Help with speaker set-up & use

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by A8RICK, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    Hi, looking for a little advice,

    Im looking for a discrete 5.1 set-up which can deliver reasonable quality compared to the standard TV speakers, was thinking something in wall / ceiling, or maybe the kef T series.

    On top of this I require some decent stereo speakers (its a whole house refurb so pretty much a blank canvas at this point).

    My question is probably going to be frowned on by some but anyway I wanted to know - If I bought some reasonable quality front left / right speakers (thinking B&W CM8/9) along with the more discrete centre & rears, is there an easy way to use them for listening to music (in 2.0 or 2.1 ideally) but also use the full 5.1 capability when watching tv or films?

    I could justify the higher expense & footprint of the CM8/9's if I was getting dual use from them, or would the mismatch in speakers type just sound a complete mess in 5.1 mode anyway?

    Im planning to use a Sonos setup so just wondered if I could wire the speakers to the sonos amp and the AV system with a 2 way switch of sorts between the two, or any other way to switch between the two?

    Is this possible or would I be wasting my time, its a front room for entertaining not a dedicated cinema or anything. Any feedback appreciated, warning im a bit of a novice who's never had 5.1 before!!

    Cheers
    RK.
     
  2. dante01

    dante01
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    Speakers are speakers irrespective of whether using them in conjunction with an AV receiver or a stereo integrated amplifier. Most speaker manufacturers make matching centre speakers for their higher end speaker ranges, they do not simply make one range for stereo use and another for films and surround sound.

    If using an AV receiver then you can connect all your speakers to it. The two front speakers can be what you'd commonly associated with stereo music and the centre speaker should be from the same range so that it matches them tonally. When using the receiver while listening to stereo music you can simply use just the two front speakers and you are not forced to use all the speakers present all of the time.

    You only need a Sonos bridge connected to the AV receiver because the AV receiver would be powering the speakers. To try incorporate a Sonos amp into the equation and share speakers betweenn it and an AV receiver is convoluted, impractical and not worth persueing.
     
  3. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    Thanks,

    I appreciate speakers are speakers just wasn't sure if it would sound bad, but from what you say I would really need to match the front three at least to sound right when used in 5.1, is that right?

    I think the bit I was struggling with is the control / separation of use, so if I just use the AV receiver to power the two fronts for music I would still be able to control everything (volume etc.) through the Sonos system / App.

    What would happen if I wanted 5.1 in the front room but also have music playing around the house, would the two fronts be prioritised for 5.1 use? or would this be dependant on the AV receiver / set-up.

    just trying to get my head around this, cheers
     
  4. dante01

    dante01
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    You can access the Sonos system via a Sonos Connect connected to the AV receiver like you'd connect any other source component.

    SONOS CONNECT Wireless HiFi Player

    If in the room where the AV receiver and speakers are then why the need to control the volume via the Sonos and not via the AV receiver? Also, do you already have a Sonos setup and what is it you are wanting to access via the Sonos? Many AV receivers have inbuilt DLNA and Airplay networking capabilities and you can access audio files stored elsewhere via your LAN and the receiver's network capabilities without need of a Sonos. Same goes for IP control and you can control the AV amp via an iOS or Android device.

    The two front are not prioritised for anything and you choose the number of speakers used by the AV receiver at any point in time.
     
  5. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    The AV receiver etc. would be in a rack at the back of the house. I plan to install Sonos throughout the house as a means to play music from my library / i tunes (im currently running cables so want to make sure I get everything covered!)

    I like the idea of the music being sync'd throughout & independent volume control via the App so just though it would be good to keep this separate in terms of controlling the music side of things. Im fitting ceiling speakers in most areas but want something with a bit more punch in the lounge, hence the question to double up the CM8's duties, hope that makes sense in terms of what im looking to achieve.

    regarding the 'priority' I don't quite understand what happens if im using the two front speakers watching a film in 5.1, then someone decides to turn on the Sonos and listen to music (or vice versa), presumable something must take priority?

    cheers, any assistance would be appreciated to understand this.

    On a side note - I will likely have multiple Sonos amps in the rack linked into the network, rather than spread around the house, I know this goes against the wireless mesh idea but its not a huge house / if not I will just relocate as ive allowed multiple network points around the place.

    cheers
    RK.
     
  6. dante01

    dante01
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    Each source can have the AV receiver configured differently so you can have the Connect input congigured so it onlt outputs the audio channels coming into the receiver (stereo) and without any addition pseudo surround DSP. The Connect source can be configured so that only the ront stereo speakers are used. Even 5.1 source and discrete multichannel surround can be mixed down into stereo when using an AV receiver. You are not forced to output everything to all the speakers.

    As I see it, you appear to want the convenience of Sonos in the room, but don't mind having to have to physically go to that room in order to switch a speaker switch?
     
  7. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    just noticed on another thread someone suggested the Russound Automatic Source Selector (AB-3.2) for a similar operation.

    i.e. a Sonos amp and AV amp would both be linked to the speakers via the AB-3.2. The default would be to power the speakers from the AV amp for 5.1 use, but when Sonos amp was turned on this would now override the supply, the Sonos amp would now power the two fronts separately. presumably sound from the TV would still come from the remaining 3.1?

    what do you think?
     
  8. dante01

    dante01
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    You are adding wiring and hardware that isn't needed. Why are you insisting on overcomplicating things? You can turn the AV receiver on or off via the same mobile device you'll be using to control your Sonos. I can't actually think of a reason why it is important to control the volume of the Sonos output in that room via the Sonos app and not via the app designed to control the AV receiver?

    I should also mention that the onboard amplification of a Sonos isn't anything special and that CM9 speakers deserve much better. Even if using an AV receiver to power them, I'd suggest you look at flagship receivers and on spending at least £2000 on a receiver in order to do the CM speakers justice. A 5.1 CM9 setup will set you back just over £4K for just the 5 speakers and B&W sub. More expensive speakers do not equate to better audio unless you also address the amp that is powering them. A Sonos will in all probability have inferior onboard amplification when compared to the level of AV receiver a pair of CM9 speakers deserves.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  9. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    appreciate you comments,

    Made my last post before had chance to see yours so sorry if it sounds like I keep beating the same drum!

    Good point about the amp, the lounge would of course have a better amp depending on the speaker set I end up getting, regardless of how I end up controlling it.

    I think I understand a little better where you are coming from (like I say, its all new to me) im going to spend a bit of time to go through your suggestions to fully understand this, I didn't realise the AV receiver would give this much control, good thing is it looks do-able.

    The alternative is buy something like the KEF's as a discrete 5.1 set-up, then a separate amp and speakers for music (I tend to want more from my music than movies you see). At least it looks like I have options here.

    thanks for posting.
     
  10. dante01

    dante01
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    Think of the AV receiver as being a stereo integrated amp with additional abilities and not as an AV recriver that cannot be used as a stereo integrated amp ;)

    If serious about stereo music the keeping surround sound and stereo setups seperate is still regarded as being the preferable way to go. It would depend on how much of a "Audiophile" you are?
     
  11. A8RICK

    A8RICK
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    Yes im starting to think this may suit the room set-up better too (separating the systems), finding space for large floor standing speakers at each side of the TV would not be ideal for the room.

    I guess my initial thought was, if im buying a decent 2.1 system for music, seems a shame not to use them for movies too, but in reality im sure I would be happy with the KEF's or similar.

    like I say, its given me food for thought & its a good learning curve, cheers.
     

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