than the NAD. The thing it was impressive most with I could just describe as raw power. The other amps fell behind a bit during noisier parts of the tracks and were unable to separate the different instruments as well. The Denon however swam through it like it was no trouble at all and retained the good clarity like the NAD but with even better controlled bass.

    So I am really not sure what to do about theN AND now, I'm still not certain if its actually going to be better than just using the Denon, I have a feeling that its slightly more musical but I am skeptical that the power is just not there to drive my floorstanders like the Denon has.

    There is definitely something about the NAD that makes me want to keep listening to music but after trying the Denon it seemed like it was close to if not better with music. I guess I have more comparisons to make!

    In terms of the room setup I have things wired up to a basic 5.1.2 system right now with some Q Acoustic 1010i's on top of my front speakers angled upwards...acting as "upfiring speakers".
    I haven't managed any atmos movie soundtracks yet but I am generally unimpressed by them so far. To me all it sounds like is additional sound from the top of my floorstanders and not actually the kind of effects I was hoping for. I am sure bouncy speakers designated to the purpose would work better but I am glad I am eventually going to go for front and rear heights instead so far.

    Here is the temporary set up so far at the front :D

    [​IMG]

    (Please ignore the random stuff and off-centre centre speaker..and lack of TV, still waiting to move that upstairs)!

    Biggest issue I can think of right now is going to be moving furniture about to make room for my surround backs. I am actually not really worried about how far away the heights have to be now I have things set up and realised how little space there is in here after you bring all the equipment together for real.

    The other thing is the receiver gets very hot and I'm scared of storing where I had originally planned in the TV stand given there is only about 1 inch clearance. Denon recommend 5 on top to be safe. I think somehow I'll have to use the space behind the TV to store the receiver on an AV rack but its going to be a challenge to place it somewhere where it's still visible :(

    I guess the other option would be purchasing Alphasons TV mount to go with my stand and mount the TV higher up with the receiver to one side beneath it. Looking at the picture does anyone think it's going to be a problem?

    For reference this is my previous thread: Question - Planning Atmos Setup I wasn't sure which one to update with but I'll choose this and put this link in that thread in case anyone cares to read.
     
  12. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    I wasn't sure if it was wise to post here or create a new thread but I'm really struggling with the final tweaks of my current setup and I'm trying to work out the easiest way to make the system as foolproof to operate as possible.

    The biggest decision now seems to be to harmony or not to harmony. I own a harmony one and whilst I like it, it often will make a mistake or two when operated by those who don't understand the ins and outs of the system setup like I do.

    Since the new receiver I've been able to get HDMI CEC working okay and I've wondered if using that instead is the way forward. My source equipment is as follows;

    Panasonic 65DX-902 TV
    Panasonic UB900 UHD Blu-ray player
    Denon AVR-X4400H
    BT UHD TV box
    Zidoo X10 Android box
    NAD C320BEE connected to the front pre out of the Denon and also looped back to the NAD pre amp for musical use with a manual phono switch.
    Technics CD player.
    Rega planar 3 turntable.
    Roku streaming stick plus

    My main problem using CEC is the power of the NAD amp. It always needs to be manually switched on from the front or remote if in standby and it has no trigger input, only an output. Not only that but if powered off externally and power is returned to the unit when it's on the amp only goes to standby by default. You actually have to send the amp (or press) an input to bring it out of standby or send it a power on command via IR.

    Other quirks;
    The BT box only works with CEC powering on, it does not power off when turning my TV and AVR off or when you change input. Not so bad I guess but my mum will be using this system so even having to remember to turn it off independently may be a step too far for her along with having to control the nad independently too.

    The Roku uses a radio remote rather than IR so can't be controlled by the harmony. CEC works okay but it's not obvious that you only have to press a button on the remote to trigger CEC after you power on/change source.

    The Panasonic UHD Blu-ray player works the same as the BT box, powers on using CEC but doesn't power off, again not a biggie since it also has a TV power off button.

    The Zidoo's CEC is pretty broken and only power on seems to work, although it does come with a learning remote that I've programmed to the TV.

    The Denon works well and I like the smart menu system. I did debate using only the Denon remote but I can't get it to control the cd player and certainly not the zidoo box or roku and the toggle nature of each source on the remote is possibly too complicated for others to handle.

    The TV itself and built in apps also work will with CEC.

    But how on earth do I simplify this and what's the best way forward? Shall I forget CEC and use the harmony? Is there no simple way to use CEC? What do others do when they have so many sources in a pro setup?
     
  13. 494930

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    Unfortunately CEC is hit and miss at best. I'd definately opt to use a hub based Harmony such as the Elite. The hub based remotes can control the Roku over IP and dont need you to keep pointing the remote at your media equipment whilst the activity starts up reducing the scope for error.
     
  14. Dodgexander

    Dodgexander
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    Interesting, I didn't realise the elite range could do that. would definitely appeal to me that! thanks
     

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