Help Deciding on Surround Sound System

sheppsea

Novice Member
Good Morning Everyone,

We have recently moved, and our new living room feels like it lends itself quite well to have a home cinema/surround sound system. It is quite big and is split into a living area and dining area so the sofa is in the centre of the room. We will also be redecorating the room and as part of this the ceiling will be getting removed due to asbestos being in there so it also feels like a good opportunity to properly hide the wires etc (and potentially look at installing some kind of sound proofing in the ceiling as the kids' bedroom is directly above)

Below is a plan of the room. We will have more furniture (such as bookshelves and armchairs etc) but I have only included the important bits to stop it getting too crowded

51394174211_20ccb1eeef_o.jpg


The first thing I wanted to ask about is what system I should use - would this room support a 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 setup? The front, centre and surround speakers I think would work quite well as they can be lined up quite well with the main sitting position on the sofa (the front left and right will probably need to be ground speaker that are moved whenever being used as we will have other furniture either side of the TV, but the surrounds can be permanently in place on the walls between the two French doors and next to the other door. My concern is the rears. They would be on the back wall, and around 3m behind the sitting position - is this too far and 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 would be better?

With regards to the Atmos - does having 4 really improve the experience that much? To be honest, I will probably only go with two anyway due to pricing considerations but also curious. Should the Atmos speakers also be directly above the sitting position if going with 2?

I also wanted to ask about in wall speakers - these would be my preference as it is a living area so discretion is good, but how deep would the hole in the wall need to be?

Thank you for your time :)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
No budget mentioned?

So you can´t use wall mounted on-wall speakers for the front L/R that doesn´t need to be removed daily?

I haven´t heard anyone regretting going for .4 over .2, quite the opposite. You have ideal space to place ceiling speakers in front and behind listeners. See link below for ideal angles:



Example for MA in-wall speakers 85.5 mm - 96mm mounting depth. The 2nd one has back box and is also higher quality model.



Kef has 76mm mounting depth from surface.

Dali has 100mm:

M&K about same:
 

sheppsea

Novice Member
Thank you for your response

Budget is up in the air at the moment - my general approach is to see what I want and then work back from there and work out what I can afford (so for example, if I decide I want to 7.2.4 I'll get the receiver to support that and then get cheaper speakers in the first instance, then get better ones as time goes by :)

Ideally I'd like permanently placed speakers either side at the front, and again in wall for discretion, but the reality is that there will be a book case and unit either side, so I'm not sure they will fit.

Thank you for the info on the in wall speakers

Do you think the rear surrounds will be okay in the back wall or is it too far back?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thank you for your response

Budget is up in the air at the moment - my general approach is to see what I want and then work back from there and work out what I can afford (so for example, if I decide I want to 7.2.4 I'll get the receiver to support that and then get cheaper speakers in the first instance, then get better ones as time goes by :)

Ideally I'd like permanently placed speakers either side at the front, and again in wall for discretion, but the reality is that there will be a book case and unit either side, so I'm not sure they will fit.

Thank you for the info on the in wall speakers

Do you think the rear surrounds will be okay in the back wall or is it too far back?

Rather build it slowly with better quality speakers, just run the wires ready and then add gear when funds allow. Then you don´t need to swap the speakers and lose money selling old ones. At least don´t skimp on the quality of front three (LCR) and try to figure out solution that can be permanent. It´s always tricky to get the center channel close to seated ear height with tv. For the main l/r speakers you would aim to have the tweeters around seated ear height. Then you need to calculate how much apart the mains would be so you get the 22-30 degree angle found in the links i posted. Many times people who buy in-wall speakers for lounge just installs them each side of tv too narrow, cause they look best that way. However they won´t sound best that way. If in doubt pay someone to install your system optimally so speaker placement will be optimized.

As long as you got plenty power to run SBL/SBR and pick the speakers wisely as in not too small then you should be fine with the surround backs further away. I see you have dining table there. Not sure what wife thinks of fairly large in-wall speakers visible there which would go fairly narrow see again the angles in the links i posted and you would have to think the height carefully too. You don´t want to install them or surround l/r (sides) too high cause you want good height separation to overhead channels! So think carefully is it worth all the hassle as that is not dedicated room.

You can start with smaller system and save quite a lot with receiver too. For example Denon X3700H should be available for roughly 1k£ in few months if not right away when purchasing together with speakers. For comparison cheapest one box 11.2 receiver costs 2300£ X6700H. If you require Auro 3D then X4700H should be available for 1400£. These two cheaper units can do 5.2.4 out of box, but also 7.2.4 if you add 2ch poweramp later so nothing is lost. You are shopping the worst possible time for av-receivers as the prices are higher than when models were introduced. End of year / early next year things can change as more competition and better availability. Next summer comes new models so these models (3000/4000 range) will go on sale at spring 2022.

Don´t forget that quality subwoofer costs ~500£ (don´t skimp on this or the whole experience will be flatter) and you might also consider duals for the benefits of smoother bass response for more seats/listeners, if not right away then in future. However the potential placement of woofers should be considered carefully. There is also question marks how large woofer you can fit and do you require some special wood veneer finish to keep wife happy? Many of those are black ash oak which isn´t the prettiest necessarily, but there is options when you give your budget and potential size requirements.

Also adding your list fire hoods for in-ceiling speakers and CL2/CL3 rated speaker wire for in-wall/ceiling installation, just to be safe side if something happens and insurance company does investigation.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
First thoughts are it either is or isn’t suitable as a dual purpose sitting room/entertainment space! The idea that you will move speakers around is ‘daft’ when you have a blank canvas, don’t ignore your furniture at this time you need to make a plan which fully integrates all aspects of the room.

In-wall or On-Wall are both viable options and you could consider going without a Centre channel as you are sitting head on or alternatively you could consider a Front LCR Speakerbar sitting below the TV (On-wall or In-wall).

Set a budget - trying to work without one becomes a lottery and include the required works in the overall budget.

Stopping sound going up into the bedrooms will be a key consideration - some In-ceiling speakers have integral fire and or sound hoods others will require you add fire/sound hoods to each speaker.

In-wall subs transfer energy to the walls unless you can fully isolate the wall the Sub is bolted too so you may find a conventional free standing sub is more suitable when it comes to the overall budget.

Joe
 

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