Help me choose the 5.2.4 speakers for my dedicated home theater

voidpointer

Novice Member
I have a dedicated 17'x17' and 10' high media room I'm setting up a home theater in. I've already decided on the video equipment (projector and screen) and am working on speaker setup. I am really new to this and I do not know a lot about speakers. I haven't heard any of the brands I'm going to purchase. I'm really relying mostly on the knowledge of folks here and of people I read reviews of to buy the right thing. I'm not really worried about if I'm going to like it or not, especially with my budget, but I do want the "best" of the choices.

I've been getting quotes from various companies (Magnolia Best Buy, Dreamedia, etc) and I'd like to post some of the speakers that were selected for me here. I'm hoping someone can help me decide on the right brands and speaker models for my room. I can post pictures of the room if needed. Note that I do plan to get some acoustic panels and bass traps, because I hear square rooms suck for audio, so expect that will be done after I choose the right speakers.

Total home theater budget is $17k-20k. So far about 12k of that is quoted for non-audio stuff. So I imagine I'm hovering around 8-10k for speakers based on the quotes given here, which is a LOT, and does put me over budget, but for some reason these reps like to give me expensive speakers instead of trying to compromise on my budget... for example the final quote with the Martin Logan speakers is $25k :-( I could do this if I really needed to but, I feel like I need to bring it down more.

The choices boil down to surrounds and atmos speakers (all in-wall, which is what I want). In all configurations, I'm getting 2x SVS PB-2000 Pro subs (I personally chose these) and AVR chosen for me is Denon AVR-X4700H. I've been less focused on the AVR, it seems like a good one to me, but open to suggestions.

Choice 1:
  • 5x Martin Logan - Motion XTW6
  • 4x Martin Logan Helos 12 In Ceiling Speaker
Choice 2:
  • 5x KEF Ci200QL 8" In-wall Speaker
  • 4x KEF Ci160QR 6.5" In-Ceiling Speaker
Choice 3:
  • 5x Focal 100IWLCR5
  • 4x Focal 100 ICW6 In-Ceiling Speaker
These are just the choices I've been offered so far. I'm more than happy to take completely different recommendations here.

Initial feedback I got from choice 3 was that a horizontally placed 100IWLCR5 would not give a good audio experience to people positioned around or next to the center point in the room (I will have a single row of 4 seats and some bean bags up front for the kids). It was suggested instead to replace at least the center speaker with something like KEF THX-certified Ci4100QL. I think this same person also suggested getting 8x KEF Ci60.2 and using those for atmos + front LR and surrounds. I'm not sure if this suggestion is good or not. I'm just sharing what I've been told. The salesperson for this quote strongly stands by Focal and did not appreciate the feedback of the center channel.

Lastly I'll share that the Focal 300 series speakers were also recommended for the front LCR, but that goes from a $300 speaker to a $1200 speaker, so I really wanted to justify that, but I am not sure how. I'm not an audiophile so I want to be practical, but it's a big investment for me so I need to make sure I make the best decision possible. That's why I'm going through the trouble of getting opinions where I can.

I hope by posting here I can finally come to a decision. Thanks in advance for listening to my ramblings :)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
So you don`t have AT-screen (acoustically transparent) as you mentioned the horizontal center channel likely coming below screen? If that is the case how high it would be installed from floor?

I would feel you aren´t getting the best results if doing that as one big advantage with in-wall speakers would be to have the center channel behind screen placed vertically upright same as main l/r. The guy who mentioned about the Focal 100 horizontal dispersion is correct, the sound will change. However if you would opt for the 300 serie front three then the 3-way design should give you better horizontal response for the listeners at sides as you can rotate the tweeter/midrange for best response if speaker mounted horizontally.

My money would go to 300IWLCR6 x3 at front and 100IWLCR5 for surround l/r (sides) to keep the cost down. It would be easy to justify better speakers at front as those are where the most money should go. Rather save with surrounds and ceiling speakers. You can check if there is cheaper quality options available for overhead speakers (in-ceiling), they don`t need to be matching brand either. If you look what most people has in most cases they are from different brand. So pick the cheaper range for surround l/r and something cheaper for in-ceiling to get the IW300LCR.

If the seats are at least 1meter away from rear wall then consider adding surround back channels at some point for the rear wall so you get 7.2.4 system which the Denon can power if you add cheap 2ch poweramp! X4700H and dual PB2000 Pro`s sounds fine, but i´m not sure is the SVS good deal at 1100$ anymore. It was 799$ week ago and now due to price raise you are paying lot more.

There is better bang for buck products available, example HSU with 15" drivers:



If size not being issue two of Monoprice 15 THX should go cheap on Black Friday if still available.

Powersoundaudio is likely based in Texas US, i`m not 100% sure. Anyway you can ask do they have any deals going and possibly upcoming Black Friday deals. Send email with the information of your room / usage and Tom V. will help you out, even better yet call straight to get fast answer. Tom was the founding member of SVS so you getting quality product no doubt, they are made in US which may matter for you as most other stuff is made in China including SVS. He has so many models which aren`t listed in the site so better to contact and chat.


Consider front/rear diagonally opposite corners for the subwoofer placement. I wanted to mention this cause most people just thinks both subs at front is best, however this may or may not be the case so with that in mind choose the correct product also (size).
 

voidpointer

Novice Member
Here's a picture of the front of the media room where I taped out the projector screen location. I chose an arbitrary distance from the ceiling, it can move up/down as needed. Hope this helps. I was thinking the center speaker would go below the projection screen. I am worried that putting the speaker behind the screen will be weird: Will it cause the screen to display weird? Will the speaker's audio get blocked in some weird way? Having audio physically go through a screen material I'm nervous about. But I'll fully admit I'm not educated on it, I'm just sharing my initial thoughts on it.
jOXVnSz5ePuk5yZ9HZD_fA7UTHdYqHDCzcyoI5a1usZrP1uwuK6UM3cGi1gibv0h1fYUk7f5Nzzza5WXFL1FBUm6MYadRDQtejLTKADqxNImEYDkK4cGTJVN4dpDA7MXMRVLfqUz2fYC8jO1JMG4B3EbNRdzSmCtRGJtxBtMvpNmWIwxIbA9iNzIH6WgqaoSVX5lj1PvVl0MgzX1dfedX-OSVDXdYrP3mWHcCvwWbLpxFicQU26AUJcjPIZFUr74w8e9_3xxZc1qiK8IB10Vr3_VOj08BLs-Q-FKJ9QWPKF3wLV0b1CMuLa2-L5EUY28IZrxKZj3R1Fha0s0CMWUJqdZbkqjKfUqobEjy7cz4XcedbLLLhv-sxrhWyK1v13GGR10sZQeFv-R3m4L2GL_gIHTHZ-NOfAzra5fMR5NpGY6CoDejTJPF7NJcks_qRPPVQ5ynpJUMCGeERHWT6bib4P_zLqSvIEq_XMErHpXeR2x2Q2p55sDZGL444A61-CButc2dfHd-m3gNjv5nt1aCOhEBOYEqKq9g26FyHo9h6FPsPClCDfv7DRj45COqfom_eBi7_crzz8QwhEyzJLwiRrCz4YFKyqc1bnI0L-rjJt6TtW6_Pbe89GGLWEknF64h8H_8bg-ERcNxs-Fxd0vKUg9Ki6tddsng2mSXPPO1aEjMm-D722162Oc59tKs0mmckA1TCxlegroGcDsMUADxlCAxQ=w1216-h912-no
 

voidpointer

Novice Member
So you don`t have AT-screen (acoustically transparent) as you mentioned the horizontal center channel likely coming below screen? If that is the case how high it would be installed from floor?

I would feel you aren´t getting the best results if doing that as one big advantage with in-wall speakers would be to have the center channel behind screen placed vertically upright same as main l/r. The guy who mentioned about the Focal 100 horizontal dispersion is correct, the sound will change. However if you would opt for the 300 serie front three then the 3-way design should give you better horizontal response for the listeners at sides as you can rotate the tweeter/midrange for best response if speaker mounted horizontally.

My money would go to 300IWLCR6 x3 at front and 100IWLCR5 for surround l/r (sides) to keep the cost down. It would be easy to justify better speakers at front as those are where the most money should go. Rather save with surrounds and ceiling speakers. You can check if there is cheaper quality options available for overhead speakers (in-ceiling), they don`t need to be matching brand either. If you look what most people has in most cases they are from different brand. So pick the cheaper range for surround l/r and something cheaper for in-ceiling to get the IW300LCR.
So it's OK to stick with Focal? Between KEF, Focal, and other brands I've had thrown at me, it's only made the decision harder. I'm OK with Focal, I haven't heard anything bad about them, but you see significantly less people talking about them on Reddit & Forums as say compared to KEF.
If the seats are at least 1meter away from rear wall then consider adding surround back channels at some point for the rear wall so you get 7.2.4 system which the Denon can power if you add cheap 2ch poweramp!
So the back of the room has uneven/not-flush walls. On the back right, near the doorway, there's a countertop with cabinets underneath. The wall is recessed to support them, so if I did in-wall or wall mounted, they wouldn't be "flush" with each other. Because of the uneven back wall, I decided on 5.2.4. I'm not sure if you'd still suggest a 7 channel setup given this.
X4700H and dual PB2000 Pro`s sounds fine, but i´m not sure is the SVS good deal at 1100$ anymore. It was 799$ week ago and now due to price raise you are paying lot more.

There is better bang for buck products available, example HSU with 15" drivers:


How do you pick between the two? What's the difference?
If size not being issue two of Monoprice 15 THX should go cheap on Black Friday if still available.
I don't think size is an issue. But I'm open to opinions. I don't know if bass trap placement will change things. Is this one better than the 2 above you linked?
Powersoundaudio is likely based in Texas US, i`m not 100% sure. Anyway you can ask do they have any deals going and possibly upcoming Black Friday deals. Send email with the information of your room / usage and Tom V. will help you out, even better yet call straight to get fast answer. Tom was the founding member of SVS so you getting quality product no doubt, they are made in US which may matter for you as most other stuff is made in China including SVS. He has so many models which aren`t listed in the site so better to contact and chat.
Do you suggest this company for subwoofer purchases? That's a lot of choices. I guess your point is: There's 4 good options, find which one is cheaper or has a good deal going at the time?
Consider front/rear diagonally opposite corners for the subwoofer placement. I wanted to mention this cause most people just thinks both subs at front is best, however this may or may not be the case so with that in mind choose the correct product also (size).
If you look at the picture of the room I put above, to the back right off camera, is a doorway. So the sub can't go there. So it would probably go front-right and back-left, and there's plenty of space in those two corners. Happy to share more pictures of the room if you need them; just ask.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
So it's OK to stick with Focal? Between KEF, Focal, and other brands I've had thrown at me, it's only made the decision harder. I'm OK with Focal, I haven't heard anything bad about them, but you see significantly less people talking about them on Reddit & Forums as say compared to KEF.

So the back of the room has uneven/not-flush walls. On the back right, near the doorway, there's a countertop with cabinets underneath. The wall is recessed to support them, so if I did in-wall or wall mounted, they wouldn't be "flush" with each other. Because of the uneven back wall, I decided on 5.2.4. I'm not sure if you'd still suggest a 7 channel setup given this.

How do you pick between the two? What's the difference?

I don't think size is an issue. But I'm open to opinions. I don't know if bass trap placement will change things. Is this one better than the 2 above you linked?

Do you suggest this company for subwoofer purchases? That's a lot of choices. I guess your point is: There's 4 good options, find which one is cheaper or has a good deal going at the time?

If you look at the picture of the room I put above, to the back right off camera, is a doorway. So the sub can't go there. So it would probably go front-right and back-left, and there's plenty of space in those two corners. Happy to share more pictures of the room if you need them; just ask.

Just feels bit of wasted opportunity if center channel goes low under screen as the whole horizontal boom came with tv`s and is always more or less compromise. 3-way design like the Focal can deal some issues. But your screen is probably normal and not Acoustically Transparent which is required if speakers were to placed behind it and small space between speaker and screen is required too. Are you sure you require in-wall speaker system? You have quite good space for normal boxed speakers with stands at the front at least. You could get THX Ultra rated front three for roughly 1200$ plus three stands for them. That rating guarantees high performance reference listening volume with 12 foot viewing distance in 3,000 cubic foot room assuming the av-receiver is up to the job. Sure it won`t look as pretty.

Focal is French brand well known from quality speakers. Of course if you have the option to go listen Focal Aria (standmount/towers) speakers in local hifi store then you get good idea how these would sound.

The Kef model you mentioned i wouldn´t necessarily use them at front LCR in dedicated room, multi driver speaker is better idea. Also the Ci4100QL is for 2000cuft room (THX Select) very small with tiny drivers so bit questionable does it offer the big sound with great dynamics you probably crave. The more ideal model would be three of these Ci3160 from Kef similar specs to 300IWLCR6 Focals, but the price is higher due to THX Ultra rating and Kef speakers rarely cheap anyway.

It`s hard to get full idea of the uneven room without pictures from rear room, but if you feel 5.2.4 is best then stick with that. You can always add more later surely and i would rather start less but aim for higher quality especially with speakers rather than going cheaper models to get more instantly!

VTF-15H mk2 has bit more output below 30hz and has different cabinet/port design, not sure about other differences. HSU has 3year warranty i believe, but you can pay little extra to lengthen that to 5years. And yes the Monoprice 15 THX is step up in every way i believe so, but so is the size and weight. They are massive, however if that isn´t issue then by all means go forward as they would be right at home in dedicated space. Can be laid on floor if the height is issue. We have member here who has two layed on front wall. The PSA products are very popular in US now and you should have a chat with Tom if intrested local company product which uses high quality Italian pro drivers and well known IcePower amp modules which are reliable. Like Monoprice Tom gives 5year warranty for PSA products. He has so many models and there was some new low tuned ported version available. You can ask alternative for Mono 15THX from him, see what you get recommended (room specs and listening habits are required too). One thing is better with PSA it`s the support/service for US customers, Tom is 24/7 available and usually helps customers when required. All these brands are good options and performance wise you get more than what PB2000 Pro offers. If however you want to tighten the budget Monoprice has the 12 THX model too, two of those would come at 1600$, this performs very much same as the SVS for 300$ cheaper each! But if you can spend more and are looking to blow the roof off then don`t hesitate going larger.
 

voidpointer

Novice Member
My understanding is that the in-walls sound just as good as the box speakers. What are the reasons I may want to choose floor-standing speakers instead? Not questioning the legitimacy of your suggestion, rather I'm trying to learn a thing or two.

I'll attach a picture of the back of the room below. Thanks again.

b6Vl0N7LG6fLQ_GVGQscWt7ZX24SGUY4Q-zhzqadDfAYm3u8IbHRJQaFmOy9s_0CRw2QiJdKNs21YuNQzPHJCM9TIJ24gN__dI2O1ghAbUlNnvo7xvhIuG6nM8DlnlhWSdW3ebDa2wIdEQnL7ZUTkwLC8fnII2hGS3KGG_maVZYYP1pIZtqaTxO1Sd-RqyAlLme6f4YHUoYiTrU9CQ7HE84vdMPWozCqspJXZELUHHyaAToDZ77U6xyfBMnqXG-au2WaZIreMiIQVd95mC66k7kHEcDqVDViGOmbLPo0ik7lmsF1SmraZM0tI_g1d2GW_bR9HRn50PQr6UG9MazjElBvkGFdnVy9N6Uc62JO6YWyvR7VIaC0a43Bz_NZvzFC_2o3g1AiSAlpUCKvjQink6FWbcc7ET2gfuEolf7RvG6MztF5Qw-KOOlpXYNlJeG9sCzKkwOxZqHlw3pJf4uucYEJJ_q-_A9d1vXV5k0NS6PS5PvR8BuRiIT4K8Nurprc-BzgWMFQNuJihoa6CLfiEzlTZn65nOwPgJqvfUqejzh4551WOtqkhEhdLOuYGoUx6nEdYfak5gQq8AmMmJxnWeXtJpukCLzRTtW08-fzo1t-qt5v6kyYR1aAmObWy9fKnlzwqAf1XqzAwFY_y1_hQ-A-W93LKOYGKQjV18St5YJ7bniL3-W9lvZUK4F8BNjFc5hGqexSQWu0Hh-LRgB8RHL1jQ=w1379-h1034-no
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
My understanding is that the in-walls sound just as good as the box speakers. What are the reasons I may want to choose floor-standing speakers instead? Not questioning the legitimacy of your suggestion, rather I'm trying to learn a thing or two.

I'll attach a picture of the back of the room below. Thanks again.

b6Vl0N7LG6fLQ_GVGQscWt7ZX24SGUY4Q-zhzqadDfAYm3u8IbHRJQaFmOy9s_0CRw2QiJdKNs21YuNQzPHJCM9TIJ24gN__dI2O1ghAbUlNnvo7xvhIuG6nM8DlnlhWSdW3ebDa2wIdEQnL7ZUTkwLC8fnII2hGS3KGG_maVZYYP1pIZtqaTxO1Sd-RqyAlLme6f4YHUoYiTrU9CQ7HE84vdMPWozCqspJXZELUHHyaAToDZ77U6xyfBMnqXG-au2WaZIreMiIQVd95mC66k7kHEcDqVDViGOmbLPo0ik7lmsF1SmraZM0tI_g1d2GW_bR9HRn50PQr6UG9MazjElBvkGFdnVy9N6Uc62JO6YWyvR7VIaC0a43Bz_NZvzFC_2o3g1AiSAlpUCKvjQink6FWbcc7ET2gfuEolf7RvG6MztF5Qw-KOOlpXYNlJeG9sCzKkwOxZqHlw3pJf4uucYEJJ_q-_A9d1vXV5k0NS6PS5PvR8BuRiIT4K8Nurprc-BzgWMFQNuJihoa6CLfiEzlTZn65nOwPgJqvfUqejzh4551WOtqkhEhdLOuYGoUx6nEdYfak5gQq8AmMmJxnWeXtJpukCLzRTtW08-fzo1t-qt5v6kyYR1aAmObWy9fKnlzwqAf1XqzAwFY_y1_hQ-A-W93LKOYGKQjV18St5YJ7bniL3-W9lvZUK4F8BNjFc5hGqexSQWu0Hh-LRgB8RHL1jQ=w1379-h1034-no

Thanks for the picture. I think you would need to use boxed speakers on stands to get the surround backs behind the seats about 0,5-1meter away. Would of course look bit odd if other speakers are in-wall. It just came to mind, but don´t think about it more at this point.

By all means stick with in-wall route if you feel you want clean look without speaker boxes, but you said 1200$/each for the front three. Where as you can get high quality box speakers for 1200$ for three, and they aren´t regular floorstanding speakers, they require speaker stands. Just an option which i wanted to throw out there if looking superb bang for buck. These below (you wouldn´t use the upfiring modules):

If you go with the Focal route the 300IWLCR6 for front three and i looked Focal site for the surround speakers you would mount them to side walls for a decent height so all listeners will hear them, but not too high (from seated ear height) cause you have overhead speakers so you need certain height difference between these channels.

You could use these models for surround channels:

The Focal in-ceiling speakers are much cheaper than the Ci160QR Kefs, so no reason to look elsewhere.


Make sure the dealer gives you good discount if you buy 9 speakers and receiver from one place. I would compete few dealers to see which gives best pricing.
 

voidpointer

Novice Member
If I went with box speakers, how do you deal with the center height? In wall I'd do an AT screen but wouldn't a boxy center speaker not fit?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
If I went with box speakers, how do you deal with the center height? In wall I'd do an AT screen but wouldn't a boxy center speaker not fit?

Do you have at-screen already? So you would place the main speakers outside of screen surely, so the in-wall centre would only go behind, but you would need to mount the screen so that there is small gap between vertically mounted speaker and at-screen.

With box speakers just low stand so the speaker would be at the low part of the screen and front tilted up. I would mount the screen as high as possible without giving neck pain/looking too up.

 

voidpointer

Novice Member
If you do behind the screen in-wall, do you still position the speaker horizontally? I don't have any screen yet. One thing I'm trying to decide is if I want to get AT screen or not. I'm thinking the answer is yes + in wall
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Ah i read it wrong then, you said you have decided on the screen+projector...

Definitely the center channel behind screen with AT-screen and the exact height same height as front L/R. So you need to measure the seated ear height from floor to ears and then you will mount each speaker at front wall so that the tweeter is at seated ear height.

I think you need to do some reading about the at-screens, there is different material and i don´t know what is best / mostly recommended. Don´t buy the cheapest.

Have you checked at the projector site you decided the shooting ratio that you can get from X distance? How large screen are you buying and what is the distance from front wall to listeners?
 

voidpointer

Novice Member
Yeah I decided on it, not purchased! I apologize for not being more clear.

I went through the Stewart questionaire and it suggested the following screens. Any advice on choice? I think I want to stick with this brand even though it's pricey. I don't see any bad reviews of this screen. And I don't want to skimp on picture.

1634137737057.png
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Yeah I decided on it, not purchased! I apologize for not being more clear.

I went through the Stewart questionaire and it suggested the following screens. Any advice on choice? I think I want to stick with this brand even though it's pricey. I don't see any bad reviews of this screen. And I don't want to skimp on picture.

View attachment 1585630

As you live in US i recommend that you register to AVSForum (US) and ask which screen would be best for you in this thread:

 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom