Need advice on going from 7.1 to 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 in a difficult room?


Standard Member
Hi, my current AV receiver, an old ONKYO TX-NR 3009 is on the brink to give up so I have started to look for a replacement and are probably aiming at Denon avr-3700 or similar. Currently I am running it in a 7.1 setup as seen in the picture below. I have a mix of speakers that works surprisingly well given the difficulties in the room. The speakers are PMC FB1+ (L R), PMC DB1 (C), JM Lab Focal Bird as surround and surround back and a XTZ Cinema 1x12 (upgraded to Edge). The Focal speakers are mounted on the roof as seen in the picture (not to scale only to give you an idea how the room and setup looks.

As seen in the picture the room is difficult as it is L shaped but opens up to the hallway (and stairs to the upper floor) and the kitchen, i.e. the room is actually F shaped and total floor space is estimated to 45 m2 and we have about 2,5 m to the sealing.

With a new AV receiver comes the option to go for Atmos but here the odd layout of the room will give us some problem to place the speakers according to Dolbys recommendation and still be able to use the room(s) for other purpose than watching movies.

I believe that a 5.1.4 layout as in the second image is a plausible compromise where I would use the Focal Birds as Atmos and add either some used PMC TB1 or start to upgrade the PMC and go for Arendal 1723 or 1961 for the rear. The rear speakers would be place against the sidewalls at 1,2-1,5 meters heigth but angled forward 10-15 degrees towards the sofa. Would the Arendal tri-axis surround work in this room or are only direct speakers possible due to the layout?


A more difficult set up is to go for 7.1.4 as in the third picture where three of the surround speakers would have to be placed on stands and one would have to be placed on the wall. In order to be able to move around in the room the speakers would have to be slim (maximum 20-25 cm) and placed snug to the sofa or the window and kitchen-island.

So with this I am open to inputs and suggestions on how to go forward where main focus is on the 5.1.4 set-up as that would be easiest to fit in the room.
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