My First Home Cinema.. please help!

jackybaby

Standard Member
I’m currently undergoing the privilege of building my new home from the ground up. With the plans agreed my attention is now firmly towards the tech.

I’ve always wanted a home cinema and after researching this topic it’s of my understanding that the sound is probably as important if not more important that the picture itself.

Ive read many reviews and when I think I’m set I read conflicting views and the process starts all over again. I am a noob when it comes to surround sound but I’m techy enough to understand and appreciate the many complexities. Thus I am asking for advice and recommendations on systems including subs and av receivers. Being a noob I also don’t know what questions to ask either, for example would it matter if I somehow built the speakers into the wall and ceilings etc.

My budget is around £3k and all the help,advice and or recommendations would be great.

Apologies if more details are required but please let me know and I will do my best to answer.

Thanks in advance
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
3FA1791C-0A09-4BEF-948C-8C5F71C5F8FA.jpeg
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Is the preference to go with in-wall speakers to get cleaner look, perhaps hiding them behind acoustically transparent screen? Space isn´t issue so you could get + 100" screen to create that cinematic feeling. Or decided to go with tv already?

Would it be safe to assume you want 5.1.4 system right away with overhead channels (in-ceiling) as you mentioned them. You have plenty of length available so 7.2.4 with surround backs on rear wall is possible in future assuming you have free hands in this room.

There is also low depth on-wall speakers available which will look great, but your budget is so low. Another (better) option is to start with 5.1, but do the wiring ready for 7.2.4 if that is what you have dreamed and add rest of speakers + another woofer when funds allow. Then you don´t have to compromise too much where it matters (LCR + subwoofer).
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
Exactly yes for the cleaner look, I have a blank canvas which I doubt I will ever get again so any recommendations to get this "cleaner" look would be grateful. I've not considered an acoustically transparent screen, mainly because I do not know what that is. Do you have any links to these and how do they work if you don't mind me asking. I'm guessing as you've mentioned this would allow me to put the speakers behind the screen without losing the quality of the sound? I will be buying a projector for the cinematic feeling but instead of the cinema style chairs I will be buying a U Shape sofa for a more casual cosy look and feel.

I'm not set on any configuration really, I have just been exploring all options. TBH I don't have much 7.1 content so the suggestions to start with 5.1 and have the wiring ready for 7.1.2 (7.2.4 might be overkill and expensive) sounds like a very good plan.

Do you have any recommendations on the 5.1 setup with an AV receiver? I've been reading a lot about the positioning too, do you have any suggestions given my room dimensions?

Thanks again for help, its much appreciated as there is so much information out there I found it more useful from someone who maybe has there own experiences and knowledge which can help me through deciding what to choose.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Monitor Audio has plenty of in-wall models which should fit your budget and choosing higher range for LCR and cheaper for surrounds would be ideal way to share the budget. With AT-screen you have the ability to use three identical speakers for LCR and place them vertically at same height. This is very optimal scenario that many dreams about, but with normal screen or tv it´s not possible. Below gif shows what i mean:

iguanaspeakerwall.gif


For the front three (LCR) example 3x of these IDC 3-way design models:

Or better yet if budget can take it the W380 with RST drivers which should equal to MA Silver range:

To keep the cost down pair of these for surround sides on side walls:

Total 1130£ (1st option LCR), 1340£ (2nd option LCR)

9.2 AV-receiver for future proofing (amplification/processing for extra channels cause you will want Atmos/DTS:X at some point anyway, decent room correction with individual dual sub eq etc.) AVO has higher price on this model so will use other dealer if they don´t price match (?), but generally you should use one dealer for the whole package and ask package bundle deal when you know what you want. If dealer won´t give you any discount for 2-3k£ system then ask from another one as you should always get some. If you buy projector + screen too from same place then again more discount.

Total 2130£ / 2340£ for 5.0 speakers + receiver without any discount.

I would consider two subwoofers. The idea behind it would be to get smoother response for more than one seat/listeners and of course bit more headroom etc. These woofers won´t be placed inside walls, they would sit in certain spots in your room which can be looked later. You would leave roughly 1k£ for two woofers if possible. They can transform your system completety and this being dedicated room you want something that will bring the grin on faces. This is all assuming you like to watch some action/scifi/horror type movies over romantic dramas. ;) I have few models in mind, but as there is no rush yet for those and the availability is question mark we can look those later. Good article to read below:

Why Go Dual Subwoofers?
 
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ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
With projection, what kind of budget are you looking at on this side or is it part of the £3k budget?

Regrading the screen, will it be fixed framed or retractable and what kind of screen size are you hoping to achieve? Projector, Will you be able to accommodate where it needs to live, or are you wanting to fix it in a particular area? This will determining the type of projector types on offer to you

I would also add that if you are undecided on Atmos or just basic 5.1, your room looks like it will comfortably work with all options. So think about where the sofa is going to be placed. This will give you a better understanding of whether a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration is required. If you are also going to place the sofa close to the rear of the wall, this could also answer whether you need a .4 or .2 Atmos system. As you have mentioned, you have a blank canvas, so remember that sometime less is more when it comes to speakers. A 5.1.4 could be the ideal one for that room depending upon the sofa, but if you have it placed in the wrong place, then a 5.1.2 could be just right. As @Gasp3621 has given you a link to the Dolby website, do have a good look at whats on offer and where the seating needs to be in order to get the best out of the room

If you are undecided on the size of projection screen you wish to use, I always suggest a slightly uncouth by recommending by adding a large sheet to wall to get an idea how big some of these screens are. Also place a chair where you feel the sofa is going to be and sit there for a while. That way you'll get a real idea of how big the screen will be. I'd say that start with 92", move to 106" and 120" depending upon how you feel (remember its the 16/9 viewable area you're trying to create when getting a feel, so the 92" would be 2030 wide x 1145 high mm) :)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Really hope the projector + screen is from another budget. Otherwise it will be very different outcome. As there is no clear hunger to get Atmos like 99% people seem to have, better to get great 5.1/5.2 system first and build on that later.. People rushing to have big system with limited budget and that often means compromises in the important parts and then they start soon looking upgrades. I think with in-wall speakers it`s especially important to get them right cause making holes in the walls.
 

password1

Well-known Member
For a cleaner look you can go for in wall.or picture frame speakers.

If you go for an acoustically transparent screen you could hide the front speakers behind and you'll have much more choice of speakers than in wall speakers if you are going for a fixed screen as opposed to a retractable screen.
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
Thanks for the in depth response, this is a great help and very much appreciated.

@Gasp3621 - I really like the idea of the in wall speakers and have the LCR setup placed behind an AT Screen. Again I also like the cheaper options for the side surround too which keeps my budget in sight (with the potential of upgrading further down the line of that bottomless pit of money ill need). One thing that I know wont go down well with the other half is the subs being placed on the floor in plain sight... in fact in setups I've shown her online those were her first comments/observations. Is there any "tricks" to hide these or to give that "cleaner look" I am after? On the subs and reading the article you shared and reading up about them more I think you may have convinced me to get dual subs, I think the only question as mentioned previously is how to hide or integrate these into the room without looking like an eye sore.

@ShanePJ - To answer your question yes the £3k is my budget for the surround sound only. Id probably say for the screen and projector my budget is probably the same, another £3k. I am set on a fixed frame AT screen with the LCR speakers positioned behind. I would like the size of the screen to be as big as possible, which leads to my next question.... although I have attached the dimensions for one room there's potential for the home cinema to be in another room, do you have any guidance to how far you should be away from the screen for perfect viewing? I would like to fix the projector from the ceiling. The only issue I have is my house build is in the very early stages (i.e. the house will knocked down in 2 weeks time) so your suggestions of working out the screen size is not something I can do right now. I was hoping to get most of the kit bought or at least keep an eye on the prices and buy if any sales/deals appeared.
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
1610540326800.png

Maybe this room would be better suited but my question is would it make a difference if the surround side speakers were in the ceiling rather than the side walls due to the window being in the way?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
although I have attached the dimensions for one room there's potential for the home cinema to be in another room, do you have any guidance to how far you should be away from the screen for perfect viewing?
This question really is not as straight forward question to answer as the projector will dictate the answers. You might be able to fit the largest screen on the market in your room, yet the projector may only be able to fill 50% at its throw distance. So, with the fact that you are so early in the build, it might be best to hold off until you have a basic frame of the room built (enabling you to run cables to the projector on the first fix) and addressing what projector you have in mind so that the placement can be worked out enabling you to achieve a large screen experience

I feel the first room will be better than the second one for the cinema as it will give you more options with projection and screen size
 

jamieu

Active Member
Is there any "tricks" to hide these or to give that "cleaner look" I am after? On the subs and reading the article you shared and reading up about them more I think you may have convinced me to get dual subs, I think the only question as mentioned previously is how to hide or integrate these into the room without looking like an eye sore.

Worth having a look at some similar in-wall / acoustic transparent (AT) screen builds on here to get some ideas:



In terms of subs, I wouldn't worry too much about hiding them if you go for down firing models (ie. without any speaker cone or grill on show) as they'll just appear as large wooden cubes that will hopefully blend into the room / be more 'other half' friendly. Just make sure to install wall plates (for a RCA/line level signal and mains power) to connect them up if your chasing walls / don't want cables laying across the floor. Would obviously be best if you can try them out for position before chasing cables and installing wall plates as the room will affect their optimal positioning.

As Shane says your screen size may be limited by your choice of projector. Whether you go for a 16:9 (widescreen TV sized) vs 2.35:1 (scope/cinema widescreen) screen is another consideration.

But the most important factor is simply what feels comfortable to you, bigger isn't always better. If you can borrow a projector it's worth zooming in and out seeing how big an image at different ratios seems comfortable in relation to your ideal seating position and using that as a guide to screen size. You also ideally want a space behind your setting / sofa for the rear speakers/channels to perform properly, so that will be another factor to consider ie. you ideally don't want your main seating to be hard against the back wall.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Another option is to build wide cabinet on the front wall and hide the front firing subs to each corners inside assuming they offer decent response. The subs are on floor still and the doors doesn`t have fabrics in the pictures yet. Rich @Seriously Ltd can help with the build if intrested. It will add cost, but if wife still has a say for your dedicated room then you have to find solution which wife agrees on.

img_1479821697-374651-jpg.789033
 

494930

Distinguished Member
If your planning on going the acoustic transparent route you could build a false wall to mount the screen to. This would leave you a void where you could place your Sub(s) and LCR speakers. These wouldn't need to be in wall models as they'll be hidden from view and you'll have much more choice.
IMG_20180805_180143.jpgIMG_20181105_184608.jpgIMG_20181105_190123.jpg
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
Interesting @494930, this looks very smart and my dads a carpenter by trade so this wouldn't be too difficult a job for him either :) I cant see your subs though, when researching sub placement typically they recommend opposite diagonal corners if that makes sense. Have you placed yours below the LR speakers?

@Gasp3621 given that I could potentially use speakers that are not just in wall speakers using the above setup would you suggest another set of speakers or are the monitor audio the best value for the budget I have? In the setup with the cabinets both subs as you mentioned are front firing, in my research a typical setup would be one sub in one corner and the other the opposite corner diagonally across from the room, does this have any bearing on the quality of sound?

@ShanePJ - Do you have any projectors in the £2-2.5k budget that you usually recommend to people, even though I'm still some time away from build I want to get on top of things and search around for best price. Id like a 2.35:1 (scope/cinema widescreen) screen so any projectors that can give me this would be ideal.

@jamieu thanks for the links and help, all the images have been forwarded onto my dad :)
 

494930

Distinguished Member
Interesting @494930, this looks very smart and my dads a carpenter by trade so this wouldn't be too difficult a job for him either :) I cant see your subs though, when researching sub placement typically they recommend opposite diagonal corners if that makes sense. Have you placed yours below the LR speakers?
I have a single DIY sub placed centrally (it's hidden behind the black fabric)
IMG_20180812_133457.jpg
Diagonally opposed subs would be better as you'd have a more even bass response across all seats, but I don't have a rear corner available.
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
This sounds stupid even as I’m writing it but could anyone tell me how or even if it matters that much how I would angle the speakers when they are in built into the walls...I’ve read a lot of about the position of speakers and the optimal angles, they all seem to angle into the centre of your viewing position.
 

494930

Distinguished Member
This sounds stupid even as I’m writing it but could anyone tell me how or even if it matters that much how I would angle the speakers when they are in built into the walls...I’ve read a lot of about the position of speakers and the optimal angles, they all seem to angle into the centre of your viewing position.
In-wall speakers (and some normal ones) are designed to work off-axis and thus don't need toe'd in.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I’d stick with the original room and assuming you can do most of the install work as a DIY project a discrete speaker system is very possible - we are working with a customer at present with a similar budget to convert an unused basement, which requires full tanking etc

Joe
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Interesting @494930, this looks very smart and my dads a carpenter by trade so this wouldn't be too difficult a job for him either :) I cant see your subs though, when researching sub placement typically they recommend opposite diagonal corners if that makes sense. Have you placed yours below the LR speakers?

@Gasp3621 given that I could potentially use speakers that are not just in wall speakers using the above setup would you suggest another set of speakers or are the monitor audio the best value for the budget I have? In the setup with the cabinets both subs as you mentioned are front firing, in my research a typical setup would be one sub in one corner and the other the opposite corner diagonally across from the room, does this have any bearing on the quality of sound?

@ShanePJ - Do you have any projectors in the £2-2.5k budget that you usually recommend to people, even though I'm still some time away from build I want to get on top of things and search around for best price. Id like a 2.35:1 (scope/cinema widescreen) screen so any projectors that can give me this would be ideal.

@jamieu thanks for the links and help, all the images have been forwarded onto my dad :)

Something different then speaker wise if you build the false wall as mentioned. Normal sized standmount speakers are back in game and ideally you would buy three identical ones as you can place them upright on same level. @Liammonty123 can you post your new LCR picture behind screen with PreSonuses? You have taken it out. I wonder would they be option for OP as they were cheap, he would be sitting 3-4meters away most likely. Denon X3700H has preouts.

Depending where your new U shaped couch goes there is big difference in bass response. 1/3 length wise, so 1,66m from rear wall looks fine with the opposite front/rear corners. But going closer to rear wall it suffers. If you place both subs at front corners then it looks like the seating position would be ideal closer to rear wall about 1,20 to 1meter from rear wall, not bad if you go with massive screen too. This was just a quick look with pc program (REW), when you know more what is happening in your room with screen size, seating location there is more knowledgeble persons who can give a look.

Subwoofer wise i would have hoped to see Monoprice Monolith THX back for silly low prices, but it´s still open what is coming and how much they are going to cost (Brexit). Some news should be out soon as the availability should be February. BK Electronics is always option with limited budget though.
 

Liammonty123

Well-known Member
Yes of course, they are absolutely superb speakers for the money, razor flat and capable of reference level at 3m away!
 

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ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Do you have any projectors in the £2-2.5k budget that you usually recommend to people, even though I'm still some time away from build I want to get on top of things and search around for best price. Id like a 2.35:1 (scope/cinema widescreen) screen so any projectors that can give me this would be ideal.
The obvious one would be the Epson EH-TW9400, but you can get the TW9300 for a bit less on one of our warehouse deals (telephone for more details). Both projectors will work with your interest in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio as they both include a memory zoom which means you can switch between this aspect and the more traditional aspect ratio of 16/9. Careful positioning will be required as using this option will reduce the overall throw ratio of the of any projector using a memory zoom feature. If you are going with this projector, seeing what screen size you feel comfortable with would be ideal.

A simple calculation for a 125" 2.35:1 would give you a placement area of 3.9m to 6.2m (approximately 100" for the 16/9 and and 125" for the 2.35:1 aspect as mentioned above

The also both have a FauxK system which helps improve the resolution. Something that you really should have at your budget. It would give you one of the best 4K experiences to (again within your budget).

Do have a read about the HDMI cables and lengths going forward plus I'd also let you're workmen know that fastening this cable down would be the worst thing they could ever do for you long term. The cable needs to be free to enable you to pull a replacement one through if it fails (the most important advice I can give - ignore this and running another cable will be a costly learning curve as these cable can and do fail)

I hope that give you an idea of what to look for :)
 

jamieu

Active Member
It's no replacement for actually placing your sub in various positions and measuring the response.

But you can use the Room Simulator (highlighted icon at top of screenshot below) in Room EQ Wizard (REW) to model your room (ie. punch in the height/width/listening position etc). You can then move the sub about to see what effect it has on bass response.

REW is free and the Room Sim doesn't require a measurement mic and so worth having a play to get an idea of how sub placement interacts with your room / where your sub is likely best placed for optimal response. It won't be perfect as other factors will come into play, but it should give you a rough idea.

Screenshot 2021-01-18 at 12.16.17.png
 

jackybaby

Standard Member
@Gasp3621 forgive my ignorance but are we saying the PreSonuses speakers ( I've had a look and not sure which model you are referring to) are a better option because of the sound or because they're cheaper or both? I'm keen to get the LCR speakers pretty soon so this would be much appreciated so I can start planning.

@ShanePJ - Is the Epson EH-TW9400 the best on the market up to that price range, I've read some of the reviews and only really negative was how loud it was. Although its not the primary use what would this projector be like for big sporting events like boxing and maybe some big football games? I've also been reading more into the aspect ratio and I'm less adamant on the 2.35:1 so would this change the choice of projector. Do you have any tips for placing the projector on the wall and the distance away from the wall you are projecting to?

Thanks @jamieu although I'm not sure what any of the metrics mean? I think for now and being a simpleton ill just have to front blasting subs...
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
@ShanePJ - Is the Epson EH-TW9400 the best on the market up to that price range, I've read some of the reviews and only really negative was how loud it was. Although its not the primary use what would this projector be like for big sporting events like boxing and maybe some big football games? I've also been reading more into the aspect ratio and I'm less adamant on the 2.35:1 so would this change the choice of projector. Do you have any tips for placing the projector on the wall and the distance away from the wall you are projecting to?
Hi, I'd say if you had more money to spend then yes there is better but as a good all round unit, you will struggle something that delivers what you are asking for so well without spending more or looking at the second hand market. Projectors regarding the visual performances are like hifi, If you feed it something that is naff, it will show you how naff can be whereas if you feed it something that is quite special, then it will take your breath away

The 2.35:1 aspect is one that once you've tried it, you'll struggle to go back. It really does create a cinema feel in the home compared to just watching a large TV screen. You've got to remember that the image is approximately 33% larger than when you are viewing it in standard widescreen and if it's movies your watching on it, then that just means more enjoyment and when you watch football and other sporting evens, the image will be smaller, but that will also help with lesser quality material masking many of the imperfections that can come from lower broadcasts allowing you to still enjoy without to much worry

Mounting this projector on the wall will be one I'd ask on this forums thread and see what others suggest as its such a large unit, I would recommend mounting it on the ceiling rather than the wall
 

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