Question Living Room Upgrade Ideas

brainiac122

Standard Member
Hi Guys,

I am hoping some knowledgeable people here can provide some advice. I am not sure I'm ready to "take the plunge" yet so I have no hard budget for any upgrades right now (though if there are good Cyber Monday deals in the UK / Ireland, I might go for something).

I currently have a Denon X2400H and an Onkyo SKSHT588 speaker set (SKS-HT588-B | Standard Versions | null | Onkyo - Sound Acoustics). I have a reasonably small sitting room, so not going for anything too extravagant, just good quality sound for movies and games.

The set I have isn't bad most of the time (sometimes it actually sounds very good) but I do find there is sometimes and imbalance between how low music / vocals are, and how high bass / sound effects are. For example, playing Watch Dogs Legion this evening and the sounds of the car engine was drowning out the music. Other times, the surrounds are way too loud for me. The center speaker particularly feels too low for me also. (If anyone has any suggestions for more immediate fixes for these things, that would be great, not sure if its me or the speakers tbh).

The main question I have is, when I do decide to make upgrades, what should I do? Replace the two fronts first? The two fronts and the centre at the same time? Keep the exisiting surrounds for the time being? If you've specific speakers you'd suggest for a living room under about €100 per speaker that'd be great too.

Appreciate any advice!
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
To be blunt the Denon is capable of driving far better speakers than the Onkyo set. Speakers are the real heart of any system and will have a bigger influence on the audio than the amp does. If you don't want to spend a fortune then I would look at the used market and replace the front three at the very least.
 

brainiac122

Standard Member
.
To be blunt the Denon is capable of driving far better speakers than the Onkyo set. Speakers are the real heart of any system and will have a bigger influence on the audio than the amp does. If you don't want to spend a fortune then I would look at the used market and replace the front three at the very least.

Thanks mate, I've had some great help privately and im probably going to upgrade the front three to Monitor Bronze 2's + centre and then go from there next year with a new sub and bronze 1 surrounds or something else.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
.


Thanks mate, I've had some great help privately and im probably going to upgrade the front three to Monitor Bronze 2's + centre and then go from there next year with a new sub and bronze 1 surrounds or something else.
The MA Bronze and Denon amps are well suited and you will see a vast difference in quality. The most difficult speaker to get right is the centre. If you have it on a cabinet shelf then make sure it's at the front and sitting proud of the edge of the shelf by around 25mm. Putting a centre speaker inside a cabinet should be avoided.

If you post a photo of where the speakers need to be then I'm sure there will be plenty of help forthcoming.
 

brainiac122

Standard Member
Good idea, I've posted the current setup below.

Few things to note, if I upgrade, I'll probably be getting speaker stands for the L/R to go either side of the unit. Either that or tight at the very edge of the unit instead of beside the 55" edges.

The centre also wont be sitting on the AVR anymore. It only currently is as its fabricky and we have it propped up for angling purposes so only the very rear is touching the AVR. We'll likely drop the middle section drawer and put the AVR down further with the centre on its own dedicated shelf. The centre sits right at the edge of the open shelf as you mention.

The coffee table is non-negotiable unfortunately as it still has to act as a sitting room, but with the centre angled to MLP it hopefully doesn't cause too many issues.

Some of these were also wide angled images (particularly the behind the couch one) so size might be a bit distorted.
 

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ddlooping

Active Member
@brainiac122

Have you checked your Audyssey settings for DynEQ and DynVol?

IMHO, the problem you describe sound more related to these (or other settings in you AVR) than to the quality of your speakers. :)
 

brainiac122

Standard Member
@brainiac122

Have you checked your Audyssey settings for DynEQ and DynVol?

IMHO, the problem you describe sound more related to these (or other settings in you AVR) than to the quality of your speakers. :)

Thanks for the reply. I've played around with the Audyssey settings a fair bit, even having MultEQ, DynEQ and DynVol all off for a period of time. Currently I have MultEQ to reference, DynEQ on offset 5dB and DynVol off. I do like the MultEQ on. DynVol on makes the surrounds way too high (but does balance everything out) so I am not a fan. If I have DynEQ off, the bass is very flat so that's why I tend to have it on, but then the balance seems to go a little. Overall, I've probably tried most matches of these settings and none are "perfect".

I've also dialed the surrounds dB down a little and have brought all the crossovers to 80hz except the surrounds which audyssey detected as 100hz. Some things (like music) sound pretty good with these settings. It's more movies / games with a lot of surround / bass that are just out of whack for me.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
With the centre in the cabinet that's is going to cause some of the problems you are getting. Firing at the height of the non negotiable table as well will give a lot of unwanted reflections. Bit of a double whammy with the centre. Having it offset may not be helping either. I would place it straight on.

With the left and right then they should be brought to the front of the shelf so that they are sitting proud of the edge by around 25mm. This should improve their performance as this will negate the reflections from the top of the shelf. Take them as far apart as you can and try, as an experiment, running as a 4.1 that I believe will help clean up your dialogue issues. Putting them on stands is going to significantly improve them again. If you don't have isolation feet under the speakers then try some blutak under the four corners.

Your bass problems may be down to the sub's placement, again experiment with it as at the moment it could be boundary issues not only from the rear wall but from the side of the cabinet. Move it to the right somewhat.

Good speaker placement will pay dividends. Bad speaker placement can ruin even the best of speakers.
 

brainiac122

Standard Member
With the centre in the cabinet that's is going to cause some of the problems you are getting. Firing at the height of the non negotiable table as well will give a lot of unwanted reflections. Bit of a double whammy with the centre. Having it offset may not be helping either. I would place it straight on.

With the left and right then they should be brought to the front of the shelf so that they are sitting proud of the edge by around 25mm. This should improve their performance as this will negate the reflections from the top of the shelf. Take them as far apart as you can and try, as an experiment, running as a 4.1 that I believe will help clean up your dialogue issues. Putting them on stands is going to significantly improve them again. If you don't have isolation feet under the speakers then try some blutak under the four corners.

Your bass problems may be down to the sub's placement, again experiment with it as at the moment it could be boundary issues not only from the rear wall but from the side of the cabinet. Move it to the right somewhat.

Good speaker placement will pay dividends. Bad speaker placement can ruin even the best of speakers.

So I think I'm pretty much set on upgrading to MA Bronze's so I'll do a lot of the official changes then (new front stands, TV either mounted or on a stand behind the unit, centre speaker on top of unit, sub crawl / better placement).

But thanks for some of the ideas to try now. When you say "proud of the edge", do you mean hanging off the shelf 2.5cm, or 2.5cm back from the edge? I can try put them right at the edge of the unit and rerun audyssey at the weekend (maybe as you say, testing 4.1) to see if theres any noticeable change.

Just on that note, if I do get stands, is there any such thing as them being too wide / far from centre?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Sitting proud by around 25mm over front edge of the cabinet. With music when the speakers are on stands then the ideal is to have an equilateral triangle with a single listener at the apex. With home cinema you have to take into consideration the other people that will be listening and the front soundstage is very important.

A good starting point would be around two metres apart, that triangle doesn't have to be so rigid a rule. You will have to pick a main listening point (MLP) to take your Audyssey readings from and be sure to use all the positions available to you.
 

brainiac122

Standard Member
Sitting proud by around 25mm over front edge of the cabinet. With music when the speakers are on stands then the ideal is to have an equilateral triangle with a single listener at the apex. With home cinema you have to take into consideration the other people that will be listening and the front soundstage is very important.

A good starting point would be around two metres apart, that triangle doesn't have to be so rigid a rule. You will have to pick a main listening point (MLP) to take your Audyssey readings from and be sure to use all the positions available to you.

Interesting, I'll try that then. Would never have thought to have them off the edge.

Yeah, I think currently my distances are 2.55m from L and R to MLP (more on MLP below), but between L and R is only around 1.5m so there's definitely room to fix there when I get stands. I also currently have them angled towards MLP rather than straight on, is this the prevailing best practice?

As for my current MLP setup (and advice on this for movies / games would be greatly appreciated). I have the centre of the 2 seater portion of the couch (the bend isn't included as its usually just the two of us for any content consumption) as the MLP. 5 of my other 6 points are then slightly left and right, forward, and slightly left and right of that forward point to encompass the entire 2 seater section. The final 2 measurements I took from behind the couch, slightly left and right of the first measurement again. Does this seem about right to you? Tried to match it as closely as possible to the Audyssey recommendations for the small 2 seater area.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply by the way, I really want to get this right :)
 

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