Rear and Centre Speaker Advice

jmp1975

Active Member
Hi All, looking for your collective wisdom. I currently have my system set up as 5.1.2 with front heights which is the best I can really do in my room and generally happy with it, but keen to understand if it is worth making the below changes.

Equipment is Denon x3500, fronts are Oberon 1s, Zensor Vokal centre, Wharfedale D300 3D (front height) and Zensor Pico for rears.

Due to room layout, the Picos are located on the rear wall directly behind the sofa which has to be up against the wall which I know is less that ideal. I have attached a picture of the current location of the rears for reference.

My questions are:
1. Would I benefit from changing the centre from the Zensor to the Oberon?
2. With the Pico being located on the rear wall, would changing to something like the Monitor Audio FX give me better surround effect with the front heights it does give me Atmos and I have read conflicting advice on mixing this with bipole/dipole speakers?

Any advice would be great so that I don't end up spending money on something that won't be of any benefit.

Thanks
 

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ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
The first thing to note is the rears are not in the best situation, so if you are able to move them to any side walls so that they are pointing to your seating area, that would improve the rear part of the room without having to spend anything. If you don't have any side walls to place the rear speakers on, I would invest in either adding some small shelf's or wall brackets so you can mount the speakers further apart, but this will also enable you to angle them towards the seating area for a much better experience. This way you would still keep that focused experience which Atmos requires. But The FX speakers will create a fuller sound at the rear whilst removing that focused sound as they spread the sound in a 180 degree fashion spreading sound around the rear of the room. These would need to be mounted a little higher (just above ear level) and a little further apart, but not by to much

Regarding the centre, if you feel you need more, then the best option is to upgrade to the same level as the front left and right as this will balance the front end of the room

Hope that give you some options :smashin:
 

jmp1975

Active Member
The first thing to note is the rears are not in the best situation, so if you are able to move them to any side walls so that they are pointing to your seating area, that would improve the rear part of the room without having to spend anything. If you don't have any side walls to place the rear speakers on, I would invest in either adding some small shelf's or wall brackets so you can mount the speakers further apart, but this will also enable you to angle them towards the seating area for a much better experience. This way you would still keep that focused experience which Atmos requires. But The FX speakers will create a fuller sound at the rear whilst removing that focused sound as they spread the sound in a 180 degree fashion spreading sound around the rear of the room. These would need to be mounted a little higher (just above ear level) and a little further apart, but not by to much

Regarding the centre, if you feel you need more, then the best option is to upgrade to the same level as the front left and right as this will balance the front end of the room

Hope that give you some options :smashin:
Thanks for the input.

Having read lots of posts and threads I know having rears is not ideal but I don't have anywhere to put on side walls as one side there is no wall as such (porch to front door then lounge window and the other is door to kitchen and stairs. The Pico are wall mounted as Dali say not to toe in their speakers. They are at the moment located above ear level as the sofa is quite high. They are also 1.8m apart at present.

I know the room is horribly compromised and I fear spending money on something that will not improve what I already have. I suppose the question is what would give better sound, Atmos or the FX making the rear sound fuller.

Regarding the centre, is the Oberon much of an upgrade over the Vokal as not sure how much of a step up it is?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hi All, looking for your collective wisdom. I currently have my system set up as 5.1.2 with front heights which is the best I can really do in my room and generally happy with it, but keen to understand if it is worth making the below changes.

Equipment is Denon x3500, fronts are Oberon 1s, Zensor Vokal centre, Wharfedale D300 3D (front height) and Zensor Pico for rears.

Due to room layout, the Picos are located on the rear wall directly behind the sofa which has to be up against the wall which I know is less that ideal. I have attached a picture of the current location of the rears for reference.

My questions are:
1. Would I benefit from changing the centre from the Zensor to the Oberon?
2. With the Pico being located on the rear wall, would changing to something like the Monitor Audio FX give me better surround effect with the front heights it does give me Atmos and I have read conflicting advice on mixing this with bipole/dipole speakers?

Any advice would be great so that I don't end up spending money on something that won't be of any benefit.

Thanks

Small changes from Zensor to Oberon which is just new more refined version so i would think twice about the center channel change. If you don`t like how the Zensor Vokal sounds or just want upgrade then i would look Dali Opticon 1 and Opticon Vokal based front three as they can be bought cheaply used. If it sounds fine now then keep the LCR as it is.
 

jmp1975

Active Member
Small changes from Zensor to Oberon which is just new more refined version so i would think twice about the center channel change. If you don`t like how the Zensor Vokal sounds or just want upgrade then i would look Dali Opticon 1 and Opticon Vokal based front three as they can be bought cheaply used. If it sounds fine now then keep the LCR as it is.
Thanks Gasp3621. That is what I thought to be honest. Been looking at some Opticons but the centre is too tall unfortunately as the Zensor is 16cm but Opticon is 20cm. Its annoying as I know it should give a more significant upgrade if I were to but would need to make more changes to TV location etc. to accommodate which is not really something I want to have to work out!

Any suggestions for my rears quandary?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks Gasp3621. That is what I thought to be honest. Been looking at some Opticons but the centre is too tall unfortunately as the Zensor is 16cm but Opticon is 20cm. Its annoying as I know it should give a more significant upgrade if I were to but would need to make more changes to TV location etc. to accommodate which is not really something I want to have to work out!

Any suggestions for my rears quandary?

You may have to consider other brand LCR later in future if looking upgrade if those Opticons are too large. Personally i find the Oberon 1 / Opticon 1 bit too small as front mains, but i don`t know your room and possible placement issues.

I would agree with the FX route being ideal. For years they have been praised here at AVF by members. Now would be best time to buy them cause you can get SIlver FX for 350£/pair as if you look the Bronze FX which Shane posted 329£ you get better speakers for nearly same price! These won`t be available long so don´t think long..

 

jmp1975

Active Member
You may have to consider other brand LCR later in future if looking upgrade if those Opticons are too large. Personally i find the Oberon 1 / Opticon 1 bit too small as front mains, but i don`t know your room and possible placement issues.

I would agree with the FX route being ideal. For years they have been praised here at AVF by members. Now would be best time to buy them cause you can get SIlver FX for 350£/pair as if you look the Bronze FX which Shane posted 329£ you get better speakers for nearly same price! These won`t be available long so don´t think long..

If I go the FX route, will this not compromise the front heights working as Atmos? Maybe I could go with some Bronze FX as there are a pair in the classifieds at present which would save me even more money. As they are for surround duty, will the bump up to Silver from Bronze be worth it?

I think I agree with you on the fronts especially and would like bigger but location is potentially the problem. I was contemplating Oberon 3 if I could squeeze them in. Other thought was looking for some MA Silver 100 and C150 perhaps if that would be an upgrade to my front LCR?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
If I go the FX route, will this not compromise the front heights working as Atmos? Maybe I could go with some Bronze FX as there are a pair in the classifieds at present which would save me even more money. As they are for surround duty, will the bump up to Silver from Bronze be worth it?

I think I agree with you on the fronts especially and would like bigger but location is potentially the problem. I was contemplating Oberon 3 if I could squeeze them in. Other thought was looking for some MA Silver 100 and C150 perhaps if that would be an upgrade to my front LCR?

There is some difference in sound as has been reported here by members/dealer and also in finish as you get real wood veneer / gloss finish with Silver including better drivers, audio crossover components etc. But if you fancy saving some money then why not. The Bronze FX sold in the classified is older version than the one Shane posted.

You would need to listen the Silver LCR if big enough step up. They go now very low prices as 7G Silver coming up. Sadly the C250 is too tall (208mm).

 

jmp1975

Active Member
There is some difference in sound as has been reported here by members/dealer and also in finish as you get real wood veneer / gloss finish with Silver including better drivers, audio crossover components etc. But if you fancy saving some money then why not. The Bronze FX sold in the classified is older version than the one Shane posted.

You would need to listen the Silver LCR if big enough step up. They go now very low prices as 7G Silver coming up. Sadly the C250 is too tall (208mm).

Decisions, decisions. Potentially £140 for the classified Bronze or £280 for Silver FX?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
PT on ebay with a 20% code

Wow sick price as normally 499£! Personally i wouldn´t hesitate with them with for long term purchase in mind. The next step would be Gold FX with 1860£/pair price tag. 😱 I often talk about the sweet spot and i feel with MA the Silver range is just that. So if thinking you will upgrade the front LCR later to something better you would then have superb speakers at the back of room too! If you can leave 1feet to next wall then these should be quite ideal. The bipole mode is fully accepted by Dolby for Atmos same as we have tons of members using tripole surrounds on Atmos rig.
 

Hoku

Active Member
I’ll just chip in regarding your question about rear speakers.

I’ve lived in two homes that have by necessity had the sofa right up against the rear wall. But as the room widths and sofas were different, I had to deal with each place differently. My current set-up in particular could be useful in answering your question.

My present set up is 5.1 only, no Atmos height speakers. I have Monitor Audio Silver FX V2 speakers mounted on the wall behind the sofa. As recommended by MA, these are mounted at eye level while standing. They are directly perpendicular to the front L&R speakers. My sofa extends into one corner, so there’s no room at all for stand mounted directional speakers. The sofa engulfes the entire corner.

It’s worth comparing this with my previous home’s set-up. Back then I had greater width beyond the sofa, so used Monitor Audio Apex speakers on stands, about 1.5m from the edge of the sofa, in each rear corner of the room, pointing at the main listening position.

I’ve found comparing the two that there are pros and cons with each. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, just different.

The MA Silver FX’s, being dipoles, do offer a broader rear soundstage, and because they’re mounted a fair bit higher, so offer a significant sensation of height, scale and expanse, even though I’m not even running Atmos. So if you had front height speakers, providing that they were reasonably well matched, they should pan front to rear really well. Certainly my front to rear panning is better on my current set-up, because it’s a broader more diffuse sound. And I get quite a sense of height without running ceiling speakers.

But I would say in typical sci-fi movies where there are lots of panning shots, sometimes very quick ones, there’s just a little less snap and speed than when I had more directional speakers in my previous home. There was just a little more zing and attack, but then the speakers could more easily draw attention to themselves.

But to counter that, my previous system having the rear speakers on stands with the tweeters at ear height in each far corner had far less scale and sense of height.

Although they’re different, I’d actually be perfectly happy with either set-up as they each have strengths in their own way. So take from that what you will.

As for the MA Silver FX speakers themselves, they’re surprisingly deep and weighty. That’s one way they are significantly better than the little MA Apexes. They have a much fuller hearty midrange and upper bass. If you’re running a sub they go low enough to trick your mind into thinking you’re running full range speakers at the back. (I cross over at 60hz instead of 80hz as I found the midrange improves across the board).

So I’m well pleased with the Silver FX’s. They’re excellent speakers for the money, and because they’re not very deep compared to a typical stand mounted speaker, they don’t look ridiculous mounted on the wall. They’re quite discreet visually.
 

jmp1975

Active Member
Thanks all for your input and advice.

Taken the plunge and ordered the MA Silver FX. Will report back once all set up and running.

It's amazing the bargains you can find so SWMBO doesn't know how much I actually spent ;)
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I know the room is horribly compromised and I fear spending money on something that will not improve what I already have. I suppose the question is what would give better sound, Atmos or the FX making the rear sound fuller.
Almost everyone has to make a compromise somewhere when creating a cinema in the living room, but the ideal compromise is one that works best for you and I think you will be fine with the FX speakers even though people do comment they are not the best for Atmos solutions
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
even though people do comment they are not the best for Atmos solutions

I have got the opposite impression here at AVF due to many using bipoles and tripoles over monopoles in Atmos systems and they wouldn´t change a thing. :) Bipoles and Tripoles are fully accepted even by Dolby for Atmos. I believe FX speakers set in dipole mode wouldn`t be prefered cause too much reduced localization. Also the fact that many has the surround speakers so close to listeners, we kinda see the same thing in some US dedicated Atmos theaters as they have chosen the SVS Ultra Surround or Klipsch RP-504S to be played in bipole mode.
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I usually always say trust your own ears as its you you are buying for. But I've heard it commented one way or the other. It seems to depend upon the room

One thing that always seems to come out when creating an atmos system is it's less important to worry about using FX over traditional style speakers (to create a focused sound stage) and it more important to make sure you are using either ceiling or highs over upward firing solutions from what I've picked up :)
 
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