Optimal speaker placement on a narrow wall? In-wall speaker suggestions?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by rcm3, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. rcm3

    rcm3
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    Looking forward to new toys!

    I'll have my AV setup situated on a wall approximately 7 feet wide. Here's a rough freehand diagram of the space:

    [​IMG]

    About the space:
    -This will be a main living area in my home, not dedicated to AV functionality alone. I do look forward to a living situation in the future that will not require such compromise.
    -The side opposite the media wall is the fireplace/mantle. Mounting the TV over the fireplace is a reasonable idea, but would be less ideal than putting it on the currently selected wall.
    -The justification for positioning the seating as shown is to avoid completely excluding what is a pretty nice fireplace setup from our entertainment area.
    -I think I drew the seating too small. There isn't quite as much space as it would appear and the sectional/loveseat will end up closer together, closer to optimal viewing position.

    My plan:
    The wall will fit a 70 inch television nicely, but that doesn't leave any room for speakers on either side. Tower speakers aren't really an option given their location in the home, so I think the best solution is likely to build everything into the wall under the TV. The center channel would be in the optimal position. But the R/L channels will be at most 5 feet apart, and likely somewhat lower than optimal below the TV. Hypothetically I could put the speakers above the TV, but that's probably even worse. A sound bar is a reasonable idea, but I don't see how that would be any better. Think I can get away with this? Any other ideas?

    Any in-wall speaker suggestions?
    My budget is $1-2k. There will be space in the wall behind the speakers (3 or so feet), so I'll likely need to have back-boxes.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas!
     
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    You've created an impossible situation, especially since there appear to be hallways on either side of the TV. But do remember it is a situation of your creating.

    Depending on how wide those hallways are, it is not the end of the world for speaker to extend out into them.

    As far as In-Wall speakers, they are just as wide as bookshelf or floorstanding, if you don't have room for them, then it is questionable whether you have room for In-wall.

    Though I suppose the speakers could be above the TV. Less than ideal but workable.

    Just beyond the Hallways to the left and right, look less than ideal for In-Wall speaker as well, since the right side is at an angle.

    How high or low do you intend to mount the TV? If the TV is mounted at normal eye level when seated, then yes, three speakers above the TV could work. I would suggest you place the speaker with the tweeter DOWN to keep them closer to ear level.

    Give us the horizontal dimension of the TV? If you know the brand and model, you can look it up. Give us the width of the hallways on either side of the TV, and give us your typical seating distance from the proposed location of the TV. There are some guide lines for seating distance relative to screen size.

    What I would do in a similar situation is hard to determine without a few more dimensions. If the hallways are wide, say 1 meter or more, then you could potentially put floorstanding or bookshelf at the inner edges of those hallways.

    Is there any way you could make Monitor Audio RADIUS work. These are tall skinny speakers specifically made to wall mount.

    Radius 225 | Monitor Audio

    Radius 200 | Monitor Audio

    The Monitor Audio Radius 225 are 5.25" wide. You would need 10.5" of space, unless you mounted them out in the hallway. If the hallways are wide, eating 5.25" of space very near the inner edge shouldn't be a problem.

    You can use TWO Radius 225 and ONE Radius 200, or you can use THREE Radius 225, or potentially THREE Radius 200.

    Unless you intended to place the speakers above the TV, I don't see any advantage to In-Wall speakers.

    Though not precisely my preference, Monitor Audio does make a Sound Bar, in the sense that THREE Radius speakers are built into one bar. Though they are passive and still need an external amp. All three could be placed under (preferred) or above (less preferred) the TV.

    Radius One | Monitor Audio

    £275/each = Radius 225

    £199/each = Radius 200

    £499/each = Radius ONE Sound Bar (3 speakers in one)


    Here is a complete RADIUS ONE 5.1 system for £1200/set -

    Monitor Audio Radius ONE, 45 and 380 (5.1)

    If your equipment, such as AV Receiver, is in a different location, then Yes you could mount the speakers UNDER the TV, but then you have to consider how you run all the necessary wiring to the TV. At bare minimum, you will need ONE HDMI cable form the BluRay to the TV. Likely you will have a Cable Box, that requires a second HDMI to the TV. The front speakers will require speaker wire, etc....

    For minimum cable distance and complexity, placing the AVR, BluRay, and Cable Box under the TV on a Stand simplifies matters. Though those are details you will have to work out.

    Don't let you vision get too small. There are details the need to be consider - wiring for one. Access to your Local Computer Network. Access to the input for the Cable Box, and so on.

    So, this is what I would need to make any kind of judgement -

    1.) Width of each of the hallways at the sides of the TV.

    2.) Distance from the TV to the typical seating location.

    3.) What other equipment were you planning to use - AV Receiver, BluRay, Other - and were are they relative to the TV and how do you plan to get wiring to them? And how much distance does that entail? There are limit on the wire runs for each cable, though they tend to be long, if you exceed the length, you have to go to powered relays. For example, if you have a long HDMI run, most convert it to Network Ethernet cable (CAT5/CAT6) which can run considerable distances, then at the Receiving end, convert it back to HDMI. This is not really that expensive.

    4.) Can you give us the height and width dimension of the TV you anticipate using?

    5.) Can you give us the actual width of the wall where the TV will be mounted.


    That might help us come up with ideas.

    Is the £2k budget just for speakers, or for a complet 5.1 system, amps included?

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  3. rcm3

    rcm3
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    Many thanks for your thoughtful and detailed message!

    First off, let me post a couple of actual pictures so that you see what I'm working with. Here's the space as it stands now with the prior occupants furniture:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The wall is about 6 feet wide (I said 7 above, but that's a mistake). The old TV pictured will be removed, and the hole that it occupies will be covered with dry-wall, including stud placement for the secure mounting of an LCD. Presently, I'm considering a 65" Samsung (~58" wide) or a 70" Vizio (~61" wide).

    Unfortunately, I can't give you exact measurements for the hallways. I've only estimated the size of the wall based on the photo and knowing that the old TV is a 55" mitsubishi model. But regardless, as you can see, it wouldn't be ideal to place floor-standing speakers alongside the TV wall because they'd be a visual focal point for anyone as soon as they enter the front door (and they'd sort of be in the way there in the hallway). I've included image#3 to demonstrate this as it is taken from the perspective of the front door.

    Ultimately, I think the suggestion of a speaker bar, placed below the television, is a great one. I was under the impression that sound bars are of generally inferior quality, but your link seems to invalidate that assumption. Maybe in my situation getting a speaker bar which essentially combines high quality L/R/C channels is the best compromise.

    Running wires should be no problem since that whole wall will have nothing but space behind it after the old TV is removed and the hole is filled. I'll probably make an access door on the right side of the wall.

    I currently plan to place components, including AV receiver, on the shelves above the TV. There should be plenty of room and the wires will hide nicely. Hypothetically, the speakers could be placed on those shelves, but I see this as an inferior solution to the soundbar suggestion (since the speakers would then be too high, no quality would necessarily be gained and this wouldn't allow for more functional spreading of the sound stage).

    To answer your question, the distance to the seating positions will probably range from 11-13 feet. I guess that places the optimum spread at 5-7 feet between the L and R channels (based on the formula I've seen of LR spread = 0.5*seating distance). Does that seem right? The soundbar would probably max out at about 4-5 feet, but I guess that's the best I can do (as above).

    The 2k budget is for speakers (L/R/C + L/R surrounds + sub). Notably though, my new place is in the US, so I'm looking at $ instead of £. Along those lines, the Radius speakers look great, but won't be readily available to me.

    This looks pretty good though:

    Paradigm Millenia 20 Trio

    Again, thanks for your time and contribution. Just the process of discussion/documentation her has significantly clarified my goals/ideas.
     
  4. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Very nice place. So, the new front for the TV will be flat?

    Here is what I think I would so. If I were rebuilding that center section, and assuming as you implied that it is perhaps 3ft deep, though it looks a bit more from the Photo, I would put shelves in one side, and a small door in the other. Though you could put the door or the equipment on the opposite side from the TV. You can get remote repeaters to carry the Remote Control Signal around to the equipment. Very low cost, nothing to be concerned about.

    For now, I'm going to assume there is space at the sides. Now, we have access to this center, I'll call it a Column just to make it easy to reference, all the wiring can be in the column coming out where ever it needs to. Inside the column, you can have access to the back of the amps and so forth for easy connections. All cable runs are short.

    Myself, I would find some nice but not excessively large Floorstanding to go on either side of the column. As long as you are rebuilding the Column, you could add a space/shelf underneath for a Center speaker. I would just leave the shelves for the Amps and speakers, now at the side of the column, open in the back, or perhaps string some curtains behind so there is a back drop but nothing to interfere with the wiring.

    Remember amps are pretty deep and need a bit of space behind them. Keep the dimensions of your equipment in mind when you are rebuilding the Column and creating the shelves. Though if the shelves are open in back or cosmetically covered with curtains, I suggest a solid color that compliments the walls, then space behind them is less critical. If the speaker wires and plug extend beyond the shelf, as I have laid it out, it won't really matter.

    Of course the purpose of the small door is to allow you access into the column, though equally inside the column could have a few hooks to hang coats on, thereby doubling as a secondary closet. Just spit-balling ideas here.

    Next, we need to consider the Sub and the Surround speakers. Again, I'm not there, so I can't know all the structural issues, so all I can do is work around not knowing by choosing a method that doesn't need to concern itself with the structure of the ceiling.

    From the column I would run Conduit (raceways, whatever) either out to the sides, or straight toward the back of the room, running along the wall/ceiling joint until I was in the vicinity of where the Surround speaker are to be placed. Again, I don't know how you intend to place the Surrounds, so I can only speak in generalities.

    Then we consider were the Sub is placed. The Sub Cable could run in one of the Raceways, and break out where necessary to accommodate the Sub. There are decent wireless Subs available, and I have no problem with them because Subs have substantial amps built into them.

    Equally there are Wireless Surround speakers but they tend to be low quality and have tiny amps, and need to be plugged into the electrical outlets, so they are not really all that wireless. Those that are not low quality and low powered, tend to cost substantial amounts of money.

    The Radius attached to the Sides of the Column, not perfectly straight forward but easy enough to mount. Equally, there might be room at the sides of the speakers (on the column) for those or other wall mount speakers.

    Equally, rather than the suggested floorstanding speakers, always my preference, you could put any one of an assortment of Bookshelf speakers on Stands at either side of the Column.

    I think, if you put speakers above or below the TV, the sound stage is going to be too narrow. Others may have other ideas.

    There are a lot of details about what you want to do, where you want to put things, what things you want to put where you want to put them, the limits of the budget for rebuilding the column, and so forth that are beyond my ability to guess at.

    Take what I've said merely as an illustration of the possibilities.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    The Paradigm is very good quality, but limited in frequency response, only rated down to 120hz. Still, if you can work that speaker plus a filled out system into your budget, it should work well.

    QUAD also make a L-ite PLUS LCR sound bar that is part of the Quad Lite series -

    L-ite Plus LCR Sound Bar Quad

    Definitive Technology
    also makes a range of On wall speakers, and passive sound bars -

    On-Wall / Shelf / Stand Speakers | Definitive Technology®

    Sound Bars | Definitive Technology®

    Mythos XTR-SSA3 | Definitive Technology®

    USA prices shown, search Google-UK Shopping for UK details.

    Just a few more thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  6. rcm3

    rcm3
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    Excellent suggestions!

    "Column" is a perfect description, and I think you're right that it's probably just over 3 feet wide. I love the idea of making functional storage space out of the otherwise underutilized sides.

    That Mythos XTR-SSA3 seems like superb value and potentially the correctly balanced situation if I do end up with a sound bar.

    I've feeling pretty good about this and looking forward to putting it together when I move! I'll be sure to post some pics to followup.

    Thanks again Steve. Have a great weekend!
     

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