Help with my set up

moss

Established Member
Hello All,

I have over the last twelve months or so got into the whole world of Home Av.

I have bought and then resold (thank you ebay) various bits of kit.

I would like to have a really good surround sound system for movies, but also have a great music reproduction also. I am starting to think that I should approach these two areas seperately, however so far my set up is as follows:

My lounge is a rectangle - with my TV in the corner (this obviously causes problems, but due to french doors I have no real option in moving this).

Speakerwise, due to my TV's position I purchsed the Q-AV system from Q Acoustics. I bought this as it seemed to get decent reviews and hoped that it would help with the corner position of my TV.

Results wise it sounds to my ears, OK, but not much better than that. For music reproduction it sounds pretty bog standard.

I then purchased two JBL control NOW speakers, in the hope that they would improve the music reproduction. These are definately better than the QAV efforts, but still not what I hoping for.

My AV receiver is a sony STR-DA3600ES.
My music source is mainly an Apple TV, connected by HDMI
My movies are mainly played through a PS3, again connected by HDMI.

I wonder whether you can give me ideas on improving the sound, is it the speakers, the AV receiver, postioning or all of the above!

Am I better to get a seperate stereo AMP? I am surprised that my receiver does not produce better results as it seems to be reasonably high up in Sonys range.

Thanks for any help - hope the plan below helps expalin my layout.

Many thanks Mark

loungetvplan.jpg
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Have the JBL control replaced the QAV sound bar, or are you using the in addition to the sound bar?

That's a very difficult room, I'm going to have to give it some thought.

Can you give us some sense of the budget for this upgrade?

The area near the top where it says "Window" is that the French Doors, or are they somewhere else, or did I misunderstand?

Any chance you could take a photo of the TV in the corner and up load it to give us some ideal of the available space?

Is there any chance you could mount the TV on the right-side wall on one of those adjustable swing out brackets?

How long is that wall between the TV and the Fireplace? That is, the distance from the wall with the Window over to the top edge (relative to the drawing) of the fireplace?

Just a few thoughts. Like I said, you have a difficult room, so I'm going to have to give it more thought. And once again, we need so kind of budget to be able to make recommendations.

Steve/bluewizard
 

moss

Established Member
Thanks for the reply.

The Control One speakers are in addition to the sound bar. The sony Amp has options to use front speakers A (the sound bar) or B (the control one's) or both A&B - so I have toyed round with this a little and movies seem to sound best using both A&B speakers (i think this is because the sound bar ties the sound to the TV and the control one speakers make the sorround front a broader stage). Not sure whether this is really the correct way to have them though as I end up with two front left speakers, two front right speakers and one centre speaker & rears.

I have put some pics below.

I really apprecaite the input. Budget wise I guess I have up to 1k, maybe a little more if I sell some of my current gear - but the more economical the better!

Many thanks Mark




LOUNGEAUDIO2.jpg

LOUNGEAUDIO4.jpg
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
You've got a difficult problem, there is no denying that. But, what can we do? We have to work with what you have.

How important is it that the person sitting in the chair have a good view of the TV?

Does the patio door next to the TV open, or is it just the center section? And if the right hand section opens, how necessary is that?

I still think the best solution for a corner TV like this is a sound bar, but how much are you willing to spend?

Though not well known, QUAD makes a good passive sound bar, but don't expect to get it cheap.

Quad L-ite Sound Bar? ...Anyone?

Monitor Audio makes a Radius One sound bar, that might work.

I'm surprised the QAV is not getting the job done.

I can envision two nice stand mount or floorstanding speakers, one in front of the window to the left of the TV, and another along the wall to the right.

You could move to more satellite speaker, though I cringe at the suggestion. These could easily be wall mounted and pointed at the listening area.

I think speakers on each side of the TV, and the Rear Satellites above the main sofa would enhance the experience for everyone on the sofa, but degrade it for the person in the chair.

The alternative is to move the TV farther toward the fireplace, though how far is debatable. If it were on a movable TV wall mount similar to what I assume you have now, that might allow it to be pushed back for sofa viewing, and pulled forward and angled when someone is sitting on the chair at the end of the room.

Moving the TV farther down that wall would make it easier to place speakers on both sides.

Again, budget come into consideration.

How wide is the room across the narrowest dimension? From the Sofa wall to the TV wall?

There are a couple of makers who make what I call "wafer" speakers, very thin flat speakers, that might be made to work in your narrow room as they would take up less space.

The Monitor Audio Radius can be wall mounted and are reasonably thin.

And again, though I cringe at the thought, perhaps if this is a pure video system, small wall mounted satellites - KEF KHT-3005, or Quad L-ite, and similar.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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moss

Established Member
Room size is:

11 feet 6 inches wide
21 feet long.

Thanks for the comments thus far.
 

moss

Established Member
Steve - if for music I went for Bookshelf speakers, I could put them on top of my hifi rack - problem with this is that they will only be around 18 inches apart. Is that a problem?

Thanks Mark
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
It is somewhat difficult for me to comment beyond what I have done so far.

I think I would find a way to flank the TV with a pair of good speaker, bookshelf or modest floorstanding speakers. But saying that, I can see the space is less than ideal.

I think I might go for a small TV stand in the corner near where you have it now, but also using a stand would move everything forward, making stand mount or floorstanding speaker easier to implement.

I will add one comment, the placement of your rear speakers is completely wrong. The need to be above the sofa, not down on the end of the room. The goal is to create the best listening experience in the prime seating location.

The reason, I asked about the width of the room, is I was wondering how close that would put the TV to the Sofa, if you move the TV farther down the wall toward the fireplace. Again, the advantage of doing that is that it gives you more room for speakers.

I would expect the QUAD L-ite system I mentioned to be an improvement over the Q Acoustic QAV, but I find it odd that the QAV are not doing the job for you. I do think the placement of the rear speaker is not giving you the best surround experience, and the SetUp of the AV amp is somewhat critical. It needs to be tuned to the specific room.

Also, if you don't want the Quad Lite Sound Bar, the standard Quad bookshelf speaker are relatively small, and could be wall mounted. You might be able to make that work for you.

It would be nice to hear a little more about how and why the QAV are not working for you, and what it is you hope to accomplish with this upgrade. In an unusual space such as you have, I think the only real solution is some ingenuity and some compromise. You can only do the best you can do in a less than ideal situation. Every installation is compromised to a degree. We all do the best we can with what we have.

Also, I don't see a stereo stand, and even if you point it out, I don't see how flanking the stereo stand with speakers improves the TV sound at all?

I also think it is something of a mistake to use so many speakers in such a small room. Are the JBL Control acting as side surrounds or as front speakers? It is not clear.

Also, you reference music, if the existing system is acceptable for movies, but falling short for music, then that is another matter. AV system always fall short for music. If you want a music system, then you need larger more musical speakers.

Perhaps if the real conflict is video sound quality vs music sound quality, one could have two systems, or one could have separate speakers. larger speaker optimized by location for music listening, and smaller satellite/sound_bar style speaker for video watching.

Again, I think there are just too many variables and unknowns for me to really speculate. But, where there is a will, there is a way. You just have to be creative in finding solutions, and you have to accept that every decision that optimizes one area, then minimizes another area. So, compromise is inevitable.

What you need to ask yourself is, what is your primary goal? What is the one thing you want to optimize above all other aspects? And, what are you willing to sacrifice to get it?

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 

moss

Established Member
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the input again.

I now understand that there will not be any 'correct' solution for my room and thus as you suggest I will have to accept perhaps more comprises than most.

From what you say it may be best to approach 'movies' sound and music sound as two separate issues: Thus:

Movies:

The current set up of QAV sound bar and QAV rear speakers gives a reasonable job with movies. I do feel that I don't get much separation from the front speakers - but I guess this has to be accepted.

The sub which I received with this (the wall mount qav sub) became faulty and was returned to Q-Acoustics. They were very help and sent me a new one, but unfortunately when it arrived they sent a 2070 sub. Before it could be returned I became ill with chickenpox and so did not get it swapped again (although I must say the service from Q Acoustics was first rate). I did not feel that the 2070 really fitted in with the system and so I have just sold this item.

Thus I am in the market for a new sub - I wonder what you may recommend? The Tannoy TS10 seems to get decent reviews???

I know my receiver (Sony STR-DA3600ES) did not get great reviews in what hi-fi so perhaps this is what is holding the system back a little?

I was considering starting from scratch speaker wise and getting something like the KEF3550SE or B&W M1's. If I did this, I thought I could mount the centre one below the TV, the left one of the left wall and right on right wall. My concern with this is that the left speaker would end up a long way from the screen and close to the couch. This of course was why I went for the soundbar to begin with.

My final option that I can see is to move the TV and put it opposite the couch (fire place wall). This would then allow me to have the speakers wall mounted (something like the new flat panel kef speakers I have seen). The problem with this is it would only allow viewing from the main couch and not the chair at the end of the room.

Music.

Here I am thinking that my speakers are probably not up to scratch. The JBL control now speakers may be the weak link here. Certainly if I just use the QAV for sound the results have been quite poor. But I need to discover whether the sound is poor due to the Sony Receiver or the speakers.

Also would a better subwoofer than I have had help improve the sound with the JBL speakers?

I have seen some Mission 794 speakers that seem reasonable compact and was wondering if I partnered these with a Yamaha 500 amp would this bring me dramatically better sound. If I did this the only place I could really put them would be either side of the bi-fold doors - which may be OK.

I think I need help deciding first off whether the Sony Receiver is good enough to provide a base for a decent stereo system. Most of what I read seems to suggest that Receivers are no good for music reproduction, but given that the 3600es is a reasonable expensive bit of kit, I am surprised that it can not output decent stereo sound.

Sorry for the rambling - I think I'm more confused than ever.

Thanks again Mark
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Curious if your amp has Speaker-A/Speaker-B provisions. If so there should be a switch on the front, and an extra set of speaker terminals labeled Speaker-B on the back.

If so, you could switch to Speaker-A for movie, then to Speaker-B for music. The Speaker-B speakers could be place in a way that optimizes them more for music listening.

But for music, ultra small speakers are never going to quite cut it.

If I remember right, the 'rack' that hold the QAV speaker can be expanded. Moving the side speaker out farther might give you more separation.

Also, I honestly don't feel you are getting the proper Surround Sound imagining with the rear surround speakers on the side wall. I think most would agree that above the sofa is the more ideal place for them.

To some extent, it gets down to budget, and how many holes you are allowed to drill into the walls. The Quad Lite are relatively small compact speakers, if you have the right wall mounting brackets, you might be able to work something out with them. If not, though not cheap, there is a left/center/right sound bar for the Quads. Though most dealers are not aware that it exists.

Earlier I asked about the Patio Door. Do all those panes of glass open, or does just the center pane? Also, are the just the 3 panes of glass that we see, or are there 5 panes covering the entire wall. I could see one bookshelf speaker in front of the right glass pane, and another bookshelf to the right of the TV along the wall.

Also, per my previous suggestion, if the TV were mount to a small TV stand, then it would be forward a bit and that might allow room on each side for a speaker. Again, the left side speaker would block part of the Patio glass, but whether it block the door itself or not, I can't be sure.

If the TV were on a wall mounted extend-able swivel-able bracket, and place farther to the right toward the fireplace, though only slightly in that direction, that would allow room for a speaker to be place on the left, and the right. That would be better for movies and for music, and allow a wider range of speaker choices.

This type of wall mount bracket would allow the TV to be reasonably close to the wall, but also allow it to be angled for the best viewing.

Another option, though I think less than desirable would be to move the TV to the end of the room, in front of the Patio Door, though forward of the door a bit. Leave enough room to walk around the TV and enter/exist the patio. You would need some kind of floor raceway to control the cable and keep people from tripping over the wires.

I might be able to live with that, but for a larger more active family, I can see the problems that might cause. Also, that particular option does not lend itself well to the furniture you already have.

As to a separate stereo, that is certainly possible. A good amp and good speakers place specifically for music listening with no concern for video watching, could be a very workable possibility.

You fireplace is not exceptionally high, so conceivably the TV could be mounted above it with speakers on either side. For a configuration like this I would suggest you take a look at the Monitor Audio Radius HD series, the R225HD and R250HD specifically. These are tall thin wall mountable speakers that would not intrude into the room at all. The could be on the wall beside the chimney breast or right on the chimney breast on each side of the TV.

Your TV doesn't look huge, so I'm guessing it would be fine at that short viewing distance. What would that distance be? Can you measure from the front of the sofa back cushion to the chimney breast? Both straight line parallel to the floor and from rough head height to the approximate center of the likely TV mounting location?

I would suspect the problem with this configuration would be the angle to the TV in the side seating position. If the angle to the TV is too shallow, the screen washes out, and is hard to see.

None of these suggestion is ideal. Each has its own problems and compromises. But, you just have to find a way to make the room work to the extent that you are able.

If you mount the TV above the fireplace, then we have to deal with all the wires. I would suggest a company like D-line that makes a full compliment of wiring raceways -

Cable Trunking, Cable Covers & Cable Management From D-Line

TV Cable Management From D-Line

Product Key & Data Sheets | D-Line

How well any of these suggestions appeals to you, I can't say, nor can I say how well any of them will work. I'm just searching through the possibilities.

Steve/bluewizard
 

moss

Established Member
Hi Steve - thanks again...

Yes the receiver does have A/B or A&B speakers switch and separate terminals on the rear - pics below:

STR-DA3600_front.jpg


STR-DA3600_rear.jpg


The Patio door is a bi-folding door, so all the doors open, but in practice it is usually just the left one or two that open - the right one (next to the TV) usually stays shut.

I have been to my local HiFi shop today, which is sadly closing down. They suggested going down a compact speaker route (which I know you don't really recommend). They offered me an ex display B&W MT30 package with PV1 sub. I am tempted by this, thinking that I could maybe adjust the TV wall bracket out a little and fit the speakers to each side of the TV and one below it, with the rear speakers moved to behind the main couch as you have kindly suggested. I'm thinking that this should improve my movie situation at least. I wonder if you can tell me whether my Sony amp would be a good partner to the B&W speakers (I keep getting tempted by the Yamaha 1067).

I'm guessing that the MT30 setup, if I went for that, is still not going to be much use with music - although some reviews seem to suggest it does very well???

Thus if I have a separate hifi amp and some bookshelf speakers I have the option of placing the speakers on my Hifi cabinet - but this would keep them close together - my cabinet is below:

AVSTAND.jpg


Would the closeness together of the speakers be a problem and if so - is it likely to still be a better result / although compromised.

The back of the couch to the chimney breast is 9'6" inches - and alternatively if I mounted it flat on the main wall it would give 10'6" from the back of the couch.

Even if I haven't got a fixed solution in mind yet, you have certainly helped me come up with a few options and stopped me rushing in and buying all sorts of incorrect kit – and for that I am very grateful.

Regards Mark
 
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moss

Established Member
Hi there -

If I am to address the music and movies seperately I am thinking:

Replacing the Q-AV system with the KEF 8500 soundbar, sub and surrounds.

I wonder if anyone is able to comment whether these will give substancially better sound than the Q-AV system??

Many thanks Mark
 

moss

Established Member
Hi there - thought I would update the thread as this may help others.

The eventual solution to my situation was as follows:

I purchased the KEF 8005 SE speaker set and kept the layout of the speakers the same. This helped movie and music by a huge amount.

I then purchased a Marantz SR 5023 amp for music. This combined with the JBL control now speakers and the KEF Kube 2 sub gave me the sound I was looking for.

I am extremely pleased with the set up now and would highly recommend this to anyone.

I think the greatest lesson I have learnt is that a stand alone stereo amp is much better for music than even a fairly high end cinema receiver.

Hope this may help other.

Thanks All, esp Mr blue Wizard!
 

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